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Title: Tales from the German
Comprising specimens from the most celebrated authors
Author: Various Translator: John Oxenford
C. A. Feiling
April 18, 2010 [EBook #32046]
[Most recently updated: March 20, 2022]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Al Haines, from scans obtained from Internet Archive.













The object of the translators of the following tales was to present the English public with a collection, which should combine effectiveness with variety, and at the same time should contain specimens of the most celebrated writers of prose fiction whom Germany has produced. The names of the authors will, they think, be a sufficient guarantee that they have not failed in this last respect, and if the reader finds himself amused or interested by the series, they will have succeeded entirely.

It will be remembered that the collection is a collection of tales only, and that it was absolutely necessary, according to the plan of the book, that these tales should be numerous. Any thing like a lengthened novel was therefore excluded, as it would have exceeded the prescribed limits, or rendered impossible that variety which the translators considered an essential of their work. That short tales, from their very nature, cannot often promote any very high purpose, and that amusement for a leisure hour is their principal purpose, the translators are perfectly aware, admitting that their collection, generally speaking, does not convey that amount of instruction in life and thought, which might be obtained from more elaborate works, such as, for example, the Wilhelm Meister of Göthe. At the same time they trust that Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas, Zschokke’s Alamontade, Schiller’s Criminal from Lost Honour[1] and even Hauff’s fanciful Cold Heart, will be acceptable to those who look for something beyond mere amusement, and that some readers will be found to appreciate the psychological truth and profundity of Hoffmann’s tales beneath their fantastic exterior.

In their versions of the tales the translators have endeavoured, to the utmost of their power, to be correct, preferring even hardness of language to liberties with the original text. The initials in the table of contents will show who was the translator of each particular tale; but it must not be supposed that they worked so separately that the printer and the binder have alone connected the results of their labours. Every tale when finished by the translator was carefully revised by his colleague. In those instances alone have the translators deviated from the original, where they found passages and phrases that they conceived would not accord with English notions of propriety. That in such instances they have softened or omitted, needs no apology.[2]

It has been suggested to the translators that a notice of the authors and the works themselves might, with advantage, be prefixed to the collection. With this suggestion they have complied, trusting that the limited space allowed will be a sufficient excuse for the very sketchy nature of the biographies, if indeed the following notices are worthy of that name.

Göthe and Schiller have attained that universal celebrity, that it would be mere impertinence to say any thing about their lives in a sketch like this. Those eminent promoters of German literature in this country, Mr. T. Carlyle and Sir E. B. Lytton, have done all they could to make the English public familiar with the life of Schiller, and a tolerably full notice of his literary progress will be found in No. LX. of the Foreign Quarterly Review. Those who can read German are recommended to the elaborate life of Schiller by Dr. Hoffmeister, which is a perfect treasury of information and criticism. The materials for a biography of Göthe lie scattered through a vast quantity or correspondence, reminiscences, conversations, and characteristics; but a biography, such as the greatness of the subject requires, is still a desideratum in German literature.

The New Paris, by Göthe, which appears in this collection, is from that delightful autobiography, to which the poet has given the name of Dichtung und Wahrheit. The circumstances under which it is told are sufficiently explained by the short introduction prefixed to it. Schiller’s Criminal from Lost Honour was written during what is called the “second period” of his life, when after the completion of Don Carlos he had quitted dramatic writing for a time, and devoted himself to the study of philosophy and history. The facts of the story he had learned from his friend Abel at an early period. Hoffmeister’s remarks on this story may be found interesting.

“This misguided man, Wolf,” says Hoffmeister, “appears as a mournful sacrifice to the law, which, from this example, should learn mercy. The severity of law has, from a merely conventional offence, elicited a grievous crime, and him, who sinned from thoughtlessness, and was delivered to the care of justice, she has cast off as though he were absolutely worthless. The progress in crime, which is gradually forced upon the man by civil institutions, and his return to virtue, when vice has completed her lesson, are developed and painted to our eyes with extraordinary art. Every action is deduced from thoughts and motives; and these, again, are deduced from states of mind, which necessarily result from the reciprocal action which the soul of the man, and the circumstances by which he was surrounded, had upon each other. Everywhere do we find natural connexion; not a link in the chain is wanting. This psychological novel, like a tragedy, awakens in the reader not only pity, but terror. He feels that in the situation of the unhappy man, he would not have been better himself. The writer fulfils his purpose of plucking us down from our proud security. Man is just as good or bad, we say to ourselves, as his external situation; out external situation is the fate of all of us; and we see in the history of a single individual a sketch of the common lot of man. Moreover, this history of the ‘criminal’ is so remarkable in point of style, that one always reads it with fresh interest. The language is extremely simple, clear, and natural, and there is not a trace of the wearisome, constantly occurring breaks, and the affected antitheses that marked Schiller’s early style. Every thing shows that the author moved in a clear, free element. In some portions he has been eminently successful; as, for instance, in describing the poacher’s state of mind, when he is about to point his gun, at his evil genius, Robert. If, after all our praise, we have one particular to blame, it is this circumstance, that the weakly and delicate ‘host of the Sun,’ who had not as yet distinguished himself in the trade of thieving, should have been unanimously chosen by the robbers for their leader, on his first entrance into their cave. Although he was well known to them as a good poacher, they might yet have reasonable doubts whether he was qualified to be their captain.”

Before quitting Göthe and Schiller, it is as well to state that Göthe was born at Frankfort on the Maine, on the 28th of August, 1749, and died at Weimar on the 22nd of March, 1832; and that Schiller was born at Marbach, on the Neckar, on the 10th of November, 1759, and died at Weimar on the 9th of May, 1805.

Johann August Musäus, one of the most popular tale writers of Germany, was born at Jena, in 1735. His father was a justice there, and was soon afterwards removed to Eisenach, by an official appointment. Young Musäus was educated by a relation named Weissenborn, who held the situation of “General Superintendent” at Eisenach, and with whom he lived from the age of nine to that of nineteen. He studied theology for four years at Jena, and it is thought he might have succeeded as a pastor had not the peasants of Eisenach refused to accept him, because he had been convicted of the grievous crime of—dancing. In consequence of this check to his theological career, he turned his thoughts to literature, and made his first essay by a parody on Richardson’s celebrated novel, called Grandison the Second, which first appeared in 1760. In 1763 he was made Pagenhofmeister (governor of the pages) at the court of Weimar, and some years afterwards professor at the Gymnasium of that place. A considerable period elapsed before he again appeared as an author, when he satirised Lavater in a novel called the Physiognomical Travels. This had an immense success, encouraged by which, he proceeded to collect materials for his Popular Tales of the Germans. This collection he made in a singular manner. Sometimes he would gather round him a crowd of old women with their spinning-wheels and listen to their gossip, sometimes he would hear the stories of children from the street. On one occasion, his wife, returning from a visit, was surprised, as she opened the room-door, by a cloud of tobacco smoke, through which she at last discovered her husband sitting with an old soldier, who was telling him all sorts of tales. On the stories collected by him thus strangely, and afterwards narrated with great humour, though with occasional vulgarity, the fame of Musäus chiefly depends. They were written under the assumed name of Runkel, and were designed, according to the author’s own statement, to put an end to the taste for sentimentality. He began a new series of tales called Ostrich Feathers, of which he only completed one volume. On the 28th of October, 1787, he died of a polypus in the heart, and a handsome monument was erected to him by an unknown hand. His Popular Tales were, at the request of his widow, re-edited after his death by the celebrated Wieland, and this is the edition now current. The story of Libussa, which is taken from the Popular Tales is founded on the Latin history of Bohemia, by Dubravius, and the work of Æneas Sylvius, De Boliemorum gestis et origine. The fables which are uttered by the personages will be found in Dubravius.

The name of Jean Paul Friedrich Richter is almost as well known here as that of Göthe and Schiller; but the eccentricity of his style, and the quantity of local allusions with which he abounds, will probably for ever prevent his works from being extensively read out of Germany. Jean Paul was born at Wimsiedel, in the Baireuth territory, in the early part of 1763, and died at Baireuth on the 14th of November, 1825. He first wrote under the signature of “Jean Paul” only, this he extended to “J. P. F. Halsus,” and it was to his Quintus Fixlein (1796), that he first affixed his real and entire name. In 1780 he went to Leipzig, but this he soon abandoned and resided for some time at Schwarzbach. He visited various cities where he was greatly respected, and received the title of “Legationsrath” from the Duke of Sachsen-Hildburghausen, with a pension, which was afterwards paid by the King of Bavaria. His favourite residence was, however, his native Baireuth. A complete edition of his works, which are very numerous, was published at Berlin in 21 vols., small octavo, in the year 1840, and another in 4 vols., royal octavo, has been published by Baudry of Paris. The short tale of the Moon will give the reader a slight notion—only a slight one—of Jean Paul’s peculiarities. It is prefixed in the original to Quintus Fixlein. An interesting paper on Jean Paul will be found in Mr. Carlyle’s admirable Miscellanies.

The fame of Ludwig Tieck as a writer of romances, and an enthusiastic admirer of all that belongs to the romantic period of literature, is almost as great in England as in Germany. In the history of the “romantic” school, Tieck takes a most prominent position, being one of the chief colleagues and most zealous partisans of the brothers Schlegel. He was born at Berlin on the 31st of May, 1773, and even at school displayed his talents for composition by the commencement of his Abdallah. He studied at Halle, Göttingen, and Erlangen, and read history and poetry, both ancient and modern, with great assiduity. In 1796, his novel, William Lovell, was published at Berlin. A journey from Berlin to Jena made him acquainted with the Schlegels and Hardenberg (Novalis), and at Weimar he became intimate with Herder. His satirical dramas of Blue Beard and Puss in Boots, displayed an Aristophanic vein, and his works relating to art, began to attract general attention. These were The Outpourings from the Heart of an Art-loving Cloister-brother (Berlin, 1797), the Fantasies of Art (Hamburg, 1799), and Franz Sternbald’s Travels (Berlin, 1798), in all of which his friend Wackenrode more or less took a part. Tieck cultivated his taste for the fine arts by a residence in Dresden, Munich, and Rome, and at Jena kept up his acquaintance with Schelling and the Schlegels. In the years 1799-1801, he published his translation of Don Quixote, and about the same period several works of imagination. In 1801-2 he resided at Dresden, and edited, with A. W. Schlegel, the Musenalmanach. For the diffusion of a taste for the middle-age literature of Germany, Tieck made an important contribution by his publication of a selection of the Minnelieder from the Swabian period, that is to say, the period of the German emperors during the dynasty of the Hohenstauffen family, with an elaborate preface, in which he called the attention of the Germans to their old poetry. In 1804 appeared his romantic drama of The Emperor Octavian, and in 1805 he published, in connexion with T. Schlegel, the works of his deceased friend Hardenberg (Novalis),[3] which may be classed among the most extraordinary phenomena of modern literature. The preface to this edition is entirely by Tieck. A long pause now ensued in the midst of his literary productiveness, during which he visited Rome. In 1814 and 1816 appeared his Old English Theatre, consisting of translations from our early drama, and in the same year he published the work to which, more than to any other, he owes his celebrity in this country, his Phantasus. The entire work has never been translated, but the tales which are introduced into it, such as the Blond Eckbert and the Trusty Eckart, are generally known. Another contribution to the study of the old German literature he made by his edition of Ulrich von Lichtenstein’s Frauendienst (service of ladies), a kind of romance, by a celebrated Minnesänger, and a collection of plays under the title of Old German Theatre. In 1818 he visited London, where he was received with great respect, and employed his time in making collections for the study of Shakspeare, in Schlegel’s translation of whom he has taken an important part. Since 1821 he has chiefly been engaged with a series of novels, which are widely different from his former manner, and he is now (we believe) resident at Berlin. The tales from the Phantasus being already so generally known, one of a totally different kind has been given in this volume. The powerful tale of the Klausenburg is from Tieck’s collected novels.

Heinrich von Kleist, from whom two tales have been taken, is another poet of the romantic school, and was born at Frankfort on the Oder, in 1777. He led an unsettled kind of life, residing successively at Paris, Dresden, and Berlin, and after the battle of Jena, retired from the latter city to Königsberg, where he devoted himself to literary pursuits. Returning to Berlin during the French occupation of Prussia, he was taken prisoner, and though he was shortly afterwards released, this imprisonment seems to have had a fatal effect upon a temperament naturally morbid. In 1811, at Potsdam, he voluntarily terminated his own existence, and that of an invalid lady of his acquaintance. His works, which are somewhat numerous, consist of dramas and tales, and are all distinguished by a sort of rugged power. Of his plays, the most celebrated is the romantic drama, Käthchen von Heilbronn, and of his tales, the narrative of Michael Kohlhaas, contained in this collection. A complete edition of his works was published at Berlin, in 1821, by the indefatigable, Ludwig Tieck. The critical remarks which he has made on Kohlhaas, may be extracted with profit.

Michael Kohlhaas,” says Tieck, “is unquestionably the most remarkable of all Kleist’s narratives, and if we see with what firmness he sketches the various forms, how faithfully the events and feelings are deduced from each other, with what steadiness the narrator advances, step by step, we are tempted to believe that this style is more suitable to the author, and that his talents might have shone forth more brilliantly here than in the drama. Here, as in his plays, we see, as in the form of a law-suit, the misfortune and the guilt of a remarkable man unfolded before his eyes. Few writers understand how to shake our hearts to the very depth, like Kleist, and this is precisely because he goes to work with so steady a purpose, and consciously avoids all soft sentimentality. The insulted and injured Kohlhaas becomes unhappy;—nay, becomes a criminal through his misery and his keen sense of justice, until he is called back from his career by the revered Luther, and by his means obtains a hearing for his suit, so that he can stand boldly forward. It is only by chance without any fault on his own part, that he finds at Dresden, that his position has grown more unfavourable. It is unnecessary to call attention to the masterly hand which has portrayed all the characters from the prince and Luther, down to the humblest menial, in such living colours, that we seem to behold the realities themselves. Whether it was by intention or unconsciously, the writer has made important deviations from history. This might be excused on account of his leading motive, and the admirable freshness of his colouring; but he is more culpable for his incorrectness in the necessary circumstances of an event, which did not happen so very long ago,—circumstances which can scarcely escape the recollection of the reader. Kleist forgets that Wittenberg, not Dresden, was the residence of the Elector of Saxony. Moreover, he describes Dresden just according to its present aspect. The old town, (Altstadt) scarcely existed at the time, and what shall we say of the elector himself, who appears as a romantic, amorous, eccentric, fantastical personage, when certainly it must have been either Frederick the Wise, or the Steadfast, who belonged to the period of the narrative? By over haste—for it certainly was not from design—this excellent story loses its proper costume and accompanying circumstances, whereas it would have been far more effective had the author allowed himself time to place himself in the period with greater truth. Another consequence of this deficiency in true locality is, that the author, after long alluring us by his truth and nature, leads us through a fanciful visionary world, which will not accord with the previous one, which he has taught us to know so accurately. That wondrous gipsy, who afterwards turns out to be the deceased wife of Kohlhaas, that mysterious inscription, those ghost-like forms, that sick, half-mad, and, afterwards, disguised elector; those weak, for the most part, characterless forms, which, nevertheless, come forward with a pretension, as if they would be considered superior to the real world previously described, as if they would sell as dearly as possible that mysterious nature, which comes to us little as possible,—that horrible foreboding which the author suddenly feels in the presence of the creatures of his own fancy—all this, we say, reminds us so forcibly of many a weak product of our times, and of the ordinary demands of the reading public, that we are forced, mournfully, to admit that even distinguished authors, like Kleist—who in other respects does not participate in these diseases of his day—must pay their tribute to the time that has produced them.”

No literature can produce a more original writer, than Ernst Theodore Amadeus Hoffmann, from whom the translators have not scrupled to take three stories. Some have called Hoffmann an imitator of Jean Paul, but the assertion seems to be made rather because both writers are of an eccentric and irregular character, than because their eccentricities and irregularities are similar. However wild may be the subjects of Hoffmann, and however rambling his method of treating them, his style is remarkably lucid; and while Jean Paul is one of the most difficult authors for a foreigner to read, Hoffmann is comparatively easy. He was born at Königsberg on the 24th of January, 1776, where he studied law, and in 1800 became assessor of the government at Posen. In 1802 he became a councillor of the government at Plock, and in 1803 went in a similar capacity to Warsaw. His legal career was terminated by the invasion of the French, in 1806, and he made use of his musical talents to obtain a subsistence. In the autumn of 1808 he accepted the invitation of Count Julius von Soden to go to a theatre at Bamberg, where he was appointed musical director. The theatre soon closed, and he was reduced to such distress that he was forced to part with his last coat. He then occupied himself with musical instruction, and contributed to the Leipzig Musikalische Zeitung. From 1813 to 1815 he conducted the orchestra of a theatrical company, alternately in Dresden and Leipzig, and in 1816 was appointed councillor of the royal Kammergericht in Berlin, where he died on the 24th of July, 1822. Hoffmann had devoted himself to music from his earliest years, he composed the music for an opera on the subject of Undine, played at the Berlin theatre, and many of his writings have an immediate reference to the feelings and fortunes of the musician. This is conspicuous in the collection called, Fantasia-pieces in Callot’s Manner, which he published in 1814, and which was followed by his Devil’s Elixir, published in 1816. His works, consisting of narratives, are very numerous, and were published at Berlin, in fifteen volumes, and by Baudry, of Paris, in one volume, royal octavo. Among the most conspicuous are the fantastic Confessions of Tomcat Murr, the collection called the Scrapions Brothers, and Master Flea. Many of Hoffmann’s stories have been translated into English, but they have not been so successful here as in France, where, when the translations appeared, they created a complete furore. Of the tales in this collection, the Sandman, and the Jesuits’ Church, are from the “night-pieces,” and the Elementary Spirit is from Hoffmann’s “later works.” In all these stories it will be observed that Hoffmann’s purpose is to point out the ill-effect of a morbid desire after an imaginary world, and a distaste for realities. Different as their adventures are, there is a striking similarity in the characters of Nathaniel, Victor, and the painter Berthold, and Hoffmann seems to be exhibiting his own internal nature as the extreme of unhealthiness. The same tone may be perceived in his other writings, and his obvious reverence for the prosaic and common-place, as the antithesis to himself, is remarkable. The story of the Sandman had its origin in a discussion which actually took place between La Motte Fouqué and some friends, at which Hoffmann was present. Some of the party found fault with the cold, mechanical deportment of a young lady of their acquaintance, while La Motte Fouqué zealously defended her. Here Hoffmann caught the notion of the automaton Olympia, and the arguments used by Nathaniel are those that were really employed by La Motte Fouqué.

A writer of extraordinary fancy and invention, but working for a more obvious purpose, and producing narratives more related in character to popular legends, was Wilhelm Hauff, of whom likewise there are three specimens in this volume. He was born on the 29th of November, 1809, at Stuttgard, and in early life showed a great predilection for telling childish narratives. Being designed for the theological profession, he went to the University of Tübingen in 1820. Afterwards he became a private teacher at Stuttgard, and began his literary career with the Almanach of Tales for the year 1826. This was followed by Contributions from Satan’s Memoirs, and the Man in the Moon, the latter of which was designed to satirise the popular writer Clauren. Hauff’s historical romance of Lichtenstein acquired great celebrity, and the collection of tales called the Caravan, which have contributed to this volume, are in the happiest vein. Hauff needs only to be known to become popular in any country. His works, which are somewhat numerous, although he died before he had completed his twenty-sixth year (18th of November, 1827), were published in a complete edition by the poet Gustav Schwab, in 1830.

Adam Oehlenschläger appears as the head of the romantic party in Denmark, though he is as well known to the Germans as the Danes, having published his works in both languages. He was born near Copenhagen, on the 14th of November, 1779, and passed his youth in the Castle Friedrichsberg, where his father was castellan. He began to study law in 1800, but soon quitted the study, and, at the cost of the government, travelled through Germany, France, and Italy. He was then appointed Professor of “Æsthetics” at the University of Copenhagen, and, in 1816, took another journey through the countries above-named, and visited Sweden in 1829, where he was received with enthusiasm, and was made Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Lund. The dramatic tale of Aladdin, published at Leipzig in 1808, first made him known in Germany, and his fame has been maintained by a variety of narratives, some founded on the legends of his own country; and a number of dramas, of which his beautiful Corregio is the most celebrated. The tale of Ali and Gulhyndi, which appears in this collection, is most striking for its felicitous resemblance of the Oriental style of fiction. Oehlenschläger’s entire works were published at Breslau, in eighteen volumes.

Karl Immermann, who is exceedingly admired by a section of the German literati, was born at Magdeburg, in 1796, and died at Düsseldorf in 1841. He was a precocious genius, having composed a drama and a romance at the early age of sixteen. Joining the volunteers during the war with France, he was present during the whole campaign in the Netherlands, and was in France in 1815. He became, in 1827, counsellor of the provincial court (Landgerichtsrath) at Düsseldorf. At this time he entertained a notion of forming a national German theatre; but his scheme proved a failure, notwithstanding he adopted all sorts of decorative means to ensure success. His works, which are very numerous, have been collected, and one of them, a mythical drama, called Merlin, is placed by his admirers, with more enthusiasm than judgment, by the side of Göthe’s Faust. The tale in this volume is from his Munchhausen, a work of unequal merit, but displaying great genius and originality. A very full account of it will be found in the Foreign Quarterly Review, No. LXI.

Franz Karl van der Velde, the author of Axel, was a popular author of historical romances, born at Breslau in 1779. Passing through a variety of judicial appointments, he died at Breslau in 1824. His works, which were published at Dresden, in 1824, occupy twenty-five volumes.

Of all the modern writers of Germany, there is none more truly popular than Johann Heinrich Daniel Zschokke, however doubtful it may be whether his wonderful popularity be commensurate with his merit. He was born at Magdeburg, in 1771; and, after the completion of his juvenile education, travelled about with a company of strolling players. Becoming reconciled with his relations, after this vagabond life, he went to the University at Frankfort on the Oder, where he studied in a desultory manner. After travelling through Germany, Switzerland, and France, he settled in the Grisons, and took a most active part in Swiss politics, to follow which would exceed the bounds of a sketch of this sort. His History of Switzerland is a standard work; and his collection of tales, copious as it is, forms a vast treasury of fiction for his admirers. The account which Zschokke himself gives of his Alamontade, is added to that tale.[4]

Here closes this imperfect sketch. It is not intended to convey any new information to those who are acquainted with German literature; but it may, at least, be of use in conveying a few facts and dates to the general English reader.

[1] The fact that Schiller’s “Ghost Seer” is so familiar in an English garb, that it is almost an English novel, is a sufficient reason that it does not appear in this collection. Almost the same may be said of the more celebrated romance of La Motte Fouqué.

[2] This has been especially the case with “Libussa,” which is often indelicate in the original. An oversight in the translation of that tale should, however, be corrected. The provincial word, “Imme,” should be translated “Queen-bee,” not “ant.” Vide p. 14, line 5 from the bottom.

[3] An admirable paper on Novalis is in Mr. Carlyle’s Miscellanies.

[4] To Zschokke is attributed the religious work Stunden der Andacht, a judicious selection from which has been translated by Mr. Haas.




Deep in the Bohemian forest, of which now only a shadow remains, dwelt years ago, when it spread itself far and wide into the country, a little spiritual people, aeriel, uncorporeal, and shunning the light. They were of a finer nature than mankind, which is formed out of gross clay, and were therefore imperceptible to the coarser sense; but to the more refined they were half visible by moonlight, being well known to the poets under the name of the Dryads, and to the old bards under the name of the Elves. From time immemorial they had lived undisturbed here, until the forest suddenly resounded with the tumult of war; Duke Czech, of Hungary, crossed the mountains with his Slavonic hordes, to seek a new dwelling-place in this spot. The beautiful inhabitants of the aged oaks, of rocks, caves and grottoes, as well as those of the reeds in ponds and marshes fled from the noise of weapons, and the snorting of war-horses. Even for the mighty Erl-king the tumult was too much, and he removed his court to the more remote deserts. One elf alone could not resolve to quit her beloved oak, and when the wood was hewn down in every direction to make the land arable, she alone had the courage to defend her tree against the power of the new comers, and chose its lofty top for her abode.

Among the courtiers of the duke was a young squire, named Crocus, full of courage and youthful fire, active, well made, and of noble stature. To him was entrusted the care of his master’s horses, which he sometimes drove out to feed in the forest. Often he rested under the oak which the elf inhabited; she regarded the stranger with pleasure, and when at night he slumbered by the root, she whispered pleasant dreams into his ear, predicted to him in significant images the events of the coming day; or if one of his horses had strayed in the wilderness, and the keeper had lost all traces of him, and went to sleep with heavy heart, he saw in his dream the marks of the concealed path which led to the spot where the stray horse was feeding.

The farther the new settlers spread the nearer did they approach the dwelling of the elf, who by means of her faculty of divination foresaw how soon the axe threatened her tree of life, and therefore resolved to communicate her trouble to her friend. One moonlight summer’s evening Crocus drove his herd later than usual into the fence, and hastened to his usual couch beneath the tall oak. His road wound about a lake well stored with fish, in the silver waves of which the golden crescent was reflected in the shape of a glittering cone. Straight over this shining part of the lake, on the opposite shore, he perceived in the vicinity of the oak a female form, that seemed to be walking on the cool bank. This apparition surprised the young warrior. “Whence,” he thought to himself, “could this maiden come, so solitary in these deserts, at the time of evening twilight?” But the adventure was of such a nature, that to a young man it was more alluring than alarming to search into the affair. He doubled his pace without losing sight of the form which occupied his attention, and soon reached the place where he had first perceived her, under the oak. It now seemed to him as if what he saw was more of a shadow than a reality. He stood astounded, and a cold shuddering came over him; but he heard a soft voice, which whispered to him these words: “Come hither, dear stranger, and be not afraid; I am no deceptive form, no delusive shadow; I am the elf of this grove, the dweller in the oak, under the thick-leaved boughs of which thou hast often slumbered; I lulled thee to sweet delightful repose, foretold to thee what would befall thee, and if a mare or a colt of thy herd had strayed, I told thee of the place where it was to be found. Repay this favour by another service which I require of thee. Be the protector of this tree, which has so often protected thee against sun and rain, and prevent the murderous axe of thy brothers, who are destroying the woods, from injuring this venerable trunk.”

The young warrior, whose courage revived at this soft discourse, answered thus: “Goddess or mortal, whichever thou art, ask of me whatever thou pleasest, and if I can I will accomplish it. But I am only a humble man among my people, the servant of my lord the duke. If he says to me to-day or to-morrow, ‘feed your horses here, feed them there,’ how shall I be able to protect thy tree in this remote wood? But if thou commandest it I will leave the service of my prince, dwell in the shadow of thine oak, and protect it as long as my life lasts.” “Do so,” said the elf, “and thou wilt not repent of it.” Upon this she vanished, and there was a rustling in the tree above, as if some loud evening breeze had caught itself there, and was moving the leaves. Crocus stood for awhile quite enchanted at the heavenly apparition which had appeared to him. Such a delicate, truly feminine creature, of such a slender form, and of such noble appearance he had never seen among the stunted Slavonic girls. At last he stretched him upon the soft moss, although sleep did not close his eyes; morning twilight surprised him in a tumult of delicious sensations, which were to him as strange and novel as the first beam of light to the newly opened eyes of one who has been born blind. At the break of day he hastened to the duke’s palace, asked for his dismissal, packed up his baggage, and hastily started with his head filled with glowing fantasies and his burden on his back, for his delightful retreat in the forest.

During his absence, however, an artificer among the people, by trade a miller, had pitched upon the sound straight trunk of the oak as an axle for his mill-wheel, and went with his men to fell it. The trembling elf sighed when the greedy saw began with its iron teeth to gnaw the foundations of her dwelling. From the top of the tree she looked anxiously around for her faithful protector; but her glance was unable to discover him anywhere, and her consternation rendered the gift of prophecy peculiar to her race so ineffective, that she no more ventured to decipher her impending fate than the sons of Esculapius with their boasted “prognosis” are able to tell when death will knock at their own doors.

However Crocus was on his way, and so near the scene of this mournful catastrophe, that the noise of the creaking saw reached his ears. He augured no good from this noise in the forest, and setting wings to his feet beheld—horrible sight—the impending destruction of the tree he had taken under his protection in his very presence. Like a madman he flew upon the workmen with his spear and drawn sword, and frightened them from their work; for they thought that a mountain demon was in their presence and fled in great confusion. Fortunately the tree’s wound was curable, and in a few summers the scar had disappeared.

In the hours of rest in the evening, after the new-comer had selected a spot for his future dwelling, had marked out the space to be hedged in for a little garden, and had again considered in his mind the whole plan of the hermitage in which he designed to pass his days, far removed from human society, in the service of a shadowy friend, who seemed to be totally unreal, the elf appeared to him on the banks of the lake, and with graceful gestures thus accosted him: “Thanks, dear stranger, that thou hast prevented the strong arms of thy brethren from felling this tree, to which my life is attached; for know that mother nature, who has endowed my race with such various powers and faculties, has nevertheless united our life to the growth and duration of the oaks. Through us does the queen of the forest raise her venerable head above the rabble of other trees and shrubs; we promote the circulation of the sap through trunk and branches, so that she gains strength to combat with the whirlwind, and to defy for centuries the destroying power of time. On the other hand, our life is knit to hers. When the oak, to whom fate has assigned us as a partner, grows old, we grow old with it, and when it dies, we die away also, and sleep like mortals, a sleep of death, until by the eternal revolution of all things, chance or some secret arrangement of nature unites our being to a new germ, which opened by our vivifying power, sprouts up after a long time to a mighty tree, and affords us the joys of life anew. From this thou mayst perceive what a service thou hast rendered me by thy assistance, and what gratitude is due to thee. Require of me the reward of thy noble act, reveal to me the desire of thy heart, and it shall be fulfilled at once.”

Crocus was silent. The sight of the charming elf had made upon him more impression than her discourse, of which he understood but little. She perceived his confusion, and to extricate him from it took a dry reed from the bank of the lake, broke it into three pieces, and said: “Choose one of these three, or take one without choice. In the first is fame and honour, in the second are riches and wise use of them, and in the third happy love is contained for thee.” The young man cast his eyes to the ground and answered: “Daughter of Heaven, if thou intendest to grant the wish of my heart, know that it is not contained in the three reeds which thou offerest; my heart seeks a still greater reward. What is honour but the fuel of pride, what are riches but the root of avarice, and what is love but the trap of passion, to ensnare the noble liberty of the heart? Grant me my desire of resting beneath the shadow of thy oak, from the fatigue of the campaign, and of hearing from thy sweet mouth doctrines of wisdom, that thus I may decipher the future.” “Thy wish,” replied the elf, “is great, but what thou deservest at my hands is not less, and therefore let it be as thou hast requested. The bandage before thy corporeal eyes shall vanish, that thou mayst behold the secrets of hidden wisdom. With the enjoyment of the fruit take also the shell, for the wise man is also held in honour. He alone is rich, for he desires no more than he actually needs, and he tastes the nectar of love without poisoning it with impure lips.” When she had said this she again presented him the three pieces of reed, and vanished.

The young hermit prepared his bed of moss under the oak, highly delighted at the reception which the elf had accorded him. Sleep overcame him like an armed man, cheerful morning dreams danced round his head, and nourished his fancy with the fragrance of happy anticipations. As soon as he woke he joyously began his day’s work, built himself a commodious hut, dug his garden, and planted roses and lilies, and other sweetly-smelling flowers and vegetables, not without cabbages and kitchen herbs, besides an assortment of fruit-trees. The elf did not fail to pay him a visit in the twilight of every evening, took pleasure in the produce of his industry, walked with him hand in hand along the reedy bank of the pond, until the waving reed murmured forth a melodious evening greeting to the friendly pair, when the breeze rustled through it. The elf initiated her docile pupil into the secrets of nature, instructed him in the origin and issue of things, taught him their natural and magical qualities and virtues, and formed the rough warrior to a thinker and a philosopher.

In the same degree as the feelings and senses of the young man became more refined by his intercourse with the fair shadow, the tender form of the elf became denser, and acquired more consistency. Her bosom was filled with animation and life, fire glistened from her hazel eyes, and with the form of a young girl, she seemed also to have acquired the feelings of one. In a few months the sighing Crocus was blessed with the happiness which the third reed had promised him, and did not regret that the freedom of his heart was ensnared by the trap of love. Although the marriage of the tender pair took place without witnesses, it was productive of as much happiness as the most obstreperous nuptials, and in due time pledges of conjugal affection were not wanting. The elf presented her husband with three daughters at one birth, and the delighted father, in the first embrace, called her who had cried in his house before the two others, Bela; the next Therba, and the youngest Libussa. All were like genii in the beauty of their form; and although they did not consist of such a delicate material as their mother, their corporeal nature was finer than the coarse earthy form of their father. They were also free from all the infirmities of children, and needed no leading strings, for, after the first nine days, they all ran like so many partridges. As they grew up, they displayed all their mother’s talent for detecting hidden things, and predicting the future.

With the aid of time, Crocus also acquired much knowledge of these mysteries. When the wolf had dispersed the cattle in the wood, and the shepherds searched about for their lost sheep and oxen; when the woodmen missed an adze or a hatchet, they sought advice from the wise Crocus, who told them where to find what they had lost. If a bad neighbour made away with any of the common property, broke at night-time into the fold or dwelling of another, robbed him, or murdered his host, and no one could guess who was the criminal, the wise Crocus was always sought for counsel. He then summoned the community to a grass-plot, made them form a circle, stepped into the midst of it, and let the infallible sieve turn, which invariably pointed out the malefactor. His fame was thus spread over all the land of Bohemia, and whoever had an affair or any business of importance, consulted the wise man as to its issue. Nay, cripples and sick persons sought from him aid and recovery; even diseased cattle were brought to him, and he knew how to cure ailing cows with his shadow, as well as the renowned St. Martin, of Schierbach. The concourse of people that sought him increased every day, just as if the tripod of the Delphic Apollo had been removed to the Bohemian forest; and although Crocus, without gain and reward, gave his information to those that questioned him, and healed the sick and crippled, the treasure of his mysterious wisdom proved very productive, and brought him great profit; for the people pressed to him with their gifts, and quite overwhelmed him with the proofs of their good-will. He first revealed the secret of washing gold out of the sand of the Elbe, and received a tenth from all who collected the gold sand. Thus his means and his wealth were increased; he built strong castles and palaces, he kept large herds of cattle, he possessed fertile lands, woods, and fields, and imperceptibly found himself in the possession of all the wealth which the liberal elf had prophetically enclosed for him, in the second piece of reed.

One fine summer evening, when Crocus, with his attendants, was returning from an excursion, where he had settled the boundary disputes of two neighbouring congregations at their request, he perceived his wife on the brink of the pond, where she had first appeared to him. She beckoned to him with her hand, so he dismissed his retinue, and hastened to embrace her. As usual, she received him with tender love, but her heart was oppressed and mournful, while from her eyes trickled ethereal tears, so fair and transient, that they were hastily absorbed by the air, without reaching the earth. Crocus was astonished at the sight, for he had never seen the eyes of his wife look otherwise than cheerful, and with all the brilliancy of youthful joy. “What ails thee, beloved of my heart?” said he; “my soul is torn by uneasy forebodings. Tell me, what is the meaning of these tears?” The elf sighed, leaned her head mournfully on his shoulder, and said: “Dear husband, in thine absence I have read in the book of fate, that an unhappy destiny threatens my tree of life; I must leave thee for ever. Follow me to the castle, that I may bless my children, for from this day you will never see me again.” “Oh, my beloved,” replied Crocus, “banish these melancholy thoughts! What misfortune can threaten thy tree? Are not its roots and trunk firmly fixed? Look at its healthy branches, as, laden with fruit and leaves, they extend themselves, and see how it raises its top to the clouds. As long as this arm moves, it shall defend itself against every impious man who shall dare to injure its trunk.”—“Weak is the protection,” replied she, “which a mortal arm can afford! Ants can only contend with ants, gnats only with gnats, and all the worms of the earth can merely guard off their like. What can the strongest of you do against the operations of nature, or the inscrutable decrees of fate? The kings of the earth can easily overthrow the little mounds which you call your fortresses and castles, but the slightest breeze scorns their power, rustles when its pleases, and heeds not their command. Thou hast already defended this oak against the might of man, but canst thou also resist the whirlwind, when it arises to strip the leaves from its boughs; or if a concealed worm gnawed at its core, could you draw it forth and crush it?”

Discoursing thus, the affectionate pair entered the castle. The slender maidens sprang joyfully towards them, as they were accustomed to do on their mother’s evening visits, gave an account of their daily occupation, brought their embroidery and needle-work as a proof of their industry and skill; but, on this occasion, the hour of domestic happiness was totally joyless. The girls soon perceived that the traces of deep sorrow were imprinted on their father’s face, and saw with sympathising grief their mother’s tears, without venturing to inquire into the cause. Their mother gave them many wise instructions and good admonitions; but her discourse was like the song of a swan, as if she were about to take leave of the world. She remained with her beloved family till the morning-star arose; she then embraced her husband and children with melancholy tenderness, retired to her tree as usual, at day-break, through a secret door, and left them all to the most melancholy forebodings.

Nature was in breathless silence as the sun rose; but his beaming head was soon obscured by dark heavy clouds. It was a sultry day; the whole atmosphere was electrical. Distant thunders rolled along over the wood, and echo, with a hundred voices, repeated the fearful sound in the winding valleys. At noon, a forked flash of lightning darted down upon the oak, and shattered root and branches in one moment, with resistless force, so that the fragments lay scattered far and wide in the forest. When this was told to Crocus, he rent his clothes, and went out with his daughters to mourn over his wife’s tree of life, and to collect and preserve the splinters as precious relics. The elf was no more to be seen from that day.

After some years, the tender girls grew up, their virgin form bloomed as a rose starting from the bud, and the fame of their beauty was spread all over the country. The noblest youths among the people came forward, and had all sorts of petitions to lay before Father Crocus, and ask his advice. In truth this was but a pretext, that they might ogle the lovely girls, as young fellows often feign some business with the fathers, if they wish to coax the daughters. The three daughters lived together in great ease and concord, little aware of their own talents. The gift of prophecy was possessed by them all in equal degree, and their discourses were oracles without their knowing it. Soon, however, their vanity was excited by the voice of flattery, the word-catchers snapped up every sound from their lips, the Seladons interpreted every gesture, traced the slightest smile, watched the glance of their eyes, drawing from them indications more or less favourable, fancied they would thence gather their destinies, and from that time it has been the custom among lovers to question the good or bad star of love in the horoscope of the eyes. Scarcely had vanity insinuated itself into the virgin heart, than pride was at the door with all the rabble of his train,—self-love, self-praise, obstinacy, selfishness, and all these stole in together. The elder sisters vied with each other, to excel the younger in her arts, and secretly envied her on account of her superior charms, for although all were very beautiful, Libussa was the most beautiful of them all. The Lady Bela particularly devoted herself to the study of herbs, as Lady Medea did in the days of old. She knew their hidden virtues, and how to extract from them efficacious poisons and antidotes, as well as to prepare from them scents, pleasant and unpleasant, for the invincible powers. When her censer smoked, she charmed down the spirits from the immeasurable space of ether on the other side of the moon, and they became subject to her, that with their fine organs they might inhale these sweet perfumes, but when she flung the offensive scent into the censer, she would have forced the Zihim and Ohim out of the desert.

The Lady Therba was as ingenious as Circe in contriving magic spells of all sorts, which had force enough to sway the elements, to raise storms and whirlwinds, hail and tempest, to shake the very bowels of the earth, or to lift it out of its very hinges. She made use of these arts to terrify the people, that she might be honoured and feared as a goddess, and knew better how to accommodate the weather to the wishes and caprices of mankind, than wise nature herself. Two brothers quarrelled because they never could agree in their wishes. One was a husbandman, who always wished for rain that his seed might thrive. The other was a potter, who always wished for sunshine, that he might dry his earthen pots, which were destroyed by the rain. Because the heavens never would satisfy them, they went one day with rich presents to the house of the wise Crocus, and told their wishes to Therba. The elf’s daughter smiled at the boisterous complaints of the brothers against the beneficent arrangements of nature, and satisfied the wishes of both, letting rain fall on the seed of the agriculturist, and sunshine on the field of the potter. By their magic arts the two sisters acquired great fame and vast wealth, for they never communicated their gifts without reward; they built castles and villas out of their treasures; they laid out fine pleasure gardens; they were never weary of feasting and merry-making, and they jilted the suitors who sought their love.

Libussa had not the proud vain disposition of her sisters. Although she possessed the same faculty of penetrating into the secrets of nature and using her hidden virtues, she was satisfied with the share of miraculous power she had inherited from her mother without carrying it further, that she might make a profit of it. Her vanity did not go beyond the consciousness of her own beauty; she did not thirst after riches, and she did not, like her sisters, wish either to be feared or honoured. When these kept up a constant bustle in their villas, hurried from one exciting pleasure to another, and attached the flower of the Bohemian knighthood to their triumphal car, she remained at home in her father’s dwelling, managed the household affairs, gave council to those who asked for it, kindly assisted the oppressed and distressed,—and all from mere good will without any reward. Her disposition was gentle and modest, her life chaste and virtuous such as became a noble maiden. She was, to be sure, secretly pleased at the victories which her beauty gained over the hearts of men, and she received the sighs and cooing of pining adorers, as a fitting tribute to her charms, but no one dared breathe to her a word of love, or presume to solicit her heart. Yet the wag Cupid loves better than any thing to exercise his rights with the coy, and will often throw his burning torch on a low straw-thatched shed when he intends to fire a lofty palace.

An old knight, who had come into the land with an army of the Czechites, had settled deep in the forest. He had made the wilderness arable, and had laid out an estate, on which he intended to pass the remainder of his days in peace, living on the produce of his fields. However a powerful neighbour took possession of the property, and drove out the knight, whom a hospitable countryman took in, giving him a shelter in his own dwelling. The poor old man had a son, who was the only prop and consolation of his age—a fine youth, who however possessed nothing but a hunting spear, and a well practised fist to support his father. The plunder by the unjust Nabal excited his revenge, and he armed himself to repel force with force. The command of the careful old man, who did not wish to expose the life of his son to any danger, disarmed the noble youth, but afterwards he was determined not to relinquish his original design. So his father called him, and said, “Go, my son, to the wise Crocus, or to the wise virgins his daughters, and ask them whether the gods approve of thine enterprise, and will grant a favourable issue to it. If so, thou mayst gird on thy sword, take thy spear in thy hand, and fight for thy patrimony. If not, remain here till thou hast closed mine eyes, and then do as seems right to thee.”

The youth set out and first reached the palace of Bela, which had the appearance of a temple, inhabited by a goddess. He knocked and desired to be admitted, but the porter, as soon as he saw that the stranger appeared with empty hands, dismissed him as a beggar, and closed the door in his face. He proceeded sorrowfully, and came to the dwelling of Therba, where he knocked and desired a hearing. The porter peeped out of the window, and said, “If thou bearest gold in thy pocket so that thou canst weigh it out to my mistress, she will give thee one of her wise sayings that will tell thee thy fate. If not, go and gather on the shore of the Elbe as much of it as the tree has leaves, the sheaf has ears, and the bird has feathers, and then I will open this door for thee.” The youth thus again deceived, departed quite out of heart, especially when he learned that the prophet Crocus had gone to Poland, to officiate as umpire between some Magnates, who could not agree together. He expected no better reception from the third sister, and when he saw her paternal forest-castle from a hill in the distance, he did not venture to approach it, but concealed himself in a thick bush to brood over his grief. He was soon roused from his gloomy reflections by a noise like the tramp of horses’ feet. A flying roe darted through the bushes followed by a beautiful huntress and her attendants, all mounted on magnificent steeds. She hurled a javelin which whizzed through the air without reaching the animal. The youth who watched the scene, at once caught up his cross-bow, and from the twanging string sent forth a winged arrow which darted at once through the heart of the beast, so that it fell down on the spot. The lady, surprised at this unexpected phenomena, looked round for the unknown hunter, which, when the marksman perceived, he stepped forward and bowed humbly to the ground. The Lady Libussa thought she had never seen a handsomer man. At the very first glance his frame made upon her so strong an impression that she could not help being involuntarily prepossessed in his favour, and confessing he was of a noble figure. “Tell me, dear stranger,” said she, “who are thou, and what chance has conducted thee to these precincts?” The youth rightly surmised that his good fortune had allowed him to find what he sought, so he modestly communicated his wishes, not forgetting to say, how uncivilly he had been dismissed from the doors of her sisters, and how much he had been afflicted in consequence. She cheered his mind with kind words. “Follow me to my dwelling,” said she, “I will question for thee the book of fate, and to-morrow at sunrise I will give thee information.”

The youth obeyed her orders: here there was no churlish porter to prevent his entrance into the palace; here the lovely resident exercised the law of hospitality most liberally towards him. He was delighted with this favourable reception, but still more so with the charms of his fair hostess. The enchanting form flitted before his eyes all night, and he carefully guarded against the approach of sleep, that the events of the past day which he reflected on with delight might not leave his thoughts for a single moment. The Lady Libussa on the other hand, enjoyed a gentle slumber, for retirement from the impressions of the outward senses, which disturb the fine anticipations of the future, is indispensable to the gift of prophecy. Nevertheless the glowing fancy of the elf’s sleeping daughter united the form of the young stranger to all the visionary forms that appeared to her in the night. She found him where she did not seek him, and under such circumstances that she could not understand how she should have any relation to this stranger. When the fair prophetess, on waking early in the morning, endeavoured as usual to separate and unravel the visions of the night, she was disposed to reject them altogether as illusions that had sprung from an aberration of fancy, and to give them no more attention. But a dark feeling told her that the creation of her fancy was not a mere empty dream, but that it pointed to certain events, which the future would unfold, and that this same prophetic fancy, had in the night just passed, overheard the secret counsels of destiny better than ever, and had blabbed them out to her. In the same way, she found that the guest now under her roof was violently inflamed with ardent love, and her heart quite as unreservedly made her the same confession with respect to him; but she set the seal of secrecy upon the information, while the modest youth, on his side, had vowed that he would impose silence on his tongue and on his eyes, that he might not expose himself to contemptuous refusal: for the barrier which fortune had set up between him and the daughter of Crocus seemed to him insurmountable.

Although the fair Libussa knew perfectly well what answer to give to the young man’s question, she felt it very difficult to allow him to depart so quickly. At sunrise she appointed a meeting with him in the garden and said: “The veil of darkness still hangs before my eyes; to know thy destiny wait till sunset.” In the evening she said: “Wait till sunrise:” on the following morning “Wait throughout this day,” and on the third, “Have patience till to-morrow.” At last, on the fourth day, she dismissed him, because she had no pretext for detaining him any longer, without discovering her secret, and with kind words she gave him this information: “It is not the will of the gods that thou shouldst contend with a mighty one in the land; endurance is the lot of the weaker. Go to thy father: be the consolation of his age, and support him with the labour of thy industrious hand. Take from my herd two white bulls as a present, and take this rod to guide them. When it blooms and bears fruit the spirit of prophecy will rest upon thee.” The youth considered himself unworthy of the lovely maiden’s presents, and blushed to accept a gift without being able to return it. With lips void of eloquence, but with a demeanour so much the more eloquent, he took a sorrowful farewell, and found tied up by the gate a couple of white bulls, as plump and shining as the divine bull of old, upon whose sleek back the virgin Europa swam through the blue waves. Joyfully he unloosened them, and drove them gently along. The road here seemed but a few yards in length, so completely was his soul occupied with the thoughts of the fair Libussa, and as he felt he never could share her love, he vowed he would, at any rate, never love another as long as he lived. The old knight was delighted at his son’s return, and still more delighted when he learned that the advice of the wise Crocus’s daughter so perfectly accorded with his own wishes. The youth being destined by the gods to follow the calling of a husbandman, did not delay to yoke his white bulls to the plough. The first attempt succeeded according to his wishes; the bulls were so strong and so spirited, that in one day they turned up more land than twelve oxen would commonly have managed.

Duke Czech, who had conducted the first expedition of his people into Bohemia, had died long ago, and his descendants inherited neither his dignity nor his principality. The Magnates, to be sure, assembled after his decease, to make a new election, but their savage, stormy temperaments did not allow them to come to any rational decision. Selfishness and arrogance turned the first state assembly of Bohemia into a Polish diet;[1] too many hands seized the princely mantle at once, so they tore it to pieces, and it belonged to nobody. The government fell into a kind of anarchy; every one did as he pleased; the strong oppressed the weak, the rich the poor, the great the little. There was no longer any general security in the country, and nevertheless these mad caps thought their new republic was admirably constituted. “All” they cried “is in order; every thing goes its way with us as everywhere else; the wolf eats the lamb, the kite eats the pigeon, and the fox eats the fowl.” However, this mad constitution had no stability; and after the intoxication of visionary freedom was dissipated, and the people had again become sober, reason once more asserted her rights, and the patriots, the honest citizens, and all in fact in the country, who had any love for their father-land, took counsel to destroy the present idol, the many-headed hydra, and to unite the people again under a sovereign. “Let us,” they said, “choose a prince who shall rule over us, according to the custom of our fathers, who shall curb licentiousness, and administer justice and the laws. Not the strongest, the bravest, nor the richest, but the wisest shall be our duke!” The people being weary of the oppressions of the petty tyrants, were on this occasion unanimous, and answered the proposition with loud applause. A general assembly was appointed, and the choice of all fell upon the wise Crocus. A deputation was sent to invite him to take possession of his dignity, and although he was not covetous of the distinguished honour, he did not delay to accord with the wishes of the people. He was dressed in the purple, and he proceeded with great pomp to Vizegrad, the princely residence, where the people met him with loud rejoicings, and swore allegiance to him as their sovereign. He now perceived that even the third slip of reed offered him by the liberal elf had bestowed its gift upon him.

His love of equity and his wise legislation extended his fame over all the countries round. The Sarmatian princes, who used incessantly to quarrel, brought their disputes from a great distance to his tribunal. He weighed, with the infallible weight and measure of natural equity, in the scales of justice, and when he opened his mouth, it was as if the venerable Solon or the wise Solomon, between the twelve lions from his throne, gave judgment. Once, when some rebels had conspired against the peace of their country, and had set all the excitable nation of Poles by the ears, he marched to Poland at the head of his army, and suppressed the civil war. There likewise was he made duke by a great part of the people, out of gratitude for the peace which he had given them. He built there the city of Cracow, which still bears his name, and has the right of crowning the Polish king to the present day. Crocus reigned with great glory to the termination of his life. When he perceived that his end was approaching, and that he should now leave this world, he ordered to be made of the remains of the oak, which his wife the elf had inhabited, a box to contain his bones. He then departed in peace, wept over by his three daughters, who laid him in the box, and buried him as he had commanded, while the whole country mourned his loss.

As soon as the funeral pomp had ended, the states assembled to consider who should now occupy the vacant throne. The people were unanimous for a daughter of Crocus, only they could not agree which of the three sisters should be chosen. The Lady Bela had the fewest adherents, for her heart was not good, and she often used her magic lantern to make mischief. Nevertheless she had inspired the people with such fear, that no one ventured to object to her for fear of rousing her vengeance. When it came to the vote, all the electors were silent, there was no voice for her and none against her. At sunset the representatives broke up the meeting, and deferred the election to the following day. Then the Lady Therba was proposed, but confidence in her own magic spells had turned her head, she was proud, supercilious, and wished to be viewed as a goddess; and if incense was not always offered to her, she was peevish, wilful and ill-tempered, displaying all those qualities which deprive the fair sex of their flattering epithet. She was not so much feared as her elder sister, but then she was not more beloved. For this reason the place of election was as still as a funeral feast, and there was no voting. On the third day the Lady Libussa was proposed. As soon as this name was uttered, a familiar whispering was heard throughout the circle, the solemn faces became unwrinkled and brightened up, and every one of the electors could communicate to his neighbour some good quality of the lady. One lauded her unassuming demeanour, another her modesty, the third her wisdom, the fourth the infallibility of her predictions, the fifth her disinterested conduct to all who asked counsel, the tenth her chastity, ninety others her beauty, and the last her thriftiness. When a lover sketches such a list of his mistress’s perfections, it is always a matter of doubt whether she really possesses one of them, but the public in its decisions does not easily err on the favourable side, though it often does on the unfavourable one. By reason of qualities so laudable, and so universally recognised, the Lady Libussa was certainly the most powerful candidate for the throne, as far as the hearts of the electors were concerned; nevertheless the preference of the younger sisters to the elder one has so often, as experience testifies, disturbed domestic peace, that it was to be feared, in a more important affair, the peace of the country would be interrupted. This consideration put the wise guardians of the people to such great embarrassment, that they could not come to any decision at all. An orator was wanted who should attach the weight of his eloquence to the good will of the electors, if the affair was to make any progress, and the good wishes of the electors were to have any effect. Such an orator appeared as if called for.

Wladomir, one of the Bohemian magnates, next in rank to the duke, had long sighed for the charming Libussa, and had solicited her hand in the lifetime of her father, Crocus. He was one of his most faithful vassals, and was beloved by him as a son, and therefore had the good father wished that love might unite the pair together. The coy mind of the maiden was, however, invincible, and he would on no account force her affections. Prince Wladomir did not allow himself to be scared by this doubtful aspect of affairs, and fancied that by fidelity and perseverance he might bear up against the lady’s hard disposition, and render it pliable by tenderness. He had attached himself to the duke’s train, as long as he lived, without advancing one step nearer to the goal of his wishes. Now he thought he had found an opportunity of opening her closed heart, by a meritorious act, and of gaining, from magnanimous gratitude, what, it seemed, he could not obtain by love. He ventured to expose himself to the hatred and revenge of the two dreaded sisters, and to raise his beloved to the throne at the peril of his life. Marking the wavering irresolution of the assembly, he took up the discourse and said: “Brave knights and nobles of the people, I will lay a simile before you, from which you may learn how to complete this election to the advantage of your father-land.” Silence having been commanded, he proceeded thus: “The bees had lost their queen, and the whole hive was melancholy and joyless. They flew out idly and sparingly, they had scarcely spirits for making honey, and their pursuit and nourishment was on the decline. They therefore thought seriously about a new sovereign who should preside over their affairs, that all order and discipline might not be lost. The wasp then came and said: ‘Make me your queen, I am strong and terrible, the stout horse fears my sting, I can defy even your hereditary foe the lion, and prick his mouth when he approaches your honey-tree. I will guard you and protect you.’ This discourse was pleasing enough to the bees, but after mature deliberation the wisest among them said: ‘Thou art vigorous and terrible to be sure, but we dread that very sting which is to defend us; therefore thou canst not be our queen.’ Then the humble bee came up humming, and said: ‘Take me for your queen! Do you not hear that the rustle of my wings announces rank and dignity? Besides, I too have a sting to protect you.’ The bees answered, we are a peaceful and quiet race; the proud noise of thy wings would annoy us and disturb the pursuits of our industry; thou canst not be our queen.’ Then the ant desired a hearing: ‘Although I am larger and stronger than you,’ she said, ‘my superiority can never injure you, for see I am entirely without the dangerous sting, I am of a gentle disposition, and besides that, a friend of order, of frugality, know how to preside over the honey-tree and to encourage labour.’ The bees then said: ‘Thou art worthy to govern us—we will obey thee—be thou our queen!’”

Wladomir paused. The whole assembly divined the purport of the discourse, and the minds of all were favourably disposed towards the Lady Libussa. Yet at the very moment when they were about to collect the votes, a croaking raven flew over the place of election; this unfavourable omen interrupted all further deliberation, and the election was deferred to the following day. The Lady Bela had sent the ill-omened bird to disturb the proceedings, for she knew well enough the inclination of the voters, and Prince Wladomir had inspired her with the bitterest hate. She held counsel with her sister Therba, and they came to the determination that they would be revenged on the common calumniator, who had insulted both of them, and despatched a heavy nightmare, that should squeeze the soul out of his body. The bold knight suspected nothing of this danger, but went, as was his wont, to wait upon his mistress, and received from her the first kind look, from which he promised himself a whole heaven of bliss. If any thing could increase his delight, it was the present of a rose which adorned the lady’s bosom, and which she gave him with the order that he was to let it wither by his heart. To these words he gave an interpretation very different from that which was meant, since no science is more fallacious than the art of expounding in love. There mistakes are quite at home. The enamoured knight was bent on keeping the rose fresh and blooming as long as possible; he set it in fresh water in a flower-pot, and went to sleep with the most flattering hopes.

In the gloomy hour of midnight came the destroying angel, sent by the Lady Bela. He glided in; he blew open, with his gasping breath, the locks and bolts on the doors of the bed-room, and fell with immense weight on the sleeping knight, pressing him down with such suffocating force, that he thought, when he woke, a mill-stone had been rolled upon his neck. In this painful situation, while he fancied the last moment of his life was come, he fortunately thought of the rose which stood in the flower-pot by his bed, pressed it to his heart, and said: “Fade away with me, fair rose, and perish on my lifeless bosom, as a proof that my last thought was bestowed on thy lovely possessor.” At once his heart became lighter, the heavy nightmare could not resist the magic power of the flower, his oppressive weight did not now exceed that of so much down; the dislike of the perfume soon drove him out of the chamber altogether, and the narcotic quality of the scent again lulled the knight into a refreshing slumber. At sunrise he rose fresh and cheerful, and rode to the place of election to ascertain what impression his simile had made on the minds of the electors, and to observe the course that the affair might take this time; intending, at all events, if any opposing gale should arise, and threaten to run aground the wavering boat of his hopes and wishes, at once to seize on the helm and steer directly against it.

This time, however, there was no danger. The solemn electoral senate had during the night so thoroughly ruminated on, and digested Wladomir’s parable, that it was actually infused into their very heart and mind. A brisk knight, who perceived these favourable crises, and who in affairs of the heart sympathised with the tender Wladomir, endeavoured either to deprive the latter of the honour of placing the lady on the Bohemian throne, or at any rate to share it with him. He stepped forward, drew his sword, proclaimed with a loud voice, Libussa, Duchess of Bohemia, and desired every one who had the same opinion to draw the sword like him and defend his choice. At once several hundred swords glittered on the place of election, a loud cry of joy announced the new sovereign, and on all sides resounded the shout of the people: “Let Libussa be our duchess!” A deputation was appointed, with Prince Wladomir and the sword-drawer at the head of it, to announce to the lady her elevation to the ducal rank. With the modest blush which gives to female charms the highest expression of grace, she accepted the sovereignty over the people, and every heart was subjugated by the magic of her pleasing aspect. The people paid her homage with the greatest delight, and although the two sisters envied her, and employed their secret arts to avenge themselves both on her and their country, for the slight that had been offered them, endeavouring by the leaven of calumny and malicious interpretation of all their sister’s deeds and actions, to bring about in the nation a shameful ferment, and to undermine the peace and happiness of her mild virgin dominion; yet Libussa knew how to meet these unsisterly attempts with prudence, and to annihilate all the hostile plans and spells of the unnatural pair, till at last they were tired of exercising upon her their inefficient powers.

The sighing Wladomir waited in the meanwhile with the most ardent longing for the development of his fate. More than once he ventured to foresee the end in the lovely eyes of his sovereign, but Libussa had imposed a deep silence on the inclinations of her heart, and it is always a precarious proceeding to require from a mistress a verbal declaration without a previous intercourse with the eyes and their significant glances. The one favourable sign which still kept his hopes alive was the imperishable rose, which, though a year had elapsed, blossomed as freshly now as on the evening when he received it from the hand of the fair Libussa. A flower from a maiden’s hand, a nosegay, a ribbon, or a lock of hair, is certainly more valuable than a tooth dropped out, but nevertheless all these pretty things are but doubtful pledges of love, unless some more certain expressions gives them a determined signification. Wladomir, therefore quietly played the part of a sighing swain in the court of his idol, and waited to see what time and circumstances might produce in his favour. The boisterous knight Mizisla, on the other hand, carried on his plan with far more spirit, and did all he could to make himself conspicuous on every occasion. On the day of homage he was the first vassal who made the oath of allegiance to the new princess; he followed her as inseparably as the moon follows the earth, that by unasked-for services he might show his devotion to her person, and on solemn occasions and in processions he made his sword flash in her eyes, that she might not forget what good service it had done her.

Nevertheless, following the way of the world, Libussa seemed very near to have forgotten the furtherers of her good fortune; since, when an obelisk once stands upright, we think no more of the levers and instruments that raised it—at least so did the candidates for her heart interpret the lady’s coldness. Both, however, were wrong; the noble sovereign was neither insensible nor ungrateful; but her heart was no more so completely in her power, that she could do with it whatever she pleased. Love had already decided in favour of the slim hunter. The first impression which the sight of him had made on her heart was still so strong, that no second one could efface it. Three years had passed, and the colours of imagination with which the graceful youth had been sketched, were neither rubbed out, nor had they become faint, and thus her love was proved to be perfect. For the love of the fair sex is of such a nature and quality, that if it will stand the test of three moons, it will generally last three times three, and longer, according to the evidence and example of our own times. When the heroic sons of Germany swam over distant seas, to fight out the domestic squabble of the wilful daughter of Britannia with her mother country, they tore themselves from the arms of their fair ones, with mutual protestations of truth and fidelity; but before they had passed the last buoy of the Weser, the greater part of them were forgotten by their Chloes. The fickle damsels, tired of having their hearts unoccupied, filled up the gap with new intrigues; but the faithful ones, who had had constancy enough to endure the Weser ordeal, and who, when the owners of their hearts were on the other side of the black buoy, had been guilty of no infidelity—these, they say, have kept their vow inviolate, until the return of their heroes into their German father-land, and now merit from the hands of love the reward of their constancy.

It was therefore less remarkable, that, under the circumstances, the Lady Libussa could refuse the hand of the blooming knights who solicited her heart, than that the fair Queen of Ithaca let a whole host of suitors sigh after her in vain, while her heart had only the grey-bearded Ulysses in reserve. Nevertheless, rank and high birth so very much overbalanced the attachment the lady felt for the beloved of her heart, that any thing more than a Platonic passion—that empty shade, which neither warms nor nourishes—was not to be hoped. Although, in those remote times, people cared as little about writing out genealogies, according to parchment and pedigree, as they did about arranging classes of beetles according to their wings and feelers, or flowers according to their stamens, pistils, calyx, and nectary, they knew, nevertheless, that the delicious grape alone associates with the stately elm, and not the weed that creeps along the hedge. A mésalliance caused by a difference of rank an inch wide, did not then, certainly, excite so much pedantic noise as in our classic days; but, however, a difference a yard wide, especially if rivals stood in the interval, and perceived the distance of the two ends, was observable enough. All this, and more than this, the lady maturely weighed in her prudent mind, and therefore she did not give a hearing to the deceitful prattler, passion, loud as it might speak to the advantage of the youth, who was favoured by love. As a chaste vestal, she made an irrevocable vow that she would keep her heart locked up in virgin secresy for the period of her life, and that she would not answer any address of her suitors, either with her eyes or with her gestures; with the reserve, however, that she might platonise as much as she pleased, by way of compensation. This monastic system pleased the two aspirants so little, that they did not know what to make of the killing coldness of their sovereign; jealousy, the companion of love, whispered into their ear; one thought the other was his rival, and their spirit of observation was unwearying, in trying to make discoveries, which both of them dreaded. But the Lady Libussa, with prudence and acuteness, weighed out her scanty favours to the two honourable knights with such an equal balance, that neither scale kicked the beam.

Tired of waiting in vain, both the knights left their princess’s court, and with secret discontent retired to the estates, which Duke Crocus had granted them for military service. Both took home such a stock of ill-humour, that Prince Wladomir was a perfect pest to all his vassals and neighbours, while Prince Mizisla turned sportsman, chasing deer and foxes over the fields and enclosures of his subjects, and often treading three quarters of corn, when with his train he was following a hare. This occasioned many complaints in the country; but, however, there was no judge to remedy the evil, for no one likes to contend with the stronger, and hence this way the oppression of the people never reached the throne of the duchess. Nevertheless, through her supernatural power, no act of injustice, within the wide boundaries of her realm, remained hidden; and because her disposition corresponded to the tender character of her lovely form, she was afflicted at the wickedness of her vassals, and the wrongs committed by the strongest. She consulted with herself as to how the evil could be remedied, and prudence suggested that she should follow the example of the wise gods, who, in administering justice, never punish the offender directly the offence is committed; although slowly stepping vengeance is sure, sooner or later, to strike at last. The young princess summoned all the knighthood and states to a general diet, and caused it to be publicly proclaimed, that whoever had a complaint to make, or a wrong to denounce, might come forward freely and without fear, and should have a safe conduct. Then the oppressed and harassed came from all parts of the country; litigious folks came besides; in fact, all who had some law affair in hand. Libussa sat on the throne, like the goddess Themis, with sword and scales, and uttered justice with unfailing judgment, and without respect of persons, for she was not led astray, and the labyrinthian courses of chicane did not mislead her, as they do the thick heads of stupid magistrates, while every body was surprised at the wisdom with which she unravelled the tangled skein of law-suits in affairs of meum and teum, and at the unwearied patience with which she found out, and wound off, the hidden thread of justice, without pulling a wrong end.

When the throng of parties who had assembled at the bar of the tribunal had gradually diminished, and the sittings were about to terminate—on the very last court-day, a settler on the borders of the wealthy Wladomir’s estate, and a deputation from the subjects of the sporting Mizisla, desired a hearing, that they might bring in their complaint. They were admitted, and the settler spoke first. “An industrious planter,” said he, “enclosed a little piece of ground on the bank of a broad river, the silver stream of which flowed, gently murmuring, into the pleasant valley below; for he thought that the fair stream would protect him on one side from the voracious animals that might devour his crops, and also water the roots of his fruit-trees, that they might soon ripen and grow up, and bear fruit plentifully. However, just as his fruit began to get ripe, the deceitful river became troubled, its quiet waters began to swell and roar, overwhelmed the bank, tore away one piece of the fruitful field after another, and made for themselves a bed in the middle of the cultured soil, to the great sorrow of the poor planter, who was forced to give up his property, as a sport for the malice of his powerful neighbour, whose raging flood he himself escaped with difficulty. Mighty daughter of the wise Crocus, the poor planter entreats thee to give orders to the haughty stream, that it may cease to roll its proud waves over the field of the industrious husbandman, that it may no more thus absorb the sweat of his brow, and his hopes of a prosperous harvest, but quietly flow within the limits of its own proper bed.”

During this discourse, a cloud gathered on the serene brow of the fair Libussa, a manly earnestness shone from her eyes, and those around became all ear, that they might hear her decision, which was as follows: “Thy cause is plain and right; no violence shall pervert its justice. A firm dam shall set a proper limit and measure to the wild stream, that it may not flow beyond; and I, with its fishes, will make thee a seven-fold compensation for the depredation of its waters.” She then made a sign for the eldest of the deputation to speak; and, turning his head to the court, he said thus: “Wise daughter of the renowned Crocus, tell us to whom belongs the seed of the field—to the sower, who has buried it in the earth, that it may spring up and multiply, or to the hurricane who hurls it down, and scatters it?”—“To the sower,” she replied. “Then,” said the speaker, “give orders to the hurricane, that it may not select our fields as the spot for its wantonness, trample down our grain, and shake our fruit-trees.”—

“So be it,” said the duchess; “I will tame the hurricane, and banish it from your fields. It shall fight with the clouds, and scatter them, when they rise from the earth, threatening the land with hail and heavy storms.”

Prince Wladomir and the knight Mizisla were both present at the general court. When they heard the complaint that had been made, and heard the solemn sentence of the princess, they grew pale, and smothering their wrath fixed their eyes upon the ground, not daring to own to themselves how much they were galled at being condemned by the sentence from the mouth of a woman. For although to shield their honour, the complainants had modestly hung an allegoric veil over their accusation, and even the just decision of the sovereign judge had shown a prudent respect for this covering, the web was, notwithstanding, so fine and transparent, that whoever had eyes could see what stood behind it. As they did not venture to appeal from the throne of the princess to the people, the judgment just given against them having caused general exultation, they could only submit with it, although most unwillingly. Wladomir made seven-fold reparation to his neighbour the settler, for the injury that had been done, and Nimrod Mizisla was obliged to pledge his knightly word that he would not select his subject’s corn fields as a place for hare-hunting. At the same time Libussa gave them a glorious employment, that they might exercise their activity, and restore the tone of knightly virtue to their name, which now sounded discordantly like a cracked vessel. She placed both at the head of her army, which she sent out against Zornebock, prince of the Salians, a giant, and moreover a powerful sorcerer, who was then about making war against Bohemia, and imposed upon them as a penance, the condition that they should not return to their court, until one brought the plume and the other the golden spurs of the monster as a trophy of victory.

The unfading rose still preserved its magic power during this expedition, rendering Prince Wladomir as invulnerable to mortal weapons, as Achilles the hero, and as nimble and active as Achilles the swift-footed. The armies met on the northern border of the territory, and the signal to fight was given. The Bohemian heroes flew through the opposing forces like storm and whirlwind, and mowed down the thick crop of lances, as the reaper’s sickle mows down a field of wheat. Zornebock fell a victim to their mighty sword-cuts; they returned back to Vizegrad in triumph with the booty they had acquired, and the spots and soils which had before tainted their knightly virtue, they had washed out in the blood of the enemy. The Duchess Libussa rewarded them with all the distinctions of princely favour, dismissed them, when the army was disbanded to their own residence, and as a new mark of her esteem gave them a ruddy apple from her own garden for a keepsake, with the instructions that they were to share it peaceably without cutting it. They went their way, placed the apple on a shield, and had it carried before them, while they consulted together how they should set about making division with proper discretion, so that they might not be mistaken in their gentle sovereign’s meaning.

Before they reached the crossway that was to separate them, so that each might follow the road that led to his own residence, they adhered to the treaty of partition amicably enough, but now the point was who should keep the apple, to which they both had equal right. Only one, it was evident, could retain it, and both promised themselves such wonders that each longed to possess it. Upon this they quarrelled, and the sword nearly had to decide to whom the fortune of arms had assigned the indivisible apple. A shepherd, however, happened to be driving his flock along the same road, so they chose him for their umpire, and laid their case before him, probably because the three celebrated goddesses had applied to a shepherd to settle their affair about an apple. The man reflected a little, and said,

“In this present of an apple lies a deeply hidden signification; yet who can probe it but the wise maiden who has there concealed it? I suspect that the apple is a deceitful fruit, which grew upon the tree of discord, and the red skin of which signifies bloody contentions among you, knights,—that one shall irritate the other, and that neither shall reap any joy from the gift. For tell me how is it possible to share an apple without dividing it?” The two knights took to heart the shepherd’s advice, which they thought contained great wisdom. “Thou art right,” said they, “has not the base apple already kindled anger and quarrel between us? Were we not on the point of fighting for the deceptive gift of the proud maiden who hates us both? Did she not place us at the head of her army, because she thought we should be killed? And because that method did not succeed, she now arms us with the knife of discord against each other. We declare ourselves free from the deceitful gift; neither of us shall bear the apple, but it shall be the reward of thy honest decision. The fruit of the law-suit belongs to the judge, and the parings to the contending parties.”

The knights then went their way, while the shepherd devoured the subject of the suit with that ease, which is peculiar to judges. The duchess’s equivocal gift annoyed them greatly, and when on returning home, they found that they could not lord it over their vassals and subjects so arbitrarily as before, but were forced to obey the laws, their indignation increased still more. They entered into an alliance offensive and defensive, made for themselves a faction in the country, and the numerous rebels who joined them they despatched to all the districts around, that they might cry down female government. “Oh, shame!” cried they, “that we are subject to a woman who gathers our laurels that she may twine them round her distaff. A man ought to be master of the house, not a woman,—that is man’s peculiar right,—that is the custom among all people. What is an army without a duke to march in front of his warriors, but a helpless trunk without a head? Let us appoint a prince who may rule over us, and whom we may obey.”

Discourses of this kind did not remain concealed from the vigilant princess. She knew, besides, whence the wind came, and what the sound of it signified; and, therefore, she called a select assembly of the deputies, stepped into the midst of them with the dignity and splendour of an earthly goddess, while her speech flowed like honey from her virgin lips. “There is a rumour in the country,” said she to the assembly, “that you desire a duke, who will lead you to battle, and that you consider it inglorious to show further obedience to me. Nevertheless, from your own free and unconfined desire, you chose from the midst of you, not a man, but one of the daughters of the people, and clothed her with the purple that she might rule over you according to the usage and custom of the country. Now, whoever can convict me of a fault in my government, let him come forward freely and openly and bear witness against me. If, however, I have administered justice after the manner of my father Crocus; if I have made the hills straight, the crooked places even, the abysses passable; if I have secured your harvests, rescued your herds from the wolf, and guarded your fruit-trees; if I have bowed the stiff-neck of the violent, aided the oppressed, and given a staff to support the weak, then, I say, it becomes you to adhere to your promise, and, according to your oath of fealty, to be faithful and true to me, and to do me good service. If you think it inglorious to serve a woman, you should have considered that before you appointed me to be your princess. If there was any thing wrong in that choice, it reverts to yourselves. However, this proceeding on your part shows that you do not understand your own interest. The female hand is soft and gentle, accustomed to raise only gentle breezes with the fan; but man’s arm is sinewy and rough, heavy and oppressive, when he holds the weight of authority. Besides, do you know, that when a woman rules, the sovereignty is still in the hand of man? For she gives hearing to wise councillors; but when the distaff excludes from the throne, there is female government; for the girls, who please the king’s eyes, have possession of his heart. Reflect well, then, on what you do, that you may not repent too late of your fickleness.”

The speaker from the throne was silent, a deep reverential silence prevailed in the hall of assembly, and no one ventured to utter a word against her. Nevertheless Prince Wladomir and his party did not abandon their project, but whispered among themselves: “The cunning chamois is striving not to leave the rich pasture; but the hunter’s horn shall sound still louder, and scare it away.” The next day they stirred up the body of knights, loudly to request the queen to choose a husband within three days, and by the choice of her heart to give the people a prince, who should share the government with her. At this sudden demand, which seemed to be the voice of the people, a virgin blush tinged the cheeks of the charming Libussa, and her bright eye saw all the rocks beneath the water, that threatened her on this occasion. Even if, according to the custom of the great world, she attempted to bring her inclinations under the sway of policy, she could, at any rate, only give her hand to one suitor, and then she saw that all the rest would regard their rejection as an insult and meditate revenge. Besides the secret vow of her heart was to her sacred and inviolable, and therefore she prudently endeavoured to avoid the pressing request of the deputies, and to make one attempt more to dissuade them altogether from having a duke. “After the death of the eagle,” she said, “the feathered tribe chose the wood-pigeon for their queen, and all the birds were obedient to her soft cooing voice. Yet, being light and airy, as is the nature of birds, they soon altered this resolution, and began to repent. The haughty peacock thought that he was more qualified to rule; the greedy hawk accustomed to chase the small birds considered it disgraceful to be subject to a dove. They therefore made for themselves a faction, and appointed the purblind owl as their spokesman to propose a new election for a king. The dull bustard, the unwieldy mountain-cock, the lazy stork, the lack-brain heron, and all the larger birds chattered and cackled loud applause, and the host of little birds from foolishness twittered, in the same manner, from hedge and bush. Then the warlike kite rose boldly into the air, and all the birds cried out, ‘What a majestic flight! What a lightning glance in those rolling eyes of fire, what an expression of superiority in the hooked beak, and the widely-grasping claws! The bold, hardy kite shall be our ruler.’ Scarcely had the bird of prey ascended the throne, than he displayed his activity and strength to his fellow-subjects with great tyranny and arrogance. From the larger birds he plucked their feathers, and the little singing birds he tore to pieces.”

Plain as the meaning of this discourse was, it made but little impression on the minds of those who were anxious for a change of government, and the popular decision that the Lady Libussa should choose a husband within three days, remained valid. At this Prince Wladomir much rejoiced in his heart, for he now thought he should gain the lovely prize for which he had so long striven in vain. Love and ambition fired his wishes, and made eloquent his mouth, which had hitherto only allowed itself secret sighs. He went to the court and solicited a hearing of the duchess. “Gracious sovereign of thy people and of my heart,” he said, “from thee no secret is concealed, thou knowest the flames that glow in this bosom, as purely and holily as those upon the altar of the gods, and thou knowest the celestial fire that has kindled them. The time is at hand when thou must give a prince to the land, at the bidding of thy people. Can’st thou slight a heart which only lives and beats for thee? To be worthy of thee I have ventured my life and blood in raising thee to the throne of thy father. Let me have the merit of maintaining thee there by the tie of tender love; let us share the possession of the throne and of thy heart. The former shall be thine, the latter mine, and then will my happiness be exalted above the lot of mortals.” The Lady Libussa deported herself in a very maiden-like manner on hearing this address, and covered her face with a veil that she might conceal the gentle blush that gave a deeper colour to her cheek. With her hand she made a sign for Prince Wladomir to withdraw, without opening her mouth, as if to consider how she should answer him with respect to his suit.

The bold knight Mizisla then announced himself and desired to be admitted. “Loveliest of the daughters of princes,” he said, as he entered the audience-chamber, “the beautiful dove, the queen of the realms of air shall, as thou knowest, no more coo alone, but seek for herself a mate. The proud peacock, as the story goes, makes his varied feathers glitter in her eyes, and imagines that he will dazzle her with their brilliancy, but she is modest and wise, and will not unite herself to the haughty peacock. The greedy hawk, once a bird of prey, has quite cast off his nature; he is good and gentle, nay without guile, for he loves the fair dove, and hopes that she will espouse him. His crooked beak and sharp claws should not mislead thee. These he needs to protect his beloved dove, that no other bird may injure her or endeavour to overthrow the seat of her dominion, for he is faithful and true, and first vowed fealty to her on the day of her elevation. Tell me then, wise princess, if the gentle dove will deign to bestow on her faithful hawk the love to which he aspires?”

The Lady Libussa did as before, made a sign for the knight also to retire, and after she had let him wait awhile called in the two suitors and said, “I owe you a debt of gratitude, noble knights, inasmuch as you both assisted me in succeeding to the Bohemian crown, which my father Crocus wore with glory. And I have not forgotten that zeal in my cause, of which you remind me. Moreover, it is not hidden from me that you virtuously love me, for your looks and actions have long expressed the feelings of your hearts. That my heart has remained closed to you, and has not given love for love, do not ascribe that to mere coyness; I did not mean to insult you, but merely to come to a right decision of a dubious matter. I weighed your merits, and the index of the balance stood still. Therefore I resolved to leave the decision of your fate to yourselves, and offered you the possession of my heart by the enigmatical apple, that I might see who had the greatest share of wisdom and intelligence, so as to appropriate to himself the indivisible gift. Now tell me, without delay, in whose hand is the apple. Whoever has gained it from the other, let him from this hour take my throne and my heart for his prize.” The two suitors looked upon each other with wonder, grew pale and were dumb. At last Prince Wladomir after a long pause broke silence and said, “The enigmas of the wise are to the foolish, a nut in a toothless mouth; a pearl which the fowl rakes out of the sand, a light in the hand of the blind. Therefore, oh, princess! be not angry that we knew neither how to use nor how to prize thy gift. Thy design, which we did not know we misinterpreted, and we thought thou hadst cast between us an apple of discord, which should incite us to feuds and combat, and therefore each of us abandoned participation in thy gift, and got rid of the fruit of contention, a sole possession of which neither of us would have left to the other.”

“You have yourself uttered the judgment,” said the lady; “if an apple was enough to arouse your jealousy, what battle would you have waged for a myrtle wreath that encircles a crown.” With this decision she dismissed the knights, who were greatly annoyed that they had listened to the senseless arbitrator, and had thoughtlessly flung away the pledge of love, that was to have gained them the bride. They now considered, each one by himself, how they might yet carry out their plans, and by force or cunning obtain the Bohemian throne with its charming possessor.

The Lady Libussa was not inactive during the three days that were left her for deliberation, but was constantly considering how she might meet the pressing wishes of her people, give the nation a duke, and herself a husband, according to the choice of her heart. She feared that Prince Wladomir would urge his pretensions with force, or at any rate deprive her of the throne. Necessity assisted love, and inspired her with the resolution of carrying out the plan, with which, as with a pleasant dream, she had often amused herself; for, indeed, what mortal is there, whose head is not haunted by some phantom or other, at which he grasps in a vacant hour, that he may play with it as with a doll? The gift of prophecy has always been associated with a glowing fancy; consequently the fair Libussa readily listened at times to this pleasant playmate, and the agreeable confidant always entertained her with the image of the young hunter, who had made so permanent an impression on her heart. A thousand projects came into her head, which her imagination flattered her were easy and practicable. Now she had a plan of rescuing the dear youth from obscurity, placing him in the army, and advancing him from one post of honour to another; fancy would then at once fling a wreath of laurel on his brow, and lead him crowned with victory and glory to the throne, which she shared with him, delighted. Now she gave the romance another turn; she armed her favourite as a knight-errant out upon adventures, conducted him to her court, turned him into a Huon of Bordeaux, and was in no want of wonderful apparatus to endow him as friend Oberon did his protégé. But when cool reflection again took possession of her maiden mind, and the variegated figures of the magic lantern grew pale at the bright ray of prudence, the lovely dream had vanished. She thought how great would be the risk of such a proceeding, and what mischief might befal her land and people, if jealousy and envy incited against her the hearts of the Magnates, and the alarm of discord give the signal for rebellion. She therefore carefully concealed the inclinations and wishes of her heart from the keen eye of the observer, and allowed nothing to be perceived.

However, now the people were desirous for a prince, the affair had taken another turn, and she had only to make her own wishes accord with those of the nation. She fortified her courage with manly resolution, and when the third day dawned she put on all her jewels, placing on her head the chaste crown of myrtle. Attended by her maidens, who were all adorned with wreaths of flowers, she ascended the throne full of high courage and gentle dignity. The assembly of knights and vassals around her was all ear, that it might catch from her lovely mouth the name of the fortunate prince with whom she had resolved to share her heart and throne. “Nobles of my people,” said she to the assembly, “the lot of your destiny still lies untouched in the urn of concealment, and you are still as free as my horses that feed in the meadow, before bridle and bit have curbed them, and the weight of the rider and the burden of the saddle have pressed their slender back. It now behoves you to tell me, whether the time which you have granted me for the choice of a husband has cooled the warm desire of seeing a prince ruling over you, and prompted you quietly to examine your project, or whether you still adhere unchangeably to your intention.” For a moment she was silent, but the tumult among the people, the noise and whispering together with the gestures of the assembled senators, did not leave her long in uncertainty, and the speaker confirmed the ultimatum, that the decision was left to the choice of her heart. “Well!” she said, “the lot is cast; I answer for nothing. The gods have selected for the kingdom of Bohemia a prince who will wield his sceptre with wisdom and justice. The young cedar tree does not raise its head above the strong oaks; concealed among the trees of the forest it grows, surrounded by ignoble brushwood, but soon it will extend its branches so as to shade the root, and its crown will touch the clouds. Nobles of the people, select from among you a deputation of twelve honest men, to seek the prince and accompany him to the throne. My horse shall show them the path, trotting before you free and unburdened; and as a sign that you have found that which you are sent out to seek, observe that the man whom the gods have selected for your prince, will at the time when you approach him, be taking his meal at an iron table, beneath the open sky, and in the shadow of a lonely tree. To him must you pay homage, and adorn him with the signs of princely dignity. The white horse will allow him to mount his back, and bring him here to court that he may be my husband and your sovereign.”

She then dismissed the assembly with the cheerful, but bashful mien, which is customary with brides when they expect the arrival of the bridegroom. All were astonished at her speech, and the prophetic spirit which peered from it rushed upon their minds like an utterance of the gods, to which the mob blindly attaches belief, and about which none but thinkers indulge in sapient opinions. The deputation was appointed, and the white horse stood in readiness, bridled and adorned with Asiatic magnificence, as if it was to bear the Grand Seignior to the mosque. The cavalcade was soon in motion, amid the concourse of curious people, who were shouting with joy, and the white horse proudly led the way. Soon, however, the train disappeared from the eyes of the spectators, and nothing was to be seen but a cloud of dust rising in the distance, for the spirited horse as soon as he came into the open country began to run as swiftly as a British racer, indeed so swiftly, that the deputation had a difficulty in following him. Although the rapid courser seemed left entirely to himself, an invisible power directed his course, guided his bridle, and spurred his sides. The Lady Libussa by the magic she had inherited from her mother, had been able so to train the horse that he neither deviated to the right or the left of his path, but with great speed hurried at once to his destination, and now when all seemed arranged so as to fulfil her wishes, she awaited with tender longing the arrival of the comer.

The deputies in the meanwhile had had a fine chase; they had already performed a journey of several miles, uphill and downhill, they had swam through the Moldau and the Elbe, and because their stomachs reminded them of meal-time, they thought again of the wondrous table, at which their new prince, according to the words of the lady, was to be seated. On this subject they made all sorts of remarks and comments. One inconsiderate knight said to his fellows: “Methinks our lady duchess has sent us to make April fools of us, for who ever heard of a man in Bohemia that dined at an iron table. What do you lay that our rash undertaking will bring us any thing besides jeering and mockery?” But another, who was more intelligent, thought that the iron table might have a symbolical meaning, and that they would perhaps meet with some knight-errant reposing under a tree, after the fashion of the wandering brotherhood, and serving up his frugal meal on his brazen shield. A third said jestingly:

“I fear that our way will take us straight down to the workshop of the Cyclops, and that we shall have to take back to our Venus the lame Vulcan or one of his mates, who makes a table of his anvil.”

Discussing in this fashion they saw their leader, the white horse, which had considerably the start of them, trot across a newly ploughed field, and, to their surprise, stop by a ploughman. They flew at once to the spot, and found a peasant sitting on a plough, which had been turned upside down, beneath the shade of a wild pear tree, and eating his black bread from an iron ploughshare, which he used as a table. He seemed pleased with the beautiful horse, treated him kindly, and offered him a bit of his meal, and which he eat out of his hand. The ambassadors were very much astonished at this sight, but nevertheless none of them doubted that they had found their man. They approached him with reverence, and the eldest taking up the discourse said:

“The Duchess of Bohemia has sent us to thee, and bids us announce to thee that it is the will and decree of the gods that thou shalt exchange that plough for the throne of this territory, and that goad for the sceptre. She chooses thee for her husband, that with her thou mayst rule over Bohemia.”

The young peasant thought they were making game of him, which seemed to him very mal-à-propos, especially as he thought they had fathomed the secret of his heart, and were come to scoff at his weakness. He, therefore, answered somewhat haughtily, in order to return scorn for scorn:

“Let us see whether your duchy is worthy of this plough? If the prince cannot satisfy his hunger, drink more merrily, nor sleep more soundly than the peasant, it is certainly not worth the trouble to change this fruitful field for the land of Bohemia, or this smooth ox-goad for a sceptre;—for tell me, will not a salt-cellar as well season my morsel as a bushel?”

Upon this one of the twelve remarked: “The mole shunning the light, grovels for the worms under ground, that he may support himself, for he has not eyes that can endure the beam of day, nor feet that are made to run like those of the swift roe; the scaly crab crawls in the mud of the lakes and marshes, loves best to dwell among the roots of the trees and brushwood on the river side, for he lacks fins to swim; and the domestic cock, kept in the poultry-yard, does not venture to fly over the low wall, for he is too timid to trust himself to his wings, like the up-soaring kite. Now if eyes are given for seeing, feet for walking, fins for swimming, and wings for flying, thou wilt not grovel in the earth like a mole, hide in the marsh like an unwieldy crab, or, like the lord of poultry, be content to crow on a dunghill, but thou wilt come forward into the light of day, run, swim, or fly to the clouds, accordingly as nature has endowed thee with her gifts. For an active man is not content with being what he is, but strives to become what he can be. Therefore try to be that which the gods have appointed thee, and then thou wilt be able to judge whether or not the land of Bohemia is worth a field in exchange.”

This serious discourse of the delegate, in which nothing of a jesting nature was to be perceived, and still more the insignia of princely dignity—the purple raiment, the staff of government, and the golden sword, which the ambassadors produced as vouchers and testimonials of their true mission—at last overcame the mistrust of the doubting ploughman. At once his soul became enlightened; and the transporting thought was awakened in him, that the Lady Libussa had divined the feelings of his heart, had perceived his constancy and fidelity, by the aid of her faculty to discover what was hidden, and had determined to reward them in a manner which he would never have hoped for even in a dream. The gift of prophecy promised to him by his oracle came again into his mind, and he reflected that this promise must be accomplished now or never. He quickly seized his hazel staff, set it deep in the field, heaped loose earth about it, as one does when one plants trees, and behold, the staff was immediately decked with buds, and shot forth sprouts and branches covered with leaves and flowers. Two of the verdant boughs faded, and their dry foliage became a sport for the winds, but the third grew with so much the greater strength, and its fruits ripened. The spirit of prophecy then descended on the rapt ploughman, and, opening his lips, he spoke thus:

“Messengers of the Princess Libussa and of the Bohemian people, hear the words of Premislas, the son of Mnatha, the honourable knight, to whom, touched by the spirit of prophecy, the clouds of the future are opened. You call upon the man who was guiding his plough to take the management of your principality before his daily work is finished. Ah, would that the plough had surrounded the field with its furrows as far as the boundary stone, for then Bohemia would have been an independent land for ever! Now that you have too soon disturbed the work of the ploughman, the boundaries of your land will be the portion and inheritance of a neighbour, and your remote posterity will cleave to him in indissoluble union. The three branches of the verdant staff promise your princess three sons. Two of them will fade away as immature shoots, but the third will inherit the throne, and through him will the fruit of later descendants be ripened, until the eagle shall fly over the mountains and nestle in the land, and then fly away to return as unto his own possession. If then the son of the gods[2] shall come forth, who is a friend to the ploughman, and frees him from his slavish chains—then mark him, posterity, for thou wilt have cause to bless thy fate. He, when he has trodden under foot the serpent of superstition, will stretch out his hand towards the increasing moon to pluck it from the heavens, that he himself may illumine the world as a beneficent star.”

The venerable deputation stood in silent reverence, staring at the prophet like so many dunces; it seemed as though a god was speaking in him. But he turned away from the deputies to the companions of his wearisome toil—the two white oxen, loosened them from the yoke, and set them at liberty, upon which they bounded merrily about the grassy field, then visibly faded away, as light clouds melt into air, and finally vanished completely. Premislas now took off his rustic wooden shoes, and went to wash himself in the neighbouring brook. Costly garments were put on him, he girded himself with the sword in knightly fashion, and had the golden spurs fastened. He then sprang upon the white horse which allowed him to mount with docility. As he was just on the point of quitting the estate he had hitherto possessed, he told the deputies to carry after him the wooden shoes, which he had now put off, and preserve them as a testimony that the humblest of the people had once been raised to the highest rank in Bohemia, and as a memento that he and his posterity might not presume upon the rank he had acquired, but, mindful of their origin, might honour and protect the peasant class from which they had sprung. Hence arose the old custom of exhibiting to the kings of Bohemia a pair of shoes on the day of their coronation—a custom which was observed until the race of Premislas became extinct. The hazel itself, which had been planted, grew and bore fruit, spreading its roots widely around, and sending forth new shoots until at last the whole field was turned into a wood of hazel trees, which proved most advantageous to the neighbouring village in whose land this district was included. For, in commemoration of this wonderful planting, the kings of Bohemia granted a charter to this community, that they should never be obliged to contribute more in the way of taxes than one pint of hazel-nuts. This important privilege, according to report, their descendants enjoy to the present day.

Although the horse, which now bore the bridegroom to his fair owner, seemed to outstrip the winds, Premislas made him sometimes feel the golden spurs to accelerate him still more. The speed of the courser, swift as it was, did not appear to him more so than the pace of a tortoise, so anxious was he to look once more on the face of the fair Libussa, whose form, though seven years had elapsed, still floated before him fresh and charming. He now looked forward, not to gaze vainly upon her, as upon a rare anemone in the varied garden of a florist, but to a happy union of victorious love. He thought only of the myrtle crown, which, in the estimation of lovers, stands far above the crown of kings, and if he had weighed dignity and love one against the other, the land of Bohemia without the Lady Libussa would have kicked the beam like a clipped ducat in a money-changer’s balance.

The sun was just setting when the new prince was led in triumph into Vizegrad. The Lady Libussa was in her garden, where she had filled a little basket with ripe plums, when the arrival of her future husband was announced. She approached modestly with all the maidens of her court, received him as a bridegroom bestowed upon her by the gods, and concealed the choice of her heart by an apparent resignation to the will of the invisible powers. The eyes of all the court were directed with great curiosity towards the newcomer, but they saw nothing in him more than a handsome slender young man. As for his external appearance there were several courtiers who could vie with him in their thoughts, and who could not understand why the gods had despised the anti-chamber and had not rather selected from themselves a rosy-cheeked champion instead of the sun-burnt ploughman, as a husband and partner in dominion for the young princess. With Prince Wladomir and the knight Mizisla it was especially obvious that they gave up their claims unwillingly. Hence it was now the care of the princess to justify the work of the gods, and to declare that Squire Premislas made amends for his deficiency on the score of brilliant extraction by his intellect and acuteness. She had caused a noble meal to be prepared, not in the least inferior to that with which the hospitable Queen Dido formerly entertained the pious Eneas. After the cup of welcome had passed readily from mouth to mouth, the gifts of the joy-bestirring Bacchus had inspired cheerfulness and good humour, and part of the night had already past in jest and pastime, she suggested a game at riddles, and because the divination of things concealed was her peculiar forte, she resolved the riddles that were proposed to the satisfaction of all present.

When it was her turn to propose, she called Prince Wladomir, the Knight Mizisla, and Squire Premislas to her, and said: “Now, my friends, set about solving a riddle, which I will propose, that it may be apparent which is the wisest and cleverest among you. I have destined for each of you, out of this basket, a gift of the plums, which I have picked in my garden. One of you shall have half of them and one more, the second shall again have half and one more, and the third shall again have half and three more. Supposing now that the basket is thus emptied, tell me how many plums are in it now.”

The hasty knight, Mizisla, measured the fruit-basket with his eyes—not the sense of the problem with his understanding—and said: “That which can be solved by the sword I will solve readily, but thy riddles, gracious princess, are rather too subtle for me. Nevertheless, in accordance with thy wishes, I will make a venture at random. I guess that if the plums be well counted, they will be found to amount to three score.”

“Thou hast made a mistake, dear knight,” answered the Lady Libussa. “If there were as many more, half as many more, and a third as many more, as the basket contains now and five more added to that, the number would by so much exceed three score as it is now short of it.”

Prince Wladomir calculated slowly and laboriously, as if the post of general controller of the finances were the reward for solving the riddle, and at last gave out five-and-forty as the value of the renowned number. The lady then said:

“If there were a third as many more, half as many more, and a sixth as many more as there are now, there would then be in my basket as much more than forty-five as there now are under that number.”

Although the very commonest hand at figures, would have deciphered the problem without trouble; nevertheless, for a bad calculation the gift of divination is absolutely indispensable, if he would come off with honour, and not appear ridiculous. Now as this gift had been fortunately communicated to the wise Premislas, it cost him neither ingenuity nor exertion to discover the solution of the riddle.

“Intimate associate of the heavenly powers,” he said, “whoever undertakes to discover thy high-soaring and divine meaning, ventures to fly after the eagle, when he hides himself in the clouds. Nevertheless, I will follow thy secret flight as far as the eye, which is illumined by thee, can reach. I decide that the plums thou hast concealed in the basket are thirty in number,—neither more nor less.”

The lady looked at him kindly and said; “Thou hast traced the glimmering spark that lies deep in the ashes, and light gleams upon thee out of mist and darkness; thou hast guessed my riddle.”

She then opened the basket, counted out fifteen plums into Prince Wladomir’s hat with one more, and there remained fourteen. Of these she gave seven to the Knight Mizisla with one more, and six remained in the basket. The half of these she awarded to the wise Premislas, then gave him the three others, and the basket was empty. The whole court was amazed at the arithmetical wisdom of the fair Libussa, and the acuteness of her clever bridegroom. No one could comprehend how human intellect was able on the one hand to bind a common number so enigmatically in words, and on the other to pick out such an ingenious mystery with such perfect confidence. The lady awarded the empty basket to the two knights, who could not obtain her love, as a memorial of a terminated amour. Hence arises the custom, which exists to the present time, of saying that a rejected lover has received a basket from his mistress.[3]

When all was in readiness for the homage, and the nuptials, both these ceremonies were celebrated with great pomp. The Bohemian people had now a duke, and the fair Libussa a husband, both to their heart’s content, and what was most surprising this result was brought about by trickery, which does not generally bear the reputation of being the most skilful negotiator. If one of the two parties had been deceived, certainly it was not the sage Libussa, but the people, as indeed is frequently the case. The land of Bohemia had nominally a duke, but in point of fact the government remained in a female hand as before. Premislas was a perfect pattern of a docile obedient husband, who did not dispute the rule of his wife, either in the household or the state. His thoughts and wishes sympathised as perfectly with her own, as two similarly tuned strings, of which the untouched one spontaneously repeats the sound, which the louder one has uttered. Libussa had not, however, the proud, vain disposition of those ladies who wish to pass for great matches, and are always superciliously reminding the poor wight, whose fortune they think they have made, of his wooden shoes; but she imitated the celebrated Queen of Palmyra, and governed by the superiority of her talents, as Zenobia managed her good-natured Odenatus.

The happy pair lived in the enjoyment of unchanging love, according to the fashion of that time, when the instinct which unites hearts was as firm and durable as the cement and mortar which renders the walls of the old world so firm and indestructible. Duke Premislas now became one of the most doughty knights of his age, and the Bohemian court one of the most brilliant in Germany. A large number of knights and nobles, as well as a great concourse of common people gradually assembled from all parts of the territory. The consequence was, that the court-city became too narrow for the inhabitants, and therefore Libussa called her people in office to her, and ordered them to build a city on the spot where they should find a man who knew how to make the wisest use of teeth at noon. They went out and found at the appointed time a man who was busied in sawing a block asunder. They decided that this industrious person made an incomparably better use of the teeth of his saw at noon than the parasite made of the teeth in his jaws at the table of the great, and they did not doubt that they had found the place which the princess had appointed for the foundation of the new city. They therefore drew the ploughshare round the field to mark the compass of the city wall. On asking the working man what he intended to make out of the piece of wood he was cutting, he answered: “Prah,” which in the Bohemian tongue signifies the threshold of a door. Libussa therefore called the new city Praha, that is Prague, the well-known royal city on the Moldau in Bohemia. The prediction of Premislas concerning his posterity was punctually fulfilled. His wife became mother of three princes, two of whom died in their youth, while the third grew to man’s estate, and from him sprung a brilliant race of kings, who flourished on the Bohemian throne for ages.

[1] A proverbial expression in Germany for a scene of riot, on account of the disturbances that usually took place at Polish elections.

[2] An allusion to the Emperor Joseph II.

[3] The expression “Einen Korb bekommen,” to meet with a refusal, is familiar to every reader of German.



In the whole history of man there is no chapter more instructive for the heart and mind than the annals of his errors. On the occasion of every great crime a proportionally great force was in motion. If by the pale light of ordinary emotions the play of the desiring faculty is concealed, in the situation of strong passion it becomes the more striking, the more colossal, the more audible, and the acute investigator of humanity, who knows how much may be properly set down to the account of the mechanism of the ordinary freedom of the will, and how far it is allowable to reason by analogy, will be able from this source to gather much fresh experience for his psychology, and to render it applicable to moral life.

The human heart is something so uniform and at the same time so compound! One and the same faculty or desire may play in a thousand forms and directions, may produce a thousand contradictory phenomena, may appear differently mingled in a thousand characters, and a thousand dissimilar characters and actions might be spun out of one kind of inclination, though the particular man, about whom the question was raised, might have no suspicion of such affinity. If, as for the other kingdoms of nature, a Linnæus for the human race were to arise, who could classify according to inclinations and impulses, how great would be the empire, when many a person whose vices are now stifled in a narrow social sphere, and in the close confines of the law, was found in the same order with the monster Borgia.

Considered from this point of view, the usual mode of treating history is open to much objection, and herein, I think, lies the difficulty, owing to which the study of history has always been so unfruitful for civil life. Between the vehement emotions of the man in action, and the quiet mind of the reader, to whom the action is presented, there is such a repelling contrast, such a wide interval, that it is difficult, nay, impossible for the latter, even to suspect a connexion. A gap remains between the subject of the history and the reader which cuts off all possibility of comparison or application, and which, instead of awakening that wholesome alarm, that warns too secure health, merely calls forth the shake of the head denoting suspicion. We regard the unhappy person, who was still a man as much as ourselves, both when he committed the act and when he atoned for it, as a creature of another species, whose blood flows differently from our own, and whose will does not obey the same regulations as our own. His fate teaches us but little, as sympathy is only founded on an obscure consciousness of similar peril, and we are far removed even from the bare suspicion of such similarity. The relation being lost, instruction is lost with it, and history, instead of being a school of cultivation, must rest content with the humble merit of having satisfied our curiosity. If it is to become any thing more and attain its great purpose, it must choose one of these two plans: either the reader must become as warm as the hero, or the hero must become as cold as the reader.

I am aware that many of the best historians, both of ancient and modern times, have adhered to the first method, and have gained the heart of their reader, by a style which carries him along with the subject. But this is an usurpation on the part of the author, and an infringement on the republican freedom of the reading public, which is itself entitled to sit in judgment: it is at the same time a violation of the law of boundaries, since this method belongs exclusively and properly to the orator and the poet. The last method is alone open to the historian.

The hero then must be as cold as the reader or—what comes to the same thing—we must become acquainted with him before he begins to act; we must see him not only perform, but will his action. His thoughts concern us infinitely more than his deeds, and the sources of his thoughts still more than the consequences of his deeds. The soil of Vesuvius has been explored to discover the origin of its eruption; and why is less attention paid to a moral than to a physical phenomenon? Why do we not equally regard the nature and situation of the things which surround a certain man, until the tinder collected within him takes fire? The dreamer, who loves the wonderful is charmed by the singularity and wonder of such a phenomenon; but the friend of truth seeks a mother for these lost children. He seeks her in the unalterable structure of the human soul, and in the variable conditions by which it is influenced from without, and by searching both these he is sure to find her. He is now no more astonished to see the poisonous hemlock thriving in that bed, in every other part of which wholesome herbs are growing, to find wisdom and folly, virtue and vice, together in the same cradle.

Not to mention any of the advantages which psychology derives from such a method of treating history, this method has alone the preference, because it uproots the cruel scorn and proud security with which erect and untempted virtue commonly looks down upon the fallen, because it diffuses the mild spirit of toleration, without which no fugitive can return, no reconciliation between the law and its offender is possible, no infected member of society can escape utter mortification.

Had the criminal of whom I am now about to speak a right to appeal to that spirit of toleration? Was he really lost for the body of the state, without a possibility of redemption? I will not anticipate the reader’s verdict. Our leniency will no more avail him, since he perished by the hand of the executioner, but the dissection of his crime will perhaps instruct humanity, and possibly instruct justice also.

Christian Wolf was the son of an innkeeper in a provincial town (the name of which must be concealed for reasons which will be obvious in the sequel), and, his father being dead, he assisted his mother in the business till his twentieth year. The business was bad, and Wolf had many an idle hour. Even from his school days he was notorious as a loose kind of fellow. Grown up girls complained of his audacity, and the lads of the town reverenced his inventive powers. Nature had neglected his person. A little insignificant figure, curly hair of an unpleasant blackness, a flat nose, and a swollen upper lip, which had been moreover put out of its place by the kick of a horse, gave a repulsiveness to his appearance, which scared all the women away from him, and afforded abundant material for the wit of his comrades.

Obstinately did he endeavour to gain what had been denied him; because he was unpleasant he determined to please. He was sensual, and persuaded himself that he was in love. The girl whom he chose ill-treated him; he had reason to fear his rivals were more fortunate; nevertheless the girl was poor. A heart that was closed to his endearments might possibly open to his presents, but he himself was oppressed by want, and his vain endeavour to produce an effective exterior absorbed the small gains of his miserable business. Too indolent and too ignorant to restore his dilapidated affairs by speculation, too proud, and also too delicate to exchange the condition of master which he had hitherto held, for that of peasant, he saw but one path before him—a path which thousands before and after him have taken with better success—that of stealing honestly. His native town bordered on a wood, which belonged to the sovereign; he turned poacher, and the profits of his depredations were faithfully placed in the hands of his mistress.

Among the lovers of Johanna was Robert, a huntsman in the service of the forester. This man soon perceived the advantage which had been gained over him by the liberality of his rival, and filled with envy, he investigated the source of this change. He appeared more frequently at the Sun—this was the sign of the inn—and his watchful eye, sharpened by envy and jealousy, soon showed him whence the money had been procured. A short time before, a severe edict had been revived against poachers, condemning transgressors to the house of correction. Robert was unwearied in observing the secret paths of his rival, and finally succeeded in catching the unwary man in the very fact. Wolf was apprehended, and it was only by the sacrifice of all his property, that he was able—and then with difficulty—to escape the awarded punishment by a fine.

Robert triumphed. His rival was beaten out of the field, and Johanna’s favour was at an end, now he was a beggar. Wolf knew his enemy, and this enemy was the happy possessor of Johanna. An oppressive feeling of want was combined with offended pride, necessity and jealousy raged together against his sensitiveness, hunger drove him out upon the wide world, revenge and passion held him fast. For a second time he turned poacher, but Robert’s redoubled vigilance was again too much for him. Now he experienced all the severity of the law, for he had nothing more to give, and in a few weeks he was consigned to the house of correction attached to the capital.

This year of punishment had passed, absence had increased his passion, and his stubbornness had become greater under the weight of his misfortune. Scarcely had he regained his freedom than he hastened to the place of his birth to show himself to his Johanna. He appeared, and all shunned him. Pressing necessity at last subdued his pride, and overcame his sense of personal weakness,—he offered himself to the opulent of the place, as willing to serve for daily hire. The farmer shrugged his shoulders as he saw the weakly looking creature, and the stout bony frame of a rival applicant was decisive against him in the mind of the unfeeling patron. He made one effort more. One office was still left—the very last post of an honest name. He applied for the vacant place of herdsman of the town, but the peasant would not trust his pigs to a scape-grace. Frustrated in every effort, rejected at every place, he became a poacher for the third time, and for a third time had the misfortune of falling into the hands of his watchful enemy.

The double relapse had increased the magnitude of the offence. The judges looked into the book of laws, but not into the criminal’s state of mind. The decree against poachers required a solemn and exemplary satisfaction; and Wolf was condemned to work for three years in the fortification, with the mark of the gallows branded on his back.

This period also had elapsed, and he quitted the fortification, a very different man from the man he was when he entered it. Here began a new epoch in his life. Let us hear him speak himself, as he afterwards confessed to his spiritual adviser, and before the court. “I entered the fortification,” he said, “as an erring man, and I left it—a villain. I had still possessed something in the world which was dear to me, and my pride had bowed down under shame. When I was brought to the fortification, I was confined with three and twenty prisoners, two of whom were murderers, while all the rest were notorious thieves and vagabonds. They scoffed at me, when I spoke of God, and encouraged me to utter all sorts of blasphemies against the Redeemer. Obscene songs were sung in my presence, which, graceless fellow as I was, I could not hear without disgust and horror; and what I saw done, was still more revolting to my sense of decency. There was not a day in which some career of shame was not repeated, in which some evil project was not hatched. At first I shunned these people, and avoided their discourse as much as possible; but I wanted the sympathy of some fellow creature, and the barbarity of my keepers had even denied me my dog. The labour was hard and oppressive, my body weak; I wanted assistance, and, if I must speak out, I wanted compassion also, and this I was forced to purchase with the last remains of my conscience. Thus did I ultimately become inured to what was most detestable, and in the quarter of the year I had surpassed my instructors.

“I now thirsted after the day of liberty, as I thirsted after revenge. All men had offended me, for all were better and happier than me. I considered myself the martyr of natural rights, the victim of the law. Grinding my teeth, I rubbed my chains, when the sun rose behind the mountain on which the fortification stood;—a wide prospect is a two-fold hell for a prisoner. The free breeze that whistled through the loop-holes of my tower, the swallow that perched on the iron bar of my grating, seemed to insult me with their liberty, and made my confinement the more hideous. Then I swore a fierce, unconquerable hate against all that resembles man, and faithfully have I kept my oath.

“My first thought, as soon as I was free, was my native town. Little as I had to hope there for my future support, much was promised to my hunger for revenge. My heart beat more wildly as I saw the church-steeple rise in the distance from the wood. It was no more that heartfelt comfort, which I felt, when first I returned thither. The remembrance of all the afflictions, all the persecutions which I had suffered then roused me at once from a frightful torpor; every wound bled afresh, every scar was opened. I quickened my steps, for I walked in the thought of terrifying my enemy by my sudden appearance, and I now thirsted as much after new humiliation as I had before trembled at it.

“The bells were ringing for vespers, while I stood in the middle of the market. The congregation was thronging to church. I was now recognised, and every one who came near me shyly shrank back. I was always very fond of little children, and even now, by an involuntary impulse, I gave a groschen to a boy who was skipping by me. The boy stared at me for a moment, and then flung the groschen into my face. Had my blood been cooler I should have remembered that the beard, which I had brought with me from the fortification, disfigured my face in the most frightful manner, but my bad heart had infected my reason. Tears, such as I had never shed, ran down my cheeks.

“‘The boy does not know who I am, nor whence I come,’ I now said to myself, half aloud, ‘and yet he shuns me like some noxious beast. Have I any mark on my forehead, or have I ceased to look like a man because I can no longer love one?’ The contempt of this boy wounded me more bitterly than three years’ service in the galleys, for I had done him a kindness, and could not charge him with personal hatred.

“I sat down in a timber-yard opposite the church. What I actually desired I do not know, but this I know, that I rose with indignation; when, of all my acquaintance that passed, not one would give me a greeting. Deeply offended, I left the spot to seek a lodging, when just as I was turning the corner of a street I ran against my Johanna. ‘The host of the Sun!’ she cried aloud, and made a movement to embrace me. ‘Thou returned, dear host of the Sun—God be praised!’ Her attire bespoke misery and hunger, her aspect denoted the abandoned condition to which she had sunk. I quickly surmised what had happened; some of the prince’s dragoons who had met me, made me guess that there was a garrison in the town. ‘Soldier’s wench!’ cried I, and laughing, I turned my back upon her. I felt comforted that in the rank of living beings there was still one creature below me. I had never loved her.

“My mother was dead, my creditors had paid themselves with my small house. I had lost every body and every thing. All the world shunned me as though I were venomous, but I had at last forgotten shame. Before, I had retired from the sight of men because contempt was unendurable. Now I obtruded myself upon them, and felt delight in scaring them. I was easy because I had nothing more to lose, and nothing more to guard. I no more needed any good quality, because none believed I could have any.

“The whole world lay open before me, and in some strange province I might have passed for an honest man, but I had lost the spirit even to appear one. Despair and shame had at last forced this mood upon me. It was the last refuge that was left me, to learn to do without honour, because I had no longer a claim to it. Had my pride and vanity survived my degradation, I must have destroyed myself.

“What I had actually resolved upon was yet unknown even to myself. I had to be sure a dark remembrance that I wished to do something bad. I wished to merit my fate. The laws, I thought, were beneficial to the world, and therefore I embraced the determination of violating them. Formerly I had sinned from necessity and levity, now it was from free choice, and for my own pleasure.

“My first plan was to continue my poaching. Hunting altogether had gradually become a passion with me, and besides I was forced to live some way. But this was not all; I was tickled at the thought of scorning the princely edict, and of injuring my sovereign to the utmost of my power. I no more feared apprehension, for I had a bullet ready for my discoverer, and I knew that I should not miss my man. I killed all the game that came across me, a small quantity of which I sold on the border, but the greater part I left to rot. I lived miserably, that I might be able to afford powder and ball. My devastations in the great hunt were notorious, but suspicion no longer touched me. My aspect dissipated it: my name was forgotten.

“This kind of life lasted for several months. One morning I had, as usual rambled through the wood, to follow the track of a deer. I had wearied myself for two hours in vain, and was already beginning to give up my prey as lost, when I suddenly discovered it within gun-shot. I was about to take aim and fire, when I was suddenly startled by the appearance of a hat which lay on the ground a few paces before me. I looked closer, and discovered the huntsman Robert, who from behind the thick trunk of an oak tree was levelling his gun at the very animal which I had designed to shoot. At this sight a deadly coldness passed through my bones. Here was the man whom I detested more than any living thing, and this man within reach of my bullet. At the moment I felt as if the whole world depended on the firing of my gun, and the hatred of my whole life seemed concentrated in the tip of the finger that was to give the fatal pressure to the trigger. An invisible fatal hand was suspended over me, the index of my destiny pointed irrevocably to this black minute. My arm trembled, when I allowed my gun the fatal choice, my teeth chattered as in an ague fit, and my breath, with a suffocating sensation, was confined in my lungs. For the duration of one minute did the barrel of the gun waver uncertainly between the man and the deer, one minute—and one more—and yet one more. It was a doubtful and obstinate contest between revenge and conscience, but revenge gained the victory, and the huntsman lay dead on the ground.

“My gun fell as it had been fired. ‘Murderer,’ I stammered out slowly—the wood was as silent as a churchyard, and I could hear plainly that I said ‘murderer.’ When I drew nearer, the man had died. Long did I stand speechless before the corse, when a shrill burst of laughter came as a relief. ‘Will you keep counsel now, friend?’ said I, and boldly stepping up to the murdered man, I turned round his face towards myself. His eyes were wide open. I was serious, and again became suddenly still. An extraordinary feeling took possession of me.

“Hitherto I had sinned on account of my disgrace, but now something had happened for which I had not yet atoned. An hour before, I think, no man could have persuaded me that there was any thing under heaven worse than myself, whereas, now I began to suspect that my condition an hour before was, perhaps, an enviable one.

“God’s judgments did not occur to me,—but I had a dim recollection of sword and cord, and the execution of an infanticide which I saw while a school-boy. There was something peculiarly terrible to me in the thought that my life from this moment had become forfeit. More I do not recollect. My first wish was that Robert was still living. I endeavoured forcibly to recall to my mind all the wrong that the deceased had done me during his life,—but strange to say, my memory seemed to have perished. I could recall nothing of that, which a quarter of an hour before had impelled me to madness. I did not understand how I had been induced to commit this murder.

“I was yet standing by the corpse. The crack of some whips, and the noise of carts, which were passing through the wood, brought me to my senses. The deed had been committed scarcely a quarter of a mile from the high road, and I was forced to think of my own safety.

“Unintentionally I strayed deeper into the wood. On the way, it struck me that the deceased once possessed a watch. I needed money to reach the border—and yet I lacked courage to return to the spot, where the dead man lay. A thought of the devil and of an omnipotence of the deity began to terrify me. However, I summoned all my audacity, and resolved to set all hell at defiance. I returned to the place. I found what I had expected, and also money amounting to rather more than a dollar in a green purse. Just as I was about to put them both up, I suddenly stopped, and began to reflect. It was no fit of shame, nor was it the fear of increasing my crime by plunder. I believe it was out of a spirit of defiance that I flung away the watch, and only kept half the money. I wished to be taken for a personal enemy of the murdered man, but not for one who had robbed him.

“I now fled deeper into the wood, which I knew extended four German miles to the north, and there touched the border of the country. Till noon I ran breathless. The rapidity of my flight had dissipated the anguish of my conscience, but the return of that anguish was frightful, when my strength more and more declined. A thousand hideous forms passed before me, and struck into my heart, like sharp knives. Between a life filled with an increasing terror of death, and a violent end, the awful choice was now left me—and choose I must. I had not the heart to quit the world by self-destruction, and I was terrified at the prospect of remaining in it. Fixed as it were between the certain torments of life, and the uncertain terrors of eternity—unable to live or to die—I passed the sixth hour of my flight—an hour brimful of horrors, such as no living man could narrate.

“Slowly—absorbed in myself, and with my hat unconsciously slouched over my face, as if I wished to conceal myself from the eye of inanimate nature,—I had insensibly followed a narrow path, which led me through the deepest part of the thicket—when suddenly a rough imperious voice called to me, ‘stop.’ The voice was quite close; my abstraction and the slouched hat had prevented me from looking round. I raised my eyes and saw a wild man, armed with a great knotted club, approaching me. His figure was almost gigantic—at least my first surprise made me think so—and the colour of his skin was a yellow mulatto sort of black, with which the whiteness of a squinting eye stood in terrible contrast. Instead of a girdle he had a thick rope wound twice round a green woollen coat, in which were stuck a broad knife and a pistol. The cry was repeated, and a powerful arm held me fast. The sound of a man had frightened me, but the aspect of a villain gave me new heart. In my present situation, I had cause to tremble before every honest man, but none to tremble before a robber.

“‘Who is there?’ said the apparition.

“‘One like yourself,’ was my answer, ‘if you really correspond to your appearance.’

“‘That is not the way out? What are you looking for here?’

“‘What is that to you?’ retorted I, insolently.

“The man considered me twice from top to toe. It seemed as though he wished to compare my figure with his own, and my answer with my figure. ‘You speak as rudely as a beggar,’ he said at last.

“‘Perhaps so. I was a beggar yesterday.’

“The man laughed. ‘One could swear you did not want to pass for any thing better now.’

“‘For something worse then.’—I wished to proceed.

“‘Softly friend, why in such a hurry? What time have you to lose?’

“I reflected for a moment. How the words came to my tongue I do not know. ‘Life is short,’ said I, slowly, ‘and hell lasts for ever!’

“He stared at me. ‘May I be d—d,’ he said at last, ‘if thou hast not brushed close by a gallows.’

“‘Very possibly. So good bye for the present, comrade!’

“‘Topp, comrade!’ he cried, as he drew a tin flask out of his hunting-pouch, took a good draught from it, and handed it to me. Flight and anguish had exhausted my energies, and nothing had passed my lips the whole day. I had already feared that I should have sunk from exhaustion in this wood, where no refreshment was to be expected for three miles round. Judge how joyfully I responded to this health. With the animating draught new strength flowed into my bones, new courage into my heart, and I felt hope and the love of life. I began to think that perhaps I was not quite wretched; so much at least was the welcome beverage all to do. Yes, I must even confess that my situation approached that of happiness, for at last, after a thousand vain hopes, I had found a creature who seemed similar to myself. In the condition to which I had fallen I should have drank good fellowship with the spirit of evil himself for the sake of having a confidant.

“The man had stretched himself out on the grass. I did the same.

“‘Your liquor has done me good,’ said I. ‘We must become acquainted.’

“He struck fire to light his pipe.

“‘Have you carried on this business long?’

“He looked hard at me. ‘What do you mean by that?’

“‘Has this often been stained with blood?’ I drew the knife from his girdle.

“‘Who are you?’ said he, in a fearful tone, and he laid down his pipe.

“‘A murderer like you, but only a beginner.’

“The man stared at me, and took up his pipe again. ‘Do you reside here?’ he said at last.

“‘Three miles off. I am the host of the Sun at ——, of whom perhaps you have heard.’

“The man sprung up as if possessed. ‘The poacher Wolf,’ he cried hastily.

“‘The same!’

“‘Welcome, comrade, welcome!’ cried he, and shook my hands violently. ‘That is brave, that I have you at last, mine host of the Sun. Day and night have I been thinking how to get you. I know you well. I know all. I have reckoned on you long ago.’

“‘Reckoned on me! For what?’

“‘The whole country round is full of you. You have enemies! A bailiff has oppressed you, Wolf! They have ruined you, and the wrongs you have suffered cry aloud to Heaven.’

“The man became warm. ‘Because you have shot a few hogs, which the prince feeds in our fields they have dragged you about for years in the house of correction and the fortification, they have robbed you of your house and business and made you a beggar. Has it come to this, brother, that a man is worth no more than a hare? Are we not better than brutes of the field? And a fellow like you could suffer that?’

“‘Could I alter it?’

“‘That we shall see. But tell me, whence do you come, and what do you purpose?’

“I began to tell him all my history. The man, without waiting till I had finished it, sprung up with joyous impatience, and drew me after him. ‘Come, brother host of the Sun,’ said he, ‘now you are ripe, now I have you when I wanted you. I shall get honour by you. Follow me.’

“‘Where will you take me?’

“‘Do not stop to ask, but follow.’ He then forcibly dragged me along.

“We had proceeded about a quarter of a mile. The wood became more and more steep, pathless and wild, neither of us uttered a word, until at last my leader’s whistle startled me out of my meditations. I raised my eyes, we were standing on the edge of a steep rock, which was bowed down into a deep cleft. A second whistle answered from the interior hollow of the rock, and a ladder slowly rose from the abyss, as of its own accord. My conductor descended first, and told me to wait till he returned. ‘I must first chain up my dog,’ said he, ‘you are strange here, and the beast would tear you to pieces.’

“I now stood alone before the abyss, and well I knew that I was alone. The improvidence of my leader did not escape my attention. It only required a hearty resolution to draw up the ladder; then I should have been free, and my flight would have been secure. I confess that I perceived that. I looked down into the abyss, which was now to receive me, and it dimly reminded me of the descent into hell, from which there is no redemption. I began to shudder at the career I was about to enter; only a rapid flight could save me. I resolved on this flight; I had already stretched my hand towards the ladder, but at once there was a thunder in my ears, a noise about me like the scornful laughter of hell, and it seemed to say: ‘What can a murderer risk?’ My arm fell back as if paralysed. I had reckoned rightly, the time for repentance had passed, the murder I had committed lay towering up behind me like a rock, and cut off my retreat for ever. At the same time my conductor re-appeared and told me I might come. There was now no longer any choice. I clambered down.

“We had proceeded some steps, beneath the wall of the rock, when the ground became wider and some huts were visible. In the midst of these was a round grass plat, on which about eighteen or twenty persons were lying round a charcoal fire. ‘Here comrades,’ said my conductor, placing me in the centre of the circle. ‘Our host of the Sun! Bid him welcome!’

“‘The host of the Sun!’ cried all at once, and they all—men and women—rose and pressed round me. Shall I confess it. The joy was hearty and unaffected, confidence, nay, esteem appeared in every face; one pressed my hand, another familiarly shook me by my coat—the whole scene resembled that at the re-appearance of an old and valued friend. My arrival had interrupted the feast, which they had just begun. They now continued it, and invited me to pledge the welcome. Game of all kinds formed the meal, and the wine flask passed without flagging from hand to hand. Good cheer and unity seemed to animate the entire band, and the contest among them all was who should show the most extravagant delight at my arrival.

“They had seated me between two women, which was the post of honour at the table. I expected to find the refuse of their sex, but how great was my astonishment when I discovered among this infamous troop the most beautiful female forms that my eyes had ever beheld. Margaret, the eldest and most beautiful of the two, was called Miss, and could scarcely have been five-and-twenty. Her words were very bold, and her gestures still more so. Maria, the younger, was married, but she had fled from a husband, who had ill-used her. She was more elegant, but pale and delicate-looking, and less striking to the eye than her fiery neighbour. Both women strove hard to excite my passion. The beautiful Margaret endeavoured to overcome my bashfulness by loose jests, but the whole woman was repulsive to me, and the bashful Maria had gained my heart for ever.

“‘You see, brother host of the Sun,’ began the man who had brought me, ‘You see how we live together, and every day is like this one. Is it not true, comrades?’

“‘Every day like this!’ repeated the whole band.

“‘If, then, you can resolve to find pleasure in our mode of life, strike a bargain and be our leader. I have held that post hitherto, but I will give it up to you. Are you content, comrades.’

“A joyful ‘Yes!’ was responded from every throat.

“My head was on fire, my brain was turned, and my blood was boiling with wine and passion. The world had cast me out as infected with the plague, but here I found a brotherly reception, honour, and comfort. Whatever choice I made death awaited me, but here I could at least sell my life for a higher price. Sensuality was my most violent tendency; hitherto the other sex had only shown me contempt, but here I should find favour and boundless enjoyment. My determination cost me but little. ‘I stay with you, comrades,’ cried I, loudly and resolutely, and walked into the midst of the band. ‘I remain with you,’ I cried again, ‘if you will give me my beautiful neighbour.’ All agreed to grant my request, and I was the declared possessor of a harlot, and owner of a band of robbers.”

The following part of the history I entirely pass over; the merely detestable has nothing instructive for the reader. An unfortunate man who had sunk to this depth, would at last necessarily allow himself all that raises the indignation of mankind. He did not, however, commit another murder, as he himself confessed upon the rack.

The fame of this man shortly spread over the entire province. The high roads became unsafe; the citizens were rendered uneasy by the burglaries committed in the night; the name of the “Host of the Sun” became the terror of the country-people, justice searched for him, and a reward was offered for his head. He was fortunate enough to frustrate all attempts made against his liberty, and cunning enough to turn to the account of his safety the superstition of the wonder-loving peasantry. His comrades had to spread the report that he had made a compact with the devil, and understood witchcraft. The district in which he played his part, belonged less at that time than now to the enlightened part of Germany; the reports were believed, and his person was secure. No one showed a desire to attack the dangerous fellow who had the devil at his service.

He had already for a year followed his melancholy profession, when it began to grow insupportable. The band at whose head he stood, did not fulfil his brilliant expectations. A seductive exterior had dazzled him amid the fumes of the wine; now he saw with horror how frightfully he had been deceived. Hunger and want took the place of that superfluity by which his senses had been lulled; very often he had to risk his life on a meal, which was scarcely sufficient to keep him from starvation. The phantom of that brotherly concord vanished; envy, suspicion, and jealousy raged among this abandoned crew. Justice had offered a reward to any one who should deliver him up alive, with a solemn pardon if he were an accomplice—a powerful temptation for the dregs of the earth! The unhappy man knew his peril. The honesty of those who betrayed God and man, was a bad security for his life. From this moment sleep was gone; a deadly and eternal anguish preyed on his repose; the hideous spectre of suspicion rattled behind him, wherever he fled, tortured him when he was awake, lay down by him when he went to sleep, and scared him with horrible visions. His conscience, which had been for some time dumb, now recovered its speech, and the adder of remorse, which had slept, now awoke amid the general storm of his bosom. All his hatred was now diverted from mankind, and turned its frightful edge against himself. He now forgave all nature, and found none but himself to execrate.

Vice had completed its instruction of this unhappy being; his naturally good sense at last overcame the mournful delusion. Now he felt how low he had fallen, calm melancholy took the place of grinding despair. With tears he wished the past were recalled, for now he felt certain that he could go through it differently. He began to hope that he might be allowed to become honest, because he felt that he could be so. At the highest point of his depravity, he was perhaps nearer to goodness than before his first fault.

About the same time, the seven years’ war had broken out, and recruiting was going on with vigour. This circumstance inspired the unhappy man with hope, and he wrote a letter to his sovereign, an extract of which I insert:

“If your princely favour feels no repugnance towards descending to me, if criminals of my class are not beyond the sphere of your mercy, grant me a hearing, I beg of your most serene highness! I am a murderer and a robber; the law condemns me to death, the tribunals are in search of me, and I offer myself to serve as a volunteer. But at the same time, I bring a singular request before your throne. I detest my life, and do not fear death, but it is terrible for me to die without having lived. I would live to make reparation for a portion of the past, I would live to make some atonement to the state, which I have offended. My execution will be an example to the world, but no compensation for my deeds. I detest vice, and have a burning desire for integrity and virtue. I have shown the talents for becoming formidable to my country—I hope I have some left to be of service to it.

“I know that I am asking something which is unprecedented. My life is forfeit, and it is not for me to negotiate with justice. But I do not appear in bonds and fetters before you—I am still free—and fear on my part has the smallest share in my request.

“It is for mercy that I ask. If I had a claim to justice, I should no longer venture to assert it. But of one thing I may remind my judge. The epoch of my crimes begins with the judgment that for ever deprived me of honour. Had fairness been less denied me on that occasion, I should not now, perhaps, have stood in need of mercy.

“Show mercy, my prince, instead of justice. If it is in your princely power to move the law in my favour, then grant me my life. From henceforth it shall be devoted to your service. If you can do so, let me learn your gracious will from the public journals, and I will appear in the metropolis on your word as a prince. If you have resolved otherwise, let justice do her part, I must do mine.”

This petition remained unanswered, and so did a second, and a third, in which the applicant asked for a trooper’s place in the prince’s service. His hopes for a pardon were utterly extinguished, so he resolved to quit the country, and to die as a brave soldier in the service of the King of Prussia.

He succeeded in escaping from his land, and began his journey. The road led him through a little provincial town, where he wished to pass the night. A short time before, mandates of exceeding strictness had been published throughout the country, requiring a severe examination of travellers, because the sovereign, a prince of the empire, had taken part in the war. The toll-collector (Thorschreiber) of this little town had just received a mandate, and he was sitting on a bench before the toll-bar, when the “Host of the Sun” came up. The appearance of this man had in it something comical, and at the same time wild and terrible. The lean pony which he rode, and the grotesque choice of his attire, in which his taste had probably been less consulted than the chronology of his thefts, contrasted singularly enough with a face over which so many raging passions were spread, like mangled corpses on a field of battle. The collector was struck by the sight of this strange wanderer. He had grown grey at the toll-bar, and by attending to his office for forty years had become an infallible physiognomist of all the vagabonds about. The falcon-glance of this investigator did not miss its man on this occasion. He at once fastened the town-gate, and asked the rider for his passport while he secured his bridle. Wolf was prepared for chances of this kind, and actually had with him a passport, which he had taken shortly before while plundering a merchant. This single voucher, however, did not suffice to counteract the observation of forty years, and to move the oracle of the toll-bar to a recantation. He trusted his eyes more than the paper, and Wolf was obliged to follow him to the office of the bailiff.

The superior of the office examined the passport and declared it correct. He was an ardent lover of news, and it was his delight to chatter over the newspaper by his bottle. The passport told him that the bearer had come straight from those foreign countries, where the theatre of the war was situated. He hoped to get private intelligence from the stranger, and sent back a secretary with the passport to invite him to partake of a bottle of wine.

In the meanwhile the “Host of the Sun” was standing in front of the office, and the whimsical spectacle had assembled the rabble of the town in throngs. The people whispered into one another’s ears, pointed at the horse and rider, till at last the insolence of the mob increased to a loud tumult. The horse, at which every one pointed, was unluckily a stolen one, and Wolf fancied that it had been described in placards and was recognised. The unexpected hospitality of the superior confirmed his suspicion. He now considered it certain that the falsity of his passport was discovered, and that the invitation was only a snare to catch him alive and without resistance. His bad conscience besotted him, so he clapped spurs to his horse and rode off without giving a reply.

This sudden flight was the signal for an uproar.

“A thief!” cried all; and off they flew after him. To the rider it was a matter of life and death; he had already the start, his followers panted breathlessly, and he seemed to be on the point of escape. But a heavy hand pressed invisibly towards him, the watch of his destiny had run down, the inexorable Nemesis detained her debtor. The street to which he trusted had no outlet, and he was forced to turn back towards his persecutors.

The noise of this event had in the meanwhile set the whole town in an uproar; throng pressed on throng, all the streets were lined, and a host of enemies were marching towards him. He showed a pistol, the mob receded, and he would have made a way through the crowd by force. “A shot from this,” said he, “for the mad fool who detains me.” A general pause was dictated by fear, when at last, a bold journeyman blacksmith darted on his arm from behind, caught the finger with which the insane man was about to fire, and forced it out of joint. The pistol fell, the disarmed man was pulled from his horse, and dragged to the office in triumph.

“Who are you?” asked the judge in a somewhat brutal tone.

“A man who is resolved to answer no question until it is put more courteously.”

“Who are you?”[1]

“That which I represented myself to be. I have travelled all through Germany, and never found impudence at home, anywhere but here.”

“Your speedy flight renders you very suspicious. Why did you fly?”

“Because I was tired of being the laughing-stock of your rabble.”

“You threatened to fire.”

“My pistol was not loaded.”

The weapon was examined, and, true enough, it contained no bullet.

“Why did you secretly carry arms?”

“Because I have with me articles of value, and because I have been warned against a certain ‘Host of the Sun,’ who is said to be roving about these parts.”

“Your replies argue much for your audacity, but little for the goodness of your cause. I will give you till to-morrow to discover the truth to me.”

“I shall abide by what I have already said.”

“Let him be conducted to the tower.”

“To the tower? I hope, Herr Superior, that there is still justice in this country. I shall require satisfaction.”

“I will give it you as soon as you are acquitted.”

The next morning the superior reflected that the stranger might be innocent after all; a dictatorial address could effect nothing with his obstinacy, and it might, perhaps, be better to treat him with respect and moderation. He collected the jury of the place, and had the prisoner brought forward.

“Forgive me for the first outbreak, sir, if I accosted you somewhat hardly yesterday.”

“Very readily, if you treat me thus.”

“Our laws are severe, and your affair made a noise. I cannot release you without committing a breach of duty. Appearance is against you, and I wish you would say something, by which it might be refuted.”

“What, if I know nothing?”

“Then I must lay the case before the government, and you will, in the meanwhile, remain closely confined.”

“And then?”

“Then you run the risk of being flogged over the border as a vagrant, or, if mercy is shown, of being placed among the recruits.”

He was silent for some minutes, and appeared to be undergoing a severe contest, then he suddenly turned to the judge.

“Can I be alone with you for a quarter of an hour?”

The jury cast ambiguous glances at one another, but withdrew at a commanding sign from their head.

“Now, what do you want?”

“Your demeanour of yesterday, Herr Superior, would never have brought me to a confession, for I set force at defiance. The moderation with which you have treated me to-day has given me confidence and respect for you. I think that you are an honourable man.”

“What have you to say to me?”

“I see that you are an honourable man; I have long wished for a man like you. Give me, I pray, your right hand.”

“To what end?”

“That head is gray and reverend. You have been long in the world—have felt many sorrows—is it not so? And have become more humane.”

“Sir, to what does this tend?”

“You are now distant by only one step from eternity—soon, soon will you need mercy from God. You will not deny it to man. Do you suspect nothing? With whom do you suppose you are speaking?”

“What do you mean? You terrify me.”

“If you do not already suspect—write to your prince how you found me, and that I myself of my free choice was my own betrayer—that God will be merciful unto him as he now shows mercy unto me. Entreat for me, old man, and then let a tear fall on your report: I am—the ‘Host of the Sun.’”

J. O.

[1] These questions appear the same in English, but the first in German is “Wer seyd Ihr,” and the second “Wer sind Sie.” According to German usage the latter alone is courteous.



Those who travel through Swabia should always remember to cast a passing glance into the Schwarzwald,[1] not so much for the sake of the trees (though pines are not found everywhere in such prodigious numbers, nor of such a surpassing height), as for the sake of the people, who show a marked difference from all others in the neighbourhood around. They are taller than ordinary men, broad-shouldered, have strong limbs, and it seems as if the bracing air which blows through the pines in the morning, has allowed them, from their youth upwards, to breathe more freely, and has given them a clearer eye and a firmer, though ruder, mind than the inhabitants of the valleys and plains. The strong contrast they form to the people living without the limits of the “Wald,” consists, not merely in their bearing and stature, but also in their manners and costume. Those of the Schwarzwald of the Baden territory dress most handsomely; the men allow their beards to grow about the chin just as nature gives it; and their black jackets, wide trousers, which are plaited in small folds, red stockings, and painted hats surrounded by a broad brim, give them a strange, but somewhat grave and noble appearance. Their usual occupations are the manufacturing of glass, and the so-called Dutch clocks, which they carry about for sale over half the globe.

Another part of the same race lives on the other side of the Schwarzwald; but their occupations have made them contract manners and customs quite different from those of the glass manufacturers. Their Wald supplies their trade; felling and fashioning their pines, they float them through the Nagold into the Neckar, from thence down the Rhine as far as Holland; and near the sea the Schwarzwälder and their long rafts are well known. Stopping at every town which is situated along the river, they wait proudly for purchasers of their beams and planks; but the strongest and longest beams they sell at a high price to Mynheers, who build ships of them. Their trade has accustomed them to a rude and roving life, their pleasure consisting in drifting down the stream on their timber, their sorrow in wandering back again along the shore. Hence the difference in their costume from that of the glass manufacturers. They wear jackets of a dark linen cloth, braces a hand’s breadth wide, displayed over the chest, and trousers of black leather, from the pocket of which a brass rule sticks out as a badge of honour; but their pride and joy are their boots, which are probably the largest that are worn in any part of the world, for they may be drawn two spans above the knee, and the raftsmen may walk about in water at three feet depth without getting their feet wet.

It is but a short time ago that the belief in hobgoblins of the wood prevailed among the inhabitants, this foolish superstition having been eradicated only in modern times. But the singularity about these hobgoblins who are said to haunt the Schwarzwald, is, that they also wear the different costumes of the people. Thus it is affirmed of the Glass-mannikin, a kind little sprite three feet and a half high, that he never shows himself except in a painted little hat with a broad brim, a doublet, white trousers, and red stockings; while Dutch Michel, who haunts the other side of the forest, is said to be a gigantic, broad-shouldered fellow wearing the dress of a raftsman; and many who have seen him say they would not like to pay for the calves whose hides it would require to make one pair of his boots, affirming that, without exaggeration, a man of the middle height may stand in one of them with his head only just peeping out.

The following strange adventure with these spirits is said to have once befallen a young Schwarzwälder:—There lived a widow in the Schwarzwald, whose name was Frau Barbara Munk; her husband had been a charcoal-burner, and after his death she had by degrees prevailed upon her boy, who was now sixteen years old, to follow his father’s trade. Young Peter Munk, a sly fellow, submitted to sit the whole week near the smoking stack of wood, because he had seen his father do the same; or, black and sooty and an abomination to the people as he was, to drive to the nearest town and sell his charcoal. Now, a charcoal-burner has much leisure for reflection, about himself and others; and when Peter Munk was sitting by his stack, the dark trees around him, as well as the deep stillness of the forest, disposed his heart to tears, and to an unknown secret longing. Something made him sad, and vexed him, without his knowing exactly what it was. At length, however, he found out the cause of his vexation,—it was his condition. “A black, solitary charcoal-burner,” he said to himself; “it is a wretched life. How much more are the glass-manufacturers, and the clockmakers regarded; and even the musicians, on a Sunday evening! And when Peter Munk appears washed, clean, and dressed out in his father’s best jacket with the silver buttons and bran new red stockings—if then, any one walking behind him, thinks to himself, ‘I wonder who that smart fellow is?’ admiring, all the time, my stockings and stately gait;—if then, I say, he passes me and looks round, will he not say, ‘Why, it is only Peter Munk, the charcoal-burner.”

The raftsmen also on the other side of the wood were an object of envy to him. When these giants of the forest came over in their splendid clothes, wearing about their bodies half a hundred weight of silver, either in buckles, buttons or chains, standing with sprawling legs and consequential look to see the dancing, swearing in Dutch, and smoking Cologne clay pipes a yard long, like the most noble Mynheers, then he pictured to himself such a raftsman as the most perfect model of human happiness. But when these fortunate men put their hands into their pocket, pulled out handsful of thalers and staked a Sechsbatzner piece upon the cast of a die, throwing their five or ten florins to and fro, he was almost mad and sneaked sorrowfully home to his hut. Indeed he had seen some of these gentlemen of the timber trade, on many a holy-day evening, lose more than his poor old father had gained in the whole year. There were three of these men, in particular, of whom he knew not which to admire most. The one was a tall stout man with ruddy face, who passed for the richest man in the neighbourhood; he was usually called fat “Hesekiel.” Twice every year he went with timber to Amsterdam, and had the good luck to sell it so much dearer than the rest that he could return home in a splendid carriage, while they had to walk. The second was the tallest and leanest man in the whole Wald, and was usually called “the tall Schlurker;” it was his extraordinary boldness that excited Munk’s envy, for he contradicted people of the first importance, took up more room than four stout men, no matter how crowded the inn might be, setting either both his elbows upon the table, or drawing one of his long legs on the bench; yet, notwithstanding all this, none dared to oppose him, since he had a prodigious quantity of money. The third was a handsome young fellow, who being the best dancer far around, was hence called “the king of the ball-room.” Originally poor he had been servant to one of the timber merchants, when all at once he became immensely rich; for which some accounted by saying he had found a pot full of money under an old pine tree, while others asserted that he had fished up in the Rhine, near Bingen, a packet of gold coins with the spear which these raftsmen sometimes throw at the fish as they go along in the river, that packet being part of the great “Niebelungenhort,” which is sunk there. But however this might be, the fact of his suddenly becoming rich caused him to be looked upon as a prince by young and old.

Often did poor Peter Munk the coal burner think of these three men, when sitting alone in the pine forest. All three indeed had one great fault, which made them hated by every body: this was their insatiable avarice, their heartlessness towards their debtors and towards the poor, for the Schwarzwälder are naturally a kind-hearted people. However, we all know how it is in these matters; though they were hated for their avarice, yet they commanded respect on account of their money, for who but they could throw away thalers, as if they could shake them from the pines?

“This will do no longer,” said Peter one day to himself, when he felt very melancholy, it being the morrow after a holiday when every body had been at the inn; “if I don’t soon thrive I shall make away with myself; Oh that I were as much looked up to and as rich as the stout Hesekiel, or as bold and powerful as the tall Schlurker, or as renowned as the king of the ball-room, and could like him throw thalers instead of kreutzers to the musicians! I wonder where the fellow gets his money!” Reflecting upon all the different means by which money may be got, he could please himself with none, till at length he thought of the tales of those people who, in times of old, had become rich through the Dutchman Michel, or the glass-mannikin. During his father’s lifetime other poor people often made their calls, and then their conversation was generally about rich persons, and the means by which they had come by their riches; in these discourses the glass-mannikin frequently played a conspicuous part. Now, if Peter strained his memory a little he could almost recall the short verse which one must repeat near the Tannenbühl in the heart of the forest, to make the sprite appear. It began as follows:

“Keeper of wealth in the forest of pine,
Hundreds of years are surely thine:
Thine is the tall pine’s dwelling place—”

But he might tax his memory as much as he pleased, he could remember no more of it. He often thought of asking some aged person what the whole verse was. However, a certain fear of betraying his thoughts kept him back, and moreover he concluded that the legend of the glass-mannikin could not be very generally known, and that but few were acquainted with the incantation, since there were not many rich persons in the Wald;—if it were generally known, why had not his father, and other poor people, tried their luck? At length, however, he one day got his mother to talk about the mannikin, and she told him what he knew already, as she herself remembered only the first line of the verse, but she added, that the sprite would show himself only to those who had been born on a Sunday, between eleven and two o’clock. He was, she said, quite fit for evoking him, as he was born at twelve o’clock at noon; if he but knew the verse.

When Peter Munk heard this he was almost beside himself with joy and desire to try the adventure. It appeared to him enough to know part of the verse, and to be born on a Sunday, for the glass-mannikin to show himself. Consequently when he one day had sold his coals, he did not light a new stack, but put on his father’s holiday jacket, his new red stockings, and best hat, took his blackthorn stick, five feet long into his hand, and bade farewell to his mother, saying, “I must go to the magistrate in the town, for we shall soon have to draw lots who is to be soldier, and therefore I wish to impress once more upon him that you are a widow, and I am your only son.” His mother praised his resolution; but he started for the Tannenbühl. This lies on the highest point of the Schwarzwald, and not a village or even a hut was found, at that time, for two leagues around, for the superstitious people believed it was haunted; they were even very unwilling to fell timber in that part, though the pines were tall and excellent, for often the axes of the wood-cutters had flown off the handle into their feet, or the trees falling suddenly, had knocked the men down, and either injured or even killed them; moreover, they could have used the finest trees from there only for fuel, since the raftsmen never would take a trunk from the Tannenbühl as part of a raft, there being a tradition that both men and timber would come to harm, if they had a tree from that spot on the water. Hence the trees there grew so dense and high that is was almost night at noon. When Peter Munk approached the place, he felt quite awe-stricken, hearing neither voice nor footstep except his own; no axe resounded, and even the birds seemed to shun the darkness amidst the pines.

Peter Munk had now reached the highest point of the Tannenbühl, and stood before a pine of enormous girth, for which a Dutch ship-builder would have given many hundred florins on the spot. “Here,” said he, “the treasure-keeper (Schatzhauser) no doubt lives,” and pulling off his large hat, he made a low bow before the tree, cleared his throat, and said, with a trembling voice, “I wish you a good evening, Mr. Glass-mannikin.” But receiving no answer, and all around remaining silent as before, he thought it would probably be better to say the verse, and therefore murmured it forth. On repeating the words, he saw, to his great astonishment, a singular and very small figure peep forth from behind the tree. It seemed to him as if he had beheld the glass-mannikin, just as he was described, the little black jacket, red stockings, hat, all even to the pale, but fine shrewd countenance of which the people so much talked, he thought he had seen. But alas, as quickly as it had peeped forth, as quickly it had disappeared again. “Mr. Glass-mannikin,” cried Peter Munk, after a short hesitation, “pray don’t make a fool of me; if you fancy that I have not seen you, you are vastly mistaken, I saw you very well peeping forth from behind the tree.” Still no answer, only at times he fancied he heard a low, hoarse tittering behind the tree. At length his impatience conquered this fear, which had still restrained him, and he cried, “Wait, you little rascal, I will have you yet.” At the same time he jumped behind the tree, but there was no Schatzhauser, and only a pretty little squirrel was running up the tree.

Peter Munk shook his head; he saw he had succeeded to a certain degree in the incantation, and that he perhaps only wanted one more rhyme to the verse to evoke the glass-mannikin; he tried over and over again, but could not think of any thing. The squirrel showed itself on the lowest branches of the tree, and seemed to encourage or perhaps to mock him. It trimmed itself, it rolled its pretty tail, and looked at him with its cunning eyes. At length he was almost afraid of being alone with this animal; for sometimes it seemed to have a man’s head, and to wear a three cornered hat, sometimes to be quite like another squirrel, with the exception only of having red stockings and black shoes on its hind feet. In short it was a merry little creature, but still Peter felt an awe, fancying that all was not right.

Peter now went away with more rapid strides than he had come. The darkness of the forest seemed to become blacker and blacker; the trees stood closer to each other, and he began to be so terrified that he ran off in a trot, and only became more tranquil when he heard dogs bark at a distance, and soon after descried the smoke of a hut through the trees. But on coming nearer and seeing the dress of the people, he found that having taken the contrary direction he had got to the raftsmen instead of the glass-makers. The people living in the hut were wood-cutters, consisting of an aged man with his son who was the owner, and some grown up grand-children. They received Peter Munk, who begged a night’s quarter, hospitably enough without asking his name or residence, they gave him cider to drink, and in the evening a large black cock, the best meal in the Schwarzwald, was served up for supper.

After this meal the housewife and her daughters took their distaffs and sat round a large pine torch, which the boys fed with the finest rosin; the host with his guest sat smoking and looking at the women; while the boys were busy carving wooden spoons and forks. The storm was howling and raging through the pines in the forest without, and now and then very heavy blasts were heard, and it was as if whole trees were breaking off and crashing down. The fearless youths were about to run out to witness this terrific and beautiful spectacle, but their grandfather kept them back with a stern look and these words: “I would not advise any of you,” cried he, “to go now outside the door; by heavens he never would return, for Michel the Dutchman is building this night a new raft in the forest.”

The younger of them looked at him with astonishment, having probably heard before of Michel, but they now begged their grandpapa to tell them some interesting story of him. Peter Munk who had heard but confused stories of Michel the Dutchman on the other side of the forest, joined in this request, asking the old man who and where he was. “He is the lord of the forest,” was the answer, “and from your not having heard this at your age, it follows that you must be a native of those parts just beyond the Tannenbühl or perhaps still more distant. But I will tell you all I know, and how the story goes about him. A hundred years ago or thereabouts, there were far and wide no people more upright in their dealings than the Schwarzwälder, at least so my grandfather used to tell me. Now, since there is so much money in the country, the people are dishonest and bad. The young fellows dance and riot on Sundays, and swear to such a degree that it is horrible to hear them; whereas formerly it was quite different, and I have often said and now say, though he should look in through the window, that the Dutchman Michel is the cause of all this depravity. A hundred years ago then there lived a very rich timber merchant who had many servants; he carried his trade far down the Rhine and was very prosperous, being a pious man. One evening a person such as he had never seen came to his door; his dress was like that of the young fellows of the Schwarzwald, but he was full a head taller than any of them, and no one had ever thought there could be such a giant. He asked for work, and the timber-merchant, seeing he was strong, and able to carry great weights, agreed with him about the wages and took him into his service. He found Michel to be a labourer such as he had never yet had; for in felling trees he was equal to three ordinary men, and when six men were pulling at one end of a trunk he would carry the other end alone. After having been employed in felling timber for six months, he came one day before his master, saying, ‘I have now been cutting wood long enough here, and should like to see what becomes of my trunks; what say you to letting me go with the rafts for once?’ To which his master replied, ‘I have no objection, Michel, to your seeing a little of the world; to be sure I want strong men like yourself to fell the timber, and on the river all depends upon skill; but, nevertheless, be it for this time as you wish.’

“Now the float with which Michel was to go, consisted of eight rafts, and in the last there were some of the largest beams. But what then? The evening before starting, the tall Michel brought eight beams to the water, thicker and longer than had ever been seen, and he carried every one of them as easily upon his shoulder as if it had been a rowing pole, so that all were amazed. Where he had felled them, no one knows to this day. The heart of the timber-merchant was leaping with joy when he saw this, calculating what these beams would fetch; but Michel said, ‘Well, these are for my travelling on, with those chips I should not be able to get on at all.’ His master was going to make him a present of a pair of boots, but throwing them aside, Michel brought out a pair the largest that had ever been seen, and my grandfather assured me they weighed a hundred pounds and were five feet long.

“The float started; and if Michel had before astonished the wood-cutters, he perfectly astonished the raftsmen; for his raft, instead of drifting slowly down the river as they thought it would, by reason of the immense beams, darted on like an arrow, as soon as they came into the Neckar. If the river took a turn, or if they came to any part where they had a difficulty in keeping the middle stream or were in danger of running aground, Michel always jumped into the water, pushing his float either to the right or to the left, so that he glided past without danger. If they came to a part where the river ran straight, Michel often sprang to the foremost raft, and making all put up their poles, fixed his own enormous pole in the sand, and by one push made the float dart along, so that it seemed as if the land, trees, and villages were flying by them. Thus they came in half the time they generally occupied to Cologne on the Rhine, where they formerly used to sell their timber. Here Michel said, ‘You are but sorry merchants and know nothing of your advantage. Think you these Colognese want all the timber from the Schwarzwald for themselves? I tell you no, they buy it of you for half its value, and sell it dear to Holland. Let us sell our small beams here, and go to Holland with the large ones; what we get above the ordinary price is our own profit.’

“Thus spoke the subtle Michel, and the others consented; some because they liked to go and see Holland, some for the sake of the money. Only one man was honest, and endeavoured to dissuade them from putting the property of their master in jeopardy or cheating him out of the higher price. However they did not listen to him and forgot his words, while Michel forgot them not. So they went down the Rhine with the timber, and Michel, guiding the float soon brought them to Rotterdam. Here they were offered four times as much as at Cologne, and particularly the large beams of Michel fetched a very high sum. When the Schwarzwälders beheld the money, they were almost beside themselves with joy. Michel divided the money, putting aside one-fourth for their master, and distributing the other three among the men. And now they went into the public houses with sailors and other rabble, squandering their money in drinking and gambling; while the honest fellow who had dissuaded them was sold by Michel to a slave-trader and has never been heard of since. From that time forward Holland was a paradise to the fellows from the Schwarzwald, and the Dutchman Michel their king. For a long time the timber merchants were ignorant of this proceeding, and before people were aware, money, swearing, corrupt manners, drunkenness and gambling were imported from Holland.

“When the thing became known, Michel was nowhere to be found, but he was not dead; for a hundred years he has been haunting the forest, and is said to have helped many in becoming rich at the cost of their souls of course: more I will not say. This much, however, is certain, that to the present day, in boisterous nights, he finds out the finest pines in the Tannenbühl where people are not to fell wood; and my father has seen him break off one of four feet diameter, as he would break a reed. Such trees he gives to those who turn from the right path and go to him; at midnight they bring their rafts to the water and he goes to Holland with them. If I were lord and king in Holland, I would have him shot with grape, for all the ships that have but a single beam of Michel’s, must go to the bottom. Hence it is that we hear of so many shipwrecks; and if it were not so, how could a beautiful, strong ship as large as a church, be sunk. But as often as Michel fells a pine in the forest during a boisterous night, one of his old ones starts from its joints, the water enters, and the ship is lost, men and all. So far goes the legend of the Dutchman Michel; and true it is that all the evil in the Schwarzwald dates from him. Oh! he can make one rich,” added the old man mysteriously; “but I would have nothing from him; I would at no price be in the shoes of fat Hesekiel and the long Schlurker. The king of the ballroom, too, is said to have made himself over to him.”

The storm had abated during the narrative of the old man; the girls timidly lighted their lamps and retired, while the men put a sackful of leaves upon the bench by the stove as a pillow for Peter Munk, and wished him good night.

Never in his life had Peter such heavy dreams as during this night; sometimes he fancied the dark gigantic Michel was tearing the window open and reaching in with his monstrous long arm a purse full of gold pieces, which jingled clearly and loudly as he shook them; at another time he saw the little friendly glass-mannikin riding upon a huge green bottle about the room, and thought he heard again the same hoarse laughter as in the Tannenbühl; again something hummed into his left ear the following verse:

“In Holland I wot,
There’s gold to be got,
Small price for a lot,
Who would have it not?”

Again he heard in his right ear the song of the Schatzhauser in the green forest, and a soft voice whispered to him, “Stupid Coal-Peter, stupid Peter Munk you cannot find a rhyme with ‘place,’ and yet are born on a Sunday at twelve o’clock precisely. Rhyme, dull Peter, rhyme!”

He groaned, he wearied himself to find a rhyme, but never having made one in his life, his trouble in his dream was fruitless. When he awoke the next morning with the first dawn, his dream seemed strange to him; he sat down at the table with his arms crossed, and meditated upon the whisperings that were still ringing in his ears. He said to himself, “Rhyme, stupid Peter, rhyme,” knocking his forehead with his finger, but no rhyme would come. While still sitting in this mood, looking gloomily down before him and thinking of a rhyme with “place,” he heard three men passing outside and going into the forest, one of whom was singing,

“I stood upon the brightest place,
I gazed upon the plain,
And then—oh then—I saw that face,
I never saw again.”

These words flashed like lightning through Peter’s ear and hastily starting up, he rushed out of the house, thinking he was mistaken in what he had heard, ran after the three fellows and seized, suddenly and rudely, the singer by the arm, crying at the same time, “Stop, friend, what was it you rhymed with ‘place?’ Do me the favour to tell me what you were singing.”

“What possesses you, fellow?” replied the Schwarzwälder. “I may sing what I like; let go my arm, or——”

“No, you shall tell me what you were singing,” shouted Peter, almost beside himself, clutching him more tightly at the same time. When the other two saw this, they were not long in falling foul upon poor Peter with their large fists, and belabouring him till the pain made him release the third, and he sank exhausted upon his knees. “Now you have your due,” said they, laughing, “and mark you, madcap, never again stop people like us upon the highway.”

“Woe is me!” replied Peter with a sigh, “I shall certainly recollect it. But now that I have had the blows, you will oblige me by telling me plainly what he was singing.” To this they laughed again and mocked him; but the one who had sung repeated the song to him, after which they went away laughing and singing.

“Face,” then said the poor belaboured Peter as he got up slowly; “will rhyme with ‘place,’ now glass-mannikin, I will have another word with you.” He went into the hut, took his hat and long stick, bid farewell to the inmates, and commenced his way back to the Tannenbühl. Being under the necessity of inventing a verse, he proceeded slowly and thoughtfully on his way; at length, when he was already within the precincts of the Tannenbühl, and the trees became higher and closer, he found his verse, and for joy cut a caper in the air. All at once he saw coming from behind the trees a gigantic man dressed like a raftsman, who held in his hand a pole as large as the mast of a ship. Peter Munk’s knees almost gave way under him, when he saw him slowly striding by his side, thinking he was no other than the Dutchman Michel. Still the terrible figure kept silence, and Peter cast a side glance at him from time to time. He was full a head taller than the biggest man Peter had even seen; his face expressed neither youth nor old age, but was full of furrows and wrinkles; he wore a jacket of linen, and the enormous boots being drawn above his leather breeches, were well known to Peter from hearsay.

“What are you doing in the Tannenbühl, Peter Munk?” asked the wood king at length, in a deep, roaring voice.

“Good morning, countryman,” replied Peter, wishing to show himself undaunted, but trembling violently all the while.

“Peter Munk,” replied Michel, casting a piercing, terrible glance at him, “your way does not lie through this grove.”

“True, it does not exactly,” said Peter; “but being a hot day, I thought it would be cooler here.”

“Do not lie, Peter,” cried Michel, in a thundering voice, “or I strike you to the ground with this pole; think you I have not seen you begging of the little one?” he added mildly. “Come, come, confess it was a silly trick, and it is well you did not know the verse; for the little fellow is a skinflint, giving but little; and he to whom he gives is never again cheerful in his life. Peter, you are but a poor fool and I pity you in my soul; you, such a brisk handsome fellow, surely could do something better in the world, than make charcoal. While others lavish big thalers and ducats, you can scarcely spend a few pence; ’tis a wretched life.”

“You are right, it is truly a wretched life.”

“Well,” continued Michel, “I will not stand upon trifles, you would not be the first honest good fellow whom I have assisted at a pinch. Tell me, how many hundred thalers do you want for the present?” shaking the money in his huge pocket, as he said this, so that it jingled just as Peter had heard it in his dream. But Peter’s heart felt a kind of painful convulsion at these words, and he was cold and hot alternately; for Michel did not look as if he would give away money out of charity, without asking any thing in return. The old man’s mysterious words about rich people occurred to him, and urged by an inexplicable anxiety and fear, he cried “Much obliged to you, sir, but I will have nothing to do with you and know you well,” and at the same time he began to run as fast as he could. The wood spirit, however, strode by his side with immense steps, murmuring and threatening “You will yet repent it, Peter, it is written on your forehead and to be read in your eyes that you will not escape me. Do not run so fast, listen only to a single rational word; there is my boundary already.” But Peter, hearing this and seeing at a little distance before him a small ditch, hastened the more to pass this boundary, so that Michel was obliged at length to run faster, cursing and threatening while pursuing him. With a desperate leap Peter cleared the ditch, for he saw that the Wood-spirit was raising his pole to dash it upon him; having fortunately reached the other side, he heard the pole shatter to pieces in the air as if against an invisible wall, and a long piece fell down at his feet.

He picked it up in triumph to throw it at the rude Michel; but in an instant he felt the piece of wood move in his hand, and, to his horror, perceived that he held an enormous serpent, which was raising itself up towards his face with its venomous tongue and glistening eyes. He let go his hold, but it had already twisted itself tight round his arm and came still closer to his face with its vibrating head; at this instant, however, an immense black cock rushed down, seized the head of the serpent with its beak, and carried it up in the air. Michel, who had observed all this from the other side of the ditch, howled, cried, and raved when he saw the serpent carried away by one more powerful than himself.

Exhausted and trembling, Peter continued his way; the path became steeper, the country wilder, and soon he found himself before the large pine. He again made a bow to the invisible glass-mannikin, as he had done the day before, and said,

“Keeper of wealth in the forest of pine,
Hundreds of years are surely thine,
Thine is the tall pine’s dwelling place,
Those born on Sunday see thy face.”

“You have not quite hit it,” said a delicate fine voice near him, “but as it is you, Peter, I will not be particular.” Astonished he looked round, and lo! under a beautiful pine there sat a little old man in a black jacket, red stockings, and a large hat on his head. He had a tiny affable face and a little beard as fine as a spider’s web; and strange to see, he was smoking a pipe of blue glass. Nay, Peter observed to his astonishment, on coming nearer, that the clothes, shoes, and hat of the little man were also of coloured glass, which was as flexible as if it were still hot, bending like cloth to every motion of the little man.

“You have met the lubber Michel, the Dutchman?” asked the little man, laughing strangely between each word. “He wished to frighten you terribly; but I have got his magic cudgel, which he shall never have again.”

“Yes, Mr. Schatzhauser,” replied Peter, with a profound bow, “I was terribly frightened. But I suppose the black cock was yourself, and I am much obliged to you for killing the serpent. The object of my visit to you, however, is to ask your advice; I am in very poor circumstances, for charcoal-burning is not a profitable trade; and being still young I should think I might be made something better, seeing so often as I do how other people have thriven in a short time; I need only mention Hezekiel, and the king of the ball-room, who have money like dirt.”

“Peter,” said the little man, gravely, blowing the smoke of his pipe a long way off, “don’t talk to me of these men. What good have they from being apparently happy for a few years here, and the more unhappy for it afterwards? You must not despise your trade; your father and grandfather were honest people, Peter Munk, and they carried on the same trade. Let me not suppose it is love of idleness that brings you to me.”

Peter was startled at the gravity of the little man, and blushed. “No, Mr. Schatzhauser,” said he; “idleness is the root of every vice, but you cannot blame me, if another condition pleases me better than my own. A charcoal-burner is, in truth, a very mean personage in this world; the glass manufacturer, the raftsmen, and clock-makers, are people much more looked upon.”

“Pride will have a fall,” answered the little man of the pine wood, rather more kindly. “What a singular race you are, you men! It is but rarely that one is contented with the condition in which he was born and bred, and I would lay a wager that if you were a glass-manufacturer, you would wish to be a timber-merchant, and if you were a timber-merchant you would take a fancy to the ranger’s place, or the residence of the bailiff. But no matter for that; if you promise to work hard, I will get you something better to do. It is my practice to grant three wishes to those born on a Sunday, who know how to find me out. The first two are quite free from any condition, the third I may refuse, should it be a foolish one. Now, therefore, Peter, say your wishes; but mind you wish something good and useful.”

“Hurrah!” shouted Peter; “you are a capital glass-mannikin, and justly do people call you the treasure-keeper, for treasures seem to be plentiful with you. Well then, since I may wish what my heart desires, my first wish is that I may be able to dance better than the king of the ball-room, and to have always as much money in my pocket as fat Hezekiel.”

“You fool!” replied the little man, angrily, “what a paltry wish is this, to be able to dance well and to have money for gambling. Are you not ashamed of this silly wish, you blockish Peter? Would you cheat yourself out of good fortune? What good will you and your poor mother reap from your dancing well? What use will money be to you, which according to your wish is only for the public-house, thereto be spent like that of the wretched king of the ball-room? And then you will have nothing for the whole week and starve. Another wish is now left free to you; but have a care to desire something more rational.”

Peter scratched himself behind his ears, and said, after some hesitation, “Now I wish the finest and richest glass-factory in the Schwarzwald, with every thing appertaining to it, and money to carry it on.”

“Is that all?” asked the little man, with a look of anxiety; “is there nothing else, Peter?”

“Why you might add a horse and chaise.”

“Oh, you stupid Peter!” cried the little man, while he flung his glass pipe against a thick pine so that it broke in a hundred pieces. “Horses? a carriage? Sense, I tell you, sense—common sense and judgment you ought to have wished, but not a horse and chaise. Come, come, don’t be so sad, we will do all we can to make it turn out for the best, even as it is, for the second wish is on the whole not altogether foolish. A good glass-factory will support its man; but you ought to have wished judgment and sense in addition; a horse and chaise would come as a matter of course.”

“But, Mr. Schatzhauser,” replied Peter, “I have another wish left, and might very well wish sense, if I am so much in need of it, as you seem to think.”

“Say no more about it. You will get involved in many an embarrassment yet, when you will be glad of being at liberty to obtain your third wish. And now proceed on your way home.” Drawing a small bag from his pocket, he said: “There are two thousand florins; let that be enough, and don’t come again asking for money, for, if you do, I must hang you up to the highest pine. That is the way I have always acted, ever since I have lived in the forest. Three days ago old Winkfritz died, who had a large glass-factory in the Unterwald. Go there to-morrow morning, and make a fair offer for it. Look well to yourself. Be prudent and be industrious; I will come to see you from time to time, and assist you with word and deed, since you have not wished for common sense. But I must repeat it seriously; your first wish was evil. Guard against frequenting the public-house, Peter, no one who did so, ever prospered long.” The little man, while thus talking to him, had taken a new pipe, of the most beautiful glass, from his pocket, charged it with dry fir-apples, and stuck it into his little toothless mouth. Then drawing out a large burning-glass, he stepped into the sun and lighted it. When he had done this, he kindly offered his hand to Peter, added a few more words of salutary advice which he might carry on his way, puffed and blew still faster, and finally disappeared in a cloud of smoke, which smelled of genuine Dutch canaster, and, slowly curling upwards, vanished amidst the tops of the pines.

On his arrival home, Peter found his mother in great anxiety about him, for the good dame thought in reality her son had been drawn among the recruits. He, however, was in great glee and full of hope, and related to her how he had met with a good friend in the forest, who had advanced him money to begin another trade. Although his mother had been living for thirty years in a charcoal-burner’s hut, and was as much accustomed to the sight of sooty people, as any miller’s wife is to the floury face of her husband; yet, as soon as her Peter showed her a more splendid lot, she was vain enough to despise her former condition, and said: “In truth, as the mother of a man who possesses a glass-manufactory, I shall indeed be something different from neighbour Kate and Betsy, and shall in future sit more consequentially at church among the people of quality.” Her son soon came to terms with the heir of the glass manufactory. He kept the workmen he found, and made them work day and night at manufacturing glass. At first he was well enough pleased with his new trade; he was in the habit of walking leisurely into the factory, striding up and down with an air of consequence and with his hands in his pockets, looking now in one corner, now in another, and talking about various things at which his workmen often used to laugh heartily. His chief delight, however, was to see the glass blown, when he would often set to work himself, and form the strangest figures of the soft mass. But he soon took a dislike to the work; first came only for an hour in the day, then only every other day, and finally only once a week, so that his workmen did just what they liked. All this proceeded from his frequenting the public-house. The Sunday after he had come back from the Tannenbühl he went to the public-house, and who should be jumping there already but the king of the ball-room; fat Hezekiel also was already sitting by a quart pot, playing at dice for crown-pieces. Now Peter quickly put his hand into his pocket to feel whether the glass-mannikin had been true to his word, and lo! his pockets were stuffed full of silver and gold. He also felt an itching and twitching in his legs, as if they wished to dance and caper. When the first dance was over, he took his place with his partner at the top next to the “king of the ball-room;” and if the latter jumped three feet high, Peter jumped four; if he made fantastic and graceful steps, Peter twined and twisted his legs in such a manner that all the spectators were utterly amazed with delight and admiration. But when it was rumoured in the dancing-room that Peter had bought a glass manufactory, and when people saw that Peter, as often as he passed the musicians, threw a six-batzner piece to them, there was no end of astonishment. Some thought he had found a treasure in the forest, others were of opinion that he had succeeded to some fortune, but all respected him now, and considered him a made man, simply because he had plenty of money. Indeed that very evening he lost twenty florins at play, and yet his pockets jingled and tingled as if there were a hundred thalers in them.

When Peter saw how much respected he was, he could no longer contain himself with joy and pride. He threw away handfuls of money and distributed it profusely among the poor, knowing full well as he did how poverty had formerly pinched him. The feats of the king of the ball-room were completely eclipsed by those of the new dancer, and Peter was surnamed the “emperor of the ball-room.” The most daring gamblers did not stake so much as he did on a Sunday, neither did they, however, lose so much; but then, the more he lost, the more he won. This was exactly what he had demanded from the glass-mannikin; for he had wished he might always have as much money in his pocket as fat Hezekiel, and it was to this very man he lost his money. If he lost twenty or thirty florins at a stroke, they were immediately replaced in his own pocket, as soon as Hezekiel pocketed them. By degrees he carried his revelling and gambling further than the worst fellows in the Schwarzwald, and he was oftener called “gambling Peter” than “emperor of the ball-room,” since he now gambled almost all the week days. In consequence of his imprudence, his glass manufactory gradually fell off. He had manufactured as much as ever could be made, but he had failed to purchase, together with the factory, the secret of disposing of it most profitably. At length it accumulated to such a degree that he did not know what to do with it, and sold it for half-price to itinerant dealers in order to pay his workmen.

Walking homewards one evening from the public house, he could not, in spite of the quantity of wine he had drunk to make himself merry, help thinking with terror and grief of the decline of his fortune. While engaged in these reflections, he all at once perceived some one walking by his side. He looked round, and behold it was the glass-mannikin. At the sight of him he fell into a violent passion, protested solemnly, and swore that the little man was the cause of all his misfortune. “What am I now to do with the horse and chaise?” he cried; “of what use is the manufactory and all the glass to me? Even when I was merely a wretched charcoal-burner, I lived more happily, and had no cares. Now I know not when the bailiff may come to value my goods and chattels, and seize all for debt.”

“Indeed?” replied the glass-mannikin, “indeed? I am then the cause of your being unfortunate. Is that your gratitude for my benefits? Who bade you wish so foolishly? A glass-manufacturer you wished to be, and you did not know where to sell your glass! Did I not tell you to be cautious in what you wished? Common sense, Peter, and prudence, you wanted.”

“A fig for your sense and prudence,” cried Peter; “I am as shrewd a fellow as any one, and will prove it to you, glass-mannikin,” seizing him rudely by the collar as he spoke these words, and crying, “have I now got you, Schatzhauser? Now I will tell you my third wish, which you shall grant me. I’ll have instantly, on the spot, two hundred thousand hard thalers and a house. Woe is me!” he cried, suddenly shaking his hand, for the little man of the wood had changed himself into red-hot glass, and burned in his hand like bright fire. Nothing more was to be seen of him.

For several days his swollen hand reminded him of his ingratitude and folly. Soon, however, he silenced his conscience, saying: “Should they sell my glass, manufactory and all, still fat Hezekiel is certain to me; and as long as he has money on a Sunday, I cannot want.”

“Very true, Peter! But, if he has none?” And so it happened one day, and it proved a singular example in arithmetic. For he came one Sunday in his chaise to the inn, and at once all the people popped their heads out of the windows, one saying, “There comes gambling Peter;” a second saying, “Yes, there is the emperor of the ball-room, the wealthy glass-manufacturer;” while a third shook his head, saying, “It is all very well with his wealth, but people talk a great deal about his debts, and somebody in town has said that the bailiff will not wait much longer before he distrains upon him.”

At this moment the wealthy Peter saluted the guests at the windows, in a haughty and grave manner, descended from his chaise, and cried: “Good evening, mine Host of the Sun. Is fat Hezekiel here?”

To this question a deep voice answered from within: “Only come in, Peter; your place is kept for you, we are all here, at the cards already.”

Peter entering the parlour, immediately put his hand into his pocket, and perceived, by its being quite full, that Hezekiel must be plentifully supplied. He sat down at the table among the others and played, losing and winning alternately; thus they kept playing till night, when all sober people went home. After having continued for some time by candle-light, two of the gamblers said: “Now it is enough, and we must go home to our wives and children.”

But Peter challenged Hezekiel to remain. The latter was unwilling, but said, after a while, “Be it as you wish; I will count my money, and then we’ll play dice at five florins the stake, for any thing lower is, after all, but child’s play.” He drew his purse, and, after counting, found he had a hundred florins left; now Peter knew how much he himself had left, without counting first. But if Hezekiel had before won, he now lost stake after stake, and swore most awfully. If he cast a pasch, Peter immediately cast one likewise, and always two points higher. At length he put down the last five florins on the table, saying, “Once more; and if I lose this stake also, yet I will not leave off; you will then lend me some of the money you have won now, Peter; one honest fellow helps the other.”

“As much as you like, even if it were a hundred florins,” replied Peter, joyful at his gain, and fat Hezekiel rattled the dice and threw up fifteen; “Pasch!” he exclaimed, “now we’ll see!” But Peter threw up eighteen, and, at this moment, a hoarse, well-known voice said behind him, “So! that was the last.”

He looked round, and behind him stood the gigantic figure of Michel the Dutchman. Terrified, he dropped the money he had already taken up. But fat Hezekiel, not seeing Michel, demanded that Peter should advance him ten florins for playing. As if in a dream Peter hastily put his hand into his pocket, but there was no money; he searched in the other pocket, but in vain; he turned his coat inside out, not a farthing, however, fell out; and at this instant he first recollected his first wish; viz., to have always as much money in his pocket as fat Hezekiel. All had now vanished like smoke.

The host and Hezekiel looked at him with astonishment as he still searched for and could not find his money; they would not believe that he had no more left; but when they at length searched his pockets, without finding any thing, they were enraged, swearing that gambling Peter was an evil wizard, and had wished away all the money he had won home to his own house. Peter defended himself stoutly, but appearances were against him. Hezekiel protested he would tell this shocking story to all the people in the Schwarzwald, and the host vowed he would, the following morning early go into the town and inform against Peter as a sorcerer, adding that he had no doubt of his being burnt alive. Upon this they fell furiously upon him, tore off his coat, and kicked him out of doors.

Not one star was twinkling in the sky to lighten Peter’s way as he sneaked sadly towards his home, but still he could distinctly recognise a dark form striding by his side, which at length said, “It is all over with you, Peter Munk; all your splendour is at an end, and this I could have foretold you even at the time when you would not listen to me, but rather ran to the silly glass dwarf. You now see to what you have come by disregarding my advice. But try your fortune with me this time, I have compassion on your fate. No one ever yet repented of applying to me, and if you don’t mind the walk to the Tannenbühl, I shall be there all day to-morrow and you may speak to me, if you will call.” Peter now very clearly perceived who was speaking to him, but feeling a sensation of awe, he made no answer and ran towards home.

When, on the Monday morning, he came to his factory, he not only found his workmen, but also other people whom no one likes to see; viz., the bailiff and three beadles. The bailiff wished Peter good morning, asked him how he had slept, and then took from his pocket a long list of Peter’s creditors, saying, with a stern look, “Can you pay or not? Be short, for I have no time to lose, and you know it is full three leagues to the prison.” Peter in despair confessed he had nothing left, telling the bailiff he might value all the premises, horses, and carts. But while they went about examining and valuing the things, Peter said to himself, “Well, it is but a short way to the Tannenbühl, and as the little man has not helped me, I will now try for once the big man.” He ran towards the Tannenbühl as fast as if the beadles were at his heels. On passing the spot where the glass-mannikin had first spoken to him, he felt as if an invisible hand were stopping him, but he tore himself away and ran onwards till he came to the boundary which he had well marked. Scarcely had he, almost out of breath, called, “Dutch Michel, Mr. Dutch Michel!” than suddenly the gigantic raftsman with his pole stood before him.

“Have you come then?” said the latter, laughing. “Were they going to fleece you and sell you to your creditors? Well, be easy, all your sorrow comes, as I have always said, from the little glass-mannikin, the Separatist and Pietist. When one gives, one ought to give right plentifully and not like that skinflint. But come,” he continued, turning towards the forest, “follow me to my house, there we’ll see whether we can strike a bargain.”

“Strike a bargain?” thought Peter. “What can he want of me, what can I sell to him? Am I perhaps to serve him, or what is it that he can want?” They went at first up-hill over a steep forest path, when all at once they stopped at a dark, deep, and almost perpendicular ravine. Michel leaped down as easily as he would go down marble steps; but Peter almost fell into a fit when he saw him below, rising up like a church steeple reaching him an arm as long as a scaffolding pole with a hand at the end as broad as the table in the ale house, and calling in a voice which sounded like the deep tones of a death bell, “Set yourself boldly on my hand, hold fast by the fingers and you will not fall off.” Peter, trembling, did as he was ordered, sat down upon his hand and held himself fast by the thumb of the giant.

They now went down a long way and very deep, yet, to Peter’s astonishment, it did not grow darker; on the contrary, the daylight seemed rather to increase in the chasm, and it was sometime before Peter’s eyes could bear it. Michel’s stature became smaller as Peter came lower down, and he stood now in his former size before a house just like those of the wealthy peasants of the Schwarzwald. The room into which Peter was led differed in nothing but its appearance of solitariness from those of other people. The wooden clock, the stove of Dutch tiles, the broad benches and utensils on the shelves were the same as anywhere else. Michel told him to sit down at the large table, then went out of the room and returned with a pitcher of wine and glasses. Having filled these, they now began a conversation, and Dutch Michel expatiated on the pleasures of the world, talked of foreign countries, fine cities and rivers, so that Peter, at length, feeling a yearning after such sights, candidly told Michel his wish.

“If you had courage and strength in your body to undertake any thing, could a few palpitations of your stupid heart make you tremble; and the offences against honor, or misfortunes, why should a rational fellow care, for either? Did you feel it in your head when they but lately called you a cheat and a scoundrel? Or did it give you a pain in your stomach, when the bailiff came to eject you from your house? Tell me, where was it you felt pain?”

“In my heart,” replied Peter, putting his hand on his beating breast, for he felt as if his heart was anxiously turning within him.

“Excuse me for saying so, but you have thrown away many hundred florins on vile beggars and other rabble; what has it profited you? They have wished you blessings and health for it; well, have you grown the healthier for that? For half that money you might have kept a physician. A blessing, a fine blessing forsooth, when one is distrained upon and ejected! And what was it that urged you to put your hand into your pocket, as often as a beggar held out his broken hat?—Why your heart again, and ever your heart, neither your eyes, nor your tongue, nor your arms, nor your legs, but your heart; you have, as the proverb truly says, taken too much to heart.”

“But how can we accustom ourselves to act otherwise? I take, at this moment, every possible pains to suppress it, and yet my heart palpitates and pains me.”

“You, indeed, poor fellow!” cried Michel, laughing; “you can do nothing against it; but give me this scarcely palpitating thing, and you will see how comfortable you will then feel.”

“My heart to you?” cried Peter, horrified. “Why, then, I must die on the spot! Never!”

“Yes, if one of your surgeons would operate upon you and take out your heart, you must indeed die; but with me it is a different thing; just come in here and convince yourself.”

Rising at these words, he opened the door of a chamber and took Peter in. On stepping over the threshold, his heart contracted convulsively, but he minded it not, for the sight that presented itself was singular and surprising. On several shelves glasses were standing, filled with a transparent liquid, and each contained a heart. All were labelled with names which Peter read with curiosity; there was the heart of the bailiff in F., that of fat Hezekiel, that of the “king of the ball-room,” that of the ranger; there were the hearts of six usurious corn-merchants, of eight recruiting officers, of three money-brokers; in short, it was a collection of the most respectable hearts twenty leagues around.

“Look!” said Dutch Michel, “all these have shaken off the anxieties and cares of life; none of these hearts any longer beat anxiously and uneasily, and their former owners feel happy now they have got rid of the troublesome guest.”

“But what do they now carry in their breasts instead?” asked Peter, whose head was nearly swimming at what he beheld.

This,” replied he, taking out of a small drawer, and presenting to him—a heart of stone.

“Indeed!” said Peter, who could not prevent a cold shuddering coming over him. “A heart of marble? But, tell me, Mr. Michel, such a heart must be very cold in one’s breast.”

“True, but very agreeably cool. Why should a heart be warm? For in winter its warmth is of little use, and good strong Kirschwasser does more than a warm heart, and in summer when all is hot and sultry, you can’t think how cooling such a heart is. And, as before said, such a heart feels neither anxiety nor terror, neither foolish compassion nor other grief.”

“And that is all you can offer me,” asked Peter, indignantly, “I looked for money and you are going to give me a stone.”

“Well! an hundred thousand florins, methinks, would suffice you for the present. If you employ it properly, you may soon make it a million.”

“An hundred thousand!” exclaimed the poor coal-burner, joyfully. “Well, don’t beat so vehemently in my bosom, we shall soon have done with one another. Agreed, Michel, give me the stone, and the money, and the alarum you may take out of its case.”

“I always thought you were a reasonable fellow,” replied Michel, with a friendly smile; “come, let us drink another glass, and then I will pay you the money.”

They went back to the room and sat down again to the wine, drinking one glass after another till Peter fell into a profound sleep.

He was awakened by the cheerful blast of a post-boy’s bugle, and found himself sitting in a handsome carriage, driving along on a wide road. On putting his head out he saw in the airy distance the Schwarzwald lying behind him. At first he could scarcely believe that it was his own self sitting in the carriage, for even his clothes were different from those he had worn the day before; but still he had such a distinct recollection that, giving up at length all these reflections, he exclaimed, “I am Peter and no other, that is certain.”

He was astonished that he could no longer, in the slightest degree, feel melancholy now he for the first time departed from his quiet home and the forests where he had lived so long. He could not even press a tear out of his eyes or utter a sigh, when he thought of his mother, who must now feel helpless and wretched; for he was indifferent to every thing: “Well,” he said, “tears and sighs, yearning for home and sadness proceed indeed from the heart, but thanks to Dutch Michel, mine is of stone and cold.” Putting his hand upon his breast, he felt all quiet and no emotion. “If Michel,” said he, beginning to search the carriage, “keeps his word as well with respect to the hundred thousand florins as he does with the heart, I shall be very glad.” In his search he found articles of dress of every description he could wish, but no money. At length, however, he discovered a pocket containing many thousand thalers in gold, and bills on large houses in all the great cities. “Now I have what I want,” thought he, squeezed himself into the corner of the carriage and went into the wide world.

For two years he travelled about in the world, looked from his carriage to the right and left up the houses, but whenever he alighted he looked at nothing except the sign of the hotel, and then ran about the town to see the finest curiosities. But nothing gladdened him, no pictures, no building, no music, no dancing, nor any thing else had any interest for, or excited his stone heart; his eyes and ears were blunted for every thing beautiful. No enjoyment was left him but that which he felt in eating and drinking and sleep; and thus he lived running through the world without any object, eating for amusement and sleeping from ennui. From time to time he indeed remembered that he had been more cheerful and happier, when he was poor and obliged to work for a livelihood. Then he was delighted by every beautiful prospect in the valley, by music and song, then he had for hours looked in joyful expectation towards the frugal meal which his mother was to bring him to the kiln.

When thus reflecting on the past, it seemed very strange to him, that now he could not even laugh, while formerly he had laughed at the slightest joke. When others laughed, he only distorted his mouth out of politeness, but his heart did not sympathise with the smile. He felt he was indeed exceedingly tranquil, but yet not contented. It was not a yearning after home, nor was it sadness, but a void, desolate feeling, satiety and a joyless life that at last urged him to his home.

When, after leaving Strasburg, he beheld the dark forest of his native country; when for the first time he again saw the robust figures, the friendly and open countenances of the Schwarzwälder; when the homely, strong, and deep, but harmonious sounds struck upon his ear, he quickly put his hand upon his heart, for his blood flowed faster, thinking he must rejoice and weep at the same time; but how could he be so foolish? he had a heart of stone, and stones are dead and can neither smile nor weep.

His first walk was to Michel who received him with his former kindness. “Michel,” said he, “I have now travelled and seen every thing, but all is dull stuff and I have only found ennui. The stone I carry about with me in my breast, protects me against many things; I never get angry, am never sad, but neither do I ever feel joyful, and it seems as if I was only half alive. Can you not infuse a little more life into my stone heart, or rather, give me back my former heart? During five-and-twenty years I had become quite accustomed to it, and though it sometimes did a foolish thing, yet it was, after all, a merry and cheerful heart.”

The sylvan spirit laughed grimly and sarcastically at this, answering, “When once you are dead, Peter Munk, it shall not be withheld; then you shall have back your soft, susceptible heart, and may then feel whatever comes, whether joy or sorrow. But here, on this side of the grave, it can never be yours again. Travelled you have indeed, Peter, but in the way you lived, your travelling could afford you no satisfaction. Settle now somewhere in the world, build a house, marry, and employ your capital; you wanted nothing but occupation; being idle, you felt ennui, and now you lay all the blame to this innocent heart.” Peter saw that Michel was right with respect to idleness, and therefore proposed to himself to become richer and richer. Michel gave him another hundred thousand florins, and they parted as good friends.

The report soon spread in Schwarzwald that “Coal Peter,” or “gambling Peter” had returned, and was much richer than before. It was here as it always is. When he was a beggar he was kicked out of the inn, but now he had come back wealthy, all shook him by the hand when he entered on the Sunday afternoon, praised his horse, asked about his journey, and when he began playing for hard dollars with fat Hezekiel, he stood as high in their estimation as ever before. He no longer followed the trade of glass manufacturer, but the timber trade, though that only in appearance, his chief business being in corn and money transactions. Half the people of the Schwarzwald became by degrees his debtors, and he lent money only at ten per cent., or sold corn to the poor who, not being able to pay ready money, had to purchase it at three times its value. With the bailiff he now stood on a footing of the closest friendship, and if any one failed paying Mr. Peter Munk on the very day the money was due, the bailiff with his beadles came, valued house and property, sold all instantly, and drove father, mother, and child, out into the forest. This became at first rather troublesome to Peter, for the poor outcasts besieged his doors in troops, the men imploring indulgence, the women trying to move his stony heart, and the children moaning for a piece of bread. But getting a couple of large mastiffs, he soon put an end to this cat’s music, as he used to call it, for he whistled and set them on the beggars, who dispersed screaming. But the most troublesome person to him was “the old woman,” who, however, was no other than Frau Munk, Peter’s mother. She had been reduced to great poverty and distress, when her house and all was sold, and her son, on returning wealthy, had troubled himself no more about her. So she came sometimes before his house, supporting herself on a stick, as she was aged, weak, and infirm; but she no more ventured to go in, as he had on one occasion driven her out; and she was much grieved at being obliged to prolong her existence by the bounties of other people, while her own son might have prepared for her a comfortable old age. But his cold heart never was moved by the sight of the pale face and well known features, by the imploring looks, outstretched withered hands and decaying frame. If on a Saturday she knocked at the door, he put his hand grumbling into his pocket for a six-batzen-piece, wrapped it in a bit of paper and sent it out by a servant. He heard her tremulous voice when she thanked him, and wished him a blessing in this world, he heard her crawl away coughing from the door, but he thought of nothing, except that he had again spent six-batzen for nothing.

At length Peter took it into his head to marry. He knew that every father in the Schwarzwald would gladly give him his daughter, but he was fastidious in his choice, for he wished that every body should praise his good fortune and understanding in matrimony as well as in other matters. He therefore rode about the whole forest, looking out in every direction, but none of the pretty Schwarzwülder girls seemed beautiful enough for him. Having finally looked out in vain for the most beautiful at all the dancing-rooms, he was one day told the most beautiful and most virtuous girl in the whole forest was the daughter of a poor wood-cutter. He heard she lived quiet and retired, was industrious and managed her father’s household well, and that she was never seen at a dancing-room, not even at Whitsuntide or the Kirchweihfest.[2] When Peter heard of this wonder of the Schwarzwald, he determined to court her, and, having inquired where the hut was, rode there. The father of the beautiful Elizabeth received the great gentleman with astonishment, but was still more amazed when he heard it was the rich Herr Peter who wished to become his son-in-law. Thinking all his cares and poverty would now be at an end, he did not hesitate long in giving his consent, without even asking the beautiful Elizabeth, and the good child was so dutiful that she became Frau Peter Munk without opposition.

But the poor girl did not find the happiness she had dreamt of. She believed she understood the management of a house well, but she could never give satisfaction to Herr Peter; she had compassion on poor people, and, as her husband was wealthy, thought it no sin to give a poor woman a penny, or a dram to a poor aged man. This being one day found out by Peter, he said to her, with angry look and gruff voice, “Why do you waste my property upon ragamuffins and vagabonds? Have you brought any thing of your own to the house that you can give away? With your father’s beggar’s staff you could not warm a soup, and you lavish my money like a princess. Once more let me find you out, and you shall feel my hand.” The beautiful Elizabeth wept in her chamber over the hard heart of her husband, and often wished herself at home in her father’s poor hut rather than with the rich, but avaricious and sinful Peter. Alas! had she known that he had a heart of marble and could neither love her nor any body else, she would not, perhaps, have wondered. But as often as a beggar now passed while she was sitting before the door, and drawing his hat off, asked for alms, she shut her eyes that she might not behold the distress, and closed her hand tight that she might not put it involuntarily in her pocket and take out a kreutzer. This caused a report and obtained an ill name for Elizabeth in the whole forest, and she was said to be even more miserly than Peter Munk. But one day Frau Elizabeth was again sitting before the door spinning and humming an air, for she was cheerful because it was fine weather, and Peter was taking a ride in the country, when a little old man came along the road, carrying a large heavy bag, and she heard him panting at a great distance. Sympathising, she looked at him and thought how cruel it was to place such a heavy burden upon an aged man.

In the meanwhile the little man came near, tottering and panting, and sank under the weight of his bag almost down on the ground just as he came opposite Frau Elizabeth.

“Oh, have compassion on me, good woman, and give me a drink of water,” said the little man, “I can go no farther, and must perish from exhaustion.”

“But you ought not to carry such heavy loads at your age?” said she.

“No more I should if I were not obliged to work as carrier from poverty and to prolong my life,” replied he. “Ah, such rich ladies as you know not how painful poverty is, and how strengthening a fresh draught in this hot weather.”

On hearing this she immediately ran into the house, took a pitcher from the shelf and filled it with water; but she had only gone a few paces back to take it to him, when, seeing the little man sit on his bag miserable and wretched, she felt pity for him, and recollecting that her husband was from home, she put down the pitcher, took a cup, filled it with wine, put a loaf of rye bread on it and gave it to the poor old man. “There,” she said, “a draught of wine will do you more good than water, as you are very old; but do not drink so hastily, and eat some bread with it.”

The little man looked at her in astonishment till the big tears came into his eyes; he drank and said, “I have grown old, but have seen few people who were so compassionate and knew how to spend their gifts so handsomely and cordially as you do, Frau Elizabeth. But you will be blessed for it on earth; such a heart will not remain unrequited.”

“No, and she shall have her reward on the spot,” cried a terrible voice, and looking round they found it was Herr Peter with a face as red as scarlet. “Even my choicest wine you waste upon beggars, and give my own cup to the lips of vagabonds? There, take your reward.” His wife fell prostrate before him and begged his forgiveness, but the heart of stone knew no pity, and flourishing the whip he held in his hand he struck her with the ebony handle on her beautiful forehead with such vehemence, that she sunk lifeless into the arms of the old man. When he saw what he had done it was almost as if he repented of the deed immediately; he stooped to see whether there was yet life in her, but the little man said in a well-known voice, “Spare your trouble, Peter; she was the most beautiful and lovely flower in the Schwarzwald, but you have crushed it and never again will see it bloom.”

Now the blood fled from Peter’s cheek and he said, “It is you then, Mr. Schatzhauser? well, what is done is done then, and I suppose this was to happen. But I trust you will not inform against me.”

“Wretch,” replied the glass-mannikin, “what would it profit me if I brought your mortal part to the gallows? It is not earthly tribunals you have to fear, but another and more severe one; for you have sold your soul to the evil one.”

“And if I have sold my heart,” cried Peter, “it is no one’s fault but yours and your deceitful treasures; your malicious spirit brought me to ruin; you forced me to seek help from another, and upon you lies the whole responsibility.” He had scarcely uttered these words than the little man grew enormously tall and broad, his eyes it is said became as large as soup plates, and his mouth like a heated furnace vomiting flames. Peter fell upon his knees, and his stone heart did not protect his limbs from trembling like an aspen leaf. The sylvan spirit seized him, as if with vultures’ claws, by the nape of the neck, whirled him round as the storm whirls the dry leaves, and dashed him to the ground so that his ribs cracked within him. “You worm of dust,” he cried, in a voice roaring like thunder, “I could crush you if I wished, for you have trespassed against the lord of the forest; but for the sake of this dead woman that fed and refreshed me, I give you a week’s respite. If you do not repent I shall return and crush your bones, and you will go hence in your sins.”

It was already evening when some men passing by saw the wealthy Peter Munk lying on the ground. They turned him over and over to see whether there was still life in him, but for a long time looked in vain. At length one of them went into the house, fetched some water and sprinkled some on his face. Peter fetched a deep sigh and opened his eyes, looked for a long time around, and asked for his wife Elizabeth, but no one had seen her. He thanked the men for their assistance, crawled into his house, searched everywhere, but in vain, and found what he imagined to be a dream a sad reality. As he was now quite alone strange thoughts came into his mind; he did not indeed fear any thing, for his heart was quite cold; but when he thought of the death of his wife his own forcibly came to his mind, and he reflected how laden he should go hence—heavily laden with the tears of the poor; with thousands of the curses of those who could not soften his heart; with the lamentations of the wretched on whom he had set his dogs; with the silent despair of his mother; with the blood of the beautiful and good Elizabeth; and yet he could not even so much as give an account of her to her poor old father, should he come and ask “Where is my daughter, your wife?” How then could he give an account to Him—to Him to whom belong all woods, all lakes, all mountains, and the life of men?

This tormented him in his dreams at night, and he was awoke every moment by a sweet voice crying to him “Peter, get a warmer heart!” And when he was awoke he quickly closed his eyes again, for the voice uttering this warning to him could be none other but that of his Elizabeth. The following day he went into the inn to divert his thoughts, and there met his friend, fat Hezekiel. He sat down by him and they commenced talking on various topics, of the fine weather, of war, of taxes, and lastly, also of death, and how such and such a person had died suddenly. Now Peter asked him what he thought about death, and how it would be after death. Hezekiel replied, “That the body was buried, but that the soul went either up to heaven or down to hell.”

“Then the heart also is buried?” asked Peter, anxiously.

“To be sure that also is buried.”

“But supposing one has no longer a heart?” continued Peter.

Hezekiel gave him a terrible look at these words. “What do you mean by that? Do you wish to rally me? Think you I have no heart?”

“Oh, heart enough, as firm as stone,” replied Peter.

Hezekiel looked in astonishment at him, glancing round at the same time to see whether they were overheard, and then said, “Whence do you know that? Or does your own perhaps no longer beat within your breast?”

“It beats no longer, at least, not in my breast;” replied Peter Munk. “But tell me, as you know what I mean, how will it be with our hearts?”

“Why does that concern you, my good fellow?” answered Hezekiel, laughing. “Why you have plenty here upon earth, and that is sufficient. Indeed, the comfort of our cold hearts is that no fear at such thoughts befals us.”

“Very true, but still one cannot help thinking of it, and though I know no fear now, still I well remember how I was terrified at hell when yet an innocent little boy.”

“Well, it will not exactly go well with us,” said Hezekiel; “I once asked a schoolmaster about it, who told me that the hearts are weighed after death to ascertain the weight of their sins. The light ones rise, the heavy sink, and methinks our stone hearts will weigh heavy enough.”

“Alas, true,” replied Peter; “I often feel uncomfortable that my heart is so devoid of sympathy, and so indifferent when I think of such things.” So ended their conversation.

But the following night Peter again heard the well-known voice whispering into his ear five or six times, “Peter, get a warmer heart!” He felt no repentance at having killed his wife, but when he told the servants that she had gone on a journey, he always thought within himself, where is she gone to? Six days had thus passed away, and he still heard the voice at night, and still thought of the sylvan spirit and his terrible menace; but on the seventh morning, he jumped up from his couch and cried, “Well, then, I will see whether I can get a warmer heart, for the cold stone in my breast makes my life only tedious and desolate.” He quickly put on his best dress, mounted his horse, and rode towards the Tannenbühl.

Having arrived at that part where the trees stand thickest, he dismounted, and went with a quick pace towards the summit of the hill, and as he stood before the thick pine he repeated the following verse:

“Keeper of wealth in the forest of pine,
Hundreds of years are surely thine:
Thine is the tall pine’s dwelling place—
Those born on Sunday see thy face.”

The glass-mannikin appeared, not looking friendly and kindly as formerly, but gloomy and sad; he wore a little coat of black glass, and a long glass crape hung floating from his hat, and Peter well knew for whom he mourned.

“What do you want with me, Peter Munk?” asked he with a stern voice.

“I have one more wish, Mr. Schatzhauser,” replied Peter, with his look cast down.

“Can hearts of stone still wish?” said the former. “You have all your corrupt mind can need, and I could scarcely fulfil your wish.”

“But you have promised to grant me three wishes, and one I have still left.”

“I can refuse it if it is foolish,” continued the spirit; “but come, let me hear what you wish.”

“Well, take the dead stone out of me, and give me a living heart,” said Peter.

“Have I made the bargain about the heart with you?” asked the glass-mannikin. “Am I the Dutch Michel, who gives wealth and cold hearts? It is of him you must seek to regain your heart.”

“Alas! he will never give it back,” said Peter.

“Bad as you are, yet I feel pity for you,” continued the little man, after some consideration; “and as your wish is not foolish, I cannot at least refuse my help. Hear then. You can never recover your heart by force, only by stratagem, but probably you will find it without difficulty; for Michel will ever be stupid Michel, although he fancies himself very shrewd. Go straightway to him, and do as I tell you.” He now instructed Peter fully, and gave him a small cross of pure glass, saying, “He cannot touch your life and will let you go when you hold this before him and repeat a prayer. When you have obtained your wish return to me.”

Peter took the cross, impressed all his words on his memory, and started on his way to the Dutchman Michel’s residence; there he called his name three times and immediately the giant stood before him.

“You have slain your wife?” he asked, with a grim laugh. “I should have done the same, she wasted your property on beggars; but you will be obliged to leave the country for some time; and I suppose you want money and have come to get it?”

“You have hit it,” replied Peter; “and pray let it be a large sum, for it is a long way to America.”

Michel leading the way they went into his cottage; there he opened a chest containing much money and took out whole rolls of gold. While he was counting it on the table Peter said, “You’re a wag, Michel. You have told me a fib, saying that I had a stone in my breast, and that you had my heart.”

“And is it not so then?” asked Michel, astonished. “Do you feel your heart? Is it not cold as ice? Have you any fear or sorrow? Do you repent of any thing?”

“You have only made my heart to cease beating, but I still have it in my breast, and so has Hezekiel, who told me you had deceived us both. You are not the man who, unperceived and without danger, could tear the heart from the breast; it would require witchcraft on your part.”

“But I assure you,” cried Michel, angrily, “you and Hezekiel and all the rich people, who have sold themselves to me, have hearts as cold as yours, and their real hearts I have here in my chamber.”

“Ah! how glibly you can tell lies,” said Peter, laughing, “you must tell that to another to be believed; think you I have not seen such tricks by dozens in my journeys? Your hearts in the chamber are made of wax; you’re a rich fellow I grant, but you are no magician.”

Now the giant was enraged and burst open the chamber door, saying, “Come in and read all the labels and look yonder is Peter Munk’s heart; do you see how it writhes? Can that too be of wax?”

“For all that, it is of wax,” replied Peter. “A genuine heart does not writhe like that. I have mine still in my breast. No! you are no magician.”

“But I will prove it to you,” cried the former angrily. “You shall feel that it is your heart.” He took it, opened Peter’s waistcoat, took the stone from his breast, and held it up. Then taking the heart, he breathed on it, and set it carefully in its proper place, and immediately Peter felt how it beat, and could rejoice again. “How do you feel now?” asked Michel, smiling.

“True enough, you were right,” replied Peter, taking carefully the little cross from his pocket. “I should never have believed such things could be done.”

“You see I know something of witchcraft, do I not? But, come, I will now replace the stone again.”

“Gently, Herr Michel,” cried Peter, stepping backwards, and holding up the cross, “mice are caught with bacon, and this time you have been deceived;” and immediately he began to repeat the prayers that came into his mind.

Now Michel became less and less, fell to the ground, and writhed like a worm, groaning and moaning, and all the hearts round began to beat, and became convulsed, so that it sounded like a clockmaker’s workshop.

Peter was terrified, his mind was quite disturbed; he ran from the house, and, urged by the anguish of the moment, climbed up a steep rock, for he heard Michel get up, stamping and raving, and denouncing curses on him. When he reached the top, he ran towards the Tannenbühl; a dreadful thunder-storm came on; lightning flashed around him, splitting the trees, but he reached the precincts of the glass-mannikin in safety.

His heart beat joyfully—only because it did beat; but now he looked back with horror on his past life, as he did on the thunderstorm that was destroying the beautiful forest on his right and left. He thought of his wife, a beautiful, good woman, whom he had murdered from avarice; he appeared to himself an outcast from mankind, and wept bitterly as he reached the hill of the glass-mannikin.

The Schatzhauser was sitting under a pine-tree, and was smoking a small pipe; but he looked more serene than before.

“Why do you weep, Peter?” asked he, “have you not recovered your heart? Is the cold one still in your breast?”

“Alas! sir,” sighed Peter, “when I still carried about with me the cold stony heart, I never wept, my eyes were as dry as the ground in July; but now my old heart will almost break with what have done. I have driven my debtors to misery, set the dogs on the sick and poor, and you yourself know how my whip fell upon her beautiful forehead.”

“Peter, you were a great sinner,” said the little man. “Money and idleness corrupted you, until your heart turned to stone, and no longer knew joy, sorrow, repentance, or compassion. But repentance reconciles; and if I only knew that you were truly sorry for your past life, it might yet be in my power to do something for you.”

“I wish nothing more,” replied Peter, dropping his head sorrowfully. “It is all over with me, I can no more rejoice in my lifetime; what shall I do thus alone in the world? My mother will never pardon me for what I have done to her, and I have perhaps brought her to the grave, monster that I am! Elizabeth, my wife, too,—rather strike me dead, Herr Schatzhauser, then my wretched life will end at once.”

“Well,” replied the little man, “if you wish nothing else, you can have it, so my axe is at hand.” He quietly took his pipe from his mouth, knocked the ashes out, and put it into his pocket. Then rising slowly, he went behind the pines. But Peter sat down weeping in the grass, his life had no longer any value for him, and he patiently awaited the deadly blow. After a short time, he heard gentle steps behind him, and thought, “Now he is coming.”

“Look up once more, Peter Munk,” cried the little man. He wiped the tears from his eyes and looked up, and beheld his mother, and Elizabeth his wife, who kindly gazed on him. Then he jumped up joyfully, saying, “You are not dead, then, Elizabeth, nor you, mother; and have you forgiven me?”

“They will forgive you,” said the glass-mannikin, “because you feel true repentance, and all shall be forgotten. Go home now, to your father’s hut, and be a charcoal-burner as before; if you are active and honest, you will do credit to your trade, and your neighbours will love and esteem you more than if you possessed ten tons of gold.” Thus saying, the glass-mannikin left them. The three praised and blessed him, and went home.

The splendid house of wealthy Peter stood no longer; it was struck by lightning, and burnt to the ground, with all its treasures. But they were not far from his father’s hut, and thither they went, without caring much for their great loss. But what was their surprise when they reached the hut; it was changed into a handsome farm-house, and all in it was simple, but good and cleanly.

“This is the glass-mannikin’s doing,” cried Peter.

“How beautiful!” said Frau Elizabeth; “and here I feel more at home than in the larger house, with many servants.”

Henceforth Peter Munk became an industrious and honest man. He was content with what he had, carried on his trade cheerfully, and thus it was that he became wealthy by his own energy, and respected and beloved in the whole forest. He no longer quarrelled with his wife, but honoured his mother, and relieved the poor who came to his door. When, after twelvemonths, Fran Elizabeth presented him with a beautiful little boy, Peter went to the Tannenbühl, and repeated the verse as before. But the glass-mannikin did not show himself.

“Mr. Schatzhauser,” he cried loudly, “only listen to me. I wish nothing but to ask you to stand godfather to my little son.” But he received no answer, and only a short gust of wind rushed through the pines, and cast a few cones on the grass.

“Then I will take these as a remembrance, as you will not show yourself,” cried Peter, and he put them in his pocket, and returned home. But when he took off his jacket, and his mother turned out the pockets before putting it away, four large rolls of money fell out; and when they opened them, they found them all good and new Baden dollars, and not one counterfeit, and these were the intended godfather’s gift for little Peter, from the little man in the Tannenbühl. Thus they lived on, quietly and cheerfully; and many a time Peter Munk, when gray-headed, would say, “It is indeed better to be content with little, than to have wealth and a cold heart.”

C. A. F.

[1] The Black Forest.

[2] A great festival in German villages, general during the months of October and November.



[This tale occurs in the novel of “Münchhausen,” the narrator telling it to the object of his affections. It is necessary to state this to render the opening intelligible. The story is probably intended to satirize the speculative tendency of the Germans, and old Albertus Magnus seems a sort of representative of Hegel, whom Immermann openly attacks in the course of the “Münchhausen.” To me the expression “dialectic thought,” which occurs in the Hegelian sense at p. 85, is conclusive in this respect.—J. O.]

“Did you ever, Lisbeth, on a clear sunny day, go through a beautiful wood, in which the blue sky peered through the green diadems above you, where the exhalation of the trees was like a breath of God, and when thy foot scattered a thousand glittering pearls from the pointed grass?”

“Yes, lately, Oswald dear, I went through the mountains to collect the rents. It is delightful to walk in a green fresh wood; I could ramble about one for whole days without meeting a soul, and without being in the least terrified. The turf is God’s mantle, and we are guarded by a thousand angels, whether we sit or stand upon it. Now a hill—now a rock! I ran and ran, because I always thought, ‘Behind, then, must be flying the wonderful bird with its blue and red wings, its golden crown upon its head.’ I grew hot and red with running, but not weary. One does not get weary in a wood.”

“And when you did not see the wonderful bird behind the hill in the hedge, you stood still hard-breathing, and you heard afar in the valley of oaks the sound of the axe, which is the forest clock, and tells that man’s hour is running even in such a lovely solitude.”

“Or farther, Oswald, the free prospect up the hill between the dark round beeches, and still closer, the brow of the hill crowned with lofty trunks! There red cows were feeding, and shook their bells, there the dew on the grass gave a silvery hue to the sunlit valley, and the shadows of the cows and the trees played at hide-and-seek with each other.”

“Well, then, on such a sunny morning many hundred years ago, two young men met one another in the wood. It was in the great woody ridge of mountains, called Spessart, which forms the boundary between the joyous districts of the Rhine and the fertile Fraconia. That is a wood, dear Lisbeth, which is ten leagues broad and twenty long, covering plains and mountains, clifts and valleys.

“On the great highway, which runs straight from the Rhine-land to Würzburg and Bamberg, these young men met each other. One came from the west, the other from the east. Their animals were as opposite as their directions. The one from the east sat upon a bay horse, which pranced merrily, and he looked right stately in his gay armour, and his cap of red velvet, from which the heron’s plume descended; the one from the west wore a black cap without any mark of distinction, a long student’s cloak of the same colour, and rode on a humble mule.

“When the young knight had approached the travelling student, he stopped his bay, saluted the other in a friendly way, and said: ‘Good friend, I was just going to alight, and to take my morning snack, but since two are required for love, gaming, and eating, if these three pleasant affairs are to go off properly, I beg leave to ask you, whether you will dismount and be my partner? A mouthfull of grass would no less suit your gray, than my bay. The day will be hot, and the beasts require some repose.’

“The travelling student was pleased with this offer. Both alighted and seated themselves by the roadside on the wild thyme and lavender, from which, as they sat down, a white cloud of perfumes ascended, and a hundred bees that were disturbed in their labours arose humming. A squire, who had followed the young knight with a heavy laden horse, took charge of the two animals, gave his master a goblet and bottle, together with bread and meat from the knapsack, unbridled the beasts, and let them graze by the roadside.

“The travelling student felt the side-pocket of his cloak, drew back his hand with an air of vexation, and cried: ‘Out upon my eternal abstraction! This very morning, I had packed up my breakfast so neatly in the inn, and then something else must needs come into my head, and make me forget my provisions.’

“‘If that is all,’ cried the young knight, ‘here is enough for you and me!’ He divided the bread and meat, filled the goblet, and gave the other both liquid and solid. At the same time he examined him more closely, while the other on his side examined him also, and then a cry of astonishment was uttered by them both:

“‘Are you not?’—‘Nay, art thou not?’ they cried.

“‘I am indeed Conrad of Aufsess!’ cried the young knight.

“‘And I Peter of Stellen,’ cried the other. They embraced each other, and could hardly contain themselves for joy at this unexpected meeting.

“They were indeed playfellows, who had met by accident in the verdant Spessart. Their fathers had been friends, and the sons had often played at bat and ball together; had quarrelled a hundred times, and as often made it up again. However, young Peter was always more quiet and reflective than his playfellow, who thought about nothing but the names of weapons and riding-equipage. At last Peter declared to his father that he wished to become learned, and he went to Cologne to sit at the feet of the celebrated Albertus Magnus, who was master of all the human sciences then known, and of whom, report said, that he was also deeply initiated in the occult arts.

“A considerable time had elapsed, since either of the playfellows had heard any thing of the other. After the first storm of joy had subsided, and breakfast was removed, the knight asked the student what had occurred to him.

“‘To that, my friend, I can give a very short answer, and ought to give thee a very long one. A short one, if I merely portray the outward form and shell of my life hitherto; a long one—ah, an infinitely long one, if thou desirest to taste the inner kernel of this shell.’

“‘Eh, silly fellow,’ cried the knight, ‘what hard discourse is this? Give the shell and a bit of the kernel, if the whole nut is too large for a single meal.’

“‘Then know,’ replied the other, ‘that my visible course of life was between narrow banks. I dwelt in a little dark street, at the back of a house inhabited by quiet people. My window looked upon a garden to the trees and shrubs of which a solemn background was formed by the wall of the Templars’ house. I kept myself very solitary, associating neither with the citizens, nor with the students. The result is that I know nothing about the large city, except the street leading from my house to the Dominican convent, where my great master taught. When I returned to my cell, and had kept awake till midnight by my studying lamp, I sometimes looked out of window to cool my heated eyes by exposure to the deep starry heaven. I then often saw a light in the Templars’ house opposite; the knights in the white mantles of their order passed along the galleries, like spirits in the glare of red torches, vanished behind the pillars, and re-appeared. In the extreme corner of the wing, curtains were let down before the windows, but through the thinner parts of these a singular light shone, while behind them melodies could be heard, sounding through the night sweetly and solemnly, like forbidden desires.

“‘Thus did my days pass insignificant to outward appearance, but internally a brilliant festival of all sorts of wonders. Albertus now distinguished me above his other pupils; and in a short time I observed that he repeated to me with a particular emphasis, certain words, which passed unheeded by the rest. These were words which pointed to the mysterious connection of all human knowledge, and a common root, shooting into the darkest secrecy of that great tree, which in the light above unfolded its mighty branches;—as grammar, dialectics, eloquence, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. At such words his eyes would rest upon me, with the most penetrating glance, and my looks told him, that he had kindled in me a deep desire for the last and greatest treasures of his mind.

“‘By degrees, I became the confidant of his secret laboratory, and the pupil to which he intended to bequeath, as a precious legacy, a portion of his talent. There is only one marrow of things, which here in the metal is heavy and presses down, there in the waving plant, or the volatile bird, struggles to free itself from the original kernel. All things undergo a perpetual change. The Creator indeed works in nature, but nature also works for herself. And he who has the right power at his command can call forth her own peculiar independent life, so that the limbs which would otherwise remain bound in the Creator, will unfold themselves to new movements. My great master conducted me with a secure hand to that spring, where the marrow of things is flowing. I dipped my finger therein, and all my senses were at once filled with a superhuman power of perception. We often sat together in the sooty melting-room, and looked into the glow of the furnace; he before, on a low stool, I cowering behind him, giving the coals or the pieces of ore, which he flung into the crucible with his left hand, while with the right he affectionately held me. Then the metals defended themselves; the salts and acids crackled; the great Regulus, who rules all the world wished, as in a stormy fortress, to guard himself in the midst of sharp-angled crystals; the red, blue, and green vassals were kindled in wrath, and as if to keep us off, stretched their glaring spears towards us, but we broke through the works and destroyed the garrison, and the shining king humbly surrendered himself over the ruins of dross. Gold in itself is nothing to him whose heart is not set on earthly things, but to perceive this dearest and most precious boon of nature in all and every thing, even in what is most trifling and insignificant, that is a great matter to the philosopher. At other times the stars showed us their curious circles which separated themselves as history, and sunk to the earth, or the intimate connection of tones and numbers was awakened to us and showed us links which no word can describe, but which are again much more revealed by tones and numbers. But in all this mysterious essence and interweaving, that it might not again become a cold sticky mass, floated, ever combining and ever freeing, that which separates itself, both in itself and in things, amid the contest of ever fading youth—the great, the unfathomable, the dialectic thought.

“‘Oh blessed satisfying time of the opened intelligence, of the wandering through the inner halls of the palace, at the metal doors of which others knock in vain! At last——”

“The wandering student, whose lips during the narrative had been glowing more and more, took a deep red colour, while a strange fire flashed from his eyes, stopped short here, as though suddenly sobered from his inspiration. The knight wished in vain for the completion of the discourse, and then said to his friend: ‘Well—at last?’

“‘At last,’ replied the student, in a tone of feigned indifference, ‘we were obliged to separate, if only for a short time. My great master now sends me to Ratisbon to ask for certain papers from the sacristy of the cathedral, which he left there as bishop. I shall bring them to him, and shall then, indeed, if I can, pass my life with him.’

“The young knight poured the rest of his wine into the goblet, looked into it, and drank the wine more slowly than before. ‘Thou hast told me strange things,’ he began after a silence, ‘but they do not stagger me. God’s world appears to me so beautifully adorned, that I should take no delight in tearing away the charming veil, and looking in to the innermost core of things, as thou callest it. The sky is blue, the stars shine, the wood rustles, the plants give fragrance, and this blue, this shining, this rustling, this fragrance—are they not the most beautiful things that can be, behind which there is nothing more beautiful? Pardon me, I do not envy thee thy secret knowledge. Poor fellow! this knowledge does not give thee a colour. Thy cheeks are quite pale and sunken.’

“‘Every one has his appointed path, one this, the other that,’ replied the scholar. ‘It is not the bounding of blood that constitutes life. Marble is white, and walls of marble generally enclose the spot in which stand the statues of the gods, yet enough of this, and now for thyself. What hast thou done since I last saw thee?’

“‘Oh! of that,’ cried the young knight Conrad, with his usual light-heartedness, ‘there is little to be told! I got upon horseback and got off again, I went about to many a good prince’s court, thrust many a spear, gained many thanks, missed many thanks, and peeped into many a lovely woman’s eye. I can write my name, and press the knob of my sword in wax by the side of it, and I can rhyme a song, though not so well as Master Godfried of Strasburg.[1] I have gone through the initiatory ceremonies, and was dubbed a knight at Firchheim. Now I am riding to Mayence, where the emperor is going to hold a tournament, to tumble about a little and enjoy life.’

“The student looked at the sun’s place, and said: ‘It is a pity that after such a friendly meeting we must so soon part. Nevertheless it is necessary, if we each design to fulfil our purpose to-day.’

“‘Come with me to Mayence,’ cried the other, as he jumped up, and eyed the student with a singularly compassionate look, which, however, allowed a smile to appear. ‘Leave that gloomy Ratisbon, and the cathedral and the sacristy; cheer up thy face among jolly fellows, by the round table, in the wine-cellar, and before the flowery windows of fair damsels. Let the sound of flute and shaum purify thine ears of the awful vigils of the Templars, who are considered mischievous heretics and Baffomets’ priests over all Christendom. Come to Mayence, Peter!’

“He was already in his saddle, when he uttered these last words, and stretched out his hand as if in supplication, towards his friend, who turned aside and drew back his arm in token of refusal. ‘What has come into your head?’ he said, smiling reluctantly. ‘Ah, friend Conrad, if I had already said every one has his appointed way, I would cry out to thee turn back, thou volatile heedless one! Youth fades away, the jest becomes hushed, the laugh will one day be found suddenly to fail, because the face has become too stiff, or grins repulsively from withered wrinkles! Woe then to him whose garners are not full, whose chambers are not stored! Ah, there must be something dismal in such a base, impoverished old age, and the proverb is right which says: ‘Those who at morn too merry are, shall reap at night sorrow and care.’ Looking upon thee thus, oh brother of my youth, I may well feel troubled about thee, for who knows in what altered condition I may find thee again.’

“The knight gave the student’s hand a hearty shake and cried: ‘Perhaps thou wilt be transformed when we meet again—wilt be decked out in velvet and satin, and surpass us all!’ He darted off, and in the distance the student heard him sing a song which was then in every mouth, and sounded something like this:

‘No fairer flow’r, I vow, is known
Than that bright rose, sweet woman’s lips,
With such luxuriance swelling.
Close-lock’d at first, this flow’ret keeps,
When as an infant bud ’tis shown
All bold assaults repelling.
But every flow’r is wash’d by May,
On rosy lips he plants a kiss,
And straight we see them fully blowing.
Then rosy lips should find a kiss,
And every kiss should in its day
Find lips with fondness glowing.’

“A butterfly flew up before the student. ‘Is not the life of most men,’ he said, ‘to be compared to the fluttering of this moth? Light and motley he goes flaunting about, and yet how barren and short are his joys.’ He rolled about his great eyes, but only an empty alternation of light and shade reached these dim mirrors, not the full form, the fine colour. The wood looked on him from its green depths with an irresistible glance. ‘Suppose,’ he said, ‘I leave my patient beast awhile on this grass-plot; it will not run away from me, and I feel the warmest desire to wander there for an hour. How refreshing it must be in the depths of the wood!’

“He turned aside from the high road by a narrow path, which, after winding for a short distance through the tall trees, sloped down into the wood. Soon he found himself in a perfect solitude, with a rustling, whispering, and whining round him, while only a few single gleams of sun-light reflected with a green hue, played about him like ignis fatui. Sometimes he thought he heard his name called behind him in the distance, and—he did not know why—the call appeared to him hateful and repulsive. Then again he would take the sound to be a mere delusion, but whatever he thought he always got deeper and deeper into the dark forest. Large gnarled roots lay like snakes across the way, stretched out, so that the student was in danger of tumbling every moment. Stag-beetles stood like noble game in the moor, while the purest hues of golden vegetation shone from little nooks in the rocks. The perspiration stood on his forehead, and with increasing rapidity he penetrated the thicket, and fled from the bright sunny world without. It was not only the exercise of walking that made him hot, his mind was also labouring under a burden of heavy recollections. At last, after the pathway had long vanished from beneath his feet, he came to a beautiful, smooth, dark spot, among some mighty oak-trees. Still he heard his name called in the distance. ‘Here,’ he said, ‘the rude sound yonder will no more reach me; here I shall be quietly concealed.’ He sunk down upon a great mossy stone, his heart heaved, he was struggling with a powerful desire. ‘Forgive my presumption, great master,’ he cried, ‘but there is a knowledge which must be followed by action, otherwise it crushes a mortal. Here, nearer to the heart of the great mother, where amid sprouting and growing, her pulse beats more audibly,—here must I utter the magic word, which I heard from thy sleeping lips, when thou spakest it in a dream; the word, at the sound of which the creature casts aside its veil, the powers which labour beneath bark and hide, and in the kernel of the rock, become visible, and the language of birds becomes intelligible to the ear.’

“His lips already quivered to utter the word, but he restrained himself, for there appeared before his eyes the sorrowful glance with which his great master, Albertus, had entreated him to make no use of the art he had accidentally acquired, since heavy things impended over him who uttered the magic word designedly.

“Nevertheless, he did call it out loudly into the wood, as if the prohibition and his own fear had given it additional force, and while he did so, he stretched out his right hand.

“At once he felt a blow and a jerk, that made him think he had been struck by lightning. His eyes were blinded, and it seemed as though a violent whirlwind was hurling him through the immeasurable space. As terrified and giddy he felt about him with his hands, he touched indeed the mossy stone on which he had been standing, and therefore in his mind regained the earth, but now he had a new and unpleasant sign. For as previously he had been flung about the universe like an atom, it now seemed to him as if his body were infinitely extended. Amid the most frightful agonies, this newly-wakened power forced his limbs to such a monstrous size, that he thought he must be touching the sky. The bones of his head and chest were become as capacious as temples; into his ears fell strange, heavenly sounds of distracting effect, and he said to himself: ‘That is the song of the stars in their golden orbits.’ The pains at last were exchanged for a titillating pleasurable sensation, during which he felt his body again shrink up to its ordinary size, while the gigantic form remained standing around him like an outer shell, or a kind of atmosphere in aërial outline. The darkness left his eyes, while great, yellow-shining surfaces of light, as with the sensation of dazzling, freed themselves from the pupils and glided into the corners, where they gradually disappeared.

“While he thus regained his sight, a clear-toned, sweet chorus—he did not know whether it was the birds alone, or whether the boughs, bushes, and grasses joined in—sang quite plainly round him:

‘Yes, he shall hear it,
Yes, he must bear it;
To us he belongs alone.
Soon will he
By the green-wood tree,
Be dumb and cold as a stone.’

“In the block of mossy rock a light murmuring was audible. It seemed as though the stone wished to move itself and could not, like one in a trance. The student looked upon its surface, and lo! the green and red veins were running together into a very ancient countenance, which from its weary eyes looked upon him with such a mournful and supplicating aspect, that he turned aside with horror, and sought consolation among the trees, plants, and birds.

“Among these all was changed likewise. When he trod on the short brown moss, it shrieked and groaned at the ungentle pressure, and he saw how it wrung its little hairy hands and shake its green or yellow heads. The stems of the plants and the trunks of the trees were in a constant spiral motion, and at the same time the bark, or the outer skin, allowed him to look into the inside, where little sprites were pouring fine glistening drops into the tubes. The clear fluid ran from tube to tube, while valves unceasingly opened and shut, until in the capillary tubes of the leaves at the very top, it was transformed to a green bloom. Soft explosions and fire now arose in the veins of the leaves; their finely cut lips ceaselessly breathed forth a kind of ethereal flame, while ceaselessly also the heavier part of those igneous phenomena glided about the leaves in soft waves of vapour. In the blue-bell flowers that were on the damp soil there was a ringing and singing; they consoled the poor old face of stone with a lively song, and told him that if they could only free themselves from the ground they would with right good will release him. Out of the air strange green, red, and yellow signs, which seemed about to join themselves to some form, and then again were dissipated, peered at the student; worms and chafers crawled or stepped to him on every side, uttering all sorts of confused petitions. One wished to be this, another that; one wished for a new cover to his wings, another had broken his proboscis; those that were accustomed to float in the air begged for sunshine, those that crawled, for damp. All this rabble of insects called him their deity, so that his brain was nearly turned.

“Among the birds there was no end to the chirping, twittering, and tale-telling. A spotted woodpecker clambered up and down the bark of an oak, hacked and picked after the worms, and was never tired of crying: ‘I am the forester, I must take care of the wood.’ The wren said to the finch: ‘There is no more friendship among us. The peacock will not allow me to strike a circle, thinking that no one has a right to do so but himself, and therefore he has accused me to the supreme tribunal. Nevertheless I can strike as good a circle as he with my little brown tail.’ ‘Leave me alone,’ replied the finch, ‘I eat my grain and care for nothing else. I have cares of quite another sort. The proper artistical melody I can only add to my native woodland song when they have blinded me, but it is a terrible thing that no good can be done with one unless one is so horribly maimed.’ Others chattered about thefts and murders, which no one but the birds had seen.

‘Over the road they fly,
Traced by no mortal eye.’

“Then they perched themselves stiffly on the branches and peeped down mockingly at the scholar, while two impudent titmice cried out: ‘There stands the conjurer listening to us and cannot make out what has happened to him.’ ‘Well, how he will stare!’ screamed the whole troop, and off they flew with a chirping which sounded half like laughter.

“The scholar now felt something thrown in his face, and looking up, saw an ill-bred squirrel that had flung a hollow nut at his forehead, and now lay flat with his belly upon the bough, staring him full in the face, and crying: ‘The full one for me, the hollow for thee!’ ‘Ye misbehaved rabble, let the strange gentleman alone,’ cried a black and white magpie that came wagging her tail up to him, through the grass. She then seated herself on the student’s shoulder, and said into his ear: ‘You must not judge of us all according to these uncourteous beasts, learned sir, there are well bred folks among us. Only see, through that aperture, yonder wise gentleman, the wild boar, how quietly he stands and eats his acorns, and fosters his thoughts in silence. Willingly I will give you my company and tell you all that I know, for talking is my delight, especially with old people.’

“‘There you are out in your reckoning,’ said the student, ‘I am still young.’

“‘Heavens, how men can deceive themselves,’ cried the magpie, and she looked very thoughtful.

“The student now thought he heard, from the depth of the wood, a sigh, the sound of which penetrated his heart. He asked the cause of his white and black companion, and she told him she would ask two lizards, who were eating their breakfast. He accordingly went, with the magpie on his shoulder, to the place where these creatures were to be found, and beheld a very pretty sight. The two lizards, sure enough, were genteel young ladies, for they sat under a great mushroom, which stretched its golden yellow roof over them like a splendid marquee. There they sat imbibing, with their little brown tongues, the dew from the grass, and then wiping their mouths with one of the blades, they went to take a walk together in a neighbouring grove of fern, which seemingly belonged to the one who had invited her friend to the visit. ‘Shack! shack!’ cried the magpie, ‘the gentleman wants to know who it was that sighed.’ The lizards raised their heads, waggled their tails and cried,

‘In the bower by the spring the Princess sleeps;
Safely the spider the lady keeps.’

“‘Hem,’ said the magpie, shaking her head, ‘to think that one can be so forgetful. To be sure in the adjoining beechen-bower slumbers the fair Princess Doralice, about whom wicked King Spider has spun his web. Oh, if you could save her, learned sir!’ The student’s heart was stirred, and he asked the magpie where the bower was. The bird flew before him, from bough to bough, to show him the way, till at last they came to a quiet meadow, enclosed all round, through which a streamlet, taking its source from a cleft in the rocks, was flowing among some pretty bowers formed by beech-trees. These trees had struck their branches into the earth, and thus arched over the ground like a roof, through which the fine leaves of the fern were peering forth, forming as it were the gables and loopholes of the little leafy dwelling. Upon these the magpie sprang, peeped through a loophole, and whispered mysteriously, ‘Here sleeps the princess!” The student approached with beating heart, knelt before the opening of the bower and looked within. Ah, there was a sight that set his whole soul and senses into a commotion more violent than when he uttered the magical word! On the moss, which rose like a pillow round its fair burden, the loveliest maiden was lying asleep. Her head was somewhat raised, one arm was placed under it, and her white fingers glistened through the gold-brown hair, which in long soft streams delicately wound about her neck and bosom. With unspeakable delight and, at the same time, with a feeling of melancholy the student gazed upon the noble face, the purple lips, the full white limbs, which cast a bright reflection on the dark moss. The circumstance that the sleeper, as if oppressed by some mysterious weight, appeared to breathe in a soft agony, only rendered her more charming in his eyes; he felt that his heart was captivated for ever, and that those lips alone could still his passion. ‘Is it not a shame,’ said the magpie, as she hopped through the hole into the bower and perched on the sleeper’s arm, ‘that so lovely a princess should thus be bound by a web?’ ‘A web?’ asked the student; ‘she is indeed lying there wrapped in her white veil.’ ‘Oh, folly!’ cried the magpie, ‘I tell you that is all cobweb, and King Spider made it.’ ‘But who is King Spider?’

“‘In his human state he was a wealthy maker of yarn,’ replied the magpie, pleasantly wagging her tail. ‘His factory was not distant from here, being by the river-side without the wood, and about a hundred workmen spun under him. The yarn they used to wash in the stream. This was the dwelling-place of the Nixy, who was very much enraged, that they troubled his clear waters with their filthy washing, especially as all his children, the trout and the smelts, died from the carious matter: he tangled the yarn, the waves were forced to cast it over the shore, he drove it downwards into the whirlpool to warn the master-spinner, but all was in vain. At last, on Midsummer-day, when the river-spirits have power to frighten and to injure, he sprinkled some magic water in the faces of the whole troop of spinners and their chief, as they were carrying on their washing as boldly and unscrupulously as ever, and just as bloodthirsty men may be changed into wear-wolves, and wear-cats, so did they become wear-spiders. They all ran from the river to the wood, and were hanging everywhere from the trees and bushes by their web. The workmen have become diminutive spiders, and catch flies and gnats, but their master has retained nearly his former size, and is called the spider-king. He lies in watch for pretty girls, spins his web round them, lulls their senses with his poisonous exhalations, and then sucks the blood from their hearts. At last he overcame this princess, who had strayed from her retinue in the wood. See, there, there, he is stirring among the bushes.”

“And indeed it seemed to the student as if he saw glimmering through the branches, right opposite to him, the body of a gigantic spider; two hairy feet, as thick as human arms, were working their way through the foliage. He felt dreadfully alarmed for the lovely sleeper, and wished to oppose the monster. ‘Vain is your attempt!’ cried the magpie, flapping her wings; ‘all enchanted men have fearful power, and this monster could strangle you with his web; however, strew some fern-seed on the breast of the fair one; that will make her invisible to the spider-king, and so long as any particle of it remains, its virtue will last.’ In the greatest haste the student rubbed the brown dust from the under surface of a fern-leaf, and did as the bird had desired. While during this act, he bent over the sleeper, his cheek felt her breath. Enraptured, he cried, ‘Are there no means of freeing this beloved form?’ ‘Oh,’ screamed the bird, as she madly flew round the student with a sort of zig-zag motion, ‘if you ask me about means, there are many indeed. Our wise old man in the cleft has the yew-tree in keeping, and if you can get a branch of that, and with it touch the fair one thrice upon the forehead, all her bonds will be dissolved:

‘Before the yew tree,
All magic must flee.’

She will then sink in your arms, and belong to you, as her deliverer.’

“At this moment it seemed as though the sleeper heard the bird’s discourse. Her beautiful face was suffused with a delicate redness, and her features took the expression of an ineffable desire. ‘Lead me to the wise old man!’ cried the student, half beside himself.

“The bird hopped into the bushes, and the student hurried after her. The magpie fluttered up a narrow rocky path which soon led over a marsh and wildly scattered blocks of stones, with great peril to the traveller. The student was forced to clamber from block to block that he might not sink into the marsh. His knees trembled, his heart heaved, his temples were bathed in a cold sweat. As he hastened along he plucked off flowers and leaves and sprinkled them on the stones that he might again find his way. At last he stood on an eminence of considerable height upon a spacious rocky portal, from the dark hollow of which an icy-cold breeze blew towards him. Here nature seemed to be in her primitive state of fermention, so fearfully and in such wild disorder did the masses of stone stand over, by, and before the cavern.

“‘Here dwells our wise man!’ cried the magpie, while she bristled up her feathers from her head to her tail, which gave her a most unpleasant and repulsive appearance, ‘I will announce you, and ask how he feels disposed as to your wish.’ With these words, she slipped into the hollow, and almost immediately jumped back again, crying, ‘The old man is peevish and obstinate, and he will not give you the bough of yew, unless you stop up all the chinks in the cavern, for he says the draught annoys him. Before you can do this, many years may have passed.’

“The student plucked up as much of the moss and herbage as he could, and, not without a feeling of dread, entered the cavern. Within strangely-shaped stalactites were staring at him from the walls, and he did not know where to turn his eyes to avoid these hideous forms. He wished to penetrate deeper by the rocky path, but from the further corner a voice snorted forth to him: ‘Back! disturb me not in my researches, pursue thy occupation there in the front!’ He wished to discover who was speaking, but only saw a pair of red fiery eyes, that shone out of the darkness. He now set about his task, stopped up with moss and herbage every chink through which a glimmer of daylight passed, but this was a difficult, and—as it seemed to him—an endless task. For when he thought he had done with one cranny and might turn to another, the stopping fell out, and he was obliged to begin anew. The snorting thing at the back of the cavern went on rattling out sounds without meaning, only occasionally uttering intelligible words, which seemed to denote that the creature was boasting of its deep investigations.

“Time appeared to the student to be hastening along with the greatest rapidity, while he was pursuing his work of despair. Days, weeks, months, years, seemed to come and go, and yet he felt nothing like hunger or thirst. He fancied he was nearly mad, and with a kind of feigned passion, quietly repeated to himself the year in which he had entered the wood, and that it was on the day of Peter and Paul, that he might not lose all notion of time. The image of his beloved sleeper appeared to him as from a far distance, he wept with desire and sorrow, and yet he felt no tears flowing down his cheeks. All at once it seemed to him as if he saw a well-known figure approach the sleeper, contemplate her with rapture, and then bend over her as if to kiss her. At this moment he was entirely conscious of pain and jealousy, and, forgetting all around him, he darted towards the dark background of the cavern. ‘The yew-branch!’ he cried, eagerly. ‘There it grows,’ said the glaring snorting thing, and at the same time he felt in his hand the branch of a tree, which grew from a dark chink in the grotto. He was in the act of breaking one of the branches, when he heard a whimpering noise around him, the glaring creature snorted louder than ever, the cavern reeled, shook, and fell in, all became dark in the eyes of the student, and he involuntarily shouted out:

‘Before the yew tree,
All magic must flee.’

“When his eyes again became clear, he looked around him. A dry, strangely-discoloured stick was in his hand. He stood amid a heap of stones, which arched themselves to a cavern, which was not very large. In the depth of it he heard shrill, piping sounds, like those commonly uttered by great owls. The place around seemed changed. It was a moderate eminence, bare, and scanty, and sprinkled over with stones of no remarkable magnitude, between which the path by which he had ascended, led on one side, through the damp soil, to the abyss. Of the large blocks of rock, nothing more was to be seen. He was freezing with cold, although the sun was high in the heavens, and, as it seemed to him, in the same place as when he went out to fetch the bough, which had now become a withered stick in his hand. Stepping over the stones, he went down the path; the journey seemed wearisome, he was obliged to support himself on the stick, his head hung down on his breast, and he heard his breath, as it struggled forth with difficulty. On a slippery part of the pathway his foot slid, and he was obliged to cling to the hedge. In this act his hand came close to his eye, and appeared gray and wrinkled. ‘Good God!’ cried he, seized with horror, ‘have I then so long——?’ He did not dare to utter his own thoughts. ‘No,’ said he, forcibly calming himself, ‘it is the cold wood-breeze that so freezes me; the exertion has made me weak, and the broken greenish light, which falls through the hedges, gives my hands this singular colour.’ He stepped farther, and saw, lying on the stones, the wild flowers and leaves, which he had thrown, on his ascent, to mark the way. They were as fresh as if they had been but just placed there. This was a new riddle for him. A charcoal-burner was chopping away the trees by the wayside, and cutting off branches; so he asked him what day it was. ‘Eh, father,’ said the man, ‘are you such a bad Christian, that you do not know the Apostles’ days? This is Peter and Paul’s day, when the stag leaves the wood for the corn. I am cutting out a toy for my young one, out of the veiny bough. For any other purpose, I do not work on this day; but that is all for pleasure and pastime, and is allowed, says the chaplain.’

“‘I pray you, my good fellow,’ said the student, who felt a sensation of horror, more and more painful, pervading him, ‘tell in what year of our Lord we are!’ The charcoal-burner, whom even the holiday’s wash had not quite freed from soot, raised up his strong-limbed black figure from among the green bushes, and, after some hesitation, told the year.

“‘Oh, my Redeemer!’ shrieked the student, and, no longer supported by his stick, he fell upon the stones. He then cast the stick away, and crawled trembling down the stony path.

The black charcoal-burner, amazed, came out of the hedge upon the stones, with the branch in his hand, saw the stick lying before him, crossed himself, and said: ‘That is off the yew-tree, which grows yonder on the Eulenstein, where the owl has his nest. They say that it will enchant, and free that which is enchanted already. God help us! the old man has uttered wicked things.’ He then returned to the bushes, to go to his hut, and cut the plaything for his boy.

“In the pleasant woodland meadow below, near the beechen arbour, and by the clear brook, which had there washed its banks to a wide basin, sat the young knight, Conrad, and the fair one whom he had awakened from slumber without any magic arts. The red, blue, and yellow flower-cups pressed forth out of the grass around them, and the pair bloomed in youth and beauty—the knight in gay accoutrements, the maiden in her silver-bright veil, as the fairest flower that decked the enamel. He had his arm gently round her waist, and said, looking with every appearance of sincerity into her eye: ‘By the ashes of my dear mother, and by the holy sign on the hilt of this sword, I am, as I have named myself to thee, lord of castles, and ruler of my own life, and I entreat thee, thou lovely wonder of this forest, to let thy lips speak the word which shall make me thine for ever, with the blessing of the priest before the altar.’

“‘And what word dost thou desire?’ said the fair one, as she modestly lowered her eye-lashes. ‘Have not my eye, my cheek, my palpitating bosom told all? Love[2] is a powerful queen, she pursues her path unawares, and seizes whom she pleases, without suffering resistance. Conduct me, before the decline of day, to the pious abbess of the cloister at Odenwald, she will take me under her protection, and there will I abide between quiet walls, till you come, and fetch me to your home.’

“She was about to rise, but the young knight softly detained her, and said, ‘Let us yet remain a few moments in this spot where my happiness sprang up, like a golden legend. I still fear that you will vanish from my sight, like some charming wood nymph. Help me to believe in thee and thy lovely mortality. How didst thou come hither? What had befallen thee?’

“‘This morning,’ replied the fair one, ‘I had fled into the forest from my guardian, Count Archimbald, whose wicked designs, whether upon me or my property I know not, were suddenly most frightfully apparent. Of what use is a rich inheritance to youth and woman? She is always left to herself and unprotected. I wished to fly to the abbess, I wished to apply to the emperor at Mayence, indeed I scarcely knew what I wished. Thus I came into these green halls of trees, my thoughts were not directed to the true Aid, my thoughts were at war with Heaven. Suddenly, while I saw this meadow already before me, I fancied that something was spoken over yonder in the bushes, upon which I felt myself and all around me transformed. I cannot describe the word nor the sound of it, my beloved. The song of the nightingale is harsh to its sweetness, and the rolling of the thunder is but a weak whisper compared to it. It was certainly the most mysterious and the most compulsory communication which is possible between heaven and earth. On me it exercised an irresistible power, as it fell into a mind that had lost all self-control, into the tumult of my senses, and there was in me no holy thought to oppose it. My eyes closed, and yet I could see the path before me, which my feet, as though conducted by soft, invisible hands, were forced to tread. I slept and yet I did not sleep; it was an indescribable situation under the influence of which I at length sank down on the soft recess in yonder arbour. Every thing around me was speaking and singing, I felt within me the billow-like commotion of the most tumultuous rapture, every drop of my blood flashed and danced through my veins, and yet in the depth of my soul there was the most extreme horror at my state, and the most ardent prayer for an awakening from my slumber. I perceived at the same time that nothing of the horror appeared in my face, for strange to say I could look at myself, and I saw that my cheeks smiled with delight, as if songs of heavenly joy were sung to me. The sensation of pleasure penetrated deeper and deeper into my heart, that of horror receded more and more, and I felt dreadfully alarmed lest this one small point should be totally extinguished, and I should have nothing but pleasure. In this state of trouble, and apparently the loss of all consciousness, I vowed that I would belong to him, who should awaken and deliver me. I now perceived through my closed eyelids a dark form stooping over me. The form was large and noble, and yet I felt a deep repugnance towards this person, while the thought that it might be he, who had uttered the fatal word passed through my mind like a shadow; nevertheless I still cried out, silently indeed, but yet loudly, to myself, ‘If he wakens thee and delivers thee, thou must belong to him for this ineffable benefit, for thou hast vowed it.’ He did not awaken me!’

“‘I—I have awakened thee, my dearest love, and not by charms and benedictions, no; but with a burning kiss on thy red lips!’ cried the young knight, with transport, as he embraced the fair Emma. ‘Strange have been the wonders in the Spessart which have brought us together. On the highway yonder I had parted from my dear friend Peter, after the strangest and most intricate discussion. When I had proceeded a few hundred paces I suddenly felt very uneasy about him, so I alighted, and wished again and again to exhort him to leave his dark ways, and go with me to Mayence. As soon as I turned, I saw him slip into the wood. I cried his name, but he heard me not. My spurs hindered me from walking fast; I could only follow him in the distance, but nevertheless I did not desist from calling after him, although it was all in vain. At last I lost sight of his black cloak among the trees. The beautiful green meadow was sparkling before me, and I wished to look at the bright radiance of the flowers, so I came hither, after looking for my friend in every direction. In the wood around me, there was a constant stirring and waving from the breezes, the worms were all in motion, the birds chirped and fluttered in a manner quite peculiar. However there was no influence over me, probably because I was thinking of the plain good path to which I would willingly bring Peter. When I found thee sleeping, the most acute pity, together with the power of the sweetest love, affected my heart, and I felt joyous. I nevertheless shed the most scalding tears that ever flowed from my lively eyes. I think I was allowed to peep into the corner, where that horror thou speakest of, dwelt. Sobbing and laughing at the same time, I cried

‘I vow there’s not a flow’r that blows,
Can rival woman’s rosy lips,
Where ev’ry sweet is dwelling.
The rose at May’s soft kisses glows,
And sure a kiss should grace those lips
So fondly, sweetly swelling.’

“‘And then my lips, in God’s name, gave thine their greeting.’

“‘And the fetters fell from me, I awoke, and my first glance met thy faithful, weeping eye,’ cried the fair Emma. ‘I thanked God, on whose name I again thought, for my deliverance; and then I thanked Him that it was thou, and not that dark man, that had delivered me.’

“The young knight became thoughtful. ‘I fear,’ said he, ‘that all the mysterious wonders of this wood stand in connexion with Peter. I fear that on this day, when I have gained my love, I have lost my friend. What can have become of him?’

“The youthful pair started from each other, for they saw in the water at their feet, between their own blooming heads, an icy gray, aged one reflected. ‘Here he is,’ said a trembling, stooping old man, with hair as white as snow, who stood behind them. He wore the new black cloak of the student.

“‘Yes,’ said the old man, with weak, faint voice, ‘I am thy friend, Peter of Stetten. I have stood long behind you, and I have heard your converse, and our fates are clear enough. It is still the day of Peter and Paul, on which we met and parted on the highway, which is scarcely a thousand paces from here, and since we parted, perhaps an hour may have elapsed, for the shadow which yonder hedge casts upon the turf, is but a little increased. Before that hour we were four-and-twenty years of age; but during that hour you have become sixty minutes older, and I sixty years. I am now four-and-eighty. Thus do we see each other again; indeed I did not think it.’

“Conrad and Emma had arisen. She clung timidly to her lover, and said softly: ‘It is a poor madman.’ But the old man said: ‘No, fair Emma, I am not mad. I have loved thee; my spell influenced thee, and thou mightest have been mine, had I been permitted to kiss thy rosy lips in God’s name—the only benediction by which fair love may be awakened. Instead of this, I was forced to go in quest of the yew-bough, and to keep the wind and weather out of the owl’s cave. All has happened of necessity. He has gained the bride, I have gained—death.’

“Conrad had been looking with fixed eyes at the countenance of the old man, to see if he could detect among the wrinkles one former lineament of the friend of his youth. At last he stammered forth: ‘I entreat thee, man, tell us how this transformation was brought about, lest our brains be turned, and we do something frightful.’

“‘Whoever tempts God and nature shall behold sights, the presence of which shall quickly wither him,’ replied the old man. ‘Therefore, man, even if he see the plants grow, and understand the discourse of birds, remains as simple as before, allows a foolish magpie to pass off upon him fables of a princess and a spider-king, and takes ladies’ veils for cobwebs. Nature is a curtain, no magical word can remove it—it will only make thyself an old fable.’

“He retired slowly into the depths of the wood, whither Conrad did not venture to follow him. He conducted his Emma from the shadow of the trees to the broad road, where the light played in all its colours around the tops of the trees.

“For some time did travellers in the Spessart hear a hollow and ghost-like voice, behind the rocks and thick groups of trees, utter rhymes, which to some sounded like nonsense, to others like perfect wisdom. If they followed the sound, they found the old man, whose years were yet so few, as with faded eyes, and hands resting on his knees, he looked fixedly in the distance, and uttered sentences, none of which have been preserved. Soon, however, they were heard no more, neither was the corpse of the old man discovered.

“Conrad married his Emma; she bore him fair children, and he lived happily with her to an advanced age.”

J. O.

[1] One of the most celebrated poets in the 12th and 13th centuries.

[2] The old word for “lore” Minne, from which “Minnesinger” is derived, is feminine.



[This story is from the collection called “The Sheik of Alexandria and his Slaves,” and is supposed to be told by a slave to the Sheik.]

Sir, those people are much mistaken who fancy that there were no fairies and enchanters, except in the time of Haroun Al Raschid, Lord of Bagdad, or even pronounce untrue those accounts of the deeds of genii and their princes, which one hears the story-tellers relate in the market-places of the town. There are fairies now-a-days, and it is but a short time since that I myself was witness of an occurrence in which genii were evidently playing a part, as you will see from my narrative. In a considerable town of my dear fatherland, Germany, there lived many years ago a cobbler, with his wife, in an humble but honest way. In the daytime he used to sit at the corner of a street mending shoes and slippers; he did not refuse making new ones if any body would trust him, but then he was obliged to buy the leather first, as his poverty did not enable him to keep a stock. His wife sold vegetables and fruit, which she cultivated in a small garden outside the town-gates, and many people were glad to buy of her, because she was dressed cleanly and neatly, and knew well how to arrange and lay out her things to the best advantage.

Now this worthy couple had a beautiful boy, of a sweet countenance, well made, and rather tall for his age, which was eight years. He was in the habit of sitting in the market with his mother, and often carried home part of the fruit and vegetables for the women and cooks who had made large purchases; he seldom, however, returned from one of these journeys without bringing either a beautiful flower, a piece of money, or a cake, which the mistresses of such cooks gave him as a present, because they were always pleased to see the handsome boy come to the house.

One day the cobbler’s wife was sitting as usual in the marketplace, having before her some baskets with cabbages and other vegetables, various herbs and seeds, besides some early pears, apples, and apricots, in a small basket. Little James (this was the boy’s name) sat by her, crying the things for sale in a loud voice: “This way, gentlemen, see what beautiful cabbages, what fragrant herbs; early pears, ladies, early apples and apricots; who will buy? My mother sells cheap.”

While the boy was thus crying, an old woman was coming across the market; her dress was rather tattered and in rags, she had a small, sharp face, quite furrowed with age, red eyes, and a pointed, crooked nose, which reached down to her chin; in her walk she supported herself by a long stick, and yet it was difficult to say exactly how she walked, for she hobbled and shuffled along, and waddled as if she were on casters, and it was as if she must fall down every instant and break her pointed nose on the pavement.

The cobbler’s wife looked attentively at this old woman. For sixteen years she had been sitting daily in the market, yet she had never observed this strange figure, and therefore involuntarily shuddered when she saw the old hag hobbling towards her and stopping before her baskets.

“Are you Jane, the greengrocer?” she asked in a disagreeable, croaking voice, shaking her head to and fro.

“Yes, I am,” replied the cobbler’s wife; “what is your pleasure?”

“We’ll see, we’ll see, we’ll look at your herbs—look at your herbs, to see whether you have what I want,” answered the old woman; and stooping down she thrust her dark brown, unsightly hands into the herb-basket, and took up some that were beautifully spread out, with her long spider-legged fingers, bringing them one by one up to her long nose, and smelling them all over. The poor woman almost felt her heart break when she saw the old hag handle her herbs in this manner, but she dared not say any thing to her, the purchasers having a right to examine the things as they pleased; besides which, she felt a singular awe in the presence of this old woman. After having searched the whole basket, she muttered, “wretched stuff, wretched herbs, nothing that I want—were much better fifty years ago—wretched stuff! wretched stuff!”

Little James was vexed at these words. “Hark ye,” he cried, boldly, “you are an impudent old woman; first you thrust your nasty brown fingers into these beautiful herbs and squeeze them together, then you hold them up to your long nose, so that no one seeing this will buy them after you, and you abuse our goods, calling them wretched stuff, though nevertheless the duke’s cook himself buys all his herbs of us.”

The old woman leered at the bold boy, laughed disgustingly, and said in a hoarse voice, “Little son, little son, you like my nose then, my beautiful long nose? You shall have one too in the middle of your face that shall reach down to your chin.”

While she thus spoke she shuffled up to another basket containing cabbages. She took the most beautiful white heads up in her hand, squeezed them together till they squeaked, and then throwing them into the basket again without regard to order, said as before, “Wretched things! wretched cabbages!”

“Don’t wriggle your head about in that ugly fashion,” cried the little boy, somewhat frightened; “why your neck is as thin as a cabbage-stalk and might easily break, then your head would fall into the basket, and who would buy of us?”

“You don’t like such thin necks then, eh?” muttered the old woman with a laugh. “You shall have none at all, your head shall be fixed between your shoulders, that it may not fall down from the little body.”

“Don’t talk such nonsense to the little boy,” at length said the cobbler’s wife, indignant at the long-looking, examining, and smelling of the things; “if you wish to buy any thing be quick, for you scare away all my other customers.”

“Well, be it as you say,” cried the old woman, with a furious look, “I will buy these six heads of cabbages; but you see I must support myself by my stick, and cannot carry any thing, therefore, allow your little son to carry them home for me, I will reward him for it.”

The little boy would not go with her, and began to cry, for he was terrified at the ugly old woman, but his mother commanded him earnestly to go, as she thought it a sin to load the feeble old soul with this burden. Still sobbing, he did as he was ordered, and followed the old woman over the market.

She proceeded but slowly, and was almost three-quarters of an hour before she arrived at a very remote part of the town, where she at length stopped in front of a small dilapidated house. She now pulled out of her pocket an old rusty hook, and thrust it dexterously into a small hole in the door, which immediately opened with a crash. But what was the astonishment of little James as he entered! The interior of the house was magnificently adorned, the ceiling and walls were of marble, the furniture of the most beautiful ebony, inlaid with gold and polished stones, the floor was of glass, and so smooth, that little James several times slipped and fell down. The old woman now took a small silver whistle from her pocket, and blew a tune on it which sounded shrilly through the house. Immediately some guinea-pigs came down the stairs, and little James was much amazed at their walking upright on their hind legs, wearing on their paws nut-shells instead of shoes, men’s clothes on their bodies, and even hats in the newest fashion on their heads.

“Where are my slippers, ye rascally crew?” cried the old woman, striking at them with her stick, so that they jumped squeaking into the air; “how long am I to stand here waiting?”

They quickly scampered up the stairs and returned with a pair of cocoa-nut shells lined with leather, which they placed dexterously upon the old woman’s feet.

Now all her limping and shuffling was at an end. She threw away her stick, and glided with great rapidity over the glass floor, pulling little James after her with her hand. At length she stopped in a room which was adorned with a great variety of utensils, and which almost resembled a kitchen, although the tables were of mahogany, and the sofas covered with rich cloth, more fit for a drawing-room.

“Sit down,” said the old woman, very kindly, pressing him into a corner of a sofa, and placing a table before him in such a manner that he could not get out again; “sit down, you have had a heavy load to carry, human heads are not so light—not so light.”

“But, woman,” replied the little boy, “you talk very strangely; I am, indeed, tired, but they were cabbage heads I was carrying, and you bought them of my mother.”

“Why, you know but little about that,” said the old woman, laughing, as she took the lid from the basket and brought out a human head, which she held by the hair. The little boy was frightened out of his senses at this; he could not comprehend how it all came to pass; and thinking of his mother, he said to himself, “If any one were to hear of these human heads, my mother would certainly be prosecuted.”

“I must give you some reward now, as you are so good,” muttered the old woman; “have patience for a minute, and I will prepare you a soup which you will remember all your life.” Having said this, she whistled again, and immediately there came first some guinea-pigs dressed like human beings; they had tied round them kitchen aprons, fastened by a belt, in which were stuck ladles and carving-knives; after them came skipping in a number of squirrels, that wore large, wide Turkish trousers, walked upright, and had small caps of green velvet on their heads. These seemed to be the scullions, for they climbed very nimbly up the walls and brought down pans and dishes, eggs and butter, herbs and flour, and carried it to the hearth. The old woman slided continually to and fro upon her cocoa-nut slippers, and little James observed that she was very anxious to cook something good for him. Now the fire crackled and blazed up higher, there was a smoking and bubbling in the saucepan, and a pleasant odour spread over the room, but the old woman kept running up and down, the squirrels and guinea-pigs after her, and as often as she passed the hearth she poked her long nose into the pot. At length it began to boil and hiss, the steam rose from the pot, and the scum flowed down into the fire. She then took off the saucepan, and pouring some into a silver basin, gave it to James.

“Now, my dear little son, now,” said she, “eat this soup and you will have in your own person all that you admired so much in me. You shall moreover become a clever cook, that you may be something at least, but as for the herb, that you shall never find, because your mother did not have it in her basket.”

The little boy did not exactly understand what she was saying, but was the more attentive to eating his soup, which he relished uncommonly. His mother had cooked various savoury soups, but never any like this. The flavour of the fine herbs and spice ascended from it, and it was at the same time very sweet, and very sharp and strong. While he was sipping the last drops of the delicious soup, the guinea-pigs lighted some Arabian incense which floated through the room in blue clouds, which became thicker and thicker, and then descended. The smell of the incense had a stupifying effect upon the boy; in vain did he repeatedly say to himself that he must return to his mother, for as often as he endeavoured to rouse himself, as often did he relapse into slumber and, at length, actually fell into a profound sleep upon the old woman’s sofa.

Strange dreams came over him, while he thus slept. It seemed as if the old woman was taking off his clothes, and putting on him the skin of a squirrel. Now he could make bounds and climb like a squirrel; he associated with the other squirrels and guinea-pigs, who were all very polite, decent people, and he did his duty of waiting upon the old woman in his turn with the rest. At first he had to perform the service of a shoeblack, that is, he had to oil and polish the cocoa-nut shells which his mistress wore instead of slippers. Having often blacked and polished shoes at home, he performed his duty well and quickly. After the lapse of about one year, he dreamt again, (according to the sequel of his dream) that he was employed for more delicate work, that is, in company with some other squirrels, he was obliged to catch the atoms in the sun, and, when they had caught enough, to sift them through the finest hair-sieve, as the old woman considered them the nicest thing, and not being able to masticate well for want of teeth, had her bread prepared of such atoms.

At the end of another year, he was raised to the rank of one of the servants who had to collect the water the old woman drank. But you must not suppose that she had a cistern dug for that purpose, or a tub placed in the yard to catch the rain-water; she had a much finer plan. The squirrels, and James with them, had to collect in their hazel-nut shells the dew from roses, and this was the beverage of the old woman. The labour of these water-carriers was not a very light one, as she used to drink a prodigious quantity. After another year, he was employed in in-door service, his duty being to clean the floors, and as they were of glass and showed the least speck, it was not a very easy task. He and his fellow-servants were obliged to brush the floors, and with pieces of old cloth tied to their feet dexterously skated about the rooms. In the fourth year, he received an appointment in the kitchen, which was so honourable an office, that one could succeed to it only after a long probation. James here served from scullion upwards to the post of first pastrycook, and acquired such an extraordinary skill and experience in every thing relating to the culinary art, that often he could not help wondering at himself; the most difficult things, pies composed of two hundred different ingredients, soups prepared with all the herbs of the globe,—all these, and many other things, he learned to make quickly and efficiently.

Seven years had thus passed away in the service of the old woman, when one day, pulling off her shoes of cocoa-nut, and taking her basket and crutch in hand in order to go out, she told him to pluck a chicken, stuff it with herbs, and roast it nice and brown, during her absence. He did this according to the rules of his art; twisted the chicken’s neck, scalded it in hot water, pulled out the feathers cleverly, scraped its skin smooth and fine, and then drew it. Next he began gathering the herbs with which he was to stuff the chicken. Now when he came to the chamber where these herbs were kept, he perceived a small cupboard in the wall that he had never before noticed, and finding the door of it half open, he had the curiosity to go near, in order to see what it contained, when behold! there stood a great many little baskets in it, from which proceeded a strong pleasant smell. He opened one of these little baskets, and found in it a herb of a most singular form and colour; its stalks and leaves were of a bluish green, and it had a flower of burning red fringed with yellow at the top. He looked thoughtfully at this flower, and smelled it, when it emitted the same powerful odour as the soup which the old woman had cooked for him when he first came there. But the smell was so strong that he began to sneeze, was obliged to keep sneezing, and at last awoke, sneezing still.

He now found himself upon the old woman’s sofa, and looked around him with astonishment. “Heavens!” he said to himself, “how vividly one may dream; I would almost have sworn that I was a wanton squirrel,—a companion of guinea-pigs and other vermin, but at the same time had become a great cook. How my mother will laugh when I tell her all this! But will she not also scold me for falling asleep in a strange house instead of helping her in the market?” While engaged in these thoughts, he started up to run away; but his limbs were still quite stiff with sleep, and particularly his neck, for he was unable to move his head well to and fro. He could not help smiling at himself and his drowsiness, for every moment, before he was aware, he ran his nose against a cupboard or the wall, or turning suddenly round, struck it against a door-post. The squirrels and guinea-pigs crowded whining around him, as if anxious to accompany him, and he actually invited them to do so when he was on the threshold, for they were nice little creatures, but they glided quickly back into the house on their nutshells, and he only heard them howling at a distance.

As it was a very remote part of the town to which the old woman had brought him, he could hardly find his way through the narrow streets, and as, moreover, there was a great crowd of people, wherever he went, he could only account for this by supposing there must be a dwarf somewhere in the neighbourhood for show, for he heard everywhere cries of, “Only look at the ugly dwarf! Where does the dwarf come from? O! what a long nose he has, and how his head sits between his shoulders, and look at his brown ugly hands!” At any other time, he would probably have followed the cry, for he was very fond of seeing giants and dwarfs, and any sort of curious, foreign costume, but now he was obliged to hurry and get to his mother.

He felt quite weary when he arrived at the market. He found his mother still sitting there, and she had a tolerable quantity of fruit in the basket; he could not therefore have been sleeping long, but still it appeared to him, even at a distance, as if she were very melancholy, for she did not call to those coming past to buy, but supported her head by one hand, and on coming closer he likewise thought she looked paler than usual. He hesitated as to what he should do; and at length mustering up courage, crept gently behind her, and putting his hand familiarly upon her arm, asked, “Dear mother, what’s the matter with you? are you angry with me?”

The woman turned round, but started back with a shriek of terror, saying, “What do you want with me, you ugly dwarf? Begone, begone! I do not like such jokes.”

“But mother, what is the matter with you?” asked James, quite terrified; “surely you must be unwell, why will you turn your son away from you?”

“I have told you already to be gone,” replied Jane, angrily; “you will not get any money from me by your juggleries, you ill-favoured monster.”

“Surely God has deprived her of the light of her intellect,” said the dwarf, deeply grieved within himself; “what shall I do to get her home? Dear mother, pray do listen to reason; only look well at me, I am indeed your son—your own James.”

“Why this is carrying the joke too far,” she said to her neighbour; “only look at that ugly dwarf; there he stands, and will no doubt drive away all my customers; nay, he even dares to ridicule my misfortune, telling me that he is my son, my own James, the impudent fellow.”

At this her neighbours rose, and began as much abuse as possible, (every one knows that market women understand this well,) and reproaching him with making light of poor Jane’s misfortune, who seven years ago had had her beautiful boy kidnapped, with one accord they threatened to fall upon him and tear him to pieces, unless he took himself off immediately.

Poor James did not know what to make of all this. Indeed it seemed to him that he had that very morning, as usual, gone to market with his mother, had helped her to lay out her fruit, and had afterwards gone with the old woman to her house, eaten some soup, slept a little while, and had now come back; and yet his mother and her neighbours talked of seven years, calling him at the same time an ugly dwarf. What then was the change that had come over him? Seeing, at length, that his mother would no longer listen to any thing he said, he felt the tears come in his eyes, and went sorrowfully down the street towards the stall where his father sat in the daytime mending shoes.

“I am curious to see,” he thought to himself, “whether he, too, will disown me? I will place myself in the doorway and talk to him.” And having come there he did so and looked in.

The cobbler was so busily engaged at work that he did not see him; but happening to cast a look towards the door, he dropped shoe, twine, and awl on the ground, and cried, with astonishment, “For Heaven’s sake what is that?”

“Good evening, master,” said the little dwarf, stepping inside the booth. “How fare you?”

“Badly, badly, my little gentleman,” replied James’s father, to his utter amazement; for he, too, did not seem to recognise him. “I have to do all the work myself, for I am alone and now getting old, and yet I cannot afford to keep a journeyman.”

“But have you no son to assist you in your work?” inquired the dwarf further.

“Indeed I had one, whose name was James, and he now must be a handsome, quick lad, twenty years old, who might effectually assist me. Ah! what a pleasant life I should lead! Even when he was twelve years old he showed himself quite handy and clever, and understood a great deal of the business. He was a fine engaging little fellow; he would soon have brought me plenty of custom, so that I should no longer have been mending shoes and boots but making new ones. But so goes the world.”

“Where is your son, then?” asked James, in a tremulous voice.

“That God only knows,” replied his father. “Seven years ago, yes! it is just that now, he was stolen from us in the market-place.”

“Seven years ago, you say?” cried James, with astonishment.

“Yes, little gentleman, seven years ago; the circumstance is as fresh in my memory as if it had happened to-day, how my poor wife came home weeping and crying, saying that the child had not come back all day, and that she had inquired and searched everywhere without finding him. But I always said it would come to that; for James was a pretty child, no one could help saying so, therefore my poor wife was proud of him and fond of hearing people praise him, and often sent him with vegetables and such like things to the houses of the gentlefolks. All this was very well; he always received some present. But said I, mark me, the town is large, and there are many bad people in it, so take care of James. But it happened as I always said. Once there comes an ugly old woman to the market, bargains for some fruits and vegetables, and at length buys so much that she cannot carry it home herself. My wife, kind soul, sends the lad with her, and—has never seen him again since that hour.”

“And that is now seven years, say you?”

“Seven years this spring. We had him cried in the town, we went from house to house inquiring; many had known and liked the pretty lad, and searched with us, but all in vain. Neither did any one know the woman who bought the vegetables; a very aged woman, however, ninety years old, said, ‘it might possibly have been the wicked fairy, Krauterweis, who once in fifty years comes to the town to buy various articles.’”

Thus spoke James’s father hastily, hammering his shoes at the same time, and drawing out at great length the twine with both hands. Now by degrees light broke on the little dwarf’s mind, and he saw what had happened to him, viz., that he had not been dreaming, but had served as a squirrel seven years with the evil fairy. Rage and sorrow now filled his heart almost to bursting.

The old witch had robbed him of seven years of his youth, and what had he in exchange? What was it that he could polish slippers of cocoa-nut shell? that he could clean rooms with glass floors? that he had learned all the mysteries of cooking, from the guinea pigs? Thus he stood for some time meditating on his fate, when at length his father asked him—

“Do you want to purchase any thing, young gentleman? Perhaps a pair of new slippers or, peradventure, a case for your nose?” he added, smiling.

“What do you mean about my nose?” asked James; “why should I want a case for it?”

“Why,” replied the cobbler, “every one according to his taste; but I must tell you, that if I had such a terrible nose, I should have a case made for it of rose-coloured morocco. Look here, I have a beautiful piece that is just the thing; indeed we should at least want a yard for it. It would then be well guarded, my little gentleman; whereas now I am sure you will knock it against every door-post and carriage you would wish to avoid.”

The dwarf was struck dumb with terror; he felt his nose, it was full two hands long and thick in proportion. So then the old hag had likewise changed his person; and hence it was his mother did not know him, and people called him an ill-favoured dwarf.

“Master,” said he, half crying to the cobbler, “have you no looking-glass at hand in which I might behold myself?”

“Young gentleman,” replied his father, gravely, “you have not exactly been favoured as to appearance so as to make you vain, and you have no cause to look often in the glass. You had better leave it off altogether. It is with you a particularly ridiculous habit.”

“Oh! pray let me look in the glass,” cried the dwarf. “I assure you it is not from vanity.”

“Leave me in peace, I have none in my possession; my wife has a little looking-glass, but I do not know where she has hid it. If you really must look into one,—why then, over the way lives Urban, the barber, who has a glass twice as big as your head; look in there, and now, good morning.”

With these words his father pushed him gently out of the stall, locked the door after him, and sat down again to his work. The little dwarf, much cast down, went over the way to the barber, whom he well remembered in former times.

“Good morning, Urban,” said he to him, “I come to beg a favour of you, be so kind as to let me look a moment in your looking-glass.”

“With pleasure,” cried the barber, laughing, “there it is;” and his customers who were about to be shaved laughed heartily with him. “You are rather a pretty fellow, slim and genteel; you have a neck like a swan, hands like a queen, and a turn-up nose, such as one seldom sees excelled. A little vain you are of it, no doubt; but no matter, look at yourself, people shall not say that envy prevented me from allowing you to see yourself in my glass.”

Thus spoke the barber, and a yell of laughter resounded through the room. In the meantime the dwarf had stepped to the glass and looked at himself. The tears came in his eyes, while saying to himself; “Yes, dear mother, thus you could not indeed recognise your James, he did not look like this in the days of your happiness, when you delighted to show him off before the people?” His eyes had become little, like those of pigs; his nose was immense, hanging over his mouth down to his chin; his neck seemed to have been taken away altogether, for his head sat low between his shoulders, and it was only with the greatest pain that he could move it to the right or left; his body was still the same size as it had been seven years ago, when he was twelve years old, so that he had grown in width what others do in height, between the ages of twelve and twenty. His back and chest stood out like two short, well-filled bags; and this thick-set body was supported by small thin legs, which seemed hardly sufficient to support their burden; but so much the larger were his arms, which hung down from his body, being of the size of those of a full-grown man; his hands were coarse, and of a brownish hue, his fingers long, like spiders’ legs, and when he stretched them to their full extent, he could touch the ground without stooping. Such was little James’s appearance, now that he had become an ugly dwarf. He now remembered the morning on which the old woman had stopped before his mother’s baskets. All that he then had found fault with in her—viz., her long nose, and ugly fingers—all these she had given him, only omitting her long, palsied neck.

“Well, my prince, have you looked enough at yourself now?” said the barber, stepping up to him, and surveying him with a laugh. “Truly, if we wished to dream of such a figure, we could hardly see one so comical. Nevertheless, I will make you a proposition, my little man. My shaving-room is tolerably well frequented, but yet not so much so as I could wish. That arises from my neighbour, the barber Schaum, having discovered a giant, who attracts much custom to his house. Now, to become a giant is no great thing, after all, but to be such a little man as you, is indeed a different thing. Enter my service, little man, you shall have board and lodging, clothes and every thing; for this you shall stand in my door-way in the morning, and invite people to come in; you shall beat up the lather, hand the towel to the customers, and you may be sure that we shall both make it answer; I shall get more customers through you than my neighbour by his giant; and you will get many presents.”

The little man felt quite indignant at the proposal of serving as a decoy to a barber. But was he not obliged to submit patiently to this insulting offer? He, therefore, quietly told the barber he had no time for such services, and went away.

Although the evil hag had thus stunted his growth, yet she had had no power to affect his mind, as he felt full well; for he no longer thought and felt as he did seven years since, and believed that he had become wiser and more sensible in the interval. He did not mourn for the loss of his beauty, nor for his ugly appearance, but only that he was driven from his father’s door like a dog. However, he resolved to make another trial with his mother.

He went again to her in the market, and entreated her to listen to him patiently. He reminded her of the day on which he had gone with the old woman; he called to her mind all the particular incidents of his childhood, told her then how he had served seven years as a squirrel with the fairy, and how she had changed him because he had then ridiculed her person.

The cobbler’s wife did not know what to think of all this. All that he related of his childhood agreed with her own recollections, but when he talked of serving seven years as a squirrel, she said, “It is impossible; there are no fairies;” and when she looked at him she felt a horror at the ugly dwarf, and would not believe that he could be her son. At length she thought it would be best to talk the matter over with her husband; therefore she took up her baskets and bade him go with her.

On arriving at the cobbler’s stall she said: “Look, this fellow pretends to be our lost James. He has told me all the circumstances, how he was stolen from us seven years since, and how he was enchanted by a fairy.”

“Indeed,” interrupted the cobbler in a rage, “has he told you this? wait, you rogue!—I have told him all this an hour ago, and then he goes to make a fool of you. Enchanted you have been, my little chap, have you? Wait a bit, I will soon disenchant you!” So saying, he took a bundle of straps that he had just cut, jumped up towards the dwarf, and beat him on his humped back and his long arms, making the little fellow scream with pain and run crying away.

Now in that town, as in others, there were but few of those compassionate souls who will support a poor unfortunate with a ridiculous appearance. Hence it was that the unlucky dwarf remained all day without food, and was obliged in the evening to choose for his night’s quarters the steps of a church, though they were hard and cold.

When on the following morning the first rays of the sun awoke him, he began seriously to think how he should prolong his existence, now that his father and mother had rejected him; he was too proud to serve as a sign-board to a barber; he would not hire himself us a merry-andrew to be exhibited; what then should he do? It now occurred to him that as a squirrel he had made considerable progress in the culinary art, and thought he might justly expect to prove a match for any cook; he therefore resolved to turn his art to advantage.

As soon, therefore, as the morning had dawned, and the streets became animated, he entered a church and performed his devotions; thence he proceeded on his way. The duke (the sovereign of the country) was a notorious gourmand, who kept a good table, and sought cooks in all parts of the world. To his palace the dwarf went. When he arrived at the outer gate the porter asked his errand, and began to crack his jokes on him; when he asked for the chief cook they laughed and led him through the inner courts, and wherever he went the servants stood still, looked at him, laughed heartily, and followed him, so that in a short time a great posse of menials of all descriptions crowded up the steps of the palace. The grooms threw away their curry-combs, the running footmen ran with all their might, the carpet-spreaders ceased beating their carpets, all crowded and thronged around him, as if the enemy was at the gates, and the shouts of “A dwarf, a dwarf! have you seen the dwarf?” filled the air.

At this moment the steward of the palace, with a furious countenance and a large whip in his hand, made his appearance at the door, crying, “For Heaven’s sake, ye hounds, what is all this uproar for? Do you not know that our gracious master is still asleep?” At the same time he flourished his whip, laying it rather roughly about the backs of some grooms and porters.

“Why sir,” they all cried, “don’t you see that we are bringing a dwarf, such a dwarf as you never saw?” The steward suppressed, though with difficulty, a loud laugh, when he got sight of the little man, for he was afraid that laughter would derogate from his dignity. He therefore drove them all away with his whip except the dwarf, whom he led into the house and asked what he wanted. Hearing that the little man wished to see the master of the kitchen, he replied, “You make a mistake, my little son; I suppose you want to see me, the steward of the palace, do you not? You wish to become dwarf to the duke, is it not so?”

“No, sir,” replied the dwarf, “I am a clever cook and skilled in the preparation of all sorts of choice meats; be so kind as to bring me to the master of the kitchen, perhaps he may be in want of my skill.”

“Every one according to his wish, my little man; but you are an inconsiderate youth. To the kitchen! why, as the duke’s dwarf you would have nothing to do and plenty to eat and drink to your heart’s desire, and fine clothes into the bargain. But we shall see; your skill in the culinary art will hardly be such as a cook to the duke is required to possess, and you are too good for a scullion.” As he said the last words he took the dwarf by the hand and conducted him to the apartments of the master of the kitchen.

On arriving there the dwarf said, with so deep a bow that his nose touched the floor, “Gracious, sir, are you in want of a skilful cook?”

The master of the kitchen, surveying him from top to toe, burst into a loud fit of laughter, and said, “What, you a cook? Do you think that our hearths are so low that you could even look on one, though you should stand on tiptoe, and stretch your head ever so much out of your shoulders? My good little fellow, whoever sent you here to hire yourself as a cook, has been making a fool of you.” Thus saying, the master cook laughed heartily, and was joined by the steward of the palace and all the servants in the room.

But the dwarf was not to be discomposed by this. “Of what consequence is it to waste a few eggs, a little syrup and wine, some flour and spice, upon trial, in a house where there are plenty? Give me some dainty dish to prepare,” said he, “procure all that is necessary for it, and it shall be immediately prepared before your eyes, so that you shall be constrained to avow that I am a first-rate cook.”

While the dwarf was saying all this, and many other things, it was strange to see how his little eyes sparkled, how his long nose moved to and fro, and his fingers, which were like spider’s legs, suited their movements to his words.

“Well!” exclaimed the master cook, taking the steward by the arm, “Well! be it so for the sake of the joke, let us go to the kitchen.”

They walked through several large rooms and corridors till they came to the kitchen. This was a large spacious building magnificently fitted up; on twenty hearths fires were constantly burning, clear water was flowing through the midst, serving also as a fishpond; in cupboards of marble and choice wood, the stores were piled, which it was necessary to have at hand for use, and on either side were ten rooms, in which were kept all the delicious dainties for the palate which can be obtained in all the countries of Europe or even the East. Servants of all descriptions were running to and fro, handling and rattling kettles and pans, with forks and ladles; but when the master cook entered, all stood motionless, and the crackling of the fire, and the rippling of the brook were alone to be heard.

“What has the duke ordered for breakfast this morning?” he asked an old cook, who always prepared the breakfast.

“Sir, his highness has pleased to order the Danish soup, with the small red Hamburg dumplings.”

“Well,” continued the master cook, “did you hear what the duke wishes to eat? Are you bold enough to attempt this difficult dish? At all events the dumplings you will not be able to make, that is quite a secret.”

“Nothing easier than that,” replied the dwarf, to their astonishment; for he had often made this dish when he was a squirrel. “Nothing easier, only give me the herbs, the spices, fat of a wild boar, roots and eggs for the soup; but for the dumplings,” said he, in a low voice, so that only the master cook and the breakfast-maker could hear, “for the dumplings I want various meats, wine, duck’s fat, ginger, and the herb called the stomach comforter.”

“Ah, by St. Benedict, to what enchanter have you been apprenticed?” cried the cook in astonishment. “You have hit all to a hair, and as to the noted herb, we did not know of that ourselves; yes! that must make the dish still more delicious. Oh! you miracle of a cook!”

“I should never have thought this,” said the master cook, “but let us make the trial, give him all he asks and let him prepare the breakfast.”

His orders were obeyed, and the necessary preparations were made on the hearth; but they now found that the dwarf could not reach it. They therefore put two chairs together, laid a slab of marble on them, and asked the little wonder to step up and begin his skill. In a large circle stood the cooks, scullions, servants, and others, looking at him in amazement, to see how readily and quickly he proceeded, and how cleanly and neatly he prepared every thing. When he had finished, he ordered both dishes to be put to the fire, and to be boiled until he should call out; then he began to count one, two, three, and so on up to five hundred, when he cried out, “Stop, take them off,” and then invited the head cook to taste them.

The taster ordered the scullion to bring him a gold spoon, which he first rinsed in the brook, and then gave it to the head cook. The latter, stepping up to the hearth with a grave mien, took a spoonful, tasted it, and shutting his eyes, smacked his lips with delight, saying, “Delicious! by the duke’s life, delicious! Would you not like to taste a spoonful, Mr. Steward?” The latter, bowing, took the spoon, tasted it, and was beside himself with delight.

“With all due respect to your skill, dear breakfast-maker, you aged and experienced cook, you have never been able to make the soup or dumplings so delicious.”

The cook also tasted it, shook the dwarf reverentially by the hand, saying, “My little man, you are a master of your art, yes, that herb ‘stomach comforter’ imparts a peculiar charm to the whole.”

At this moment the duke’s valet entered the kitchen, and informed them that the duke wished his breakfast. The preparations were now dished up in silver, and sent up to the duke; but the head cook took the dwarf to his own room to converse with him. They had scarcely sat down long enough to say half a paternoster, when a messenger came and called the head cook to the duke. He quickly put on his best clothes, and followed the messenger.

The duke looked well pleased, He had eaten all they had served, and was just wiping his beard as the master-cook entered. “Master,” said he, “I have hitherto always been well satisfied with your cooks; but tell me who prepared the breakfast this morning? It never was so delicious since I sat on the throne of my fathers; tell me the name of the cook, that I may send him a ducat as a present.”

“My lord, this is a strange story,” replied the master; and he told the duke that a dwarf had been brought to him that morning, who earnestly solicited the place of a cook, and how all had happened. The duke was greatly astonished, ordered the dwarf to appear, and asked him who he was, and whence he came. Now poor James did not exactly wish to say that he had been enchanted, and had served as a squirrel. But yet he adhered to truth, telling him that he now had neither father nor mother, and had learned cooking of an old woman. Much amused by the strange appearance of his new cook, the duke asked no more questions, but said, “If you wish to remain here, I will give you fifty ducats a-year, a suit of livery, and two pair of breeches beside. Your duty shall be to prepare my breakfast; yourself every day to give directions how the dinner shall be prepared, and to take the general superintendence of the cooking. As each in my palace has his proper name, you shall be called ‘Nose,’ and hold the office of sub-master-cook.”

The dwarf prostrated himself before the mighty duke, kissed his feet, and promised to serve him faithfully.

Thus the dwarf was for the present provided for, and did honour to his office. And it must be remarked that the duke had become quite an altered man since Nose the dwarf had been in the palace. Formerly, he had often been pleased to throw the dishes and plates that were served up at the heads of the cooks; indeed, he even once, in a fit of rage, threw a fried calf’s foot that was not sufficiently tender, with such violence at the head of the master-cook, that the latter fell to the ground, and was compelled for three days to keep his bed. ’Tis true, the duke made him amends for what he had done by some handfuls of ducats, but still no cook ever came before him with his dishes, without trembling and terror.

Ever since the dwarf had been in the palace, all seemed to be changed, as if by magic. The duke, instead of three, had now five meals a day, in order to relish properly the skill of his little servant, and yet never showed the least sign of discontent. Indeed, he found all new and excellent, was kind and pleasant, and became fatter daily.

He would often in the midst of a meal send for the master-cook and the dwarf, set one on his right, and the other on the left hand, and put with his own gracious fingers some morsels of the delicious viands into their mouths; a favour which both knew how to appreciate fully. The dwarf was the wonder of the whole town, and people requested the permission of the master-cook to see him cook, while some of the principal folks prevailed upon the duke to permit their servants to profit by the instructions of the dwarf in his kitchen, by which he obtained much money, for those who came to learn paid daily half a ducat. In order, however, to keep the other cooks in good humour, and prevent jealousy, Nose let them have the money that was paid by the masters for instruction.

Thus Nose lived almost two years in great comfort and honour, the thought of his parents alone saddening him, and nothing remarkable occurring until the following circumstance happened. The dwarf being particularly clever, and fortunate in his purchases, went himself, as often as time permitted, to the market, to buy poultry and fruit. One morning he went to the poultry-market, and walking up and down inquired for fat geese such as his master liked. His appearance, far from creating laughter and ridicule, commanded respect, since he was known as the duke’s celebrated cook, and each poultry-woman felt herself happy if he but turned his nose to her. At length coming to the end of a row of stalls, he perceived in a corner, a woman with geese for sale, who did not, like the others, praise her goods, nor call to the customers.

He stepped up to her, examined the geese, weighed them in his hand, and finding them to his liking, bought three, with the cage they were in, put them on his shoulders and trotted home. It appeared singular to him that only two of the geese cackled and cried like others, the third being quite quiet and thoughtful, and occasionally groaning and moaning like a human being.

“She is not well,” said he to himself, “I must hasten to get home and dress her.” But the goose replied, distinctly,

“If thou stick’st me,
Why I’ll bite thee,
And if my neck thou twistest round.
Thou soon wilt lie below the ground.”

Quite startled, the dwarf put down the basket, and the goose, looking at him with her fine intelligent eyes, sighed. “Why what have we here?” cried Nose. “You can talk, Miss Goose. I never expected that. Well, make yourself easy; I know the world and will not harm so rare a bird. But I would wager something that you have not always been covered with feathers. Indeed I was once a poor squirrel myself.”

“You are right,” replied the goose, “in saying I was not born with this disgraceful disguise. Alas! it was never sung at my cradle that Mimi, the great Wetterbock’s daughter, would be killed in the kitchen of a duke.”

“Pray be easy, dear Miss Mimi,” said the dwarf, comforting her, “for as sure as I am an honest fellow, and sub-master cook to his highness, no one shall touch your throat. I will give you a stall in my own apartments, you shall have enough food, and I will devote my leisure time to converse with you. I’ll tell the others in the kitchen that I am fattening a goose with various herbs for the duke, and at the first opportunity you shall be set at liberty.”

The goose thanked him, with tears in her eyes, and the dwarf, as he had promised, killed the other two geese, but built a stall for Mimi, under the pretence of preserving her for some special occasion. Instead of feeding her on grain he gave her pastry and sweetmeats. As often as he had time he went to converse with her and comfort her. They related their histories to each other, and Nose learnt that she was the daughter of the enchanter, Wetterbock, who lived in the island of Gothland. Being involved in a quarrel with an old fairy, her father had been conquered by stratagems and cunning, and out of revenge the fairy had changed her into a goose, and brought her to the town.

When the dwarf told his history, she said, “I am not inexperienced in these matters, my father having given me and my sisters what instruction he was allowed to impart. The story of the dispute at your mother’s fruit stall, your sudden metamorphosis, when you smelled the herb, as well as the words the old woman used, show me that you are enchanted through herbs; that is to say, if you can find out the herb of which the fairy thought when she bewitched you, you may be disenchanted.” This was but poor consolation for the dwarf, for how should he find the herb? Yet he thanked her and felt some hope.

About this time the duke had a visit from a neighbouring prince, his friend. He, therefore, ordered the dwarf to appear, and said, “Now is the time for you to show whether you serve me faithfully and are master of your art. The prince, who is now visiting me, keeps, as is well known, the best table after me. He is a great connoisseur in good living, and a wise man. Let it now be your care to supply my table every day so that his astonishment shall daily become greater. But you must not, under pain of my displeasure, repeat the same dish during his visits. You may ask of my treasurer all you want, and should it be needful to fry gold and diamonds you must do it. I would rather become poor than forfeit his good opinion of my taste.”

When the duke had concluded, the dwarf bowed most respectfully, saying, “be it as you say, my lord; please God I shall do all to gratify the palate of this prince of gourmands.”

The little cook now mustered all his skill. He did not spare his master’s treasures, and still less did he spare himself. He was seen all day at the fire, enveloped by clouds of smoke, and his voice constantly resounded through the vaults of the kitchen, for he governed the scullions and under cooks.

During a fortnight the foreign prince lived happily, and feasted sumptuously with the duke. They ate not less than five times a day, and the duke was delighted with his dwarf, seeing satisfaction expressed on the countenance of his guest. But on the fifteenth day it happened, that the duke, while at table, sent for the dwarf, presented him to his guest, and asked how he was satisfied with his cooking?

“You are a wonderful cook,” replied the prince, “and know what good living is. All the time I have been here you have not repeated a single dish, and have prepared every thing exquisitely. But pray tell me, why have you not all this time prepared that queen of dishes, the pie called ‘souzeraine?’”

The dwarf was startled at this question, for he had never heard of this queen of pies; however he recovered himself and replied, “My lord, I was in hopes that your serene countenance would shine some time yet on this court, therefore I deferred this dish; for with what dish but the queen of pies should the cook honour the day of your departure?”

“Indeed!” said the duke, laughing; “I suppose then you wish to wait for the day of my death to honour me, for you have never yet sent it up to me. But think of another dish to celebrate the departure, for to-morrow that pie must be on the table.”

“Your pleasure shall be done, my lord,” replied the dwarf, and retired. But he went away uneasy, for the day of his disgrace and misfortune had come. He did not know how to prepare this pie. He went therefore to his chamber, and wept over his fate, when the goose Mimi, who was allowed to walk about, came up and inquired the cause of his grief. When she heard of the pie, “Dry your tears,” said she, “this dish came often to my father’s table, and I know pretty well what is necessary for it; you have only to take such and such things in certain quantities, and should these not be all that are really necessary, I trust that the taste of these gentlemen is not sufficiently refined to discover the deficiency.”

At these words the dwarf danced with joy, blessed the day on which he had purchased the goose, and set about making this queen of pies. He first made a trial in miniature, and lo! the flavour was exquisite, and the master-cook, to whom he gave the small pie to taste, praised once more his great skill.

The following day he prepared the pie on a larger scale, and, after having garnished it with flowers, sent it hot as it came from the oven to table. After which he dressed in his best and went to the dining-hall. On entering, he found the steward engaged in carving the pie, and presenting it on silver dishes to the duke and his guest. The duke swallowed a large piece, turned his eyes upward, saying “ha! ha! ha! justly is this called the queen of pies; but my dwarf is also a king of cooks. Is it not so, my friend?”

His guest took a small morsel, tasted it carefully, and smiled somewhat scornfully and mysteriously.

“The thing is made pretty well,” replied he, pushing his plate away, “but it is not quite the Souzeraine, as I well imagined.”

At this the duke frowned with indignation, and turned red, saying, “You hound of a dwarf, how dare you do this to your lord? I will have your big head cut off as a punishment for your bad cooking.”

“Ah, my lord,” said the dwarf trembling, “for Heaven’s sake have compassion on me; I have made that dish, indeed, according to the proper receipt, and am sure that nothing is wanting.”

“’Tis a lie, you knave,” replied the duke, giving him a kick, “’tis a lie; else my guest would not say there was something wanting. I will have you yourself cut up and baked in a pie.”

“Have compassion on me!” exclaimed the dwarf, shuffling on his knees up to the prince, and clasping his feet; “tell me what is wanting to this pie and why it does not suit your palate: let me not die for a handful of meat or flour.”

“This will not avail you, my good Nose,” replied the prince, laughing; “even yesterday I thought you would not be able to make this dish as well as my cook. Know there is wanting a herb called Sneeze-with-pleasure, which is not even known in this country. Without it this pie is insipid, and your master will never eat it in such perfection as I do.”

At this the duke flew into a rage, and cried with flashing eyes:

“I will eat it in perfection yet, for I swear by my princely honour, that by to-morrow I will either have the pie set before you, such as you desire it, or the head of this fellow shall be spiked on the gate of my palace. Go, you hound, I give you once more twenty-four hours!” cried the duke.

The dwarf again went to his chamber and mourned over his fate with the goose that he must die, as he had never heard of this herb. “If it is nothing more,” said she, “I can help you out of the difficulty, as my father has taught me to know all herbs. At any other time your death, no doubt would have been certain, and it is fortunate for you that we have a new moon, as the herb is only then in flower. Now tell me, are there any old chesnut trees in the neighbourhood of the palace?”

“Oh yes,” replied Nose, with a lighter heart, “near the lake, about two hundred yards from the palace, there is a clump of them; but what of them?”

“Why,” said Mimi, “the herb only flowers at the foot of them. Now let us lose no time but go to fetch what you want; take me on your arm, and put me down when we get out, that I may search for you.”

He did as she requested, and went towards the gate of the palace, but here the porter levelled his gun and said: “My good Nose, it is all over with you, you must not pass; I have strict orders respecting you.”

“But I suppose I may go into the garden,” replied the dwarf. “Be so good as to send one of your fellow servants to the master of the palace, and ask whether I may not go into the garden to fetch herbs.” The porter did so and permission was given, since, the garden having high walls, escape was impossible. But when Nose and Mimi had got out he put her carefully down, and she ran quickly before him towards the lake, where the chesnuts were. He followed with a heavy heart, since this was his last and only hope. If she did not find the herb he was resolved rather to plunge into the lake than to have his head cut off. The goose searched in vain under all the chesnut trees; she turned every herb with her beak, but no trace of the one wanted was to be found, and she now began to cry out of compassion and fear for the dwarf, as the evening was already growing dusk, and the objects around were difficult to distinguish.

At this moment the dwarf cast a glance across the lake, and cried suddenly: “Look, look, yonder across the lake there stands a large old tree; let us go there and search; perhaps my luck may bloom there.” The goose hopped and flew before him, and he ran after her as quickly as his short legs would permit him; the chesnut tree cast a large shade, and it was so dark around that scarcely anything could be distinguished; but suddenly the goose stopped, flapped her wings for joy, put her head quickly into the high grass, and plucked something which she reached gracefully with her bill to the astonished Nose, saying; “There is the herb, and plenty is growing here, so that you will never want for it.”

The dwarf looked thoughtfully at the herb, and a sweet odour arose from it, which immediately reminded him of the scene of his metamorphosis; the stalk and leaves were of a blueish green, bearing a glowing red flower, with a yellow edge.

“God be praised!” he now exclaimed, “What a miracle! I believe this is the very herb that transformed me from a squirrel into this hideous form; shall I make a trial, to see what effect it will have on me!”

“Not yet,” entreated the goose. “Take a handful of this herb with you, let us go to your room and put up all the money and whatever you have, and then we will try the virtue of the herb.”

They did so, and went again to his room, the dwarf’s heart beating audibly with anticipation. After having put up about fifty or sixty ducats which he had saved, he tied up his clothes in a bundle, and said: “If it please God, I shall get rid of my burthensome deformity.” He then put his nose deep into the herb and inhaled its odour.

Now his limbs began to stretch and crack, he felt how his head started from his shoulders, he squinted down on his nose and saw it became smaller and smaller, his back and chest became straight, and his legs longer.

The goose viewed all this with great astonishment, exclaiming, “Ah, what a tall handsome fellow you have now become. God be praised, there is no trace left in you of what you were before.” Now James was highly rejoiced, he folded his hands and prayed. But his joy did not make him forget what he owed to Mimi the goose; his heart indeed urged him to go to his parents, yet from gratitude he overcame his wish and said, “To whom but to you am I indebted that I am again restored to my former self? Without you I should never have found this herb, but should have continued for ever in that form, or else have died under the axe of the executioner. Well, I will repay you. I will bring you back to your father; he being so experienced in magic will be able easily to disenchant you.”

The goose shed tears of joy and accepted his offer. James fortunately escaped unknown from the palace with his goose, and started on his way for the sea-coast towards Mimi’s home.

It is needless to add that their journey was successful, that Wetterbock disenchanted his daughter, and dismissed James laden with presents; that the latter returned to his native town, that his parents with delight recognized in the handsome young man their lost son, that he, with the presents that he had received, purchased a shop and became wealthy and happy.

Only this much may be added, that after his departure from the duke’s palace, there was a great sensation, for when, on the next morning, the duke was about to fulfil his oath, and to have the dwarf beheaded in case he had not discovered the herbs, he was nowhere to be found; and the prince maintained that the duke had let him escape secretly rather than lose his best cook, and accused him of breaking his word of honour. This circumstance gave rise to a great war between the two princes, which is well known in history by the name of the “Herb War.” Many battles were fought, but at length a peace was concluded, which is now called the “Pie Peace,” because at the festival of reconciliation the Souzeraine, queen of pies, was prepared by the prince’s cook, and relished by the duke in the highest degree.

Thus the most trifling causes often lead to the greatest result; and this, reader, is the story of “Nose, the Dwarf.”

C. A. F.




The beautiful Tugendreich von Starschedel was standing in the baronial hall of her ancestral castle before the pedigree of her family, which occupied the space between two pillars in the wall. Her little hand powerfully pressed her heaving bosom, as if it wished to check the violent palpitation of her agitated heart, and her dark blue eyes wandered stealthily from the gay escutcheons and glanced through the lofty arched windows into the open riding-course, in which Axel, the groom, was just then breaking in a young stallion, with all the grace and strength of the horse-tamer Castor.

“Well,” said Gundchen, her maid, who was leaning against the window, “there is nothing, in my opinion, like a good horseman. Only look, gracious Fräulein, how the untamed animal is rearing, and how the man sits on him like a puppet.”

“That is a silly picture, if it is intended to be flattering,” said Tugendreich, and blushing, she stepped to the window, as she feared she had betrayed herself.

“Do not torment yourself so much, Axel,” cried the baron from the window. “You and Hippolytus may break your necks together; he is sure not to leap, and the master of the stable has given him up already.”

“All depends on the rider,” replied Axel, with powerful voice. “He shall leap, I assure you, though he had Wallenstein and Tilly on him.” So saying, he pressed the snorting animal with great strength, and gallopped with him to the end of the course, that he might better leap the bar.

“A devil of a fellow this Axel,” said the nobleman, laughing in approbation.

“Heavens!” shrieked Gundchen, “there will be an accident,” and Tugendreich suppressed a sigh of anguish. With frightful side-leaps, the black horse furiously galloped towards the bar. At this moment the little daughter of the gardener ran across the course, and frightened at the approaching furious steed, fell just under his fore feet. Terror prevented the spectators from crying out, but Axel saw the child at the critical moment when the hoof was raised over its head, and, thinking of its peril, only reined the leaping horse suddenly in with such force that he fell rearing on his haunches.

“He will fall back,” cried the baron.

“I cannot look upon it,” exclaimed Gundchen, holding her hands before her eyes, and Tugendreich leaned against the recess as white as her veil. In the meanwhile Axel had given the horse so violent a blow on the head, that he was on his legs again and stood trembling; he dismounted, lifted the crying child gently from the ground and kissing it, carried it to its mother, who came up running and shrieking.

“Gallantly done,” cried the nobleman, “but the experiment might have cost your life.”

“Better that Hippolytus and I should die than the innocent child,” replied Axel. He mounted again, and the steed now knowing his master, leaped readily and gracefully without a run over the high bar.

“Well done,” cried the nobleman again. “Come up, you shall have a bottle of wine for that.” “I must first cool the animal,” was Axel’s short reply, as he rode off in a gentle trot. “This fellow is not to be bought for gold,” muttered the baron; “but he sometimes assumes a tone that makes it doubtful which of us two is the master and which the groom.”

Tugendreich, agitated by the scene she had just witnessed, was about to leave the hall. On her way, she again passed the pedigree, and turning her glowing countenance upon it, a black escutcheon met her eye. This belonged to a lateral relation whom her father had only recently struck out on account of a misalliance. With a gloomy foreboding she gazed at it, then cast an anxious glance upon the one bearing her name, and hurried sobbing from the hall.

About an hour after this, Tugendreich met the dangerous groom in the anti-room of her father’s closet. Their eyes flashed as they met each other, but both immediately looked on the ground while a blush, like the sky tinged by the rising sun, overspread her cheeks. “The gardener’s little Rosa has recovered from her fright,” she whispered softly, “I have just left her.”

“May heaven reward you, Fräulein, that sent you upon earth as a ministering reconciling angel!” cried the groom with transport.

“But promise me, Axel, not to ride so furiously again; I have been in great anxiety about thee,” stammered Tugendreich, becoming confused in the midst of her speech, as she had not yet settled in her mind as to whether she should address this groom by “thee,” or “you.”[1]

“About me? This makes me indescribably happy,” said Axel with delight, and suddenly raised her beautiful hand to his lips, imprinting a fiery kiss on it. At this she appeared angry, withdrew her hand from his bold grasp, though a minute too late, and saying, “You forget yourself,” quickly left the room.

Axel’s eyes followed her with rapture, and he then entered his master’s room and found him in company with Magister Talander, his spiritual adviser and factotum, playing chess, and exchanging high words. In vain did the excited magister prove from Damiano, Phillippo, Carrera, and Gustavo Seleno, that the adversary’s piece which threatened one of the squares over which the king must be moved, was one of the five impediments to castling the king. In vain did he assert that Palmedes, Xerxes, Satrenshah, and even Tamerlan could not have played otherwise. The baron stood to his own opinion, and said, the absurdity of the rule was so evident, that even his groom Axel, if he had but a notion of the moves, could not but see it.

“I know the moves, and you are wrong,” interrupted Axel. With open mouth, the master wondered at the impudence of his servant, who quietly added: “You forget that the question here is about a paltry king of chess, about an indolent, cowardly despot, who is only born to be protected by his people; and if ever compelled to act himself, moves in a narrow, pitiful circle. It is quite consistent that such a king should take the only important step in his life with the utmost caution, and avoid doing it if there is the least appearance of danger. My king, indeed, would not recognise himself in this picture.”

“What does the fellow mean by talking about his king?” muttered the old baron. “Our gracious sovereign is the elector of Saxony.”

“But not mine,” was Axel’s proud reply. “I have the honour to be a Swede.”

“For heaven’s sake, Magister, tell me whence this fellow gets his pride, and bold words?” asked the baron softly.

“Why, I have already had my meditations on that subject,” replied he, with a shake of the head; and the old baron said, in a commanding tone to Axel: “There’s your wine, but you shall drink to the health of our lord elector.”

“Most joyfully,” replied Axel, filling a bumper, and raising it in the air; “here’s to the health of your noble elector, and my heroic king, and may the concluded alliance prove a blessing to Saxony and to Sweden for many generations to come.”

“Well, that is something new again,” replied the baron, sarcastically; “I suppose you were in the cabinet when the alliance was concluded. Unfortunately we have not come to that yet.”

“We have come to it, my lord,” replied Axel, familiarly tapping the baron on the shoulder; “your elector is no chess king, who is afraid to take a quick and decisive step that shall decide the welfare of his land.”

He went away, and the two old gentlemen sat, struck with astonishment, staring at each other, like the pair of lions at Dresden.

In melancholy mood, Tugendreich was standing before an old decayed shaft, to which her walk had brought her, and her maid, like Fräulein’s little spaniel, was crawling about among the bushes in search of something. At this moment Talander came up to them, laden with a large bundle of plants on his return from botanising. To his inquiries, as to what they were in search of, Tugendreich informed him, that, in running down a hill, she had laid hold of a branch, and twisted from her finger a beautiful sapphire ring, a beloved legacy of her late mother, which had probably rolled into the shaft, as they had at present searched for it in vain.

“Oh, what youthful levity!” replied the magister, in a grumbling voice. “This precious stone ought not to have been merely valuable to you as a remembrance of your revered mother, but, having been dug and cut out under particular constellations, it was the talisman of your life. Have you been forgetful enough not to remember that the greatest secrets of nature lie in verbis, herbis et lapidibus? A foreboding which rarely deceives me, tells me that this loss will have a decisive influence on your fate.”

Tugendreich listened anxiously to the words of the old tutor, which she was wont to consider as oracles.

“Do not grieve too much, however,” continued the old man, in a milder tone, “the same foreboding tells me also that the hand from which you will receive back the lost stone, will also lead you to the true happiness of your life.” Thus saying, he walked slowly down the foot-path towards the castle, while Tugendreich looked thoughtfully after him. A crackling and rustling was heard in the branches of an old pine-tree standing near the shaft, and from its top, which touched a high rock, descended a sturdy huntsman, boldly leaping from bough to bough, who soon stood before the astonished maiden as Axel.

“I overheard all,” he said, with rapture, “and joyfully will risk my life to make good the prophetic words of Talander. You shall see me either with the ring or not at all. In the latter case shed a tear over my grave.” And before the Fräulein could raise her hand to prevent him, the audacious man rushed into the shaft, and with a dull and rumbling noise pieces of earth and stones rolled after him into the dark abyss.

“He is lost,” sighed Tugendreich, sinking into the arms of Gundchen, who, astonished by the clear light which broke upon her at this moment, could not feel the same grief for the lost man.

With a look of affection Tugendreich bent down over the shaft, so that Gundchen thought it advisable to lay hold of the dress of her mistress to prevent her from following her beloved, should she be inclined to do so. A joyful sound now resounded from the depth below, and immediately Axel was struggling up the shaft through various minerals that had shot out in the shape of goblins, and with bleeding hand presented the lost ring to the Fräulein. With a heavenly look the astonished girl thanked him, while tears of gratitude fell on the wounded hand, which Axel eagerly kissed away. Now, for the first time, she saw the blood on his hand, shrieked aloud, and insisted upon binding the wound herself of which she had been the cause. Slowly he offered his hand. Not seeing the handkerchief which her maid offered, the Fräulein took her own, binding it with the ribbon of the bow she wore on her own bosom. As she let go his hand Axel fancied that he felt a gentle pressure, but before he had time to think of this happy moment in which he saw a symbol of his future happiness, the lovely girl had fled like a frightened roe. As if in a dream he slowly pursued his way to the castle, where Talander received him at the gate, being commissioned from the Fräulein, and ready for every emergency, took out his case of surgical instruments to dress his wound in due form. While doing this the old man said, “You have a fine hand, almost too delicately formed for your station; I suppose you have also seen military service, these hard parts show that you have frequently handled the sword.”

“Ah, true,” stammered the patient, embarrassed.

“You seem altogether a strange customer,” continued Talander “and I am somewhat curious to know more of you. Pray just show me the palm of your hand.”

“Never mind such fooleries, magister,” said Axel, withdrawing his hand.

“Only ignorance judges hastily of what it does not understand,” said the magister, angrily. “How can you thus with contempt reject that noble chiromancy to which I have devoted myself for nearly a generation.” Forcibly seizing the wounded hand he examined it long and closely, then said, muttering, “Well, these lines indicate that you were born for something superior to a stable. This line may be truly called the cingulum veneris, it promises success in love; and here are fame and honour and high dignities. Ah, ah, friend, you are not what you appear.”

“Your crotchets deceive you in a singular manner,” said Axel, embarrassed, and wishing to escape.

“The old Talander is no woman,” said the magister, “and therefore has no crotchets, and has never deceived himself yet.” And, retaining his hold of Axel, he added, “I tell you plainly you are no groom, and if you were not a good evangelical Christian, and had not a pair of clear faithful eyes, through which one may imagine that one can look into your very heart, I should say you had some wicked design, and I should communicate my suspicions to the baron.”

“By heavens and my honour,” cried Axel, warmly, “my intentions are pure.”

“A groom may indeed be an honest man,” said Talander, mockingly, “but it is something uncommon for him to give his word of honour; it sounds rather cavalier-like, and you must act more in character. I have done now,” continued he, fastening the bandage; “give me the handkerchief and ribbon to return to the Fräulein.”

“Never,” cried Axel, as he concealed the precious pledges in his bosom.

“‘Never;’ say you, youngster! you are rather too bold for me,” said the old man, menacing with his finger. “Go, settle it yourself with the Fräulein. There she stands in the garden, near the rose-tree, herself the most beautiful rose in the garden. How wicked must be that worm that would malignantly approach this flower to poison its sweet bloom—are you not of the same opinion?”

“Indeed I am of the same opinion,” said the groom; “be unconcerned about this sweet flower which so proudly sets forth your care as its gardener. With the ray of love it will bloom more beautifully, and if myrtle and laurel shall once be entwined around it you will weep tears of joy.”

“Amen,” said the old man, with emotion, and Axel ran to the garden to Tugendreich.

“The magister demanded from me the handkerchief and ribbon in your name, Fräulein,” said Axel; “I only bring you back the former, stained with the blood which flowed for you. May it speak a friendly word for poor Axel, when some day he will sigh far from you. The ribbon I must keep. It rested on your angelic heart, it is hallowed, and it will also hallow and purify the heart upon which it shall rest from this time.”

Tugendreich wished to answer but was unable, she wished to look up but could not. It then occurred to her that she ought really to be indignant at this audacity, but that she could do still less; and the beautiful rose which she held in her hand became the victim of her inward struggle, for she plucked off leaf after leaf, dropping them on the ground.

“May I keep the ribbon?” asked Axel, imploringly. She at length raised her beautiful eyes, and a ray of love flashed powerfully from them. Enraptured he stretched out his arms to embrace her; deeply blushing, she sank into them, and he pressed the first pure kiss of ardent love on her lips. At this moment the baron suddenly appeared from behind the hedge, contemplating the group with a truly noble horror. “Begone to the castle!” he cried to his daughter; “to the stable!” he cried, in a voice of thunder, to Axel. Like a finger-post, he pointed to the places mentioned, and the frightened couple obeyed in silence.

In anxious expectation of what would follow, Tugendreich had been standing for some time in the window of the baronial hall, from which she had in the morning admired Axel’s horsemanship, when her father came up to her with a wrathful countenance, seized her hand, and led her to the gigantic portrait of the ancestors of the Starschedels, which gloomily and menacingly looked down, as it were, from the gold frame upon the delinquent. “Who is that?” asked the baron, with suppressed wrath.

“Magnus von Starschedel, the founder of our family,” repeated Tugendreich, words which had been impressed on her memory from infancy. “In the war against the emperor, Henry IV., Duke Rodolph of Swabia dubbed him knight, A.D. 1078, at Stronow, near Mellenstädt; and he fell in the battle fought against the same emperor, near Würzburg, A.D. 1086, after his valour had contributed to gain the victory.”

“What think you this glorious knight would have done, if he had, like myself, seen you from behind the hedge?” asked her father, while Tugendreich cast her eyes down on the squares of the inlaid floors. “He would have cleft the head of the unfaithful servant,” continued the baron, raising his voice, “and thrown the degenerate girl into the dungeon, until he should have placed her and her passion for ever in a cloister.”

The Fräulein gave a silent assent to the justice of this sentence.

“Tugendreich! Tugendreich!” continued her father, reproaching her; “why did I give you this lovely name?[2] I ought to have christened you Philippe, for Talander has interpreted this name to me, to mean a lover of horses, and it would therefore be some excuse for your predilection for the stable.”

Now a feeling of pride rose within her, and she cried, “I deserve blame, but do not merit your contempt. My feelings are pure, and I need not be ashamed of him.”

The furious impetuosity of noble wrath would now have broken through the last barrier of paternal love, when fortunately for the poor Fräulein a loud shriek of terror resounded from the court-yard, and Talander entered the hall with a countenance as pale as death. “May God and his holy gospel protect us,” exclaimed the old man. “A swarm of Croats is storming through the country, and may probably come this very night.”

“Well,” replied the baron, with affected composure, “Saxony has nothing to fear from the troops of his Imperial Majesty.”

“So you think, my lord, but I do not,” rejoined the magister, trembling. “People whisper already about the alliance concluded between Saxony and Sweden, and if the Croats are terrible even as friends, may Heaven preserve us against their inroads as enemies. They are said to commit the most awful havoc on the estates of the protestant noblemen.”

The baron fell into an arm-chair as if thunder struck, and Tugendreich was wringing her white hands as Axel entered the hall. A helmet covered his head, a sword was rattling at his side, and before the old baron could think of his wrath against him, he said in a firm and manly tone, “The Croats are approaching, and will not want a pretext for committing their depredations here as they have done every where else; your property and life, and the honour of your lovely daughter are in jeopardy. Nothing but a bold resistance can save you. Isolani’s followers spare nothing, not even those who submit readily.”

“Are you out of your senses?” asked the baron. “With what force am I to begin the struggle against an imperial army?”

“Only he who abandons himself is abandoned,” said Axel. “This castle has high, strong walls and deep moats. I have raised a whole village, and have armed your ranger and servants. If they follow my advice they will all take refuge here with their property. We must give up the village, and hold out here until succour comes.”

Surprised by Axel’s bold design and chivalrous conduct, old Starschedel sat there as incapable of opposition as of coming to a resolution of his own. “The means are desperate,” said Talander, “but I see no other way of proceeding.”

“But what of the imperial band?” sighed the old baron.

“We do not resist the imperial troops,” argued the magister, cunningly. “We only protect our property against marauders and robbers, who plunder the country contrary to the will of his imperial majesty.”

“Tell the people from the balcony that I act in accordance with your wish,” said Axel, “and leave the rest to me.”

Starschedel looked inquiringly at his oracle, who returned a nod of approbation, and submitted patiently to be dragged to the balcony by Axel, where he delivered general orders of obedience to Axel, though often interrupted by shortness of breath. A loud vivat resounded from the robust Saxon youths, who were eager to fight.

With proud satisfaction Tugendreich looked down on the singular groom who instructed the armed band in the court-yard as if he had been used to military duty all his life, assigned to every one his post in the court-yard, ordered the placing of men, cattle, and property, and then sallied forth with the mounted servants to reconnoitre the enemy. The baron, in the meanwhile, buried with trembling hands a casket of jewels in the cellar, while master Talander looked through his long telescope at the stars which now began to appear, compared his observations with the singular circles, lines, and signs upon a large table, and then made his calculations until the drops of perspiration stood upon his forehead, examining the results now with a joyful nod, and now with a thoughtful shake of his white head. At midnight the reconnoitring corp returned. The garrison was summoned with beating of drums, and Axel addressed them as follows: “The Croats will presently enter the village and will not spare any thing; the sky is already red with their torches; they will burn here also, but we shall be secure behind these walls while you show yourselves to be men. Bear in mind that you are to fight for your good lord and his noble daughter, for the pure doctrine of the gospel, for your venerable pastor, for the honour of your wives, and for the lives of your children. Now long life to the elector!”

“Long life to the elector!” shouted the band after him, joyfully; but the “Hoch” stuck in many a throat, as at this moment the music of the approaching Croats chimed in with their “Vivat” as a flourish.

“To your posts,” cried Axel in a thundering voice, and then once more looking to the draw bridge, he ordered the gates to be secured and ascended the battlements of the donjon. A wild tumult was now heard in the village. The Croats searched boisterously for the inhabitants and provisions but in vain, and therefore avenged their disappointment upon the doors and windows of the cottages. At length a troop with torches galloped up to the castle, startled at the drawn bridge and sounded the trumpet as a summons for admittance. The trumpet within the castle was sounded in answer, and Axel asked in military form what was their wish.

“Down with the bridge first,” blustered an infuriated captain of the Croats in broken German, “and then you will see what we want.”

“Show us the orders of his Imperial Majesty and our Elector, that this castle is to receive a garrison,” replied Axel, modestly, “and the bridge shall immediately be lowered.”

At this the foreign barbarian foamed with rage, snatched his carbine from his saddle and fired it at Axel. The bullet missed, and Axel in return sent a bullet from his gun whizzing through the cap of the Croat.

“This is to teach you uncivilized fellows the usage of war, that no shot should be fired during a parley,” he cried. “My shot was only to warn you of this; but if you do not draw off, the next shall be in earnest.” Upon this the captain swearing turned his horse round and galloped madly back into the village with his troops.

As Axel was turning to descend, he saw Tugendreich standing before him as pale and motionless as a statue. “For heaven’s sake, Fräulein,” he cried, “what are you doing up here? this is not a place for a gentle lady.”

“I heard firing,” said the lovely girl, sighing deeply; “I thought you were in danger, and could not longer remain below.”

“Faithful heart!” exclaimed he, with emotion and affection. “By all that I hold sacred I will some day requite you.” And quickly taking her in his strong arms he carried her down the steps, and consigned her to her attendant, whom he strictly enjoined not to allow the Fräulein to ascend the walls again. He then returned quickly to his post, as he already heard resounding through the night the march of the approaching enemy threatening the castle.

Suddenly the thatched cottages of the villages were blazing up in a terrible manner. Amid the light of the flames the Croats assaulted the castle in close bodies and with wild fury. But the garrison made a brave resistance, and their rifles created great havoc among the enemies’ ranks. Axel was everywhere, and though the Croats attempted in different places to scale the walls by the aid of ladders, he immediately was at the spot, to strike down the foremost, and then with powerful hand to precipitate ladder and all into the moat. For an hour the most furious combat had been raging when the enemies’ trumpets sounded the retreat, and the infuriated captain who led the rear cried out with a savage laugh, “At sunrise we shall return with heavy cannon, and show you who we are.”

The morning dawned after a sleepless night, and found the two old gentlemen sitting sorrowfully in Talander’s closet, which was bomb-proof. The lamp was nearly out, and they started up terrified on hearing the trumpet sound outside the castle walls. After a short time Axel, who had been wounded in the cheek, entered, announcing Baron Grotta, lieutenant-colonel in the imperial army, saying, “My lords, the colonel awaits you in the hall: for heaven’s sake show no fear, and let the magister settle the terms of a capitulation.”

He consented and left the room. On arriving in the hall a fine-looking officer met him, whose countenance might be called beautiful, had there not been an expression of defiance and haughtiness about the eyes and mouth which detracted from the impression first produced. After the usual civilities had been exchanged, the stranger informed him that a division of the imperial army was to pass through the village on that day, and that their general had learned with astonishment the audacity with which the castle had opposed their light troops; that he was inclined, however, to pardon this, knowing the rapacity and outrages of the Croats, who made no distinction between friend and foe; but that now he expected the castle to be surrendered to him immediately.

“On what conditions,” asked the astonished baron.

“Methinks you ought to be glad if an imperial general,” said he in a sarcastic tone, “after what has happened, once more kindly invites you to trust blindly to his generosity. At all events it is more advisable for you to open your gates than to let our cannons burst them open.”

At this moment the beautiful Tugendreich entered the hall, followed by a servant with flasks and goblets. Love, with its joys and sorrows had diffused a supernatural charm over her noble countenance, which did not fail to produce so magical an effect upon the warrior, that he at once in a gentler tone added to his menaces the question, “Is this your daughter?” The baron then introduced her, and the stranger took the brimming goblet she presented to him, and in a polite manner asked on what conditions the castle would capitulate. The baron pleading indisposition in consequence of the nightly assault promised to send his chaplain to negociate, and left the hall delighted to be released from this purgatory. The experienced hero now addressed himself courteously to the Fräulein, and after condoling with her on account of the terrors of the past night, and expressing his satisfaction at being able to contribute something to alleviate their present situation, was beginning to get as sentimental as it became a soldier in the thirty years’ war, when old Talander entered bowing, followed by Axel, who, unarmed, and in a respectful manner, brought in writing materials.

“In the name of my noble master I am to have the honour of treating with you, gallant sir,” said he in a submissive tone; “we have only a few just conditions to propose, which I beg your gracious permission to state.”

“Granted,” said the colonel, casting an expressive look at the Fräulein, which told her it was only on her account that he granted any conditions whatever. The magister began to read the following propositions: “Unconditional amnesty for the past night; liberty for religion and her servants until the fate of this country is decided; exemption from all contributions under whatever name or pretext they may be demanded.”

“Great demands,” interrupted the colonel.

“In return, Baron Von Starschedel grants to the troops of his imperial majesty the right of garrison in his castle,” continued Talander.

“But only to the regiment of Tiefenbach,” interrupted Axel, hastily. “It is best disciplined, and the promise which your general has given us in writing is a security of the capitulation being kept.”

With angry astonishment the stranger looked at the insolent groom. Tugendreich and Talander showed consternation. The magister broke the silence by saying, “The hasty interruption of this young man reminds me of two important points which my old head had forgotten; I therefore hasten to supply them.”

While the magister was writing, Tugendreich observed, in a gentle tone, as she suddenly became conscious of the influence of her sex, “So gallant a man as the colonel will certainly do his utmost to concede such reasonable conditions.”

“What would I not do, for a kind look from those eyes?” said he tenderly, and he took from Talander’s hands the points he had written down, made a military bow to the Fräulein, cast a look of contempt on Axel as he departed, and was soon seen to gallop through the gate.

A quarter of an hour had scarcely elapsed, when the chains of the drawbridge and the creaking of the gate were heard again, and the colonel gallopped into the court-yard, waving the signed capitulation on high as a banner of peace. With great respect and delight, the baron went to meet him at the castle entrance, and the welcome officer dismounted with graceful ease from his charger, giving the bridle with a haughty contempt into Axel’s hands, evidently to make him conscious of the respect which was due to him, and which he had before forgotten.

One of his fellow grooms, seeing the anger which flashed from the eyes of Axel at this pointed humiliation, took the horse from him and led him about. The colonel did not fail observing this, and to complete the mortification of the insolent servant, he set his foot on the steps of the entrance, and called to Axel, “Groom, my right spur galls me, loosen it.”

“I will let your groom know that you want him,” said Axel haughtily, “if you will have the condescension to tell me where I can find him.”

The colonel’s face reddened with indignation, and addressing the baron, biting and grinding his teeth, he requested him to remind his groom of his duty, as his rank demanded he should insist upon it. The baron satisfied his demands in a ludicrous manner, not knowing in his heart, of whom he was most afraid. Axel shook his head in silence. “Pray, good Axel,” whispered the baron entreatingly, “when you have often fastened my spurs, will you refuse it to a person of such distinction.

“I honour and love you as a father,” said Axel, “and consider it no disgrace to serve you; I would willingly perform the most menial services for you, but cannot suffer indignity from the haughtiness of a stranger.”

“I am curious to see,” said the stranger scornfully, “whether the master or the servant will get the best of this singular dispute.” And, irritated by this observation, and working himself up into a passion in order to gain his point, the baron cried, “Either you loosen the spurs, or you quit my service immediately.”

“I go, gracious master,” said Axel most respectfully. “I know you are safe for some time to come, and I carry with me the delightful satisfaction of having so far contributed to your safety. Remember sometimes, kindly, your faithful servant;” and, shaking heartily the hand which the baron offered him, he went to the stable to pack up his knapsack.

Absorbed in secret dreams, Tugendreich stood in a grotto in the garden, and did not even hear the drums of a company of Tiefenbach’s regiment which was entering the castle, when suddenly Axel stood before her with the knapsack on his back. “Your father has dismissed me from his service,” he said, with emotion, “but I shall never quit yours, sweet Fräulein. You shall soon hear of me.” With tears in his eyes, he offered a forget-me-not, which she could not refuse accepting from the hand that still showed the scar from the descent into the shaft. “But,” continued he, recollecting himself, “this keepsake will soon be destroyed, therefore take another of a solid material from my own native country.” And, taking out a Swedish copper dollar, he broke it with gigantic strength, offered one-half to the Fräulein, and said, “He who shall bring you the other half will come from me.” Before Tugendreich was aware how she had got the burning kiss which glowed upon her lips he had vanished, and Talander stood before her like a personified lecture. He was on the point of delivering it, when the baron, who was somewhat wearied by the first impetuous demands of his new guest, approached in a gloomy mood, and asked, astonished and peevishly, “What was the meaning of the flower which the Fräulein was still affectionately contemplating?”

“I was just disputing with the good magister about it,” replied she, with genuine female composure, whilst she wiped away her last tears. “Being my instructor in botany, he thinks he can make me believe anything. Only think, he maintains that this is the Myosotis palustris, or mouse-ear, and it is evidently the Veronica chamaedrys, or germander, which moreover rhymes with Talander. Am I not right, dear father?” So saying, she bounded away out of the garden, to cast, if possible, one more look from the tower after her departing favourite, whilst Talander raised his hands in utter astonishment at the consummate ingenuity which his timid pupil so readily displayed.

The calamities of war which the large armies marching to and fro brought upon the country did not press with particular weight upon the inhabitants of the castle. For this they were indebted to the colonel who was quartered within it with his company. But it soon became evident that his services were not altogether disinterested, for he daily made nearer and more evident advances towards the beautiful daughter of the house, and ventured many a time to storm her heart with tender, chivalrous courtesy. His noble demeanour and manly beauty, in addition to his high rank as a soldier, his birth and his fortune, powerfully supported his suit. But an invincible antagonist was in Tugendreich’s heart; the image of poor Axel and the half-copper dollar were to her a more precious treasure than the rich necklace which Baron Grotta ordered from Dresden, and which she was forced to accept by the command of her father. A dim foreboding seemed to tell the proud colonel what rival he had to contend with, and the recollection of the handsome insolent groom and the scene with the spur began to assume the shape of a suspicion which produced ill humour. This was expressed in many contemptuous observations concerning low-born persons, and his scorn at their desire to force their way into the upper classes daily wearied the patience of old Talander, who entertained very high notions of his own worth as a man. When it happened upon one occasion that the colonel in his presence boasted rather too complacently to the Fräulein of his hereditary privileges, the old man commenced reading a passage from a poem which an old collegian had sent him from Halle, running thus:[3]

“Ye who prefer your dross to silver pure and fine,
And think your glass as good as diamonds from the mine;
I mean you, who in lists of ancestors take pride,
And seem so many noughts set other noughts beside;
Who worship that vain idol—old nobilitié,
Ye truly are besotted—I pray ye, pardon me.”

The colonel looked with eyes of wonder, which, in spite of the captatio benevolentiæ in the concluding line, expressed no forgiveness, at the daring magister who, however, was not silent, but continued reading.

“The flags your sires have left, of what avail are they?
And what avails the plume that decks your arms so gay?
The helm and shield bequeath’d by men who liv’d of yore,
The burnish’d arms ye keep a thousand years in store,
Are vanities; and he that’s wise will say, indeed,
When real worth appears they must perforce recede.”

At this the colonel left the room in a blustering manner as if he anticipated the sixteen lines of the poem which were yet to come, and with which Talander intended to treat him. The door closed after him with a great noise, and a pressure of the Fräulein’s hand thanked the grey knight who had so victoriously beaten that powerful enemy of her secret wishes out of the field.

But this satisfaction was not of long duration. The colonel, despairing of obtaining the hand of his chosen one, in the modern way, that is to say, by his own powers of persuasion, chose the ancient plan, and called to his aid paternal authority. Poor Starschedel had to maintain a difficult position between the importunity of the noble suitor, the tears of his daughter, and the veto of Talander who, with the eloquence of a confessor, imposed the denial as a matter of conscience upon his protestant master. But here, as every where else, power and rank at last conquered. The colonel’s corps received orders to join Tilly’s, who expected to fight a pitched battle, and he, therefore, vehemently urged a quick decision. The baron, who could not resist, announced to his pale daughter the following morning as the day on which she was to be betrothed, adding with the utmost energy that this was his unalterable will. He then left her quickly, fearing his resolution might be changed by her imploring looks. The poor girl retired into the garden unconscious of what she was doing, and standing before the rose-tree which had witnessed the first kiss of Axel, looked sorrowfully to the grotto of his last farewell. Suddenly a capuchin friar, with a white beard, stood before her silently presenting half a copper dollar. “For heaven’s sake tell me whether you come from Axel?” cried the lovely maiden trembling, while her pale cheeks were suffused with blushes.

“I come from him,” replied a strong unknown voice. “He now serves as dragoon in the Swedish army, which is about to engage in a pitched battle. Before this takes place he wishes once more to see you, and bid you farewell. But at present he does not venture here, and therefore entreats you to meet him this night on the Mordmühle in the scharfen Thale. You may bring the old magister with you, and safe conduct is provided for you thither and back. Axel will wait there for you until one o’clock, at which time his duty will oblige him to leave. Will you come?”

“I will come,” whispered the Fräulein, after a short struggle.

The capuchin now hastened with long unfriar-like strides towards the high garden wall, climbed it nimbly like a cat and disappeared. At this moment Talander entered the garden to speak a few words of consolation to his pupil concerning the terrible morrow. But his words of unction died on his eloquent tongue, when the Fräulein made him the singular proposal to accompany her that night on a promenade to the Mordmühle. He refused, she entreated, he remonstrated, she coaxed him, he was inexorable, she wept, and he, incapable of resisting tears from such eyes said, at length ‘concedo.’

Whoever knew the Mordmühle could not but think the demand of Axel hazardous. It lay in a narrow valley formed by steep rocks, and lofty black pines, through which rushed the dark fierce torrent, and its last proprietor, whose soul was burthened with the commission of many murders, had fallen by the hand of his own son. The shepherds only dared during the day to let their herds graze in the rich pasture of the meadow surrounding the mill. As soon as evening twilight approached every living thing fled the awful precincts, within which, according to popular tradition, only the spirits of the murdered held their fearful haunts. Tugendreich was not quite free from the superstition of the times, but strong love, which conquers every obstacle, overcame her fear, and when the last glow of evening in the west reddened the sky, she had contrived to get rid of her father and the importunate suitor, and commenced her heroic journey with the grumbling magister. As they came to the last heap of the ruins of the desolated village he drew her attention to four tall figures in dark clothes, who started up suddenly with a clattering noise, as if at the word of command, from behind the wall of a cottage that was burnt down, and accompanied them step by step, surrounding them on all sides. Tugendreich recollecting the promised escort walked on fearlessly. But as they entered the valley, the moon rising from behind the lofty firs, and the church clock in a neighbouring village striking twelve, she felt some alarm, and now fancied she heard but too distinctly the wheels of the long deserted mill in full motion, which at this time, and under these circumstances, could not be caused by any one but evil spirits. Her companion silently shared her fears and thoughts, being moreover already so terrified by the figures who accompanied them in cloaks, that the drops stood on his face. At length he broke the awful silence, saying:

“Child, I have complied with your wish, I have put my life in jeopardy and come this accursed walk. Now tell me, daughter, what do you wish to do in the most ill-famed corner of this country?”

“To bid farewell to Axel,” said the Fräulein, “he has appointed to meet me here.”

“To Axel. I wish I had known that,” muttered the magister, adding in an admonishing tone, “Have you perhaps been deceived by a hellish phantom? There are instances in which the evil one, with divine permission, avails himself of an excessive forbidden love in order subtilely to destroy a soul. The place and time of your appointment are not in accordance with my notions of propriety. Supposing your singular admirer were dead, and that his departed spirit had sent you this summons, and was waiting for you in the Mordmühle with his outstretched bony arms, to draw you into the dark subterranean bridal chamber?”

At this instant the speaker was interrupted by a loud and long-continued blast of a bugle, which was answered from the mill, the wheels of which were really revolving with a terrible noise, and emitted a thousand silvery sparks which were reflected by the moonlight: a tall man came out from the mill. The foremost of the four attendants approached him with respect, and a moment after Tugendreich was in the arms of Axel, reclining her burning cheeks against his beating heart.

“Come into the mill, beloved girl,” he whispered imploringly, “we are not quite safe here from discovery. You, reverend sir, will bear us company. I thank you for having conducted the Fräulein hither.”

The magister followed the two lovers, shaking his head in doubts at the suspicious dwelling.

“Let every thing proceed as I have already ordered,” said Axel, in a tone of command, to the tall figures who had posted themselves outside the door like statues, “and do not stop the wheels of the mill until the Fräulein is again safe.”

He now conducted his beloved into the only habitable room of the mill, which being well lighted with lanterns, looked tolerably cheerful, while a camp table, set out with flasks and cake, invited the weary and hungry magister, who sat down a camp-stool near to it. Axel affectionately took the Fräulein to the window; and whilst they were conversing confidentially, the magister, who was enjoying the repast, made his reflections on the decent preparations which Axel had made for the rendezvous, and which were not in unison with the plain jacket of a Swedish dragoon that he wore. But his ideas became more and more confused; soon he had hardly a clear conception of what passed through his mind; and when, at length, the effect of the long walk, his age, the night, and the generous wine closed his eyelids, the creatures of his imagination assumed the shape of substantial and significant dreams, from which the old seer had already received many prophetic warnings. The village clock now struck one, and Axel gently disengaged himself from Tugendreich, in whose tears the rays of the setting moon were shining.

“I must go, dearest,” said he. “Only this one blissful hour could I withdraw myself from my duty. I would ask you to accompany me; but my journey will not be without danger, to which I will not expose you, and your father’s house will still be your fittest residence. To escape the hated betrothal to-morrow, you must feign illness. Every thing may be gained by time, in the unhappy period in which we live. If God preserves my life, you shall soon hear good tidings of me; and if I die, let the thought that I fell in his holy cause be your consolation.” Dissolved in tears, she clung to his neck, and thus they quitted the mill, on the outside of which a powerful roan-colour horse was pawing the ground. “Farewell, and pray for me,” cried Axel, with a trembling voice, and he cut off with his sword one of her golden locks from her head as a remembrance, clasped her once more in his arms, leaped on to his charger, and galloped out of the valley.

Tugendreich returned to the room in which Talander still sat dreaming, his venerable wrinkled countenance being gloomily illumined by the lights which burned low in their sockets. His sleep became more and more troubled, his breathing heavy, and his half-open eyes stared as if glancing into a gloomy futurity. He now commenced talking in his dreams. “Courage, my countrymen,” he muttered, “though the number of the enemy threaten to crush you; you fight for God’s word, and liberty of conscience. Behold on your banners the white messenger of heaven, spreading his shining wings; behold he hovers over your ranks; he announces victory. Now the cannon is thundering. Ah! blood, much blood! What! my Saxons, fleeing? Yet no, their whole force is still standing firm, a proud bulwark, bidding defiance to the waving masses of the enemy. Brave Swedes, fight fiercely, and the aged monster[4] slowly yields, grinding his teeth. Heavily the arm of requital lies on him; the bleeding infant menaces him from amid the ruins of Magdeburg. He yields, he flies, the day is won—triumph, triumph, the good cause prevails.” At these words the dreamer started up from his slumber, and recovered slowly, while the pale Fräulein contemplated him, trembling.

“This was a heavy sleep, child,” said he, as he fetched a deep breath. “It is fortunate that I awoke; it was too much for this old body of mine. I may say that I know much, but the dark realm of spirits makes one pay dear for the knowledge acquired there.”

“What have you learnt by this frightful dream,” asked Tugendreich, with anxious curiosity.

“Nothing of that now, Fräulein,” said the old man, gravely. “But tell me what has become of Herr Axel,” he asked, looking cautiously around. “I saw him also in my dream, but not in the jacket of a dragoon.”

“Ah!” said she, sobbing, “he has just gone. He could no longer delay, for a great battle is impending.”

“Indeed it is, but be of good cheer, the bold Swede will survive it. You will yet—” here the magister broke off, vexed with himself, as though he had already said too much, and prepared for departure.

“But to-morrow, dear magister?” sighed she.

“The morrow has already become to-day,” said Talander, in a comforting tone, “and your hostile constellation has lost its influence. Go boldly back to the castle with me. My awful vision has shown me many things, and you will find great changes. From poor Baron Grotta you have nothing more to fear in this life. But come, that the daylight may not surprise us. My dream was a long one.” He now led her out of the mill where the four attendants were in readiness. Under their escort they arrived in safety at the castle, at the gates of which, to their astonishment, they missed the sentinel of Tienfenbach’s corps, and were surprised to see the baronial hall brightly lighted up.

“God be praised that you have come, you have been absent a long time,” said her maid, who was waiting for her. “Two hours ago a hasty order arrived for the soldiers to start immediately, and the colonel will also depart at break of day. Your betrothal was to take place this very night, but as neither you nor the magister were to be found, the baron began to suspect and your father showed great displeasure. Suddenly some horsemen galloped into the courtyard. They were Saxons, and proved to be Colonel Von Starschedel and his son, the major, with six carbineers. Now the tables were turned. The baron had to congratulate himself that these gentlemen, respecting the right of hospitality, did not take him prisoner, for his men were gone and your father was too much afraid of these relations to say any more on the subject of your betrothal. Now they are all sitting together and hardly know what to say to each other. Only come and see. The handsome major has already asked for his lovely cousin twice.” The Fräulein now went with a light heart into the hall, where she found them sitting at their wine, the colonel and the Saxons quickly rose on her entrance, and the major hastened towards her, not a little astonished to see that the cheerfulness that was formerly expressed in her countenance had fled, and that she endeavoured to avoid his embrace. But this did not deter him from offering his usual courtesies to his lovely cousin, whilst Colonel Starschedel, in a deep voice, told her attentive father of the perfect union between the elector and the king of Sweden, and the generous refusal of any security which the Saxons had offered.

The imperial colonel could no longer listen in quiet to their conversation. He rose and took his leave of the company with a few cold expressions of politeness. No one attempted to detain him, and the last angry look with which he turned from the Fräulein fell upon Talander, who was just entering, and who gave a singular look of compassion at the departing colonel. He then posted himself behind the chair of the Fräulein, who felt uneasy at the attentions of her cousin, whom she nevertheless loved as a brother. With deep melancholy the seer’s eyes rested now upon the venerable countenance of the colonel, and now upon the youthful manly figure of his son. At this moment there resounded in the court-yard the tramp of a horse, and the magister said: “There goes the imperial colonel. We shall never see him again, like many another who is in the prime of life.”

“What are you thinking of?” asked the baron, suddenly interrupting him, as the expression of his old inmate’s countenance told him that his words were prophetic. A general and mysterious awe seized the company, their conversation, which before had been so animated, stopped, and the chirping of a lark which hailed the morning dawn, gave them a welcome pretext for retiring, as the Saxons had to join the army of their elector on that day. The Carbineers were already mounted in the court-yard, the colonel took a parting cup with the baron, and the grief at parting inspired the major in the very doorway to try to extort from Tugendreich a confession of her inclination and a promise of her hand. But Talander stepped between them and said with paternal warning, “Young hero, you are riding forth towards on a great day. This is not an hour to form a worldly alliance. As a Christian you ought first to think of your end. You are perhaps nearer to it than you think. Is the Fräulein, if you fall, to weep as a widow for you? This would be mere selfishness and not love. Do not stretch out your hand so hastily after the myrtle crown; its green will turn to blood and silver; an angel will perhaps soon entwine from it a martyr’s crown for you.” Much struck, the major looked upon the seer, whose face beamed with a supernatural light, then offered him silently his hand, pressed a brotherly kiss on Tugendreich’s forehead, and soon the old castle stood mourning in silence, all the guests having quitted it.

The baron sat silently and gloomily before the blazing fire, and Tugendreich was reading to him from Luther’s Bible.

He had experienced much to depress his spirits. The neighbourhood was indeed now free from troops, but all his stores were either consumed by the war or destroyed, his tenants expected support from him, and in Madgeburg, where his capital was invested, he had lost fifty thousand thalers. Frightful reports were moreover circulated about a battle in which the Saxons had been defeated. In this state of anguish he had had recourse to the word of God, and his daughter was reading to him in a mild and harmonious voice this passage from Sirach:

“Who is ever daunted that abideth in the fear of God, or who that hath called him, is despised of him.”

The old baron shaking his head looked up to heaven, and Tugendreich read on:

“For the Lord is gracious and merciful, forgiving sins and helping in the time of need.”

“Indeed the Lord helpeth in trouble,” cried Talander, who rushed into the room with youthful impetuosity, holding an open letter in his hand. “The Swedes and Saxons have fought with the formidable Tilly near Leipsic, and have defeated him, and the word of God is again free in our dear Saxony. Here is the confirmation of it which an old friend has sent me from Halle.” He read with a joyful trembling voice, “On the 7th September anni currentis, there stood on the great plain of Leipsic more than 75,000 men opposed to each other as enemies, and it was to be looked upon as a happy omen, that shortly before the engagement a snow white dove perched upon a Saxon standard and afterward hovered over the whole line of battle of the protestants. At noon the cannonading commenced, the Swedes attacked and were at first victorious, but now Tilly threw himself with all his forces upon the Saxons, drove them back, and directed the guns taken from them against the Swedes. Some Saxon regiments, however, held out bravely until the Swedes came to their assistance. Then old Tilly was compelled at length to retreat, and had nearly been struck dead in his flight with the butt end of a pistol by a captain of the Rhinegrave regiment. He arrived here in a sad plight, and upon the side of the imperial army 7600 have been left dead on the field of battle. The body of the allied army consisted in twenty-six pieces of artillery, one hundred colours and standards, and many articles of value. This glorious victory was followed by the capture of Leipsic, and was purchased dearly by both armies. On the side of the imperialists the Duke of Holstein died of his wounds as a prisoner, and there were killed besides the Generals Schönburg and Erwitte, the Colonels Plankhart and Baumgartner and Lieutenant Colonel Grotta.”

The Baron Starschedel clasped his hands with a pious ejaculation, and Tugendreich honoured the memory of the fallen enemy and friend with a tear. “The Saxons,” continued Talander, to read with great emotion, “lost General Bindhof, Colonel Löser and two Starschedels.” “Merciful God, our cousins!” sobbed the Fräulein, and the old baron rose trembling from his chair, took a pen, beckoned to his daughter to follow him with the ink, and strode to the baronial hall, where he marked the appropriate crosses on the escutcheons of the beloved relatives in the pedigree, whilst some tears involuntarily rolled from his eyes to the ground. Tugendreich broke off some twigs from a laurel-tree standing near the window to adorn the pictures of the fallen heroes with deserved wreaths, and the magister, who had followed them with the letter in his hand, continued to read with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow, “Colonel Starschedel fell at the head of his carbineers while resisting an assault of Tilly. On this occasion the Saxon standard, on which the white dove had perched before the engagement, fell into the enemy’s hands. To leave this symbol of victory in their hands appeared fatal to Major Starschedel, and a young officer of an ancient family in the Swedish staff; they therefore took an oath to rescue it from the enemy’s hands. Whilst the Saxon died the death of a hero, the Swede succeeded. The name of the latter was Count Güldenlöwe, and he was on the field of battle promoted by the king to the rank of colonel for his extraordinary bravery, and for having led the regiment of Courville, after its colonel was made prisoner, three times against the enemy; also receiving permission to add the above standard with the white dove to his coat of arms.” “What was that?” cried the baron, running to the window to listen.

“That is military music, and if I am not mistaken Swedish,” said Talander.

“The Swedes are entering the village,” shouted the servants, and Tugendreich flew to the turret with a palpitating heart to view the passing heroes. The march came nearer and nearer, and behind the trumpeters of a regiment of dragoons rode its colonel, a young noble hero, in splendid armour, while his standard-bearer, whose uniform was adorned by the golden lion on blue ground, carried before him the rescued Saxon standard, which now received the laurel crown as it dropped down from Tugendreich’s hands.

“That must be Colonel Güldenlöwe,” cried Talander, who came panting behind the baron to the turret.

“Heavens! it is Axel,” cried the Fräulein, as the colonel looked up, and she fell senseless into her tutor’s arms. When she recovered she found herself in Axel’s arms, and on looking up her eye met his penetrating glance.

“Well have you stood this trial, lovely girl,” cried Axel in raptures. “I had vowed to wed only that girl who could love in me the man and not the count, whose love should be more powerful than any other consideration of her tender sex. You have stood your trial, and mine now begins, to show through my life that I am worthy of such a heart.”

The beautiful Fräulein sank blushing on her lover’s breast. With tears of joy in his eyes the old baron embraced his faithful Talander, and the trumpeters below sounded a slow and solemn “Now God be praised.”

C. A. F.

[1] Du in German would here imply more familiarity from a long acquaintance; Ihr would be more distant and cold.

[2] The name Tugendreich means “rich in virtue.”

[3] From a long poem, printed at Leipzig in the seventeenth century, and called “The learned nobility.” (Der gelehrte Adel.)

[4] Referring to General Tilly.




Certainly you must all be uneasy that I have not written for so long—so very long. My mother, I am sure, is angry, and Clara will believe that I am passing my time in dissipation, entirely forgetful of the fair angel-image that is so deeply imprinted in my heart and mind. Such, however, is not the case. Daily and hourly I think of you all, and in my sweet dreams the kindly form of my lovely Clara passes before me, and smiles upon me with her bright eyes as she was wont when I appeared among you. Alas, how could I write to you in the distracted mood which has hitherto disturbed my every thought! Something horrible has crossed my path of life. Dark forebodings of a cruel, threatening, fate spread themselves over me like dark clouds, which no friendly sunbeam can penetrate. Now will I tell you what has befallen me. I must do so, that I plainly see—but if I only think of it, it will laugh out of me like mad. Ah, my dear Lothaire, how shall I begin it? How shall I make you in any way sensible that that which occurred to me a few days ago could really have such a fatal effect on my life? If you were here you could see for yourself, but now you will certainly take me for a crazy ghost-seer. In a word, the horrible thing which happened to me, and the painful impression of which I in vain endeavour to escape, is nothing more than this; that some days ago, namely on the 30th of October, at twelve o’clock at noon, a barometer-dealer came into my room and offered me his wares. I bought nothing, and threatened to throw him down stairs, upon which he took himself off of his own accord.

You suspect that only relations of the most peculiar kind, and exerting the greatest influence over my life can give any import to this occurrence, nay, that the person of that unlucky dealer must have a hostile effect upon me. So it is, indeed. I collect myself with all my might, that patiently and quietly I may tell you so much of my early youth as will bring all plainly and clearly in bright images before your active mind. As I am about to begin I fancy that I hear you laughing and Clara saying: “Childish stories indeed!” Laugh at me I beseech you, laugh with all your heart. But, heavens, my hair stands on end, and it seems as if I am asking you to laugh at me, in mad despair, as Franz Moor asked Daniel.[1] But to my story.

Excepting at dinner time I and my brothers and sisters saw my father very little during the day. He was, perhaps, busily engaged at his ordinary occupation. After supper, which, according to the old custom was served up at seven o’clock, we all went with my mother into my father’s work-room, and seated ourselves at the round table. My father smoked tobacco and drank a large glass of beer. Often he told us a number of wonderful stories, and grew so warm over them that his pipe continually went out. I had to light it again, with burning paper, which I thought great sport. Often, too, he would give us picture-books, and sit in his arm-chair silent and thoughtful, puffing out such thick clouds of smoke that we all seemed to be swimming in the clouds. On such evenings as these my mother was very melancholy, and immediately the clock struck nine, she would say: “Now children, to bed—to bed! The Sandman is coming, I can see.” And certainly on all these occasions I heard something with a heavy, slow step go bouncing up the stairs. That I thought must be the Sandman. Once that dull noise and footstep were particularly fearful, and I asked my mother, while she took us away: “Eh, mamma, who is this naughty Sandman, who always drives us away from papa? What does he look like?” “There is no Sandman, dear child,” replied my mother. “When I say the Sandman comes, I only mean that you are sleepy and cannot keep your eyes open,—just as if sand had been sprinkled into them.” This answer of my mother’s did not satisfy me—nay, in my childish mind the thought soon matured itself that she only denied the existence of the Sandman to hinder us from being terrified at him. Certainly I always heard him coming up the stairs. Full of curiosity to hear more of this Sandman, and his particular connection with children, I at last asked the old woman who tended my youngest sister what sort of man he was. “Eh, Natty,” said she, “do you not know that yet? He is a wicked man, who comes to children when they will not go to bed, and throws a handful of sand into their eyes, so that they start out bleeding from their heads. These eyes he puts in a bag and carries them to the half-moon to feed his own children, who sit in the nest up yonder, and have crooked beaks like owls with which they may pick up the eyes of the naughty human children.”

A most frightful image of the cruel Sandman was horribly depicted in my mind, and when in the evening I heard the noise on the stairs, I trembled with agony and alarm. My mother could get nothing out of me, but the cry of “The Sandman, the Sandman!” which was stuttered forth through my tears. I then ran into the bed-room, where the frightful apparition of the Sandman terrified me during the whole night. I had already grown old enough to perceive that the nurse’s tale about the Sandman and the nest of children in the half-moon could not be quite true, but, nevertheless, this Sandman remained a fearful spectre, and I was seized with the utmost horror, when I heard him not only come up the stairs, but violently force open my father’s room-door and enter. Sometimes he staid away for a long period, but oftener his visits were in close succession. This lasted for years, and I could not accustom myself to the terrible goblin; the image of the dreadful Sandman did not become more faint. His intercourse with my father began more and more to occupy my fancy. An unconquerable fear prevented me from asking my father about it, but if I—I myself could penetrate the mystery, and behold the wondrous Sandman—that was the wish which grew upon me with years. The Sandman had brought me into the path of the marvellous and wonderful, which so readily finds a domicile in the mind of a child. Nothing was to me more delightful than to read or hear horrible stories of goblins, witches, pigmies, &c.; but above them all stood the Sandman, whom, in the oddest and most frightful shapes, I was always drawing with chalk or charcoal on the tables, cupboards, and walls. When I was ten years old, my mother removed me from the children’s room into a little chamber, situated in a corridor near my father’s room. Still, as before, we were obliged speedily to take our departure as soon as, on the stroke of nine, the unknown was heard in the house. I could hear in my little chamber how he entered my father’s room, and then it soon appeared to me that a thin vapor of a singular odor diffused itself about the house. Stronger and stronger with my curiosity grew my resolution to form in some manner the Sandman’s acquaintance. Often I sneaked from my room to the corridor, when my mother had passed, but never could I discover any thing, for the Sandman had always gone in at the door when I reached the place where I might have seen him. At last, urged by an irresistible impulse, I resolved to hide myself in my father’s room and await the appearance of the Sandman.

By the silence of my father, and the melancholy of my mother, I perceived one evening that the Sandman was coming. I, therefore, feigned great weariness, left the room before nine o’clock, and hid myself in a corner close to the door. The house-door creaked, and the heavy, slow, groaning step went through the passage and towards the stairs. My mother passed me with the rest of the children. Softly—very softly, I opened the door of my father’s room. He sat as usually, stiff and silent, with his back turned to the door. He did not perceive me, and I swiftly darted into the room and behind the curtain, drawn before an open press, which stood close to the door, and in which my father’s clothes were hanging. The steps sounded nearer and nearer—there was a strange coughing and scraping and murmuring without. My heart trembled with anxiety and expectation. A sharp step close—very close to the door,—a smart stroke on the latch, and the door was open with a rattling noise. Screwing up my courage with all my might, I cautiously peeped out. The Sandman was standing before my father in the middle of the room, the light of the candles shone full upon his face. The Sandman, the fearful Sandman, was the old advocate Coppelius, who had often dined with us.

But the most hideous form could not have inspired me with deeper horror than this very Coppelius. Imagine a large broad-shouldered man, with a head disproportionately big, a face the colour of yellow ochre, a pair of gray bushy eyebrows, from beneath which a pair of green cat’s eyes sparkled with the most penetrating lustre, and with a large nose curved over his upper lip. His wry mouth was often twisted into a malicious laugh, when a couple of dark red spots appeared upon his cheeks, and a strange hissing sound was heard through his compressed teeth. Coppelius always appeared in an ashen-gray coat, cut in old-fashioned style, with waistcoat and breeches of the same colour, while his stockings were black, and his shoes adorned with buckles set with precious stones. The little peruke scarcely reached further than the crown of his head, the curls stood high above his large red ears, and a broad hair-bag projected stiffly from his neck, so that the silver buckle which fastened his folded cravat might be plainly seen. The whole figure was hideous and repulsive, but most disgusting to us children were his coarse brown hairy fists; indeed, we did not like to eat what he had touched with them. This he had remarked, and it was his delight, under some pretext or other, to touch a piece of cake, or some nice fruit, that our kind mother might privately have put in our plate, in order that we, with tears in our eyes, might, from disgust and abhorrence, no longer be able to enjoy the treat intended for us. He acted in the same manner on holidays, when my father gave us a little glass of sweet wine. Then would he swiftly draw his fist over it, or perhaps he would even raise the glass to his blue lips, and laugh most devilishly, when we could only express our indignation by soft sobs. He always called us the little beasts, we dared not utter a sound when he was present, and we heartily cursed the ugly, unkind man, who deliberately marred our slightest pleasures. My mother seemed to hate the repulsive Coppelius as much as we did, since as soon as he showed himself her liveliness, her free and cheerful mind was changed into a gloomy solemnity. My father conducted himself towards him, as though he was a superior being, whose bad manners were to be tolerated, and who was to be kept in good humour at any rate. He need only give the slightest hint, and the favourite dishes were cooked, and the choicest wines served.

When I now saw this Coppelius, the frightful and terrific thought took possession of my soul, that indeed no one but he could be the Sandman. But the Sandman was no longer that bugbear of a nurse’s tale, who provided the owl’s nest in the half-moon with children’s eyes,—no, he was a hideous spectral monster, who, wherever he appeared, brought with him grief, want, and destruction—temporal and eternal.

I was rivetted to the spot as if enchanted. At the risk of being discovered, and as I plainly foresaw, of being severely punished, I remained with my head peeping through the curtain. My father received Coppelius with solemnity. “Now to our work!” cried the latter with a harsh, grating voice, as he flung off his coat. My father silently and gloomily drew off his night-gown, and both attired themselves in long black frocks. Whence they took these, I did not see. My father opened the door of what I had always thought to be a cupboard, but I now saw that it was no cupboard, but rather a black hollow, in which there was a little hearth. Coppelius entered, and a blue flame began to crackle up on the hearth. All sorts of strange utensils lay around. Heavens!—As my old father now stooped down to the fire, he looked quite another man. A frightful convulsive pain seemed to have distorted his mild reverend features into a hideous repulsive diabolical countenance. He looked like Coppelius: the latter was brandishing red hot tongs, and with them taking shining masses busily out of the thick smoke, which he afterwards hammered. It seemed to me, as if I saw human faces around without any eyes—but with deep holes instead. “Eyes here, eyes!” said Coppelius in a dull roaring voice. Overcome by the wildest terror, I shrieked out, and fell from my hiding place upon the floor. Coppelius seized me, and showing his teeth, bleated out, “Ah—little wretch,—little wretch!”—then dragging me up, he flung me on the hearth, where the fire began to singe my hair. “Now we have eyes enough—a pretty pair of child’s eyes.” Thus whispered Coppelius and taking out of the flame some red-hot grains with his fists, he was about to sprinkle them in my eyes. My father upon this raised his hands in supplication, and cried: “Master, master, leave my Nathaniel his eyes!” Coppelius uttered a yelling laugh, and said: “Well let the lad have his eyes and cry his share in the world, but we will examine the mechanism of his hands and feet.” And then he seized me so forcibly that my joints cracked, and screwed off my hands and feet, and then put them on again, one here and the other there. “Every thing is not right here!—As good as it was—the old one has understood it!” So did Coppelius say, in a hissing, lisping tone, but all around me became black and dark, a sudden cramp darted through my bones and nerves—and I lost all feeling. A gentle warm breath passed over my face; I woke as out of a sleep of death. My mother had been stooping over me. “Is the Sandman yet there?” I stammered. “No, no, my dear child, he has gone away long ago,—he will not hurt you!”—So said my mother, and she kissed and embraced her recovered darling.

Why should I weary you, my dear Lothaire! Why should I be so diffuse with details, when I have so much more to tell. Suffice it to say, that I had been discovered while watching, and ill-used by Coppelius. Agony and terror had brought on delirium and fever, of which I lay sick for several weeks. “Is the sandman still there?” That was my first sensible word and the sign of my amendment—my recovery. I can now only tell you, the most frightful moment in my juvenile years. Then you will be convinced that it is no fault of my eyes, that all to me seems colourless, but that a dark fatality has actually suspended over my life a gloomy veil of clouds, which I shall perhaps only tear away in death.

Coppelius was no more to be seen; it was said he had left the town.

About a year might have elapsed, when, according to the old custom, we sat at the round table. My father was very cheerful, and told much that was entertaining, about his travels in his youth; when, as the clock struck nine, we heard the house-door creak on the hinges, and slow steps, heavy as iron, groaned through the passage and up the stairs. “That is Coppelius,” said my mother, turning pale. “Yes!—that is Coppelius!” repeated my father, with a faint broken voice. The tears started from my mother’s eyes. “But father—father!” she cried, “must it be so?” “He comes to me for the last time, I promise you,” was the answer. “Only go now—go with the children—go—go to bed. Good night!”

I felt as if I were pressed into cold, heavy stone,—my breath was stopped. My mother caught me by the arm as I stood immoveable. “Come, come, Nathaniel!” I allowed myself to be led, and entered my chamber! “Be quiet—be quiet—go to bed—go to sleep!” cried my mother after me; but tormented by restlessness, and an inward anguish perfectly indescribable, I could not close my eyes. The hateful, abominable Coppelius stood before me with fiery eyes, and laughed at me maliciously. It was in vain that I endeavoured to get rid of his image. About midnight there was a frightful noise, like the firing of a gun. The whole house resounded. There was a rattling and a rustling by my door, and the house-door was closed with a violent sound. “That is Coppelius!” I cried, and I sprang out of bed in terror. There was then a shriek as if of acute inconsolable grief. I darted into my father’s room; the door was open, a suffocating smoke rolled towards me, and the servant girl cried: “Ah, my master, my master!” On the floor of the smoking hearth lay my father dead, with his face burned and blackened, and hideously distorted,—my sisters were shrieking and moaning around him,—and my mother had fainted. “Coppelius!—cursed Satan, thou hast slain my father!” I cried, and lost my senses. When, two days afterwards, my father was laid in his coffin, his features were again as mild and gentle as they had been in his life. My soul was comforted by the thought that his compact with the devilish Coppelius could not have plunged him into eternal perdition.

The explosion had awakened the neighbours, the occurrence had become the common talk, and had reached the ears of the magistracy, who wished to make Coppelius answerable. He had, however, vanished from the spot, without leaving a trace.

If I tell you, my dear friend, that the barometer-dealer was the accursed Coppelius himself, you will not blame me for regarding a phenomenon so unpropitious as boding some heavy calamity. He was dressed differently, but the figure and features of Coppelius are too deeply imprinted in my mind, for an error in this respect to be possible. Besides, Coppelius has not even altered his name. As I hear he gives himself out as a Piedmontese optician, and calls himself Giuseppe Coppola.

I am determined to cope with him, and to avenge my father’s death, be the issue what it may.

Tell my mother nothing of the hideous monster’s appearance. Remember me to my dear sweet Clara, to whom I will write in a calmer mood.—Farewell.


It is true that you have not written to me for a long time, but nevertheless I believe that I am still in your mind and thoughts. For assuredly you were thinking of me most intently, when designing to send your last letter to my brother Lothaire, you directed it to me, instead of him. I joyfully opened the letter, and did not perceive my error till I came to the words: “Ah, my dear Lothaire.” Now, by rights I should have read no farther, but should have handed over the letter to my brother. Although you have often in your childish teasing mood, charged me with having such a quiet, womanish, steady disposition, that like the lady, even if the house were about to fall in, I should smooth down a wrong fold in the window curtain before I ran away, I can hardly tell you how your letter shocked me. I could scarcely breathe,—my eyes became dizzy. Ah, my dear Nathaniel, how could such a horrible event have crossed your life? To be parted from you, never to see you again,—the thought darted through my breast like a burning dagger. I read and read. Your description of the repulsive Coppelius is terrific. For the first time I learned, how your good old father died a shocking violent death. My brother Lothaire, to whom I gave up the letter as his property, sought to calm me, but in vain. The fatal barometer-maker, Giuseppe Coppola followed me at every step, and I am almost ashamed to confess that he disturbed my healthy and generally peaceful sleep with all sorts of horrible visions. Yet soon,—even the next day, I was quite changed again. Do not be offended, dearest one, if Lothaire tells you, that in spite of your strange misgiving, that Coppelius will in some manner injure you, I am in the same cheerful unembarrassed frame of mind as ever.

I will honestly confess to you that, according to my opinion, all the terrible things of which you speak, merely occurred in your own mind, and that the actual external world had little to do with them. Old Coppelius may have been repulsive enough, but his hatred of children was what really caused the abhorrence of your children towards him.

In your childish mind the frightful sandman in the nurse’s tale was naturally associated with old Coppelius, who, even if you had not believed in the sandman, would still have been a spectral monster, especially dangerous to children. The awful nightly occupation with your father, was no more than this, that both secretly made alchemical experiments, and with these your mother was constantly dissatisfied, since besides a great deal of money being uselessly wasted, your father’s mind being filled with a fallacious desire after higher wisdom was alienated from his family—as they say, is always the case with such experimentalists. Your father no doubt, by some act of carelessness, occasioned his own death, of which Coppelius was completely guiltless. Would you believe it, that I yesterday asked our neighbour, the clever apothecary, whether such a sudden and fatal explosion was possible in such chemical experiments? “Certainly,” he replied, and in his way told me at great length and very circumstantially how such an event might take place, uttering a number of strange-sounding names, which I am unable to recollect. Now, I know you will be angry with your Clara; you will say that her cold disposition is impenetrable to every ray of the mysterious, which often embraces man with invisible arms, that she only sees the varigated surface of the world, and has the delight of a silly child, at some gold-glittering fruit, which contains within it a deadly poison.

Ah! my dear Nathaniel! Do you not then believe that even in free, cheerful, careless minds, here may dwell the suspicion of some dread power, which endeavours to destroy us in our own selves? Forgive me, if I, a silly girl, presume in any manner to indicate, what I really think of such an internal struggle; I shall not find out the right words after all, and you will laugh at me, not because my thoughts are foolish, but because I set about so clumsily to express them.

If there is a dark power, which with such enmity and treachery lays a thread within us, by which it holds us fast, and draws us along a path of peril and destruction, which we should not otherwise have trod; if, I say, there is such a power, it must form itself within us, or from ourselves; indeed, become identical with ourselves, for it is only in this condition that we can believe in it, and grant it the room which it requires, to accomplish its secret work. Now, if we have a mind, which is sufficiently firm, sufficiently strengthened by cheerful life, always to recognise this strange hostile operation as such, and calmly to follow the path which belongs to our inclination and calling, then will the dark power fail in its attempt to gain a power, that shall be a reflection of ourselves. Lothaire adds that it is certain, that the dark physical power, if of our own accord, we have yielded ourselves up to it, often draws within us some strange form, which the external world has thrown in our way, so that we ourselves kindle the spirit, which, as we in our strange delusion believe, speaks to us in that form. It is the phantom of our own selves, the close relationship with which, and its deep operation on our mind casts us into hell, or transports us into heaven. You see, dear Nathaniel, that I and my brother Lothaire have freely given our opinion on the subject of dark powers, which subject, now I find I have not been able to write down the chief part without trouble, appears to me somewhat deep. Lothaire’s last words I do not quite comprehend. I can only suspect what he means, and yet I feel as if it were all very true. I beg of you, get the ugly advocate, Coppelius, and the barometer-seller, Giuseppe Coppola, quite out of your head. Be convinced that these strange fears have no power over you, and that it is only a belief in their hostile influence that can make them hostile in reality. If the great excitement of your mind did not speak from every line of your letter, if your situation did not give me the deepest pain, I could joke about the Sandman-Advocate, and the barometer-seller, Coppelius. Be cheerful, I have determined to appear before you as your guardian-spirit, and if the ugly Coppelius takes it in his head to annoy you in your dreams, to scare him away with loud peals of laughter. I am not a bit afraid of him nor of his disgusting hands; he shall neither spoil my sweetmeats as an advocate, nor my eyes as a sandman. Ever yours, my dear Nathaniel.


I am very sorry that in consequence of the error occasioned by my wandering state of mind, Clara broke open the letter intended for you, and read it. She has written me a very profound philosophical epistle, in which she proves, at great length, that Coppelius and Coppola only exist in my own mind, and are phantoms of myself, which will be dissipated directly I recognise them as such. Indeed, one could not believe that the mind which often peers out of those bright, smiling, childish eyes, like a sweet charming dream, could define with such intelligence, in such a professor-like manner. She appeals to you—you, it seems have been talking about me. I suppose you read her logical lectures, that she may learn to divide and sift every thing acutely. Pray leave it off. Besides it is quite certain that the barometer-dealer, Guiseppe Coppola, is not the advocate Coppelius. I attend the lectures of the professor of physics, who has lately arrived. His name is the same as that of the famous natural philosopher, Spalanzani, and he is of Italian origin. He has known Coppola for years, and moreover it is clear from his accent that he is really a Piedmontese. Coppelius was a German, but I think no honest one. Calmed I am not, and though you and Clara may consider me a gloomy visionary, I cannot get rid of the impression, which the accursed face of Coppelius makes upon me. I am glad that Coppola has left the town, as Spalanzani says. This professor is a strange fellow—a little round man, with high cheek bones, sharp nose, pouting lips, and little piercing eyes. Yet you will get a better notion of him than by this description, if you look at the portrait of Cagliostro, designed by Chodowiecki, in one of the Berlin annuals, Spalanzani looks like that exactly. I lately went up stairs, and perceived that the curtain, which was generally drawn completely over a glass door, left a little opening on one side. I know not what curiosity impelled me to look through, a tall and very slender lady most symmetrically formed, and most splendidly attired, sat in the room by a little table on which she had laid her arms, her hands being folded together. She sat opposite to the door, so that I could completely see her angelic countenance. She did not appear to see me, and indeed there was something fixed about her eyes as if, I might almost say, she had no power of sight. It seemed to me that she was sleeping with her eyes open. I felt very uncomfortable, and therefore I slunk away into the auditorium, which was close at hand. Afterwards I learned that the form I had seen was that of Spalanzani’s daughter Olympia, whom he kept confined in a very strange and improper manner, so that no one could approach her. After all, there may be something the matter with her; she is silly perhaps, or something of the kind. But why should I write you all this? I could have conveyed it better and more circumstantially by word of mouth. Know that I shall see you in a fortnight. I must again behold my dear; sweet, angelic Clara. The ill-humour will then be dispersed, which, I must confess, has endeavoured to get the mastery over me, since that fatal, sensible letter. Therefore I do not write to her to-day. A thousand greetings, &c.

Nothing more strange and chimerical can be imagined than that which occurred to my poor friend, the young student Nathaniel, and which I, gracious reader, have undertaken to tell you. Have you, kind reader, ever known a something that has completely filled your heart, thoughts, and senses, so as to exclude every thing else? There was in you a fermentation and a boiling, and your blood inflamed to the hottest glow bounded through your veins, and gave a higher colour to your cheeks. Your glance was so strange, as if you wished to perceive, in empty space, forms which to no other eyes are visible, and your speech flowed away into dark sighs. Then your friends asked you: “What is it, revered one?” “What is the matter, dear one.” And now you wished to express the internal picture with all its glowing tints, with all its light and shade, and laboured hard to find words only to begin. You thought that in the very first word you ought to crowd together all the wonderful, noble, horrible, comical, frightful, that had happened, so that it might strike all the hearers at once like an electric shock. But every word, every thing that is in the form of speech, appeared to you colourless, cold and dead. You hunt and hunt, and stutter and stammer, and the sober questions of your friends dart like icy breezes upon your internal fire until it is ready to go out; whereas if, like a bold painter, you had first with a few daring strokes drawn an outline of the internal picture, you might with small trouble have laid on the colours brighter and brighter, and the living throng of various forms would have carried your friends along with it, and they, like you, would have seen themselves in the picture that had proceeded from your mind. Now I must confess to you, kind reader, that no one has really asked me for the history of the young Nathaniel, but you know well enough that I belong to the queer race of authors, who, if they have any thing in their mind, such as I have just described, feel as if every one who comes near them, and indeed perhaps the whole world besides, is asking them: “What is it then—tell it, my dear friend?” Thus was I forcibly compelled to tell you of the momentous life of Nathaniel. The singularity and marvellousness of the story filled my entire soul, but for that very reason and because, my reader, I had to make you equally inclined to endure oddity, which is no small matter, I tormented myself to begin the history of Nathaniel in a manner as inspiring, original and striking as possible. “Once upon a time,” the beautiful beginning of every tale, was too tame. “In the little provincial town of S—— lived”—was somewhat better, as it at least prepared for the climax. Or should I dart at once medias in res, with “Go to the devil, cried the student Nathaniel with rage and horror in his wild looks, when the barometer-seller, Guiseppe Coppola?”—I had indeed already written this down, when I fancied that in the wild looks of the student Nathaniel, I could detect something ludicrous, whereas the story is not comical at all. No form of language suggested itself to my mind, which even in the slightest degree seemed to reflect the colouring of the internal picture. I resolved that I would not begin it at all. So take, gentle reader, the three letters, which friend Lothaire was good enough to give me, as the sketch of the picture which I shall endeavour to colour more and more as I proceed in my narrative. Perhaps, like a good portrait-painter, I may succeed in catching many a form in such a manner, that you will find it is a likeness without having the original, and feel as if you had often seen the person with your own corporeal eyes. Perchance, dear reader, you will then believe that nothing is stranger and madder than actual life, and that this is all that the poet can conceive, as it were in the dull reflection of a dimly polished mirror.

In order that that which it is necessary in the first place to know, may be made clearer, we must add to these letters the circumstance, that shortly after the death of Nathaniel’s father, Clara and Lothaire, the children of a distant relative, who had likewise died, and left them orphans, were taken by Nathaniel’s mother to her own home. Clara and Nathaniel formed a strong attachment for each other, and no one in the world having any objection to make, they were betrothed, when Nathaniel left the place to pursue his studies in G——. He is, according to the date of his last letter, hearing the lectures of the celebrated professor of physics, Spalanzani.

Now I could proceed in my story with confidence, but at this moment Clara’s image stands so plainly before me, that I cannot look another way, as indeed was always the case when she gazed at me, with one of her lively smiles. Clara could not by any means be reckoned beautiful; that was the opinion of all who are competent judges of beauty, by their calling. Nevertheless, the architects praised the exact symmetry of her frame, and the painters considered her neck, shoulders, and bosom almost too chastely formed, but then they all fell in love with her wondrous Magdalen-hair, and above every thing prated about battonisch colouring. One of them, a most fantastical fellow, singularly compared Clara’s eyes to a lake by Ruysdael, in which the pure azure of a cloudless sky, the wood and flowery field, the whole cheerful life of the rich landscape are reflected. Poets and composers went still further. “What is a lake—what is a mirror!” said they, “can we look upon the girl without wondrous, heavenly songs and tunes flashing towards us from her glances, and penetrating our inmost soul, so that all there is awakened and stirred. If even then we sing nothing that is really sensible, there is not much in us, and that we can feelingly read in the delicate smile which plays on Clara’s lips, when we presume to tinkle something before her, which is to pass for a song, although it is only a confused jumble of tones.” So it was. Clara had the vivid fancy of a cheerful, unembarrassed child, a deep, tender, feminine disposition, an acute, clever understanding. The misty dreams had but a bad chance with her, since, though she did not talk,—as indeed talking would have been altogether repugnant to her tacit nature, her bright glance and her firm ironical smile would say to them: “Good friends, how can you imagine that I shall take your fleeting shadowy images for real forms with life and motion?” On this account Clara was censured by many as cold, unfeeling and prosaic; while others, who conceived life in its clear depth, greatly loved the feeling, acute, childlike girl, but none so much as Nathaniel, whose perception in art and science was clear and strong. Clara was attached to her lover with all her soul, and when he parted from her, the first cloud passed over her life. With what transport did she rush into his arms when, as he had promised in his last letter to Lothaire, he had actually returned to his native town and entered his mother’s room. Nathaniel’s expectations were completely fulfilled; for directly he saw Clara he thought neither of the Advocate Coppelius, nor of her “sensible” letter. All gloomy forebodings had gone.

However, Nathaniel was quite right, when he wrote to his friend Lothaire that the form of the repulsive barometer-seller, Coppola, had had a most hostile effect on his life. All felt, even in the first days, that Nathaniel had undergone a thorough change in his whole temperament. He sank into a gloomy reverie, and conducted himself in a strange manner, that had never been known in him before. Every thing, his whole life, had become to him a dream and a foreboding, and he was always saying that every man, although he might think himself free, only served for the cruel sport of dark powers. These he said it was vain to resist, and man must patiently resign himself to his fate. He went even so far as to say, that it is foolish to think that we do any thing in art and science according to our own self-acting will, for the inspiration which alone enables us to produce any thing, does not proceed from within ourselves, but is the effect of a higher principle without.

To the clear-headed Clara this mysticism was in the highest degree repugnant, but contradiction appeared to be useless. Only when Nathaniel proved that Coppelius was the evil principle, which had seized him at the moment when he was listening behind the curtain, and that this repugnant principle would in some horrible manner disturb the happiness of their life, Clara grew very serious, and said: “Yes, Nathaniel, you are right. Coppelius is an evil, hostile principle; he can produce terrible effects, like a diabolical power that has come invisibly into life; but only then, when you will not banish him from your mind and thoughts. So long as you believe in him he really exists, and exerts his influence; only your belief is his power.”

Nathaniel, quite indignant that Clara established the demon’s existence only in his own mind, would then come out with all the mystical doctrine of devils and fearful powers. But Clara would break off peevishly, by introducing some indifferent matter, to the no small annoyance of Nathaniel. He thought that such deep secrets were closed to cold, unsusceptible minds, without being clearly aware that he reckoned Clara among these subordinate natures, and therefore he constantly endeavoured to initiate her into the mysteries. In the morning, when Clara was getting breakfast ready, he stood by her, and read out of all sorts of mystical books, till she cried: “But, dear Nathaniel, suppose I blame you as the evil principle, that has a hostile effect upon my coffee? For if to please you, I leave every thing standing still, and look in your eyes, while you read, my coffee will run into the fire, and none of you will get any breakfast.”

Nathaniel closed the book at once, and hurried indignantly to his chamber. Once he had a remarkable forte for graceful, lively tales, which he wrote down, and to which Clara listened with the greatest delight; now, his creations were gloomy, incomprehensible, formless, so that although Clara, out of compassion, did not say so, he plainly felt how little she was interested. Nothing was more insupportable to Clara than tediousness; in her looks and in her words a mental drowsiness, not to be conquered, was expressed. Nathaniel’s productions were, indeed, very tedious. His indignation at Clara’s cold, prosaic disposition, constantly increased, and Clara could not overcome her dislike of Nathaniel’s dark, gloomy, tedious mysticism, so that they became more and more estranged from each other in mind, without perceiving it. The form of the ugly Coppelius, as Nathaniel himself was forced to confess, grew more dim in his fancy, and it often cost him trouble to colour with sufficient liveliness in his pictures, when he appeared as a ghastly bugbear of fate. At last it struck him that he would make the gloomy foreboding, that Coppelius would destroy his happiness in love, the subject of a poem. He represented himself and Clara as united by true love; but occasionally it seemed as though a black hand darted into their life, and tore away some newly-springing joy. At last, while they were standing at the altar, the hideous Coppelius appeared, and touched Clara’s lively eyes. They flashed into Nathaniel’s heart, like bleeding sparks, scorching and burning, when Coppelius caught him, and flung him into a flaming, fiery circle, which flew round with the swiftness of the stream, and carried him along with it, amid its roaring. The roar is like that of the hurricane, when it fiercely lashes the foaming waves, which, like black giants with white heads, rise up for the furious combat. But through the wild tumult he hears Clara’s voice: “Can you not, then, see me? Coppelius has deceived you. Those, indeed, were not my eyes, which so burned in your breast—they were glowing drops of your own heart’s blood. I have my eyes still—only look at them!” Nathaniel reflects: “That is Clara, and I am hers for ever!” Then it seems to him as though thought forcibly entered the fiery circle, which stands still, while the noise dully ceases in the dark abyss. Nathaniel looks into Clara’s eyes, but it is only death that, with Clara’s eyes, kindly looks on him.

While Nathaniel composed this poem he was very calm and collected; he polished and improved every line, and having subjected himself to the fetters of metre, he did not rest till all was correct and melodious. When at last he had finished and read the poem aloud to himself, a wild horror seized him, and he cried out: “Whose horrible voice is that?” Soon, however, the whole appeared to him a very successful work, and he felt that it must inflame Clara’s cold temperament, although he did not clearly consider for what Clara was to be excited, nor what purpose it would answer to torment her with the frightful images which threatened a horrible destiny, destructive to their love. Both of them—that is to say Nathaniel and Clara—were sitting in their mother’s little garden, Clara very cheerful, because Nathaniel, during the three days in which he had been writing his poem, had not teased her with his dreams and his forebodings. Even Nathaniel spoke livelily and joyfully about pleasant matters, as he used to do formerly, so that Clara said: “Now for the first time I have you again! Do you not see that we have driven away the ugly Coppelius?” Then it first struck Nathaniel that he had in his pocket the poem, which he had intended to read. He at once drew the sheets out and began, while Clara, expecting something tedious as usual, resigned herself and began quietly to knit. But as the dark cloud rose ever blacker and blacker, she let the stocking fall and looked full into his face. He was carried along unceasingly by his poem, an internal fire deeply reddened his cheeks, tears flowed from his eyes. At last when he had concluded, he groaned in a state of utter exhaustion, and catching Clara’s hand, sighed forth, as if melted into the most inconsolable grief: “Oh Clara!—Clara!” Clara pressed him gently to her bosom, and said softly, but very solemnly and sincerely: “Nathaniel, dearest Nathaniel, do throw that mad, senseless, insane stuff into the fire!” Upon this Nathaniel sprang up enraged, and thrusting Clara from him, cried: “Thou inanimate, accursed automaton!” He ran off; Clara, deeply offended, shed bitter tears, and sobbed aloud: “Ah, he has never loved me, for he does not understand me.” Lothaire entered the arbour; Clara was obliged to tell him all that had occurred. He loved his sister with all his soul, and every word of her complaint fell like a spark of fire into his heart, so that the indignation which he had long harboured against the visionary Nathaniel, now broke out into the wildest rage. He ran to Nathaniel and reproached him for his senseless conduct towards his beloved sister in hard words, which the infuriated Nathaniel retorted in the same style. The appellation of “fantastical, mad fool,” was answered by that of “miserable common-place fellow.” A duel was inevitable. They agreed on the following morning, according to the academical custom of the place, to fight with sharp rapiers behind the garden. Silently and gloomily they slunk about. Clara had overheard the violent dispute, and seeing the fencing-master bring the rapiers at dawn, guessed what was to occur. Having reached the place of combat, Lothaire and Nathaniel had in gloomy silence flung off their coats, and with the fierce desire of fighting in their flaming eyes, were about to fall upon one another, when Clara rushed through the garden door. Sobbing, she cried aloud, “Ye wild cruel men! Strike me down before you attack each other, for how shall I live longer in the world if my lover murders my brother, or my brother murders my lover.” Lothaire lowered his weapon, and looked in silence on the ground; but in Nathaniel’s heart, amid the most poignant sorrow, revived all the love for the beautiful Clara, which he had felt in the best days of his happy youth. The weapon fell from his hand, he threw himself at Clara’s feet. “Can you ever forgive me, my only—my beloved Clara? Can you forgive me, my dear brother, Lothaire?”

Lothaire was touched by the deep contrition of his friend; all three embraced in reconciliation amid a thousand tears, and vowed eternal love and fidelity.

Nathaniel felt as though a heavy burden, which pressed him to the ground, had been rolled away, as though by resisting the dark power, which held him fast, he had saved his whole being, which had been threatened with annihilation. Three happy days he passed with his dear friends, and then went to G——, where he intended to stay a year, and then to return to his native town for ever.

All that referred to Coppelius was kept a secret from the mother, for it was well known that she could not think of him without terror, as she, as well as Nathaniel, accused him of causing her husband’s death.

How surprised was Nathaniel, when proceeding to his lodging, he saw that the whole house was burned down, and that only the bare walls stood up amid the ashes. However, notwithstanding the fire had broken out in the laboratory of the apothecary who lived on the ground-floor, and had therefore consumed the house from bottom to top, some bold active friends had succeeded in entering Nathaniel’s room in the upper story, in time to save the books, manuscripts, and instruments. They carried all safe and sound into another house, where they took a room, which Nathaniel entered at once. He did not think it at all remarkable that he lodged opposite to Professor Spalanzani; neither did it appear singular when he perceived that his window looked straight into the room where Olympia often sat alone, so that he could plainly recognise her figure, although the features of her face were indistinct and confused. At last it struck him, that Olympia often remained for hours in this attitude, in which he had once seen her through the glass-door, sitting at a little table without any occupation, and that she plainly enough looked over at him with an unvarying glance. He was forced to confess that he had never seen a more lovely form, but with Clara in his heart, the stiff Olympia was perfectly indifferent to him. Occasionally, to be sure, he gave a transient look over his compendium, at the beautiful statue, but that was all. He was just writing to Clara, when he heard a light tap at the door; it paused at his words, and the repulsive face of Coppola peeped in. Nathaniel’s heart trembled within him, but remembering what Spalanzani had told him about the countryman, Coppola, and also the sacred promises he had made to Clara with respect to the Sandman Coppelius, he felt ashamed of his childish fear, and collecting himself with all his might, said as softly and civily as possible: “I do not want a barometer, my good friend; pray, go.” Upon this, Coppola advanced a good way into the room, and said in a hoarse voice, while his wide mouth distorted itself into a hideous laugh, and his little eyes under their long gray lashes sparkled forth piercingly: “Eh, eh—no barometer—no barometer? I have besides pretty eyes—pretty eyes!”—“Madman!” cried Nathaniel with horror, “how can you have eyes?—Eyes?” But Coppola had already put his barometer aside, and plunged his hand into his wide coat-pocket, whence he drew lunettes and spectacles, which he placed upon the table “There—there—spectacles on the nose, those are my eyes—pretty eyes!” And so saying he drew out more and more spectacles so, that the whole table began to glisten and sparkle in the most extraordinary manner. A thousand eyes glanced, and quivered convulsively, and stared at Nathaniel; yet he could not look away from the table, and Coppola kept still laying down more and more spectacles, while flaming glances were intermingled more and more wildly, and shot their blood-red rays into Nathaniel’s breast. Overcome with horror, he shrieked out: “Hold, hold, frightful man!” He seized fast by the arm Coppola, who was searching his pockets to bring out still more spectacles, although the whole table was already covered. Coppola had greatly extricated himself with a hoarse repulsive laugh, and with the words: “Ah, nothing for you—but here are pretty glasses;” he had collected all the spectacles, put them up, and from the breast-pocket of his coat had drawn forth a number of telescopes large and small. As soon as the spectacles were removed Nathaniel felt quite easy, and thinking of Clara, perceived that the hideous phantom was but the creature of his own mind, and that Coppola was an honest optician, and could by no means be the accursed double of Coppelius. Moreover, in all the glasses which Coppola now placed on the table, there was nothing remarkable, or at least nothing so ghost-like as the spectacles, and to make matters right Nathaniel resolved to buy something of Coppola. He took up a little and very neatly worked pocket-telescope, and looked through the window to try it. Never in his life had he met a glass which brought the objects so sharply, plainly, and clearly before his eyes. Involuntarily he looked into Spalanzani’s room; Olympia was sitting as usual before the little table, with her arms laid upon it, and her hands folded. For the first time could he see the wondrous beauty in the form of her face;—only the eyes seemed to him singularly stiff and dead. Nevertheless, as he looked more sharply through the glass, it seemed to him as if moist morn-beams were rising in the eyes of Olympia. It was as if the power of seeing was kindled for the first time; the glances flashed with constantly increasing liveliness. As if spell-bound, Nathaniel reclined against the window, meditating on the charming Olympia. A hemming and scraping aroused him as if from a dream. Coppola was standing behind him: “Tre zecchini—three ducats!” Nathaniel, who had quite forgotten the optician, quickly paid him what he asked. “Is it not so? A pretty glass—a pretty glass?” asked Coppola, in his hoarse, repulsive voice, and with his malicious smile. “Yes—yes,” replied Nathaniel, peevishly; “good bye, friend.” Coppola left the room, not without casting many strange glances at Nathaniel. He heard him laugh loudly on the stairs. “Ah,” thought Nathaniel, “he is laughing at me because no doubt, I have paid him too much for this little glass.” While he softly uttered these words, it seemed as if a deep deadly sigh was sounding fearfully through the room, and his breath was stopped by inward anguish. He perceived, however, that it was himself that had sighed. “Clara,” he said to himself, “is right in taking me for a senseless dreamer, but it is pure madness—nay, more than madness, that the stupid thought, that I have paid Coppola too much for the glass, pains me even so strangely. I cannot see the cause.” He now sat down to finish his letter to Clara; but a glance through the window convinced him that Olympia was still sitting there, and he instantly sprang out, as if impelled by an irresistible power, seized Coppola’s glass, and could not tear himself from the seductive view of Olympia, till his friend and brother Sigismund, called him to go to Professor Spalanzani’s lecture. The curtain was drawn close before the fatal room, and he could neither perceive Olympia now nor during the two following days, although he scarcely ever left the window, and constantly looked through Coppola’s glass. On the third day the windows were completely covered. Quite in despair, and impelled by a burning wish, he ran out of the town-gate. Olympia’s form floated before him in the air, stepped forth from the bushes, and peeped at him with large beaming eyes from the clear brook. Clara’s image had completely vanished from his mind; he thought of nothing but Olympia, and complained aloud and in a murmuring tone: “Ah, thou noble, sublime star of my love, hast thou only risen upon me, to vanish immediately, and leave me in dark hopeless night?”

When he was retiring to his lodging, he perceived that there was a great bustle in Spalanzani’s house. The doors were wide open, all sorts of utensils were being carried in, the windows of the first floor were being taken out, maid servants were going about sweeping and dusting with great hair-brooms, and carpenters and upholsterers were knocking and hammering within. Nathaniel remained standing in the street in a state of perfect wonder, when Sigismund came up to him, laughing, and said: “Now, what do you say to our old Spalanzani?” Nathaniel assured him that he could say nothing because he knew nothing about the professor, but on the contrary perceived with astonishment the mad proceedings in a house otherwise so quiet and gloomy. He then learnt from Sigismund that Spalanzani intended to give a grand festival on the following day,—a concert and ball—and that half the university was invited. It was generally reported that Spalanzani, who had so long kept his daughter most painfully from every human eye, would now let her appear for the first time.

Nathaniel found a card of invitation, and with heart beating highly went at the appointed hour to the professor’s, where the coaches were already rolling, and the lights were shining in the decorated saloons. The company was numerous and brilliant. Olympia appeared dressed with great richness and taste. Her beautifully turned face, her figure called for admiration. The somewhat strange bend of her back inwards, the wasp-like thinness of her waist, seemed to be produced by too tight lacing. In her step and deportment there was something measured and stiff, which struck many as unpleasant, but it was ascribed to the constraint produced by the company. The concert began, Olympia played the piano with great dexterity, and executed a bravura, with a voice, like the sound of a glass bell, clear, and almost cutting. Nathaniel was quite enraptured; he stood in the hindermost row, and could not perfectly recognise Olympia’s features in the dazzling light. He, therefore, quite unperceived, took out Coppola’s glass, and looked towards the fair Olympia. Ah! then he saw, with what a longing glance she looked towards him, how every tone first resolved itself plainly in the glance of love, which penetrated, in its glowing career, his inmost soul. The artistical roulades seemed to Nathaniel the exultation of a mind illuminated with love, and when, at last, after the cadence, the long trill sounded shrilly through the saloon, he felt as if grasped by glowing arms; he could no longer restrain himself, but with mingled pain and rapture shouted out, “Olympia!” All looked at him, and many laughed. The organist of the cathedral made a more gloomy face than usual, and simply said: “Well, well.” The concert had finished, the ball began. “To dance with her—with her!” That was the aim of all Nathaniel’s wishes, of all his efforts; but how to gain courage to ask her, the queen of the festival? Nevertheless—he himself did not know how it happened—no sooner had the dancing begun, than he was standing close to Olympia, who had not yet been asked to dance, and, scarcely able to stammer out a few words, had seized her hand. The hand of Olympia was as cold as ice; he felt a horrible deadly frost thrilling through him. He looked into her eye—that was beaming full of love and desire, and at the same time it seemed as though the pulse began to beat, and the stream of life to glow in the cold hand. And in the soul of Nathaniel the joy of love rose still higher; he clasped the beautiful Olympia, and with her flew through the dance. He thought that his dancing was usually correct as to time, but the peculiar rhythmical steadiness with which Olympia moved, and which often put him completely out, soon showed him, that his time was very defective. However, he would dance with no other lady, and would have liked to murder any one who approached Olympia for the purpose of asking her. But this only happened twice, and to his astonishment Olympia remained seated after every dance, when he lost no time in making her rise again. Had he been able to see any other object besides the fair Olympia, all sorts of unfortunate quarrels would have been inevitable, for the half-soft, scarcely-suppressed laughter, which arose among the young people in every corner, was manifestly directed to Olympia, whom they pursued with very curious glances—one could not tell why. Heated by the dance, and by the wine, of which he had freely partaken, Nathaniel had laid aside all his ordinary reserve. He sat by Olympia, with her hand in his, and, highly inflamed and inspired, told his passion, in words which no one understood—neither himself nor Olympia. Yet, perhaps, she did; for she looked immoveably in his face, and sighed several times, “Ah, ah!” Upon this, Nathaniel said, “Oh, thou splendid, heavenly lady! Thou ray from the promised land of love—thou deep soul, in winch all my being is reflected!” with much more stuff of the like kind; but Olympia merely went on sighing, “Ah—ah!” Professor Spalanzani occasionally passed the happy pair, and smiled on them, with a look of singular satisfaction. To Nathaniel, although he felt in quite another region, it seemed all at once as though Professor Spalanzani was growing considerably darker; he looked around, and, to his no small horror, perceived that the two last candles in the empty saloon had burned down to their sockets, and were just going out. Music and dancing had ceased long ago. “Separation—separation!” he cried, wildly, and in despair; he kissed Olympia’s hand, he bent towards her mouth, when his glowing lips were met by lips cold as ice! Just as when he touched Olympia’s cold hand, he felt himself overcome by horror; the legend of the dead bride darted suddenly through his mind, but Olympia pressed him fast, and her lips seemed to recover to life at his kiss. Professor Spalanzani strode through the empty hall, his steps caused a hollow echo, and his figure, round which a flickering shadow played, had a fearful, spectral appearance. “Dost thou love me, dost thou love me, Olympia? Only this word!—Dost thou love me?” So whispered Nathaniel; but Olympia, as she rose, only sighed, “Ah—ah!” “Yes, my gracious, my beautiful star of love,” said Nathaniel, “thou hast risen upon me, and thou wilt shine, ever illuminating my inmost soul.” “Ah—ah!” replied Olympia, going. Nathaniel followed her; they both stood before the professor.

“You have had a very animated conversation with my daughter,” said he, smiling; “so, dear Herr Nathaniel, if you have any taste for talking with a silly girl, your visits shall be welcome.”

Nathaniel departed, with a whole heaven beaming in his bosom. The next day Spalanzani’s festival was the subject of conversation. Notwithstanding the professor had done every thing to appear splendid, the wags had all sorts of incongruities and oddities to talk about, and were particularly hard upon the dumb, stiff Olympia, to whom, in spite of her beautiful exterior, they ascribed absolute stupidity, and were pleased to find therein the cause why Spalanzani kept her so long concealed. Nathaniel did not hear this without increased rage; but, nevertheless, he held his peace, for, thought he, “Is it worth while to convince these fellows that it is their own stupidity that prevents them from recognising Olympia’s deep, noble mind?”

One day Sigismund said to him: “Be kind enough, brother, to tell me how it was possible for a sensible fellow like you to fall in love with that wax face, that wooden doll up there?”

Nathaniel was about to fly out in a passion, but he quickly recollected himself, and retorted: “Tell me, Sigismund, how it is that Olympia’s heavenly charms could escape your glance, which generally perceives every thing so clearly—your active senses? But, for that very reason, Heaven be thanked, I have not you for my rival; otherwise, one of us must have fallen a bleeding corpse!”

Sigismund plainly perceived his friend’s condition, so he skilfully gave the conversation a turn, and added, after observing that in love-affairs there was no disputing about the object: “Nevertheless it is strange, that many of us think much the same about Olympia. To us—pray do not take it ill, brother,—she appears singularly stiff and soulless. Her shape is symmetrical—so is her face—that is true! She might pass for beautiful, if her glance were not so utterly without a ray of life—without the power of seeing. Her pace is strangely measured, every movement seems to depend on some wound-up clockwork. Her playing—her singing has the unpleasantly correct and spiritless measure of a singing machine, and the same may be said of her dancing. To us, this Olympia has been quite unpleasant; we wished to have nothing to do with her; it seems as if she acts like a living being, and yet has some strange peculiarity of her own.” Nathaniel did not completely yield to the bitter feeling, which was coming over him at these words of Sigismund; he mastered his indignation, and merely said, with great earnestness, “Well may Olympia appear awful to you, cold prosaic man. Only to the poetical mind does the similarly organised develop itself. To me alone was her glance of love revealed, beaming through mind and thought; only in the love of Olympia do I find myself again. It may not suit you, that she does not indulge in idle chit-chat like other shallow minds. She utters few words, it is true, but these few words appear as genuine hieroglyphics of the inner world, full of love and deep knowledge of the spiritual life in contemplation of the eternal yonder. But you have no sense for all this, and my words are wasted on you.” “God preserve you, brother,” said Sigismund very mildly, almost sorrowfully; “but it seems to me, that you are in an evil way. You may depend upon me, if all—no, no, I will not say any thing further.” All of a sudden it seemed to Nathaniel as if the cold prosaic Sigismund meant very well towards him, and, therefore, he shook the proffered hand very heartily.

Nathaniel had totally forgotten, that there was in the world a Clara, whom he had once loved;—his mother—Lothaire—all had vanished from his memory; he lived only for Olympia, with whom he sat for hours every day, uttering strange fantastical stuff about his love, about the sympathy that glowed to life, about the affinity of souls, to all of which Olympia listened with great devotion. From the very bottom of his desk, he drew out all that he had ever written. Poems, fantasies, visions, romances, tales—this stock was daily increased with all sorts of extravagant sonnets, stanzas, and canzone, and he read all to Olympia for hours in succession without fatigue. Never had he known such an admirable listener. She neither embroidered nor knitted, she never looked out of window, she fed no favourite bird, she played neither with lap-dog nor pet cat, she did not twist a slip of paper nor any thing else in her hand, she was not obliged to suppress a yawn by a gentle forced cough. In short, she sat for hours, looking straight into her lover’s eyes, without stirring, and her glance became more and more lively and animated. Only when Nathaniel rose at last, and kissed her hand and also her lips, she said “Ah, ah!” adding “good night, dearest!” “Oh deep, noble mind!” cried Nathaniel in his own room, “by thee, by thee, dear one, am I fully comprehended.” He trembled with inward transport, when he considered the wonderful accordance that was revealed more and more every day in his own mind, and that of Olympia, for it seemed to him as if Olympia had spoken concerning him and his poetical talent out of the depths of his own mind;—as if the voice had actually sounded from within himself. That must indeed have been the case, for Olympia never uttered any words whatever beyond those which have been already mentioned. Even when Nathaniel, in clear and sober moments, as for instance, when he had just woke in the morning, remembered Olympia’s utter passivity, and her paucity and scarcity of words, he said: “Words, words! The glance of her heavenly eye speaks more than any language here below. Can a child of heaven adapt herself to the narrow circle which a miserable earthly necessity has drawn?” Professor Spalanzani appeared highly delighted at the intimacy of his daughter with Nathaniel. To the latter he gave the most unequivocal signs of approbation, and when Nathaniel ventured at last to hint at an union with Olympia, he smiled with his white face, and thought “he would leave his daughter a free choice in the matter.” Encouraged by these words, and with burning passion in his heart, Nathaniel resolved to implore Olympia on the very next day, that she would say directly, in plain words, that which her kind glance had told him long ago; namely, that she loved him. He sought the ring which his mother had given him at parting, that he might give it to Olympia as a symbol of his devotion, of his life which budded forth and bloomed with her alone. Clara’s letters and Lothaire’s came into his hands during the search; but he flung them aside indifferently, found the ring, put it up and hastened over to Olympia. Already on the steps, in the hall he heard a strange noise, which seemed to proceed from Spalanzani’s room. There was a stamping, a clattering, a pushing, a hurling against the door, intermingled with curses and imprecations. “Let go, let go, rascal!—scoundrel! Body and soul ventured in it? Ha, ha, ha! that I never will consent to—I, I made the eyes, I the clockwork—stupid blockhead with your clockwork—accursed dog of a bungling watch-maker—off with you—Satan—stop, pipe-maker—infernal beast—hold—begone—let go!” These words were uttered by the voices of Spalanzani, and the hideous Coppelius, who was thus raging and clamoring. Nathaniel rushed in, overcome by the most inexpressible anguish. The professor held a female figure fast by the shoulders, the Italian Coppola grasped it by the feet, and thus they were tugging and pulling, this way and that, contending for the possession of it, with the utmost fury. Nathaniel started back with horror, when in the figure he recognised Olympia. Boiling with the wildest indignation, he was about to rescue his beloved from these infuriated men, but at that moment, Coppola, turning himself with the force of a giant, wrenched the figure from the professor’s hand, and then with the figure itself gave him a tremendous blow, which made him reel and fall backwards over the table, where vials, retorts, bottles, and glass cylinders were standing. All these were dashed to a thousand shivers. Now Coppola flung the figure across his shoulders, and, with frightful, yelling laughter, dashed down the stairs, so that the feet of the figure, which dangled in the ugliest manner, rattled with a wooden sound on every step. Nathaniel stood paralysed; he had seen but too plainly that Olympia’s waxen, deadly pale countenance had no eyes, but black holes instead—she was, indeed, a lifeless doll. Spalanzani was writhing on the floor; the pieces of glass had cut his head, heart, and arms, and the blood was spirting up, as from so many fountains. But he soon collected all his strength. “After him—after him—why do you pause? Coppelius, Coppelius, has robbed me of my best automaton—a work of twenty years—body and soul set upon it—the clock-work—the speech—the walk, mine; the eyes stolen from you. The infernal rascal—after him; fetch Olympia—there you have the eyes!”

And now Nathaniel saw how a pair of eyes, which lay upon the ground, were staring at him; these Spalanzani caught up, with the unwounded hand, and flung against his heart. At this, madness seized him with its burning claws, and clutched into his soul, tearing to pieces all his thoughts and senses. “Ho—ho—ho—a circle of fire! of fire!—turn thyself round, circle! merrily, merrily, ho, thou wooden doll—turn thyself, pretty doll!” With these words he flew at the professor and pressed in his throat. He would have strangled him, had not the noise attracted many people, who rushed in, forced open Nathaniel’s grasp, and thus saved the professor, whose wounds were bound immediately. Sigismund, strong as he was, was not able to master the mad Nathaniel, who with frightful voice kept crying out: “Turn thyself, wooden doll!” and struck around him with clenched fists. At last the combined force of many succeeded in overcoming him, in flinging him to the ground, and binding him. His words were merged into a hideous roar, like that of a brute, and raging in this insane condition he was taken to the mad-house.

Before, gentle reader, I proceed to tell thee what more befel the unfortunate Nathaniel, I can tell thee, in case thou takest an interest in the skilful optician and automaton-maker, Spalanzani, that he was completely healed of his wounds. He was, however, obliged to leave the university, because Nathaniel’s story had created a sensation, and it was universally deemed an unpardonable imposition to smuggle wooden dolls instead of living persons into respectable tea-parties—for such Olympia had visited with success. The lawyers called it a most subtle deception, and the more culpable, inasmuch as he had planned it so artfully against the public, that not a single soul—a few cunning students excepted—had detected it, although all now wished to play the acute, and referred to various facts, which appeared to them suspicious. Nothing very clever was revealed in this way. For instance, could it strike any one as so very suspicious, that Olympia, according to the expression of an elegant tea-ite, had, contrary to all usage, sneezed oftener than she had yawned? “The former,” remarked this elegant person, “was the self-winding-up of the concealed clockwork, which had, moreover, creaked audibly”—and so on. The professor of poetry and eloquence took a pinch of snuff, clapped first the lid of his box, cleared his throat, and said, solemnly, “Ladies and gentlemen, do you not perceive how the whole affair lies? It is all an allegory—a continued metaphor—you understand me—Sapienti sat.” But many were not satisfied with this; the story of the automaton had struck deep root into their souls, and, in fact, an abominable mistrust against human figures in general, began to creep in. Many lovers, to be quite convinced that they were not enamoured of wooden dolls, would request their mistress to sing and dance a little out of time, to embroider and knit, and play with their lap-dogs, while listening to reading, &c.; and, above all, not to listen merely, but also sometimes to talk, in such a manner as presupposed actual thought and feeling. With many did the bond of love become firmer, and more chaining, while others, on the contrary, slipped gently out of the noose. “One cannot really answer for this,” said some. At tea-parties, yawning prevailed to an incredible extent, and there was no sneezing at all, that all suspicion might be avoided. Spalanzani, as already stated, was obliged to decamp, to escape the criminal prosecution for fraudulently introducing an automaton into human society. Coppola had vanished also.

Nathaniel awakened as from a heavy, frightful dream; he opened his eyes, and felt an indescribable sensation of pleasure streaming through him, with soft heavenly warmth. He was in bed in his own room, in his father’s house, Clara was stooping over him, and Lothaire and his mother were standing near. “At last, at last, oh beloved Nathaniel, hast thou recovered from thy serious illness—now thou art again mine!” So spoke Clara, from the very depth of her soul, and clasped Nathaniel in her arms. But with mingled sorrow and delight did the brightly glowing tears fall from his eyes, and he deeply groaned forth: “My own—my own Clara!” Sigismund, who had faithfully remained with his friend in the hour of trouble, now entered. Nathaniel stretched out his hand to him. “And thou, faithful brother, hast not deserted me?” Every trace of Nathaniel’s madness had vanished, and he soon gained strength amid the care of his mother, his beloved, and his friends. Good fortune also had visited the house, for an old penurious uncle, of whom nothing had been expected, had died, and had left the mother, besides considerable property, an estate in a pleasant spot near the town. Thither Nathaniel, with his Clara, whom he now thought of marrying, his mother, and Lothaire, desired to go. Nathaniel had now grown milder and more docile than he had ever been, and he now understood, for the first time, the heavenly purity and the greatness of Clara’s mind. No one, by the slightest hint, reminded him of the past. Only, when Sigismund took leave of him, Nathaniel said: “Heavens, brother, I was in an evil way, but a good angel led me betimes to the path of light! Ah, that was Clara!” Sigismund did not let him carry the discourse further for fear that deeply wounding recollections might burst forth bright and flaming. It was about this time that the four happy persons thought of going to the estate. They were crossing, at noon, the streets of the city, where they had made several purchases, and the high steeple of the town-house already cast its gigantic shadow over the market-place. “Oh,” said Clara, “let us ascend it once more, and look at the distant mountains!” No sooner said than done. Nathaniel and Clara both ascended the steps, the mother returned home with the servant, and Lothaire, not inclined to clamber up so many steps, chose to remain below. The two lovers stood arm in arm in the highest gallery of the tower, and looked down upon the misty forests, behind which the blue mountains were rising like a gigantic city.

“Look there at that curious little gray bush, which actually seems as if it were striding towards us,” said Clara. Nathaniel mechanically put his hand into his breast pocket—he found Coppola’s telescope, and he looked on one side. Clara was before the glass. There was a convulsive movement in his pulse and veins,—pale as death, he stared at Clara, but soon streams of fire flashed and glared from his rolling eyes, and he roared frightfully, like a hunted beast. Then he sprang high into the air, and, in the intervals of a horrible laughter, shrieked out, in a piercing tone, “Wooden doll—turn thyself!” Seizing Clara with immense force he wished to hurl her down, but with the energy of a desperate death-struggle she clutched the railings. Lothaire heard the raging of the madman—he heard Clara’s shriek of agony—fearful forebodings darted through his mind, he ran up, the door of the second flight was fastened, and the shrieks of Clara became louder and louder. Frantic with rage and anxiety, he dashed against the door, which, at last, burst open. Clara’s voice became fainter and fainter. “Help—help—save me!”—with these words the voice seemed to die in the air. “She is gone—murdered by the madman!” cried Lothaire. The door of the gallery was also closed, but despair gave him a giant’s strength, and he burst it from the hinges. Heavens—Clara, grasped by the mad Nathaniel, was hanging in the air over the gallery,—only with one hand she still held one of the iron railings. Quick as lightning Lothaire caught his sister, drew her in, and, at the same moment, struck the madman in the face with his clenched fist, so that he reeled and let go his prey.

Lothaire ran down with his fainting sister in his arms. She was saved. Nathaniel went raging about the gallery and bounded high in the air, crying, “Fire circle turn thyself—turn thyself!” The people collected at the sound of the wild shriek, and among them, prominent by his gigantic stature, was the advocate Coppelius, who had just come to the town, and was proceeding straight to the market-place. Some wished to ascend and secure the madman, but Coppelius laughed, saying, “Ha, ha,—only wait—he will soon come down of his own accord,” and looked up like the rest. Nathaniel suddenly stood still as if petrified; he stooped down, perceived Coppelius, and yelling out, “Ah, pretty eyes—pretty eyes!”—he sprang over the railing.

When Nathaniel lay on the stone pavement, with his head shattered, Coppelius had disappeared in the crowd.

Many years afterwards it is said that Clara was seen in a remote spot, sitting hand in hand with a kind-looking man before the door of a country house, while two lively boys played before her. From this it may be inferred that she at last found that quiet domestic happiness which suited her serene and cheerful mind, and which the morbid Nathaniel would never have given her.

J. O.

[1] Two characters in Schiller’s play of “Die Räuber.”



On the banks of the Hafel, about the middle of the sixteenth century, lived a horse-dealer, named Michael Kohlhaas. He was the son of a schoolmaster, and was one of the most honest, while at the same time he was one of the most terrible persons of his period. Till his thirtieth year this extraordinary man might have passed as a pattern of a good citizen. In a village, which still bears his name, he held a farm, on which, by means of his business, he was enabled to live quietly. The children whom his wife bore him, he brought up in the fear of God to honesty and industry; and there was not one among his neighbours who had not felt the benefit of his kindness or his sense of justice. In short, the world might have blessed his memory had he not carried one virtue to too great an extreme. The feeling of justice made him a robber and a murderer.

He was once riding abroad, with a string of young horses, all sleek and well-fed, and was calculating how he should expend the profit which he hoped to make in the markets—apportioning part, like a good manager, to gain further profit, and part to present enjoyment—when he came to the Elbe, and found, by a stately castle in the Saxon dominion, a toll-bar, which he had never seen on this road. He at once stopped with his horses, while the rain was pouring down, and called to the toll-taker, who soon, with a very cross face, peeped out of window. The horse-dealer asked him to open the road. “What new fashion is this?” said he, when, after a considerable time, the collector came out of his house. “A sovereign privilege,” was his reply, as he unlocked the bar, “granted to the Squire[2] Wenzel von Tronka.” “So,” said Kohlhaas, “Wenzel’s the squire’s name, is it?”—and he looked at the castle, which, with its glittering battlements, peered over the field. “Is the old master dead?” “Of an apoplexy,” answered the collector, as he lifted up the bar. “That’s a pity!” said Kohlhaas. “He was a worthy old gentleman, who took delight in the intercourse of men, and helped business when he could. Aye, once he had a dam built of stone, because a mare of mine broke her leg yonder, where the way leads to the village. Now, how much?” he asked, and with difficulty drew out from his mantle, which fluttered in the wind, the groschen required by the collector. “Aye, old man,” said he, as the other muttered, “make haste,” and cursed the weather.—“If the tree from which this bar was fashioned had remained in the wood, it would have been better for both of us.” Having paid the money, he would have pursued his journey, but scarcely had he passed the bar than he heard behind him a new voice calling from the tower:

“Ho, there, horse-dealer!” and saw the castellan shut the window, and hasten down to him. “Now, something else new!” said Kohlhaas to himself, stopping with his horses. The castellan, buttoning a waistcoat over his spacious stomach, came, and standing aslant against the rain, asked for his passport. “Passport!” cried Kohlhaas; adding, a little puzzled, that he had not one about him, to his knowledge; but that he should like to be told what sort of a thing it was as he might perchance be provided with one, notwithstanding. The castellan, eyeing him askance, remarked, that without a written permission no horse-dealer, with horses, would be allowed to pass the border. The horse-dealer asserted that he had crossed the border seventeen times in the course of his life without any such paper; that he knew perfectly all the seignorial privileges which belonged to his business; that this would only prove a mistake, and that he, therefore, hoped he might be allowed to think it over; and, as his journey was long, not be detained thus uselessly any further. The castellan answered that he would not escape the eighteenth time; that the regulation had but lately appeared, and that he must either take a passport here or return whence he had come. The horse-dealer, who began to be nettled at these illegal exactions, dismounted from his horse, after reflecting for a while, and said he would speak to the Squire von Tronka himself. He accordingly went up to the castle, followed by the castellan, who muttered something about stingy money-scrapers, and the utility of bleeding them, and both, measuring each other with their looks, entered the hall.

The squire, as it happened, was drinking with some boon companions, and they all burst out into a ceaseless fit of laughter at some jest, when Kohlhaas approached to state his grievance. The squire asked him what he wanted, while the knights, eyeing the stranger, remained still; yet hardly had he begun his request concerning the horses, than the whole company cried out—“Horses! where are they?” and ran to the window to see them. No sooner had they set eyes on the sleek lot than, on the motion of the squire, down they flew into the court-yard. The rain had ceased; castellan, bailiff and servants, were collected around, and all surveyed the animals. One praised the sorrel with the white spot on his forehead, another liked the chesnut, a third patted the dappled one with tawney spots, and agreed that the horses were like so many stags, and that none better could be reared in the country. Kohlhaas, in high spirits, replied that the horses were no better than the knights who should ride them, and asked them to make a purchase. The squire, who was greatly taken with the strong sorrel stallion, asked the price, while the bailiff pressed him to buy a pair of blacks which he thought might be usefully employed on the estate; but when the horse-dealer named his terms, the knights found them too high, and the squire said that he might ride to the round table and find King Arthur if he fixed such prices as these. Kohlhaas, who saw the castellan and the bailiff whisper together, as they cast most significant glances on the blacks, left nothing undone, actuated as he was by some dark foreboding, to make them take the horses.

“See sir,” he said to the squire, “I bought the blacks for five-and-twenty gold crowns, six months ago. Give me thirty and they are yours.”

Two of the knights, who stood near the squire, said plainly enough that the horses were well worth the money; but the squire thought that he might buy the sorrel, while he objected to take the blacks, and made preparations to depart, when Kohlhaas, saying that they would conclude a bargain the next time he went that way with his horses, bade farewell to the squire, and took his horse’s bridle to ride off. At this moment the castellan stepped forward from the rest, and said that he had told him he could not travel without a passport. Kohlhaas, turning round, asked the squire whether this really was the case, adding that it would prove the utter destruction of his business. The squire, somewhat confused, answered as he withdrew,

“Yes, Kohlhaas, you must have a pass; speak about it with the castellan, and go your way.” Kohlhaas assured him that he had no notion of evading such regulations as might be made respecting the conveyance of horses, promised, in his way through Dresden, to get a pass from the secretary’s office, and begged that he might, on this occasion, be allowed to go on, as he knew nothing of the requisition. “Well,” said the squire, while the storm broke out anew and rattled against his thin limbs, “Let the fellow go. Come,” said he to his knights, and moving round, he was proceeding to the castle. The castellan, however, turning to him said that Kohlhaas must at least leave some pledge that he would get the passport. The squire, upon this, remained standing at the castle-gate, while Kohlhaas asked what security in money or in kind he should leave on account of the black horses. The bailiff mumbled out that he thought the horses themselves might as well be left. “Certainly,” said the castellan, “That is the best plan. When he has got the pass he can take them away at any time.”

Kohlhaas, astounded at so impudent a proposition, told the squire, who was shivering and holding his waistcoat tight to his body, that he should like to sell him the blacks; but the latter, as a gust of wind drove a world of rain through the gate, cried out, to cut the matter short, “If he won’t leave his horses pitch him over the bar back again!” and so saying, left the spot. The horse-dealer, who saw that he must give way to force, resolved, as he could not do otherwise, to comply with the request, so he unfastened the blacks, and conducted them to a stable which the castellan showed him, left a servant behind, gave him money, told him to take care of the blacks till his return, and doubting whether, on account of the advances made in breeding, there might not be such a law in Saxony, he continued his journey with the rest of his horses to Leipzig, where he wished to attend the fair.

As soon as he reached Dresden, where, in one of the suburbs he had a house with stables, being in the habit of carrying on his trade from thence with the lesser markets of the country, he went to the secretary’s office, and there learned from the councillors, some of whom he knew, what he had expected at first—namely, that the story about the passport was a mere fable. The displeased councillors having, at the request of Kohlhaas, given him a certificate as to the nullity of the requisition, he laughed at the thin squire’s jest, though he did not exactly see the purport of it; and, having in a few weeks sold his horses to his satisfaction, he returned to the Tronkenburg without any bitter feeling beyond that at the general troubles of the world. The castellan, to whom he showed the certificate, gave no sort of explanation, but merely said, in answer to the question of the horse-dealer, whether he might have the horses back again, that he might go and fetch them. Already, as he crossed the court-yard, Kohlhaas heard the unpleasant news that his servant, on account of improper conduct, as they said, had been beaten and sent off a few days after he had been left at the Tronkenburg. He asked the young man who gave him this intelligence, what the servant had done, and who had attended the horses in the meanwhile. He replied that he did not know, and opened the stall in which they were kept to the horse-dealer, whose heart already swelled with dark misgivings. How great was his astonishment when, instead of his sleek, well-fed blacks, he saw a couple of skinny, jaded creatures, with bones on which things might have been hung, as on hooks, and manes entangled from want of care; in a word, a true picture of animal misery. Kohlhaas, to whom the horses neighed with a slight movement, was indignant in the highest degree, and asked what had befallen the creatures? The servant answered, that no particular misfortune had befallen them, but that, as there had been a want of draught-cattle, they had been used a little in the fields. Kohlhaas cursed this shameful and preconcerted act of arbitrary power; but, feeling his own weakness, suppressed his rage, and, as there was nothing else to be done, prepared to leave the robber’s nest with his horses, when the castellan, attracted by the conversation, made his appearance, and asked what was the matter.

“Matter!” said Kohlhaas, “who allowed Squire Von Tronka and his people to work in the fields the horses that I left?” He asked if this was humanity, tried to rouse the exhausted beasts by a stroke with a switch, and showed him that they could not move. The castellan, after he had looked at him for awhile, insolently enough said, “Now, there’s an ill-mannered clown! Why does not the fellow thank his God that his beasts are still living?” He asked whose business it was to take care of them when the boy had run away, and whether it was not fair that the horses should earn in the fields the food that was given them, and concluded by telling him to cease jabbering, or he would call out the dogs, and get some quiet that way at any rate.

The horse-dealer’s heart beat strongly against his waistcoat, he felt strongly inclined to fling the good-for-nothing mass of fat into the mud, and set his foot on his brazen countenance. Yet his feeling of right, which was accurate as a gold balance, still wavered; before the tribunal of his own heart, he was still uncertain whether his adversary was in the wrong; and, while pocketing the affronts, he went to his horses and smoothed down their manes. Silently weighing the circumstances, he asked, in a subdued voice, on what account the servant had been sent away from the castle. The castellan answered that it was because the rascal had been impudent. He had resisted a necessary change of stables, and had desired that the horses of two young noblemen, who had come to Tronkenburg, should remain out all night in the high road. Kohlhaas would have given the value of the horses to have had the servant by him, and to have compared his statement with that of the thick-lipped castellan. He stood awhile and smoothed the tangles out of the manes, bethinking himself what was to be done in his situation, when suddenly the scene changed, and the Squire Von Tronka, with a host of knights, servants, and dogs, returning from a hare-hunt galloped into the castle-court. The castellan, when the squire asked what had happened, took care to speak first; and, while the dogs at the sight of the stranger were barking at him on one side, with the utmost fury, and the knights on the other side were trying to silence them, he set forth, distorting the matter as much as possible, the disturbance that the horse-dealer had created, because his horses had been used a little. Laughing scornfully, he added that he had refused to acknowledge them as his own. “They are not my horses, your worship!” cried Kohlhaas; “these are not the horses that were worth thirty golden crowns! I will have my sound and well-fed horses.” The squire, whose face became pale for a moment, alighted and said, “If the rascal will not take his horses, why let him leave them. Come Gunther, come Hans,” cried he, as he brushed the dust from his breeches with his hand. “And, ho! wine there!” he called, as he crossed the threshold with the knights and entered his dwelling. Kohlhaas said that he would rather send for the knacker and have the horses knocked on the head, than he would take them in such a condition to his stable at Kohlhaasenbrück. He left them standing where they were, without troubling himself further about them, and vowing that he would have justice, flung himself on his brown horse, and rode off.

He was just setting off full speed for Dresden, when, at the thought of the servant, and at the complaint that had been made against him at the castle, he began to walk slowly, turned his horse’s head before he had gone a thousand paces, and took the road to Kohlhaasenbrück, that, in accordance with his notions of prudence and justice, he might first hear the servant’s account of the matter. For a correct feeling, well inured to the defective ways of the world, inclined him, in spite of the affronts he had received, to pass over the loss of his horses, as an equitable result; if, indeed, as the castellan had maintained, it could be proved that his servant was in the wrong. On the other hand, a feeling equally honourable, which gained ground as he rode further, and heard, wherever he stopped, of the wrongs that travellers had to endure every day at the Tronkenburg, told him, that if the whole affair was a concerted scheme—as, indeed, it seemed to be—it was his duty to use every effort to obtain satisfaction for the affronts he had endured, and to secure his fellow-citizens for the future.

As soon as, on his arrival at Kohlhaasenbrück, he had embraced his good wife Lisbeth, and kissed his children, who sported about his knees, he inquired after his head servant, Herse, and whether any thing had been heard of him.

“Yes, dearest Michael,” said Lisbeth, “and only think—that unfortunate Herse came here about a fortnight ago, beaten most barbarously—aye, so beaten, that he could scarcely breathe. We took him to bed, when he spat a good deal of blood, and, in answer to our repeated questions, told a story which none of us could understand;—how he was left behind by you at the Tronkenburg with the horses, which were not allowed to pass, how he was forced, by the most shameful ill-usage, to leave the castle, and how he was unable to bring the horses with him.”

“Indeed!” said Kohlhaas, putting off his mantle, “is he recovered now?”

“Tolerably,” she answered, “with the exception of the spitting of blood. I wished immediately to send a servant to the Tronkenburg, to take care of the horses till you went there, for Herse has always been so honest, indeed so much more faithful to us than any one else, that I never thought of doubting a statement supported by so many evident signs of truth, or of believing that he had lost the horses in any other way. Yet he entreated me not to counsel any one to show himself in that robber’s nest, and to give up the horses, if I would not sacrifice a human being.”

“Is he still in bed?” asked Kohlhaas, loosening his neckcloth.

“For the last few days he has gone about in the court,” she answered—“in short, you will see that all is true enough, and that this affair is one of the atrocities which the people at the Tronkenburg have lately perpetrated against strangers.”

“That I must look into,” said Kohlhaas. “Call him here, Lisbeth, if he is up.” With these words he sat himself down, while the housewife, who was pleased to see him so forbearing, went and fetched the servant.

“What have you been doing at the Tronkenburg?” asked Kohlhaas, as Lisbeth entered the room with him. “I am not well pleased with you.” The servant, in whose pale face a spot of red appeared at these words, was silent for a while, and then said—

“You are right, master, for I flung into the Elbe a match, which, by God’s providence, I had with me, to set on fire the robber’s nest, from which I was driven, as I heard a child crying within, and thought to myself—‘God’s lightning may consume it, but I will not.’”

“But what did you do to be sent away from the Tronkenburg?” said Kohlhaas, much struck.

“It was on account of a bad piece of business,” said Herse, wiping the perspiration from his forehead; “but no matter, ‘what can’t be cured must be endured.’ I would not allow the horses to be ruined by field work, and told them they were still young, and had never been used for drawing.”

Kohlhaas, endeavouring to conceal the perturbation of his mind, observed, that Herse had not quite told the truth in this instance, as the horses had been in harness a little during the preceding spring. “As you were a kind of guest at the castle, you might have obliged them once or twice, when they were forced to get in their harvest as quickly as they could.”

“So I did, master,” replied Herse, “I thought, as they began to make wry faces, that it would not cost us the horses, at all events. On the third morning I put them too, and brought in three loads of corn.”

Kohlhaas, whose heart swelled, fixed his eyes on the ground, and said, “They told me nothing of that, Herse.”

The man, however, assured him that it was so. “My incivility,” he said, “consisted in this: that I would not allow the horses to be yoked again, when they had scarcely taken their feed at noon, and that when the castellan and the bailiff told me to take fodder gratis, and to pocket the money which had been given me, I gave them a short answer, turned on my heel, and walked off.”

“But,” said Kohlhaas, “it was not for this incivility that you were sent away from the Tronkenburg.”

“God forbid!” said the man, “it was on account of a rascally piece of injustice. For in the evening, the horses of two knights, who had come to the Tronkenburg, were put in the stable, and mine were tied to the stable-door. And when I took the horses out of the hand of the castellan, and asked him where they were to be kept, he showed me a pigsty, built with boards and laths against the castle wall.”

“You mean,” interrupted Kohlhaas, “that it was such a bad place for horses, that it was more like a pigsty than a stable.”

“I mean a pigsty, master,” said Herse, “really and truly a pigsty, where the pigs ran in and out, and in which I could not stand upright.”

“Perhaps there was no other place for the horses,” observed Kohlhaas, “and those of the knights had, in some measure, the preference.”

“The place,” answered the servant, dropping his voice, “was indeed narrow. Seven knights in all were stopping at the castle; but if it had been you—you would have put the horses a little closer together. I said that I would try to hire a stable in the village, but the castellan objected that he must have the horses under his own eye, and that I must not venture to move them from the yard.”

“Hem!” said Kohlhaas, “what did you do then?”

“Why, as the bailiff told me that the two guests would only stop over the night, and would leave the next morning, I led the horses into the sty. But the next day passed, and nothing of the kind took place; and when the third came, I heard the visitors would remain at the castle for some weeks.”

“Then, in the end,” said Kohlhaas, “it was not so bad in the pigsty, as it seemed, when first you looked into it.”

“True,” replied Herse, “when I had swept the place a bit, it was passable. Then I gave the girl a groschen to put the pigs somewhere else, and during the day, at least, I managed to let the horses stand upright, for I took off the boards at the top, when the morning dawned, and put them on again in the evening. They peeped out of the roof like so many geese, and looked after Kohlhaasenbrück, or some place at any rate, where they would be better off.”

“But now,” said Kohlhaas, “why in the world did they send you away?”

“Because, master,” replied the man, “they wanted to get rid of me; because, as long as I was there, they could not ruin the horses. In the yard, and in the servants’ room, they always made queer faces at me, and because I thought ‘you may twist your mouths out of joint, if you like,’ they managed to find a pretext, and turned me out of the yard.”

“But the reason,” said Kohlhaas, “they must have had some reason.”

“Oh, certainly,” replied Herse, “and a very good one too. On the evening of the second day which I had passed in the sty, I took the horses, which had become dirty, and was going to ride them out to water. When I was just at the gate, and was about to turn, I heard the castellan and the bailiff, with servants, dogs, and sticks, rush upon me from the servants’ room, and shout out ‘Stop the thief, stop the hangdog!’ as if they were all possessed. The gate-keeper intercepted my passage, and when I asked him and the uproarious mob what was the matter, the castellan, seizing the bridle of the two horses, cried, ‘Matter, indeed! Where are you going with the horses?’ and so saying, seized me by the collar. Why, where should I be going?’ said I, ‘I am going to water the horses.’ ‘Oh, to water!’ cried the castellan, ‘I’ll water you! I’ll teach you to swim on the high road all the way to Kohlhaasenbrück.’ Upon this, he and the bailiff, who had laid hold of my leg, flung me treacherously from the horse, so that I lay full length in the mud. ‘Murder!’ shouted I, ‘There are the harness, and the horse-cloths, and a bundle of linen belonging to me in the stable.’ But the castellan and the servants, while the bailiff led off the horses, belaboured me with whips, and cudgels, and kicks, till I fell down, half dead, at the gate. And when I said, ‘Where are the thievish rogues taking the horses?’ and got up, ‘Out of the castle-yard!’ cried the castellan. ‘Ho, there, Cæsar!—Ho, Touzer!—Ho, Pincher!’ and straight more than a dozen dogs flew at me. At this I broke a stick or something from the fence, and lay three of the dogs dead at my feet; but when, tortured by their fangs, I was forced to give way, ‘Phew!’ went a pipe—the dogs were in the yard—bang went the gate—the bolt was drawn, and down in the road I fell, quite exhausted.”

Kohlhaas, though his face was white, affected a jocose style, and said, “Now, did not you wish to abscond, Herse?” and when the man, colouring, looked on the ground, he added, “Now confess, you did not like the pigsty, you thought the stable in Kohlhaasenbrück much better—did you not?” “Thunder of Heaven!” exclaimed Herse, “I left the harness and horse-cloths, and the bundle of linen in the sty. Should I not have secured the three crowns which I left in the red silk neckerchief, hid behind the manger? Death and the devil!—When you talk so, you make me wish to light that match again which I threw away;” “Nay, nay,” said Kohlhaas, “I did not mean so ill with you, I believe every word you have spoken, and if there is any talk about it, I will take the sacrament upon it; I am only sorry that you fared no better in my service. Go to bed, Herse; go to bed. Take a flask of wine and comfort yourself—you shall have justice.” He then rose, asked for a list of the things which the man had left in the sty, specified their value; asked him the expenses of curing his hurt, and, after shaking hands with him, let him go.

He then told his wife, Lisbeth, the whole particulars of the affair; said that he was resolved to claim public justice, and was pleased to see that in this design she fully agreed with him. For she said that many other travellers, probably less forbearing than he, would go by that castle, that it would be a pious work to stop disorders like these, and that she would soon collect enough for the expenses of the suit. Kohlhaas called her a dear woman, passed this and the following day with her and his children, and, as soon as business allowed, went to Dresden to make his complaint before the tribunal.

Then with the help of a lawyer of his acquaintance he drew up a petition, in which, after a circumstantial statement of the wrong which the Squire Wenzel von Tronka had done both to him, and his servant Herse, he claimed that he should be punished according to law, that his horses should be restored to their former condition, and that compensation should be awarded for the wrong which he and his servant had suffered. The case was clear enough, the fact that the horses had been illegally detained threw a light on all the rest, and even if it were assumed that they had been injured merely by chance, the claim of their owner to have them back in a healthy condition, was nevertheless just. Besides Kohlhaas had plenty of good friends at Dresden, who promised heartily to support his cause, his extensive trade in horses had gained him a numerous acquaintance, and the honesty of his dealings had acquired him the good will of the most important men in the country. He frequently dined with his advocate, who was himself a man of consequence, gave him a sum to defray the law expenses, and being fully satisfied by him as to the issue of the suit, returned, after a few weeks to his wife at Kohlhaasenbrück. However months passed on, and the year was nearly at an end, and he had not yet got from Saxony even a statement concerning his suit, much less the decision itself. After he had applied to the tribunal several times anew he asked his legal assistant in a confidential letter, what could be the cause of this monstrous delay, and learned that his suit had been entirely set aside in consequence of a high application to the supreme court at Dresden. In answer to another letter from the horse-dealer, couched in terms of high dissatisfaction, and asking a reason for all this, the jurist replied, that the Squire Wenzel von Tronka was related to two young gentlemen, Herrn Henry and Conrad von Tronka, one of whom was attached to the lord cup-bearer, while the other was chamberlain. He advised him, without proceeding further in the suit, to try to get his horses back from the Tronkenburg, gave him to understand that the squire, who was now in the capital, had ordered his people to return them, and finally entreated him, if he would not be satisfied, at any-rate not to give him (the writer) any further commissions relative to the matter.

At this time, Kohlhaas happened to be in Brandenburg, where the town-governor (Stadt-hauptmann) Heinrich von Geusau, to whose jurisdiction Kohlhaasenbrück belonged, was occupied in founding several charitable institutions for the poor and sick, a considerable sum, which had come into the possession of the city, being appropriated for that purpose. Above all he was endeavouring to convert a mineral spring, the source of which was in a neighbouring village, and concerning the virtues of which higher expectations were raised than were fulfilled by the parties, to the use of invalids, and as Kohlhaas, in consequence of many transactions he had had with him, during his sojourn at the court, was well known to him, he allowed the servant Herse, who had not been able to breathe without a pain in the chest since the unlucky day at Tronkenburg, to try the little spring, which was now enclosed and roofed over. Now it chanced that the governor was standing by the bath, in which Herse was laid by Kohlhaas, to make certain arrangements, when the horse-dealer received by a messenger, sent by his wife, the disheartening letter from his advocate at Dresden. The governor, who while he was talking with the physician, saw Kohlhaas drop a tear on the letter he had just received and opened, went up to him in a kind manner, and asked him what misfortune had happened; and when the horse-dealer, instead of answering, put the letter in his hand, this worthy man, to whom the abominable wrong, which had been done at the Tronkenburg, and in consequence of which Herse lay ill before him, perhaps for life, was well known, slapped him on the shoulder, and bid him not to be disheartened, as he would aid him to obtain justice. In the evening, when the horse-dealer, in compliance with his instructions, called upon him at his castle, he told him that he need only draw up a petition to the Elector of Brandenburg, with a short statement of facts, attach to it the advocate’s letter, and claim seignorial protection on account of the violence he had suffered in the Saxon territory. He promised to enclose the petition in a packet, which lay ready at hand, and thus to put it into the hands of the elector, who would certainly, on his own account, apply to the Elector of Saxony, as soon as circumstances permitted. Such a step was all that was wanted to obtain justice from the tribunal at Dresden, in spite of the tricks of Squire von Tronka and his adherents. Kohlhaas, highly delighted, thanked the governor most heartily, for this new proof of kindness, told him he was only sorry that he had not at once commenced proceedings at Berlin, without taking any steps at Dresden, and after he had duly prepared the petition in the secretary’s office, and had handed it over to the governor, he returned to Kohlhaasenbrück better satisfied than ever as to the prospects of the affair. In a few weeks, however, he had the mortification of learning, through a judge, who was going to Potsdam, about some affairs of the governor, that the elector had handed over the petition to his chancellor, Count Kallheim, and that the latter, instead of going immediately to the court at Dresden to examine the matter and inflict punishment, as seemed to be his duty, had first applied for information to Squire von Tronka himself. The judge,[3] who stopped in his carriage before Kohlhaas’s door, and who seemed to have been expressly commissioned to make this communication, could give no satisfactory answer to the question of his surprise: “But why did they act in this way?” he merely said, that the governor had sent word, begging him to be patient, appeared anxious to pursue his journey, and it was not till the end of a short conversation, that Kohlhaas learned by a few stray words, that Count Kallheim was related by marriage to the von Tronka’s. Kohlhaas, who no longer took any delight in attending his horses, or in his house and farm—scarcely in his wife and children—waited the arrival of the following month with the gloomiest misgivings, and it was quite in accordance with his expectations, that when the interval was passed, Herse, who had been in some measure relieved by the bath, returned from Brandenburg with a letter from the governor, accompanying a paper of larger dimensions. The letter was to the effect that the writer was sorry he could do nothing for him, but that he sent him a decree of the chancery, and advised him to take away the horses, which he had left at Tronkenburg, and let the whole matter drop. According to the decree, “he was a vexatious litigant, on the information of the tribunal at Dresden; the squire with whom he had left the horses did nothing to detain them; he might send to the castle and fetch them, or at any rate let the squire know where he was to send them, and at all events he was to abstain from troubling the court with such wranglings.” Kohlhaas, to whom the horses were not the chief object—had it been a couple of dogs he would have been equally mortified—literally foamed with rage when he had received this letter. Whenever there was a noise in his farm, he looked with the sickening sensation which had even stirred his heart towards the gate, expecting to see the squire’s servants, with his horses starved and worn out; this was the only case in which his mind, otherwise well-trained by the world, could find nothing that exactly corresponded with his feelings. Shortly afterwards he learned by means of an acquaintance, who had travelled that way, that the horses were still used with the squire’s at Tronkenburg for field labour, and in the midst of his pain at seeing the world in such a state of disorder, there arose a feeling of inner contentment as he found there was at least something like order in his own heart. He invited the proprietor[4] of the neighbouring lands, who had long entertained the notion of increasing his possessions by purchasing the pieces of ground adjoining, and asked him, when he had taken a seat, what he would give him for his estates in Brandenburg and Saxony, taking house and farm all in the lump, with or without fixtures. His wife Lisbeth turned pale as she heard these words. Turning round she took up the youngest child, who was sporting on the floor behind her, and darted at the horse-dealer, and a paper which he held in his hand, glances, in which doubt was depicted, and which passed across the red cheeks of the boy, who was playing with the ribbons on her neck. The farmer, who observed his confused manner, asked him what had put so strange a thought all at once into his head. Kohlhaas, with as much cheerfulness as he could assume, replied that the notion of selling his farm on the banks of the Havel was not quite new, that they had both often discussed this matter already, that his house in the suburbs of Dresden was comparatively a mere appendage, not to be considered, and finally that if he would comply with his offer and take both estates, he was quite ready to conclude the contract. He added, with a kind of forced levity, that Kohlhaasenbrück was not the world; that there might be purposes, in comparison with which that of presiding over one’s household, like an orderly father, was trivial and subordinate, and that in short his mind, as he was bound to say, was set upon great matters, of which perhaps the farmer would soon hear. The farmer satisfied with this explanation, said merrily to the wife, who kissed her child again and again: “He won’t want immediate payment, will he?” and then laying upon the table the hat and stick he had hitherto carried between his knees, he took the paper which Kohlhaas had in his hand to read it. Kohlhaas moving closer to him, explained that this was a conditional contract which he had drawn up, and which would become absolute in four weeks; showed that nothing was required but the signatures and the filling in of the two sums, namely, the purchase-money and the price of redemption, in case he should return within the four weeks, and again asked him in a cheerful tone to make an offer, assuring him that he would be reasonable, and would not hesitate about trifles. The wife walked up and down in the room, her heart palpitating to such a degree that her handkerchief, at which the child was pulling, seemed ready to fall from her shoulders. The farmer said that he had no means of estimating the value of the Dresden property, whereupon Kohlhaas, pushing to him the documents that had been exchanged when he had purchased it, replied that he valued it at one hundred gold crowns, although it appeared clearly enough from the documents themselves, that it cost him almost half as much again. The farmer, who read the contract over once more, and found that on his side also the liberty of retracting was specially provided, said, already half determined, that he could not make use of the stud that was in the stables; but when Kohlhaas replied that he did not wish to part with the horses, and that he also wished to keep some weapons that hung in the gun-room, he hemmed and hesitated for a while, and at last repeated an offer which, half in jest, half in earnest, he had made in the course of a walk, and which was as nothing compared to the value of the property. Kohlhaas pushed pen and ink towards him that he might write, and when the farmer, who could not trust his senses, asked the horse-dealer if he was really serious, and the horse-dealer somewhat sharply asked the farmer if he thought he could be in jest, the latter, with a somewhat scrupulous countenance, took up the pen and wrote. He struck out the part relating to the sum to be paid, in case the vendor should repent his bargain, bound himself to a loan of one hundred crowns on the security of the Dresden property, which he would on no account consent to purchase, and left Kohlhaas full liberty to recede from his contract within two months. The horse-dealer, touched by this handsome conduct, shook the farmer’s hand very heartily, and after they had agreed on the chief condition, which was that a fourth of the purchase-money should be paid in cash down, and the rest at the Hamburg bank three months afterwards, he called for wine, that they might make merry over a bargain so happily concluded. He told the servant-maid, who entered with bottles, that his man Sternbald was to saddle the chesnut horse, saying that he must ride to the city, where he had business to transact, and hinting that when he returned he would speak more openly about that which he must now keep secret. Then filling the glasses he asked about the Poles and the Turks, who were then at war with each other, entangled the farmer into all sorts of political conjectures on the subject, and finally took a parting glass to the success of their bargain, and dismissed him.

No sooner had the farmer left the room, than Lisbeth fell on her knees before her husband. “If,” she cried, “you still retain any feeling for me, and for the children which I bore you; if we are not already cast off—for what cause I know not—tell me what is the meaning of these frightful preparations?”

“Nothing, dearest wife, that can trouble you, as matters stand,” answered Kohlhaas. “I have received a decree, in which I am told that my proceeding against Squire von Tronka is mere vexatious wrangling; and because there must be some misunderstanding in this matter, I have determined to commence my suit once more, personally, with the sovereign of the country himself.”

“But why sell your house?” she exclaimed, as she rose from the ground in confusion.

The horse-dealer, gently embracing her, replied: “Because, dearest Lisbeth, I will not abide in a country in which my rights are not protected. If I am to be trampled under foot, I would rather be a dog than a man. I am certain that, on this point, my wife thinks with me.”

“But how do you know,” she asked, wildly, “that they will not protect you in your rights? If you approach our sovereign as modestly as you ought, with your petition, how do you know that it will be cast aside, or answered with a refusal to hear you?”

“Well then,” answered Kohlhaas, “if my fear turns out to be groundless, my house, at any rate, is yet unsold. Our sovereign himself, I know, is just; and if I can succeed in approaching his person, through the people who surround him, I have no doubt I can obtain my rights, and before the week has passed, can return gladly to you and my old business back again. May I then,” he added, as he kissed her, “remain with you till the end of my life! However,” he continued, “it is advisable that I should be prepared for every event, and hence I wish you to leave this place for a time, if possible, and to go, with your children, to your aunt at Schwerin, whom you have been long anxious to visit?”

“How,” cried the wife. “I go to Schwerin?—I cross the border with my children, to go to my aunt at Schwerin?” And her voice was stifled with horror.

“Certainly,” replied Kohlhaas, “and, if possible, immediately, that I may not be impeded in the steps I am about to take in this matter.”

“Oh, I understand you,” she exclaimed. “You want nothing but weapons and horses; the rest any one may take who will.” And so saying, she threw herself down upon a seat and wept.

Kohlhaas, much perplexed, said: “Dearest Lisbeth, what are you doing? God has blessed me with wife, children, and property; shall I wish, for the first time, that it was otherwise?” And he sat down by her in a kindly mood, while she, at these words, fell blushing on his neck. “Tell me,” he said, moving the curls from her forehead, “what I am to do? Shall I give up my cause? Shall I go to Tronkenburg, and ask the knight for my horses, mount them, and then ride home to you?”

Lisbeth did not venture to answer “Yes;” she shook her head, weeping, clasped him fervently, and covered his breast with burning kisses.

“Good!” cried Kohlhaas. “Then, if you feel that I must have justice, if I am to carry on my business, grant me the liberty which is necessary to attain it.” Upon this he rose up, and said to the servant, who told him that his chestnut horse was saddled, that the horses must be put in harness the following day, to take his wife to Schwerin. Suddenly Lisbeth saying that a thought had struck her, raised herself, wiped the tears from her eyes, and asked him, as he sat down at a desk, whether he could not give her the petition, and let her go to Dresden instead of him, to present it to the sovereign.

Kohlhaas, struck by this sudden turn, for more reasons than one, drew her to him, and said: “Dearest wife, that is impossible! The sovereign is surrounded by many obstacles, and to many annoyances is the person exposed who ventures to approach him.”

Lisbeth replied that the approach would be a thousand times easier for a woman than for a man. “Give me the petition,” she repeated; “and if you wish nothing more than to know that it is in his hands, I will vouch for it.”

Kohlhaas, who had frequently known instances of her courage as well as of her prudence, asked her how she intended to set about it. Upon which she told him, hanging down her head abashed, that the castellan of the electoral castle had formerly courted her, when she served at Schwerin; that it was true he was now married, and had many children, but that she might still not be quite forgotten—in short, she asked him leave to take advantage of this and other circumstances, which it would be superfluous to name. Kohlhaas kissed her right joyously, told her that he accepted her proposition, and that nothing more was wanted than for her to stay with the castellan’s wife, to secure an interview with the sovereign, gave her the petition, had the brown horses harnessed, and sent her off, safely stowed under the care of his faithful servant, Sternbald.

Of all the unsuccessful steps which he had taken in the affair this journey proved the most unlucky. For, in a few days, Sternbald returned to the farm, leading slowly along the vehicle in which Lisbeth lay stretched, with a dangerous bruise on her breast. Kohlhaas, who approached it pale and terrified, could learn nothing connected as to the cause of this calamity. The castellan, according to the servant’s account, had not been at home, they had, therefore, been obliged to put up at an inn in the vicinity of the castle; this inn Lisbeth had left on the following morning, and had told the man to remain with the horses; it was not till the evening that she returned, in the condition in which she was seen. It appeared that she had pressed forward too boldly towards the sovereign, and that, without any fault on his part, she had received a blow on the breast, from the shaft of a lance, through the rude zeal of one of the guards who surrounded him. At least so said the people who, in the evening, brought her to the inn in a state of insensibility, for she herself could speak but little, being prevented by the blood that flowed from her mouth. The petition was afterwards taken from her by a knight. Sternbald said that he had wished immediately to set out on horseback and inform his master of the misfortune that had happened, but that, in spite of all the representations of the surgeon who had been called, she had insisted on being conveyed to her husband at Kohlhaasenbrück. The journey had quite exhausted her, and Kohlhaas put her in a bed, where she laid some days striving with difficulty to draw her breath. Vain were all endeavours to restore her to consciousness, that she might throw some light on the events; she lay with her eyes fixed, and already glazed, and returned no answer. Only once, just before her death did she recover her senses. For, as a minister of the Lutheran religion (to which newly springing faith she had attached herself, through the example of her husband) was standing at her bed-side, and with a loud and solemn voice was reading to her a chapter out of the bible, she looked at him suddenly, with a dark expression, took the bible out of his hand, as if there were nothing in it to be read to her, turned the leaves over and over, as if she were looking for something, and at last pointed out to Kohlhaas, who sat by the bed, the verse: “Forgive thine enemies—do good unto them that hate thee!” She then pressed his hand, with a most significant glance, and expired. “May God never forgive me as I forgive the squire,” thought Kohlhaas—and he kissed her, while his tears were flowing fast, closed her eyes and rushed out of the room. The hundred golden crowns, which the farmer had already advanced him on the Dresden stables he took, and bespoke a funeral which seemed less fitted for Lisbeth than for a princess. The coffin was of oak, strongly cased with metal, the cushions were of silk with gold and silver tassels, and the grave, which was eight ells deep, was lined with stones and lime. He himself, with his youngest child in his arms, stood by the grave, and watched the progress of the work. When the day of burial came the corpse was laid out, as white as snow, in a room, which he had lined with black cloth. The minister had just finished a touching discourse by the bier, when the sovereign’s decree in answer to the petition, which the deceased had presented, was put in the hands of Kohlhaas. The purport was, that he should fetch the horses from the Tronkenburg, and make no further applications in this matter under pain of imprisonment. Kohlhaas put up the letter, and ordered the coffin to be placed on the bier. As soon as the mound was raised, the cross was set upon it, and the guests, who had assisted at the funeral had been dismissed, he threw himself down once more before his wife’s deserted bed, and then commenced the work of revenge. Taking a seat, he drew up a decree, in which, by virtue of his innate power, he condemned the Squire Wenzel von Tronka, within three days after the sight thereof, to bring back to Kohlhaasenbrück the horses which he had taken, and which he had spoiled by field-work, and to feed them in person in his stables until they were restored to their good condition. This paper he conveyed by a messenger on horseback, whom he instructed to return to Kohlhaasenbrück immediately after he had delivered it. The three days having passed and no horses having been delivered, he called Herse to him, informed him of the notice he had given to the squire concerning the feeding, and asked him which of two things he would do: whether he would go with him to the Tronkenburg and fetch the squire, or whether, when he was brought him, he would hold the whip over him, in case he should prove lazy in obeying the decree in the Kohlhaasenbrück stables. Herse shouted out, “Let us begin to-day, master,” and flinging his cap into the air swore that he would have a thong twisted into ten knots to teach the art of currying. Kohlhaas sold his house, sent his children in a vehicle over the border, called, in addition to Herse, the rest of his servants, seven in number, and all as true as steel, at the approach of night, armed them, mounted them, and set off for the Tronkenburg.

The third night was advancing, when with his little band, riding over the toll-taker and the gate-keeper, who stood conversing by the gate, he fell upon the Tronkenburg. While, amid the crackling of the outbuildings, which the men set on fire, Herse flew up the winding staircase to the castellan’s tower, and cut and thrust at the castellan and the bailiff, who were at play, half undressed. Kohlhaas rushed into the castle to find Squire Wenzel. So does the angel of judgment descend from Heaven, and the squire, who, amid peals of laughter, was reading to a party of young friends, the decree, which the horse-dealer had sent him, no sooner heard his voice in the yard, than he cried to the rest, pale as death, “Save yourselves, brothers!” and vanished immediately. Kohlhaas, who, on entering the hall, seized by the breast and flung into the corner, one Squire Hans von Tronka, who was advancing towards him, so that his brains were scattered on the stones, asked, while his servants overpowered and dispersed the other knights, who had taken up their weapons: “Where is Squire von Tronka?” And when, as the astounded knights professed their ignorance, he had, with a blow of his foot, burst open the doors of two rooms, which led into the wings of the castle, and after searching the spacious building in all directions, still found nobody, he went, cursing down into the yard, that he might guard every egress. In the meanwhile, ignited by the flames of the outbuildings, the castle itself, with all its wings, took fire, and threw volumes of black smoke to the skies, and while Sternbald, with three active fellows, dragged together all they could lay hold of, and flung it upon their horses as lawful prize, the dead bodies of the castellan and the bailiff, with their wives and children, flew out of the upper window, accompanied by the shouts of Herse. Kohlhaas, at whose feet, as he descended the stairs, the squire’s gouty old housekeeper threw herself, asked her, as he paused on one of the steps: “Where is Squire von Tronka?” When, with a weak trembling voice, she answered, that she thought he had fled to the chapel; he called for two servants with torches, broke open an entrance with crow-bars and hatchets, for want of a key, and turned upside down the altars and benches. Still no squire was found, to the great grief of Kohlhaas. It happened, just as he was leaving the chapel, that a boy—one of the servants at the Tronkenburg—hurried by to take the squire’s coursers out of a large stone stall, that was threatened by the flames. Kohlhaas, who at this moment saw his own two black horses in a little thatched shed, asked the boy, why he did not save them, and when the latter, as he put the key in the stable-door, answered that the shed was already in flames, he tore the key out of the door, flung it over the wall, and driving the boy with a shower of blows from the flat of his sword, into the blazing shed, compelled him to save the horses amid the frightful laughter of the bystanders. When, in a few moments, the boy, pale as death, came with the horses out of the shed that fell behind him, Kohlhaas was no longer there, and when he joined the servants in the yard, and then asked the horse-dealer what he was to do with the animals, Kohlhaas raised his foot with such violence, that it would have been fatal had it reached him, leaped upon his brown horse without giving any answer, went under the castle-gate, and while his men carried on their work, quietly awaited the dawn of day. When morning broke, the whole castle was burned, with the exception of the bare walls, and no one was on the spot but Kohlhaas and his men. He alighted from his horse once more in the bright rays of the sun, searched every corner of the place, and when, hard as it was to be convinced, he saw that his enterprise at the castle had failed, his heart swelling with grief and pain, he sent out Herse with some of the others to obtain intelligence about the direction which the squire had taken in flight. A rich convent, called Erlabrunn, which was situated on the banks of the Mulde, and the abbess of which, Antonia von Tronka, was well known on the spot as a pious and benevolent lady, rendered him particularly uneasy, for it seemed to him but too probable that the squire, deprived as he was of every necessary of life, had taken refuge in this asylum, since the abbess was his aunt, and had educated him in his earliest years. Kohlhaas being informed of this circumstance, ascended the castellan’s tower, within which he found a room that was still habitable, and prepared what he called “Kohlhaasisch Mandate,” in which he desired the whole country to give no assistance whatever to Squire von Tronka, with whom he was engaged in lawful war, and bound every inhabitant, not excepting his friends and relations, to deliver up to him the aforesaid squire, under the penalty of life and limb, and conflagration of all that could be called property. This declaration he distributed through the country round, by means of travellers and strangers. To his servant, Waldmann, he gave a copy with the special charge that it was to be put into the hands of the Lady Antonia at Erlabrunn. He afterwards gained over some of the Tronkenburg servants, who were discontented with the squire, and tempted by the prospect of booty, wished to enter his service. These he armed after the fashion of infantry with daggers and cross-bars, teaching them to sit behind the servants on horseback. After having turned into money all that the troops had raked together, and divided the money among them, he rested from his sad occupation for some hours, under the gate of the castle.

Herse returned about noon, and confirmed the gloomy suspicions, which he had already felt in his heart, namely, that the squire was in the convent at Erlabrunn, with his aunt, the lady Antonia von Tronka. He had, it appeared, slipped through a door at the back of the castle, which led into the open air, and gone down a narrow flight of stone steps, which, under a little roof, went down to some boats in the Elbe. At least Herse told him that about midnight he reached a village on the Elbe in a boat without a rudder, to the astonishment of the people, who were collected together on account of the fire at the Tronkenburg, and that he had proceeded to Erlabrunn in a waggon. Kohlhaas sighed deeply at this intelligence; he asked whether the horses had had their feed, and when his men answered in the affirmative, he ordered the whole troop to mount, and in three hours was before Erlabrunn. While a distant storm was murmuring in the horizon, he entered the convent yard with his band, lighted by torches, which he had kindled before the place. The servant, Waldmann, who met him, told him that he had given the copy of the mandate, when he saw the abbess and the beadle of the convent talking in an agitated manner beneath the portal. The latter, a little old man, with hair as white as snow, darting fierce glances at Kohlhaas, ordered his armour to be put on, and with a bold voice told the servants who stood round him to ring the alarm bell, while the abbess with a silver crucifix in her hand, descended, white as her own garment, from the landing-place, and with all her maidens, threw herself before Kohlhaas’s horses. Kohlhaas, himself, while Herse and Sternbald overcame the beadle, who had no sword, and were leading him off away to the horses as a prisoner, asked her: “Where is Squire von Tronka?” When, drawing from her girdle a large bunch of keys, she answered: “At Wittenberg, worthy man,” and in a trembling voice, added: “Fear God, and do no wrong,” the horse-dealer, cast back into the hell of disappointed revenge, turned about his horse, and was on the point of shouting out: “Set alight!” when a monstrous thunder-bolt fell to the earth at his feet. Kohlhaas, again turning his horse to her, asked if she had received his mandate, and when with a weak and scarcely audible voice, she said: “Only just now, about two hours after my nephew had departed,”—and Waldmann, on whom Kohlhaas cast suspicious glances, stammered out a confirmation of the statement, saying, that the water of the Mulde had been swelled by the rain, and had hindered him from arriving sooner, he collected himself. A sudden fall of rain, which extinguished the torches, and rattled on the stones, seemed to ease the anguish of his wretched heart; he once more turned round, touching his hat to the lady, and crying out: “Brothers, follow me,—the Squire is in Wittenberg,” clapped spurs to his horse and left the convent.

At nightfall he put up at an inn on the road, where he had to rest a day on account of the great fatigue of his horses, and as he plainly saw, that with a troop of ten men (such was his force now), he could not attack a place like Wittenberg, he drew up a second mandate, in which, after strictly narrating what had happened to him, he called, to use his own words, “Upon every good Christian to espouse his cause against Squire von Tronka, the common enemy of all Christians, with the promise of a sum of money down, and other advantages of war.” In a third mandate he called himself a “Sovereign, free from the empire and the world, subject to God alone;” a morbid and disgusting piece of fanaticism, which nevertheless accompanied as it was with the chink of money and the hope of prey, procured an accession to his numbers from the rabble, whom the peace with Poland had deprived of a livelihood. Indeed his band amounted to upwards of thirty, when he turned back to the left bank of the Elbe to lay Wittenberg in ashes. With his men and horses he took shelter under the roof of an old ruined shed in the depth of a gloomy wood, that in those days surrounded the place, and he no sooner learned from Sternbald, that the mandate, with which he had sent him into the town disguised, had been made known, than he set off with his band—it was Whitsun eve,—and while the inhabitants lay fast asleep, set a-light to the place at many corners. He then, with his men, plundered the suburbs, affixed a paper to the door-post of a church, in which he said that “He, Kohlhaas, had set the city on fire, and that if the squire was not given up to him, he would lay it in ashes in such sort, that he would not have to look behind a wall to find him.” The terror of the inhabitants at this unparalleled atrocity was indescribable, and the flames, which in a particularly calm summer’s night, had not consumed more than nineteen houses, including a church, being extinguished in some measure about day-break, the old governor (Landvoigt), Otto von Gorgas, sent out a company of about fifty men, to capture the fearful invader. The captain of this company, whose name was Gerstenberg, managed so badly, that the expedition, instead of defeating Kohlhaas, rather helped him to a very dangerous military reputation; for while he separated his men into several divisions, that he might, as he thought, surround and curb Kohlhaas, he was attacked by the latter, who kept his men close together at the different isolated points, and was so beaten, that on the evening of the following day, not a single man of the whole band was left to face the aggressor, although on that band rested all the hopes of the country. Kohlhaas, who had lost none of his own men in the encounter, fired the town anew on the following morning, and his criminal plans were so well laid that a number of houses, and nearly all the barns of the suburbs were reduced to ashes. He then again posted up his decree, and that in the corners of the town-house, adding an account of the fate of Captain von Gerstenberg, whom the governor had sent out against him, and whom he had demolished. The governor, greatly enraged at this defiance, placed himself with several knights at the head of a band of a hundred and fifty men. To Squire von Tronka, who had sent him a written petition, he gave a guard, to protect him from the violence of the people, who wished him to be turned out of the city without more ado, and after he had posted guards in all the villages around, and also had garrisoned the walls of the city to defend it from a surprise, he set out on St. Gervas’s day, to capture the dragon that was thus laying waste the country. The horse-dealer was cunning enough to avoid this troop, and after he had, by his clever retreats, lured away the governor five miles from the city, and had made him believe by various preparations that if pressed by numbers he would throw himself into the Brandenburg territory, he suddenly faced about at the approach of the third night, and galloping back to Wittenberg for the third time to set it on fire. This frightful act of audacity was achieved by Herse, who had entered the city disguised, and the conflagration, through the action of a sharp north wind was so destructive, and extended its ravages so far that in less than three hours, two-and-forty houses, two churches, several schools and convents, and the governor’s residence were levelled with the ground. The governor, who believed that his adversary was in Brandenburg, at break of day, found the city in a general uproar, when having been informed of what had passed, he returned by forced marches. The people had assembled by thousands before the house of Squire von Tronka, which was fortified with boards and palisades, and with the voices of maniacs were demanding that he should be sent out of the city. In vain did two burgomasters, named Jenkens and Otto, who appeared at the head of the whole magistracy, clad in robes of office, show the necessity of waiting for the return of a courier who had been sent to the chancery to ask permission to send the squire to Dresden, whither he himself, for many reasons, wished to be removed; the mob, deaf to reason, and armed with pikes and staves would hear nothing, and they not only ill-used some members of the council, who were urging too severe measures, but they were on the point of tearing down the squire’s house, when the governor, Otto von Gorgas, appeared in the city at the head of his troop of horse. This venerable nobleman, whose presence alone had usually awed the people to respect and obedience, had succeeded in capturing three stragglers from the incendiary’s band at the very gates of the city, as if by way of compensation for the failure of his enterprise; and as, while these fellows were loaded with chains in sight of the people, he assured the magistrates, in a seasonable address, that he thought he was in a fair way to capture Kohlhaas himself, and in a short time to bring him in, also enchained, he succeeded in disarming the rage of the assembled multitude, and in appeasing them, in some measure, as to the squire’s remaining among them, till the return of the courier from Dresden. He alighted from horseback, and with some of his knights, the palisades being removed, he entered the house, where he found the squire, who was continually fainting, in the hands of two physicians, who, by the aid of essences and stimulants, were endeavouring to restore him to consciousness. Herr Otto von Gorgas, feeling that this was not the moment to bandy words with the squire about his bad conduct, merely told him, with a look of silent contempt, to dress himself, and for his own security, to follow him to apartments in the prison. When they had put him on a doublet, and set a helmet on his head, and he appeared in the street with his breast half open for want of air, leaning on the arm of the governor and his brother-in-law, Count von Gerschau, the most frightful imprecations ascended to the skies. The mob, kept back with difficulty by the soldiers, called him a blood-sucker, a miserable pest to the country, the curse of the city of Wittenberg, and the destruction of Saxony. After a melancholy procession through the ruins, during which the squire often let the helmet drop from his head without missing it, and a knight as often set it on again from behind him, he reached the prison, and vanished into a town under the protection of a strong guard. In the meanwhile, the city was thrown into new alarm by the return of the courier with the electoral decree. For the government, having listened to the applications of the citizens of Dresden, would not hear of the squire taking up his abode in this the chief city, till the incendiary was conquered; but charged the governor to protect him, wherever he might be, and remember he must be content with such forces as he had. He, however, informed the good city of Wittenberg, to allay uneasiness, that a troop of five hundred strong, under the command of Prince Frederic, of Misnia, was advancing to protect it from further molestations by Kohlhaas. The governor plainly saw that a decree of this kind would by no means satisfy the people, since not only had the many little advantages which the horse-dealer had gained at different points before the city, caused most alarming reports to be spread as to his increase of strength, but the war which he carried on in the darkness of night, with pitch, straw, and brimstone, aided by a rabble in disguise, might, unexampled as it was, completely frustrate a greater protective force than that which was coming with the Prince of Misnia. Therefore, after a short reflection, the governor resolved to suppress the decree. He merely posted up against the corners of the city, a letter, in which the Prince of Misnia announced his arrival. A covered cart, which left the prison-yard at break of day, accompanied by four guards on horse-back, heavily armed, passed along the street to Leipzig, the guards causing it to be vaguely reported that it was going to the Pleissenburg. The people being thus appeased as to the ill-fated squire, to whose presence fire and sword were bound, the governor himself set off with a troop of three hundred men, to join Prince Frederic of Misnia. In the meanwhile, Kohlhaas, by the singular position he had taken in the world, had increased his force to a hundred and ten persons; and as he had procured a good store of arms at Jessen, and had armed his band in the most perfect manner, he was no sooner informed of the double storm, than he resolved to meet it with all possible speed, before it should break over him. Therefore, on the following night he attacked the Prince of Misnia, by Mühlberg, in which encounter, to his great grief, he lost Herse, who fell by his side on the first fire. However, enraged at this loss, he so defeated the prince, who was unable to collect his force together, in a three hours contest, that at break of day, on account of several wounds, and likewise of the total disorder of his men, he was forced to retreat to Dresden. Emboldened by this advantage Kohlhaas turned back upon the governor, before he could have received intelligence of the event, fell upon him in an open field near the village of Damerow in broad daylight, and fought with fury till nightfall, suffering terrible loss, but still with equal advantage. The next morning unquestionably, with the remainder of his force, he would have again attacked the governor, who had thrown himself into the church-yard at Damerow, if the latter had not been informed of the prince’s defeat by Mühlberg, and therefore held it advisable once more to return to Wittenberg, and await a better opportunity. Five days after the dispersion of these two forces, Kohlhaas was before Leipzig, and fired the city on three sides. In the mandate which he distributed on this occasion he called himself, “Vicegerent of Michael the Archangel who had come to avenge, with fire and sword, the villany into which the whole world had fallen, on all who had taken the squire’s part in this struggle.” At the same time from the Lützen Castle, of which he had taken possession, and in which he had established himself, he called upon the people to join him, and bring about a better order of things. The mandate was signed, as if by a sort of madness: “Given at the suit of our provisional world-government,—the Castle of Lützen.” Fortunately for the inhabitants of Leipzig, the fire did not catch on account of the continual rain, and moreover the means of extinguishing being used with great promptness, only a few shops about the Pleissenburg burst into flames. Nevertheless the alarm of the city at the presence of the violent incendiary, and his notion that the squire was at Leipzig, was indescribable; and when a body of a hundred and eighty troopers, who had been sent out against him, returned to the city in confusion, the magistracy, who did not wish to endanger the property of the place, had no other course left them but to close the gates, and set the citizens to watch day and night outside the walls. In vain did they post up declarations in the surrounding villages, that the squire was not in the Pleissenburg; the horse-dealer in similar papers affirmed the contrary, and declared that even if the squire was not in the Pleissenburg, he would nevertheless proceed just in the same manner, until they informed him where he actually was. The elector, instructed by a courier of the peril in which the city of Leipzig stood, stated that he was collecting a force of two thousand men, and that he would put himself at the head of it, to capture Kohlhaas. He severely reproved Otto von Gorgas for the indiscreet stratagem he had employed to remove the incendiary from the neighbourhood of Wittenberg, and no one can describe the alarm which arose in Saxony in general, and in the capital in particular, when the inhabitants learned that an unknown hand had posted up in the villages near Leipzig, a declaration that Squire Wenzel was with his armies at Dresden.

Under these circumstances, Dr. Martin Luther, supported by the authority which he owed to his position in the world, took upon himself by the force of words to call back Kohlhaas into the path of order, and trusting to a suitable element in the heart of the incendiary, caused a placard, worded as follows, to be set up in all the towns and villages of the electorate:

“Kohlhaas—thou who pretendest that thou art deputed to wield the sword of justice, what art thou doing, presumptuous one, in the madness of thy blind passion, thou who art filled with injustice from the crown of thy head to the sole of thy foot? Because thy sovereign, whose subject thou art, hath refused thee justice, dost thou arise in godless man, the cause of worldly good, with fire and sword, and break in like the wolf of the desert upon the peaceful community that he protecteth. Thou, who misleadest mankind by a declaration full of untruth and craftiness, dost thou believe, sinner that thou art, the same pretext will avail thee before God on that day when the recesses of every heart shall be revealed? How canst thou say that justice hath been denied—thou, whose savage heart, excited by an evil spirit of self-revenge, entirely gave up the trouble of seeking it after the failure of thy first trivial endeavours? Is a bench of beadles and tipstaffs, who intercept letters, or keep to themselves the knowledge they should communicate, the power that ruleth? Must I tell thee, impious man, that thy ruler knoweth nothing of thy affair? What do I say? Why that the sovereign against whom thou rebellest doth not even know thy name, and that when thou appearest before the throne of God, thinking to accuse him, he with a serene countenance will say: ‘Lord to this man did I no wrong, for his existence is strange unto my soul.’ Know that the sword that thou bearest is the sword of robbery and murder; thou art a rebel and no warrior of the just God. Thine end upon earth is the wheel and the gallows, and thine end hereafter is that condemnation which threateneth the worker of evil and impiety.


In the Castle of Lützen Kohlhaas was meditating, in his diseased mind, a new plan for reducing Leipzig to ashes, paying no attention to the notice set up in the villages, that Squire Wenzel was in Dresden, because it had no signature, though he had required one of the magistrates; when Sternbald and Waldmann perceived with the greatest astonishment the placard that had been set up by night against the gateway of the castle. In vain did they hope for many days that Kohlhaas, whom they did not wish to approach for the purpose, would see it. Gloomy and brooding in his own thoughts, he merely appeared in the evening to give a few short commands, and saw nothing, and hence one morning, when he was about to hang up two of his men, who had been plundering in the neighbourhood against his will, they resolved to attract his attention. He was returning from the place of judgment, with the pomp to which he had accustomed himself since his last mandate, while the people timidly made way on both sides. A large cherub-sword on a red leather cushion, adorned with gold tassels was carried before him, and twelve servants followed him with burning torches. The two men, with their swords under their arms, walked round the pillar to which the placard was attached, so as to awaken his surprise. Kohlhaas, as with his hands locked behind him, and sunk deep in thought, he came under the portal, raised his eyes and started; and as the men timidly retired from his glance, witnessing the confusion, he approached the pillar with hurried steps. But who shall describe the state of his mind, when he saw upon it the paper which accused him of injustice, signed with the dearest and most revered name that he knew—the name of Martin Luther? A deep red overspread his face; taking off his helmet he read it twice from beginning to end; then with uncertain looks stepped back among his men as if about to say something, and yet said nothing; then took the paper from the wall, read it once more, and cried as he disappeared: “Waldmann get my horses saddled, Sternbald follow me into the castle!” More than these few words was not wanted to disarm him at once among all his purposes of distinction.

He put on the disguise of a Thuringian farmer, told Sternbald that business of importance called him to Wittenberg, entrusted him, in the presence of some of his principal men, with the command of the band left at Lützen, and promising to return in three days, within which time no attack was to be feared, set off to Wittenberg at once.

He put up at an inn under a feigned name, and at the approach of night, wrapped in his mantle, and provided with a brace of pistols which he had seized at the Tronkenburg, walked into Luther’s apartment. Luther was sitting at his desk, occupied with his books and papers, and as soon as he saw the remarkable looking stranger open the door, and then bolt it behind him, he asked who he was and what he wanted. The man, reverentially holding his hat in his hand, had no sooner answered, with some misgiving as to the alarm he might occasion, that he was Michael Kohlhaas, the horse-dealer, than Luther cried out, “Away with thee,” and added, as he rose from his desk to ring the bell: “Thy breath is pestiferous, and thy approach is destruction!”

Kohlhaas, without stirring from the spot said: “Reverend sir, this pistol, if you touch the bell, lays me a corpse at your feet. Sit down and hear me. Among the angels, whose psalms you write, you are not safer than with me.”

“But what dost thou want?” asked Luther, sitting down.

“To refute your opinion that I am an unjust man,” replied Kohlhaas. “You have said in your placard that my sovereign knows nothing of my affairs. Well, give me a safe-conduct, and I will go to Dresden, and lay it before him.”

“Godless and terrible man!” exclaimed Luther, both perplexed and alarmed by these words, “Who gave thee a right to attack Squire von Tronka, with no other authority than thine own decree, and then, when thou didst not find him in his castle, to visit with fire and sword every community that protected him?”

“Now, reverend sir,” answered Kohlhaas, “the intelligence I received from Dresden misled me! The war which I carry on with the community of mankind is unjust, if I have not been expelled from it, as you assure me!”

“Expelled from it?” cried Luther, staring at him, “What madness is this? Who expelled thee from the community of the state in which thou art living? When, since the existence of states, was there an instance of such an expulsion of any one, whoever he might be?”

“I call him expelled,” answered Kohlhaas, clenching his fist, “to whom the protection of the laws is denied! This protection I require to carry on my peaceful trade; it is only for the sake of this protection that, with my property, I take refuge with this community, and he who denies it me drives me back to the beasts of the desert, and puts in my own hand, as you cannot deny, the club which is to defend me.”

“But who has denied thee the protection of the laws?” cried Luther, “Did not I myself write that the complaint which was sent by thee to the elector, is still unknown to him? If his servants suppress suits behind his back, or abuse his sacred name, without his knowledge, who but God shall call him to account for the choice of such servants, and as for thee, abominable man, who has entitled thee to judge of him?”

“Well,” answered Kohlhaas, “then if the elector does not expel me, I will return back again to the community which is under his protection. Give me, as I said before, a safe conduct to Dresden, and I will disperse the band I have assembled at the Castle of Lützen, and will once more bring the suit, with which I failed, before the tribunal of the country.”

Luther, with a dissatisfied countenance, turned over the papers which lay upon his table and was silent. The bold position which this man took in the state offended him, and thinking over the decree which had been sent to the squire from Kohlhaasenbrück, he asked “what he wanted from the tribunal at Dresden?”

“The punishment of the squire, according to law,” answered Kohlhaas, “the restoration of my horses to their former condition, and compensation for the injury which has been suffered both by me and my man Herse, who fell at Mühlberg, through the violence inflicted upon us.”

“Compensation for injury!” cried Luther, “Why thou hast raised sums by thousands from Jews and Christians, in bonds and pledges, for the satisfaction of thy wild revenge. Wilt thou fix an amount if there should be a question about it?”

“God forbid,” said Kohlhaas, “I do not ask back again my house and farm, or the wealth that I possessed—no more than the expenses of burying my wife! Herse’s old mother will bring in an account of medical expenses, and a specification of what her son lost at Tronkenburg, while for the damage which I sustained by not selling my horses, the government can settle that by a competent arbitrator.”

“Terrible and incomprehensible man,” said Luther, gazing at him. “When thy sword hath inflicted on the squire the most frightful vengeance that can be conceived, what can induce thee to press for a sentence against him, the sharpness of which, if it should take effect, would inflict a wound of such slight importance?”

Kohlhaas answered, while a tear rolled down his cheek: “Revered sir, the affair has cost me my wife. Kohlhaas would show the world that she fell in the performance of no injustice. Concede to my will on these points, and let the tribunal speak. In every other matter that may come under discussion, I yield.”

“Look,” said Luther, “what thou askest, supposing circumstances to be such as the general voice reports, is just; and if thou hadst endeavoured, without revenging thyself on thine own account, to lay thine affair before the elector for his decision, I have no doubt that thy request would have been granted, in every point. But all things considered, wouldst thou not have done better, if, for thy Redeemer’s sake, thou hadst forgiven the squire, taken the horses, lean and worn-out as they were, mounted them, and ridden home upon them to fatten them in their own stable at Kohlhaasenbrück.”

“I might or I might not,” answered Kohlhaas, going to the window, “Had I known that I should have to set them up with my own wife’s heart’s blood, then, reverend sir, I might have done as you say, and not have grudged a bushel of oats. But now they have cost me so dear, the matter, as I think, had better take its course. So let the sentence be passed as is my right, and let the squire feed my horses.”

Luther, in the midst of contending thoughts, again returned to his papers, and said that he would himself communicate with the elector on the affair. In the meanwhile he told Kohlhaas to keep himself quiet at the Castle of Lützen, adding, that if the elector consented to a safe-conduct it should be made known to him by means of placards. “Whether,” he added, as Kohlhaas stooped to kiss his hand, “the elector will show mercy instead of justice, I know not, for I understand he has collected an army, and is on the point of seizing thee at the Castle of Lützen. Nevertheless, as I told thee before, there shall be no want of trouble on my part.” Upon this he arose and seemed about to dismiss him. Kohlhaas thought that this intercession was perfectly satisfactory, and Luther was signifying a farewell with his hand, when the former suddenly dropped on his knee before him, and said he had one request deep at heart. At Whitsuntide—a period when he was usually accustomed to take the sacrament—he had not gone to church, on account of his martial expedition, and he begged that Luther would have the kindness to receive his confession without further preparation, and to administer to him the supper of the Lord.

Luther, eyeing him keenly, said after a short reflection: “Yes, Kohlhaas, I will do it. But recollect that the Lord, whose body thou desirest, forgave his enemy. Wilt thou,” he added, as Kohlhaas looked confused, “likewise forgive the squire who offended thee, go to the Tronkenburg, set thyself upon thy horses, and ride home to fatten them at Kohlhaasenbrück?”

“Reverend sir,” said Kohlhaas, cooling as he grasped his hand, “Even the Lord did not forgive all his enemies. Let me forgive their highnesses, the two electors, the castellan and the bailiff, the rest of the Von Tronkas, and whoever besides may have injured me in this matter, but let me compel the squire to feed my horses.”

Luther, on hearing these words, turned his back upon him with a displeased countenance, and rung the bell. Kohlhaas, as a servant with a light announced himself in the antechamber, rose astounded, and drying his eyes, from the ground, and Luther having again set himself down to his papers, he opened the door to the man who was in vain struggling against, on account of the bolt being drawn. “Show a light,” said Luther to the servant, casting a rapid side-glance at the stranger, whereupon the man rather astonished at the visit took down the house key from the wall, and retired to the door, which stood half open, waiting for Kohlhaas to withdraw. “Then,” said Kohlhaas, deeply moved, as he took his hat in both hands, “I cannot receive the benefit of a reconciliation as I entreated.”

“With thy Redeemer, no!” answered Luther shortly, “With thy sovereign—that, as I told thee, depends upon the success of an endeavour.” He then motioned the servant to do as he had been ordered, without further delay. Kohlhaas, with an expression of deep pain, laid both his hands on his heart, followed the man, who lit him down stairs, and disappeared.

On the following morning Luther sent a communication to the Elector of Saxony, in which after giving a severe side-blow to Herrn Henry, and Conrad von Tronka, the cup-bearer and chamberlain, who had, as was notorious, suppressed the complaint, he told him, with that freedom which was peculiar to him, that under such vexatious circumstances nothing was left but to accept the horse-dealer’s proposal, and to grant an amnesty on account of the past, that he might renew his suit. Public opinion, he remarked, was completely on the side of this man, and that to a dangerous degree; nay, to such an extent, that even the city of Wittenberg, which he had burned three times, raised a voice in his favour. If his offer were refused it would unquestionably be brought, accompanied by very obnoxious remarks, to the notice of the people, who might easily be so far led away that the state authority could do nothing whatever with the transgressor. He concluded with the observation, that in this case the difficulty of treating with a citizen who had taken up arms must be passed over; that by the conduct towards him the man had been in a certain manner released from his obligation to the state; and that in short, to settle the matter, it would be better to consider him as a foreign person who had invaded the country—which would be in some measure correct, as he was indeed a foreigner[5]—than as a rebel who had taken up arms against the throne.

The elector received this letter just when Prince Christian of Misnia, generalissimo of the empire, and uncle of the Prince Frederic who was defeated at Mühlberg, and still very ill of his wounds, the high chancellor of the tribunal, Count Wrede, Count Kallheim, president of the state-chancery, and the two von Tronkas, the cup-bearer, and the chamberlain, who had both been friends of the elector from his youth, were present in the castle. The chamberlain, who, as a privy counsellor of the elector, conducted private correspondence, with the privilege of using his name and coat of arms, first opened the subject, and after explaining at great length, that on his own authority he would never have set aside the petition which the horse-dealer had presented to the tribunal against his cousin the squire, if he had not been induced by false representations to consider it a mere vexatious and useless affair,—he came to the present state of things. He observed that neither according to divine nor human laws had the horse-dealer any right to take such a monstrous revenge, as he had allowed himself on account of this oversight. He dwelled on the lustre which would fall on the impious head of Kohlhaas, if he were treated as a party lawfully at war, and the dishonour which would result to the sacred person of the elector by such a proceeding appeared to him so great, that he said, with all the fire of eloquence, that he would rather see the decree of the round-headed rebel acted on, and the squire, his cousin, carried off to feed the horses at Kohlhaasenbrück, than he would see the proposition of Dr. Martin Luther accepted. The high chancellor of the tribunal, half turning to the chamberlain, expressed his regret that such a tender anxiety, as he now showed to clear up this affair to the honour of his sovereign, had not inspired him in the first instance. He pointed out to the elector his objection against the employment of force to carry out a measure which was manifestly unjust; he alluded to the constant increase of the horse-dealer’s followers as a most important circumstance, observing that the thread of misdeeds seemed to be spinning itself out to an infinite length, and declared that only an act of absolute justice, which should immediately and without reserve make good the false step that had been taken, could rescue the elector and the government from this hateful affair.

Prince Christian of Misnia, in answer to the elector’s question, “what he thought of it,” answered, turning respectfully to the high chancellor, that the sentiments which he had just heard filled him with great respect, but that the chancellor did not consider that while he was for helping Kohlhaas to his rights, he was compromising Wittenberg, Leipzig, and the whole of the country, which he had laid waste, in their just claims to restitution or at least to the punishment of the offender. The order of the state had been so completely distorted in the case of this man, that a maxim, taken from the science of law, could scarcely set it right again. Hence he agreed with the opinion of the chamberlain that the measures appointed for such cases should be adopted, that an armed force of sufficient magnitude should be raised, and that the horse-dealer, who had settled himself in the Castle of Lützen, should be arrested, or, at any rate, that his power should be crushed.

The chamberlain, politely taking from the wall two chairs for the elector and the prince, said he rejoiced that a man of such known integrity and acuteness agreed with him in the means to be employed in arranging this difficult affair. The prince, holding the chair without sitting down, and looking hard at him, observed, that he had no reason to rejoice, since a measure necessarily connected with the one he had recommended, would be to order his arrest, and proceed against him for the misuse of the elector’s name. For if necessity required that the veil should be let down before the throne of justice, over a series of iniquities, which kept on indefinitely increasing, and therefore could no more find space to appear at the bar, that was not the case with the first misdeed that was the origin of all. A capital prosecution of the chamberlain would alone authorise the state to crush the horse-dealer, whose cause was notoriously just, and into whose hand had been thrust the sword which he carried.

The elector, whom von Tronka eyed with some confusion as he heard these words, turned round deeply colouring, and approached the window. Count Kallheim, after an awkward pause on all sides, said that in this way they could not get out of the magic circle which encompassed them. With equal right might proceedings be commenced against the prince’s nephew, Prince Frederic, since even he, in the singular expedition which he undertook against Kohlhaas had, in many instances, exceeded his instructions; and, therefore, were the inquiry once set on foot about the numerous persons who had occasioned the present difficulty, he must be included in the list, and called to account by the elector for what had taken place at Mühlberg.

The cup-bearer, von Tronka, while the elector with doubtful glances approached his table, then took up the subject, and said, that he could not conceive how the right method of proceeding had escaped men of such wisdom, as those assembled unquestionably were. The horse-dealer, as far as he understood, had promised to dismiss his force if he obtained a free conduct to Dresden, and a renewed investigation of his cause. From this, however, it did not follow, that he was to have an amnesty for his monstrous acts of vengeance; two distinct points which Dr. Luther and the council seemed to have confused. “If,” he continued, laying his finger to the side of his nose, “the judgment on account of the horses—no matter which way it goes—is pronounced by the Dresden tribunal, there is nothing to prevent us from arresting Kohlhaas on the ground of his robberies and incendiarism. This would be a prudent stroke of policy, which would unite the views of the statesmen on both sides, and secure the applause of the world and of posterity.”

The elector, when the prince and the high chancellor answered this discourse of the cup-bearer merely with an angry glance, and the discussion seemed to be at an end, said that he would by himself reflect on the different opinions he had heard till the next sitting of the council. His heart being very susceptible to friendship, the preliminary measure proposed by the prince had extinguished in him the desire of commencing the expedition against Kohlhaas, for which every preparation had been made. At all events he kept with him the high chancellor, Count Wrede, whose opinion appeared the most feasible; and when this nobleman showed him letters, from which it appeared that the horse-dealer had already acquired a force of four hundred men, and was likely, in a short time, to double and treble it, amid the general discontent which prevailed in the land on account of the chamberlain’s irregularities, he resolved without delay to adopt Dr. Luther’s advice; he, therefore, entrusted to Count Wrede the whole management of the Kohlhaas affair, and in a few days appeared a placard, the substance of which was as follows:

“We, &c., &c., Elector of Saxony, having especial regard to the intercession of Dr. Martin Luther, do give notice to Michael Kohlhaas, horse-dealer of Brandenburg, that, on condition of his laying down arms, within three days after sight hereof, he shall have free conduct to Dresden, to the end that his cause be tried anew. And if, as is not to be expected, his suit, concerning the horses, shall be rejected by the tribunal at Dresden, then shall he be prosecuted with all the severity of the law for attempting to obtain justice by his own might; but, in the contrary case, mercy instead of justice shall be granted, and a full amnesty shall be given to Kohlhaas and all his troop.”

No sooner had Kohlhaas received a copy of this notice, which was posted up all over the country, through the hands of Dr. Luther, than, notwithstanding the conditional manner in which it was worded, he dismissed his whole band with gifts, thanks, and suitable advice. All that he gained by plunder—money, arms, and implements—he gave up to the courts of Lützen, as the elector’s property, and after he had sent Waldmann to Kohlhaasenbrück, with letters to the farmer, that he might, if possible, re-purchase his farm, and Sternbald to Schwerin to fetch his children, whom he again wished to have with him, he left the Castle of Lützen, and went to Dresden, unknown, with the rest of his little property, which he held in paper.

It was daybreak, and the whole city was still sleeping, when he knocked at the door of his small tenement in the Pirna suburb, which had been left him through the honesty of the farmer, and told his old servant, Thomas, who had the care of the property, and who opened the door with amazement, that he might go and tell the Prince of Misnia, at the seat of government, that he, Kohlhaas, the horse-dealer, was there. The Prince of Misnia, who, on hearing this announcement, thought it right immediately to inform himself of the relation in which this man stood, found, as he went out with a train of knights and soldiers, that the streets leading to the residence of Kohlhaas were already thronged with an innumerable multitude. The intelligence that the destroying angel was there, who pursued the oppressors of the people with fire and sword, had set all Dresden, city and suburbs, in motion. It was found necessary to bolt the door against the pressure of the anxious multitude, and the youngsters clambered up to the window to see the incendiary, who was at breakfast. As soon as the prince, with the assistance of the guard, who forced a passage for him, had pressed forward into the house, and had entered Kohlhaas’s room, he asked him, as he stood half-undressed at a table, “Whether he was Kohlhaas, the horse-dealer?” Whereupon Kohlhaas, taking out of his girdle a pocket-book, with several papers relating to his position, and handing them over, respectfully said, “Yes!” adding that, after dismissing his band, in conformity with the privilege which the elector had granted, he had come to Dresden to bring his suit against Squire Wenzel von Tronka, on account of his black horses. The prince, after a hasty glance, in which he surveyed him from head to foot, and ran over the papers which he found in the pocket-book, heard his explanation of the meaning of a document given by the court at Lützen, and relating to the deposit in favour of the electoral treasury. Then, having examined him by all sorts of questions about his children, his property, and the sort of life he intended to lead in future, and having thus ascertained that there was no occasion to feel uneasiness on his account, he returned to him his pocket-book and said that there was nothing to impede his suit, and that he might himself apply to Count Wrede, the high chancellor of the tribunal, and commence it immediately. The prince then, after a pause, during which he went to the window and saw, with wonder, the immense multitude before the house, said: “You will be obliged to have a guard for the first days to watch over you here and when you go out!” Kohlhaas cast down his eyes surprised and was silent. “Well, no matter!” said the prince, leaving the window, “whatever happens you will only have yourself to blame.” He then moved towards the door with the design of quitting the house. Kohlhaas, who had recovered, said, “Do as you please, gracious prince! Only pledge me your word to remove the guard as soon as I desire it and I have no objection to make against this measure.” “That is not worth speaking of,” said the prince, who after telling the three soldiers, who were appointed as guards, that the man in whose house they were placed was free, and that when he went out they were merely to follow him for his protection, took leave of the horse-dealer with a condescending wave of the hand and departed.

About noon, Kohlhaas, attended by his three guards, and followed by a countless multitude, who, warned by the police, did him no manner of injury, proceeded to the chancellor’s. Count Wrede received him, in his anteroom, with kindness and affability, discoursed with him for two entire hours, and after he had heard the whole course of events from the beginning to the end of the affair, he directed him to a celebrated advocate in the city, who was attached to the court, that he might favourably draw up his complaint. Kohlhaas without further delay went to the advocate’s house, and after the complaint was drawn up, which, like the first rejected one, required the punishment of the squire according to law, the restoration of the horses to their former condition, and a compensation both for the damage he had sustained, and for what his servant, Herse, who had fallen at Mühlberg, had suffered (for the benefit of his mother), he again returned home, still followed by the gaping multitude, resolving not to go out of doors any more unless urgent necessity demanded it.

In the meanwhile Squire Wenzel von Tronka was released from his confinement in Wittenberg, and after he had recovered from a dangerous erysipelas in the foot, was peremptorily summoned by the tribunal to appear at Dresden, and answer the complaint of the horse-dealer, Kohlhaas, respecting certain horses, which had been unlawfully detained and spoiled. His relations, the brothers von Tronka, (the chamberlain and the cupbearer,) at whose house he put up, received him with the greatest indignation and contempt; they called him a wretched and worthless person, who brought disgrace on all his family, told him that he would infallibly lose the cause, and bade him prepare to bring the horses, which he would be condemned to feed, amid the general derision of the world. The squire, with a weak trembling voice, said that he was more to be pitied than any one in the world. He swore that he knew but little of the whole cursed business, which had plunged him into calamity, and that the castellan and the bailiff were alone to blame, inasmuch as they had employed the horses in the harvest without the remotest knowledge and wish on his part, and had ruined them by immoderate work in their corn fields. He sat down as he uttered these words, and entreated his relations not to plunge him back again into the illness from which he had recovered, by their reproaches. On the following day, the brothers von Tronka, who possessed property in the neighbourhood of the destroyed Tronkenburg, finding there was nothing else to be done, wrote to their farmers and bailiffs, at their kinsman’s request, to obtain information respecting the horses, which had disappeared on the day of the calamity and had not been heard of since. But the whole place having been laid waste, and nearly all the inhabitants having been slaughtered, they could learn no more than that a servant, driven by blows with the flat of the incendiary’s sabre, had saved the horses from the burning shed, in which they stood, and that on asking where he was to take them, and what he was to do, he only received from the ruffian a kick for an answer. The gouty old housekeeper, who had fled to Misnia, stated, in writing, that the servant on the morning that followed that dreadful night had gone with the horses to the Brandenburg border.

Nevertheless all inquiries made in that direction proved fruitless, and, indeed, the intelligence did not appear correct, as the squire had no servant whose house was in Brandenburg or even on the road thither. Men from Dresden, who had been at Wilsdruf a few days after the conflagration of the Tronkenburg, said that about the time specified a boy had come there leading two horses by a halter, and that he had left the animals, as they were in a very wretched plight and unable to proceed further, in the cow-shed of a shepherd, who had wished to restore them to good condition. For many reasons it seemed probable enough that these were the horses in question, but the shepherd of Wilsdruf had, according to the account of people who came thence, already sold them to somebody—it was not known to whom; while a third rumour, the originator of which could not be discovered, was to the effect that the horses were dead and had been buried in the pit at Wilsdruf. The brothers von Tronka, who, as might be supposed, considered this turn of affairs the most desirable, seeing they would be relieved by it from the necessity of feeding the horses in their own stable—which they must otherwise have done, as their cousin, the squire, had no stables of his own—nevertheless wished to be thoroughly assured that the circumstances were correctly stated. Accordingly Herr Wenzel von Tronka, in his capacity of feudal lord, wrote to the courts of Wilsdruf, describing very fully the horses which, he said, had been lent to him, and had since, unfortunately, been taken away, and requesting them to try to discover where those animals were stationed, and to desire the present owner, whoever he might be, to deliver them up at the stables of the Chamberlain von Tronka, on an indemnification for all expenses.

In a few days the man, to whom the shepherd of Wilsdruf had sold the horses made his appearance and brought them, lean and tottering, tied to his cart, to the market-place of the city. Unfortunately for Squire Wenzel, and still more so for honest Kohlhaas, this man was the knacker from Döbbeln.

As soon as Wenzel, in the presence of his cousin, the chamberlain, heard an indistinct rumour that a man with two black horses, saved from the flames at the Tronkenburg, had come into the city, they both set off attended by some servants, whom they had hastily gathered together to the castle-yard, where he was, that in case the horses should turn out to be Kohlhaas’s they might pay the expenses and take them home. But how surprised were they when they saw a multitude, which increased every moment, attracted by the spectacle, and assembled about the cart to which the horses were fastened. The people were shouting amid peals of laughter, that the horses which had caused the state to totter had come to the knackers. The squire, who had walked round the cart, and saw with confusion the miserable beasts, who looked every moment as if they longed to die, said that these were not the horses which he had taken from Kohlhaas, when the chamberlain casting upon him a look of speechless rage, which, had he been made of iron, would have crushed him, stepped up to the knacker and asked him, as he flung back his mantle and discovered his chain and order, whether these were the horses which had been in the possession of the shepherd of Wilsdruf, and which Squire Wenzel von Tronka, to whom they belonged, had required. The man, who with a pail in his hand, was watering a stout-bodied horse, that drew his cart, said: “Do you mean the black ones?” Taking the bit out of his horse’s mouth, and setting down the pail he said that the animals tied to the cart had been sold to him by a swineherd of Hainichen, but where he got them, and whether they came from the Wilsdruf shepherd—that he knew nothing about. The messenger of the Wilsdruf court, he said, as he again took up the pail and rested it against the pole of the cart, had told him that he was to bring them to Dresden to the house of the von Tronkas, but the squire to whom he had been directed was called Conrad. After these words he turned round with the remainder of the water, which the horse had left in the pail, and flung it upon the pavement.

The chamberlain, who amid the gaze of the scoffing multitude could not get a look from the fellow, who continued his work with the most insensible zeal, told him that he was the Squire Conrad von Tronka, but that the horses he had with him belonged to the squire his cousin, that they had come to the Wilsdruf shepherd through a servant who had run away, taking advantage of the fire at the Tronkenburg, and that they originally belonged to the horse-dealer Kohlhaas. He asked the fellow, who stood with outstretched legs and hitched up his breeches, whether he really knew nothing about the matter;—whether the swineherd of Hainichen had not purchased them from the Wilsdruf shepherd (on which circumstance all depended), or from some third party, who might have obtained them from that source.

The man rudely said that he understood not a word that was said, and that whether Peter or Paul or the Wilsdruf shepherd had the horses before the swineherd of Hainichen—it was just the same to him—provided they were not stolen. Upon this he went, with his whip across his broad back, to a neighbouring pot-house to get his breakfast.

The chamberlain, who did not know what in the world he should do with the horses, which the swineherd of Hainichen had, as it seemed, sold to the knacker of Döbbeln, unless indeed they were the horses on which the devil rode through Saxony, asked the squire to put in a word, and when his kinsman, with pale trembling lips, answered that the most advisable plan would be to buy them, whether they belonged to Kohlhaas or not, he wrapped his mantle round him, and not knowing what to do, retired from the crowd, cursing the father and mother who had given him birth. He then called to him Baron von Wenk, one of his acquaintance, who was riding along the street, and resolving not to leave the spot, because the rabble looked at him scoffingly, and with their handkerchiefs before their mouths only seemed to wait for his departure to burst out, he bade him call on Count von Wrede and by his means make Kohlhaas come to inspect the horses.

Now it happened that Kohlhaas, who had been summoned by an officer of the court to give certain explanations as to the surrender of property at Lützen, was present in the chancellor’s room when the baron entered, and while the chancellor with a fretful countenance rose from his chair and motioned the horse-dealer aside, the baron, to whom the person of Kohlhaas was unknown, represented the difficulty in which the von Tronkas were placed. The knacker had come from Döbbeln in accordance with a defective requisition of the Wilsdruf courts, with horses certainly; but their condition was so hopeless that Squire Wenzel could not help feeling a doubt as to their belonging to Kohlhaas. Hence, if they were to be taken from the knacker, in order that their recovery might be attempted, an ocular inspection by Kohlhaas would be necessary in the first instance to clear up the doubt that existed. “Have then the goodness,” he concluded, “to fetch the horse-dealer out of his house with a guard, and let him be taken to the market-place where the horses now are.”

The chancellor, taking his spectacles from his nose, said that he found himself in a dilemma, since, on the one hand, he did not think the affair could be settled otherwise than by the ocular inspection of Kohlhaas; and, on the other hand, he did not conceive that he, as chancellor, had any right to send Kohlhaas about guarded, wherever the squire’s fancy might dictate. He therefore introduced to the baron the horse-dealer, who was standing, behind him; and while he sat down and again put on his spectacles, told him to apply to the man himself. Kohlhaas, who allowed no gesture to show what was passing in his mind, declared that he was quite ready to follow the baron to the market, and inspect the horses, which the knacker had brought to the city. He then, while the baron turned round, confused, again approached the chancellor’s table, and took leave of him, having given him from his pocket-book several papers relative to the surrender at Lützen. The baron, who, with a face red as fire, had retired to the window, likewise took leave of the chancellor, and the two, accompanied by the guards appointed by the Prince of Misnia, proceeded to the palace-yard, accompanied by a multitude of people. Herr Conrad, the chamberlain, who, in spite of the solicitation of several friends on the spot, had maintained his ground among the people against the knacker of Döbbeln, no sooner saw the baron and the horse-dealer, than he approached the latter, and, holding his sword proudly under his arm, asked him if the horses which stood behind the cart were his. The horse-dealer, after modestly turning to the gentleman who questioned him, and whom he did not know, and touching his hat, went up to the knacker’s cart, followed by the train of knights. At about twelve paces distance he glanced hastily at the animals, who stood on tottering legs, with their heads bent to the ground, and did not eat the hay which the knacker put before them, and then returning to the chamberlain, exclaimed: “Gracious sir, the man is quite right; the horses which are bound to the cart belong to me.” Then looking at the circle around him, he touched his hat once more, and, attended by his guard, again left the spot. The chamberlain had no sooner heard what Kohlhaas said, than he approached the knacker with a hurried step, that made the plume on his helmet shake, flung him a purse full of gold; and while the man, with the purse in his hand, was staring at his money, and was combing back his hair with a leaden comb, he ordered his servant to detach the horses and lead them home. This servant, who, at his master’s call, had left a circle of friends and relatives in the crowd, went up to the horses over a large puddle, with a face somewhat crimson. Scarcely, however, had {202} he touched the halter, than his cousin, Master Himboldt, with the words, “You shall not touch that carrion,” seized his arm and flung him from the cart. He added, picking his way over the puddle to the chamberlain, who stood dumb with astonishment, that he must get a knacker’s boy to perform such an office for him. The chamberlain, who, foaming with rage, gazed for a moment at Himboldt, turned round, and called after the guard over the heads of the knights who were about him. As soon as, by the order of Baron von Wenk, an officer with some electoral troopers had made his appearance from the castle, he desired him, after briefly setting forth the shameful acts of rebellion which the burghers of the city ventured on, instantly to take the ringleader, Master Himboldt, into custody. Then seizing Himboldt by the collar, he accused him of flinging away from the cart the servant who, by his orders, was unbinding the horses, and otherwise ill-using him. Master Himboldt, throwing off the chamberlain with a dexterous twist, said: “Gracious sir, telling a fellow of twenty what he ought to do, is not inciting him to rebellion. Ask him whether, against all usage and propriety, he will meddle with those horses that are tied up to the cart. If he will, after what I have told him—why, be it so! For all that I care, he may flay them on the spot if he pleases.” Upon this the chamberlain turned round to the servant, and asked him whether he had any objection to fulfil his commands; namely, to untie Kohlhaas’s horses, and take them home. The lad, timidly slinking among the burghers, answered that the horses must be made decent before he could do any thing of the sort; whereupon the chamberlain darted after him, tore off his hat, which bore the badge of his house, trampled it under foot, drew his sword, and hunting the fellow about with furious strokes of the blade, made him at once quit the spot and his service together. “Strike the ruffian to the ground!” shouted Master Himboldt, and while the burghers indignant at the spectacle, combined together and forced away the guard, he knocked down the chamberlain from behind, tore off his mantle, collar, and helmet, twisted the sword out of his hand, and furiously flung it to a distance. In vain did Squire Wenzel, saving himself from the tumult, call on the knights to assist his cousin; before they could advance a step they were dispersed by the pressure of the people, so that the chamberlain, who had hurt his head by the fall, was exposed to all the fury of the mob. Nothing could have saved him but the appearance of a troop of soldiers who happened to be riding by, and whom the officer of the electoral troopers called to his assistance. This officer, after repelling the multitude, seized the enraged Himboldt, who was conducted to prison by some knights, while two friends picked up from the ground the unfortunate chamberlain all covered with blood, and took him home. Such was the unlucky termination of the really well-meant and honest attempt to repair the wrong which had been done to the horse-dealer. The knacker of Döbbeln, whose business was over, and who did not want to stop any longer, tied the horses to a lamp-post as soon as the people began to disperse, and there they stood all day, without any one to care about them—a jest for the loiterers in the street. Indeed, for the want of all other attendance, the police was obliged to take them in hand, and towards night called upon the knacker of Dresden to keep them in the yard before the town till further directions.

This occurrence, though the horse-dealer had really nothing to do with it, awakened among the better and more temperate sort of people, a feeling which was highly unfavourable to his cause. The relation in which he stood to the state was considered quite unsufferable, and both in private houses and in public places, the opinion was expressed, that it would be better to do him a manifest injustice, and again annul the whole affair, than show him justice in such a small matter merely to gratify his mad obstinacy, especially as such justice would only be the reward of his deeds of violence. Even the chancellor himself, to complete the destruction of poor Kohlhaas, with his over-strained notions of justice, and his obvious hatred of the Von Tronka family, contributed to the propagation and confirmation of this view. It was highly improbable that the horses, which were now in the custody of the knacker of Dresden, could be restored to that condition in which they left the stable at Kohlhaasenbrück, but even suppose art and constant attention could effect as much, the disgrace which under the circumstances fell upon the squire’s family was so great, that considering its political importance as one of the first and noblest families in the land, nothing appeared more suitable than to propose a compensation for the horses in money. The chancellor having some days afterwards received a letter from the president Kallheim, who made this proposition in the name of the disabled chamberlain, wrote to Kohlhaas, advising him not to refuse such an offer in case it should be made to him. Nevertheless he returned a short and not very civil answer to the president, in which he requested him to spare him all private commissions of the kind, advising the chamberlain to apply to the horse-dealer himself, whom he described a very honest and modest man. Kohlhaas’s resolution was already weakened by the occurrence in the market-place, and following the advice of the chancellor, he only waited for overtures on the part of the squire or his connections readily to meet them with a full pardon for all that had past. But the knights’ pride was too sensitive to allow them to make such overtures, and highly indignant at the answer they had received from the chancellor, they showed the letter to the elector, who on the following morning visited the chamberlain as he still lay ill of his wounds in his room. With a weak and plaintive voice, the invalid asked him whether, when he had already risked his life to settle this matter according to his wishes, he should now expose his honour to the censure of the world, and appear with a request for indulgence before a man, who had brought all imaginable shame upon him and his family. The elector having read through the letter, asked Count Kallheim, with some confusion, whether the tribunal would not be justified in taking its ground with Kohlhaas on the circumstance that the horses could not be restored, and then in decreeing a mere compensation in money as if they were dead. The count replied, “Gracious sir, they are dead!—dead in the legal sense of the word, because they have no value, and they will be physically dead before they can be removed from the flayer’s yard to the knight’s stables.”

Upon this the elector putting up the letter, said that he would speak about it to the chancellor, consoled the chamberlain, who arose in his bed and thankfully seized his hand, and after he had told him to take every care of his health, rose very graciously from his chair, and took his leave.

Thus stood matters in Dresden, while another storm still more formidable was gathering over poor Kohlhaas from Lützen, and the spiteful knights had tact enough to draw down its flashes upon his unlucky head. John Nagelschmidt, one of the men collected by Kohlhaas, and dismissed after the appearance of the amnesty, had thought fit a few weeks afterwards to assemble anew a portion of the rabble who were disposed for any outrage, and to carry on the trade into which Kohlhaas had initiated him on his own account. This worthless fellow, partly to frighten the officers by whom he was pursued, partly to induce the peasantry after the ordinary fashion to take part in his misdeeds, called himself vicegerent to Kohlhaas, and spread a report with the cunning he had learned from his master, that the amnesty had not been kept with many men, who had returned quietly to their homes—nay that Kohlhaas himself, by a shameful violation of faith, had been imprisoned immediately on his arrival at Dresden, and had been consigned to the care of a guard. In placards, quite similar to those of Kohlhaas, he made his band of incendiaries appear as a warlike force, raised solely for the honour of God, with the mission of seeing that the amnesty granted by the elector was properly carried out. The whole affair, as we have already said, had nothing to do with the honour of God, nor with any attachment to Kohlhaas, about whose fate the fellow was totally indifferent, but he merely intended under the protection of devices to burn and plunder with greater impunity. The knights, as soon as the news of this occurrence reached Dresden, could scarcely conceal their joy at the entirely new turn which it gave to the whole affair. With sagacious and dissatisfied side-glances they alluded to the mistake that had been made in granting Kohlhaas the amnesty in spite of all their warnings, just as if for the sake of encouraging rascals of every kind to follow in his steps. Not contented with giving credence to Nagelschmidt’s pretext, that he had taken up arms solely for the support and defence of his oppressed master, they plainly expressed their opinion that the whole enterprise was devised by Kohlhaas to intimidate the government, and thus to hurry on the decree and render it completely conformable to his obstinate will. Nay, the cupbearer went so far as to say to a party of hunting squires and courtiers, who, after their meal, had assembled in the elector’s anteroom, that the disbanding of the gang of robbers at Lützen was a mere feint; and while he laughed much at the chancellor’s love of justice, he showed from many circumstances clearly combined, that the troop existed now just as much as before, in the woods of the electorate, and merely waited for a signal from the horse-dealer to break out anew with fire and sword. Prince Christian of Misnia, very much displeased at this new turn of affairs, which threatened seriously to sully the fame of his sovereign, immediately went to the castle to see him, and clearly perceiving that it was the interest of the knights to crush Kohlhaas if possible on the ground of new misdeeds, he asked leave to examine him at once. The horse-dealer somewhat surprised, was conducted to the seat of government (Gubernium) by an officer, with his two little boys, Henry and Leopold in his arms, for his man Sternbald had returned the day before with his five children from Mecklenburg, where they had been staying, and thoughts of various kinds, which it would be tedious to unravel, determined him to take with him to the examination the two boys, who, in tears begged to accompany him, as they saw him depart. The prince, after looking kindly at the children, whom Kohlhaas had seated beside him, and asking their names and ages in a friendly manner, disclosed to him the liberties which Nagelschmidt, his former servant, had allowed himself in the valleys of the Erzgebirg, and while he showed him what the fellow called his mandates, requested him to state what he could in his own justification.

Shocked as the horse-dealer was at the scandalous papers, he nevertheless had but little difficulty in the presence of such an upright man as the prince, in showing how groundless were the accusations that had been brought against him. Not only, as he said, was he, under the circumstances, far from requiring any assistance from a third party, to bring his suit to a decision, seeing that it was going on as well as possible, but some letters which he had with him, and which he produced to the prince, plainly showed the impossibility of Nagelschmidt being willing to give him the assistance in question, since shortly before he had disbanded his troop, he had been going to hang the fellow for acts of violence in the flat country. Indeed he had only been saved by the appearance of the electoral amnesty, which had broken off all the connection between them, and they had parted the day after as mortal enemies. Kohlhaas, on his own proposal, which was accepted by the prince, sat down and wrote a letter to Nagelschmidt, in which he called the pretext of supporting the amnesty, granted to him and his troop, and afterwards broken, a shameful and wicked invention; and told him that on arriving at Dresden he was neither arrested nor consigned to a guard, that his suit was proceeding quite according to his wishes, and that he gave him up to the full vengeance of the laws as a warning to the rabble around him for the incendiarisms he had committed in the Erzgebirg, after the publication of the amnesty. At the same time some fragments of the criminal proceedings, which the horse-dealer had set on foot against the man at the Castle of Lützen, for the misdeeds above alluded to, were subjoined to enlighten the people, as to the good-for-nothing fellow, who had been sentenced to the gallows, and had only been saved by the elector’s patent. The prince, satisfied by these acts, calmed Kohlhaas, as to the suspicion which they had been forced to express under the circumstances, assured him that so long as he continued in Dresden, the amnesty granted him should remain unbroken, once more shook hands with the boys, to whom he gave the fruit that was on the table, and dismissed him. The chancellor, who likewise perceived the danger that impended over the horse-dealer, did his utmost to bring the affair to a conclusion before it became entangled and complicated by new events. Strange to say, the cunning knights desired and aimed at the same thing, and instead of tacitly confessing the crime as before, and limiting the opposition to a mitigation of the sentence, they now began with all sorts of chicanery to deny the crime itself. Now they gave out that the horses had merely been kept at the Tronkenburg by the act of the castellan and the bailiff, of which the squire knew little or nothing; now they asserted that the beasts were sick of a violent and dangerous cough immediately after their arrival, appealing to witnesses whom they promised to produce; and when they were beaten out of the field with their arguments by inquiries and explanations, they brought an electoral edict, in which twelve years before, on account of prevailing distemper among cattle, the introduction of horses from Brandenburg into Saxony was prohibited. This was to prove that the squire was not only authorised but actually bound to detain the horses brought by Kohlhaas over the border. Kohlhaas, who in the meanwhile had repurchased his farm of the good farmer at Kohlhaasenbrück for a small sum, wished, as it appears, for the purpose of finally completing this transaction, to leave Dresden for a few days, and to travel home;—a resolution in which, however, we doubt not the alleged business, important as it might be on account of the winter sowing time, had less part than the wish to examine his situation under circumstances so remarkable and so critical. Reasons of another kind, which we leave to the surmise of every one who knows the secrets of his own heart, might also have operated. He therefore went to the high-chancellor, without the guard, and having the farmer’s letters in his hand, stated that if his presence at the court could be dispensed with, as indeed seemed to be the case, he wished to leave the city and go to Brandenburg for eight days or a fortnight, promising to return within that time. The high-chancellor, looking on the ground with a dubious and displeased countenance, said that his presence was now more necessary than ever, since the court, in consequence of the crafty and quibbling objections of the opposite party, would require his explanation in a thousand cases, which had not been foreseen. However, when Kohlhaas referred him to his advocate, who was well acquainted with the merits of the case, and urgently though modestly still adhered to his request, promising to limit his absence to eight days, the high chancellor said, after a pause, as he dismissed him, that he hoped he would obtain passports of Prince Christian of Misnia. Kohlhaas, who perfectly understood the chancellor’s countenance, sat down at once confirmed in his resolution, and asked the Prince of Misnia, as chief minister, without assigning any reason, to give him passports to Kohlhaasenbrück for eight days. To this request he received an official answer, signed by Baron Siegfried von Wenk, governor of the castle, stating that his petition for passports to Kohlhaasenbrück had been laid before the elector, and that as soon as consent was obtained, they would be forwarded to him. Kohlhaas asked his advocate how it was that this paper was signed by a Baron Siegfried von Wenk, and not by Prince Christian of Misnia, whereupon he was informed that the prince had gone to his estates three days before, and that the affairs of office had been entrusted during his absence, to Baron Siegfried von Wenk, governor of the castle, and cousin to the gentleman who has been previously mentioned.

Kohlhaas, whose heart began to beat uneasily under all these circumstances, waited several days for an answer to his petition which had been brought before the elector with singular prolixity; but a week passed, and another and another, and he had neither got an answer nor had the tribunal come to a decision of his case, definitely as it had been announced. Therefore, on the twelfth day, fully determined to know the disposition of the government towards him, whatever it might be, he sent another pressing application to the ministry for the passport. But how surprised he was, when on the evening of the following day (which had likewise passed away without the expected answer), as he stepped towards the window of his back room, deeply occupied in pondering over his situation, and especially on the amnesty which Dr. Luther had obtained for him, he did not see the guards who had been given him by the Prince of Misnia in the little outhouse which had been assigned as their abode. The old servant Thomas whom he called, and of whom he asked what this meant, answered with a sigh, “Master, all is not as it should be! The soldiers, of whom there are more than usual to-day, dispersed themselves over the whole house as night advanced. Two are standing with spear and shield in the street before the front door, two in the garden at the back door, and two others are lying on a heap of straw in the anteroom, where they say they intend to sleep.” Kohlhaas, who changed colour, turned round and said it was just the same to him whether they were there or not, and that as soon as he got to the passage he should set up a light that the soldiers might see.

Under the pretext of emptying a vessel he opened the front shutter and convinced himself that the old man had spoken the truth; for the guard had just been quietly relieved, a measure which never had been thought of before. This ascertained he lay down in his bed, little inclined to sleep, and with his mind thoroughly made up as to what he should do the next day. Nothing on the part of the government was more displeasing to him than the empty show of justice, while, in fact, the amnesty was broken; and in case he was a prisoner, about which there seemed to be no doubt, he wished to compel the government to declare it clearly and without ambiguity. Therefore, at the dawn of the following day, he had his vehicle brought up, and the horses put to it by Sternbald his servant, to go, as he said, to the farmer at Lockewitz, who had spoken to him a few days before at Dresden as an old acquaintance, and had invited him to pay him a visit with his children. The soldiers, who were laying their heads together, and perceived the movements in the house, sent one of their number privily into the town, whereupon in a few minutes an officer of the government appeared, at the head of several men, and went into the opposite house, as if he had something to do there. Kohlhaas who, as he was occupied with dressing his boys, witnessed their movements, and designedly kept his vehicle before the house longer than was necessary, went out with his children, as soon as he saw that the police had completed their preparations, without taking any notice, and telling the soldiers at the door as he passed them, that they need not follow him, he took the boys into the cart, and kissed and consoled the little crying girls, who, in conformity with his orders, remained with the daughter of the old servant. He had scarcely mounted the cart himself, when the officer came up to him with his train from the opposite house, and asked him where he was going. Kohlhaas answering that he was going to see his friend the farmer at Lockewitz, who had some days before invited him into the country with his boys, the officer said that in that case he must wait a few moments, as some horse-soldiers, by the command of the Prince of Misnia, would have to accompany him.

Kohlhaas asked him, smiling from the cart, whether he thought his person would not be safe in the house of a friend, who had invited him to his table for a day. The officer answered pleasantly and cheerfully enough, that the danger was certainly not great, and added that he would find the men by no means burdensome. Kohlhaas replied, seriously, that when he first came to Dresden, the Prince of Misnia had left it quite free to him whether he would avail himself of the guard or not, and when the officer expressed his surprise at this circumstance, and referred to the custom which had prevailed during the whole of Kohlhaas’s residence at Dresden, the horse-dealer told him of the occurrence which had led to the appointment of a guard in his house. The officer assured him that the order of the Baron von Wenk, governor of the castle, who was at present head of the police, made the constant guard of his person an imperative duty, and begged him, if it was unpleasant to be so attended, to go to the seat of government himself, and rectify the error which seemed to prevail there. Kohlhaas, darting an expressive look at the officer, and determined either to bend or to break the matter, said that he would do this, descended with a beating heart from the cart, had his children carried into the passage by the servant, and repaired with the officer and his guard to the seat of government, leaving the man with the vehicle in front of the house. It chanced that Baron von Wenk was engaged in the examination of a band of Nagelschmidt’s men, which had been captured in the neighbourhood of Leipzig, and had been brought in the evening before, and that these fellows were being questioned on many matters which would willingly have been heard by the knights who were with the baron when the horse-dealer and those who attended him entered the room. The baron no sooner saw him, than he went up to him, while the knights became suddenly silent, and ceased their examination, and asked him what he wanted.

The horse-dealer respectively stating his project of dining with the farmer in Lockewitz, and his wish to leave behind the soldiers, whom he did not require, the baron changed colour, and seeming as if he suppressed another speech, said that his best plan would be to stop quietly at home, and put off the dinner with the Lockewitz farmer. Then cutting short the conversation, and turning to the officer he told him, that the command which he had given him with respect to Kohlhaas, was to remain as before, and that he was not to leave the city, except under the guard of six horsemen. Kohlhaas asked whether he was a prisoner, and whether he was to believe that the amnesty solemnly granted him in the eyes of the whole world was broken; whereupon the baron, suddenly becoming as red as fire, turned to him, and walking close up to him, looked full in his eyes, and answered, “Yes, yes, yes!” He then turned his back upon him, left him standing, and again went to Nagelschmidt’s men.

Kohlhaas then quitted the room, and although he saw that the only course left for him, namely, flight, was rendered difficult by the steps which he had taken, he nevertheless concluded he had acted rightly, as he now saw he was free from all obligation to conform to the articles of the amnesty. When he reached home, he ordered the horses to be taken from the cart, and accompanied by the officer entered his chamber very much dispirited. This officer, in a manner which greatly disgusted him, assured him that all turned on a misunderstanding which would soon be cleared up, while his men, at a sign which he gave them, fastened up all the outlets that led into the yard. The front entrance, as the officer assured Kohlhaas, was open to his use as before.

In the meanwhile, Nagelschmidt was so hampered on all sides by soldiers and officers of the law in the woods of the Erzgebirge, that being utterly destitute of means to carry out the part he had chosen, he hit upon the thought of really drawing Kohlhaas into his interest. He had learned with tolerable accuracy, through a traveller who passed on the road, the state of the suit at Dresden, and was of opinion, that in spite of the open hostility which existed between them, it would be possible to induce the horse-dealer to enter into a new alliance with him. He therefore sent a man to him, with a scarcely legible letter, to the effect, that if he would come to the Altenburg territory, and resume the conduct of the band, who had assembled there, out of the relics of the one that had been dismissed, he would furnish him with horses, men, and money, to assist him in flying from his prison at Dresden. At the same time, he promised to be better and more obedient in future than he had been; and to prove his fidelity and devotion, he offered to come to Dresden himself and effect Kohlhaas’s liberation. Now the fellow to whom this letter was entrusted had the misfortune to fall into convulsions of a dangerous sort, such as he had been subject to from his youth, close to Dresden, and the consequence was, that the letter which he carried in his doublet, was discovered by people who came to assist him, and that he himself, as soon as he had recovered, was arrested, and removed to the seat of government, attended by a numerous guard. The Governor von Wenk had no sooner read the letter than he hastened to the elector, in whose castle he found the two von Tronkas (the chamberlain having recovered of his wounds) and Count Kallheim, president of the chancery. These gentlemen were of opinion, that Kohlhaas should be arrested without delay, and prosecuted on the ground of a secret understanding with Nagelschmidt, since, as they attempted to prove, such a letter could not have been written, had not others been previously sent by the horse-dealer, and had not some criminal compact been formed, for the perpetration of new atrocities. The elector firmly refused to violate the free conduct which he had granted to Kohlhaas, on the mere ground of this letter. Nay, according to his opinion, it rather showed, that no previous communication had existed between Kohlhaas and Nagelschmidt, and all that he would resolve upon, and that after much delay, was that, according to the suggestion of the president, the letter should be sent to Kohlhaas by Nagelschmidt’s man, just as if the fellow was perfectly at liberty, and that then it should be seen whether Kohlhaas would answer it. The man, who had been put in prison, was accordingly brought to the seat of government on the following morning, when the governor of the castle restored him his letter, and, promising that he should be free, and exempt from the punishment he had incurred, told him to give it to the horse-dealer as if nothing had happened. Without more ado, the fellow lent himself to the mean stratagem, and as if by stealth, entered Kohlhaas’s room on the pretext of selling some crabs, with which the officer had provided him in the market-place. Kohlhaas, who read the letter while the children played with the crabs, would certainly, under the circumstances, have taken the fellow by the collar, and delivered him up to the soldiers, who stood at his door, but as, in the present disposition of people towards him, such a step might be interpreted in more than one way, and he was fully convinced that nothing in the world could help him out of the difficulty in which he was placed, he looked mournfully at the fellow’s well-known face, asked him where he lived, and ordered him to come again in an hour or two, when he would communicate the resolution he had taken with respect to his master. He told Sternbald, who chanced to enter the room, to buy some crabs of the fellow he found there, and this having been done, and the two men having parted without recognition, he sat down and wrote a letter to Nagelschmidt to the following effect: In the first place he accepted his offer of the command of the band in Altenburg, and in the next told him to send him a waggon with two horses to the Neustadt by Dresden, to free him from the temporary prison in which he was placed with his children. Two horses more, he said, for the sake of speed would be wanted on the road to Wittenberg, by which circuitous route, for certain reasons, too long to specify, he could alone come to him. He represented the soldiers who guarded him as open to bribery, but nevertheless, in case force should be necessary, he desired the presence of a few, stout, active, well-armed fellows in the Neustadt. To defray the expenses of all these preparations he would send by the man a rouleau containing twenty gold crowns, about the expenditure of which he would come to an account with him when the affair was settled. His presence in Dresden on the occasion of his liberation he prohibited as unnecessary, nay, he gave the express order that he should remain in the territory of Altenburg, as the temporary leader of the band, which could not well do without a captain. When the messenger came towards the evening he gave him this letter, and rewarding him liberally, exhorted him to take the greatest care of it. His design was to proceed to Hamburg with his five children, and there to embark for the Levant or the East Indies, or as far as the sky might cover other men than those he knew, for his soul, which was now bowed down with grief, had given up the notion of getting the horses, to say nothing of his repugnance to make a common cause with Nagelschmidt.

Scarcely had the fellow delivered this answer to the castellan than the high chancellor was removed, the president, Count Kallheim, was appointed chief of the tribunal in his stead, and Kohlhaas, being arrested by a cabinet order of the elector, was thrown into the city prison, heavily laden with chains. Proceedings were commenced against him on the ground of the letter, which was posted up at all the corners of the town; and when, before the bar of the tribunal, to the question of the counsel, who presented him this letter, whether he recognised the handwriting, he answered “Yes,” but to the question whether he had any thing to say in his defence, he with downcast eyes answered “No.” He was condemned to have his flesh torn with red-hot pincers, and his body quartered and burned between the wheel and the gallows.

Thus stood matters with poor Kohlhaas in Dresden, when the Elector of Brandenburg appeared to rescue him from the hands of arbitrary power and claimed him as a Brandenburg subject in the electoral chancery, through a note sent for that purpose. For the brave Captain Heinrich von Geusau had told him, during a walk on the banks of the Spree, the history of this strange and not utterly abandoned man. On this occasion, urged by the questions of the astonished elector, he could not avoid mentioning the wrong which had been done to his own person, through the improper acts of the high chancellor, Count Siegfried von Kallheim. The elector, being highly indignant at this, demanded an explanation of the high chancellor, and finding that his relationship to the house of Tronka had been the cause of all the mischief, dismissed him at once with many signs of displeasure, and appointed Heinrich von Geusau chancellor in his place.

Now it happened that the kingdom of Poland, while for some cause or other it was in a hostile position against Saxony, made repeated and pressing demands to the Elector of Brandenburg to unite against Saxony in one common cause. This led the High Chancellor Geusau, who was no novice in such matters, to hope that he could fulfil his sovereign’s wish of doing justice to Kohlhaas at any price, without placing the general peace in a more critical position than the consideration due to an individual would justify. Hence the high chancellor, alleging that the proceedings had been arbitrary, and alike displeasing to God and man, not only demanded the immediate and unconditional delivery of Kohlhaas, that in case he was guilty he might be tried according to Brandenburg laws, on a complaint which the court of Dresden might make through an attorney at Berlin, but also required passports for an attorney whom the elector wished to send to Dresden, to obtain justice for Kohlhaas against Squire Wenzel von Tronka, on account of the wrong which had been done the former, on Saxon soil, by the detention of his horses and other acts of violence which cried aloud to Heaven. The chamberlain, Herr Conrad, who on the change of office in Saxony had been nominated president of the state chancery, and who for many reasons did not wish to offend the court of Berlin, in the difficulty in which he now found himself, answered in the name of his sovereign, who was much dejected at the note he had received, that the unfriendly and unfair spirit in which the right of the court of Dresden to try Kohlhaas, according to law, for offences committed in the country, had been questioned, had created great astonishment, especially when it was well known that he held a large piece of ground in the Saxon metropolis, and did not deny that he was a Saxon citizen. Nevertheless, as Poland to enforce her claims had already collected an army of 5000 men on the borders of Saxony, and the high chancellor, Heinrich von Geusau, declared that Kohlhaasenbrück, the place from which the horse-dealer took his name, lay in the Brandenburg territory, and that the execution of the sentence of death that had been declared would be considered a violation of the law of nations, the elector, by the advice of the chamberlain, Herr Conrad himself, who wished to retreat out of the affair, called Prince Christian of Misnia from his estates, and was induced by a few words from this intelligent man to deliver Kohlhaas to the court of Berlin, in compliance with the request that had been made.

The prince, who, although he was little pleased with the late unseemly proceedings, was obliged to undertake the prosecution of the Kohlhaas affair, in compliance with the wish of his embarrassed sovereign, asked him on what ground he meant to prosecute the horse-dealer, in the chamber council at Berlin. To the fatal letter to Nagelschmidt reference could not be made, so doubtful and obscure were the circumstances under which it was written, neither could the early plunderings and incendiarisms be mentioned on account of the placards in which they had been pardoned.

The elector, therefore, resolved to lay before the Emperor of Vienna a statement of the armed attack of Kohlhaas upon Saxony, to complain of the breach of the public peace, which he had established, and to request those who were bound by no amnesty to prosecute Kohlhaas in the Berlin court through an imperial prosecutor.

In eight days the horse-dealer, chained as he was, was placed in a cart and transported to Berlin with his five children (who had been got together again out of the orphan and foundling asylums) by the night Friedrich von Malzahn, whom the Elector of Brandenburg had sent to Dresden with six troopers.

Now it chanced that the Elector of Saxony, at the invitation of the seneschal (Landdrost) Count Aloysius von Kallheim, who held considerable property on the borders of Saxony, had gone to Dahme to a great hunt, which had been appointed for his recreation, accompanied by the chamberlain, Herr Conrad, and his wife the Lady Heloise, daughter of the seneschal and sister of the president, besides other fine ladies and gentlemen, hunting-attendants, and nobles. All this party, covered with dust from hunting, was seated at table under the cover of some tents adorned with flags, which had been set up on a hill right across the road, waited upon by pages and young nobles, and recreated by the sound of cheerful music, which proceeded from the trunk of an oak, when the horse-dealer, attended by his army of troopers, came slowly along the road from Dresden.

The sickness of one of Kohlhaas’s little delicate children had compelled the Knight von Malzahn, who accompanied him, to remain for three days at Herzberg—a fact which he did not deem it necessary to communicate to the government at Dresden, feeling that he was only responsible to his own prince. The elector, who with his breast half-uncovered, and his plumed hat adorned with fir-twigs, sat by the Lady Heloise—his first love in the days of early youth—said, elevated by the pleasure of the feast, that sparkled round him: “Come let us give the unfortunate man, whoever he may be, this cup of wine!” The Lady Heloise, casting a noble glance at him, arose at once, and laying the whole table under contribution, filled a silver vessel, which a page handed to her, with fruit, cakes, and bread. The whole party, with refreshments of all kinds, had already thronged from the tent, when the seneschal met them with a confused countenance and bade them stop. To the elector, who asked with surprise what had happened thus to confound the seneschal, the latter answered, stammering and with his head turned towards the chamberlain, that Kohlhaas was in the cart. At this piece of intelligence, which astonished every body, as it was generally known that Kohlhaas had set off six days before, the chamberlain, Conrad, took his goblet of wine, and turning towards the tent poured it into the dust. The elector, deeply colouring, placed his on a salver, which a page presented to him for that purpose, at a hint from the chamberlain; and while the knight Friedrich von Malzahn, respectfully greeting the company, whom he did not know, passed slowly through the tent-ropes that ran across the way, in the direction of Dahme, the party, at the invitation of the seneschal, returned to the tent without taking further notice.

As soon as the elector was seated, the seneschal privately sent to Dahme to warn the magistracy there to make the horse-dealer pass on immediately; but as the knight had declared his wish of passing the night in the place, on the plea that the day had already advanced too far to allow of further travel, they were obliged to bring him without noise to a farm which belonged to the magistracy, and which stood by the road-side concealed by bushes.

Towards evening, when the elector’s party had forgotten the whole affair, their thoughts having been dissipated by the wine, and the pleasures of a luxurious supper, the seneschal proposed that they should once more start for a herd of deer which had made its appearance. The whole party seized on the proposal with delight, and armed with their rifles went in pairs over hedges and ditches into the adjoining forest, and the consequence was that the elector and the Lady Heloise, who hung on his arm to witness the spectacle, were to their surprise immediately conducted by a messenger, who had been appointed to attend them, through the court of the very house at which Kohlhaas and the Brandenburg troops were stopping.

The lady, when she heard this, said: “Come, gracious sovereign, come!” adding, as she playfully concealed in his doublet the chain which hung from his neck, “let us slip into the farm, before our troop comes up, and see the strange man who is passing the night there.”

The elector, changing colour, seized her hand and said: “Heloise, what notion has possessed you?” But when, perceiving his surprise, she answered that no one would recognise him in his hunting dress, and also, at the very same moment, two hunting attendants, who had already satisfied their curiosity, came out of the house and said, that in consequence of an arrangement of the seneschals, neither the knight nor the horse-dealer knew of whom consisted the party assembled near Dahme, the elector, smiling, pressed his hat over his eyes, and said: “Folly, thou rulest the world, and thy throne is the mouth of a pretty woman.”

Kohlhaas was sitting on a heap of straw, with his back against the wall, feeding the child that had fallen sick at Herzberg, with rolls and milk, when his noble visitors entered the farm-house. The lady, to introduce the conversation, asked him who he was, what was the matter with the child, what crime he had committed, and whither they were conducting him under such an escort. He doffed his leather cap, and, without ceasing from his occupation, gave her a short, but satisfactory answer.

The elector, who stood behind the huntsman, and observed a little leaden case that hung from Michael’s neck by a silken thread, asked him, as there was nothing better to talk about, what this meant, and what was kept in it.

“Ah, your worship,” said Kohlhaas, detaching it from his neck, opening it, and taking out a little slip of paper fastened with a wafer, “there is something very peculiar about this case. It is about seven months ago, on the very day after my wife’s burial, when I had set out from Kohlhaasenbrück, as perhaps you know, to seize the person of Squire von Tronka, who had done me much wrong, that for some negotiation, unknown to me, the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg had a meeting in Jüterboch, a market town, through which my way led me. When they had settled every thing according to their wishes, they went through the streets of the town, conversing in a friendly manner, that they might see the fair, which was held with due merriment. Presently they came to a gipsy woman, who sat upon a stool, and uttered prophesies to the people who surrounded her, out of an almanack.

“This woman they asked, jestingly, whether she had any thing pleasant to tell them. I, who had put up at an inn, with all my band, and chanced to be present at the spot when this occurrence took place, standing at the entrance to the church, could not hear, through the crowd, what the strange woman said to the electors. When the people whispered, laughingly, in each other’s ears, that she would not communicate her science to any body, and crowded thickly together on account of the spectacle that was preparing, I got upon a bench, which had been hewn out in the entrance to the church, not so much because I was curious myself, as because I would make way for those that were. Scarcely had I, from this elevation, taken a full survey of the electors and the woman, who sat before them on the stool, and seemed to be scribbling something, than she suddenly raised herself on her crutches, and, looking round the people, fixed her eyes upon me, who had not spoken a single word to her, and had never cared for such sciences in my life.

“Pressing towards me, through the dense crowd, she said: ‘Ah, if the gentleman wishes to know, he had better ask you.’ Then, your worship, with her dry, bony hands she gave me this slip. All the people turned round to me, and I said, perfectly astonished, ‘Why, mother—what sort of a present is this?’ After all sorts of unintelligible stuff, among which, to my great surprise, I heard my own name, she replied, ‘It is an amulet, thou horse-dealer, Kohlhaas, keep it well, it will one day save thy life.’ And so saying, she vanished. Now!” continued Kohlhaas, good humouredly, “to tell the truth, sharply as matters have been going on in Dresden, they have not cost me my life; and as for Berlin, the future will show me how I get on there, and whether I shall come off well.”

At these words the elector seated himself on a bench, and, although to the inquiry of the astonished lady, what was the matter with him, he answered, “Nothing, nothing at all”—he, nevertheless, fell senseless upon the ground, before she had time to run up to him and catch him in her arms.

The Knight von Malzahn, who, on some business or other, entered the room at this moment, said: “Good God, what ails the gentleman?” while the lady cried out, “Water, bring water!”

The huntsmen raised the elector from the ground and carried him to a bed in an adjoining room, and the consternation of all reached its height, when the chamberlain, who had been fetched by a page, declared, after many futile endeavours to restore the elector to his senses, that there were all the signs of apoplexy.

The seneschal, while the cup-bearer sent a messenger on horseback to Luckau to fetch a physician, caused the elector to be placed in a vehicle, as soon as he opened his eyes, and to be taken, slowly, to his hunting castle in the neighbourhood. The consequence of this journey was two fainting fits after his arrival at the castle, and it was late on the following morning, when the physician from Luckau had arrived, that he recovered in some degree, still with the decided symptoms of an impending nervous fever. As soon as he had regained his senses he raised himself in his bed, and his first inquiry was for Kohlhaas.

The chamberlain, who misunderstood his question, said, seizing his hand, that he need no longer trouble himself about this terrible man, since, as had been designed, he had remained at the farm at Dahme, guarded by the Brandenburg escort, after the sudden and incomprehensible mischance which had occurred. Assuring him of his warmest sympathy, and also that he had reproached his wife most bitterly for her unwarrantable heedlessness in bringing him in contact with the man, he asked what there was so strange and monstrous in the conversation to strike him thus.

The elector said he could only confess that the sight of a worthless slip of paper, worn by the man in a leaden case, had been the cause of the unpleasant occurrence. In explanation of this circumstance he uttered much which the chamberlain did not understand, suddenly assured him, as he pressed his hand, that the possession of this slip would be of the utmost importance, and finally entreated him to mount on horseback without delay, to ride to Dalheim, and to purchase the slip from Kohlhaas at any price.

The chamberlain, who had difficulty in concealing his embarrassment, represented to him, that if this slip was of any value to him, it would be absolutely necessary to conceal the fact from Kohlhaas, since, if he got a hint of it through any heedless expression, all the wealth of the elector would be insufficient to get it out of the hands of a fellow so insatiable in his vengeance. To calm him, he added that some other means must be devised, and that perhaps it would be possible to gain the slip to which he attached so much importance, by cunning and through the medium of a third indifferent party, as the criminal did not set any value on it.

The elector, wiping the perspiration from his forehead, asked whether it would not be possible with this intent to send to Dahme, and to delay the further transport of the horse-dealer until the slip, in some way or other, was secured.

The chamberlain, who could not trust his senses, replied that in all probability the horse-dealer had unfortunately left Dahme already, and was already over the boundary and on Brandenburg soil, where every endeavour to impede his progress, or to turn him back, must lead to the most unpleasant and lengthened difficulties—such difficulties, indeed, as it might be impossible to get over.

When the elector, with a gesture of utter despair, threw himself back on his cushion in silence, the chamberlain asked him what it was that the slip contained, and by what strange and inexplicable chance he knew that the contents concerned him.

Casting equivocal glances at the chamberlain, whose willingness to oblige him he doubted, the elector made no answer, but lay quite stiff, yet with heart uneasily beating, while his eyes were fixed on the corner of the handkerchief, which, immersed in thought, he held in his hands. All at once he ordered him to call into the chamber the hunting-page (Jagd-junker) Von Stein, an active and sharp-witted young gentleman, whom he had often employed on secret affairs, on the pretext that he had business to settle with him of quite a different nature.

After he had set forth the whole affair to this page, and had informed him of the importance of the slip, now in the possession of Kohlhaas, he asked him whether he was willing to earn an eternal claim to his friendship by getting this slip before Kohlhaas reached Berlin.

The page as soon as he, in some degree, understood the affair, strange as it was, declared that all his powers were at the service of the elector, whereupon the latter commissioned him to ride after Kohlhaas, and in case money would not suffice, as probably it would not, to offer him in a prudently managed discourse, life and liberty as the price of the slip; nay, if he insisted upon it, to supply him at once, though cautiously, with horses, people, and money, to assist him in escaping from the hands of the Brandenburg troopers who escorted him. The page, having obtained from the elector a written authority in his own hand, set off with some attendants, and not allowing his horses any breathing time, he had the good luck to overtake Kohlhaas at a village on the border, where, with the Knight von Malzahn and his five children, he was partaking of a dinner, that was spread before the door of a house in the open air. The Knight von Malzahn, to whom the page introduced himself as a foreigner, who wished to see the remarkable man on his journey, even anticipated his wishes, as he compelled him to sit down to the meal, at the same time introducing him to Kohlhaas. As the knight had affairs to mind, which caused him to absent himself every now and then, and the troopers were dining at a table on the other side of the house, the page soon found an opportunity of telling the horse-dealer who he was, and explaining the particular object of his mission.

The horse-dealer, who had already learned the name and rank of the person who had fainted in the farm-house at Dahme at the sight of the case, and who wanted nothing more to complete the astonishment which the discovery had caused, than an insight into the secrets of the case, which for many reasons he had determined not to open out of mere curiosity,—the horse-dealer, we say, mindful of the unhandsome and unprincely treatment which he had experienced at Dresden, in spite of his readiness to make every possible sacrifice, declared that he intended to keep the case. To the question of the page, what could induce him to utter so singular a refusal, when nothing less than life and liberty was offered him, Kohlhaas replied:

“Sir, if your sovereign came here in person and said to me, ‘I will destroy myself with the troop of those who help to wield the sceptre;’ although such destruction is the dearest wish of my soul—I would still refuse him the case, which is even more valuable to him than existence, and would say, ‘to the scaffold you can bring me, but I can injure you, and I will.’” And immediately, with death in his face, he called for one of the troopers, ordering him to take a good portion of the repast which still remained in the dish. For the remainder of the hour, which he passed in the village, he never turned towards the page, but treated him, although he sat at the table, as if he was not present, until, when he ascended the cart, he turned round and gave him a farewell look.

The situation of the elector, when he learned the news, grew worse and worse; indeed to such a degree, that the physician, during three portentous days, was in the greatest anxiety for his life, which seemed attacked from more sides than one. However, by the force of his naturally strong constitution, after keeping his bed for several painfully passed weeks, he recovered sufficiently to be removed to a carriage, and thus, with an ample store of cushions and coverlets, to be conveyed to Dresden to the affairs of his government. As soon as he had reached the city he sent for Prince Christian of Misnia, and asked him how matters were going on with respect to the mission of the Councillor Eibenmeyer, who was to be sent to Vienna as attorney in the Kohlhaas affair, to complain to the emperor of the breach of the imperial peace. The prince told him that this councillor had set off to Vienna, in conformity with the instructions, which he had left when he went to Dahme, immediately after the arrival of the Jurist Zäuner, whom the Elector of Brandenburg had sent as attorney to Dresden, to prosecute the suit about the horses against the Squire Wenzel von Tronka.

The elector, who, deeply colouring, withdrew to his writing-table, expressed his astonishment at this haste, since he had, to his knowledge, declared that the departure of Eibenmeyer was to wait for nearer and more definite instructions, a reference to Dr. Luther, who had procured the amnesty for Kohlhaas, being first necessary. With an expression of suppressed anger, he turned over and over the documents that lay upon the table. The prince, after staring at him for some time in silence, said, that he should be sorry if he had not conducted this affair to the satisfaction of his sovereign, adding, that in the state-council not a word had been said about a reference to Dr. Luther; and that although perhaps at an earlier part of the proceedings it would have been proper to refer to this reverend gentleman, on account of his intercession for Kohlhaas, it was now no longer requisite, since the amnesty had already been broken in the eyes of the whole world, and Kohlhaas had been arrested, and delivered up to the Brandenburg tribunal for judgment and execution.

The elector admitted that the mistake in sending Eibenmeyer was not so great, but expressed his wish that he should not appear at Vienna in his official capacity of prosecutor till he had received further instructions, and told the prince to communicate this to him accordingly through an express. The prince replied that this command came unfortunately a day too late, since Eibenmeyer, according to a notice which had arrived that very day, had appeared in the quality of attorney, and had proceeded to bring the complaint before the state-chancery in Vienna.

When the elector asked with astonishment how this was possible in so short a time, he answered, that three weeks had already elapsed since Eibenmeyer’s departure, and that by the instructions which he had received, it was incumbent upon him to despatch the business as soon as possible after his arrival at Vienna. The prince further remarked, that a delay would, under the circumstances, be so much the more unjustifiable, as the Brandenburg representative, Zäuner, was proceeding against Squire Wenzel von Tronka with the boldest energy, and had already moved the court, that the horses, as a preliminary measure, should be taken out of the hands of the flayer, with a view to their future recovery, and had succeeded in carrying this point in spite of all the objections of the opposite party.

The elector, ringing the bell, said, “Well, no matter!” and after putting some indifferent questions to the prince, such as “how matters stood in Dresden,” and “what had been going on in his absence,” he shook hands with him, unable any longer to conceal the state of his mind, and dismissed him. On the very same day he sent to him a written request for all the documents relating to the Kohlhaas affair, under the pretext that he would take the management of it into his own hands on account of its political importance. The thought of destroying the man from whom alone he could learn the mysteries of the slip was to him insupportable, so he addressed to the emperor a letter in his own hand, in which he requested him in the most pressing manner, for certain important reasons, which he would perhaps explain more definitely in a short time, to set aside the complaint which Eibenmeyer had brought against Kohlhaas, until some further conclusion had been arrived at.

The emperor, in a note which he despatched through the state chancery, replied that he was greatly astonished at the change in the elector’s sentiments, which seemed to have occurred so suddenly, adding, that the information laid before him on the part of Saxony, made the matter of Kohlhaas an affair of the whole sacred Roman empire, that he, the emperor, as the head of that empire, was bound to appear as prosecutor in this suit with the House of Brandenburg; that now the court-assessor, Franz Müller, had gone to Berlin as imperial attorney, for the express purpose of bringing Kohlhaas to account there for a violation of the imperial peace, it would be impossible to set aside the complaint, and that therefore the affair must take its course according to the laws. The elector was completely cast down by this letter; and when, to his utter confusion, he shortly afterwards received private letters from Berlin announcing the commencement of the proceedings before the chamber-council, and stating that Kohlhaas, in spite of all the endeavours of his advocate, would probably end his days on a scaffold, the unhappy prince resolved to make one attempt more, and he therefore wrote a letter himself to the Elector of Brandenburg, begging for the horse-dealer’s life. He pretended that the amnesty which had been promised to the man, would render improper the fulfilment of a capital sentence; assured him, that in spite of the apparent severity of the proceedings against Kohlhaas, it had never been his intention to put him to death; and stated how inconsolable he should be if the protection which seemed to be granted him from Berlin, should by an unexpected turn prove more to his disadvantage than if he had remained in Dresden, and the affair had been decided according to Saxon law.

The Elector of Brandenburg, who perceived much that was obscure and ambiguous in this request, replied by stating that the urgency with which the imperial advocate proceeded would not allow him to depart from the strict injunctions of the law to accede to his (Saxony’s) wishes. At the same time he remarked that the anxiety of the Elector of Saxony in this matter seemed to be carried too far, since the complaint against Kohlhaas, which was now before the Berlin chamber-council, and which concerned the crimes pardoned in the amnesty, did not proceed from him who granted it, but from the head of the empire, who was not in any manner bound by it. He also impressed upon him how necessary it was to make a terrible example, seeing that the outrages of Nagelschmidt still continued, and with unparalleled audacity had advanced even to the borders of Brandenburg; and requested him, if he would pay no regard to these reasons, to address himself to his imperial majesty, since, if an edict was to be pronounced in favour of Kohlhaas, it could come from that quarter alone.

The elector, extremely grieved and vexed at all these futile attempts, fell into a new illness, and when one morning the chamberlain visited him, he showed him the letters which he had addressed to the courts of Vienna and Berlin, for the purpose of obtaining a reprieve for Kohlhaas, and thus at least of gaining time to possess himself of the slip which he had with him.

The chamberlain threw himself on his knees before him, and requested him by all that was dear and sacred to tell him what this slip contained.

The elector said, that he might bolt the room and sit down upon the bed, and after he had taken his hand, and pressed it to his heart with a sigh, he began as follows: “Your wife, as I understand, has already told you that the Elector of Brandenburg and I, on the third day of the meeting, which we had in Jüterboch, met a gipsy. When the elector, who is of sportive disposition, resolved by a jest to demolish in the sight of the people the fame of this extraordinary woman, whose art had been the subject of unseemly conversation at table, and asked her, on account of the prophecy which she was about to utter, to give him a sign that might be tested that very day, alleging that he could not otherwise believe what she said, were she the Roman sybil herself. The woman, taking a cursory view of us from head to foot, said that the sign would be this: that the great roebuck, which the gardener’s son reared in the park, would meet us in the market where we stood before we left it. You must know that this roebuck, being intended for the Dresden kitchen, was kept under lock and bolt, in a partition fenced round with high laths, and shaded by the oaks of the park. As on account of other smaller game and birds the park and the garden besides were kept carefully closed, it was not easy to see how the animal, in accordance with the strange prediction, would come to the place where we stood. Nevertheless the elector, fearing some trick, and resolved to put to shame all that the woman might say, for the sake of the jest, sent to the castle, with orders that the roebuck should be killed at once, and got ready for the table at an early day. He then turned back to the woman, who had spoken about this matter aloud, and said: ‘Now, what have you to tell me about the future?’ The woman, looking into his hand said: ‘Hail to my lord the elector! Your grace will long reign, the house from which thou descendest will long endure, and thy descendants will become great and glorious, and attain power above all the princes and lords of the world.’ The elector, after a pause, during which he eyed the woman thoughtfully, said half aside, and stepping up to me, that he was almost sorry he had sent a messenger to annihilate the prophecy, and when the money, from the hands of the knights who followed him, poured into the woman’s lap, amid loud huzzas, he asked her, putting his hand in his pocket, and giving a piece of gold, whether the greeting she would give to me had such a silvery sound as his own. The woman, after she had opened a box which stood beside her, had very deliberately put the money in it, arranging it according to description and quantity, and had closed the lid again, held her hand before the sun as if the light annoyed her, and looked at me. When I repeated the question, and said jestingly to the elector, while she examined my hand, ‘It seems that she has nothing very pleasant to tell me,’ she seized her crutch, rose slowly from her stool, and approaching me with hands mysteriously held out, whispered distinctly into my ear, ‘No!’—‘So!’ said I, somewhat confused, and I receded a step back from the figure, who with a glance as cold and lifeless as that from eyes of marble, again seated herself on the stool which stood behind her. ‘Pray from what side does danger threaten my house?’ The woman taking up a bit of charcoal and a slip of paper, and crossing her knees, asked me whether she should write it down; and when I, with some confusion, because under the circumstances there was nothing else left to do, answered ‘Yes, do so,’ she replied: ‘Very good, I will write down three things—the name of the last ruler of thy house, the year when he will lose his kingdom, and the name of him who will take it by force of arms.’ Having finished her task in the sight of the whole mob, she fastened together the slip with a wafer, which she moistened with her withered mouth and pressed upon it a leaden ring which she wore upon her middle finger. I was curious beyond expression, as you may easily conceive, to take the slip, but she said: ‘By no means, your highness,’ adding as she turned round and raised one of her crutches, ‘from that man yonder, who with the plumed hat is standing behind all the people on the bench in the entrance of the church, you may get the paper if you choose.’ And at once, while I was standing perfectly speechless with astonishment, and had not rightly made out what she said, she left me, and packing up the box which stood behind her and flinging it over her back, mingled with the surrounding crowd, so that I was unable to see her. It was a great consolation to me at this moment that the knight, whom the elector had sent to the castle, now returned and told him laughing, that the roebuck had been killed and dragged into the kitchen by two hunters before his eyes.

“The elector, merrily putting his arm into mine, with the intention of leading me from the spot, said: ‘Good! the prophecy turns out to be a mere common-place trick, not worth the time and money which it has cost us.’ But how great was our astonishment, when, at the very time he was speaking these words, a cry was raised, and all eyes were turned towards a great butcher’s dog which came running from the castle-court, and which, having seized the roebuck in the kitchen, as good spoil, had borne it off by the nape of the neck, and now dropped it about three paces from us, followed by a troop of servants, male and female. Thus was the woman’s prophecy, which she had uttered as a guarantee for all the rest that she predicted, completely fulfilled, as the roebuck had indeed met us in the marketplace, although it was dead. The lightning which falls from heaven on a winter’s day, cannot strike with more annihilating effect than that which this sight produced on me; and my first attempt, after I had freed myself from the persons about me, was to find out the man with the plumed hat, whom the woman had designated; but although my people were employed for three days uninterruptedly, in seeking information, not one of them was in a condition to give me the slightest intelligence on the subject. Now, friend Conrad, a few weeks ago, in the farm at Dahme, I saw the man with my own eyes.”

Having finished this narrative, the elector let the chamberlain’s hand fall, and sank back on his couch, wiping off the perspiration. The chamberlain, who thought every attempt to oppose or correct the elector’s view of the case would be fruitless, entreated him to try some plan to obtain possession of the slip, and then to leave the fellow to his fate; but the elector replied, that he could see no plan at all, although the thought of going without the paper, and of seeing all knowledge of it perish with Kohlhaas, made him almost desperate. To his friend’s question, whether he had made any efforts to discover the gipsy herself, he answered that the government (Gubernium), in pursuance of a command which he had sent forth under a false pretext, had in vain sought for the woman to that day, in all the public places in the electorate, while, from other reasons which he declined to communicate more explicitly, he expressed his doubts whether she was to be found in Saxony. It chanced that the chamberlain wished to travel to Berlin for the sake of some considerable property in the Neumark, to which his wife had become entitled by the bequest of the High Chancellor Kallheim, who died soon after he was displaced; and, therefore, as he really was much attached to the elector, he asked him, after a short deliberation, whether he would let him act quite at liberty in this matter.

The elector, pressing the chamberlain’s hand with warmth against his breast, answered: “Consider that you are myself, and get the paper;” and, therefore, the chamberlain, having entrusted his office to other hands, hastened his journey by a day or two, and, leaving his wife behind, set off for Berlin, accompanied only by some servants.

Kohlhaas, who, as we have already said, had in the meanwhile arrived at Berlin, and by the special order of the elector had been put in a state prison, made as comfortable as possible for the reception of him and his five children, was, immediately after the appearance of the imperial attorney from Vienna, brought before the chamber council charged with a breach of the imperial peace. Although he said, in answer, that he could not be prosecuted for his armed attack in Saxony, and the violence he had there committed, by virtue of the agreement made with the Elector of Saxony, at Lützen, he was informed that of that agreement the emperor, whose attorney conducted this complaint, could take no cognizance. When the matter was explained to him, and he heard, besides, with reference to his affair at Dresden, that he would have ample justice against Squire Wenzel von Tronka, he readily submitted. The very day on which the chamberlain arrived, sentence was passed against Kohlhaas, and he was condemned to be put to death with the sword;—a sentence which, seeing how complicated was the state of affairs, no one believed would be executed, notwithstanding its mildness; nay, the whole city, knowing the good feeling of the elector towards Kohlhaas, firmly hoped that the capital punishment, by a special edict, would be commuted into a long and severe imprisonment.

The chamberlain seeing at once that no time was to be lost, if he would fulfil his sovereign’s commission, went to work, by appearing one morning, sedulously attired in his usual court-dress, before Kohlhaas, who was innocently watching the passers-by from the window of his prison. Concluding, from a sudden movement of his head, that the horse-dealer had perceived him, and particularly observing, with great delight, how the latter clutched, involuntarily, at the part of his breast, where the case was situated, he judged, that what had passed in the mind of Kohlhaas at that moment, was a sufficient preparation to advance one step further in the attempt to gain possession of the paper.

He, therefore, called to him an old rag-woman, who was hobbling about on crutches, and whom he had observed in the streets of Berlin among a host of others, who were trafficking in the same commodity. This woman, in age and attire seemed to bear a pretty close resemblance to the one whom his elector had described, and as he thought that Kohlhaas would have no clear recollection of the features of the gipsy, who had only appeared for a moment when she gave him the case, he resolved to pass off this old woman for the other one, and if possible to let her take the part of the gipsy before Kohlhaas. To put her in a proper position to play this part, he informed her, circumstantially, of all that had passed between the two electors and the gipsy at Jüterboch, not forgetting to tell her the three mysterious articles contained in the paper, as he did not know how far the gipsy might have gone in her explanations to Kohlhaas. After explaining to her what she must let fall in an incoherent or unintelligible manner, for the sake of certain plans that had been devised to obtain the paper, either by force or stratagem—a matter of great importance to the Saxon court—he charged her to ask Kohlhaas for it, under the pretext of keeping it for a few eventful days, as it was no longer safe in his possession. The woman, on the promise of a considerable reward, part of which the chamberlain, at her request, was forced to give beforehand, at once undertook to perform the required office; and as the mother of the man, Herse, who had fallen at Mühlberg, sometimes visited Kohlhaas, with the permission of the government, and this woman had been acquainted with her for some months, she succeeded in visiting Kohlhaas at an early day, with the help of a small present to the gaoler.

Kohlhaas, as soon as she entered, thought that by the seal-ring, which she wore on her finger, and the coral chain which hung from her neck, he recognised the old gipsy who had given him the can at Jüterboch. Indeed, as probability is not always on the side of truth, so was it here; for something happened which we certainly record, but which every one who chooses is at liberty to doubt. The fact is, the chamberlain had committed the most monstrous blunder, the old woman whom he had picked up in the streets of Berlin to imitate the gipsy, being no other than the mysterious gipsy herself whom he wished to be imitated. The woman leaning on her crutches, and patting the cheeks of the children, who, struck by her strange aspect, clung to their father, told him that she had for some time left Saxony for Brandenburg, and in consequence of a heedless question asked by the chamberlain in the streets of Berlin, about the gipsy who was in Jüterboch in the spring of the past year, had at once hurried to him, and under a false name had offered herself for the office which he wished to see fulfilled.

The horse-dealer remarked a singular likeness between this woman and his deceased wife Lisbeth: indeed he could almost have asked her if she were not her grandmother; for not only did her features, her hands, which, bony as they were, were still beautiful, and especially the use which she made of these while talking, remind him of Lisbeth most forcibly, but even a mole by which his wife’s neck was marked, was on the gipsy’s neck also.

Hence, amid strangely conflicting thoughts, he compelled her to take a seat, and asked her what possible business of the chamberlain’s could bring her to him.

The woman, while Kohlhaas’s old dog went sniffing about her knees, and wagged his tail while she patted him, announced that the commission which the chamberlain had given her, was to tell him how the paper contained a mysterious answer to three questions of the utmost importance to the Saxon court, to warn him against an emissary who was at Berlin, with the design of taking it, and to ask for the paper herself, under the pretext that it was no more safe in his own bosom. The real design of her coming was, however, to tell him that the threat of depriving him of the paper, by force or cunning, was completely idle, that he had not the least cause to feel any apprehension about it, under the protection of the Elector of Brandenburg—nay, that the paper was much safer with him than with her, and that he should take great care not to lose it, by delivering it to any one under any pretext whatever. However, she added by saying, that she thought it prudent to use the paper for the purpose for which she had given it to him at the Jüterboch fair, to listen to the offer which had been made to him on the borders by the page, von Stein, and to give the paper, which could be of no further use to him, to the Elector of Saxony, in exchange for life and liberty.

Kohlhaas, who exulted in the power which was given him, of mortally wounding his enemy’s heel, at the very moment when it trampled him in the dust, replied, “Not for the world, good mother; not for the world!” and pressing the old woman’s hand, only desired to know, what were the answers to the important questions contained in the paper.

The woman, taking in her lap the youngest child, who was crouching down at her feet, said, “No—not for the world, Kohlhaas the horse-dealer; but for the sake of this pretty little fair-haired boy.” So saying, she smiled at him, embraced him, and kissed him; while he stared at her with all his might, and gave him with her dry hands an apple, which she carried in her pocket.

Kohlhaas said, in some confusion, that even the children, if they were old enough, would commend him for what he had done, and that he could not do any thing more serviceable for them and their posterity than keep the paper. He asked, besides, who, after the experience he had already made, would secure him against fresh deception, and whether he might not sacrifice the paper to the elector, just as uselessly, as he had formerly sacrificed the troop which he collected at Lützen. “With him who has once broken his word,” said he, “I have nothing more to do, and nothing, good mother, but your demand, definitively and unequivocally expressed, will cause me to part with the slip by which, in such a remarkable manner, satisfaction is given me for all that I have suffered.”

The woman, setting the child down upon the ground, said, that he was right in many respects, and could do and suffer what he pleased; and, taking her crutch again in her hand, prepared to go.

Kohlhaas repeated his question respecting the contents of the strange paper; and when she answered him hastily, that he might open it, if only out of curiosity, he wished to be informed about a thousand things more before she quitted him; such as who she was; how she acquired her science; why she had refused to give the wonderful paper to the elector, for whom it was written, and had just selected him, who had never cared about her science, among so many thousand persons.

At this very moment a noise was heard, made by some police officers, who were coming up stairs, and the woman, who seemed suddenly afraid lest she should be found by them in these apartments, answered: “Farewell till we meet again, Kohlhaas! When we meet again, you shall have knowledge of all this.” Turning towards the door, she cried, “Good-bye, children, good-bye!” and kissing the little folks one after the other, she departed.

In the meanwhile the Elector of Saxony, entirely given up to his melancholy thoughts, had summoned two astrologers named Oldenholm and Olearius, who then stood in high repute in Saxony, and had consulted them as to the contents of the mysterious paper, which was of such high import to himself and the whole race of his posterity. When these men, after a deep inquiry, which had continued for three days in the castle at Dresden, could not agree whether the prophecy referred to distant ages or to the present time, while perhaps the crown of Poland, the relations with which were so warlike, might be pointed at,—the uneasiness, not to say the despair of the unhappy prince, far from being lessened by the learned dispute, was rendered more acute, and that to a degree perfectly insupportable. About the same time, the chamberlain charged his wife, who was on the point of following him to Berlin, to point out to the elector before her departure, how doubtful, after the failure of the attempt he had made with the old woman, whom he had never seen since—how doubtful was the hope of obtaining the paper now in the possession of Kohlhaas, since the sentence of death had already been signed by the Elector of Brandenburg after a careful examination of the documents, and the execution was already appointed for the Monday after Palm-Sunday.

At this intelligence, the Elector of Saxony, whose heart was rent with grief and remorse, shut himself up in his room for two days, during which, being weary of his life, he tasted no food. On the third day, he suddenly disappeared from Dresden, giving a short notice to the Gubernium that he was going to the Prince of Dessau to hunt. Where he actually went, and whether he did turn to Dessau, we must leave undecided, since the chronicles from the comparison of which we obtain our information, are singularly contradictory upon this point. So much is certain, that the Prince of Dessau, unable to hunt, lay sick at this time, with his uncle, Duke Henry, in Brunswick, and that the Lady Heloise on the evening of the following day, accompanied by a Count Königstein, whom she called her cousin, entered the room of her husband, the chamberlain.

In the meantime, the sentence of death was read to Kohlhaas at the elector’s request, and the papers relating to his property, which had been refused him at Dresden, were restored to him. When the councillors, whom the tribunal had sent to him, asked him how his property should be disposed of after his death, he prepared a will in favour of his children, with the assistance of a notary, and appointed his good friend the farmer at Kohlhaasenbrück their guardian. Nothing could equal the peace and contentment of his last days, for by a special order of the elector, the prison in which he was kept was thrown open, and a free approach to him was granted to all his friends, of whom many resided in the city. He had the further satisfaction of seeing the divine, Jacob Freysing, as a delegate from Doctor Luther, enter his dungeon, with a letter in Luther’s own hand (which was doubtless very remarkable, but has since been lost), and of receiving the holy sacrament from the hands of this reverend gentleman, in the presence of two deans of Brandenburg.

At last the portentous Monday arrived, on which he was to atone to the world for his too hasty attempt to procure justice, and still the city was in general commotion, not being able to give up the hope that some decree would yet come to save him. Accompanied by a strong guard, and with his two boys in his arms—a favour he had expressly asked at the bar of the tribunal—he was stepping from the gate of his prison, led by Jacob Freysing, when, through the midst of a mournful throng of acquaintance who shook hands with him and bade him farewell, the castellan of the electoral castle pressed forward to him with a disturbed countenance, and gave him a note which he said he had received from an old woman. Kohlhaas, while he looked upon the man, who was little known to him, with astonishment, opened the note, the seal of which, impressed on a wafer, reminded him of the well-known gipsy. Who can describe his astonishment when he read as follows:

“KOHLHAAS,—The Elector of Saxony is in Berlin. He is gone before thee to the place of execution; and thou mayest know him, if, indeed, it concerns thee, by a hat with blue and white feathers. I need not tell thee the purpose for which he comes. As soon as thou art buried, he will dig up the case, and have the paper opened which it contains.


Kohlhaas, turning to the castellan in the greatest astonishment, asked him if he knew the wonderful woman who had given him the note.

The castellan began to answer: “Kohlhaas, the woman——” but he stopped short in the middle of his speech; and Kohlhaas, being carried along by the train, which proceeded at this moment, could not hear what the man, who seemed to tremble in every limb, was saying to him. When he came to the place of execution, he found the Elector of Brandenburg on horseback there, with his train, among whom was the Chancellor Heinrich von Geusau, in the midst of an immense concourse of people. To the right of the elector stood the imperial advocate, Franz Müller, with a copy of the sentence in his hand, while on his left, with the decree of the Dresden Court chamber, was his own advocate, the jurist Anton Zäuner. In the midst of the half-open circle formed by the people, was a herald with a bundle of things and the two horses, now sleek and in good condition, beating the ground with their hoofs. For the Chancellor Henry had carried every point of the suit, which, in the name of his master, he had commenced at Dresden against Squire Wenzel von Tronka; and consequently the horses, after they had been restored to honour by the ceremony of waving a flag over their heads, had been taken out of the hands of the flayer, and, having been fattened by the squire’s men, had been handed over to the advocate in the Dresden market, in the presence of a commission appointed for the purpose. Therefore, the elector, when Kohlhaas, attended by the guard, ascended the court to him, said: “Now, Kohlhaas, this is the day on which you have justice. Here I give you back all which you were forced to lose at the Tronkenburg, your horses, handkerchief, money, linen, and the expenses for medical attendance on your man, Herse, who fell at Mühlberg. Are you content with me?”

Kohlhaas, while with open, sparkling eyes, he read over the decree which was put into his hands, at a hint from the chancellor, put down the two children whom he carried, and when he found in it an article, by which Squire Wenzel was condemned to be imprisoned for two years, quite overcome by his feelings, he threw himself down before the elector, with his hands crossed on his breast. Joyfully assuring the chancellor, as he arose, and laid his hand on his bosom, that his highest wish on earth was fulfilled, he went up to the horses, examined them, and patted their fat necks, cheerfully telling the chancellor, as he returned to him, that he made a present of them to his two sons, Henry and Leopold.

The chancellor, Henry von Geusau, bending down to him from his horse with a friendly aspect, promised him in the name of the elector, that his last bequest should be held sacred, and requested him to dispose of the other things in the bundle according to his pleasure. Upon this Kohlhaas called out of the mob Herse’s old mother, whom he perceived in the square, and giving her the things, said, “Here, mother, this belongs to you,” adding, at the same time, the sum which was in the bundle, to pay damages, as a comfort for her old days.

The elector then cried, “Now, Kohlhaas, the horse-dealer, thou to whom satisfaction has been thus accorded, prepare to give satisfaction thyself for the breach of the public peace.”

Kohlhaas, taking off his hat, and throwing it down, said, that he was ready, and giving the children, after he had once more lifted them up and pressed them to his heart, to the farmer of Kohlhaasenbrück, he stepped up to the block, while the farmer, silently weeping, led the children from the place. He then took the handkerchief from his neck, and opened his doublet, when taking a cursory glance at the circle of people, he perceived at a short distance from himself, between two knights, who nearly concealed him, the well-known man with the blue and white plumes. Kohlhaas, bringing himself close to him by a sudden step, which astonished the surrounding guard, took the case from his breast. Taking the paper out, he opened it, read it, and fixing his eye on the man with the plume, who began to entertain hopes, put it into his mouth and swallowed it. At this sight, the man with the blue and white feathers fell down in convulsions. Kohlhaas, while the man’s astonished attendants stooped down and raised him from the ground, turned to the scaffold, where his head fell beneath the axe of the executioner. Thus ends the history of Kohlhaas.

The corpse was put into a coffin, amid the general lamentations of the people. While the bearers were raising it to bury it decently in the suburban church-yard, the elector called to him the sons of the deceased, and dubbed them knights, declaring to the chancellor, that they should be brought up in his school of pages. The Elector of Saxony, wounded in mind and body, soon returned to Dresden, and the rest concerning him must be sought in his history. As for Kohlhaas, some of his descendants, brave, joyous people, were living in Mecklenburg in the last century.

[1] On one point the translator of this tale solicits the indulgence of his critical readers. A great number of official names and legal terms occur, the technical meaning of which could not properly be defined by any one but a German jurist. As these names have no exact equivalents in English, the names into which they are here translated may appear arbitrary. The translator can only say that, where exactitude was impossible, he has done his best.

[2] “Squire” is used as an equivalent for “Junker.” “Castellan” is put for “Burgvoigt” and “Schlossvoigt.”

[3] “Gerichtsherr” means lord of the manor with right of judicature.

[4] “Amtmann” means here a farmer of crown-lands.

[5] That is a subject of another state, here Brandenburg.



[The following Gespenster-Geschichte, or Ghost Story, as Tieck himself has called it, is related to a circle of friends by a gentleman, Baron Blamberg, who was a friend of the unfortunate subject of the story. The ruins of the Klausenburg are, according to the words of the narrator, near the house where they are assembled. The story is often interrupted by the company, but their conversation has no connection with it, and has therefore been omitted.—C. A. F.]

It is about fifty years since that a rich family lived among the mountains a short distance off, in a castle, of which only the ruins are now to be seen, since it was partly destroyed by thunder and lightning, and the remainder was demolished in war. It is now only occasionally visited by huntsmen and travellers who have lost their way, and it is called the ruins of the Klausenburg. Proceeding up the solitary footpath through the pine wood, and then climbing the pathless crag, you stand facing its entrance, which is cut out of the living rock and secured by an ancient and strongly barred gate. On the outside is an iron rod with a handle apparently communicating with a bell on the inside. Having once wandered there while hunting, I pulled this handle, but received no answer to my summons from within. As this spot can only be approached with much difficulty, and it is almost impossible to climb the chasms and rocks on the other side, there are many legends and tales current among the vulgar about this singular Klausenburg the remains of which present an almost spectral appearance.

Among other stories, it is reported that more than a century ago, there resided within its walls a very wealthy, benevolent, and industrious man, who was much beloved by his friends and tenants. He had early in life retired from the state service to devote himself to the management of his estates, of which he possessed many, including mines, and glass and iron foundries which he was able to work to great advantage, having abundant fuel from his extensive forests. Although beloved by his tenants, he was yet hated and envied by many of his equals, the more reasonable of whom disliked him because he avoided them, and they readily perceived that he despised them for their want of industry; while the more foolish believed, and even openly declared, that Count Moritz was in league with Satan, and was therefore successful beyond expectation in all he undertook.

However absurd the report, it was calculated at this early period to injure the character of this persevering man; as it was not many years after the time when people were burnt at the stake for witchcraft and for being in league with the evil one. Hence it was that the count in disgust retired from the world to the solitary castle of Klausenburg, and was only happy when conversing on his affairs with intelligent miners, machine makers, and learned men. Knowing the distrust with which he was looked upon by the old priests who held the livings in his different parishes, he but rarely appeared at church, a circumstance which but little contributed to raise his reputation in the neighbourhood.

It happened once that a band of gipsies, who at that time roved about in Germany with little molestation, came to these parts. The nobles of the country as well as the government were undecided and dilatory in checking this nuisance, and the boundaries of several states meeting here, the tribe could carry on their depredations with impunity and even unnoticed. Where they did not receive any thing, they robbed; where they were resisted they came at night and burnt the barns; and in this manner the fire on one occasion rapidly spreading, two villages were burnt to the ground. Count Moritz was induced by this circumstance to unite with some resolute neighbours, and to pursue and punish, on his own authority, the lawless tribe. Imprisonment, scourging, flogging, and starvation, were awarded by him without reference to any authority, and only some who were convicted of arson were sent to the town for what was called the gipsy trial, and were then legally condemned to suffer capital punishment.

The count considering himself the benefactor of his country, could not help feeling mortified when his enviers and calumniators used this very circumstance to accuse him of the blackest crimes, and the most atrocious injustice. To this ingratitude he opposed nothing but calm indignation, and a contempt which was perhaps too magnanimous; for if a nobleman always preserves silence, calumny and falsehood will be more readily believed by the foolish and those who have no character to lose. If he could not prevail on himself to meet his opponents and to relate the circumstance in detail, he felt himself quite disarmed on discovering how much he was misunderstood in his family, and by the being who was nearest to his heart. He had married late in life, and his wife having a few days before presented him with a son, was still confined to her room. In her present weak state he could not dispute or urge with any force the justice of his proceedings, when she reproached him with the cruelty he had exercised towards these poor innocent men, who rather deserved his compassion than such hard persecution. When on leaving her chamber some old cousins told him the same thing in plainer terms, he could no longer suppress his rage, and his replies were so wrathful, his curses so vehement, the gestures of the irritated man so superhuman, that the old prattling women lost their composure and almost swooned. To prevent his sick wife from learning all this, he immediately sent them by main force to another of his estates and then rode to a solitary part of the mountains, partly to divert his thoughts and strengthen himself by the sublime aspect of nature, and partly to resume the pursuit of the gipsies. But what was his astonishment when he learned from his ranger that those noblemen who, in conjunction with him, had undertaken the war against these vagabonds had dispersed and retired to their seats without giving him notice!

Without being disconcerted at this, he again succeeded in apprehending some of them who were guilty of heavy crimes, and ordered them to be bound and thrown into a secure dungeon. When after having dismissed his attendants, he rode thoughtfully back alone towards the Klausenburg, the aged castellan on his arriving at the gate gave him a packet which had been sent by the government. This he opened with anticipating vexation, and was so surprised by its contents that his anger rose, and he became infuriated almost to madness. The purport of the letters it contained was no less than a penal accusation for murder and high treason in consequence of the count’s having, on his own authority, and as leader of an armed troop, seditiously opposed the government. Almost senseless, he dropped these preposterous letters, and then, recovering by a sudden effort, went to his apartment to read the impeachment more calmly, and to consider how he could defend himself. Passing the countess’s chamber and hearing strange voices within, he hastily opened the door, and beheld—what he certainly did not expect, two dirty old gipsies dressed in rags, sitting by the bedside of the invalid, and foretelling her fate, while they frightfully distorted their hideous countenances. As might be expected, the countess was horror-struck at beholding her husband enter, for what he now did was truly barbarous. In his fury he scarcely knew what he did, and seizing the old prophetesses by their long gray hair, he dragged them out of the room and threw them down the staircase. He then commanded the servants, who came crowding round, to secure them to a stone pillar in the yard, to bare their backs, and chastise them with whips, as long as the strength of the ministers of his cruelty would hold out. His orders were executed.

Having locked himself in his room, he was horrified, on becoming calmer, as he reflected on the barbarities he had committed. From these thoughts he was aroused by a loud knocking at the door. He opened it, and a servant in evident terror entered, saying, “Oh! gracious count, I was afraid you were ill, or perhaps dead, for I have been knocking for a long time, without receiving any answer from your lordship.” “What do you want?” “The eldest of these hideous witches,” replied the servant, “insists on speaking to you for a minute before she leaves the castle. She will not be refused, and the most severe threats and curses avail nothing with the old woman.” The count ordered the ill-used woman to be led to his room. The appearance of the poor creature was frightful, and the count himself started back with horror, when she presented herself covered with blood, her face and arms lacerated, and a deep wound in her head, which was still uncovered. “I thank you,” she said, “kind brother, for the Christian kindness that you have shown me in your palace. You are, indeed, a virtuous man, a persecutor of vice, an impartial judge, and a punisher of crimes; and I suppose you would call yourself an avenging angel in the service of your God. Do you know then, tender-hearted man, why we were sitting by the bedside of your wife? We had, indeed, told her fortune, but the real object of our visit was to speak to you, and you were not in your hospitable house. It was our wish to separate from the gang, and seek a humble and honest living. We know the haunt where the leader conceals himself, that notorious incendiary whom you have so long sought in vain, and intended to deliver him into your hands; but you are worse than the most atrocious of our gang, and as you have shown us to-day so much kindness, a curse for it shall light upon you, your family, and your offspring, to the third and fourth generation.”

The count, who had now repented of his hasty wrath, wished to appease the awful woman, by speaking kindly to her, and offering her, by way of reconciliation, his purse well filled with gold. She cast an evil, though covetous look at the gold, and, grinding her teeth, threw the purse at the count’s feet. “That mammon,” she cried, “would have made me and my poor sister happy, but after the meal you have given us, I would rather gnaw the bark of trees than receive the wealth from your accursed hands.” Various and many were the curses she continued heaping on him, and the torments and misfortunes she denounced against him and his house. When she had finished, she tottered down the stone staircase, all the servants fleeing from her as from a spectre.

From this moment the count was a changed man. His energies were crushed. He lived as in a dream, having no wish, and being incapable of forming a single resolution. Those around him could not learn whether he was deeply shocked by the death of his consort, who died the night after that fatal day. Since that time he was scarcely ever heard to speak or to utter a sound, sigh, or complaint. He no longer concerned himself about any thing, and seemed perfectly indifferent when the government confiscated his largest estate to punish him as a rebel and violator of the laws. In his present state of mind, he abandoned himself to the guidance of those very priests whom previously he had so pointedly avoided; he frequented the church often, and was fervent in his devotions. He never looked round when people behind him called out, “There sneaks the old sinner, the traitor, the murderer, and rebel, back again into God’s house.” Now, likewise, some relatives profited by his listlessness so far as to deprive him by a lawsuit of another large estate, and there was every appearance that of all the large possessions of his ancestors, nothing would be left, for his only heir, a beautiful boy, had not a prudent guardian of the child done all in his power for him. From the unconcern of his father, the young count became daily more impoverished, leaving to his offspring but a small portion of the large property to which he had succeeded; but, notwithstanding these misfortunes, and also the breaking out of war, the next proprietor of the Klausenburg, and his family, maintained their rank, and were respected in the neighbourhood. By his industry, his success, and his marriage with a wealthy lady, he partly retrieved his fortune, and succeeded in his endeavours to revive and maintain the former splendour of his castle for some fifty or sixty years, so that his friends and relatives resorted to it as formerly, with delight, and he, at his death, left to his only son his remaining estates in good condition, besides large sums of money. Thus the curse of the gipsies appeared totally removed, the count and his son having completely forgotten former events, or, having, perhaps, never heard of the curse.

I was a spirited boy when I made the acquaintance of Francis, the last heir of the Klausenburg. This Francis, who was about a year my senior, was cheerful, amiable, and handsome, and the pride of his father, the persevering man who had partly restored the splendour of his ancestors. My playmate grew up to be, not merely the delight of his father, but of all around. He was manly, witty, and engaging, an accomplished dancer, and expert horseman, and in fencing, had not his equal. After being presented at court, he soon gained the prince’s favour, by his natural vivacity, and in a few years was raised to the office of counsellor. Few men on earth had fairer prospects of a happy life. All mothers and aunts in the neighbourhood saw, and hoped to find in him, the future husband of their daughters and nieces, and at the assemblies in the capital he was the adored and chosen hero of the ladies, as he was the object of envy and persecution among the young fashionables. No one could conceive why he so long deferred his choice, and, for a long time, people would not credit the rumours that were circulated, that he had formed an engagement with the young princess. It was confidently whispered that the lovers waited only for some favourable chance, or occurrence, to acknowledge publicly their mutual affection and wishes. However, nothing of the kind happened, and years passed, and with them faded the rumours, and various interpretations of sage politicians.

Suddenly, when the affair seemed forgotten, my youthful friend was banished the court and capital in disgrace. All his former friends forsook him, and what was still worse, an intrigue countenanced by the government, involved him in a dangerous lawsuit, which threatened the loss of his fortune. Thus then this courted, admired, and universally caressed Francis, saw himself in the very worst position, and was obliged to confess that his career was closed, and that all his splendid prospects were darkened for ever.

About this time I saw him again; he bore his misfortune manfully. He was still as youthful and handsome as ever, and the serenity of his temper had suffered but little. We were travelling in this neighbourhood, and the Klausenburg having gone to ruin, he built a pleasant house not far distant, on the slope of a hill, from whence he enjoyed a beautiful prospect.

He avoided speaking of former circumstances, but one evening, he was deeply affected by a letter announcing the decease of the young princess, who had died of a broken heart, or, as was afterwards said, had voluntarily sought death, because she could no longer bear the burden of her embittered life.

It was evident to me that a deep-seated melancholy had taken possession of my friend, and often showed itself; his mind, however, was not so affected as to display any symptoms of weariness of life, which made me hope that his misfortune and the evil fate that had attended him, would serve to purify his character, and give him that genuine deportment which is essential even to those who are not tried by calamity, and much more to those who have to pass through heavy trials.

There lived in the neighbourhood about that time a wild old woman who was half crazy, and who went begging from village to village.

The higher class called her jokingly, the Sibyl, the common people did not hesitate to call her a witch. The place of her residence was not exactly known; probably she had no certain place of resort, as she was constantly seen on the high-roads, and roaming in every direction in the country. Some old rangers maintained that she was a descendant of that notorious gang of gipsies whom Count Moritz many years before had persecuted and dispersed.

Walking one day in a beautiful beech-wood, and engaged in conversation which made us forget the world without, we suddenly saw, at a turn of the footpath, the old hideous Sibyl before us. Being both in a cheerful mood, we were rather astonished, but in no way startled. Having dismissed the impudent beggar by giving her some money, she hastily returned, saying: “Will not you have your fortunes told for what you have given to me?”

“If it is something good that you can tell me, you may earn a few more pence.”

I held out to her my hand at which she looked at very carefully, and then said, scornfully: “My good sir, you have a miserable hand which would puzzle even the best fortune-teller. Such a middling person, neither one thing nor the other, as you, I have never seen in all my life; you are neither wise nor stupid, neither bad nor good, neither fortunate nor unfortunate; without passions, mind, virtue, or vice; you are what I call a real A.B.C. scholar of Heaven’s blockheads, and you will not in all your life have the slight merit of ever perceiving your own insignificance. From your paltry hand and unmeaning countenance nothing at all can be prophesied; a dry fungus, without it is first prepared and macerated, cannot even receive a spark. Therefore, Jack Mean-nothing, your dull nature will never live to see any thing worth telling.”

My friend Francis did not laugh at the old woman’s opinion and description of my character, but being attached to me, his anger arose, and he reproved her in strong terms. She listened very calmly to what he said, and then replied: “Why are you so angry? If you will not give me something more for my trouble and wisdom, let me go quietly. No doubt men do not like to have their inner-most heart exposed to the daylight. Is it my fault that there is nothing better in your friend’s character? He is neither my son nor disciple.” Thus the prophetess meant to justify and atone for her insolence by repeating it anew. My friend was pacified, and gave her a ducat, saying: “Make merry with that,—where do you live?”

“Where do I live?” she replied; “my roof changes so often that I cannot tell or describe it to you; not unfrequently it is open, and my companion is the howling storm; where men have not built houses they usually call it nature. But I thank you, and must requite your kindness.” Quickly and forcibly taking the unwilling hand of my friend, she held it firmly between her bony fingers and considered it for some time; then letting the arm drop, with a sigh, she said in a tone of voice expressive of deep sorrow, “Son, son; you descend from wicked blood, are an evil scion of evil ancestors; but fortunately you are the last of your race, for your children would be more evil still. What begins in evil must end in evil. Ah! ah! your physiognomy; your expression; your whole countenance; I feel almost as if I saw a murderer before me. Yes! yes!—you have killed a young, beautiful, and noble maiden. On her dying bed she long struggled with grief and anguish. O ye wicked men, can you not be faithful and keep your oaths. It is not only daggers, swords, and guns, that cut and kill; looks and sweet words will also do it. Oh, those seductive words, and all that pretended affection! Now this splendid frame that first dazzled your foolish eye, breaks, and is consigned to corruption. Beauty! oh thou fatal gift of Heaven! and besides, murderer, you are handsome enough to kill others. The curses of your father follow you now whether you dwell in the forest or in your finely tapestried rooms. See you not, feel you not, how, coming from the very heart, they waft misfortune and misery towards you as the stormy wind scatters the dry leaves in the valleys between the mountains? Where is your peace, your happiness, your confidence? All scattered like the drifting sand in the barren plain; no fruit can there strike root.”

Suddenly the crazy woman shouted aloud and ran shrieking and yelling discordantly into the thickest part of the wood. When I looked round I was terrified on seeing my friend become pale as death. He shook so violently that he could not support himself, but sank on a hillock beside him. I sat down by him and endeavoured to comfort and quiet him.

“Is this madwoman,” he exclaimed; “inspired by truth? does she really see the past and the future, or are those only mad sounds which she utters in brutish thoughtlessness, and if it be so, have not such random words been perhaps the genuine oracles in all ages?”

He now gave way to tears and loud lamentations; he called loudly in the air, what hitherto he had so carefully and mysteriously locked up in his heart.

“Yes!” he exclaimed; “accursed be every talent, speech, grace, and all the gifts with which a malicious fate endowed us to ruin ourselves and others! Could I not have avoided her first kind look? Why did I suffer myself to be infatuated, to exchange glance for glance, and then word for word? Yes! she was lovely, noble, and graceful; but in my heart there arose together with better feelings, the vanity that even she, the most exalted, distinguished me. I approached her nearer, more boldly, more decidedly, and my pure exalted sentiments surprised and won her. She gave me her confidence. Her heart was so virtuous, so noble; all her youthful feelings were so tender and fervent; it was a paradise that opened to our view. Childishly enough, we thought that no higher happiness on earth could be offered us, the present heavenly moment sufficed. But now passion awoke in my heart. This she expected not, she was terrified and withdrew. This goaded my self-love, I felt unhappy, crushed, and ill. Her compassion was moved, and she no longer avoided me. By means of an attendant in our confidence, we were able to meet without witnesses. Our intercourse became more tender, our love more defined and ardent; but as these feelings were embodied in language, and expressed more definitely, the paradisiacal breath, the heavenly bloom was fled for ever. It was happiness, but changed in character; it was more earthly, more kindly, more confiding, but was not surrounded by that magic which had transported me formerly, so that I could frequently ask myself when alone, ‘are you really happy?’ Alas! my friend, as we saw each other so often, how many foolish and mad projects were then conceived!

“We talked, we conversed of the future of which those who ardently love never think in the early period of their ecstacies. Once an opportunity of an alliance likely to add to the lustre of her house presented itself. What fury and bitter rancour were aroused in me! For only appearing favourably disposed towards this illustrious alliance, she suffered much from my anger. My passion was ignoble, as she deeply felt, more from her love to me, than from the sufferings it caused her. Oh! she was never able to erase from her soul this picture of my madness. To alleviate my sufferings and completely to reconcile me, she stooped to my mean and rude nature. Our hearts harmonised again, but from the lowering clouds that now surrounded me, I looked back with yearnings to that heavenly serenity that first shone dazzlingly upon me so. In imagination we lived as though affianced, and dreamt of our union, of unexpected bliss, of varied pleasures and turns of fate never to be realised. But these were misty visions, and we considered the greatest improbabilities as near and natural. The habitual thoughts of our love gradually destroyed necessary precaution. The looks of spies were watchful, and were sharpened by our imprudence. Rumours were circulated, which perhaps never would have reached the prince himself, had not his own glance suspected and discovered our connection. He now learnt more from his questions than he desired to know, and far more than was in accordance with truth. One evening he sent for me to attend him alone in his closet, and displayed to me in this serious interview all the nobleness of his great mind. Without reproaching me, he ascribed to himself alone the immediate cause of my presumption, saying that he had treated me with too much confidence, nay, almost like a son; that he had deviated too much from his rank and the laws of etiquette; that he had foolishly rejoiced in the thought of his daughter being able by intercourse with me to improve her mind. As he became more serious, I assured the agitated father by my honour, and by all that is sacred,—which indeed was in accordance with the truth,—that our mutual passion had never led us astray, and that our better genius had never forsaken us. At this he became tranquil, and only replied by prohibiting as I had anticipated. I was not allowed to meet his daughter again privately. I was to endeavour by degrees to heal the wounds which our separation caused, to eradicate the affection, which I had so rashly kindled, by my good sense and demeanour, and thereby to make myself worthy to regain the confidence and love of the prince.

“Suddenly I felt as if the veil had fallen from my eyes,” continued Francis, “indeed, I may say, that by this interview, I was quite a changed being. Truth and reality had now, at length, with victorious power, asserted their ascendancy over me. Many periods of life may be compared to a vivid fantastic dream; we awake to sober consciousness, but still feel the reality of the vision.

“But, ah! my friend, this truth created a hell within me. My mind yielded to the noble father in every thing. He was right in the fullest sense of the word. If I admired Juliet, and recognised her worth, if she was my friend, and I sufficiently important to elevate her mind, what had that to do with our passion and my efforts to possess her? With this conviction I was now penetrated, and the feeling exerted a benign influence over me. But how different were her feelings! When such changes occur, women usually suffer from the consuming fire of passion. What letters did I receive from her, when I had communicated to her my resolution and the advice that we must submit to necessity! I almost repeated the words which I had heard from her beautiful lips when I urged my ardent attachment. She now listened in a spirit different from that which harassed her formerly; deaf to all advice, unsusceptible to every kindness, inaccessible to conviction, she only listened to the wild suggestions of her ardent affection. My reason seemed to her cowardice, my resignation baseness. She alone was exclusively to be considered in the question that agitated my heart. In short, she now played the same part that I had done formerly. Looking back upon my former conduct with repentance and shame, I hoped I should be able, by calm perseverance, to bring her gradually to the same conviction. But she frustrated my hopes. It was singular that I was made unhappy by possessing, in the fullest measure, what I had formerly considered my supreme felicity; and that my most fervent desire extended no further than to be able to restore her to tranquillity, nay, even to produce coldness and indifference.

“So whimsical are the gods frequently towards us in the bestowal of their gifts.

“My letters grieved her deeper and deeper, as she showed by her replies. Thence it was that I could not but wish myself once more able to obtain a tête-à-tête with her in some evening hour, such as I had formerly enjoyed over and over again. By bribery, entreaty, and humiliation, I succeeded.

“But, oh, Heavens! how different was this Juliet from her who once had so enraptured and inspired me. With her grief, her mortified feelings and her offended pride she resembled a raving Bacchante. On approaching her, I said to myself: ‘To this state then has my love, vanity, and eloquence, reduced her! Oh! ye men, who, by your power, are able to elevate these tender beings to angels, or change them to wild furies!’ But these reflections came too late. If her letters were violent, her words were raging. Nothing in the whole world she desired, except my love. She cared for nothing; every thing seemed right and desirable,—flight into the open world, sacrifice of station, mortification of her father and family. I was terrified at this distraction, that seemed to fear and dread nothing. The more persuasive my manner, and the more desirous I was to convince her of the unavoidable necessity of submitting, the more furious in words and gestures she became. She would fly with me immediately. I felt it required nothing more than to express the wish, and she would have surrendered herself, in this distraction, totally and unconditionally. I was wretched from my inmost heart, indeed, all my energies were annihilated.

“I learned that the prince had only spoken to her in hints; the truth was known to her only from our correspondence. She blamed me, her father, and fate, and only became calm after a flood of tears. I was obliged to promise to see her again in a few days in order to discuss the means of her flight. Thus my feelings were so changed that I feared this once adored Juliet, and, indeed, could not help despising her. And yet she was the same, and only the unhappy passion that I had infused from my heart into hers had rendered her thus infatuated, I trembled again to see her. I was at a loss what to say, what pretext for delay, or what excuses to invent. Thus some weeks passed, during which we only exchanged letters. To conclude, I saw her again. She seemed ill, but still in that excitement which would not listen to reason. She had provided a carriage, packed up her jewels, made the necessary preparations on the frontier, procured passports, and powerful protections in distant countries; in short she had done all that madness of an unbounded love could undertake. I treated her as an invalid who does not know her own state, humoured all her extravagances, and praised her most whimsical plans. Thus she thought we agreed, and in a week we were to fly during a masquerade while all were busied, and no one could be recognised. To satisfy her for the moment I agreed to every thing, but proposed in my own heart to quit the court and the town. While we were thus discussing our highly reasonable projects I suddenly perceived behind us the prince, who had been for sometime listening to our conversation. The scene which then took place I will not attempt to describe. The father’s anger overstepped all bounds on finding me untrue to my promise, since he was convinced that I quite agreed to all the wild plans of his daughter. She cast herself at his feet totally unlike the beautiful being she was formerly, she resembled an automaton moved by powerful springs, a figure only manifesting life in convulsive gestures. It is astonishing that we ever outlive some moments. I was banished, obliged to fly into solitude, and for a long time heard nothing of the city or what occurred there, as I avoided all intercourse with men. When I in some measure recovered my tranquillity of mind, and was able to bear the sight of friends, I heard that she was suffering from an incurable disease, and that her life was despaired of by the physician. How whimsically does fate sport with man and all human intentions! I was informed that her father in the extremity of grief, would willingly have given me his beloved child had he been able thereby to save her; that he would have despised the opinion of the world, and the objections of his family, could he by these means have saved his Juliet, by whose illness he had first learnt how much he loved her, and how much his life was bound up in hers. All was in vain,—she died in agonies, calling for me, and the disconsolate father heaped execrations upon me that will overtake me, ay,—as surely as her own.”

These are, as nearly as possible, the affecting confessions of my unhappy friend. He added, in conclusion, that the whole of his property would be lost, unless he discovered a certain document for which he had long been searching, but which he could find nowhere.

There are sufferings during which it is foolish to make even the attempt at offering consolation. Such sufferings must be lived through, they are peculiar to human nature, and he who is not overwhelmed by them but survives them, will afterwards see that to pass such a severe reprobation was essential to his happiness.

“I am convinced,” said my friend a few days afterwards when I took leave of him, “that these execrations and the prophesies of the old fury will visit me. My life will be consumed in illness, misery, delirium, and poverty. The spirit of the departed will tread in my footsteps and sow poison, where, perhaps, some joy might otherwise have sprung.”

I began to comfort him, calling to my aid, hope and consolation from every source, because such apprehensions are generally imaginary, and may be combated. Hope is at least more infinite than the all-engrossing sensation of such visionary fear. We separated, and for a long time I heard nothing of my friend Francis. I lived in foreign countries and returned some years after the period in question.

We had not kept up any correspondence. I was therefore surprised and delighted by his first letter which I received in my own comfortable home. There was no allusion to his former sufferings; all was forgotten. Time and fortune had transformed my friend into a truly new being. He wrote to me of his approaching marriage. The most beautiful girl of the country, young, cheerful, and innocent, had bestowed her affections upon him; and on the very day on which their vows were exchanged, he had, after years of fruitless search, discovered the important document which would complete their nuptial happiness. The melancholy time, he informed me, had vanished from his mind, his youth seemed renewed, and now only he began to live. In a week his marriage was to be celebrated, and he urged me to come and be a witness of his happiness.

It would have delighted me to have complied with his invitation, had not my uncle, who lived forty miles distant, and was then lying on his death-bed, called me from home. The prince, who bitterly hated and persecuted my friend, had died in the meanwhile, so that, in all human probability, there was the prospect that every thing ominous, menacing, and fatal, would fade away and be forgotten, and that spirits of fortune and delight would henceforth draw my friend’s car of life.

My stay with my uncle, who was dying, was protracted. His sufferings lasted longer than his physicians had expected, and I was glad that my presence was so consoling and beneficial to him. After his death, I had various business to transact, to execute his will, to make arrangements with the remaining relatives, part of his fortune being left to me, and to settle all to our mutual satisfaction. As journeys were required for these matters, nearly eighteen months elapsed before they were completed. The journeys had carried me far from our neighbourhood, and I must confess that these circumstances, and the pressure of business, had almost caused me to forget my friend Francis. He had not written to me, nor had I heard any thing of him, and I was, therefore, convinced that it was well with him; that he was married and happy in his new condition. Being soon after near Switzerland, I made a tour to that country, and then visited a watering place on the Rhine, to which my medical adviser had long before recommended inc.

Here I abandoned myself to amusements, enjoyed the beauties of nature during my rambles, and felt happier than I had been for some time. Being one day at the table d’hôte, I accidentally looked over the list of visiters, and found that my friend Francis, with his wife, had been a week in the town. I wondered he had not found me out, as my name must have struck him in the list. However, I accounted for his not doing so, by saying to myself that he had not looked over the leaves attentively, that he had not heard my name mentioned, or that possibly he might be seriously ill and would see no company. Satisfied so far, I called upon him, and was told he was not at home. I hoped to meet him in my walks, but perceived him nowhere. Calling the following day, I received the same answer, that he had gone out. I left my card, requesting he would pay me a visit or tell me when he would receive me. I heard nothing from him. The next morning early, I called again, and the servant again replied, with a troubled countenance, that his master was already from home.

Now I plainly saw, that Francis did not choose to see me, and had denied himself. I endeavoured to call to my memory, whether I had at any time given him offence; but, after the strictest scrutiny, could not find the least spot on my conscience respecting him. I therefore, wrote him rather a severe letter, requiring him to see me, and that not merely from friendship to me, but from the respect he owed himself.

When I called again, I was admitted, and having waited for some time in the room, I saw a stranger approaching from the adjoining chamber, not like a human being, but a tottering, trembling skeleton, with a pale, sunken countenance, which, but for the fiery eye, one might have taken for the face of a corpse. “Great God!” I exclaimed with horror, as I recognised in this spectre my friend Francis, that once handsome, noble fellow.

I sank terrified into a chair, and he sat down by me, took my hand between his withered fingers, and said, “Yes! my friend, thus we again meet, and you now understand why I wished to spare you this sad sight. Yes! friend, all those curses have been realised, and calamity has overtaken me, however actively I endeavoured to escape it; my life is exhausted by disease, as well as that of my youthful wife, once a paragon of beauty; I am a beggar, and all hope is gone for ever.”

Still I could not recover from my astonishment; the first chilling terror was succeeded by the deepest compassion and ineffable sympathy in my soul, and my unfortunate friend saw my tears flow.

“But how has all this been possible?” I exclaimed, “Speak; confide all to your friend.”

“Spare me,” he said, in a faint voice, “let us throw a veil over these calamities, for what good can it do you to know the why and wherefore? You would not comprehend nor believe it, and still less could your advice or consolation avail any thing.”

I could make no reply, his distress seemed so great, that he was, perhaps, right in what he said. Words, details, and complaints, are often only stings to the deadly wound. I requested him to introduce me to his wife. He led her in. She seemed to suffer equally with himself, but still showed evident traces of beauty. She was of a tall, noble figure, her blue eye was of a piercing clearness, and her sweet-toned voice was full of soul. After some conversation, the physician entered, and I took my leave, making it a condition, that in future he would not refuse to see me.

I required rest to collect myself, and, therefore, sought the most solitary spot to arrange my thoughts and feelings. How strange, in these moments, appeared human life, friendship, death, and health! In these, my dreams, I was interrupted by a friendly voice addressing me. It was the physician, an elderly, good-natured man, who sat down beside me. “I have learned,” he began, “that you are a youthful friend of our poor patient, and have sought you to consult with you, respecting his lamentable and enigmatical state. I have never met with a similar illness, I do not understand it, and, therefore, am but groping in the dark with my remedies; nor do I know whether the waters here are salutary to him or his sick wife, who seems wasting away from the same complaint. I have no name for this wasting fever, which defies all known remedies. Sometimes I could almost imagine them insane, did not reason absolutely manifest itself. But even should their minds be unimpaired, they are, doubtless, hypochondriacs. And the worst is, the count will not communicate freely, but, on the contrary, anxiously avoids all questions respecting his condition, and all inquiries as to its cause and commencement. I do not wish to irritate him, though my inquiries and questions have more than once had that effect, and yet it seems necessary to learn from himself the history of his complaint. I therefore request you, dear sir, to exert your influence with him, as his friend, that he may confess to us the origin of his illness. If I once knew this, it might, perhaps, be possible to afford relief to both of them. If the disease is mental, of which I feel almost convinced, the physician must be in their confidence to afford relief; but if this is withheld, he may cause even death, not only by his prescriptions, but by an unguarded word. I therefore conjure you to do all in your power to make him confide every thing to you.” I promised all he desired, for I had long entertained the same opinion. But when, on the following day, I remonstrated with my friend, I found the task more difficult than I expected, as he was inaccessible on that point. He did not yield until I united tears to my entreaties, and his suffering wife joined with me, as the hope arose within her that the physician might be able to afford relief to her husband. He stipulated that whatever he should communicate should be communicated in private to me alone, undisturbed, and without even the presence of his wife, who would be much pained at the relation.

Thus was it arranged. My little room looking on the garden was so quiet and retired, that no intrusion was to be feared, and after a frugal supper I dismissed the servant, enjoining him not to admit any one. The invalid countess was left with her attendants, and a lady of my acquaintance kindly read some amusing work to her during her husband’s absence.

We sat then in my well lighted little room, while the summer breezes murmured sweetly through the trees without. My sick friend was on the sofa, and the physician and myself were opposite, when Francis began slowly and with many pauses, (as speaking seemed painful to him) the following narrative:

“Yes, my friend, you see me again, ill and dying, and my wife, who but two years since was a paragon of health and beauty, is no less afflicted. The Klausenburg which more than once sheltered us so hospitably is become a desolate ruin; storms and fire have destroyed it, and whatever useful material remained was wrested from it by my cruel creditors in derision, and sold for a mere trifle. You know, my friend, the belief or rather superstition that followed me, but with this I will not weary our good physician, as it had no sensible influence on my immediate fate. I have moreover, so much of the marvellous to tell in the recent events that have befallen me, that it will be more than sufficient fully to convince the learned doctor that I am insane.

“Young as I was I had already resigned life, since I considered it completely at a close. But as it frequently happens that the power of a beautiful spring will revive a tree apparently lifeless, so that its branches again become verdant, and at last one blossom springs from them, so it happened with me. Travelling about in a misanthropical mood I stopped in a small town situate in a delightful country, and through my introductions made acquaintance with some interesting people. One of these, a distant relative, who received me most kindly, introduced me to his family, where, for the first time I saw my beloved Elizabeth, and at the second visit I had lost my heart and peace of mind. But wherefore dwell on charms that are fled? Suffice it to say that I was enraptured, and flattered myself that my feelings were understood, and might perhaps in a short time be returned. Elizabeth was residing with an aged aunt; they were neither of them wealthy though they belonged to an ancient family. I was superior to the talk and astonishment of the townspeople, and I stayed a long while in this insignificant place, where there was neither a theatre to amuse, nor large assemblies, balls, and festivals to engage me. I was so happy that I only lived for, and enjoyed, the present moment. The family was very musical, and Elizabeth a truly accomplished performer on the piano forte. Her voice was highly cultivated, full-toned, and beautiful, and she agreeably surprised me by joining in my perhaps one-sided taste for ancient composition. Harmony, skill, and kind looks from her beautiful eyes,—all this so charmed me that weeks vanished like days, and days like hours in the poetical intoxication.

“I spoke of the family. The aunt too was musical, and accompanied us when we sang. I also found myself benefited by becoming again conscious of the talents which I had so long neglected to exercise. Yes, indeed, talents, amiability, social gifts, and pleasing manners, &c.”—continued Francis after a pause, during which he seemed lost in thought—“the vanity of possessing these graces have rendered me and others unhappy. Speaking of the family, I must now mention Ernestine, an elder sister of my wife’s. Their parents had died early in life. They had lived at a distance from that small town, in what is called good style. This they did without considering their fortune, and the consequence was that they became impoverished and involved in debt. Where this confusion breaks in, where the necessity of the moment ever absorbs the security of the days and weeks, few men possess sufficient energy and resolution firmly to hold the rudder amid the tumult of a returning storm. And thus the wildest and most confused management had broken into this ruined household. The parents not only diverted themselves in banqueting, dress, and theatres, but, as it were, even with new and singular misfortunes. The latter were more particularly caused by their eldest daughter, Ernestine. This poor being had, when only three years old, during the confusion and bustle of a banquet, unnoticed by any one, taken up a bottle of strong liquid, and drinking it, became intoxicated by it, and thus had unconsciously fallen down a high staircase.

“The accident had scarcely been observed, and was lightly thought of when discovered. The physician, a jovial friend of the family, instead of applying the proper remedies, joked on the occurrence, and hence it was that those consequences soon appeared in the child, which she could, in after years, justly attribute to want of affection in her parents. The chest-bone and spine were dislocated, so that as she grew up, she became more and more deformed. Being rather tall, the double hump was more striking, her arms and hands were excessively long and thin, and her lean body quite out of proportion to her long legs. Her face had a singular expression, the little lively and cunning eyes could hardly peep forth from beneath the bony vault of her forehead and the broad, flattened nose, the chin was peaked, and the cheeks were sunken. Thus this unfortunate being was a remarkable foil to her sister Elizabeth. Their aunt, when she heard the total ruin of the family, had interfered and assisted them as far as her limited means permitted. Thus the younger daughter was saved and continued healthy, since the father’s sister had taken the children upon the death of their parents, for the purpose of educating them. The physical care of Ernestine came too late, but her mind was cultivated, and her talents were awakened. She showed herself intelligent, learned with ease, and retained what she had once acquired, evidently surpassing her sister in wit and presence of mind. Being fond of reading philosophical works, she exercised her judgment and showed so much acuteness, that she often startled even men by her bold and abrupt opinions; not being united to her own sex by beauty and grace, she not unfrequently exercised a more than masculine power. But what almost seemed to border on the marvellous was her great talent for music. Never had I heard the piano forte played in such a perfect manner; every difficulty vanished before her, and she only laughed when difficult passages were mentioned to her. No doubt the extraordinary span of her hand and fingers assisted her in excelling all that can be done by an ordinary hand. Being also well versed in the art of composition, she composed with ease long pieces of music which we often executed to her delight.

“Could not such a being be happy independent of others? Certainly, if she had resigned herself to her lot, if she could have forgotten she was a woman. Unfortunately for her, all men forgot it who approached her, but she could never raise herself beyond the limit so as to belong to the other sex, or to none.

“This singular being attracted me in a peculiar manner, both by her excellencies and her repulsiveness. When they performed and I sang her compositions, there beamed in moments of excitement from her small eyes, a wonderful, poetic spirit, liked a veiled angel humbled in the dust, with benign yet terrifying splendour. This frequently made me forget that she was the sister of my Elizabeth.

“Elizabeth had before refused some suitors who had earnestly courted her. Entering once the anti-chamber unannounced, I heard both sisters engaged in a lively conversation, in which my name was mentioned. ‘You will not accept him, I hope,’ cried Ernestine; ‘he suits neither you nor us; they say he is not very rich, but he is so proud, so self-sufficient, so convinced of, and so penetrated with, his own excellence, that he excites my indignation whenever he comes near us. You call him amiable, noble; but I tell you he is dogmatical and obstinate; and, believe me, his mental gifts are not so great as you seem to think.’

“With a gentle voice Elizabeth undertook my defence, but her sister discussed all the bad traits in my character so much the more, and passed all my faults in review. Finding that I was the subject of so much discussion, I would not surprise them by entering immediately, and thus I discovered, against my expectation, the dislike the eldest sister entertained for me. I therefore resolved to reconcile this unfortunate being, for whom life had so few charms and joys, by kindness and benevolence. When they had ceased I entered, and the aunt also joining us we immediately commenced our musical exercises, by which means I could best conceal my embarrassment.

“After a few visits I actually succeeded in disposing Ernestine more kindly towards me. When it happened that we were alone, we were deeply engaged in serious conversation, and I could not help admiring both her mind and acquirements. I could not but agree with her, when she often spoke with contempt of those men who only esteem and love in woman the transient and mutable charms that pass away with their youth. She was also fond of railing at those girls who so frequently pass themselves off as phenomena, and only, as it were, wish to please as dolls of fashion and well-dressed blocks. She revealed without affectation the wealth of her mind, her deep feeling, and her lofty thoughts, so that, in admiration of her mighty soul, I hardly remembered her deformed person. She pressed my hand kindly, and seemed perfectly happy when we had thus chatted an hour away. I was not less rejoiced when I perceived how her friendship for me apparently increased every day.

“It struck me as a weakness in my beloved, that she was displeased at our intimacy. I did not understand this petty jealousy, and censured it when alone with her, as showing too much female weakness. On the other hand, I was pleased when Ernestine gave me evident proofs of her friendship, when my appearance delighted her, when she was ready to show me a book or piece of music, or told me how she had prepared herself for a conversation with me on some important subject. This genuine friendship seemed to me so desirable, that I anticipated great delight at the thought that she would, in our married state, complete the measure of our love by mutual confidence. Their aunt approved of my engagement with Elizabeth, and our vows were exchanged. On this occasion Ernestine was not present, being confined by illness to her chamber. I did not see her on the day following, and when I wished to call on her, my betrothed said, ‘Do not disturb her, dear friend, she is not quite herself, and it is better to let her passion subside.’ ‘What has happened?’ I asked, astonished. ‘It is strange,’ replied Elizabeth, ‘that you have not, long ere this, remarked how ardently she loves you?’ I was struck dumb with terror and astonishment at this information, which startled me the more, since, strange to say, I had considered this intellectual being totally incapable of love; as though passion did not always run counter to possibility, truth, nature, and reason, if these opposed themselves, as, indeed, I had myself experienced in my own life in a similar manner. ‘Yes,’ continued Elizabeth, ‘almost at the very time you entered our house, I remarked her partiality to you, but her predilection manifested itself more decidedly, when you began to show a preference for me, when you became more friendly, and thus gained my confidence. For a long time, she concealed her affection under a pretended dislike, which, however, did not deceive me. Oh! beloved, the mind and feelings, the enthusiasm and passions of this singular being possess such extraordinary power and intensity, that I have been compelled ever since I comprehended her character, to admire her as much as to fear her, and to stand in awe at her gigantic intellect. When, some years ago, I took lessons in music, and made rapid progress, according to the testimony of my instructor, she only ridiculed my childlike satisfaction as she called it. She had never before thought of learning music, and now devoted herself with all her energy to this accomplishment. She practised day and night, and her master no longer satisfying her, she availed herself of the presence of a celebrated composer, and became his pupil. I could not comprehend the mental as well as physical energy, with which she devoted herself unceasingly, almost without sleep and refreshments, and with unwearied zeal to the practice of this art. It was then she learned composition and gained her master’s praise and admiration. It was not long, however, before she found fault with him, fancying his execution not sufficiently fiery and enthusiastic, his compositions not sufficiently original and impassioned. He submitted, and agreed with her. All men, she used to say, lie constantly in a half-sleeping state, being almost always, as it were, in a stupor, similar to the plant which grows, blooms, and is beautiful, diffusing odour, and possessing powers, without consciousness. What would men accomplish were they truly awake in their wakeful state? And so she devoted herself to philosophy, reading works on medicine, anatomy, and other subjects, which are usually too abstruse and distasteful to her sex. We, as well as her acquaintance, could not help being astonished at her. And thus, dear Francis, she will certainly become insane in this passion of love, and destroy her own peace of mind.

“Elizabeth now also described to me all the extravagances she committed when she heard of our engagement; at first, she intended to destroy both herself and sister; then again she said she knew how to conquer me, so that I should love her and abandon Elizabeth, whom she excelled both in goodness and intellect.

“I was naturally grieved at this news, feeling full well how imprudently I had acted in making such friendly advances to Ernestine, in my endeavours to reconcile her. I was somewhat relieved, when, a few days afterwards, Elizabeth told me that her sister had apologised with tears for what she had spoken in anger, that she had conjured her not to communicate to me any thing of these aberrations, and only implored her to be allowed to accompany us to our future residence, as she could not possibly live without the company of her sister and myself, without our conversation and our music.

“Now plans and preparations were made, and the aunt accompanied us to the Klausenburg, to celebrate, with a few friends, our nuptials in quiet, as Elizabeth had always been excessively averse from pomp and display. I had had a few apartments and the ball-room prepared, as far as it was possible, the greater part of the castle being in ruins. But Elizabeth had a poetical predilection for old castles, solitary mountainous countries, and the historical legends connected with them. After the wedding, we intended to take up our residence in a new house not far distant, and only occasionally to spend a few days or hours in the Klausenburg.

“We arrived; the gate was opened to us, and the first object that met our view in the court-yard, from amidst the ivy that twined the high walls, was the old mad Sibyl, whom you, my friend, knew some years ago. My wife was terrified, and I shuddered. ‘Welcome! Welcome!’ cried the old hag, jumping about with wild gestures; ‘there comes the destroyer, the woman murderer, and brings his two brides with him, whom he will murder also.’ ‘How do you come here?’ I exclaimed. The porter replied, ‘She must have climbed down the other side of the cliffs, which form the extreme wall of the small garden, and must have concealed herself among the shrubs and ruins.’ ‘You are right, you are right,’ screamed the old hag, ‘it is pleasant to live there.’ Terrified as we were, Ernestine seemed merry, for she did not cease laughing.

“During the days on which we celebrated the festival, Ernestine did not appear; she had vanished; and being anxious about her, we despatched people in search of her, when, on the third day, she returned on foot, merry and in high spirits. She told us she had not been able to withstand the inclination to roam about in the mountains, as she always had had a desire to do so. ‘But thus alone, without informing us?’ said Elizabeth. ‘Alone!’ she replied, ‘No! I have kept constant company with that old prophetess whom you so unkindly sent away. There I have learnt many things quite new, that I never even read of, and we have become very good friends.’

“We looked at her with astonishment. I formed an idea without expressing it, that Ernestine was mad. So awful and ominous was her return to our residence, such sad forebodings crowded in our minds, that, in spite of my happiness, I felt no confidence on life, and Elizabeth could not regain her cheerfulness.

“In other respects we were reconciled, and enjoyed the present moment, and the beauty of the surrounding woods and mountains. Our few guests, as well as the aunt, had left us, and we might have lived contented and in happy union in this delightful solitude, had I not observed that my wife avoided her sister as much as circumstances permitted. When I asked her the reason of this, she answered after some hesitation: ‘Dearest, I am terrified at Ernestine; she has become quite malicious, though formerly she had not the least disposition that way. Whenever she can vex me, spoil any thing, or even expose me to danger, so that I may be startled, stumble, or even fall; or if any stones fall in my way she shows the most malicious joy, as she did when she lately set the curtains of my bed on fire by bringing the candle too near them. She has told me laughing, that the country people talk of travellers and rangers having seen two spectres by moonlight, or in the morning-dawn in the lonely parts of the forests, whom they describe as terrible hideous beings; that these were herself and the old gipsy, and that she only wished that the circumstance might appear in print, in order that she, with her own signature, Ernestine Fräulein von Jertz, might contradict the story of ghosts, and state that she was one of the imagined spirits. Is not all this terrible?’

“‘Dear child,’ said I, ‘I must now tell you, in confidence, that I believe she is mad.’

“‘Is any malice, when it becomes a passion, any thing but madness?’ remarked Elizabeth, very naturally.

“On the approach of autumn we left the Klausenburg to take possession of our new house, for, to my terror, I discovered a disposition to melancholy in my wife, for which our solitude seemed any thing but beneficial. While we were once walking through the ancient apartments and the gothic hall, which was in tolerable preservation, and our footsteps echoed in the solitary room, my wife started with a sudden shudder. I asked the reason.

“‘Oh! it is awful here,’ she replied, trembling; ‘I feel as if invisible spectres haunted this place.’ I was terrified, and the thought that my wife’s mind, like that of her sister, might perhaps have suffered, stared at me like a monster.

“When residing in our new house, we often missed Ernestine, and on inquiry, found that she staid in the Klausenburg and the ruins of the old castle. Although we had been living on an unpleasant footing, still my wife, as well as myself, could not help wishing her with us when she was away. But how different was my life from that which I had once pictured to myself when I courted Elizabeth!

“Other domestic calamities united with our sufferings to increase our grief. That document, which, really constituted my fortune and supported my existence, which proved that large sums were paid, and some still owing to me, as well as all the deeds and papers which had been produced as proofs after the death of Count Moritz,—all these important papers which I had discovered after a long troublesome search, and had in my hands but a short time before, had again disappeared. I had always kept them carefully locked up, and it was my intention to travel to town and deliver them to my solicitor in person, as on them the recovery of my estates depended. They were gone; and much as I meditated and reflected, I could not discover, nor even find a trace of the way in which they had been purloined. When at length I communicated my anxiety to my wife, she did not seem surprised, and told me calmly, ‘Can you still doubt? I have no doubt as to what has become of them. Ernestine has profited by some moment of your absence when you might have left your escritoire open, or some other forgetfulness, to take the papers away.’

“‘Not possible!’ I cried with horror. ‘Possible?’ she repeated. ‘What is impossible to her?’

“As these documents were wanting, our long standing law-suit proceeded but slowly, and I felt sure that I must lose it whenever it was decided. I therefore availed myself of an opportunity which the court afforded me, by proposing to quash it, that I might defer the decision to some future period. Still I could not help questioning Ernestine and informing her of my suspicions. I was horrorstruck at the manner in which she heard me communicate a suspicion, which would have shocked any innocent mind. When I had overcome my embarrassment and had concluded, she burst out in such laughter that I lost all composure. Recovering again, I urged her to reply, but she only said, with a sarcastic coldness, ‘My dear brother-in-law, there are here only two cases possible, as you must yourself see, notwithstanding your short-sightedness, namely, that I am either guilty or innocent. Is it not so? If I have committed the robbery, I must have been induced by weighty reasons, or goaded to such an act by malice, or something else. And then I ought to say: yes! I have done it, pray do not take it amiss. Now you must confess that this would be more than stupid. If I were a fool I might have done it without any particular intention,—may be to light the kitchen fire with them; or because I was pleased with the red seals, and might now say: there, take these pretty papers back, considering they have some value for the dear count. But a fool I have not been up to this moment; and if I am malicious, I am of course not silly enough to confess the deed. Or again, assuming the second case that I am innocent, then you, sir brother-in-law (pray don’t contradict me), are the simpleton for putting such unbecoming questions to me.’

“I could not answer the spectral being. When I saw that Elizabeth no longer took any pleasure in playing the piano that I procured from abroad in our retirement, and asked the reason of it, she said, sadly, ‘Dearest, if I do not wish to incur deadly vexation, I must no longer play.’ ‘How so?’ ‘Because Ernestine has flatly forbidden me. She says that in a house where there lives such an accomplished pianist as herself, she could not allow any one else even to strike a note.’ This presumption was too much for my patience. I ran to her chamber and asked her ironically to play me something, since she would not allow any one else to touch the instrument. She followed me, laughing loudly; and truly she played in such a masterly style, that my anger was turned into admiration and rapture. ‘Well!’ she said, gravely, when she had finished, ‘one may have in one’s own house all enjoyments for which connoisseurs would travel fifty miles, and yet one can be satisfied with such bungling and such hammering up and down the keys with clumsy fingers. Oh! fools and idiots, who, rogues as they are, talk of art and only mean vapour; they can only sip the nectar, and the wonderful becomes but trash in their rude hands. If I did not feel a constant disgust for life, if men were not repulsive to me, I should never cease laughing.’ From that time she often joined in our music, at most permitting Elizabeth and myself to sing, though she maintained that we possessed neither school nor method. Thus the winter passed away. I was already poor, and with the prospect of being reduced quite to beggary; Elizabeth was sickly, and the serenity of my life was gone.

“It was almost to be called a relief to our existence, when on the approach of spring, Ernestine became ill, and was shortly so much worse that she could not leave her bed. She grew more irritable as her illness increased, and nothing vexed her more than that she could not visit the Klausenburg, of which she had become so fond. One warm day I sent her in the carriage, she searched long in the rooms, loitered among the shrubs and ruins, and returned much worse than before. It was now evident that she could not recover. The physician said that he could not understand her disease, nor the state of the sufferer, for the vital powers were so strong in her that all the symptoms usually indicating death did not show themselves, and there was a probability of her speedy recovery; in a few days, however, he gave up all hope.

“We now really looked forward to a quieter future. Although we felt pity for the unhappy being, yet we could not deny that she had a disturbing effect on our life and the happiness of our love. We heard that she was near death, but as she had arranged with her doctor and nurse that we should not disturb her we had kept away. All of a sudden she much desired to see me, but requested that Elizabeth should not be present. I went and said as I entered: ‘Dear friend, you will doubtless be kind enough to give me back the documents which you took from my escritoire to vex me.’ She looked at me significantly with her dying eyes, which now seemed larger and sparkled brighter than formerly. There was something so singular, bright and glaring in her look, that any one having witnessed it would never wish to see any thing more terrible and inconceivable. After a pause she said: ‘Brother, do these foolish trifles still occupy your head? Yet it is no wonder, every one lives as he can. Sit down, my friend,’ she continued, with an air of contempt; I complied and sat down by her bed.

“‘You fancy,’ she now began in a repulsive, cutting tone, ‘you will get rid of me; but do not deceive yourself by flattering yourself too soon with such an idea. Death, life, non-existence, continuation! what useless, unmeaning words! When I had scarcely passed my childhood, I could not help laughing at men, if I saw them fretting about continued existence after death. They drag in and heap up like towers, proof after proof, probabilities and wishes, entreaties, prayers, and the mercy of the Almighty; they talk of many fine talents which cannot on this side of the grave, as they call it, be possibly perfected, much less brought to maturity,—and all these preparations are but to hush their base cowardice and fear of death. Poor wretches! If I collect myself, become conscious of my various energies in every direction, and then call to eternity, to the Creator and the millions of spirits of the past and the future, I will be immortal! I will!—what more is necessary, and what omnipotence can interfere to destroy my eternal, almighty will? What further security of being immortal and eternal does the man want who has any consciousness? How, and in what manner, that is another question. What farce we shall then play, what mask, what party-coloured wig, what gibbous labyrinth of entrails we shall then possess, what etiquette and court taste of ugliness and beauty will then be introduced, is uncertain. But, my good friends, as my own power, without any thing more, preserves me immortal, the same energy and free-will may bring me back to you whenever and as often as I like. Believe me, ye fools, the spectres, as you call them, are not exactly the worst or weakest spirits. Many a one would fain return, but he has as little individual character there as here, and hence the impossibility of doing so. And to you,—you paragon, rogue, vain, amiable character, full of talents, you bud of virtue, you barterer of beauty, whom I was compelled to love so intensely, yea, compelled despite of my inmost soul, which told me that you did not deserve it,—to you, smooth skinned, straight grown, human animal, I shall ever be quite near, believe me. For this love and jealousy, this rage after you and your breathing, and conversation, will urge me to the earth, and this will be, as the pious would say, my purgatory. Therefore, no leave-taking; we shall meet again!’[1] Thus saying she offered me her cold, dead hand.

“When life was extinct I returned to Elizabeth, but took care not to communicate any thing of the frantic ravings of the deceased, as her nerves were already excited by great anxiety, and she often suffered from spasms.

“We now lived in still retirement in a rural solitude which, in spite of our reduced finances, might have become delightful had I not remarked that the morbid and melancholy mood of Elizabeth was on the increase. She became pale and wasted, and I often found her weeping when entering her chamber unexpectedly. When I asked her the reason of this, she told me she knew not herself what was the matter with her, that she always felt sorrowful without being able to say why; that when she was alone she felt quite awed, it seemed so terrible to her that her sister had been obliged to end her existence in such a frantic passion, and that often when entering or sitting alone in her chamber it was as if Ernestine stood near her; she fancied she heard her singing, felt her breath, and her looks appeared to force themselves through the empty air.

“I quieted her, left her rarely by herself, read to her, we took walks together, and sometimes paid visits to our acquaintance in the neighbourhood. As she became calmer she recovered by degrees her naturally beautiful complexion. Feeling once unwell and lying comfortably stretched out on the sofa, while she was reading an interesting story to me, I said, how beautiful and melodious is your voice; will you not sing again for once? For a long time you have not opened your music books, your instrument is locked, and your beautiful fingers will at length become quite stiff.

“‘You know,” she replied, ‘that a few months ago my sister flatly forbade me to practise music; we were obliged to concede to her ill health and thus I have become quite out of practice.’

“‘Sing now,’ I cried, ‘the delight will be the greater to me for its novelty.’

“We looked out a cheerful, pleasing piece of music, to avoid any thing melancholy, and Elizabeth poured forth, with a truly heavenly voice, the clear light tones, which thrilled bliss into my heart. Suddenly she stopped, and was again seized with that violent hysteric fit of weeping which had so often terrified me. ‘I cannot,’ she cried, deeply moved, ‘all these sounds rise up before me like fiends; I always feel my sister quite near me, her dress rustling against mine, and her anger terrifies me.’ I felt clearly that my peace of mind as well as hers was destroyed.

“Our physician, a very judicious man, and a friend of ours, when she confessed all these feelings, her trembling, and the anxiety which almost incessantly preyed on her and undermined her health, applied every remedy to calm her, physically and mentally. This honest and judicious persuasion had a good effect, and his medicines proved salutary. When summer came we were much in the open air. We were once taking a drive to the estate of an acquaintance who told us that he intended to give a musical festival, composed of friends and some virtuosi. My wife’s great talent for music being known, we were invited, and she promised to play and sing; being then surrounded by strangers, flattered by both sexes and in a cheerful mood. I was the more rejoiced at this as our physician made it a part of his advice that she should forcibly combat these gloomy feelings and this hypochondriacal anxiety. She determined to follow his advice. Very pleased and rejoiced, we returned to our humble residence. Elizabeth with spirit went through the difficult pieces of music, and the idea that she might in this way, perhaps, recover her youthful vigour delighted me.

“A few days after this, while I was reading a letter, that had just arrived, the door was suddenly burst open, and Elizabeth rushed in, deadly pale, and fell as if dead in my arms. ‘What is the matter?’ I cried, seized with horror. Her eye wandered wildly round, her heart palpitated almost to bursting, and she was some time before she regained her voice and breath.

“‘Oh! heavens,’ she at length exclaimed, every word being expressive of horror, ‘in there, while I practised—in a cheerful mood—I accidently cast a look in the glass—and I saw behind me Ernestine looking at me with that strange smile, and having her withered arms folded across her chest. I know not whether she is still there, I hardly know how I reached here.’

“I gave her in charge of her maid; she retired, and the doctor was immediately sent for. I went into the other room, and found the music books scattered under the instrument. Elizabeth must have thrown them down in her fright.

“‘Of what avail are reasoning, joke, and consolation, diet and medicines against perfect madness,’ said I to myself, and yet I could not help thinking of the words with which her dying sister had threatened us.

“The news of my wife having been taken ill reached our friend’s ears, and was likely to prevent the musical festival taking place. His wife came a few days afterwards with a female singer to inquire after Elizabeth’s health. Not having said any thing, even to the doctor, of the apparition which my wife imagined she had seen, we of course did not mention this singular circumstance to our visiters. To all appearances my wife having quite recovered from her fright, we walked in our small garden with our friends conversing about the festival, and the baroness and the singer at length proposed to practise some music in my wife’s presence, that they might have her opinion, though she might not perhaps be able to join.

“We therefore returned to the drawing-room, and as it became dark, candles were lighted. The singer sat at the instrument to accompany herself, on her right was the baroness, I was just behind, and my wife was on her left. We could not help admiring the voices and the style of the singers. The music by degrees became more animated and impassioned, and I had once already omitted turning the page, when, just as the next leaf was played, a long bony finger appeared on it, quickly turned the leaf at the right time, and the melody proceeded. I looked round and beheld the terrible Ernestine standing close by me behind the baroness; I know not how I kept my composure, but I looked searchingly and almost unmoved at the terrific apparition. She smiled at me with that malicious expression which, even when living, made her countenance repelling. She wore her usual dress, her eyes were fiery, and her face was white as chalk. I felt almost a satisfaction in the gloomy sensation of awe, remained silent, and was glad that Elizabeth did not perceive the spirit. Suddenly there was a shriek of terror, and my wife fell fainting on the ground, while the withered finger was just going again to turn the page. The music of course ended, my wife was in a fever, and our friends who had not seen the spectre returned home.”

Here the invalid paused. The physician looked significantly at me, shaking his head.

“And you have,” he at length said, “never before told your present doctor any thing of that apparition.”

“No,” replied Francis, “you may call it shame, or fear of his cold, searching understanding; you may call it weakness or what you please; suffice it to say I could not prevail on myself to make this confession.”

“But it was very necessary,” said the physician, “for how could he judge correctly of your illness without that information?”

“From that time,” resumed Francis in a faint voice, “we determined to quit the neighbourhood in hopes that the furious spectre would not follow us beyond the mountains. But while we continued in our house we often saw her, mostly in the music-room. Our doctor being with us one morning, he sat down to the instrument and played some passages extempore. Suddenly the terrible spectre again stood by my wife’s chair, and laid her cold withered hand on her shoulder. Hysterics and faintings again followed.”

“And did your doctor see it also?”

“No,” said Francis, “she appeared behind him, but I saw her distinctly then, as I often did afterwards by broad daylight. We had only to touch the keys of the instrument when she immediately appeared, so that to strike a note was a summons. When I once revisited the ancient Klausenburg, I found her sitting upon a stone staring at me. Thus persecuted, terrified, and in constant fear and anxiety, we have become ripe for death, and the physician despairing of our recovery advised us at last to visit this watering-place, as a last resource for restoring our shattered health. But hitherto we have not found any beneficial result. And who can assure us that the spectre may not here haunt us also. She intends to destroy us, and the most inconceivable things are possible to her strong will. I believe we need only sing an air, or play a sonata even at this distance, and she would make her appearance.”

“I will answer for that, count,” cried the doctor in a firm voice, “our faculty knows how to keep such malicious spirits at a distance.”

Here our conversation ended; we sent the patient home in a sedan chair to his hotel, and I accompanied the physician.

While walking in the quiet of night through the dark avenues of trees, he said to me, “Dear sir, we are too much excited to sleep, favour me with your company to my lodging; a powerful aromatic cardinal[2] will keep up our spirits, and I will there tell you my opinion respecting our two invalids, of whose recovery, after what I have heard, I no longer doubt. I would almost promise that in two months I shall send them home in tolerably good health.”

I was astonished at this, as I had given up all hope of the recovery of my friends. Our strongly-spiced beverage much enlivened us; and the doctor continued: “The mental disease of your friend is to me one of the most interesting psychological phenomena that has ever passed under my observation. He, as well as his wife, are labouring under a singular madness; and if we once succeed in attacking it rightly, then, in weakening, and finally in eradicating it altogether, the physical recovery will follow of itself. Though I did not know your friend formerly, yet, from his communications, I can exactly and truly construe his character and fate. He is naturally good and tender, the latter rather preponderating; and, like most men of this disposition, is more subject to vanity than those of firmer character. He has been handsome and amiable, possessed of talents, and persuasive manners, and has, therefore, been everywhere well received, so that, being a general favourite, and naturally pliant, he may have turned the head of many a pretty girl. Meeting, at last, with his beautiful wife, he determined to change his condition, and her naturally sensitive and nervous nature was delighted to call so amiable a gentleman her husband. And, as usually happens to enthusiasts, so is it in this case; they do not find in matrimony that transcendant felicity which they anticipated; a slight discord takes possession of the tender cords of the nerves, which impatiently look forward to new vibrations. The ugly, deformed sister felt, like most persons of the sort, jealousy and envy against the preferred, flattered, and fondled wife. She plainly showed her indignation, and confessed that she hated the count. This amiable conqueror of hearts now employed all his art to overcome this hatred. He succeeded, and the poor deluded creature even fancied that she had excited his affection, while his vanity exulted in the triumph. This heartlessness could not but mortify and shock the unfortunate Ernestine. An inward rage consumed her, she fell a victim to her unfortunate passion; and, dying, she uttered the menace to persecute them in every possible way. This is plainly madness. This madness, as has often been observed, is hereditary, and relations, brothers, sisters, and children, are seized with it whenever it is manifested in a member of the family. So in the case of your friend. Perhaps the affectionate count has not been quite silent on the subject to his wife; and she, being already in a delicate state, has indulged these fancies, and with anxious curiosity pursues the gloomy feelings produced by her nerves. Thus, what is more natural than that she should soon find an occasion on which she fancied she really saw her sister? The fears of his wife were communicated to him, anguish of mind at his misfortunes heated his imagination, and he also sees the apparition. Thus they go on, until both have nearly destroyed themselves by a mere phantom. If we can dissipate this phantom, they may be restored to health.”

“Dear doctor,” I replied, “I know not whether I have a particular propensity for superstition, but your reasons do not satisfy me. Much that has been handed down, both by tradition and writing, on this curious subject, cannot be mere fancy or invention, however much our reason may be opposed to it. There are, no doubt, states of the mind and of the nerves, as well as diseases, during which certain persons see what is veiled from all others. What is spirit? What notions does this word suggest? Do we know the nature, talent, or power, which these millions of differently constituted souls possess, after having shaken off their earthly frame? Do we know by what possibility this or that strong mind, by the power of his will, or anxious repentance, or a secret tormenting yearning after home, forms from his imagination a visible frame, such as he used to wear?”

“And supposing you to be quite right, what would you profit by it?” exclaimed the zealous doctor. “If any one who is in a discontented mood, or state of excitement, sees any thing, it is, indeed, only and always his own fancies, his own internal phases, which appear before his bodily eye. This may happen to any one at times. We have in the morning a vivid dream; we certainly awake, and still, for a moment, we see the child for whom we yearned, the lily or rose which delighted us, or an old friend who is a hundred miles distant. Perhaps it never yet happened that, to one of the many ghost-seers, his aged father or grandfather appeared as a youth or bridegroom, the murderer as a boy in his innocence, the wild spectre of an aged prisoner as a blooming virgin. Why, then, do not these spectres, for once, change their shape?”

“Because,” rejoined I, “they perhaps can express their imagination only in the last state immediately preceding their change.”

“Ah! this is idle,” exclaimed the doctor, impatiently; “yield the point quietly rather than vainly endeavour to refute me. Assist me rather in restoring your friend.”

“In what way can I do so?”

“It is only by some violent means that a happy beginning can be made. Believe me, in the deepest recesses of our minds there are still growing some weeds of vanity, concerning which we fondly deceive ourselves, by fancying that the external surface is the proper soil for them to luxuriate in. Even in moments of terror, in the horror of death, or during tormenting disease, we are tickled by the consciousness that, notwithstanding these, we experience something apart—that we see apparitions which awaken anxiety. Nay, we go further; we wish them back again, and as it were call them forth; our plastic and pliant nature, and our almost inconceivable fancy obey, and again such a bugbear is conjured up. Assist me then in persuading and disposing our invalid to have music in the count’s or your own apartments; let us procure an instrument, and as the countess cannot sing, she will at least play. That they may not cause an excitement, should they again be seized by this mania, no one but yourself and I must be present, or at most her attendant in case of a relapse. But it will not happen in my presence, as I shall have my quick eyes everywhere. By these means our patients will gain confidence and tranquillity, and by a daily repetition, and the use of stronger remedies we shall cure their wild fancies.”

“And if not?” I replied, with anxious doubt.

“Well then, by heavens!” he replied, with a loud laugh, “if I, without having previously taken too much, see any thing, then—”


“Then, baron, you shall call me a fool, which, viewed in the proper light, we are all by nature.”

Thus we parted, and it required much persuasion to prevail upon my afflicted friend to consent to our experiment. His wife, to my astonishment was more easily persuaded. She said, not without reason, “I feel it, my life is drawing to a close, all help is vain, the nearer death is, the better. So much the better if a new terror can crush me like a stroke of lightning. And if the event which I anticipate does not take place, then my last days will at least be free from this fear and anxious horror; I shall be able to amuse and divert myself, and it remains in the hand of Omnipotence whether I and my husband shall have further hope of recovery.”

The third day was fixed upon for music, and a late hour in the evening was appointed, because the countess, like most persons suffering from fever felt it strongest at that time, and would thereby shorten the night, as she seldom slept till morning. An instrument had been placed in the room; more lights than were required were burning, and the adjoining chamber likewise was brilliantly lighted, in order that no doubtful shadow might be produced in the dark. Besides the easy chair and sofa in the sitting-room, there was a couch, on which the countess reposed in the day. The piano was placed against the wall, between two windows, looking over the garden and some vineyards beyond. After tea, the door being locked, the waiter and servant were dismissed; no one remained but the countess’s attendant, a strong young woman, whom we begged to keep up her spirits.

The countess took her seat at the instrument. The doctor stood beside her, in order to observe her, as well as to overlook both rooms, while I sat and stood alternately on the other side. Francis, in his morning-gown and slippers, walked slowly up and down behind us, and the attendant leaned against the open chamber-door.

At first the countess played faintly, uncertainly, and timidly. But by degrees the beauty of the composition, and the consciousness of her talent inspired her, and she played with precision and fire a humorous and melodious fantasia. Her eyes sparkled, her cheeks were flushed, and a smile, full of soul, played upon her once beautiful mouth. The doctor cast a triumphant glance at me, and by the strong light, the mien and feature of every one in the room were distinctly visible. All praised the performer, and the doctor gave her something to revive her. She was as if inspired with new life, and confessed that she had not felt so well for the last year. Poor Francis was in raptures, and his tearful eyes were full of hope.

With the same arrangement we proceeded to the second piece, while she played still more confidently, and with less exertion. Bravos and applause accompanied her—when suddenly—a terrible shriek was heard—how shall I describe it? Never were my ears rent by such terrific sounds—it was some time after that I perceived that Francis had uttered it—the candles burned with a blue flame, but yet there was light enough.—And what a spectacle!—Francis, with foaming mouth, and eyes starting from their sockets, was clasping a horrible spectre; and wrestled with the withered hideous form. “You or I,” he now cried, and it clasped him with its bony arms so firmly, pressed its crooked deformed body so strongly against his, and its pale face so firmly against his chest, that we all heard how in this struggle his bones were crashing. The attendant had hastened to assist the countess, who had fainted. The doctor and myself approached the count, just as he threw the spectre with gigantic force on the couch, which creaked under her. He stood erect. It lay on the couch like a cloud, like a dark cover, and as we approached, it was gone.

Francis now felt all his bones broken, his last strength was annihilated. In three days he was no more, and the physician found his body much bruised. The countess never recovered from her state of delirium, and two days afterwards she followed her beloved and unfortunate husband to his early grave.

C. A. F.

[1] It is not impossible that this extraordinary speech may be intended for an exposition of the doctrine of Fichte.—J. O.

[2] A beverage usually prepared of wine, brandy, sugar, and pine-apples, or other fruit.



When, Oh Eugenius and Rosamond,—you, whom I may no longer designate by your right names,—I was first about to tell your short history, my friends and I walked into an English garden.[1] We went by a new-painted coffin, on the foot-board of which was written: “I pass away.” Above the verdant garden rose a white obelisk, with which two sister-princesses had marked the spot where they now met and embraced, and the inscription on which was: “Here we have found each other again.” The point of the obelisk was glittering in the full moon, and here I told my simple story. But do thou, gentle reader, draw—which is as much as coffin and obelisk—draw, I say, the inscription on the coffin into the ashes of oblivion, and write the letters of the obelisk with pure human heart’s blood in thy inmost self.

Many souls drop from heaven like flowers; but, with their white buds, they are trodden down into the mud, and lie soiled and crushed in the print of a hoof. You also were crushed, Eugenius and Rosamond. Tender souls like yours are attacked by three robbers of their joys—the mob, whose rough gripe gives to such soft hearts nothing but scars; destiny, which does not wipe away the tear from a fair soul full of brilliancy, but the lustre should perish also, as we do not wipe a wet diamond, lest it should grow dim; your own hearts which rejoice too much, and enjoy too little, have too much hope, and too little power of endurance. Rosamond was a bright pearl, pierced by anguish—parted from all that belonged to her, she only quivered in her sorrows like a detached twig of the sensitive plant at the approach of night—her life was a quiet warm rain and that of her husband was a bright lost sunshine. In his presence she averted her eyes, when they had just been fixed on her sick child, that was only two years old, and was in this life a wavering thin-winged butterfly, beneath a pelting shower. The imagination of Eugenius, with its too large wings shattered his slight, delicate frame; the lily bell of his tender body could not contain his mighty soul; the place whence sighs originate, his breast, was destroyed like his happiness. He had nothing left in the world but his affectionate heart, and for that heart there were but two human beings.

These persons wished, in the spring-time, to quit the whirlpool of mankind, which beat so hardly and so coldly against their hearts. They had a quiet cottage prepared for them on one of the high Alps opposite to the silver chain of the Staubbach. On the first fine spring morning they went the long road to the high mountain. There is a holiness which sorrow alone can give in its purity; the stream of life becomes white as snow when it is dashed against rocks. There is an elevation where little thoughts no more intrude between sublime ones, as when upon a mountain one sees the summits close to each other without their connection in the depth below. Thou hadst that holiness, Rosamond, and thou that elevation, Eugenius.

A morning mist was gathered round the foot of the mountain, and in that three fluttering forms were suspended. These were the reflections of the three travellers, and the timid Rosamond started, thinking she saw herself. Eugenius thought, “That which the immortal spirit hath around it is, after all, but a denser mist.” And the child snatched at the cloud, and wished to play with its little misty brother. One single invisible angel of the future accompanied them through life and up this mountain. They were so good and like each other that one angel was all they needed.

As they ascended the angel opened the book of fate, one leaf of which contained the sketch of a three-fold life—every line was a day—and when the angel had read the line that belonged to this day, he wept and closed the book for ever.

The travellers, in their delicate condition, required nearly a day to arrive at the desired spot. The earth crept back into the valleys, the sky rested itself on the mountains. The waving, glimmering sun seemed to our Eugenius a mirror of the moon, and he said to his beloved, when the icy summits had already cast their flames upon the earth: “I feel so weary, and yet so well. Will it not be as if we left two dreams—the dream of life and the dream of death—if we enter the cloudless moon as the first shore beyond the hurricanes of life?”

“It will be still better,” replied Rosamond, “for in the moon, as thou hast taught me, dwell the little children of this earth, and their parents remain with them till they themselves become as mild and tranquil as children.” Then they proceed further.

“Ay, from heaven to heaven—from world to world!” said Eugenius, ecstatically.

They ascended as the sun declined; when they climbed more slowly, the mountain summits like rising, loosened branches, concealed them from the luminary. They hastened on into the evening glimmer, which was already advancing, but when they had reached the mountain where their cottage stood, the eternal mountains stepped before the sun;—the earth then veiled her graces and her cities, adoring heaven, before it looked upon her with all its star-eyes, while the waterfalls laid aside their rainbows,—and the earth spread higher for heaven, which was bending over her with out-stretched cloud-arms, a gauze of golden exhalations, and hung it from one mountain to another, and the icebergs were set on fire, so that they glared even to midnight, while opposite to them on the grave of the sun was raised a towering funeral pile of clouds, forming the evening glow and the evening ashes. But through the glimmering veil kind heaven let its evening tears fall deep into the earth, even upon the humblest grass and the smallest flower.

Oh, Eugenius, how great then did thy soul become! The life of earth lay at a distance and far below thee, free from all the distortions which we see in it, because we stand too near it, as the decorations of shorter scenes change from landscapes to mis-shapen strokes when we look at them closely.

The two living ones embraced each other with a long and gentle embrace, as they stood before the cottage, and Eugenius said: “Oh, thou quiet, eternal heaven, take nothing more from us!” But his pale child with its snapped lily-head was before him; he looked at the mother, and she lay with her moistened eye reaching into heaven, and said softly: “O take us all at once!”

The angel of futurity, whom I will call the angel of rest, wept as he smiled, and his wings swept away the sighs of the parents with an evening breeze, that they might not sadden each other.

The transparent evening flowed round the red mountain like a bright lake, and washed it with the circles of cool evening waves. The more the evening and earth grew, still the more did the two souls feel that they were in the right place. They had no tears too many, none too few, and their bliss needed no other increase than its repetition. Eugenius sent the first harmonious tones floating like swans through the pure Alpine sky. The weary child, twined in a flowery wreath, leaned against a sun-dial, and played with the flowers which it drew around it, to entwine them in its circle. The mother at last awoke from her harmonious transport; her eye fell on the large eyes of her child, which opened wide upon her; singing and smiling, and, with overflowing motherly love, she stepped to the little angel, which was cold and dead. For its life, which had descended from heaven, had, like other tones, been dissipated in the atmosphere of earth; death had breathed upon the butterfly, and it had ascended from the rushing streams of air to the ever-refining ether; from the flowers of earth to the flowers of paradise.

Oh, ever flutter away, ye blessed children! The angel of rest wakes you in the morning-hour of life with cradle songs, two arms bear you and your little coffin, and your body, with the two red cheeks, the forehead free from the print of grief, and the white hands, glide down by a chain of flowers to the second cradle, and you have only exchanged one paradise for another. But we—oh, we are crushed by the storm-winds of life; our heart is weary, our face is deeply marked with earthly care, and our soul stiffened, still clings to the earthy clod.

Turn away thine eye from Rosamond’s piercing shriek, fixed glance, and petrifying features, if thou art a mother, and hast already felt this pain! look not upon the mother, who, with senseless hand, squeezes against her the corpse which she now cannot stifle; but look at the father, who, with his breast, silently covers his struggling heart, although black grief has twined around it with an adder’s folds, and poisoned it with an adder’s teeth. Ah, when he at last had conquered the pain, his heart was envenomed and riven. A man bears the pain of the wound, but sinks under the scar: a woman seldom combats her grief, but yet she survives it. “Remain here,” he said, with a suppressed voice, “I will lay it to rest before the moon rises.” She said nothing, kissed the child in silence, broke up its wreath of flowers, sunk down upon the sun-dial, and laid her cold face upon her arm, that she might not see it carried away.

On the way the dawning light of the moon shone upon the shaking body of the infant, and the father said: “Burst forth, oh moon! that I may see the land wherein He dwells. Rise, oh Elysium! that I may think the soul of the corse is within thee. Oh child, child, dost thou know me—dost thou hear me? Hast thou above so fair a face as this one, so sweet a mouth? Oh thou heavenly mouth, thou heavenly eye, no more spirit visits thee!” He laid the child beneath flowers which supplied the place of all that we are generally laid upon for the last time; but his heart was breaking when he covered the pale lips, the open eyes, with flowers and earth, and streams of tears fell first into the grave. When with the verdant coating of the clods he had built a little mound, he felt that he was weary of his journey and of life; that his weakly chest could not endure the thin mountain air, and that the ice of death had settled in his heart. He cast a longing glance at the bereaved mother, who had long stood trembling behind him, and they fell silent into each other’s arms, and their eyes could scarcely weep more.

At last, from behind a glacier that was glimmering out, the glorious moon flowed forth in loveliness on the two silent unhappy ones, and showed them its white peaceful meadows, and the gentle light with which it softens man. “Mother, look up,” said Eugenius; “yonder is thy son! See there, the white flowery groves, in which our child will play, are passing over the moon.” Now a burning fire filled his inmost self with consuming power,—the moon made his eye blind to all that was not light; sublime forms rolled before him in the light stream, and he heard in his soul, new thoughts which are not indigenous in man, and are too great for memory; just as in a dream small melodies may come to the man who can make none when awake. Death and pleasure press upon his heavy tongue. “Rosamond, why sayest thou nothing? Dost thou see thy child? I look beyond the long earth, even to where the moon begins. There is my son flying between angels. Full flowers cradle him,—the spring of earth waves over him—children lead him—angels instruct him—God loves him. Oh! thou dear one, thou art smiling; the silver light of paradise flows with heavenly radiance about thy little mouth, and thou hearest me, and callest thy parents. Rosamond, give me thy hand; we will go and die!”

The slight corporeal chains grew longer. His advancing spirit fluttered higher on the borders of life. With convulsive power he seized the paralysed Rosamond, and blind and sinking, stammered forth, “Rosamond, where art thou? I fly! I die! We remain together!”

His heart burst,—his spirit fled; but Rosamond did not remain with him, for fate snatched her from his dying hand, and cast her back upon earth, living. She felt if his hand had the coldness of death, and since it had, she placed it softly against her heart, sunk slowly upon her failing knees, and raised her face, which had become inexpressibly serene, towards the starry power. Her eyes, from their tearless sockets, pressed forth dry, large, and happy, into the sky, and therein calmly sought a supernatural form, which should descend and bear her up. She almost fancied she was dying then, and prayed thus: “Come, thou angel of rest, come and take my heart, and bear it to my beloved. Angel of rest! leave me not so long alone among the corses. Oh, God! is there then nought invisible about me? Angel of death! thou must be here, thou hast already snatched away two souls close by me, and hast made them ascend. I, too, am dead, draw forth my glowing soul from its cold kneeling corse.”

With mad disquiet, she looked about in the vacant sky. Suddenly, in that still desert, a star shone forth, and wound its way towards the earth. She spread her arms in transport, and thought the angel of rest was rushing towards her. Alas! the star passed away, but she did not. “Not yet? Do I not die yet, All-merciful One?” sighed poor Rosamond.

In the east a cloud arose,—it passed over the moon, sailed in loneliness across the clear sky, and stood over the most agonised heart upon earth. She threw back her head, so as to face the cloud, and said to the lightning, “Strike this head, and release my heart!” But the cloud passed darkly over the head that was thrown back for it, and flying down the sky, sunk behind the mountains. Then, with a thousand tears, she cried, “Can I not die? Can I not die?”

Poor Rosamond! How did pain roll itself together, give an angry serpent-spring at thy heart, and fix in it all its poisonous teeth. But a weeping spirit poured the opium of insensibility into thine heart, and the bursts of agony flowed away in a soft convulsion.

She awoke in the morning, but her mind was unsettled. She saw the sun and the dead man, but her eye had lost all tears, and her burst heart had, like a broken bell, lost all tone; she merely murmured, “Why can I not die?” She went back cold into her hut, and said nothing but these words. Every night she went half an hour later to the corpse, and every time she met the rising moon, which was now broken, and said, while she turned her mourning, tearless eye towards its gleaming meadows, “Why cannot I die?”

Ay, why canst thou not, good soul? for the cold earth would have sucked out of all thy wounds the last venom with which the human heart is laid beneath its surface, just as the hand when buried in earth recovers from the sting of a bee. But I turn mine eye away from thy pain, and look up at the glimmering moon, where Eugenius opens his eyes among smiling children, and his own child, now with wings, falls upon his heart. How quiet is every thing in the dimly lit portico of the second world, a misty rain of light silvers o’er the bright fields of the first heaven, and beads of light instead of sparkling dew hang upon flowers and summits,—the blue of heaven is darker over the lily plains, all the melodies in the thinner air are but a dispersed echo,—only night-flowers exhale their scents, and dazzle waving around calmer glances—here the waving plains rock as in a cradle the crushed souls, and the lofty billows of life fall gliding apart—then the heart sleeps, the eye becomes dry, the wish becomes silent. Children flutter like the hum of bees around the heart which is sunk in earth, and is still palpitating, and the dream after death represents the earthly life, as a dream here represents childhood here, magically, soothingly, softly, and free from care.

Eugenius looked from the moon towards the earth, which for a long moon-day—equal to two earth-weeks—floated like a thin white cloud across the blue sky; but he did not recognise his old motherland. At last the sun set to the moon, and our earth rested, large, glimmering, and immoveable, on the pure horizon of Elysium, scattering, like a water-wheel upon a meadow, the flowing beams upon the waving Elysian garden. He then recognised the earth, upon which he had left a heart so troubled, in a breast so beloved; and his soul, which reposed in pleasure, became full of melancholy, and of an infinite longing after the beloved of his former life, who was suffering below. “Oh, my Rosamond! why dost thou not leave a sphere, where nothing more loves thee?” And he cast a supplicating look at the angel of rest, and said: “Beloved one, take me down from the land of quiet, and lead me to the faithful soul, that I may see her, and again feel pain, so that she may not pine alone.”

Then his heart began suddenly, as it were, to float without any bounds; breezes fluttered around him, as though they raised him flying, wafted him away as they swelled, and veiled him in floods; he sank through the red evening twilights as through roses, and through the night as through bowers, and through a damp atmosphere which filled his eye with drops. Then it seemed as though old dreams of childhood had returned—then there arose a complaint from the distance, which re-opened all his closed wounds; the complaint, as it drew nearer, became Rosamond’s voice—at last she herself was before him, unrecognisable, alone, without solace, without a tear, without colour.

And Rosamond dreamed upon the earth, and it was to her as though the sun took wings, and became an angel. This angel, she dreamed, drew down towards her the moon, which became a gentle face. Beneath this face, as it approached her, a heart at last formed itself. It was Eugenius, and his beloved arose to meet him. But as she exclaimed, with transport, “Now I am dead!” the two dreams, both hers and his, vanished, and the two were again severed.

Eugenius waked above, the glimmering earth still stood in the sky, his heart was oppressed, and his eye beamed with a tear which had not fallen on the moon. Rosamond waked below, and a large warm dew-drop hung in one of the flowers of her bosom. Then did the last mist of her soul shower down in a light rain of tears, her soul became light and sun-clear, and her eye hung gently on the dawning sky; the earth was indeed strange to her, but no longer hateful; and her hands moved as though they were leading those who had died.

The angel of rest looked upon the moon, and looked upon the earth, and he was softened by the sighs from both. On the morning-earth he perceived an eclipse of the sun, and a bereft one; he saw Rosamond during this transient night sink upon the flowers that slept in the darkness, and into the cold evening-dew which fell upon the morning-dew, and stretching forth her hands towards the shaded heaven, which was full of night-birds, look up towards the moon with inexpressible longing, as it floated trembling in the sun. The angel looked upon the moon, and near him wept the departed one, who saw the earth swimming deep below,—a flood of shade, fitted into a ring of fire, and from whom the mourning form that dwelt upon it, took all the happiness of heaven. Then was the heavenly heart of the angel of peace broken—he seized the hand of Eugenius and that of his child—drew both through the second world, and bore them down to the dark earth. Rosamond saw three forms wandering through the obscurity, the gleam from whom reached the starry heaven, and went along hovering over them. Her beloved and her child flew like spring-days to her heart, and said, “Oh, thou dear one, come with us!” Her maternal heart broke with maternal love, the circulation of earth-blood was stopped, her life was ended; and happily, happily, did she stammer forth to the two beloved hearts, “Can I not then die?” “Thou hast died already,” said the angel of the three fond ones, weeping with joy, “Yonder thou seest the sphere of earth, whence thou comest, still in shade.” And the waves of joy closed on high over the blessed world, and all the happy and all children looked upon our sphere which still trembled in the shade.

Yea, indeed, is it in shade! But man is higher than his place. He looks up and spreads the wings of his soul, and when the sixty minutes, which we call sixty years, have finished striking, he then lifts himself up, and kindles himself as he rises, and the ashes of his plumage fall back, and the unveiled soul rises alone, free from earth, and pure as a musical tone. But here, in the midst of dark life, he sees the mountains of the future world standing in the morning gold of a sun that does not arise here. Thus, the inhabitant of the North Pole in the long night, when the sun has ceased to rise, discerns at twelve o’clock, a dawn gilding the highest mountains, and he thinks of his long summer, when it will set no more.

J. O.

[1] Or, perhaps, “angelic garden,” meaning a church-yard. The reading given above is most probably correct.



On the 20th of November, 1815, Albert von B——, lieutenant-colonel in the Prussian service, found himself on the road from Liège to Aix-la-Chapelle. The corps to which he belonged was on its return from France to march to Liège to head-quarters on that very day, and was to remain there for two or three days more. Albert had arrived the evening before; but in the morning he felt himself attacked by a strange restlessness, and—as he would hardly have confessed to himself—an obscure dream, which had haunted him all night, and had foretold that a very pleasant adventure awaited him at Aix-la-Chapelle, was the only cause of his sudden departure. Much surprised even at his own proceeding, he was sitting on the swift horse, which would, he hoped, take him to the city before nightfall.

A severe cutting autumn wind roared over the bare fields, and awakened the voices of the leafless wood in the distance, which united their groans to its howling. Birds of prey came croaking, and followed in flocks the thick clouds which gathered more and more, until the last ray of sunlight had vanished, and a faint dull gray had overspread the entire sky. Albert wrapped his mantle more closely about him, and while he trotted on along the broad road, the picture of the last eventful time unfolded itself to his imagination. He thought how, a few months before, he had travelled on the same road, in an opposite direction, and during the loveliest season of the year. The fields then bloomed forth luxuriantly, the fragrant meadows resembled variegated carpets, and the bushes in which the birds joyously chirped and sung, shone in the fair light of golden sunbeams. The earth, like a longing bride, had richly adorned herself to receive in her dark nuptial chamber, the victims consecrated to death—the heroes who fell in the sanguinary battles.

Albert had reached the corps to which he was appointed, when the cannon had already begun to thunder by the Sambre, though he was in time enough to take part in the bloody battles of Charleroi, Gilly, and Gosselins. Indeed, chance seemed to wish that Albert should be present just when any thing decided took place. Thus he was at the last storming of the village Planchenoit, which caused the victory in the most remarkable of all battles—Waterloo. He was in the last engagement of the campaign, when the final effort of rage and fierce despair on the part of the enemy wreaked itself on the immoveable courage of the heroes, who having a fine position in the village of Issy, drove back the foe as they sought, amid the most furious discharge of grape, to scatter death and destruction in the ranks; and indeed drove them back so far, that the sharp-shooters pursued them almost to the barriers of Paris. The night afterwards (that of the 3rd and 4th of July), was, as is well known, that on which the military convention for the surrender of the metropolis was settled at St. Cloud.

The battle of Issy now rose brightly before Albert’s soul; he thought of things, which as it seemed, he had not observed, nay, had not been able to observe during the fight. Thus the faces of many individual officers and men appeared before his eyes, depicted in the most lively manner, and his heart was struck by the inexplicable expression, not of proud or unfeeling contempt of death, but of really divine inspiration, which beamed from many an eye. Thus he heard sounds, now exhorting to fight, now uttered with the last sigh of death, which deserved to be treasured up for posterity like the animating utterances of the heroes of antiquity.

“Do I not,” thought Albert, “almost feel like one who has a notion of his dream when he wakes, but who does not recollect all its single features till several days afterwards? Ay, a dream, and only a dream, one would think, by flying over time and space, with its mighty wings, could render possible, the gigantic, monstrous, unheard-of events, that took place during the eighteen eventful days of a campaign, which mocks the boldest thoughts, the most daring combinations of the speculative mind. Indeed the human mind does not know its own greatness; the act surpasses the thought. For it is not rude physical force, no! it is the mind, which creates deeds as they have happened, and it is the psychic power of every single person, really inspired, which attaches itself to the wisdom and genius of the general, and helps to accomplish the monstrous and the unexpected.”

Albert was disturbed in these meditations by his groom, who kept about twenty paces behind him, and whom he heard cry out, “Eh! Paul Talkebarth, where the deuce do you come from?” He turned his horse, and perceived that a horseman, who had just trotted past him, and whom he had not particularly observed, was standing still with his groom, beating out the cheeks of the large fox-fur cap with which his head was covered, so that soon the well-known face of Paul Talkebarth, Colonel Victor von S——’s old groom, was made manifest, glowing with the finest vermilion.

Now Albert knew at once what it was that impelled him so irresistibly from Liège to Aix-la-Chapelle, and he could not comprehend how the thought of Victor, his most intimate and dearest friend, whom he had every reason to suppose at Aix, merely lay dimly in his soul, and attained nothing like distinctness. He now also cried out, “Eh! Paul Talkebarth, whence do you come? Where is your master?”

Paul curvetted up to him very gracefully, and said, holding the palm of his hand against the far-too-large cockade of his cap, by way of military salutation: “Yes, ‘faith, I am Paul Talkebarth indeed, gracious lieutenant-colonel. We’ve bad weather here, Zermannöre (sur mon honneur). But the groundsel brings that about. Old Lizzy always used to say so. I cannot say, gracious lieutenant-colonel, if you know Lizzy: she lives at Genthin, but if one has been at Paris, and has seen the wild goat in the Schartinpland (Jardin des Plantes).—Now, what one seeks for one finds near, and here I am in the presence of the gracious lieutenant-colonel, whom I was to seek at Liège. The spirus familis (spiritus familiaris), whispered yesterday evening into my master’s ear, that the gracious lieutenant-colonel had come to Liège. Zackermannthö (sacré mon de Dieu), there was delight! It may be as it will, but I have never put any faith in the cream-colour. A fine beast, Zermannöre, but a mere childish thing, and the baronness did her utmost—that is true! There are decent sort of people here, but the wine is good for nothing—and when one has been in Paris—! Now, the colonel might have marched in, like one through the Argen trumph (Arc de triomphe), and I should have put the new shabrach on the white horse; gad, how he would have pricked up his ears! But old Lizzy,—she was my aunt, at Genthin, was always accustomed to say—I don’t know, gracious lieutenant-colonel, whether you—”

“May your tongue be lamed,” said Albert, interrupting the incorrigible babbler. “If your master is at Aix, we must make haste, for we have still above five leagues to go.”

“Stop,” cried Paul Talkebarth, with all his might; “stop, stop, gracious lieutenant-colonel, the weather is bad here; but for fodder—those who have eyes like us, that shine in the fog.”

“Paul,” cried Albert, “do not wear out my patience. Where is your master? Is he not in Aix?”

Paul Talkebarth smiled with such delight, that his whole countenance puckered up into a thousand folds, like a wet glove, and then stretching out his arm he pointed to the building, which might be seen behind the wood, upon a gentle declivity, and said, “Yonder, in the castle!” Without waiting for what Paul might have to prattle further, Albert struck into the path that led from the high road, and hurried on in a rapid trot. After the little that he has said, honest Paul Talkebarth must appear to the gracious reader as an odd sort of fellow. We have only to say, that he being an heir-loom of the family, served Colonel Victor von S—— from the moment when the latter first put on his officer’s sword, after having been the intendent-general and maître des plaisirs of all the sports and mad pranks of his childhood. An old and very odd magister, who had been tutor to the family through two generations, completed, with the amount of education which he allowed to flow to honest Paul, those happy talents for extraordinary confusion and strange Eulenspiegelei[1] with which nature had by no means scantily endued him. At the same time he was the most faithful soul that could possibly exist. Ready every moment to sacrifice his life for his master, neither his advanced age nor any other consideration could prevent the good Paul from following him to the field in the year 1813. His own nature rendered him superior to every hardship; but less strong than his corporeal was his spiritual nature, which seemed to have received a strange shock, or at any rate some extraordinary impulse during his residence in France, especially in Paris. Then, for the first time, did he properly feel that Magister Spreugepileus had been perfectly right when he called him a great light, that would one day shine forth brightly. This shining quality Paul had discovered by the aptness with which he had accommodated himself to the manners of a foreign people, and had learned their language. Therefore, he boasted not a little, and ascribed it to his extraordinary talent alone, that he could often, in respect to quarters and provisions, obtain that which seemed unattainable. Talkebarth’s fine French phrases, the gentle reader has already been made acquainted with some pleasant curses—were current, if not through the whole army, at any rate through the corps to which his master was attached. Every trooper who came to quarters in a village, cried to the peasant with Paul’s words, “Pisang! de lavendel pur di schevals!” (Paysan, de l’avoine pour les chevaux.)

Paul, as is generally the case with eccentric natures, did not like things to happen in the ordinary manner. He was particularly fond of surprises, and sought to prepare them in every possible manner for his master, who was certainly often surprised, though in quite another manner than was designed by honest Talkebarth, whose happy schemes generally failed in their execution. Thus, he now entreated Lieutenant-colonel von B——, when the latter was riding straight up to the principal entrance of the house, to take a circuitous course and enter the court-yard by the back way, that his master might not see him before he entered the room. To meet this view, Albert was obliged to ride over a marshy meadow, where he was grievously splashed by the mud, and then he had to go over a fragile bridge on a ditch. Paul Talkebarth wished to show off his horsemanship by jumping cleverly over; but he fell in with his horse up to the belly, and was with difficulty brought back to firm ground by Albert’s groom. Now, in high spirits, he put spurs to his horse, and with a wild huzza leaped into the court-yard. As all the geese, ducks, turkeys, and poultry of the household were gathered together here to rest; while from the one side a flock of sheep, and from the other side a flock of pigs, had been driven in, we may easily imagine that Paul Talkebarth, who not being perfect master of his horse, galloped about the court in large circles, without any will of his own, produced no little devastation in the domestic economy. Amid the fearful noise of squeaking, cackling, bleating, grunting animals, the barking of the dogs, and the scolding of the servants, Albert made his glorious entrance, wishing honest Paul Talkebarth at all the devils, with his project of surprise.

At last Albert leaped from his horse, and entered the house, which, without any claim to beauty or elegance, looked roomy and convenient enough. On the steps he was met by a well-fed, not very tall man, in a short, gray, hunting-jacket, who, with a half-sour smile, said: “Quartered?” By the tone in which the man asked this question, Albert perceived at once that the master of the house, Baron von E—— (as he had learned from Paul) was before him. He assured him that he was not quartered, but merely purposed to visit his intimate friend, Colonel Victor von S——, who was, he was told, residing there, and that he only required the baron’s hospitality for that evening and the night, as he intended to start very early on the following morning.

The baron’s face visibly cleared up, and the full sun-shine, which ordinarily seemed to play upon his good-humoured, but somewhat too broad, countenance, returned completely, when Albert as he ascended the stairs with him remarked, that in all probability no division of the army now marching would touch this spot.

The baron opened a door, Albert entered a cheerful-looking parlour, and perceived Victor, who sat with his back towards him. At the sound of his entrance Victor turned round, and with a loud exclamation of joy fell into the arms of the lieutenant. “Is it not true, Albert, you thought of me last night? I knew it, my inner sense told me that you were in Liège at the very moment when you first entered the place. I fixed all my thoughts upon you, my spiritual arms embraced you; you could not escape me.”

Albert confessed that—as the gentle reader already knows—dark dreams which came to no clear shape had driven him from Liège.

“Yes,” cried Victor, with transport, “yes, it is no fancy, no idle notion; the divine power is given to us, which, ruling space and time, manifests the supersensual in the world of sense.”

Albert did not know what Victor meant. Indeed the whole behaviour of his friend, so different from his usual manner, seemed to denote an over-excited state. In the meanwhile the lady, who had been sitting before the fire near Victor, arose and approached the stranger. Albert bowed to her, casting an inquiring glance at Victor. “This is the Baroness Aurora von E——,” said Victor, “my hospitable hostess, who tends me ever carefully and faithfully in sickness and in trouble!”

Albert as he looked at the baroness felt quite convinced that the little plump woman had not yet attained her fortieth year, and that she would have been very well made had not the nutritious food of the country, together with much sunshine, caused her shape to deviate a little from the line of beauty. This counteracted the favourable effect of her pretty, fresh-coloured face, the dark blue eyes of which might otherwise have beamed somewhat dangerously for the heart. Albert considered the attire of the baroness almost too homely, for the material of her dress, which was of a dazzling whiteness, while it showed the excellence of the washing and bleaching department, also showed the great distance at which the domestic spinning and weaving stood from perfection. A cotton kerchief, of a very glaring pattern, thrown negligently about the neck, so that its whiteness was visible enough, did not at all increase the brilliant effect of the costume. The oddest thing of all was, that the baroness wore on her little feet the most elegant silken shoes, and on her head the most charming lace cap, after the newest Parisian fashion. This head-dress, it is true, reminded the lieutenant-colonel of a pretty grisette, with whom chance had made him acquainted at Paris, but for this very reason a quantity of uncommonly gallant things flowed from his lips, while he apologised for his sudden appearance. The baroness did not fail to reply to these prettinesses in the proper style, and having once opened her mouth the stream of her discourse flowed on uninterruptedly, till she at last went so far as to say, that it would be impossible to show sufficient attention to such an amiable guest, the friend of the colonel, who was so dear to the family. At the sudden ring of the bell, and the shrill cry: “Mariane, Mariane!” a peevish old woman made her appearance, who, by the bunch of keys which hung from her waist, seemed to be the housekeeper. A consultation was now held with this lady and the husband, as to what nice things could be got ready. It was soon found, however, that all the delicacies, such as venison and the like, were either already consumed, or could only be got the next day. Albert, with difficulty suppressing his displeasure, said, that they would force him to quit immediately in the night, if on his account they disturbed the arrangements of the house in the slightest degree. A little cold meat, nay, some bread and butter, would be sufficient for his supper. The baroness replied by protesting that it was impossible for the lieutenant-colonel to do without something warm, after his ride in the rough, bleak weather, and after a long consultation with Mariane, the preparation of some mulled wine was found to be possible and decided on. Mariane vanished through the door-way, rattling as she went, but at the very moment when they were about to take their seats, the baroness was called out by an amazed maid-servant. Albert overheard that the baroness was being informed at the door of the frightful devastations of Paul Talkebarth, with a list—no inconsiderable one—of the dead, wounded, and missing. The baron ran out after his wife, and while she was scolding he was wishing honest Paul Talkebarth at Jericho, and the servants were uttering general lamentations. Albert briefly told his friend of Paul’s exploit in the yard. “That old Eulenspiegel is always playing such tricks,” said Victor, angrily, “and yet the rascal means so well from the very bottom of his heart, that one cannot attack him.”

At that moment all became quiet without; the chief maid-servant had brought the glad intelligence that Hans Gucklick had been frightened indeed, but had come off free from other harm, and was now eating with a good appetite.

The baron entered with a cheerful mien, and repeated, in a tone of satisfaction, that Hans Gucklick had been spared from that wild, life-disregarding Paul Talkebarth. At the same time he took occasion to expatiate at great length, and from an agricultural point of view, the utility of extending the breeding of poultry. This Hans Gucklick, who had only been very frightened, and had not been otherwise hurt, was the old cock, who was highly prized, and had been for years the pride and ornament of the whole poultry-yard.

The baroness now made her re-appearance, but it was only to arm herself with a great bunch of keys, which she took out of a cupboard. Quickly she hurried off, and Albert could hear both her and the housekeeper clattering and rattling up stairs and down stairs, accompanied by the shrill voices of the maid-servants who were called, and the pleasant music of pestles and mortars and graters, which ascended from the kitchen. “Good heavens!” thought Albert. “If the general had marched in with the whole of the head-quarters, there could not have been more noise than has been occasioned by my unlucky cup of mulled wine.”

The baron, who had wandered from the breeding of poultry to hunting, had not quite got to the end of a very complicated story of a fine deer which he had seen, and had not shot, when the baroness entered the room, followed by no less a person than Paul Talkebarth, who bore the mulled wine in a handsome porcelain vessel. “Bring it all here, good Paul,” said the baroness, very kindly. Whereupon Paul replied, with an indescribably sweet, “A fu zerpir (à vous servir), madame.” The manes of the victims in the yard seemed to be appeased, and all seemed forgiven.

Now, at last, they all sat down quietly together. The baroness, after she had handed the cup to the visiter, began to knit a monstrous worsted stocking, and the baron took occasion to enlarge upon the species of knitting which was designed to be worn while hunting. During his discourse he seized the vessel, that he also might take a cup. “Ernest!” cried the baroness to him, in an angry tone. He at once desisted from his purpose, and slunk to the cupboard, where he quietly refreshed himself with a glass of Schnapps. Albert availed himself of the moment to put a stop to the baron’s tedious disquisitions, by urgently asking his friend how he was going on. Victor was of opinion that there was plenty of time to say, in two words, what had happened to him since their separation, and that he could not expect to hear from Albert’s lips all the mighty occurrences of the late portentous period. The baroness assured him, with a smile, that there was nothing prettier than tales of war and murder; while the baron, who had rejoined the party, said that he liked amazingly to hear of battles, when they were very bloody, as they always reminded him of his hunting-parties. He was upon the point of returning to the story of the stag that he did not shoot, but Albert cut him short, and laughing out loud, though with increased displeasure, remarked that, though there was, to be sure, some smart shooting in the chase, it was a comfortable arrangement that the stags, hares, &c., whose blood was at stake, could not return the fire.

Albert felt thoroughly warmed by the beverage which he had drunk, and which he found was excellently made of splendid wine, and his comfortable state of body had a good effect on his mind, completely overcoming the ill-humour which had taken possession of him in this uncomfortable society. He unfolded before Victor’s eyes the whole sublime and fearful picture of the awful battle, that at once annihilated all the hopes of the fancied ruler of the world. With the most glowing imagination, he described the invincible, lion-like courage of those battalions who at last stormed the village of Planchenoit, and concluded with the words: “Oh! Victor, Victor! would you had been there, and fought with me!”

Victor had moved close to the baroness’s chair, and having picked up the large ball of worsted, which had rolled down from her lap, was playing with it in his hands, so that the industrious knitter was compelled to draw the threads through his fingers, and often could not avoid touching his arm with her long needle.

At the words, which Albert uttered with an elevated voice, Victor appeared suddenly to wake as from a dream. He eyed his friend with a singular smile, and said, in a half-suppressed tone: “Yes, dear Albert, what you say is but too true! Man often implicates himself early in snares, the gordian knot of which death alone forcibly sunders! As for what concerns the raising of the devil in general, the audacious invocation of one’s own fearful spirit is the most perilous thing possible. But here every thing sleeps!”

Victor’s dark, unintelligible words were a sufficient proof that he had not heard a syllable of all that Albert had said, but had been occupied all the time with dreams, which must have been of a very singular kind.

Albert, as may be supposed, was dumb with amazement. Looking around him he perceived, for the first time, that the master of the house, who with hands folded before him, had sunk against the back of a chair, had dropped his weary head upon his breast, and that the baroness with closed eyes continued to knit mechanically like a piece of clock-work wound up.

Albert sprung up quickly, making a noise as he rose, but at the very same moment the baroness rose also, and approached him with an air, so free, noble, and graceful, that he saw no more of the little, plump, almost comical figure, but thought that the baroness was transformed to another creature. “Pardon the housewife who is employed from break of day, lieutenant-colonel,” said she, in a sweet voice, as she grasped Albert’s hand, “if in the evening she is unable to resist the effects of fatigue, even though she hears the greatest events recorded in the finest manner. This you must also pardon in the active sportsman. You must certainly be anxious to be alone with your friend and to open your heart to him, and under such circumstances every witness is an incumberance. It will certainly be agreeable to you to take, alone with your friend, the supper which I have served in his apartment.”

No proposal could have been more opportune to Albert. He immediately in the most courteous language, wished a good night to his kind hostess, whom he now heartily forgave for the bunch of keys, and the grief about frightened Hans Gucklick, as well as for the stocking-knitting and the nodding.

“Dear Ernest!” cried the baroness, as the friends wished to bid good night to the baron; but as the latter, instead of answering only cried out very plainly: “Huss! Huss! Tyrus! Waldmann! Allons!” and let his head hang on the other side, they tried no more to arouse him from his pleasant dreams.

“Now,” said Albert, finding himself alone with Victor for the first time, “tell me how you have fared. But, however, first let us eat a bit, for I am very hungry, and it appears there is something more here than the bread and butter.”

The lieutenant-colonel was right, for he found a table elegantly set out with the choicest cold delicacies, the chief ornament of which was a Bayonne ham, and a pasty of red partridges. Paul Talkebarth, when Albert expressed his satisfaction, said, waggishly smiling, that if he had not been present, and had not given Mariane a hint of what it was that the lieutenant-colonel liked, as suppenfink (super-fine)—but that, nevertheless, he could not forget his aunt Lizzy, who had burned the rice-pudding on his wedding-day, and that he had now been a widower for thirty years, and one could not tell, since marriages were made in heaven, and that Mariane—but that it was the gracious baroness who had given him the best herself, namely, a whole basket of celery for the gentleman. Albert did not know why such an unreasonable quantity of vegetable food should be served, and was highly delighted, when Paul Talkebarth brought the basket, which contained—not celery—but six bottles of the finest vin de Sillery.

While Albert was enjoying himself, Victor narrated how he had come to the estate of the Baron von E——.

The fatigues of the first campaign (1813), which had often proved too much for the strongest constitutions, had ruined Victor’s health. The waters at Aix-la-Chapelle would, he hoped, restore him, and he was residing there when Bonaparte’s flight from Elba gave the signal for a new and sanguinary contest. When preparations were making for the campaign, Victor received orders from the Residence to join the army on the Lower Rhine, if his health permitted; but fate allowed him no more than a ride of four or five leagues. Just before the gate of the house in which the friends now were, Victor’s horse, which had usually been the surest and most fearless animal in the world, and had been tried in the wildest tumults of battle, suddenly took fright, and reared, and Victor fell—to use his own words—like a schoolboy who has mounted a horse for the first time. He lay insensible, while the blood flowed from a severe wound in his head, which he had struck against a sharp stone. He was carried into the house, and here, as removal seemed dangerous, he was forced to remain till the time of his recovery, which did not yet seem complete, since, although the wound had been long healed, he was weakened by the attacks of fever. Victor spoke of the care and attention which the baroness had bestowed upon him in terms of the warmest gratitude.

“Well,” cried Albert, laughing aloud, “for this I was not prepared. I thought you were going to tell me something very extraordinary, and now, lo, and behold—don’t be offended—the whole affair seems to turn out a silly sort of story, like those that have been so worn out in a hundred stupid novels, that nobody with decency can have any thing to do with such adventures. The wounded knight is borne into the castle, the mistress of the house tends him, and he becomes a tender Amoroso. For, Victor, that you, in spite of your good taste hitherto, in spite of your whole mode of life, should all of a sudden fall in love with a plump elderly woman, who is homely and domestic to the last degree, that you should play the pining lack-a-daisical youth, who, as somebody says, ‘sighs like an oven, and makes songs on his mistress’s tears,’—that, I say, I can only look upon as a sort of disease! The only thing that could excuse you in any way, and put you in a poetical light, would be the Spanish Infanta in the ‘Physician of his Honour,’[2] who, meeting a fate similar to yours, fell upon his nose before Donna Menzia’s gate, and at last found the beloved one, who unconsciously—”

“Stop!” interrupted Victor, “stop! Don’t you think that I see clearly enough, that you take me for a silly dolt? No, no, there is something else—something more mysterious at work. Let us drink!”

The wine, and Albert’s lively talk, had produced a wholesome excitement in Victor, who seemed aroused from a gloomy dream. But when, at last, Albert, raising his full glass, said, “Now, Victor, my dear Infanta, here’s a health to Donna Menzia, and may she look like our little pet hostess.”—Victor cried, laughing, “No, no, I cannot bear that you should take me for a fool. I feel quite cheerful, and ready to make a confession to you of every thing! You must, however, submit to hear an entire youthful period of my life, and it is possible that half the night will be taken up by the narrative.”

“Begin!” replied Albert, “for I see we have enough wine to cheer up our somewhat sinking spirits. I only wish it was not so confoundedly cold, nor a crime to wake up the good folks of the house.”

“Perhaps,” said Victor, “Paul Talkebarth may have made some provision.” And, indeed, the said Paul, cursing in his well-known French dialect, courteously assured them, that he had cut small and kept excellent wood for firing, which he was ready to kindle at once. “Fortunately,” said Victor, “the same thing cannot happen to me here, that happened at a drysalter’s at Meaux, where honest Paul lit me a fire that cost, at least, 1200 francs. The good fellow had got hold of Brazilian sandal-wood, hacked it to pieces, and put it on the hearth, so that I looked almost like Andolosia, the famous son of the celebrated Fortunatus, whose cook had to light a fire of spices, because the king forbade him to buy wood. You know,” continued Victor, as the fire merrily crackled and flamed up, and Paul Talkebarth had left the room, “you know, my dear friend, Albert, that I began my military career in the guards, at Potsdam; indeed, that is nearly all you know of my younger days, because I never had a special opportunity to talk about them—and, still more, because the picture of those years has been represented to my soul in dim outlines, and did not, until I came here, flame up again in bright colours. My first education, in my father’s house, does not even deserve the name of a bad one. I had, in fact, no education at all, but was left entirely to my own inclinations, and these indicated any thing rather than a call to the profession of arms. I felt manifestly impelled towards a scientific culture, which the old magister, who was my appointed tutor, and who only liked to be left in quiet, could not give me. At Potsdam I gained with facility a knowledge of modern languages, while I zealously and successfully pursued those studies that are requisite for an officer. I read, besides, with a kind of mania, all that fell into my hands, without selection or regard to utility; however, as my memory was excellent, I had acquired a mass of historical knowledge, I scarcely knew how. People have since done me the honour to assure me that a poetical spirit dwelled in me, which I myself would not rightly appreciate. Certain it is that the chefs-d’oeuvre of the great poets, of that period, raised me to a state of inspiration of which I had previously no notion. I appeared to myself as another being, developed for the first time into active life. I will only name the ‘Sorrows of Werther,’ and, more especially, Schiller’s ‘Robbers.’ My fancy received an impulse quite of a different sort from a book, which, for the very reason that it is not finished, gives the mind an impetus that keeps it swinging like a pendulum in constant motion. I mean Schiller’s ‘Ghostseer.’ It may be that the inclination to the mystical and marvellous, which is generally deep-rooted in human nature, was particularly prevalent in me;—whatever was the cause, it is sufficient for me to say that, when I read that book, which seems to contain the exorcising formula belonging to the mightiest black art, a magical kingdom, full of super-terrestrial, or, rather, sub-terrestrial marvels, was opened to me, in which I moved about as a dreamer. Once given to this mood, I eagerly swallowed all that would accord with it, and even works of far less worth did not fail in their effect upon me. Thus the ‘Genius,’ by Grosse, made a deep impression upon me, and I have the less reason to feel ashamed of this, since the first part, at least, on account of the liveliness of the style and the clear treatment of the subject, produced a sensation through the whole literary world. Many an arrest I was obliged to endure, when upon guard, for being absorbed in such a book, or perhaps only in mystic dreams, I did not hear the call, and was forced to be fetched by the inferior officer. Just at this time chance made me acquainted with a very extraordinary man. It happened on a fine summer evening, when the sun had already sunk, and twilight had already begun, that, according to my custom, I was walking alone in a pleasure ground near Potsdam. I fancied that, from the thicket of a little wood, which lay by the road-side, I could hear plaintive sounds, and some words uttered with energy in a language unknown to me. I thought some one wanted assistance, so I hastened to the spot whence the sounds seemed to proceed, and soon, in the red glimmer of the evening, discovered a large, broad-shouldered figure, enveloped in a common military mantle, and stretched upon the ground. Approaching nearer I recognised, to my astonishment, Major O’Malley of the grenadiers. ‘Good heavens!’ I exclaimed, ‘is this you, major? In this situation? Are you ill? Can I help you?’ The major looked at me with a fixed, wild stare, and then said, in a harsh voice, ‘What the devil brings you here, lieutenant? What does it matter to you whether I lie here or not? Go back to the town!’ Nevertheless, the deadly paleness of O’Malley’s face made me suspect that there was something wrong, and I declared that I would not leave him, but would only return to the town in his company. ‘Good!’ said the major, quite coldly and deliberately, after he had remained silent for some moments, and had endeavoured to raise himself, in which attempt, as it appeared to be attended with difficulty, I assisted him. I perceived now that—as was frequently the case when he went out in the evening—he had nothing but a shirt under the cloak, which was a common commis-mantel as they call it, that he had put on his boots, and that he wore upon his bald head his officer’s hat, with broad gold lace. A pistol, which lay on the ground near him, he caught up hastily, and, to conceal it from me, put it into the pocket of his cloak. During the whole way to the town he did not speak a syllable to me, but now and then uttered disjointed phrases in his own language—he was an Irishman by birth—which I did not understand. When he had reached his quarters he pressed my hand, and said, in a tone in which there was something indescribable—something that had never been heard before, and which still echoes in my soul: ‘Good night, lieutenant! Heaven guard you, and give you good dreams!’ This Major O’Malley was one of the strangest men possible, and if, perhaps, I except a few somewhat eccentric Englishmen, whom I have met, I know no officer in the whole great army to compare in outward appearance with O’Malley. If it be true—as some travellers affirm—that nature nowhere produces such peculiarities as in Ireland, and that, therefore, every family can exhibit the prettiest cabinet pictures, Major O’Malley would justly serve as a prototype for all his nation. Imagine a man strong as a tree, six feet high, whose build could scarcely be called awkward, but none of whose limbs fitted the rest, so that his whole figure seemed huddled together, as in that game where figures are composed of single parts, the numbers on which are decided by the throw of the dice. An aquiline nose, and delicately formed lips would have given a noble appearance to his countenance, but his prominent glassy eyes were almost repulsive, and his black bushy eyebrows had the character of a comic mask. Strangely enough there was something lachrymose in the major’s face whenever he laughed, which, by the way, seldom happened, while he seemed to laugh whenever the wildest passion mastered him, and in this laugh there was something so terrific, that the oldest and most stout-hearted fellows would shudder at it. But, however, seldom as Major O’Malley laughed, it was just as seldom that he allowed himself to be carried away by passion. That the major should ever have an uniform to fit him seemed an utter impossibility. The best tailors in the regiment failed utterly when they applied their art to the formless figure of the major; his coat, though cut according to the most accurate measure, fell into unseemly folds, and hung on his body as if placed there to be brushed, while his sword dangled against his legs, and his hat sat upon his head in such a queer fashion that the military schismatic might be recognised a hundred paces off. A thing quite unheard of in those days in which there was so much pedantry in matters of form—O’Malley wore no tail! To be sure a tail could scarcely have been fastened to the few gray locks that curled at the back of his head, and, with the exception of these, he was perfectly bald. When the major rode, people expected every moment to see him tumble from his horse, when he fought they expected to see him beaten; and yet he was the very best rider and fencer,—in a word, the very best Gymnastiker that could exist.

“This will suffice to give you the picture of a man, whose whole mode of life might be called mysterious, as he now threw away large sums, now seemed in want of assistance, and removed from all the control of superiors, and every restraint of service, could do exactly as he liked. And even that which he did like was so eccentric, or rather so splenetically mad, that one felt uneasy about his sanity. They said that the major, at a certain period, when Potsdam and its environs was the scene of a strange mystification, that even found a place in the history of the day, had played an important part, and still stood in certain relations, which caused the incomprehensibility of his position. A book of very ill-repute, which appeared at the time—it was called ‘Excorporations,’ if I mistake not,—and which contained the portrait of a man very like the major, increased that belief, and I, struck by the mysterious contents of this book, felt the more inclined to consider O’Malley a sort of Arminian, the more I observed his chimerical, I may almost say supernatural proceedings. He himself gave me additional opportunity to make such observations, for since the evening on which I found him ill, or otherwise overcome, in the wood, he had taken an especial fancy to me, so that it seemed absolutely necessary for him to see me every day. To describe to you the whole peculiarity of this intercourse with the major, to tell you a great deal that seemed to confirm the judgment of the men, who boldly maintained that he had second-sight, and was in compact with the devil, would be superfluous, as you will soon have sufficient knowledge of the awful spirit that was destined to disturb the peace of my life.

“I was on guard at the castle, and there received a visit from my cousin, Captain von T——, who had come with a young officer from Berlin to Potsdam. We were indulging in friendly converse over our wine, when, towards midnight, Major O’Malley entered. ‘I thought to find you alone, lieutenant,’ said he, casting glances of displeasure at my guests, and he wished to depart at once. The captain then reminded him that they were old acquaintance, and at my request he consented to remain.

“‘Your wine,’ exclaimed O’Malley, as he tossed down a bumper, after his usual manner; ‘your wine, lieutenant, is the vilest stuff that ever tortured an honest fellow’s bowels. Let us see if this is of a better sort.’

“He then took a bottle from the pocket of the cloak which he had drawn over his shirt, and filled the glasses. We pronounced the wine excellent, and considered it to be very fiery Hungarian.

“Somehow or other, I cannot say how, conversation turned upon magical operations, and particularly upon the book of ill report, to which I have already alluded. The captain, especially when he had drunk wine, had a certain scoffing tone, which every one could not endure, and in this tone he began to talk about military exorcisors and wizards, who had done very pretty things at that time, so that even at the present time people revered their power, and made offerings to it. ‘Whom do you mean?’ cried O’Malley, in a threatening tone; ‘whom do you mean, captain? If you mean me, we will put the subject of raising spirits aside; I can show you that I understand the art of conjuring the soul out of the body, and for that art I require no talisman but my sword or a good pistol-barrel.’

“There was nothing the captain desired less than a quarrel with O’Malley. He therefore gave a neat turn to the subject, asserting that he did indeed mean the major, but intended nothing but a jest, which was, perhaps, an ill-timed one. Now, however, he would ask the major in earnest, whether he would not do well by contradicting the silly rumour, that he commanded mysterious powers, and thus, in his own person, check the foolish superstition, which by no means accorded with an age so enlightened. The major leaned completely across the table, rested his head on both his fists, so that his nose was scarcely a span removed from the captain’s face, and then said very calmly, staring at him with his prominent eyes: ‘Even, friend, if Heaven has not blessed you with a very penetrating intellect, I hope you will be able to see, that it is the silliest conceit, nay, I may say, the most atrocious presumption to believe that with our own spiritual existence every thing is concluded, and that there are no spiritual beings, which, differently endowed from ourselves, often from their own nature alone, make themselves temporary forms, manifest themselves in space and time, and further, aiming at a sort of reaction, can take refuge in the mass of clay, which we call a body. I do not reproach you, captain, for not having read, and for being ignorant of every thing that cannot be learned at a review or on parade, but this I will tell you, that if you had peeped now and then into clever books, and knew Cardanus, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria, Macrobius, Trismegistus, Nollius, Dorneus, Theophrastus, Fludd, William Postel, Mirandola; nay, even the cabalistic Jews, Josephus and Philo, you might have had an inkling of things which are at present above your horizon, and of which you therefore have no right to talk.’

“With these words O’Malley sprang up, and walked up and down with heavy steps, so that the windows and glasses vibrated.

“The captain, somewhat astonished, assured the major, that although he had the highest esteem for his learning, and did not wish to deny that there were, nay, must be, higher spiritual natures, he was firmly convinced that any communication with an unknown spiritual world was contrary to the very conditions of humanity, and therefore impossible, and that any thing advanced as a proof of the contrary, was based on self-delusion or imposture.

“After the captain had been silent for a few seconds, O’Malley suddenly stood still, and began, ‘Captain, or,’—turning to me,—‘lieutenant, do me the favour to sit down and write an epic as noble and as superhumanly great as the Iliad.’

“We both answered, that neither of us would succeed, as neither of us had the Homeric genius. ‘Ha! ha!’ cried the major, ‘mark that, captain! Because your mind is incapable of conceiving and bringing forth the divine; nay, because your nature is not so constituted, that it can even kindle into the knowledge of it, you presume to deny that such things are possible with any one. I tell you, the intercourse with higher spiritual natures depends on a particular psychic organisation. That organisation, like the creative power of poetry, is a gift which the spirit of the universe bestows upon its favourites.’

“I read in the captain’s face, that he was on the point of making some satirical reply to the major. To stop this, I took up the conversation myself, and remarked to the major that, as far as I had any knowledge of the subject, the cabalists prescribed certain rules and forms, that intercourse with unknown spiritual beings might be attained. Before the major could reply, the captain, who was heated with wine, sprang from his seat, and said bitterly, ‘What is the use of all this talking? You give yourself out as a superior being, major, and want to believe, that because you are made of better stuff than any of us, you command spirits! You must allow me to believe that you are nothing but a besotted dreamer, until you give us some ocular demonstration of your psychic power.’

“The major laughed wildly, and said, ‘So, captain, you take me for a common necromancer, a miserable juggler, do you? That accords with your limited view! However, you shall be permitted to take a peep into a dark region of which you have no notion, and which may, perhaps, have a destructive effect upon you. I warn you against it, and would have you reflect, that your mind may not be strong enough to bear many things, which to me would be no more than agreeable pastime.’

“The captain protested that he was quite ready to cope with all the spirits and devils that O’Malley could raise, and we were obliged to give our word of honour to the major that we would meet him at ten o’clock on the night of the autumnal equinox, at the inn near the —— gate, when we should learn more.

“In the meanwhile it had become clear daylight; the sun was shining through the window. The major then placed himself in the middle of the room, and cried with a voice of thunder, ‘Incubus! Incubus! Nehmahmihah Scedim!’ He then threw off his cloak, which he had not yet laid aside, and stood in full uniform.

“At that moment I was obliged to leave the room as the guard was getting under arms. When I returned, the major and the captain had both vanished.

“‘I only stayed behind,’ said the young officer, a good, amiable youth, whom I found alone.—‘I only stayed behind to warn you against this major, this fearful man! I will have nothing to do with his fearful secrets, and I only regret that I have given my word to be present at a deed, which will be destructive, perhaps, to us all, and certainly to the captain. You may depend upon it that I am not inclined to believe in the tales that old nurses tell to children; but did you observe that the major successively took eight bottles from his pocket, that seemed scarcely large enough to hold one?—that at last, although he wore nothing but his shirt under his cloak, he suddenly stood attired by invisible hands?’ It was, indeed, as the lieutenant had said, and I felt an icy shudder come over me.

“On the appointed day the captain called upon me with my young friend, and at the stroke of ten we were at the inn as we had promised the major. The lieutenant was silent and reserved, but the captain was so much the louder and in high spirits. ‘Indeed!’ he cried, when it was already half-past ten, and no O’Malley had made his appearance, ‘indeed I believe that the conjuror has left us in the lurch with all his spirits and devils!’ ‘That he has not,’ said a voice close behind the captain, and O’Malley was among us without any one having seen how he entered. The laugh, into which the captain was about to break, died away.

“The major, who was dressed as usual in his military cloak, thought that there was time to drink a few glasses of punch before he took us to the place where he designed to fulfill his promise. It would do us good as the night was cold and rough, and we had a tolerably long way to go. We sat down at a table, on which the major had laid some links bound together, and a book.

“‘Ho ho!’ cried the captain, ‘this is your conjuring book is it, major?’

“‘Most assuredly,’ replied O’Malley, drily.

“The captain seized the book, opened it, and at that moment laughed so immoderately, that we did not know what could have struck him, as being so very ridiculous.

“‘Come,’ said he, recovering himself with difficulty, ‘come, this is too bad! What the devil, major—oh, you want to play your tricks upon us, or have you made some mistake? Only look here, comrades!’

“You may conceive our astonishment, friend Albert, when we saw that the book which the captain held before our eyes, was no other than ‘Peplier’s French Grammar.’ O’Malley took the book out of the captain’s hand, put it into the pocket in his cloak, and then said very quietly—indeed his whole demeanour was quiet and milder than usual—‘It must be very immaterial to you, captain, of what instruments I make use to fulfill my promise, which only binds me to give you a sensible demonstration of my intercourse with the world of spirits which surrounds us, and which, in fact, comprises the condition of our higher being. Do you think that my power requires such paltry crutches as especial mystical forms, choice of a particular time, a remote awful spot—things which paltry cabalists are in the habit of employing for their useless experiments? In the open market-place, at every hour, I could show you my power; and when, after you had presumptuously enough challenged me to enter the lists, I chose a particular time, and, as you will perceive, a place that you may think rather awful, I only wished to show a civility to him, who, on this occasion, is to be in some sort your guest. One likes to receive guests in one’s best room, and at the most suitable hour.’

“It struck eleven, the major took up the torches, and desired us to follow him.

“He strode so quickly along the high road that we had a difficulty in following him, and when we had reached the toll-house, turned into a footpath on the right, that led to a thick wood of firs. After we had run for nearly an hour, the major stood still, and told us to keep close behind him, as we might otherwise lose ourselves in the thicket of the wood that we now had to enter. We went through the densest bushes, so that one or the other of us was constantly caught by the uniform or the sword, so as to extricate himself with difficulty, until at last we came to an open space. The moonbeams were breaking through the dark clouds, and I perceived the ruins of a large building, into which the major strode. It grew darker and darker; the major desired us to stand still, as he wished to conduct every one of us down singly. He began with the captain, and my turn came next. The major clasped me round, and I was more carried by him than I walked into the depth. ‘Stop here,’ whispered the major, ‘stop here quietly till I have fetched the lieutenant, then my work shall begin.’

“Amid the impenetrable darkness I heard the breathing of a person who stood close by me. ‘Is that you, captain?’ I exclaimed. ‘Certainly it is,’ replied the captain, ‘have a care, cousin; this will all end in foolish jugglery, but it is a cursed place to which the major has brought us, and I wish we were sitting at a bowl of punch, for my limbs are all trembling with cold, and, if you will have it so, with a certain childish apprehension.’

“It was no better with me than with the captain. The boisterous autumn wind whistled and howled through the walls, and a strange groaning and whispering answered it from below. Scared night birds swept fluttering by us, while a low whining noise seemed to be gliding away close to the ground. Truly both the captain and myself might say of the horrors of our situation the same thing that Cervantes says of Don Quixote, when he passes the portentous night before the adventure with the fulling-mills: ‘One less courageous would have lost his presence of mind altogether.’ The splashing of some water in the vicinity, and the barking of dogs, showed that we were not far from the leather-manufactory, which is by the river in the neighbourhood of Potsdam. We at last heard some dully sounding steps, which became nearer and nearer until the major cried out close to us: ‘Now we are together, and that which we have begun can be completed.’ By means of a chemical fire-box he kindled the torches which he had brought with him and stuck them in the ground. They were seven in number. We found that we were in the ruined vault of a cellar. O’Malley ranged us in a half-circle, threw off his cloak and shirt, so that he remained naked to the waist, and opening the book began to read as follows, in a voice that more resembled the dull roaring of a distant beast of prey than the sound of a human being: Monsieur, pretez moi un peu, s’il vous plâit, votre canif.—Oui, Monsieur, d’abord—le voilà, je vous le rendrai.’

“Come,” said Albert, here interrupting his friend, “this is indeed too bad! The dialogue ‘On writing,’ from Peplier’s Grammar, as a formula for exorcism! And you did not laugh out and bring the whole thing to an end at once?”

“I am now,” continued Victor, “coming to a moment which I doubt whether I shall succeed in describing. May your fancy only give animation to my words! The major’s voice grew more awful, while the wind howled more loudly, and the flickering light of the torches covered the walls with strange forms, that changed as they flitted by. I felt the cold perspiration dripping on my forehead, and forcibly succeeded in preserving my presence of mind, when a cutting tone whistled through the vault, and close before my eyes stood something——”

“How?” cried Albert. “Something! What do you mean, Victor? A frightful form?”

“It sounds absurd,” continued Victor, “to talk of ‘a formless form,’ but I can find no other word to express the hideous something that I saw. It is enough to say that at that moment the horror of hell thrust its pointed ice-dagger into my heart, and I became insensible. At broad mid-day I found myself undressed and lying upon my couch. All the horrors of the night had passed, and I felt quite well and easy. My young friend, the lieutenant, was asleep in the arm-chair. As soon as I stirred he awoke, and testified the greatest joy at finding me in perfect health. From him I learned that as soon as the major had begun his gloomy work, he had closed his eyes, and had endeavoured closely to follow the dialogue from Peplier’s Grammar, without regarding any thing else. Notwithstanding all his efforts, a fearful apprehension, hitherto unknown, had gained the mastery over him, though he preserved his consciousness. The frightful whistle, was, he said, followed by wild laughter. He had once involuntarily opened his eyes, and perceived the major, who had again thrown his mantle round him, and was upon the point of taking upon his shoulders the captain, who lay senseless on the ground. ‘Take care of your friend,’ cried O’Malley to the lieutenant, and giving him a torch, he went up with the captain. The lieutenant then spoke to me, as I stood there immoveable, but it was to no purpose. I seemed quite paralysed, and he had the greatest difficulty in bringing me into the open air. Suddenly the major returned, took me on his shoulders, and carried me away as he had carried the captain before. But what was the horror of the lieutenant, when on leaving the wood, he saw a second O’Malley who was carrying the captain along the broad path! However, silently praying to himself, he got the better of his horror, and followed me, firmly resolved not to quit me, happen what might, till we reached my quarters, where O’Malley set me down and left me, without speaking a word. With the help of my servant,—who even then, was my honest Eulenspiegel, Paul Talkebarth; the lieutenant had brought me into my room, and put me to bed.

“Having concluded this narrative, my young friend implored me, in the most touching manner, to shun all association with the terrible O’Malley. The physician, who had been called in, found the captain in the inn by the gate, where we had assembled, struck speechless by apoplexy. He recovered, indeed, but remained unfit for the service, and was forced to quit it. The major had vanished, having, as the officers said, obtained leave of absence. I was glad that I did not see him again, for a deep indignation had mingled itself with the horror which his dark mode of life occasioned. My cousin’s misfortune was the work of O’Malley, and it seemed my duty to take a sanguinary revenge.

“A considerable time had elapsed, and the remembrance of that fatal night grew faint. The occupations required by the service overcame my propensity to mystical dreaming. A book then fell into my hands, the effect of which, on my whole being, seemed perfectly inexplicable, even to myself. I mean that strange story of Cazotte’s, which is known in a German translation as ‘Teufel Amor’ (The Devil Love). My natural bashfulness, nay, a kind of childish timidity, had kept me from the society of ladies, while the particular direction of my mind resisted every ebullition of rude passion. Now, for the first time, was a sensual tendency revealed in me which I had never suspected. My pulse beat high, a consuming fire coursed through nerves and veins, as I went through those scenes of the most dangerous, nay, most horrible love, which the poet had described in the most glowing colours. I saw, I heard, I was sensible to nothing but the charming Biondetta. I sank under the pleasing torments, like Alvarez——”

“Stop, stop!” interrupted Albert, “I have no very clear remembrance of Cazotte’s ‘Diable Amoureux;’ but, so far as I recollect, the whole story turns upon the circumstance that a young officer of the guards, in the service of the King of Naples, is tempted by a mystical comrade to raise the devil in the ruins of Portici. When he has uttered the formula of exorcism, a hideous camel’s head, with a long neck, thrust itself towards him out of a window, and cries, in a horrible voice, ‘Che vuoi.’ Alvarez—so is the young officer named—commands the spectre to appear in the shape of a spaniel, and then in that of a page. This happens; but the page soon becomes a most charming, amorous girl, and completely entangles the enchanter. How Cazotte’s pretty story concludes has quite escaped me.”

“That is at present quite immaterial,” said Victor; “but you will perhaps be reminded of it by the conclusion to my story. Attribute it to my propensity to the wonderful, and also to something mysterious which I experienced, that Cazotte’s tale soon appeared to me a magic mirror, in which I could discern my own fate. Was not O’Malley to me that mystical Dutchman who decoyed Alvarez by his arts?

“The desire which glowed in my heart, of achieving the terrible adventure of Alvarez, filled me with horror; but even this horror made me tremble with unspeakable delight, such as I had never before known. Often did a wish arise within me, that O’Malley would return and place in my arms the hell-birth, to which my entire self was abandoned, and I could not kill the sinful hope and deep abhorrence which again darted through my heart like a dagger. The strange mood produced by my excited condition remained a mystery to all; they thought I suffered from some morbid state of mind, and sought to cheer me and dissipate my gloomy thoughts. Under the pretext of some service, they sent me to the Residence, where the most brilliant circle was open to me. But if I had always been shy and bashful, society—especially the approach of ladies—now produced in me absolute repugnance. The most charming only seemed to scoff at Biondetta’s image which I bore within me. When I returned to Potsdam, I shunned all association with my comrades, and my favourite abode was the wood—the scene of those frightful events that had nearly cost my poor cousin his life. I stood close by the ruins, and, being impelled by an undefined desire, was on the point of making my way in, through the thick brushwood, when I suddenly saw O’Malley, who walked slowly out, and did not seem to perceive me. My long repressed anger boiled up instantly, I darted upon the major, and told him in few words, that he must fight with me on account of my cousin. ‘Be it so at once,’ said the major, coldly and gravely, and he threw off his mantle, drew his sword, and at the very first pass struck mine out of my hand with irresistible force and dexterity. ‘We will fight with pistols,’ cried I, wild with rage, and was about to pick up my sword, when O’Malley held me fast, and said, in a calm mild tone, such as I had scarcely ever heard from him before: ‘Do not be a fool, my son! You see that I am your superior in fighting; you could sooner wound the air than me, and I could never prevail on myself to stand in a hostile position to you, to whom I owe my life, and indeed something more.’ The major then took me by the arm, and gently drawing me along, proved to me that the captain alone had been the cause of his own misfortune, since, in spite of every warning, he had ventured on things to which he was unequal, and had forced the major to do what he did, by his ill-timed and insulting raillery. I myself cannot tell what a singular magic there was in O’Malley’s words, nay, in his whole manner. He not only succeeded in quieting me, but had such an effect upon me, that I involuntarily revealed to him the secret of my internal condition—of the destructive warfare that was carried on within my soul. ‘The particular constellation,’ said O’Malley, when I had finished, ‘which rules over you, my son, has now ordained that a silly book should make you attentive to your own internal being. I call the book silly, because it treats of a goblin that is at once repulsive and without character. What you ascribe to the effect of these licentious images of the poet, is nothing but an impulse towards an union with a spiritual being of another region, which results from your happily constituted organisation. If you had shown more confidence in me, you would have been on a higher grade long ago. However, I will take you as my scholar.’ O’Malley now began to make me acquainted with the nature of elementary spirits. I understood little that he said, but all referred to the doctrine of sylphs, undines, salamanders, and gnomes, such as you may find in the dialogues of the Comte de Cabalis. He concluded by prescribing me a particular course of life, and thought that in the course of a year I might obtain my Biondetta, who would certainly not do me the wrong of changing into the incarnate Satan in my arms. With the same ardour as Alvarez, I thought that I should die of impatience in so long a time, and would venture any thing to attain my end sooner. The major remained reflecting in silence for some moments, and then said: ‘It is certain that an elementary spirit is seeking your good graces. This may enable you to obtain that in a short time, for which others strive during whole years. I will cast your horoscope. Perhaps your mistress will reveal herself to me. In nine days you shall hear more.’ I actually counted the hours, feeling now penetrated by a mysterious delightful hope, and now as if I had involved myself in a dangerous affair. Late in the evening of the ninth day, the major at last entered my room, and desired me to follow him. ‘Are we to go to the ruins?’ I asked. ‘Certainly not,’ replied O’Malley, smiling, ‘for the work which we now have in hand, we want neither a remote awful spot, nor a terrible exorcism out of Peplier’s grammar. Besides, my incubus can have no part in to-day’s experiment, which, properly speaking, you undertake, not I.’ The major conducted me to his quarters, and there explained to me that the matter was to procure something by means of which my own self might be opened to the elementary spirit, and the latter might have the power of revealing itself to me in the invisible world, and holding intercourse with me. This something was what the Jewish cabalists called ‘Teraphim.’ He now pushed aside a bookcase, opened the door concealed behind it, and we entered a little vaulted cabinet, in which, besides all sorts of strange unknown utensils, I saw a complete apparatus for chemical—or, as I might almost believe—alchemical experiments. From the glaring charcoal on a small hearth were darting forth little blue flames. Before this hearth I had to sit opposite the major, and to uncover my bosom. I had no sooner done this, than the major, before I was aware of it, scratched me with a lancet under the left breast, and caught in a little vial the few drops of blood that flowed from the slight wound, which I could scarcely feel. He next took a bright plate of metal, polished like a mirror, poured upon it first another vial that contained a reddish liquid, and afterwards the one filled with my blood, and then held the plate close over the charcoal fire. I was seized with deep horror, when I thought I saw a long, pointed, glaring tongue rise serpent-like upon the coals, and greedily lick away the blood from the metallic mirror. The major now told me to look into the fire with a mind firmly fixed. I did so, and soon I seemed to behold, as in a dream, a number of confused forms, flashing through one another on the metal, which the major still held over the charcoal. Suddenly, I felt in my breast, where the major had scratched my skin, such a strong, piercing pain, that I involuntarily shrieked aloud. ‘Won! Won!’ cried O’Malley at that instant, and, rising from his seat, he placed before me on the hearth a little doll, about two inches long, into which the metal seemed to have formed itself. ‘That,’ said the major, ‘is your Teraphim. The favours of the elementary spirit towards you seem to be more than ordinary. You may now venture on the utmost.’ At the major’s bidding, I took the little figure, from which, though it looked red-hot, only a genial warmth was streaming, pressed it to the wound, and placed myself before a round mirror, from which the major had withdrawn the covering. ‘Force your wishes,’ said O’Malley, ‘to the greatest intensity, which will not be difficult, as the Teraphim is operating, and utter in the sweetest tone of which you are capable, the word ——.’ To tell you the truth, I have forgotten the strange-sounding word, which was spoken by O’Malley. Scarcely had half the syllables passed my lips, than an ugly, madly-distorted face grinned at me spitefully from the mirror. ‘In the name of all the devils, whence come you, you accursed dog?’ yelled O’Malley behind me. I turned round, and saw my Paul Talkebarth, who was standing in the door-way, and whose handsome face was reflected in the magic mirror. The major, wild with rage, flew at honest Paul; yet, before I could get between them, O’Malley stood close to him, perfectly motionless, and Paul availed himself of the opportunity to make a prolix apology; saying, how he had looked for me, how he had found the door open, how he had walked in, &c. ‘Begone, rascal,’ said O’Malley at last, in a quieter tone, and when I added, ‘Go, good Paul, I will return home directly;’ the Eulenspiegel departed quite terrified and confounded.

“I had held the doll fast in my hand, and O’Malley assured me, that it was owing to this circumstance alone, that all our labour had not been in vain. Talkebarth’s ill-timed intrusion had, however, delayed the completion of the work for a long time. He advised me to turn off that faithful servant, but this I had not the heart to do. Moreover, he assured me that the elementary spirit which had shown me such favour, was nothing less than a salamander, as indeed, he suspected, when he cast my horoscope and found that Mars stood in the first house. I now come again to moments of which you can have but a slight notion, as words are incapable of describing them. The Devil Amor, Biondetta—all was forgotten; I thought only of my Teraphim. For whole hours I could look at the doll, as it lay on the table before me, and the glow of love that streamed through my veins seemed then, like the heavenly fire of Prometheus, to animate the little figure which grew up as in ardent longing. But this form vanished as soon as I had thought it, and the unspeakable anguish which cut through my heart, was associated with a strange indignation, that impelled me to fling the doll away from me as a miserable ridiculous toy. Yet when I grasped it, an electric shock seemed to dart through all my limbs, and I felt as if a separation from the talisman of love would annihilate me. I will openly confess to you that my passion, although the proper object of it was an elementary spirit, was directed among all sorts of equivocal dreams towards objects in the miserable world that surrounded me, so that my excited fancy made now this, now that lady, the representative of the coy salamander that eluded my embrace. I confessed my wrong, indeed, and entreated my little mystery to pardon my infidelity; but by the declining power of that strange crisis, which had ordinarily moved my inmost soul with glowing love; nay, by a certain unpleasant void, I could plainly feel that I was receding from my object rather than approaching it. And yet the passions of a youth, blooming in full vigour, seemed to deride my mystery and my repugnance. I trembled at the slightest touch of a charming woman, though I found myself red with blushes. Chance conducted me again to the Residence. I saw the Countess von L——, the most charming woman, and the greatest lover of conquests that then shone in the first circles of Berlin. She cast her glances upon me, and the mood in which I then was, naturally rendered it very easy for her to lure me completely into her toils. Nay, she at last induced me to reveal my whole soul, without reserve, to discover my secret, and even to show her the mysterious image that I wore upon my breast.”

“And,” interrupted Albert, “did she not laugh at you heartily, and call you a besotted youth?”

“Nothing of the sort,” continued Victor; “she listened to me with a seriousness which she had not shown on any other occasion, and when I had finished, she implored me, with tears in her eyes, to renounce the diabolical arts of the infamous O’Malley. Taking me by both my hands, and looking at me with an expression of the tenderest love, she spoke of the dark practices of the cabalistic art in a manner so learned and so profound, that I was not a little surprised. But my astonishment reached the highest point, when she called the major the most abandoned, abominable traitor, for trying to lure me into destruction by his black art, when I had saved his life. Weary of existence, and in danger of being crushed to the earth by the deepest ignominy, O’Malley was, it seems, on the point of shooting himself, when I stepped in and prevented the suicide, for which he no longer felt any inclination, as the evil that oppressed him had been averted. The countess concluded by assuring me, that if the major had plunged me into a state of psychic distemper, she would save me, and that the first step to that end would consist in my delivering the little image into her hands. This I did readily, for thus I thought I should, in the most beautiful manner, be freed from a useless torment. The countess would not have been what she really was had she not let a lover pine a long time in vain,—and this course she pursued with me. At last, however, my passion was to be requited. At midnight a confidential servant waited for me at the back door of the palace, and led me through distant passages into an apartment which the god of love seemed to have decorated. There I was to expect the countess. Half overcome by the fumes of the fine scents that wound through the chamber, trembling with love and expectation, I stood in the midst of the room. All at once a glance darted through my soul like a flash of lightning—”

“How!” cried Albert, “a glance, and no eyes! And you saw nothing? Another formless form!”

“You may find it incomprehensible,” said Victor, “but so it was; I could see no form—nothing, and yet I felt the glance deep in my bosom, and a sudden pain quivered at the spot which O’Malley had wounded. At the same moment I perceived upon the chimney-piece my little image, grasped it, darted from the room, commanded the terrified servant, with a threatening gesture, to lead me down, ran home, awakened my man Paul, and had all my things packed up. At the earliest hour of morning I was already on my way back to Potsdam. I had passed several months at the Residence, my comrades were delighted at my unexpected return, and kept me fast the whole day, so that I did not return to my quarters till late at night. I placed the darling image I had recovered upon the table, and, no longer able to resist the effects of fatigue, threw myself on my couch without undressing. Soon a dreamy feeling came over me, as if I were surrounded by a beaming light;—I awoke;—I opened my eyes, and the room was indeed gleaming with magical radiance. But—Oh, Heavens!—on the same table on which I had laid the doll, I perceived a female figure, who, resting her head on her hand, appeared to slumber. I can only tell you that I never dreamed of a more delicate or graceful form—a more lovely face. To give you a notion in words of the strange mysterious magic, which beamed from this lovely figure, I am not able. She wore a silken flame-coloured dress, which, fitting tight to the waist and bosom, reached only to the ancles, exhibiting her delicately formed feet; the lovely arms, which were bare to the shoulders, and seemed both from their colour and form to have been breathed by Titian, were adorned with bracelets; in her brown, somewhat reddish hair, a diamond sparkled.”

“Oh!” said Albert, smiling, “thy salamandrine has no very exquisite taste. With reddish brown hair, she dresses in flame-coloured silk.”

“Do not jest,” continued Victor, “do not jest. I repeat to you that under the influence of a mysterious magic, my breath was stopped. At last a deep sigh escaped my oppressed bosom. She then opened her eyes, raised herself, approached me, and grasped my hand. All the glow of the most ardent love darted like a flash of lightning through my soul, when she gently pressed my hand, and whispered with the sweetest voice,—‘Yes, thou hast conquered—thou art my ruler—I am thine!’ ‘Oh, thou child of the Gods—thou heavenly being!’ I cried aloud; and embracing her, I pressed her close to my bosom. But at that instant the creature melted away in my arms.”

“How!” said Albert, interrupting his friend, “in Heaven’s name, melted away?”

“Melted away,” continued Victor, “in my arms. In no other manner can I describe to you my sensation of the incomprehensible disappearance of that lovely being. At the same time the glittering light was extinguished, and I fell, I do not know how, into a profound sleep. When I awoke I held the doll in my hand. I should weary you if I were to tell you more of my strange intercourse with that mysterious being, which now began and lasted for several weeks, than by saying that the visit was repeated every night in the same manner. Much as I strove against it, I could not resist the dreamy situation which came over me, and from which the lovely being awoke me with a kiss. She remained with me longer and longer on every occasion. She said much concerning mysterious things, but I listened more to the sweet melody of her voice, than to the words themselves. Even by day-time I often seemed to feel the warm breath of some being near me; nay, I often heard a whispering, a sighing close by me in society, especially when I spoke with any lady, so that all my thoughts were directed to my lovely mysterious mistress, and I was dumb and lifeless for all surrounding objects. It once happened at a party that a lady bashfully approached me to give me the kiss which I had won at a game of forfeits. But when I bent to her I felt—before my lips had touched hers—a loud kiss upon my mouth, and a soft voice whispered at the same time, ‘To me alone do your kisses belong.’ Both I and the lady were somewhat alarmed, while the rest of the party thought we had kissed in reality. This kiss I held to be a sign that Aurora—so I called my mysterious mistress—would now for good and all take some living shape, and no more leave me. When the lovely one again appeared to me on the following night, I entreated her in the usual manner, and in the most touching words, such as the ardour of love inspired to complete my happiness, and to be mine for ever in a visible form. She gently extricated herself from my arms, and then said with mild earnestness, ‘You know in what manner you became my master. My happiest wish was to belong to you entirely; but the fetters that bind me to the throne to which the race, of which I am one, is subjected, are only half-broken. The stronger, the more potent your sway, so much the freer do I feel from tormenting slavery. Our intercourse will become more and more intimate, and perhaps the goal may be reached before a year has elapsed. Would you, beloved, anticipate the destiny that presides over us, many a sacrifice, many a step, apparently doubtful, might be necessary.’ ‘No!’ I exclaimed, ‘for me nothing will be a sacrifice, no step will appear doubtful to obtain thee entirely. I cannot live longer without thee, I am dying of impatience—of unspeakable pain!’ Then Aurora embraced me, and whispered in a scarcely audible voice, ‘Art thou happy in my arms?’ ‘There is no other happiness,’ I exclaimed, and glowing with love even to madness, I pressed the charming creature to my bosom. I felt living kisses upon my lips, and these very kisses were melodies of heaven, through which I heard the words, ‘Couldst thou, to possess me, renounce the happiness of an unknown hereafter?’ An icy cold shudder trembled through me, but in the midst of this shudder passion raged still more furiously, and I cried in the involuntary madness of love, ‘Without thee there is no happiness!—I renounce—’

“I still believe that I stopped here. ‘To-morrow night our compact will be concluded,’ whispered Aurora, and I felt that she was about to vanish from my arms. I pressed her to me with greater force, she seemed to struggle in vain, when suddenly—I awoke from deep slumber, thinking of the Devil Amor, and the seductive Biondetta. What I had done in that fatal night fell heavily upon my soul. I thought of that unholy invocation by the horrible O’Malley, of the warnings of my pious young friend. I believed that I was in the toils of the evil one—that I was lost. Torn to the very depth of my soul, I sprang up and hastened into the open air. In the street I was met by the major, who held me fast while he said: ‘I congratulate you, lieutenant! To tell you the truth, I scarcely gave you credit for so much courage and resolution; you outstrip your master.’ Glowing with rage and shame, incapable of uttering a single word, I freed myself from his grasp and pursued my way. The major laughed behind me, and I could detect the scornful laughter of Satan. In the road near those fatal ruins, I perceived a veiled female form, who, lying under a tree, seemed absorbed in a soliloquy. I approached her cautiously, and overheard the words: ‘He is mine, he is mine—Oh! bliss of heaven! Even the last trial he has withstood. If men are capable of such love, what is our wretched existence without it?’ You may guess that it was Aurora whom I found. She threw back her veil, and love itself cannot be more charming. The delicate paleness of her cheeks, the glance that was sublimed into the sweetest melancholy, made me tremble with unspeakable pleasure. I felt ashamed of my dark thoughts; yet at the very moment when I wished to throw myself at her feet, she had vanished like a form of mist. At the same time I heard a sound in the hedges, as of one clearing one’s throat, and out stepped my honest Eulenspiegel, Paul Talkebarth. ‘Whence did the devil bring you, fellow?’ I began.

“‘No, no,’ said he, with that queer smile which you know, ‘the devil did not bring me here, but very likely he met me. You went out so early, gracious lieutenant, and had forgotten your pipe and tobacco, and I thought so early in the morning, in the damp air—for my aunt at Genthin used to say—’

“‘Hold your tongue, prattle, and give me that,’ cried I, as I made him hand me the lighted pipe. Scarcely, however, had we proceeded a few paces, than Paul began again very softly, ‘My aunt at Genthin used to say, the Root-mannikin (Wurzelmännlein) was not to be trusted; indeed, such a chap was no better than an incubus or a chezim, and ended by breaking one’s heart. Old coffee Lizzy here in the suburbs—ah, gracious sir, you should only see what fine flowers, and men, and animals she can pour out. Man should help himself as he can, my aunt at Genthin used to say. I was yesterday with Lizzy and took her a little fine mocha. One of us has a heart as well as the rest—Becker’s Dolly is a pretty thing, but then there is something so odd about her eyes, so salamander-like’—

“‘What is that you say, fellow?’ I exclaimed, hastily. Paul was silent, but began again in a few seconds: ‘Yes, Lizzy is a good woman after all; she said, after she had looked at the coffee grounds, that there was nothing the matter with Dolly, and that the salamander look about the eyes came from cracknel-baking or the dancing-room; but, at the same time, she advised me to remain single, and told me that a certain good gentleman was in great danger. These salamanders, she said, are the worst sort of things that the devil employs to lure a poor human soul to destruction, because they have certain passions—ah, one must only stand firm and keep God in one’s heart—then I myself saw in the coffee grounds Major O’Malley quite like and natural.’

“I bid the fellow hold his tongue, but you may conceive the feelings that were awakened in me at this strange discourse of Paul’s, whom I suddenly found initiated into my dark secret, and who so unexpectedly displayed a knowledge of cabalistic matters, for which he was probably indebted to the coffee-prophetess. I passed the most uneasy day I ever had in my life. Paul was not to be got out of the room all that evening, but was constantly returning and finding something to do. When it was near midnight, and he was at last obliged to go, he said softly, as if praying to himself: ‘Bear God in thy heart—think of the salvation of thy soul—and thou wilt resist the enticements of Satan.’

“I cannot describe the manner—I may almost say, the fearful manner—in which my soul was moved at these simple words of my servant. All my endeavours to keep myself awake were in vain. I fell into that state of confused dreaming, which I could not look upon as natural, but as the operation of some foreign principle. The magical beaming woke me as usual. Aurora in the full lustre of supernatural beauty, stood before me, and passionately stretched her arms towards me. Nevertheless, Paul’s pious words shone in my soul as if written there with letters of fire. ‘Depart, thou seductive birth of hell!’ I cried, when the terrible O’Malley, now of a gigantic stature, rose before me, and piercing me with eyes, from which an infernal fire was flashing, howled out: ‘Resist not—poor atom of humanity. Thou hast become ours!’ My courage could have withstood the frightful aspect of the most hideous spectre, but I lost my senses at the sight of O’Malley, and fell to the ground.

“A loud report awoke me from this state of stupefaction. I felt myself held by the arms of a man, and struggled with all the force of despair, to free myself. ‘Gracious lieutenant, it is I,’ said a voice in my ears. It was honest Paul who endeavoured to raise me from the ground. I let him have his own way. He would not at first tell me plainly how all had happened, but he at last assured me, with a mysterious smile, that he knew better to what unholy acquaintance the major had lured me, than I could suspect. The old pious Lizzy had revealed every thing to him. He had not gone to sleep the night before, but had well loaded his gun, and had watched at the door. When he had heard me cry aloud and fall to the ground, he had, although his courage failed him a little, burst open the door and entered. ‘There,’ he continued in his mad way, ‘there stood Major O’Malley before me, as frightful to look upon as in the cup of coffee. He grinned at me hideously, but I did not allow myself to be stirred from my purpose and said: ‘If, gracious major, you are the devil, pardon me for stepping boldly up to you as a pious Christian and saying to you: ‘Avaunt, thou cursed Satan-Major, I command thee in the name of the Lord. Begone, or I will fire!’ The major would not give way, but kept on grinning at me, and began to abuse me. I then cried, ‘Shall I fire?—shall I fire? and when he persisted in keeping his place I fired in reality. But all had vanished—both Major Satan and Mam’sell Belzebub had departed through the wall!’

“The continued strain upon the mind during the period that had just passed, together with the last frightful moments, threw me upon a tedious sick-bed. When I recovered I left Potsdam, without seeing any more of O’Malley, whose further fate has remained unknown to me. The image of those portentous days grew fainter and fainter, and at last vanished all together, so that I recovered perfect freedom of mind, until here—”

“Well,” asked Albert, with the greatest curiosity and astonishment, “do you mean to say you have lost your freedom again here? I cannot conceive, why here—”

“Oh,” said Victor, interrupting his friend, while his tone became somewhat solemn, “I can explain all in two words. In the sleepless nights of the illness, I endured here, all the dreams of that noblest and most terrible period of my life were revived. It was my glowing passion itself, that assumed a form—Aurora—she again appeared to me—glorified—purified in the fire of Heaven;—no devilish O’Malley has further power over her—Aurora is—the baroness!”

“How! what!” cried Albert, shrinking with horror. Then he muttered to himself, “The little plump housewife with the great bunch of keys—she an elementary spirit!—she a salamander!”—and he felt a difficulty in suppressing his laughter.

“In the figure,” continued Victor, “there is no longer any trace of resemblance to be found, that is to say, in ordinary life; but the mysterious fire that flashes from her eyes,—the pressure of her hand.”—

“You have been very ill,” said Albert, gravely, “for the wound you received in your head was serious enough to put your life in peril; but now I find you are so far recovered that you will be able to go with me. From the very bottom of my heart I implore you, my dear,—my beloved friend, to leave this place, and accompany me to-morrow to Aix-la-Chapelle.”

“I certainly do not intend to remain here any longer,” replied Victor. “so I will go with you; however, let this matter first be cleared up.”

The next morning, when Albert woke, Victor told him that a strange, ghostly sort of dream had revealed to him the mysterious word, which O’Malley had taught him, when they prepared the Teraphim. He thought that he would make use of it for the last time. Albert shook his head doubtfully, and caused every thing to be got ready for a speedy departure, while Paul Talkebarth evinced the most joyful activity by all sorts of mad expressions. “Zackermanthö,” he muttered to himself in Albert’s hearing, “It is a good thing that the devil Bear fetched the Irish devil Foot long ago, otherwise there would have been something wrong now.”

Victor, as he had wished, found the baroness alone in her room, occupied with some domestic work. He told her that he was now at last about to quit the house, where he had enjoyed such noble hospitality. The baroness assured him that she had never entertained a friend more dear to her. Victor then took her hand, and asked her if she were ever at Potsdam, and knew a certain Irish Major. “Victor,” said the baroness interrupting him hastily, “we shall part to-day, we shall never see each other again; nay, we must not. A dark veil hangs over my life. Let it suffice if I tell you that a fearful destiny condemns me always to appear a different being from the one which I really am. In the hateful position in which you have found me, and which causes me spiritual torments, which my bodily health seems to belie, I am atoning for a heavy fault—yet no more—farewell!” Upon this, Victor cried with a loud voice: “Nehelmiahmiheal!” and the baroness, with a shriek of horror, fell senseless to the ground. Victor under the influence of a storm of strange feelings, and quite beside himself could scarcely summon resolution enough to ring the bell. However, having done this, he rushed from the chamber. “At once,—let us leave at once!” he cried to his friend, and told him in a few words what had happened. Both leaped upon the horses that had been brought for them, and rode off without waiting for the return of the baron, who had gone out hunting.

Albert’s reflections on the ride from Liège to Aix-la-Chapelle have already shown, with what profound earnestness, with what noble feeling, he had appreciated the events of that fatal period. On the journey to the Residence, whither the two friends now returned, he succeeded in completely delivering Victor from the dreamy condition into which he had sunk, and while Albert brought to his friend’s mind, depicted in the most lively colours, all the monstrous occurrences which the days of the last campaign had brought forth, the latter felt himself animated by the same spirit as that which dwelt in Albert. And although Albert never ventured upon long contradictions or doubts, Victor himself now seemed to look upon his mystical adventure, as nothing but a bad dream.

In the Residence it was natural that the ladies were favourably disposed to the colonel, who was rich, of noble figure, young for the high rank which he held, and who, moreover, was amiability itself. Albert looked upon him as a lucky man, who might choose the fairest for a wife, but Victor observed, very seriously: “Whether it was, that I had been mystified, and, by wicked means, made to serve some unknown end, or whether an evil power really tried to tempt me, this much is certain, that though the past has not cost me my happiness, it has deprived me of the paradise of love. Never can that time return, when I felt the highest earthly felicity, when the ideal of my sweetest, most transporting dreams, nay, love itself, was in my arms. Love and pleasure have vanished, since a horrible mystery deprived me of her, who to my inmost heart was really a higher being, such as I shall not again find upon earth!”

The colonel remained unmarried.

J. O.

[1] Eulenspiegelei signifies odd practical jokes, and is derived from Eulenspiegel, the traditional perpetrator of such pleasantries.—J. O.

[2] Calderon’s “Medico de su honra.”



Towards the end of the sixteenth century, when iconoclasm was raging in the Netherlands, three young brothers, who all studied at Wittenberg, chanced to meet at Aix-la-Chapelle with a fourth, who had been appointed preacher at Antwerp. They wished to take possession of an inheritance, which had fallen to them by the death of an old uncle, perfectly unknown to all of them, and had turned into an inn, because no one was on the spot to whom they could apply. After the lapse of some days, which they had passed in listening to the preacher’s accounts of the remarkable occurrences that had taken place in the Netherlands, it chanced that the festival of Corpus Christi was just about to be solemnised by the nuns of St. Cecilia’s convent, which then stood before the city gates. The four brothers heated with fanaticism, youth, and the example of the Netherlands, determined to give the town of Aix-la-Chapelle a spectacle of image-breaking. The preacher, who had been more than once at the head of such enterprises, assembled in the evening preceding the festival a number of young tradesmen and students, devoted to the new doctrine, who spent the night in eating and drinking at the inn. Day had no sooner appeared over the battlements than they provided themselves with axes and all sorts of instruments of destruction, to begin their violent work. Exulting with delight, they agreed upon a signal at which they would begin to knock in the windows, which were painted over with biblical subjects, and, secure of finding a great number of followers among the people, they betook themselves to the cathedral, at the hour when the bells first rang, with the determination not to leave one stone upon another. The abbess, who, as early as daybreak, had been informed by a friend of the peril in which the convent stood, sent several times, but always in vain, to the imperial officer who held command in the town, requesting him to appoint a guard for the protection of the convent. The officer, who, clandestinely at least, was favorably imposed towards the new doctrine, refused her request, under the pretext that she was merely dreaming, and that not the slightest danger to her convent was to be apprehended. In the meanwhile the hour appointed for the commencement of the solemnities arrived, and the nuns prepared themselves for mass, praying and trembling with the apprehension of approaching events. The bailiff of the convent, an old man, aged seventy, with a troop of armed servants, whom he had posted at the entrance of the church, was their only protection. In nuns’ convents, it is well known, the sisters themselves, who are well practised in every sort of instrument, are their own musicians, and they play with a precision, a feeling, and an intelligence, which we often miss in orchestras of men, probably because there is something feminine in this mysterious art. Now it happened, to increase the embarrassment, that the conductress of the orchestra, Sister Antonia, had fallen sick of a nervous fever some days before, and the consequence was, that the whole convent was in the greatest tumult about the performance of a suitable piece of music, to say nothing of the fact that the four profane brothers were already visible, wrapped in mantles among the pillars of the church. The abbess who, on the evening of the preceding day, had ordered the performance of a very old Italian mass, by an unknown master, with which the greatest effect had always been produced on account of its peculiarly sacred and solemn character, and who was now more than ever bent on her purpose, sent again to sister Antonia to know how she was. The nun who took the message, returned with the intelligence that the sister lay in a perfectly unconscious condition and that all notion of her conducting the music must be entirely given up. In the meanwhile, there had already been several very critical scenes in the convent into which more than a hundred impious persons of all ranks and ages, armed with hatchets and crowbars, had gradually found their way. Some of the guards who stood at the portals had been shamefully annoyed, and the nuns, who, engaged in their holy offices, had from time to time appeared singly in the porticoes, were insulted by the most unseemly expressions. At last the bailiff retreated to the sacristy, and there upon his knees implored the abbess to stop the festival, and to seek the protection of the commander in the city. But the abbess was immoveable, insisting that the festival which had been instituted for the honour of the Deity must take its course. She reminded the bailiff that it was his duty to defend the mass, and all the solemnities of the cathedral with life and limb, and as the bell had rang, ordered the nuns, who surrounded her, shaking and trembling, to take an oratorium of some sort or other, and make a beginning by performing it.

The nuns had just taken their places in the organ-loft, the different parts of a composition that had already been frequently played, were distributed, violins, oboes, and bass-viols were tried and tuned, when suddenly Sister Antonia, quite fresh and well, though her face was a little pale, appeared from the stairs. She had under her arm the parts of the old Italian mass, on the performance of which the abbess had so earnestly insisted. To the questions of the nuns, who asked with astonishment whence she came, and how she had so suddenly recovered, she replied, “No matter, friends, no matter!” distributed the parts she had carried, and glowing with enthusiasm, sat down to the organ, to undertake the direction of the excellent composition. This phenomenon was a wonderful and truly heavenly consolation to the hearts of the pious ladies; they at once sat down to their desks with their instruments, and the very embarrassment in which they were placed, had the effect of bearing their souls, as if upon wings, through all the heaven of harmony. The oratorium was played with a musical magnificence of the noblest and highest kind. Not a breath was heard through the benches and aisles, and when the Salve Regina, and still more, when the Gloria in excelsis was performed, it was as if the whole population in the church was dead. In spite of the four profane brothers and their followers, not so much as the dust on the pavement was disturbed, and the cloister remained standing till the end of the “Thirty Years’ War,” when it was secularized by virtue of a clause in the “Treaty of Westphalia.”

Six years had passed, and this occurrence had been long forgotten, when the mother of the four youths came from the Hague, and mournfully alleging that they had completely disappeared, instituted judicial inquiries with the magistrates of Aix-la-Chapelle, to learn what road they had taken from the city. The last account that had been received of them in the Netherlands, where they purposely resided, was, as she said, contained in a letter which the preacher had written to his friend, a schoolmate at Antwerp, on the eve of a Corpus Christi day. The preacher, with great cheerfulness, or rather wantonness, had closely filled four sides of this letter with the account of an enterprise which he had projected against the Convent of St. Cecilia, and which the mother would not enter upon more particularly. After many vain endeavours to find the persons whom this afflicted lady was seeking, it was at last remembered that seven years ago—at a time which seemed to correspond to the account—four young people, whose country and origin was unknown, had been put in the madhouse, which had been recently erected in the city by the emperor. However, as these persons were affected by religious extravagance, and their deportment—as the court believed it had heard—was exceedingly melancholy, this account seemed to accord so little with the disposition of the sons—which was but too well known to the mother that there was no need for her to attach much importance to it, especially as it was pretty evident that the persons were Catholics. However, as she was struck by many peculiarities which were described to her, she went one day to the madhouse accompanied by one of the messengers of the court, and asked the superintendent to allow her to examine four unfortunate lunatics who were confined there. But who can describe the poor lady’s horror, when, on entering the door, she recognised her sons at the very first glance. They were dressed in long black robes, and were sitting round a table, on which was a crucifix. This they appeared to worship, leaning silently and with folded hands upon the board. To the questions of the lady, who had sunk into a chair quite exhausted, as to what they were doing, the superintendents replied, that they were merely occupied in the glorification of the Redeemer, of whose divinity, according to their own account, they had a clearer knowledge than others. They added that the young men had led this ghost-like life for six years, that they slept little and tasted little, that no sound usually passed their lips, and that it was only at the hour of midnight that they rose from their seats, when, with voices loud enough to shatter the windows of the house, they sang the Gloria in excelsis. The superintendents concluded with the remark that the young men enjoyed perfect bodily health, that a certain serenity, though of a very serious and solemn kind, could not be denied them, and that when they heard themselves called mad, they shrugged their shoulders with an air of compassion, and had more than once declared that the good city of Aix-la-Chapelle if it knew what they knew, would cease from all business and likewise devote itself to singing the Gloria round the crucifix.

The lady, who could not support the horrible sight of her unfortunate sons, and who was soon led back tottering to her house, set off on the following morning to Herr Veit Gotthelf, a celebrated cloth-merchant of the city, to gain some intelligence as to the cause of this unfortunate occurrence. She did so because the letter from the preacher mentioned this man, and showed that he had taken a lively interest in the plan for destroying the cloister of St. Cecilia on Corpus Christi day. Veit Gotthelf, the cloth-merchant, who had become a husband and a father since the time, and had moreover undertaken his father’s extensive business, received his visitor very kindly, and when he heard the affair that had brought her to him, bolted the door, and having requested her to take a seat, proceeded as follows:

“My good lady, if you will promise to subject me to no legal investigation, I will tell you all, truly and without reserve. I was indeed on intimate terms with your sons six years ago,—yes, we entertained the project which is mentioned in the letter. How the plan, for the execution of which, the most careful preparations were made with truly impious acuteness, proved a failure, is to me utterly incomprehensible. Heaven itself seems to have taken the convent of those pious ladies under its holy protection. For you must know that your sons had already, as a prelude to some determined action, interrupted divine service by all sorts of ribaldry, and that more than three hundred rascals gathered together within the walls of our then misguided city, and armed with hatchets and links only waited for the signal which the preacher was to make, to level the cathedral with the ground. Directly the music began, your sons, with a simultaneous movement and in a manner that surprised us, suddenly took off their hats; as if overcome by deep inexpressible emotion, they bowed down their faces, and gradually covered them with their hands. At last the preacher suddenly turning round, after an astounding pause, called to us with a loud terrific voice to uncover our heads also. In vain did some of his comrades whisper to him, and sportively jogging him with their arms, desire him to give the concerted signal for destruction, the preacher, instead of answering sank upon his knees, with his hands crossed on his heart, and fervently laying his forehead in the dust, with all his brothers, recommenced the whole series of prayers, that he had before derided. The crowd of miserable fanatics, deprived of their leader, and utterly confounded by the spectacle I have described, remained in a state of irresolution and inactivity till the conclusion of the oratorium, which pealed down wondrously from the organ-loft, and as at this moment several arrests were made by order of the commanding officer, and some wicked fellows who had behaved indecorously, were seized and led off by a guard, the wretched troop had nothing to do but to avail themselves as speedily as possible of the shelter of the crowd that rose to depart, thus to escape from the cathedral. In the evening, after vainly asking several times for your sons at the inn, whither they had not returned, I went with some friends to the convent in a state of the greatest uneasiness that I might make inquiries of the door-keepers, who had assisted the imperial guard. How, noble lady, shall I describe my horror, when I saw the four men as before, with the hands folded, touching the ground with their heads and breasts, as though they had been petrified there—in short, bowed down before the altar of the church with the most intense devotion? In vain did the bailiff of the convent, who came up at this moment, pull them by their cloaks, and shake them by their arms, and desire them to leave the cathedral, which was already growing quite dark, and in which nobody was left; half-rising in their dreamy fashion they did not listen to him, until he ordered his men to take them up by the arms, and lead them out at the porch. Then, at last, they followed us into the city, though not without sighing, and frequently looking back, with the most heart-rending sorrow, at the cathedral, which shone gloriously behind us in the light of the setting sun. The other friends and I repeatedly, and in the most affectionate manner, asked them what terrible cause could possibly have produced such a thorough change in their minds. They looked kindly upon us, and from time to time, with an expression that still cuts me to the heart, wiped the tears from their eyes. When they had reached their dwelling, they ingeniously fashioned a cross of birchen-twigs, and fixed it in a little pyramid of wax on the large table in the middle of the room between two candles, with which the servant had made her appearance. While the friends, whose number increased hourly, stood by, wringing their hands, and in scattered groups, and speechless with grief, looked at their quiet ghost-like proceedings, they seated themselves down at the table, as if their senses were closed to every other object, and folding their hands, began their devotions. They neither desired the repast, which the servant brought in to regale their companions, according to the orders they had left in the morning, nor afterwards, when night advanced, did they care for the couch which she had set up in the adjoining room, because they appeared weary. The friends, that they might not provoke the anger of the host, who seemed much surprised at the whole proceeding, sat down to a side-table profusely covered, and ate the viands, which had been prepared for a large party, salting them at the same time with their tears. The hour of midnight now suddenly struck, and your four sons, after listening for a moment to the dull sound of the bell, rose from their seats with a simultaneous movement, and while we, laying down our napkins, looked at them, anxious to know what would follow so strange a commencement, they began to sing the Gloria in excelsis in the most hideous and horrible voice. The sound of leopards and wolves, when on an icy winters night they roar at the sky, may be something like it. The pillars of the house, I assure you, were shaken, and the window-panes smitten by the visible breath from their lungs, rattled and threatened to fall in, as if handfuls of heavy sand were dashed against their surface. At this frightful sight we lost all self-possession, and with hair erect, we darted off in different directions. Leaving hats and cloaks behind us, we dispersed through the neighbouring streets, which in a short time were filled, not with us, but with more than a hundred men who had been awakened from sleep. The people bursting open the hall-door hurried upstairs to the room, to discover the source of these fearful and revolting howls, which seemed to implore the divine mercy, as if from the lips of condemned sinners in the deepest abyss of the infernal regions. At last when the clock struck one, the brothers, without having listened to the indignation of the host, or the exclamations of horror that were uttered by the people, closed their lips, wiped with a handkerchief from their forehead the perspiration which fell upon their chin and breast in large drops, and, spreading out their cloaks, lay down on the floor to rest an hour from such painful labours. The host, who let them take their own course, made the sign of the cross over them as soon as he saw them asleep; and glad to get rid of the infliction, for the time at least, induced the assembled crowd of people, who were whispering mysteriously to one another, to leave the room, under the assurance that the morning would bring with it a salutary change. But, alas! with the first crow of the cock, the unhappy men rose again to recommence before the cross which stood on the table, the same dreary, ghost-like cloister-life, which exhaustion alone had interrupted for the moment. They would receive no assistance nor advice from their host, whose heart was melted at their mournful aspect; they merely asked him to dismiss with kindness their friends, who were in the habit of assembling about them every day. They wished nothing from him but bread and water, and a litter of straw, if possible, for the night, so that the man who used to derive a good profit from their convivial disposition, was now obliged to submit the whole case to the legal authorities, and to request them to remove from his house the four persons, who, without doubt, were possessed of an evil spirit. By order of the magistrates they underwent a medical examination, and being proved mad, they were, as you know, removed to the lunatic asylum, which the benevolence of our late emperor founded for the benefit of such unfortunate persons within our walls.”

This was said by Veit Gotthelf, the cloth merchant, with much besides, which we suppress, as we think we have said enough to give a clear insight into the real state of the case. When he had finished he again requested the lady not to implicate him in any manner, should the case undergo a legal investigation.

Three days afterwards the lady who had been greatly shocked at the account she had heard, took advantage of the fine weather and walked to the convent, leaning on the arm of a female friend, with the mournful purpose of surveying the fearful spot where the Almighty had stricken down her sons, as it were, by invisible lightning. They found the entrance of the cathedral boarded up, because some building was going on, and even with straining were unable to see through the chinks of the boards, any thing but the rosace-window which sparkled magnificently in the back of the church. Hundreds of workmen, who were singing merry songs, were on intricate, lightly-built scaffoldings, occupied in making the towers a good third higher, and in covering the cross and battlements, which had hitherto been only slated, with strong, bright copper, which shone in the sunbeams. A thunder-cloud, completely black, with borders of gold, was behind the building. When it had spoken its thunder over Aix-la-Chapelle, and had darted some ineffectual flashes in the direction of the cathedral, it sank grumbling into the east, dissolved in vapour. It happened that while the ladies were, from the steps of the spacious convent, contemplating the double spectacle, absorbed in various thoughts, a nun who was passing by learned who it was that was standing under the portico. The abbess, therefore, who had heard of a letter respecting the affair of the Corpus Christi day, in the possession of the Netherland lady, immediately sent the sister to her, requesting her to walk up. The Netherland lady, although surprised for the moment, respectfully complied with the request; and while her friend, at the invitation of the nun, retired to a room near the entrance, the folding doors of the beautifully-formed gallery were thrown open to the visitor who ascended the stairs. There she found the abbess, who was a noble lady, of calm, and even royal aspect, with her foot resting upon a stool supported by dragons’ claws. On a desk by her side lay the score of a piece of music. The abbess, after she had desired her visiter to take a chair, told her that she had been already informed of her arrival by the burgomaster. When she had inquired after the state of the unfortunate sons in the kindest manner, and had recommended her to console herself as to their fate, now it was not to be altered, she expressed a wish to see the letter which the preacher had sent to his friend, the schoolmaster, at Antwerp. The lady, who had experience enough to see what would be the consequence of such a step, felt confused for the moment. However, as the venerable countenance of the abbess inspired her with unlimited confidence, and it was by no means credible that she could have any design of making a public use of the contents of the letter, she took it from her bosom, after a short hesitation, and handed it to the noble lady, fervently kissing her hand. Whilst the abbess was reading the letter, she cast a look at the score, which happened to lie open on the desk; and as the cloth merchant’s narrative had given her the notion that it might have been the power of music that had turned the brains of her poor sons on that awful day, she timidly turned round, and asked the nun who stood behind her chair, whether that was the composition which had been played in the cathedral on the memorable Corpus Christi day, six years ago. The young nun answered in the affirmative, saying that she remembered hearing of the affair, and that since then, when the music was not used, it was generally kept in the abbess’s room. At this the lady, deeply moved, arose and placed herself before the desk, occupied by various thoughts. She looked at the magical unknown signs, with which, as it seemed, some fearful spirit had mysteriously marked out its circle, and was ready to sink into the ground, when she found the “Gloria in excelsis” open. It seemed to her as if the whole terrors of music, which had proved the destruction of her sons, were whirling over her head; at the mere sight of the score her senses seemed to be leaving her, and with an infinitely strong feeling of humility and submission to the divine power, she heartily pressed the leaf to her lips, and then again seated herself in her chair. The abbess had, in the meanwhile, read the letter, and said, as she folded it up: “God himself, on that wonderful day, preserved the cloister from the wantonness of your misguided sons. The means that He employed may be indifferent to you, since you are a Protestant; indeed, you would hardly understand what I could reveal to you on the subject. For you must know that nobody has the least notion who it was, that under the pressure of that fearful hour, when destruction was ready to fall upon us, calmly sat at the organ, and conducted the work which you there find open. By evidence taken on the following morning, in the presence of the bailiff of the convent and several other persons, as recorded in our archives, it is proved that Sister Antonia, the only one among us who knew how to conduct the work, lay in the corner of her cell, sick, insensible, and without the use of her limbs during the whole time of its performance. A nun who, as a personal relative, was appointed to take charge of her, never stirred from her bedside during the whole morning on which the festival of Corpus Christi was celebrated in the cathedral. Nay, Sister Antonia would herself have confirmed the fact, that it was not she who in such a strange and surprising manner appeared in the organ-loft, had her insensible condition allowed her to be questioned on the subject, and had she not, on the evening of the same day, died of the nervous fever of which she lay ill, and which did not before appear to be dangerous. The Archbishop of Trèves, to whom the occurrence was related, has given the only possible explanation; viz., that St. Cecilia herself performed this miracle, which is at once so sublime and so fearful; and I have received a communication from the pope, in which this explanation is confirmed.”

The abbess returned to the lady the letter, which she had merely asked for to gain some further information on a matter which she already partially knew, promising at the same time that she would make no use of it. Then inquiring whether there were any hopes of her sons’ recovery, and whether by money or other assistance she could do any thing towards that end—questions which the weeping abbess, while she kissed her gown, answered in the negative—she kindly shook hands with her, and dismissed her.

Thus ends this legend. The lady, whose presence in Aix-la-Chapelle was not required, deposited with the legal tribunals a small sum for the benefit of her poor sons, and then returned to the Hague, where, in the course of the year, deeply moved by the event which had taken place, she returned to the bosom of the Catholic church. The sons died a calm and happy death, at a late old age, after they had once more sung the “Gloria in excelsis” as usual.

J. O.



[The following fanciful tale occurs in the autobiography of Goethe, to which he has given the name of “Dichtung und Wahrheit.” He is supposed to tell it, in his childhood, to a party of juvenile friends, and he introduces it thus:

“I could afford great amusement to my friend, Pylades, and other kindly-disposed acquaintance, by telling them stories. They liked them, especially when I told them in my own person, being much delighted to hear that such odd things could befall their play-fellow. As for the question when I could find time and place for such adventures—that was no matter, indeed they pretty well knew all my ingoings and outgoings, and how I employed myself. To such events, localities, taken from another spot, if not from another world, were absolutely necessary, but nevertheless I made every thing happen on the very day I told it, or the day before. My hearers, therefore, were less deluded by me, than deceived by themselves. Had I not, in conformity to my natural disposition learned to mould these aëriel nothings into something like an artistical form, such vain-glorious beginnings, would certainly have turned out badly for me in the end.

“If we duly consider this impulse, we may discover in it that assumption, with which the poet ventures to utter the greatest improbabilities in a tone of authority, and requires that every one shall acknowledge that to be real, which to him, the inventor, may appear to be true in any manner whatever.

“However, what is said above, in general terms, and in the form of reflection, may be rendered more agreeable, and at the same time more perceptible by an example. I therefore add such a tale—one, which as I used to repeat it often to my playmates, still distinctly floats before my imagination and in my memory.”]

Lately, on the night before Whit Sunday, I dreamed that I was standing before a mirror, occupying myself with my new summer suit, which my parents had had made against the approaching festival. The dress consisted, as you well know, of shoes of nice leather, with great silver buckles, fine cotton stockings, breeches of black serge, and a coat of green barracan, with gold buttons. The waistcoat, of gold-stuff, had been cut out of the one worn by my father on his wedding-day. My hair was dressed and powdered, my curls stood upon my head like little wings,—but I could not finish dressing myself; for I continually changed the articles of wearing apparel, and the first always dropped off when I was about to put on the second. While I was thus embarrassed, a handsome young man came up to me, and greeted me in the kindest manner. “Welcome,” said I, “it gives me great pleasure to see you here.”—“Do you know me then?” asked he, smiling. “Why not?” I replied, smiling in my turn. “You are Mercury, and I have often enough seen pictures of you.”—“I am, indeed,” said he, “and I have been sent to you by the gods on an important mission. Do you see these three apples?” stretching out his hand, he showed me three apples, which from their size he could scarcely hold, and which were as wonderfully beautiful as they were large. One was green, another yellow, and the third red, and they looked like precious stones, to which the shape of fruit had been given. I wished to take them, but he drew me back, saying, “You must first know, that they are not for you. You are to give them to the three handsomest young persons in the town, who will, every one according to his lot, find wives to their heart’s content. There, take them and manage the matter well,” he added, as he quitted me, and placed the apples in my open hand. They seemed to me to have become even larger than they were before. I held them against the light, and found they were quite transparent, but soon they grew taller, and at last became three pretty—very pretty little ladies, of the height of a moderate-sized doll, with dresses of the colours of the apples. In this form they glided softly up my fingers, and when I was about to make a catch at them, that I might secure one at least, they soared up far away, so that I could do nothing but look after them. There I stood quite astounded and petrified, with my hands high in the air, and still staring at my fingers, as if their was something to be seen upon them. All of a sudden I perceived upon the very tips a charming little girl, very pretty and lively, though smaller than the others. As she did not fly away, like them, but remained with me, and danced about, now on this finger, now on that, I looked at her for some time, in a state of astonishment. She pleased me so much, that I fancied I might catch her, and was just on the point of making a grasp—as I thought very cleverly—when I felt a blow on the head, that caused me to fall completely stunned, and did not awaken from the stupor it occasioned till it was time to dress and go to church.

I often recalled the images to my mind during divine service, and at my grandfather’s table where I dined. In the afternoon I went to visit some friends, both because such visits were due, and because I wished to show myself in my new clothes, with my hat under my arm and my sword by my side. Finding no one at home, and hearing that they were all gone to the gardens, I resolved to follow them, intending to pass a pleasant evening. My way led me along the town wall, and I soon came to the spot which is called the “evil wall,” and rightly enough, for there is reason to believe it is always haunted. Walking slowly along, I thought of my three goddesses, and still more of the little nymph, and often held my fingers up in the air in the hope that she would be kind enough to balance herself upon them once more. As I proceeded, occupied with these thoughts, I discerned in the wall, on my left hand, a little wicket which I did not remember to have perceived before. It appeared low, but the pointed arch was such as to afford room for the tallest man to enter. The arch and the wall on either side had been most richly carved by the mason and the sculptor, but my attention was most attracted by the door itself. The old brown wood of which it was made had been but little ornamented, but broad bands of brass were attached to it, worked both in relief and in intaglio. The foliage which was represented on this brass, and on which the most natural birds were sitting, I could not sufficiently admire. I was, however, most surprised at seeing no keyhole, no latch, no knocker, and from the absence of these I surmised that the door only opened from within. I was not mistaken, for when I went close to it, to feel the carved work, it opened inwards, and a man, whose dress was somewhat long, wide, and altogether singular, appeared before me. A venerable beard flowed about his chin, and I was, therefore, inclined to take him for a Jew. As if he had divined my thoughts he made the sign of the holy cross, thereby giving me to understand that he was a good Catholic Christian. “Young gentleman, how did you come here, and what are you doing?” said he, with friendly voice and gesture. “I am admiring the work of this door,” I replied, “for I have never seen any thing like it, except, perhaps, in small pieces, in the collection of amateurs.” “I am delighted,” said he, “that you take pleasure in such work. The door is still more beautiful on the inner side, pray walk in if you choose.” This affair made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I felt embarrassed by the strange dress of the porter, by the retired situation of the place, and a certain indescribable something in the air. I paused, therefore, under the pretext of looking longer at the outside, and at the same time cast furtive glances at the garden—for a garden it was which had just been opened to me. Immediately behind the gate I saw a space completely shaded by the closely entwined branches of some old linden trees, which had been planted at regular intervals, so that the most numerous assembly might have rested there during the most intense heat of the day. I had already set my foot on the threshold, and the old man was well able to lure me on a step further. Indeed I made no resistance, for I had always heard that a prince or sultan, in such cases, must never ask whether there is any danger. Had I not my sword by my side, and could I not soon get the better of the old man if he took a hostile position? I therefore walked in with confidence, and the porter shut the gate so softly that I could hardly hear the sound. He then showed the work on the inside, which was certainly much superior to that without, and explained it, giving indications of the greatest kindness towards me. My mind being completely set at rest I allowed myself to be led further along the shady space by the wall which circled the garden, and found much to admire. Niches, artificially adorned with shells, coral, and pieces of ore, poured from Tritons’ mouths copious streams of water into marble basins. Between them were aviaries and other pieces of lattice-work, in which there were squirrels hopping about, guinea-pigs running backwards and forwards, and, in short, all the pretty little creatures that one could desire. The birds cried and sung to us as we went along; the starlings, in particular, prated after us the most absurd stuff, one always calling out “Paris, Paris,” and the other “Narcissus, Narcissus,” as plain as any schoolboy. The old man seemed to look at me more seriously whenever the birds uttered this, but I pretended not to mind it, and indeed had no time to attend to him, for I could clearly perceive that we were walking round and that this shady place was in fact a large circle, which inclosed another of far more importance. We had again come to the little door, and it seemed to me as if the old man wished to dismiss me; but my eyes remained fixed on a golden railing which seemed to inclose the middle of this wonderful garden, and which in my walk I had found an opportunity of observing sufficiently, although the old man always contrived to keep me close to the wall, and, therefore, pretty far from the centre. As he was going up to the gate I said to him, with a bow: “You have been so exceedingly civil to me that I can venture to make another request before I leave you. May I not look closer at that golden railing, which seems to encircle the inner part of the garden?” “Certainly,” said he, “but then you must submit to certain conditions.” “In what do they consist?” I asked, quickly. “You must leave your hat and sword here, and must not quit my hand as I accompany you.” “To that I consent readily enough,” said I, and I laid my hat and sword on the first stone bench that came in my way. Upon this he at once seized my left hand in his right, held it fast, and, with some degree of force, led me straight on. When we came to the railing, my surprise was increased to overwhelming astonishment; any thing like it I had never seen. On a high socle of marble countless spears and partisans stood in a row, and were joined together by their upper ends, which were singularly ornamented. Peeping through the interstices I saw behind this railing a piece of water which flowed gently along, with marble on each side of it, and in the clear depths of which a great number of gold and silver fish might be discovered, which now slowly, now swiftly, now singly, now in shoals, were swimming to and fro. I wished much to see the other side of the canal that I might learn how the interior part of the garden was fashioned; but, to my great annoyance, on the other side of the water stood a similar railing, which was so skilfully arranged that, opposite to every space on the side where I stood was placed a spear or a partisan on the other, and thus, with the additional impediment of the other ornaments, it was impossible for one to look through, whatever position one took. Besides, the old man, who kept a fast hold of me, hindered me from moving freely. My curiosity—after all that I had seen—increased more and more, and I plucked up courage to ask the old man whether it was not possible to cross over. “Why not?” said he, “only you must conform to new conditions.” When I asked him what these were, he told me that I must change my dress. I readily consented; he led me back towards the outer wall and into a neat little room, against the walls of which hung dresses of several kinds which seemed to approach the oriental style of costume. I changed my dress quickly, and he put my powdered locks into a many-coloured net, after finally dusting out the powder, to my great horror. Standing before a large mirror I thought I looked prettily enough in my disguise, and liked myself better than in my stiff Sunday clothes. I made gestures and leaps, in imitation of the dancers I had seen on the stage erected at the fair, and while I was doing this I perceived, by chance, the reflection in the glass of a niche that stood behind me. Against its white ground hung three green cords, each twined in a manner which was not very clear to me in the distance. I therefore turned round somewhat hastily and asked the old man about the niche and these cords also. Civilly enough he took one down and showed it to me. It was a cord of green silk of moderate thickness, the ends of which, fastened together by a piece of green leather, cut through in two places, gave it the appearance of being an instrument for no very agreeable purpose. The affair seemed to me somewhat equivocal, and I asked the old man for an explanation. He answered, very quietly and mildly, that the cord was intended for those who abused the confidence which was here readily placed in them. He hung the cord in its place again, and asked me to follow him at once. This time he did not take hold of me, but I walked freely by his side.

My greatest curiosity now was to know where the door could be to pass through the railing, and where the bridge could be to cross the canal, for I had been able to discern nothing of the sort hitherto. I therefore looked at the golden rails very closely, as we hastened close up to them,—when all of a sudden my sight failed me; for the spears, pikes, halberds, and partisans, began quite unexpectedly to rattle and to shake, and this curious movement ended with the points of all being inclined towards each other, just as if two ancient armies, armed with pikes, were preparing for the attack. The confusion before my eyes, the clatter in my ears, was almost insupportable; but the sight became infinitely astonishing, when the spears, laying themselves quite down, covered the whole circle of the canal, and formed the noblest bridge that one can imagine, while the most variegated garden was revealed to my view. It was divided into beds, which wound about one another, and, seen at once, formed a labyrinth of an ornament. All of these were encompassed by a green border, formed of a short woolly-looking plant, which I had never seen; all were adorned with flowers, every division being of a different colour, and as these likewise grew short, the ground plan was easily traced. This beautiful sight, which I enjoyed in the full sunshine, completely riveted my eyes; but I scarcely knew where I could set my foot, for the winding paths were neatly covered with a blue sand, which seemed to form upon earth a darker sky, or a sky in the water. Therefore, with my eyes fixed upon the ground, I went on for some time by the side of my conductor, until I at length perceived, that in the midst of the circle of beds and flowers, stood another large circle of cypresses, or trees of the poplar kind, through which it was impossible to see, as the lowest boughs seemed to be shooting up from the earth. My conductor, without forcing me straight into the nearest way, nevertheless led me immediately towards that centre; and how was I surprised, when entering the circle of the tall trees, I saw before me the portico of a magnificent summer-house, which seemed to have similar openings and entrances on every side! A heavenly music, which issued from the building, charmed me even more than this perfect specimen of architecture. Now I thought I heard a lute, now a harp, now a guitar, and now a tinkling sound, which was not like that of any of the three instruments. The door which we approached opened at a light touch from the old man, and my amazement was great, when the female porter, who came out, appeared exactly like the little maiden who had danced upon my fingers in my dream. She greeted me as if we were old acquaintances, and asked me to walk in. The old man remained behind, and I went with her along a short passage, which was arched over and beautifully ornamented, till I came to the central hall; the majestic and cathedral-seeming height of which arrested my sight and surprised me, immediately on my entrance. However, my eye could not long remain fixed upwards, as it was soon lured down by a most charming spectacle. On the carpet, immediately beneath the centre of the cupola, sat three ladies, each one forming the corner of a triangle, and each dressed in a different colour. One was in red, another in yellow, the third in green. Their seats were gilded, and the carpet was a perfect bed of flowers. In their arms lay the three instruments, the sounds of which I had distinguished from without, for they had left off playing, being disturbed by my entrance. “Welcome!” said the middle one, who sat with her face towards the door, was dressed in red, and had the harp. “Sit down by Alerte, and listen, if you are fond of music.” I now saw, for the first time, that a tolerably long bench, placed across, with a mandoline upon it, lay before me. The pretty little girl took up the mandoline, seated herself, and drew me to her side. Now I looked at the second lady, who was on my right. She wore the yellow dress, and had a guitar in her hand; and if the harp-player was imposing in her form, grand in her features, and majestic in her deportment, the guitar-player was distinguished by every grace and cheerfulness. She was a slender blonde, while the other was adorned with hair of a dark brown. The variety and accordance of their music did not prevent me from observing the third beauty in the green dress, the tones of whose lute were to me somewhat touching, and at the same time remarkably striking. She it was who seemed to take the greatest notice of me, and to direct her playing towards me. At the same time, I could not tell what to make of her, for she was now tender, now odd, now frank, now capricious, as she altered her gestures and the style of her playing. Sometimes she seemed anxious to move me, and sometimes anxious to tease me. No matter, however, what she did, she gained no advantage over me, for I was quite taken up by my little neighbour, to whom I sat close; and when I perceived plainly enough that the three ladies were the sylphides of my dream, and recognised the colours of the apples, I well understood that I had no reason to secure them. The pretty little creature I would much sooner have seized, had not the box on the ear which she gave me in my dream remained still fresh in my memory. Hitherto she had kept quiet with her mandoline; but when her mistresses had ceased, they ordered her to treat us with a few lively airs. Scarcely had she struck off some dancing melodies in a very exciting style, than she jumped up, and I did the same. She played and danced; I was forced to follow her steps, and we went through a kind of little ballet, at which the ladies seemed to be well pleased, for no sooner had we finished it, than they ordered the little girl to refresh me with something nice before supper. In truth, I had forgotten that there was any thing else in the world beyond this Paradise. Alerte led me back into the passage by which I had entered. On one side, she had two well-furnished apartments, in one of which—the one in which she lived—she served before me oranges, figs, peaches, and grapes, and I tasted the fruits both of foreign lands and of early months, with great appetite. Confectionary was in abundance, and she filled a goblet of polished crystal with sparkling wine; but I had no need of drinking, as I sufficiently refreshed myself with the fruits. “Now we will play,” said she, and took me into the other room. This had the appearance of a Christmas fair, except that such fine, precious things are never to be seen in a booth. There were all sorts of dolls, and dolls’ clothes, and utensils; little kitchens, parlours, and shops; besides single toys in abundance. She led me all round to the glass cases, in which these precious articles were preserved. The first case she soon closed again, saying: “There is nothing for you, I am sure, there,” added she, “we can find building materials, walls, and towers, houses, palaces, and churches to put together a large town. That, however, would be no amusement for me, so we will take something else, that may be equally amusing for both of us.” She then brought out some boxes, in which I saw some little soldiers placed in layers one over the other, and with respect to which I was forced to confess that I had never seen any thing so pretty in my life. She did not leave me time to look closer into particulars, but took one of the boxes under her arm, while I caught up the other. “We will go to the golden bridge,” said she, “for that’s the best place to play at soldiers. The spears point out the direction in which the armies should be placed.” We had now reached the shaking, golden bridge, and I could hear the water ripple, and the fish splash beneath me, as I knelt down to set up my rows of soldiers, which, as I now saw, were all on horseback. She gloried in being the queen of the Amazons, as the leader of her host; while I, on the other hand, found Achilles, and a very fine set of Greek cavalry. The armies stood face to face, and nothing prettier can be conceived. They were not flat leaden horsemen like ours, but man and horse were round and full-bodied, and very finely worked. It was difficult to see how they were able to balance themselves, for they kept up without having a stand.

We had both surveyed our armies with great complacency, when she announced the attack. Besides the soldiers, we had found artillery in our chests—namely, boxes filled with little balls of polished agate. With these we were to shoot at each other’s forces from a certain distance, on the express condition, however, that we were not to throw with greater force than was required to upset the figures, as they were on no account to be injured. The cannonading began from each side, and, at first, to the great delight of both of us. But when my adversary remarked that I took a better aim than she, and that I might end by winning the game, which depended on having the greatest number of men upright, she stepped closer, and her girlish manner of throwing proved successful. A number of my best troops were laid low, and the more I protested, with the greater zeal did she go on throwing. At last I became vexed, and told her that I would do the same. Accordingly, I not only came closer, but in my passion, I threw much harder, so that, in a short time, a couple of her little female centaurs were broken to pieces. Her zeal prevented her from noticing this at once, but I stood petrified with astonishment when the broken figures joined themselves together again, and the Amazon and her horse again became entire; nay, became perfectly alive at the same time, for they galloped from the bridge up to the linden-trees, and after running backwards and forwards, were lost—how I cannot tell—in the direction of the wall. My fair adversary had scarcely perceived this, than she sobbed aloud, and exclaimed that I had caused her an irreparable loss, which was far greater than words could express. I, who had grown enraged, was pleased at doing her an injury, and with blind fury, threw the few agate-balls I still had, among her forces. Unfortunately, I struck the queen, who had been excepted, as long as our game had proceeded in the regular way. She flew to pieces, and her nearest adjutants were shattered at the same time. Soon, however, they joined themselves together again, took their flight like the first, galloped merrily under the lindens, and were lost near the wall.

My adversary reproached and scolded me, but I, having once begun the work of destruction, stooped down to pick up some of the agate balls, which were rolling about the golden spears. My savage wish was to destroy her whole army; while she did not remain inactive, but darting at me gave me a box on the ear, that set my very head ringing. I, who had always heard that a hearty kiss is the proper return for a blow given by a girl, caught her by her ears and kissed her several times. At this she uttered such a piercing cry that I was absolutely terrified. I let her go, and it was fortunate that I did so, for at that moment I did not know what befel me. The ground beneath me began to shake and rattle, the rails, as I now observed, put themselves in motion, but I had no time for consideration, nor was I sufficient master of my feet to fly. Every moment I was afraid of being impaled, for the lances and partisans which began to stand upright, tore my clothes. Suffice it to say,—I do not know how it was,—that my sight and hearing failed me, and that I recovered from my terror and the stupor into which I had been thrown, at the foot of a linden tree, against which the railing, while raising itself, had thrown me. My malice returned with my senses, and increased still more, when from the other side I heard the jeers and laughter of my adversary, who had probably come to the ground somewhat more softly than myself. I therefore got up, and as saw scattered around me, my own little army with its leaden Achilles, which the rising rails had thrown off together with myself, I began by catching hold of the hero, and dashing him against a tree. His resuscitation and flight gave me double pleasure, for the prettiest sight in the world was associated with all the delight of gratified malice, and I was on the point of sending the rest of the Greeks after him, when all of a sudden water came hissing from every side, from the stones and walls, from the ground and branches; and wherever I turned it pelted me furiously. My light dress was soon completely wet through, and as it had been already torn, I lost no time in flinging it off altogether. My slippers I threw aside, and then one covering after the other, finding it very pleasant in the sultry day to take such a shower-bath. Stark naked, I walked gravely along between the welcome waters, and I thought I might thus go on pleasantly for some time. My rage had cooled, and I now desired nothing more than a reconciliation with my little adversary. All of a sudden the water stopped, and I now stood completely wet on ground that was soaked through. The presence of the old man, who unexpectedly came before me, was any thing but welcome. I should have wished, if not to hide myself, at any rate to put on some covering. Shame, cold, and an endeavour to cover myself in some measure, made me cut a very miserable figure, and the old man lost no time in loading me with the bitterest reproaches. “What hinders me,” he cried, “from taking one of the green cords, and fitting it to your back at any rate, if not to your neck!” This threat I took very ill. “Hark ye,” said I, “you had better take care of such words, or even such thoughts, or you and your mistresses will be lost!” “Who are you?” said he, in a tone of defiance, “that dare to talk in this way?” “A favourite of the gods,” I replied, “on whom it depends whether those ladies will find good husbands and live happily, or pine and grow old in their magic cloister.” The old man retreated some steps. “Who revealed that to you?” he asked with doubt and astonishment. “Three apples,” said I, “three jewels.” “And what reward do you desire?” he exclaimed. “Above all things,” I replied, “the little creature who brought me into this cursed condition.” The old man threw himself at my feet, without heeding the dampness and muddiness of the ground. He then arose, not in the least wetted, took me kindly by the hand, led me into the room, where I had been before, dressed me again quickly, and I soon found myself with my hair curled and my Sunday clothes on, as at first. The porter did not utter another word, but before he allowed me to cross the threshold, he detained me, and showed to me certain objects that were near the wall, and on the other side of the way, while at the same time he pointed to the door backwards. I understood him well. He wished me to impress the objects on my mind, that I might more readily find the door again, which unexpectedly closed behind me. I observed already what was opposite to me. The boughs of seven old nut-trees projected over a high wall, and partly covered the moulding with which it terminated. The branches reached to a stone tablet, the decorated border of which I could easily recognise, but the inscription on which I could not read. It rested on the jutting stone of a niche, in which a fountain artificially constructed, was throwing water from cup to cup into a large basin, which formed a kind of little pond, and was lost in the ground. Fountain, inscription, nut-trees, all stood, one directly over the other, and I could have painted it as I saw it.

It may be easily conceived how I passed the evening, and many a day afterwards, and how often I repeated these adventures, which I could hardly believe myself. As soon as I could, I went again to the “evil wall,” that I might at least refresh my memory by the sight of the objects, and look at the beautiful door. To my great astonishment all was changed. Nut-trees were, indeed, hanging over the wall, but they were not close together. A tablet was inserted, but it stood at some distance to the right of the trees, was without carving, and had a legible inscription. A niche with a fountain stood far to the left, and was not to be compared to the one I had before seen. Of the door not a trace was to be found, and I was, therefore, almost compelled to believe that my second adventure was a dream, as well as my first. My only consolation is, that the three objects always seem to change their situation, for, after repeated visits to the spot, I think I have observed, that the nut-trees are running towards each other, and that the tablet and fountain are approaching. Probably, when all has come together again, the door will once more be visible, and I will do all I can to fit on a sequel to the adventure. Whether I shall be able to tell what befalls me in future, or whether it will be expressly forbidden me, I cannot say.

J. O.



There once lived in Bagdad a wealthy merchant named Ibrahim. His only son, Ali, a young man of eminent talent, though but little resembling his father, was his pride and delight. The father’s notion of happiness consisted in the enjoyment of life and in the industry requisite to procure the key to all earthly enjoyments—wealth; the son’s mind, on the contrary, was devoted to contemplation and the pursuit of knowledge. He but rarely quitted his room, and was only wont to walk in the cool of the evening along the banks of the Tigris outside the city, to the tomb of Iman Izaser, a Mahommedan saint, which stood in a circular temple surrounded by date trees, about a league distant. Here he usually seated himself in the shade, and his delight consisted in observing those who passed by on their way to the temple to perform their devotions. He had, above all, observed, as well as the close veil would permit, the slight and charming form of a female who went almost daily to the mosque, accompanied by an attendant, who appeared somewhat older than herself. His eyes followed with delight the muffled form as she gracefully moved along; he had often witnessed her kneeling in the temple, and praying fervently, and he imagined that he in his turn was not unnoticed by the stranger. Thus without having ever spoken to each other they had formed a kind of acquaintance, which, however, did not disturb Ali in his contemplations. As soon as the shadows of evening appeared, he rose and walked silently homewards, while his eyes gazed on the moonlit waves of the Tigris, or the fresh verdure of its banks.

“How is it possible, my son,” once said his father, on his return from a long journey, after his camels were unladen, “that you, so young in years, can totally renounce the world? I esteem your application; but you should not forget that next to our holy Koran, nature herself is the wisest book, and contains the most sublime doctrines on every page. What is knowledge without experience? Has not one of our wise men himself said, that a journey is a fire, around which the raw meat must be turned in order to become eatable and savoury.”

“Dear father,” answered Ali, “leave me but a few years longer to myself, and then on entering the world I shall work with much more energy. You were right in saying that nature is the wisest book; yet it is often written in so indistinct a style that it requires strong eyes to see and read it correctly. What we cannot do for ourselves we must leave to others to do for us; and thus I travel perhaps as much in my own room as you do upon your camel through the desert. All cannot travel. If I in conformity to the duty of a good Mussulman make a single journey in my life to Mecca, I shall perhaps have travelled enough.”

Though Ibrahim was not satisfied altogether by this contradiction of his favourite opinions, he could not help commending the singular industry of his son; moreover, it was not displeasing to his paternal vanity to hear all who knew Ali call him the pattern of a young man.

The words of the father were not, however, uttered without making some impression upon the son. He began to perceive the difference between mere ideas and actual enjoyments, and when he read of any thing grand, beautiful, or wonderful, he was no longer in such raptures at the mere reading. He now wished to experience the things themselves. When in this mood, he often ascended the balcony of the house, where he had a clear view of the Tigris and the sandy desert, and of the distant mountains, and where, in serene weather, he could descry the ruins of ancient Babylon on the banks of the Euphrates. For whole hours he would stand and dream himself into the most wonderful and adventurous situations. When, as usual, he went in the evening to Izaser’s temple under the date trees, it seemed to him monotonous and insignificant. He fancied he felt contempt for himself in contemplating the rapidly flowing waves of the Tigris, which had made such enormous journeys from the highland of Asia through caverns and rocks never yet seen. When thus sitting in the dusk of evening, it appeared as if the foaming waves which rushed over the pebbles, told him tales of events of which it had been an eye-witness on distant shores.

Now he resolved again to wander to the ruins of Babylon, where he had once been in his childhood. His father, who was delighted with his plan, hoped that he discerned in it the beginning of a new career of life, and readily gave Ali permission to spend several days on the pilgrimage.

“My son,” said he, “here in miniature you will find a picture of the Great, for short as the way is, it is not without variety. In the immediate neighbourhood it is as much cultivated as the broad valley, further on it is barren and waste, indeed it is like a desert till the green carpet of the mountains again meets the sandy plains, and invites you to the most beautiful woody regions. I should consider it superfluous to give you any admonitions for the way, did I not know that young people like yourself, often load their imaginations with old and remote things, without thinking of what takes place immediately around them. Take care, then, that you do not pass the desert between Babylon and Bagdad at night time; and rather arrange your journey so as to start in the morning or evening. There is a general report that Zelulu, an evil spirit, has selected that desert for his abode; and that he hovers over the desert at night, and delights in destroying those men who disturb his nocturnal flights by their presence.”

The son promised to do so, and strapping his knapsack on his back, commenced his journey early the next morning with staff in hand.

He crossed the long bridge of boats, fastened by iron chains across the rapid Tigris, which takes its name Thir (an arrow), from its rapidity. All hastened through the almost dilapidated suburb and came to a beautiful mosque, near which the caravan, with which his father had lately arrived, was still halting. They were taking rest in order to continue their journey. How strange it appeared to him to wander through this moveable commercial city, where houses were camels, and elephants were palaces! Ali passed one of these elephants, on the back of which was constructed a house of tolerable size. It was noon, and the children who were playing about on the grass were called to their dinner. Their father, who stood among them, took one after the other and handed them over to the elephant, who, raising them with his trunk, lifted them slowly and carefully through the air, and then bent his trunk over his head, and gave the child to its mother, who stood above in the door and received them from him without the least sign of fear, and without any of the children crying from terror. The open mosque was crowded with people, some of whom were offering thanks to Allah for their happy return, while others were imploring a blessing on the progress of their journey. Ali was so pleased with this singular and motley assembly, that he loitered the whole day among them. Towards the evening some merchants invited him into their tents, where Indian youths and girls danced to the sound of the triangle and flute. These hospitable Arabs were delighted at being able to offer him a good supper and a comfortable resting-place for the night.

Early in the cool of the next morning he started on his way, and wandered over a barren uninhabited plain. He found pleasure in working his way through the sand to reach some fertile spots which lie, like islands, in the yellow dust, with their verdant ground and their isolated palm trees, which pleasantly spread their leaves like parasols, while there is something divine in their refreshing coolness.

Ali felt himself inspired: the Arab in his desert feels like the mountaineer on his rocky mountains, and like the islander at the sight of the ocean. When he sees it for the first time, he finds himself like a bird in its own element, and confidently abandons himself to the impulse of his feelings. The over-excited youth exhausted all his strength. Noon approached, and the heat was oppressive. Ali hastened with quick pace towards the distant mountains, and, like his ancestress Hagar, in former days, wished for a fountain to quench his thirst.

Having once heard of a fountain near the spot where he now was, his delight was great on approaching a large tract where many palms of an indifferent growth arched themselves over a spring. The rippling water excited and increased his thirst as he stood near it.

Think of his sorrow when he saw, rising from the water, clouds of smoke which smelt of sulphur! In despair at this disappointment he threw himself on the ground under the palm trees, and, being exhausted from heat, and wearied with his exertions, fell asleep immediately.

He had not been sleeping long, when he was suddenly aroused by a powerful voice. On opening his eyes he perceived a man in a loose linen gown, sitting on a camel which was laden with pitchers and leather water-pipes.

“Unhappy man!” he cried, “are you weary of your life that you lie here so wantonly to end it?”

Ali jumped up, and the man on his camel started, as he had not expected thus to arouse the sleeper, although, urged by compassion, he had called to him.

“What do you mean?” asked Ali, “what harm can I suffer in sleeping, during the heat of noon, under these palm trees?”

“Do you not know this spring?” asked the stranger.

“No!” said Ali; and he began to tell whence he came and whither he intended to go.

The man replied, “It seems as if the evil spirit is busy here, not merely at midnight, but also in the clear noon day. Follow me to the palm tree farthest from the spring there, and I will refresh you with a cooling draught. I live in the next village, where the water is still so bad that we are obliged to fetch our daily supply from the Tigris. All the pitchers and pipes which you see, are filled from the river of your native city. I cannot but laugh to think that you come to us from the Tigris to drink; indeed that you choose the most noxious spring, of one of which it may be said that it is supplied by hell itself.”

These words would have excited Ali’s curiosity immediately, had not his thirst proved the stronger. He went with the man, who reached him a pitcher, and said: “There, quench your thirst, and then mount my camel with me. We shall soon be in my village, where you can take rest, and towards the evening you may proceed quietly to Babylon.”

Ali thanked him, and mounted the camel, and they rode in silence across the plain for the rest of the way, until they came to a yet larger oasis covered with trees and huts. Only a broad sandy road separated them from the verdant ground which sloped down from the mountains towards the desert in all its freshness. The water-carrier made Ali enter his hut, where they mutually invited each other as guests, the former asking the latter to partake of his cooling sherbet, the latter inviting the former to partake of the good things which he had in his knapsack.

They had scarcely satisfied their hunger and thirst, than the water-carrier, at Ali’s request, began to say “I am astonished that you have never heard of Ali Haymmamy’s spring. Know then that this spring, as I before said, was formerly a pure one, indeed it was a mineral spring whither innumerable paralytics resorted. It takes its name from Ali, son-in-law of our holy prophet, who is said to have knelt once on this spot to perform his devotions. Wishing as a sincere Mussulman to wash his face and hands before prayer, and finding no water near, it is reported that he rubbed his hands, in full confidence in the Almighty, in the hot sands, and that this immediately ran from his fingers like limpid water—from this it is said the spring takes its origin. But the evil spirits, that mar every thing as far as they are able, have, by Allah’s long suffering and hidden intention, since taken possession of this spring, particularly the abominable Zelulu, who fixes his nocturnal abode in the desert. It is believed that he dwells in the spring; and that he has not only corrupted the water, so that it has entirely lost its healing virtue, but that it has, moreover, become poisonous and mortal. The sulphureous vapours arising from it infect the air with pestilence. You will now readily understand my astonishment at finding you asleep there, and you may thank your sound constitution and my assistance for your deliverance.”

Great was Ali’s astonishment on hearing this. He pressed the carrier’s hand with gratitude, and some pieces of gold accompanied the pressure. The poor man was so delighted at this, that Ali quite forgot the danger he had escaped in the joy of his companion. The latter accompanied him some distance on his way, and now Ali soon came to pleasant groves of cypress, maple, and cedar, through which he went down to the ruins of Babylon which lay on the mighty river.

There he now stood surrounded by widely scattered ruins overgrown with grass and moss. Some pillars and fragments of walls rose near the banks and were reflected in the waves of the slowly flowing Euphrates. A herdsman sat on an architrave playing his reed-pipe, while his goats wandered about browsing on the grass between the stones.

“Do you know this place?” asked Ali.

“I have a hut in the neighbourhood,” said the shepherd.

“And what mean these heaps of stones?”

“It is said that in ancient time a city stood upon this spot.”

“Cannot you tell me something about it?”

“No; it has been desolate from time immemorial; neither my father nor my grandfather ever saw it different.”

Ali stood lost in thought. He was moved by seeing the young shepherd sitting on the stone like the unconcerned Present on the grave of the Past,—on the shore of the stream of time which rushes by like the paradisaical Euphrates, the river that saw the fall of Adam as well as that of Babylon, and still rolls onwards its fresh and youthful waves. Every uncommon mark in the mouldering stones delighted him, and his thoughts were as much engaged with surrounding objects as the young shepherd seemed indifferent to them. Like Ali he plucked the grass from the ruins, though not like him in order to read the inscriptions, but to give to his goats what they were unable to reach for themselves.

Towards the evening Ali set out on his way back to Bagdad, and wandered thoughtfully over the plain. The evening was cool and bright, and after he had proceeded a few hundred paces, his eyes already discerned Bagdad. He did not think it necessary to hasten, feeling sure that he must soon reach the city, but loitered long on the charming verdant spots in the sandy plain. The moon arose and shone so brightly, that the night appeared almost as light as day. Hence Ali did not take any account of the time; he felt weary, and seeing a large stone at some distance from him in which seats were cut out, he could not resist sitting down and, with his head resting on his hand, gazing over the calm, clear, and cool, desert before him. The wind was rustling through the palms over his head. Conceive his astonishment when the wind was suddenly hushed, and when he again heard the spring ripple a few yards off, and smelt the noxious vapours which the breezes had before wafted to the opposite side.

Terrified, he jumped up and ran back more than a hundred yards. He saw that a thunder-storm was suddenly approaching. By the dim moonlight, which every moment threatened to be obscured by the black clouds, he could scarcely distinguish the path that would lead him home. However, he hastened onwards, and cursed the habit which, on the slightest occasion, always misled him to shut himself up from surrounding objects, like flowers which close in the evening, so that he did not think where he was, or what took place near him. It grew darker and darker, thick clouds obscured the moon, loud thunder rolled over his head, but not a drop of rain descended. A burning wind rushed through the desert and stirred up the sand, so that he was obliged every minute to shut his eyes.

“Are there really evil spirits living,” he said to himself, “that can hurt man? No; innocence is the real great seal of Solomon, which not even the terrible Eblis dares to break.” He had scarcely uttered these words than a frightful darkness forced him to stand still. Suddenly the sky and earth were burning with a pale flame, a forked flash of lightning shot over his head, and struck a hollow tree close by his side. At the same time a pelting shower of rain streamed from the clouds, and Ali fell to the ground, stunned by the tremendous thunder-claps. Thus he lay for some time. At length all became calm, and he arose; but what was his horror when he saw against the deep blue moonlit sky, a monstrous black giant standing on the plain! The huge head reached high in the air, and looked upon Ali with a large sparkling eye. Ali was about to flee, but fear paralysed his feet. Trembling, he again turned his face towards the formidable figure which he fancied would crush him. How surprised and delighted was he on discovering that the formidable monster was nothing but a large black cloud, the last remnant of the thunderstorm, with an opening in the centre, through which the moon was beaming! This discovery restored his courage as quickly as he had before lost it. He now perceived that the whole was nothing more than a natural phenomenon, such, doubtless, as had often occurred in this narrow valley, and had given rise to the superstition of the people. He now proceeded onwards with fresh vigour, and it was not long before he crossed the bridge of the Tigris with a light heart, delighted at having so fortunately completed his adventure. But the black, Zelulu (for he it really was who amused himself with deceiving the conceited youth), stared smiling after him with his glowing eye, and then burst out into such loud laughter, that the palms of the desert trembled. Then, shaking the mane of his monstrous head, he folded up the large airy bulk of his body and floated over the spring, where, forming himself into a pillar, he suddenly rushed down with a tremendous howl. From this time he determined to persecute the youth.

Ali, on his return, found his father’s house in the greatest state of confusion and distress. His father was not there, and when he asked after him, an old slave said to him, “Unhappy son, at this moment the executioner is perhaps inflicting the fatal wound on him.” Ali stood speechless and pale. The cause of the unhappy event was as follows:

Ibrahim bore an implacable hatred against Hussain, Cadi of Bagdad, and the latter entertained a similar feeling in return; nay, people in the city were wont to name Ibrahim and Hussain if they wished to cite an instance of two irreconcileable enemies. Both had been educated, after the death of their parents, in the house of a mutual relative. Nothing can be worse than men of an entirely opposite disposition being compelled to hold daily intercourse; repugnance and hatred increase more and more, and their conversation becomes a constant feud. Hussain was proud and gloomy; Ibrahim vehement and animated. Daily did they reproach each other; the former considering the latter a frivolous sensualist, the latter considering the former a cold, selfish egotist. As they advanced in years their hatred increased. Their guardian had a beautiful daughter, whom both, as members of the family, had opportunities of seeing. Ibrahim fell in love with her, and hoped that his affections would be returned, and the father’s consent obtained. But as Hussain, by his natural talent, industry, and perseverance, soon raised himself to an important station, he obtained, contrary to Ibrahim’s expectation, the consent of the beautiful Mirza and her parent. Ibrahim was so enraged at this, that out of revenge he shortly after took two wives. One presented him with Ali at the cost of her own life. Mirza lived with Hussain for some years before she bore him a daughter. Some time had now past, Mirza had died, and separation, which usually weakens enmity as well as friendship, had almost extinguished the hatred of the cheerful Ibrahim. An occurrence, however, showed that it still burned fiercely in the heart of the haughty Hussain; and this poured fresh oil into Ibrahim’s fire, which, as it appeared, death alone could now extinguish.

Two years ago, Ibrahim had returned from a journey, and among other precious articles, had brought with him some Indian gold cloth, such as had never been seen before. Hussain heard of this, and as his daughter had grown up to be one of the most beautiful maidens in Bagdad, his paternal pride was set upon adorning his lovely child by all the means of art and of wealth. He had seen the cloth in passing Ibrahim’s shop, but not wishing to purchase it himself, had sent a slave to Ibrahim, and commissioned him to settle the bargain. Ibrahim looked upon this as the first step towards a reconciliation on the part of Hussain; and being of a more forgiving disposition than he, and, moreover, being in a cheerful humour, in anticipation of a happy future, he gave the cloth to the slave, telling him to say to Hussain, that he wished him to accept of it as a t