The Project Gutenberg eBook, Anne of Geierstein, Volume I (of 2), by Sir Walter Scott, Illustrated by Ricardo de Los Rios

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Title: Anne of Geierstein, Volume I (of 2)

The Maiden of the Mist

Author: Sir Walter Scott

Release Date: September 9, 2013 [eBook #43678]

Language: English

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The Introductory Essays and Notes by Andrew Lang to this Edition of the Waverley Novels are Copyright

Drawn and Etched by R de Los Rios

Anne of Geierstein






Printer's Logo


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh







The King's Most Gracious Majesty.


The Author of this Collection of Works of Fiction would not have presumed to solicit for them your Majesty's august patronage, were it not that the perusal has been supposed in some instances to have succeeded in amusing hours of relaxation, or relieving those of languor, pain, or anxiety, and therefore must have so far aided the warmest wish of your Majesty's heart, by contributing in however small a degree to the happiness of your people.

They are therefore humbly dedicated to your Majesty, agreeably to your gracious permission, by

Your Majesty's Dutiful Subject,


1st January, 1829.




The Duel. Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios (p. 99) Frontispiece
Geierstein. Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios To face page 48
In the Stable. Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios 192
The Examination. Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios 256
The Execution. Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios 304




What! will the aspiring blood of Lancaster

Sink in the ground?






With "The Fair Maid of Perth" we take farewell of Scott at his best, though "even from the stubble one may tell what the grain has been." "Anne of Geierstein" was no favourite of the author's, and, as Mr. Matthew Arnold says, the world does not contemplate with pleasure what the poet creates without joy. The novel was begun in the late summer or autumn of 1828, but for part of the time Scott neglected his Diary. He was become (June 19) "a writing automaton," and suffered much pain from rheumatism and rheumatic headaches. He feared that this affected "the quality of the stuff," but he was not one who "waited for the spark from heaven to fall." He plodded on, in these late years, invita Minerva. Of old the goddess had generally been willing; but now his task took the likeness of journalism, the round had to be trodden, be he well or be he ill. Masterpieces are not written thus: it is the moral effort that we admire, and the contempt for fame, even for art, compared with the respect for duty. Scott believed in his duty and in his power of will, but imagination will not obey a moral dictate. We find Ballantyne "complaining of his manuscript": the wearied hand no longer wrote legibly, despite the mechanical supports which he used. "I cannot trace my pieds de mouche but with great labour and trouble" (June 22). He "wrought and endured," afflicted by a x hypochondriacal melancholy: "it may be chased away by study or by exercise." He is nobly master of his fate, in every event. In July we find him "beginning Simond's 'Switzerland,'" in search of local colour, for he did not know Switzerland, nor even the Rhine. His description of a storm in the mountains is, in the circumstances, wonderfully accurate. He simply drew the hills above Loch Skene on a grander scale. Morritt and Sir James Stuart of Allanbank, who were well acquainted with the scenes, were "surprised at the felicity with which he divined its character, and outdid, by the force of imagination, all the efforts of a thousand actual tourists." Their praise much encouraged Sir Walter (Lockhart, ix. 279). Ballantyne "bored and bothered me with his criticisms," he said, for he did not pretend to be a geologist, and to describe the formation of the rocks. In January he "muzzed on"—I can call it little better—with "Anne of Geierstein." The "materials are excellent, but the power of using them is failing." In February (1829) he was better "pleased with his work." The reason why he was better pleased may perhaps be gathered from his Journal (Feb. 17): "I called on Skene, and borrowed a volume of his journal to get some information about Burgundy and Provence. Something may be made out of King René, but I wish I had thought of him sooner." This is elucidated by a note of Mr. Skene's: "Sir Walter wished to see a paper which I had some time before contributed to the Memoirs of the Society of Antiquaries on the subject of the secret tribunals of Germany, and upon which, accordingly, he grounded his scene in the novel." Mr. Skene now suggested the introduction of King René of Provence, as he himself could give topographical details. "He liked the idea much ... and the whole dénouement of the story was changed, and the Provence part woven into it, in the form in xi which it ultimately came forth" (Journal, ii. 235, note). On March 8 "Cadell totally condemns 'Anne of Geierstein' ... great dishonour in this, as Trinculo says, besides an infinite loss. Yet worse has succeeded, but it was while the fashion of the thing was fresh. I retrenched a good deal about the Troubadours, which was really hors de place" (April 14). After some weeks of work and reflection, he came to the conclusion that more pains would not serve his turn. Inspiration came at once, if it came at all, and now his "braes and burn-sides" were ceasing to inspire him. "I don't know why or wherefore, but I hate 'Anne'" (April 27). "The story will end, and shall end, because it must end, and so here goes." He finished "Anne of Geierstein" on April 29, and began an historical work for Dr. Lardner on the same day. He had been writing reviews and other trifles all the time. "Were necessity out of the question, I would take the same literary labour from choice—something more leisurely, though."

The book was published in the middle of May, and was very popular in Switzerland. Lockhart praises "occasional outbursts of the old poetic spirit," as in the Alpine storm, the wild climb of Arthur, the duel, the noble picture of the battle of Granson. No one else then writing in England could have matched these passages. Lockhart especially admired the sympathy with which an old and weary man "depicts the feelings of youth with all their original glow and purity." "He was always living over again in his children, young at heart whenever he looked on them, and the world that was opening on them and their friends. But, above all, he had a firm belief in the future reunion of those whom death had parted."

The novel is unlucky, perhaps, in the period chosen, which is not sufficiently familiar to most readers. The forlorn cause of the House of Lancaster now affects xii us very little, and the passion of Margaret of Anjou is remote—it cannot stir us like the last view of the King, in "Redgauntlet." The mechanism of the volume does suggest the favourite topics of Mrs. Radcliffe, and the mysterious appearances and disappearances of the heroine need a more plausible explanation than they receive. The prophecy turning on the drawing of the bow is rather dropped out of sight, and the magic scenes connected with the opal and the mysterious bride suffer from being explained away. The miracle is more easy of belief than the explanation. Though Charles the Bold is painted with power in his pride and in his fall, he does not interest us like Louis XI. or James VI., either in this novel or in "Quentin Durward." It is probable enough that Scott, in his intended continuation of "Quentin Durward," had this very period in his eye: perhaps we need not regret that, with failing powers, he left Quentin out of the tale. His place is filled by the good dull Sigismund, who always warms up into a kind of brilliance when action is to be taken or described. The hero and heroine do not differ much from Scott's usual characters, in similar romantic circumstances, but Anne has less of originality and charm, of course, than the women of his earlier novels. The story, even on the least favourable estimate, is a rapid novel of adventure: incident follows incident, and, as a modern critic says, "the novel of character is one we often take up, the novel of incident is one we cannot lay down;" if it be written with the spirit of Scott, or of Dumas. That friendly master of romance was just about to take up the pen which fell from the fingers of Sir Walter—

Uno avulso non deficit alter.

Scott's imitators, in his lifetime, produced little or nothing of merit: he was, however, to leave successors, xiii the author of "Vingt Ans Après" first and greatest; the author of "Esmond"; the author, we may surely add, of "The Master of Ballantrae." Much as these differ from Scott, both in quantity and quality of genius, in method, in style, they are all "sealed of his tribe," like the spiritual children of Ben Jonson. Scott is he

Without whose life they had not been,

and thus his example has borne, and still bears, new fruit in the most innocent of intellectual pleasures. For a later generation Scott has done what the romances and the epics did for chivalry, and fairy-tales for all the world. In an unexpected place, the Memoirs of Dr. Adam Clarke, we find a tribute to old romance and fairy-tale. Had he not read these in boyhood, the learned and excellent Doctor declares, his religion would have lacked imagination, and his character the courage which he displayed in face of many dangers. Examples of lofty fancy, of chivalrous courage, all that can attract and inspire youth, all that makes against moody despair, and stolid commonplace, and creeping prose, Scott gives, even in this late work, and he enlightens all with humour, as in his admirable description of the despotic German innkeeper, before whom the Earl of Oxford has to lower his bonnet. While youth is youth, and men have yet a smack of it, we can be happy with Arthur Philipson in his duel, with Sigismund in the fight, with the cheery maid of Anne of Geierstein, and her honest ideas of love on first principles, with that royal philosopher King René, with the sagacious loyalty of Oxford, and the manly patriotism of the peasant noble. That the conclusion is entangled, and the knots rather broken than disengaged, is no unusual fault in Scott: it haunted his works from the beginning. Considering his health, his absence, in this tale, from scenes familiar to him, and times familiar to xiv his readers, the novel is remarkable for its interest. What success and merit it possesses are mainly due, however, to a determined effort of the will, not to a delighted and conscious inspiration. In his last essays, though the will was indomitable, the material machinery of the brain was shattered, and we can only criticise them as psychological examples of unconquered courage. He had to see James Ballantyne, broken by his wife's death, and "squandering his thoughts and senses upon dowdy metaphysics, and abstruse theology." It was better for Scott to work on, and die at his task, at the labour of a life which would not be complete, would not offer the same invigorating spectacle, had he thrown his pen away and confessed himself defeated.

The historical sources of "Anne of Geierstein" are explained in Scott's own Introduction and Notes. All the later part of the novel follows the narrative of Commines closely, save for certain dramatic liberties, as we shall point out in our additional annotations.

Andrew Lang.

May 1894. xv




This novel was written at a time when circumstances did not place within my reach the stores of a library tolerably rich in historical works, and especially the memoirs of the Middle Ages, amidst which I had been accustomed to pursue the composition of my fictitious narratives. In other words, it was chiefly the work of leisure hours in Edinburgh, not of quiet mornings in the country. In consequence of trusting to a memory, strongly tenacious certainly, but not less capricious in its efforts, I have to confess on this occasion more violations of accuracy in historical details, than can perhaps be alleged against others of my novels. In truth, often as I have been complimented on the strength of my memory, I have through life been entitled to adopt old Beattie of Meikledale's answer to his parish minister when eulogising him with respect to the same faculty. "No, doctor," said the honest border-laird, "I have no command of my memory; it only retains what happens to hit my fancy, and like enough, sir, if you were to preach to me for a couple of hours on end, I might be unable at the close of the discourse to remember one word of it." Perhaps there are few men whose memory serves them with equal fidelity as to many different classes of subjects; but I am sorry to say, that while mine has rarely failed me as to any snatch of verse or trait of xvi character that had once interested my fancy, it has generally been a frail support, not only as to names, and dates, and other minute technicalities of history, but as to many more important things.

I hope this apology will suffice for one mistake which has been pointed out to me by the descendant of one of the persons introduced in this story, and who complains with reason that I have made a peasant deputy of the ancestor of a distinguished and noble family, none of whom ever declined from the high rank to which, as far as my pen trenched on it, I now beg leave to restore them. The name of the person who figures as deputy of Soleure in these pages, was always, it seems, as it is now, that of a patrician house. I am reminded by the same correspondent of another slip, probably of less consequence. The Emperor of the days my novel refers to, though the representative of that Leopold who fell in the great battle of Sempach, never set up any pretensions against the liberties of the gallant Swiss, but, on the contrary, treated with uniform prudence and forbearance such of that nation as had established their independence, and with wise, as well as generous kindness, others who still continued to acknowledge fealty to the imperial crown. Errors of this sort, however trivial, ought never, in my opinion, to be pointed out to an author, without meeting with a candid and respectful acknowledgment.

With regard to a general subject of great curiosity and interest, in the eyes at least of all antiquarian students, upon which I have touched at some length in this narrative, I mean the Vehmic tribunals of Westphalia, a name so awful in men's ears during many centuries, and which, through the genius of Goethe, has again been revived in public fancy with a full share of its ancient terrors, I am bound to state my opinion that a wholly new and most important light xvii has been thrown upon this matter since Anne of Geierstein first appeared, by the elaborate researches of my ingenious friend, Mr. Francis Palgrave, whose proof-sheets, containing the passages I allude to, have been kindly forwarded to me, and whose complete work will be before the public ere this Introduction can pass through the press.

"In Germany," says this very learned writer, "there existed a singular jurisdiction, which claimed a direct descent from the Pagan policy and mystic ritual of the earliest Teutons.

"We learn from the Historians of Saxony, that the 'Frey Feld gericht,' or Free Field Court of Corbey, was, in Pagan times, under the supremacy of the Priests of the Eresburgh, the Temple which contained the Irminsule, or pillar of Irmin. After the conversion of the people, the possessions of the temple were conferred by Louis the Pious upon the Abbey which arose upon its site. The court was composed of sixteen persons, who held their offices for life. The senior member presided as the Gerefa or Graff; the junior performed the humbler duties of 'Frohner,' or summoner; the remaining fourteen acted as the Echevins, and by them all judgments were pronounced or declared. When any one of these died, a new member was elected by the Priests, from amongst the twenty-two septs or families inhabiting the Gau or district, and who included all the hereditary occupants of the soil. Afterwards, the selection was made by the Monks, but always with the assent of the Graff and of the 'Frohner.'

"The seat of judgment, the King's seat, or 'Königs-stuhl,' was always established on the greensward; and we collect from the context, that the tribunal was also raised or appointed in the common fields of the Gau, for the purpose of deciding disputes relating to the xviii land within its precinct. Such a 'King's seat' was a plot sixteen feet in length, and sixteen feet in breadth; and when the ground was first consecrated, the Frohner dug a grave in the centre, into which each of the Free Echevins threw a handful of ashes, a coal, and a tile. If any doubt arose whether a place of judgment had been duly hallowed, the Judges sought for the tokens. If they were not found, then all the judgments which had been given became null and void. It was also of the very essence of the Court, that it should be held beneath the sky, and by the light of the sun. All the ancient Teutonic judicial assemblies were held in the open air; but some relics of solar worship may perhaps be traced in the usage and in the language of this tribunal. The forms adopted in the Free Field Court also betray a singular affinity to the doctrines of the British Bards respecting their Gorseddau, or Conventions, which were 'always held in the open air, in the eye of the light, and in face of the sun.'[1]

"When a criminal was to be judged, or a cause to be decided, the Graff and the Free Echevins assembled around the 'Königs-stuhl;' and the 'Frohner,' having proclaimed silence, opened the proceedings by reciting the following rhymes:

"Sir Graff, with permission,

I beg you to say,

According to law, and without delay,

If I, your Knave,

Who judgment crave,

With your good grace,

Upon the King's seat this seat may place.

"To this address the Graff replied: xix

"While the sun shines with even light

Upon Masters and Knaves, I shall declare

The law of might, according to right.

Place the King's seat true and square,

Let even measure, for justice' sake,

Be given in sight of God and man,

That the plaintiff his complaint may make,

And the defendant answer,—if he can.

"In conformity to this permission, the 'Frohner' placed the seat of judgment in the middle of the plot, and then he spake for the second time:

"Sir Graff, Master brave,

I remind you of your honour, here,

And moreover that I am your Knave;

Tell me, therefore, for law sincere,

If these mete-wands are even and sure,

Fit for the rich and fit for the poor,

Both to measure land and condition;

Tell me as you would eschew perdition.

"And so speaking, he laid the mete-wand on the ground. The Graff then began to try the measure, by placing his right foot against the wand, and he was followed by the other Free Echevins in rank and order, according to seniority. The length of the mete-wand being thus proved, the Frohner spake for the third time:

"Sir Graff, I ask by permission,

If I with your mete-wand may mete

Openly, and without displeasure,

Here the king's free judgment seat.

"And the Graff replied:

"I permit right,

And I forbid wrong,

Under the pains and penalties

That to the old known laws belong.

"Now was the time of measuring the mystic plot; it was measured by the mete-wand along and athwart, xx and when the dimensions were found to be true, the Graff placed himself in the seat of judgment, and gave the charge to the assembled Free Echevins, warning them to pronounce judgment, according to right and justice.

"On this day, with common consent,

And under the clear firmament,

A free field court is established here,

In the open eye of day;

Enter soberly, ye who may.

The seat in its place is pight,

The mete-wand is found to be right;

Declare your judgments without delay:

And let the doom be truly given,

Whilst yet the Sun shines bright in heaven.

"Judgment was given by the Free Echevins according to plurality of voices."

After observing that the author of Anne of Geierstein had, by what he calls a "very excusable poetical licence," transferred something of these judicial rhymes from the Free Field Court of the Abbey of Corbey, to the Free Vehmic Tribunals of Westphalia, Mr. Palgrave proceeds to correct many vulgar errors, in which the novel he remarks on no doubt had shared, with respect to the actual constitution of those last-named courts. "The protocols of their proceedings," he says, "do not altogether realise the popular idea of their terrors and tyranny." It may be allowed to me to question whether the mere protocols of such tribunals are quite enough to annul all the import of tradition respecting them; but in the following details there is no doubt much that will instruct the antiquary, as well as amuse the popular reader.

"The Court," says Mr. Palgrave, "was held with known and notorious publicity beneath the 'eye of light;' and the sentences, though speedy and severe, were founded upon a regular system of established xxi jurisprudence, not so strange, even to England, as it may at first sight appear.

"Westphalia, according to its ancient constitution, was divided into districts called 'Freygraffschafften,' each of which usually contained one, and sometimes many, Vehmic tribunals, whose boundaries were accurately defined. The right of the 'Stuhlherr,' or Lord, was of a feudal nature, and could be transferred by the ordinary modes of alienation; and if the Lord did not choose to act in his own person, he nominated a 'Freigraff' to execute the office in his stead. The Court itself was composed of 'Freyschöppfen,' Scabini, or Echevins, nominated by the Graff, and who were divided into two classes: the ordinary, and the 'Wissenden' or 'Witan,' who were admitted under a strict and singular bond of secrecy.

"The initiation of these, the participators in all the mysteries of the tribunal, could only take place upon the 'red earth,' or within the limits of the ancient Duchy of Westphalia. Bareheaded and ungirt, the candidate is conducted before the dread tribunal. He is interrogated as to his qualifications, or rather as to the absence of any disqualification. He must be free born, a Teuton, and clear of any accusation cognisable by the tribunal of which he is to become a member.—If the answers are satisfactory, he then takes the oath, swearing by the Holy Law, that he will conceal the secrets of the Holy Vehme from wife and child—from father and mother—from sister and brother—from fire and water—from every creature upon which the sun shines, or upon which the rain falls—from every being between earth and heaven.

"Another clause relates to his active duties. He further swears, that he will 'say forth' to the tribunal all crimes or offences which fall beneath the secret ban of the Emperor, which he knows to be true, or which xxii he has heard from trustworthy report; and that he will not forbear to do so, for love nor for loathing, for gold nor for silver nor precious stones.—This oath being imposed upon him, the new Freischopff was then intrusted with the secrets of the Vehmic tribunal. He received the password, by which he was to know his fellows, and the grip or sign by which they recognised each other in silence; and he was warned of the terrible punishment awaiting the perjured brother.—If he discloses the secrets of the Court, he is to expect that he will be suddenly seized by the ministers of vengeance. His eyes are bound, he is cast down on the soil, his tongue is torn out through the back of his neck—and he is then to be hanged seven times higher than any other criminal. And whether restrained by the fear of punishment, or by the stronger ties of mystery, no instance was ever known of any violation of the secrets of the tribunal.

"Thus connected by an invisible bond, the members of the 'Holy Vehme' became extremely numerous. In the fourteenth century, the league contained upwards of one hundred thousand members. Persons of every rank sought to be associated to this powerful community, and to participate in the immunities which the brethren possessed. Princes were eager to allow their ministers to become the members of this mysterious and holy alliance; and the cities of the Empire were equally anxious to enrol their magistrates in the Vehmic union.

"The supreme government of the Vehmic tribunals was vested in the great or general Chapter, composed of the Freegraves and all the other initiated members, high and low. Over this assembly the Emperor might preside in person, but more usually by his deputy, the Stadtholder of the ancient Duchy of Westphalia; an office which, after the fall of Henry the Lion, Duke xxiii of Brunswick, was annexed to the Archbishopric of Cologne.

"Before the general Chapter, all the members were liable to account for their acts. And it appears that the 'Freegraves' reported the proceedings which had taken place within their jurisdictions in the course of the year. Unworthy members were expelled, or sustained a severer punishment. Statutes, or Reformations, as they were called, were here enacted for the regulation of the Courts, and the amendment of any abuses; and new and unforeseen cases, for which the existing laws did not provide a remedy, received their determination in the Vehmic Parliament.

"As the Echevins were of two classes, uninitiated and initiated, so the Vehmic Courts had also a twofold character; the 'Offenbare Ding' was an Open Court or Folkmoot; but the 'Heimliche Acht' was the far-famed Secret Tribunal.

"The first was held three times in each year. According to the ancient Teutonic usage, it usually assembled on Tuesday, anciently called 'Dingstag,' or court-day, as well as 'Diensttag,' or serving-day, the first open or working day after the two great weekly festivals of Sun-day and Moon-day. Here all the householders of the district, whether free or bond, attended as suitors. The 'Offenbare Ding' exercised a civil jurisdiction; and in this Folkmoot appeared any complainant or appellant who sought to obtain the aid of the Vehmic tribunal, in those cases when it did not possess that summary jurisdiction from which it has obtained such fearful celebrity. Here also the suitors of the district made presentments or 'wroge,' as they are termed, of any offences committed within their knowledge, and which were to be punished by the Graff and Echevins.

"The criminal jurisdiction of the Vehmic Tribunal xxiv took the widest range. The 'Vehme' could punish mere slander and contumely. Any violation of the Ten Commandments was to be restrained by the Echevins. Secret crimes, not to be proved by the ordinary testimony of witnesses, such as magic, witchcraft, and poison, were particularly to be restrained by the Vehmic Judges; and they sometimes designated their jurisdiction as comprehending every offence against the honour of man or the precepts of religion. Such a definition, if definition it can be called, evidently allowed them to bring every action of which an individual might complain, within the scope of their tribunals. The forcible usurpation of land became an offence against the 'Vehme.' And if the property of an humble individual was occupied by the proud Burghers of the Hanse, the power of the Defendants might afford a reasonable excuse for the interference of the Vehmic power.

"The Echevins, as Conservators of the Ban of the Empire, were bound to make constant circuits within their districts, by night and by day. If they could apprehend a thief, a murderer, or the perpetrator of any other heinous crime in possession of the 'mainour,' or in the very act—or if his own mouth confessed the deed, they hung him upon the next tree. But to render this execution legal, the following requisites were necessary: fresh suit, or the apprehension and execution of the offender before daybreak or nightfall;—the visible evidence of the crime;—and lastly, that three Echevins, at least, should seize the offender, testify against him, and judge of the recent deed.

"If, without any certain accuser, and without the indication of crime, an individual was strongly and vehemently suspected; or when the nature of the offence was such as that its proof could only rest upon opinion and presumption, the offender then became xxv subject to what the German jurists term the inquisitorial proceeding; it became the duty of the Echevin to denounce the 'Leumund,' or manifest evil fame, to the secret tribunal. If the Echevins and the Freygraff were satisfied with the presentment, either from their own knowledge, or from the information of their compeer, the offender was said to be 'verfämbt;'—his life was forfeited; and wherever he was found by the brethren of the tribunal, they executed him without the slightest delay or mercy. An offender who had escaped from the Echevins was liable to the same punishment; and such also was the doom of the party who, after having been summoned pursuant to an appeal preferred in open court, made default in appearing. But one of the 'Wissenden' was in no respect liable to the summary process, or to the inquisitorial proceeding, unless he had revealed the secrets of the Court. He was presumed to be a true man; and if accused upon vehement suspicion, or 'Leumund,' the same presumption or evil repute which was fatal to the uninitiated might be entirely rebutted by the compurgatory oath of the free Echevin. If a party, accused by appeal, did not shun investigation, he appeared in the open court, and defended himself according to the ordinary rules of law. If he absconded, or if the evidence or presumptions were against him, the accusation then came before the Judges of the Secret Court, who pronounced the doom. The accusatorial process, as it was termed, was also, in many cases, brought in the first instance before the 'Heimliche Acht.' Proceeding upon the examination of witnesses, it possessed no peculiar character, and its forms were those of the ordinary courts of justice. It was only in this manner that one of the 'Wissenden,' or Witan, could be tried; and the privilege of being exempted from the summary process, or from the effects xxvi of the 'Leumund,' appears to have been one of the reasons which induced so many of those who did not tread the 'red earth' to seek to be included in the Vehmic bond.

"There was no mystery in the assembly of the Heimliche Acht. Under the oak, or under the lime-tree, the Judges assembled, in broad daylight, and before the eye of heaven; but the tribunal derived its name from the precautions which were taken, for the purpose of preventing any disclosure of its proceedings which might enable the offender to escape the vengeance of the Vehme. Hence, the fearful oath of secrecy which bound the Echevins. And if any stranger was found present in the Court, the unlucky intruder instantly forfeited his life as a punishment for his temerity. If the presentment or denunciation did chance to become known to the offender, the law allowed him a right of appeal. But the permission was of very little utility, it was a profitless boon, for the Vehmic Judges always laboured to conceal the judgment from the hapless criminal, who seldom was aware of his sentence until his neck was encircled by the halter.

"Charlemagne, according to the traditions of Westphalia, was the founder of the Vehmic tribunal; and it was supposed that he instituted the Court for the purpose of coercing the Saxons, ever ready to relapse into the idolatry from which they had been reclaimed, not by persuasion, but by the sword. This opinion, however, is not confirmed either by documentary evidence or by contemporary historians. And if we examine the proceedings of the Vehmic tribunal, we shall see that, in principle, it differs in no essential character from the summary jurisdiction exercised in the townships and hundreds of Anglo-Saxon England. Amongst us, the thief or the robber was equally liable xxvii to summary punishment, if apprehended by the men of the township; and the same rules disqualified them from proceeding to summary execution. An English outlaw was exactly in the situation of him who had escaped from the hands of the Echevins, or who had failed to appear before the Vehmic Court: he was condemned unheard, nor was he confronted with his accusers. The inquisitorial proceedings, as they are termed by the German jurists, are identical with our ancient presentments. Presumptions are substituted for proofs, and general opinion holds the place of a responsible accuser. He who was untrue to all the people in the Saxon age, or liable to the malecredence of the inquest at a subsequent period, was scarcely more fortunate than he who was branded as 'Leumund' by the Vehmic law.

"In cases of open delict and of outlawry, there was substantially no difference whatever between the English and the Vehmic proceedings. But in the inquisitorial process, the delinquent was allowed, according to our older code, to run the risk of the ordeal. He was accused by or before the Hundred, or the Thanes of the Wapentake; and his own oath cleared him, if a true man; but he 'bore the iron' if unable to avail himself of the credit derived from a good and fair reputation. The same course may have been originally adopted in Westphalia; for the 'Wissend,' when accused, could exculpate himself by his compurgatory oath, being presumed to be of good fame; and it is, therefore, probable that an uninitiated offender, standing a stage lower in character and credibility, was allowed the last resort of the ordeal. But when the 'Judgment of God' was abolished by the decrees of the Church, it did not occur to the Vehmic Judges to put the offender upon his second trial by the visne, which now forms the distinguishing characteristic of xxviii the English law, and he was at once considered as condemned. The Heimliche Acht is a presentment not traversable by the offender.

"The Vehmic Tribunals can only be considered as the original jurisdictions of the 'Old Saxons,' which survived the subjugation of their country. The singular and mystic forms of initiation, the system of enigmatical phrases, the use of the signs and symbols of recognition, may probably be ascribed to the period when the whole system was united to the worship of the Deities of Vengeance, and when the sentence was promulgated by the Doomsmen, assembled, like the Asi of old, before the altars of Thor or Woden. Of this connection with ancient pagan policy, so clearly to be traced in the Icelandic Courts, the English territorial jurisdictions offer some very faint vestiges; but the mystery had long been dispersed, and the whole system passed into the ordinary machinery of the law.

"As to the Vehmic Tribunals, it is acknowledged, that in a truly barbarous age and country, their proceedings, however violent, were not without utility. Their severe and secret vengeance often deterred the rapacity of the noble robber, and protected the humble suppliant; the extent, and even the abuse, of their authority was in some measure justified in an Empire divided into numerous independent jurisdictions, and not subjected to any paramount tribunal, able to administer impartial justice to the oppressed. But as the times improved, the Vehmic tribunals degenerated. The Echevins, chosen from the inferior ranks, did not possess any personal consideration. Opposed by the opulent cities of the Hanse, and objects of the suspicion and the enmity of the powerful aristocracy, the tribunals of some districts were abolished by law, and others took the form of ordinary territorial jurisdictions; the greater number fell into desuetude. Yet, as xxix late as the middle of the eighteenth century, a few Vehmic tribunals existed in name, though, as it may be easily supposed, without possessing any remnant of their pristine power."—Palgrave on the Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth. Proofs and Illustrations. p. 157.

I have marked by italic letters the most important passage of the above quotation. The view it contains seems to me to have every appearance of truth and justice—and if such should, on maturer investigation, turn out to be the fact, it will certainly confer no small honour on an English scholar to have discovered the key to a mystery, which had long exercised in vain the laborious and profound students of German antiquity.

There are probably several other points on which I ought to have embraced this opportunity of enlarging; but the necessity of preparing for an excursion to foreign countries, in quest of health and strength, that have been for some time sinking, makes me cut short my address upon the present occasion.

Although I had never been in Switzerland, and numerous mistakes must of course have occurred in my attempts to describe the local scenery of that romantic region, I must not conclude without a statement highly gratifying to myself, that the work met with a reception of more than usual cordiality among the descendants of the Alpine heroes whose manners I had ventured to treat of; and I have in particular to express my thanks to the several Swiss gentlemen who have, since the novel was published, enriched my little collection of armour with specimens of the huge weapon that sheared the lances of the Austrian chivalry at Sempach, and was employed with equal success on the bloody days of Granson and Morat. Of the ancient doublehanded espadons of the Switzer, I have, in this xxx way, received, I think, not less than six, in excellent preservation, from as many different individuals, who thus testified their general approbation of these pages. They are not the less interesting, that gigantic swords, of nearly the same pattern and dimensions, were employed, in their conflicts with the bold knights and men-at-arms of England, by Wallace, and the sturdy foot-soldiers who, under his guidance, laid the foundations of Scottish independence.

The reader who wishes to examine with attention the historical events of the period which the novel embraces will find ample means of doing so in the valuable works of Zschokké and M. de Barante—which last author's account of the Dukes of Burgundy is among the most valuable of recent accessions of European literature—and in the new Parisian edition of Froissart, which has not as yet attracted so much attention in this country as it well deserves to do.


Abbotsford, Sept. 17, 1831. 1





The mists boil up around the glaciers; clouds

Rise curling fast beneath me, white and sulphurous,

Like foam from the roused ocean ...

... I am giddy.


The course of four centuries has well-nigh elapsed since the series of events which are related in the following chapters took place on the Continent. The records which contained the outlines of the history, and might be referred to as proof of its veracity, were long preserved in the superb library of the Monastery of St. Gall, but perished, with many of the literary treasures of that establishment, when the convent was plundered by the French revolutionary armies. The events are fixed, by historical date, to the middle of the fifteenth century—that important period, when chivalry still shone with a setting ray, soon about to be totally obscured: in some countries, by the establishment of free institutions; in others, by that 2 of arbitrary power, which alike rendered useless the interference of those self-endowed redressers of wrongs, whose only warrant of authority was the sword.

Amid the general light which had recently shone upon Europe, France, Burgundy, and Italy, but more especially Austria, had been made acquainted with the character of a people of whose very existence they had before been scarcely conscious. It is true, that the inhabitants of those countries which lie in the vicinity of the Alps, that immense barrier, were not ignorant that, notwithstanding their rugged and desolate appearance, the secluded valleys which winded among those gigantic mountains nourished a race of hunters and shepherds; men who, living in a state of primeval simplicity, compelled from the soil a subsistence gained by severe labour, followed the chase over the most savage precipices and through the darkest pine forests, or drove their cattle to spots which afforded them a scanty pasturage, even in the vicinage of eternal snows. But the existence of such a people, or rather of a number of small communities who followed nearly the same poor and hardy course of life, had seemed to the rich and powerful princes in the neighbourhood a matter of as little consequence, as it is to the stately herds which repose in a fertile meadow, that a few half-starved goats find their scanty food among the rocks which overlook their rich domain.

But wonder and attention began to be attracted towards these mountaineers, about the middle of the fourteenth century, when reports were spread abroad of severe contests, in which the German chivalry, endeavouring to suppress insurrections 3 among their Alpine vassals, had sustained repeated and bloody defeats, although having on their side numbers and discipline, and the advantage of the most perfect military equipment then known and confided in. Great was the wonder that cavalry, which made the only efficient part of the feudal armies of these ages, should be routed by men on foot; that warriors sheathed in complete steel should be overpowered by naked peasants who wore no defensive armour, and were irregularly provided with pikes, halberts, and clubs, for the purpose of attack; above all, it seemed a species of miracle, that knights and nobles of the highest birth should be defeated by mountaineers and shepherds. But the repeated victories of the Swiss at Laupen, Sempach [a],[2] and on other less distinguished occasions, plainly intimated that a new principle of civil organisation, as well as of military movements, had arisen amid the stormy regions of Helvetia.

Still, although the decisive victories which obtained liberty for the Swiss Cantons, as well as the spirit of resolution and wisdom with which the members of the little confederation had maintained themselves against the utmost exertions of Austria, had spread their fame abroad through all the neighbouring countries; and although they themselves were conscious of the character and actual power which repeated victories had acquired for themselves and their country, yet down to the middle of the fifteenth century, and at a later date, the Swiss retained in a great measure the wisdom, 4 moderation, and simplicity of their ancient manners; so much so, that those who were intrusted with the command of the troops of the Republic in battle, were wont to resume the shepherd's staff when they laid down the truncheon, and, like the Roman dictators, to retire to complete equality with their fellow-citizens, from the eminence of military command to which their talents, and the call of their country, had raised them.

It is, then, in the Forest Cantons of Switzerland, in the autumn of 1474, while these districts were in the rude and simple state we have described, that our tale opens.

Two travellers, one considerably past the prime of life, the other probably two or three and twenty years old, had passed the night at the little town of Lucerne, the capital of the Swiss state of the same name, and beautifully situated on the Lake of the Four Cantons. Their dress and character seemed those of merchants of a higher class, and while they themselves journeyed on foot, the character of the country rendering that by far the most easy mode of pursuing their route, a young peasant lad, from the Italian side of the Alps, followed them with a sumpter mule, laden apparently with men's wares and baggage, which he sometimes mounted, but more frequently led by the bridle.

The travellers were uncommonly fine-looking men, and seemed connected by some very near relationship,—probably that of father and son; for at the little inn where they lodged on the preceding evening, the great deference and respect paid by the younger to the elder had not escaped the observation of the natives, who, like other 5 sequestered beings, were curious in proportion to the limited means of information which they possessed. They observed also, that the merchants, under pretence of haste, declined opening their bales, or proposing traffic to the inhabitants of Lucerne, alleging in excuse that they had no commodities fitted for the market. The females of the town were the more displeased with the reserve of the mercantile travellers, because they were given to understand that it was occasioned by the wares in which they dealt being too costly to find customers among the Helvetian mountains; for it had transpired, by means of their attendant, that the strangers had visited Venice, and had there made many purchases of rich commodities, which were brought from India and Egypt to that celebrated emporium, as to the common mart of the Western World, and thence dispersed into all quarters of Europe. Now the Swiss maidens had of late made the discovery that gauds and gems were fair to look upon, and, though without the hope of being able to possess themselves of such ornaments, they felt a natural desire to review and handle the rich stores of the merchants, and some displeasure at being prevented from doing so.

It was also observed, that though the strangers were sufficiently courteous in their demeanour, they did not evince that studious anxiety to please, displayed by the travelling pedlars or merchants of Lombardy or Savoy, by whom the inhabitants of the mountains were occasionally visited; and who had been more frequent in their rounds of late years, since the spoils of victory had invested the Swiss with some wealth, and had taught many of them new wants. Those peripatetic traders 6 were civil and assiduous, as their calling required; but the new visitors seemed men who were indifferent to traffic, or at least to such slender gains as could be gathered in Switzerland.

Curiosity was further excited by the circumstance that they spoke to each other in a language which was certainly neither German, Italian, nor French, but from which an old man serving in the cabaret, who had once been as far as Paris, supposed they might be English; a people of whom it was only known in these mountains, that they were a fierce insular race, at war with the French for many years, and a large body of whom had long since invaded the Forest Cantons [b], and sustained such a defeat in the valley of Russwyl as was well remembered by the grey-haired men of Lucerne, who received the tale from their fathers.

The lad who attended the strangers was soon ascertained to be a youth from the Grisons country, who acted as their guide, so far as his knowledge of the mountains permitted. He said they designed to go to Bâle, but seemed desirous to travel by circuitous and unfrequented routes. The circumstances just mentioned increased the general desire to know more of the travellers and of their merchandise. Not a bale, however, was unpacked, and the merchants, leaving Lucerne next morning, resumed their toilsome journey, preferring a circuitous route and bad roads, through the peaceful cantons of Switzerland, to encountering the exactions and rapine of the robber chivalry of Germany, who, like so many sovereigns, made war each at his own pleasure, and levied tolls and taxes on every one who passed their domains, of a mile's breadth, with all the insolence of petty tyranny. 7

For several hours after leaving Lucerne, the journey of our travellers was successfully prosecuted. The road, though precipitous and difficult, was rendered interesting by those splendid phenomena, which no country exhibits in a more astonishing manner than the mountains of Switzerland, where the rocky pass, the verdant valley, the broad lake, and the rushing torrent, the attributes of other hills as well as these, are interspersed with the magnificent and yet fearful horrors of the glaciers, a feature peculiar to themselves.

It was not an age in which the beauties or grandeur of a landscape made much impression either on the minds of those who travelled through the country, or who resided in it. To the latter, the objects, however dignified, were familiar, and associated with daily habits and with daily toil; and the former saw, perhaps, more terror than beauty in the wild region through which they passed, and were rather solicitous to get safe to their night's quarters, than to comment on the grandeur of the scenes which lay between them and their place of rest. Yet our merchants, as they proceeded on their journey, could not help being strongly impressed by the character of the scenery around them. Their road lay along the side of the lake, at times level and close on its very margin, at times rising to a great height on the side of the mountain, and winding along the verge of precipices which sank down to the water as sharp and sheer as the wall of a castle descending upon the ditch which defends it. At other times it traversed spots of a milder character,—delightful green slopes, and lowly retired valleys, affording both pasturage and arable ground, sometimes 8 watered by small streams, which winded by the hamlet of wooden huts with their fantastic little church and steeple, meandered round the orchard and the mount of vines, and, murmuring gently as they flowed, found a quiet passage into the lake.

"That stream, Arthur," said the elder traveller, as with one consent they stopped to gaze on such a scene as I have described, "resembles the life of a good and a happy man."

"And the brook, which hurries itself headlong down yon distant hill, marking its course by a streak of white foam," answered Arthur,—"what does that resemble?"

"That of a brave and unfortunate one," replied his father.

"The torrent for me," said Arthur; "a headlong course which no human force can oppose, and then let it be as brief as it is glorious."

"It is a young man's thought," replied his father; "but I am well aware that it is so rooted in thy heart, that nothing but the rude hand of adversity can pluck it up."

"As yet the root clings fast to my heart's strings," said the young man; "and methinks adversity's hand hath had a fair grasp of it."

"You speak, my son, of what you little understand," said his father. "Know, that till the middle of life be passed, men scarce distinguish true prosperity from adversity, or rather they court as the favours of fortune what they should more justly regard as the marks of her displeasure. Look at yonder mountain, which wears on its shaggy brow a diadem of clouds, now raised and now depressed, while the sun glances upon, but is unable to dispel it;—a child might believe it to 9 be a crown of glory—a man knows it to be the signal of tempest."

Arthur followed the direction of his father's eye to the dark and shadowy eminence of Mount Pilatus.

"Is the mist on yonder wild mountain so ominous, then?" asked the young man.

"Demand of Antonio," said his father; "he will tell you the legend."

The young merchant addressed himself to the Swiss lad who acted as their attendant, desiring to know the name of the gloomy height, which, in that quarter, seems the leviathan of the huge congregation of mountains assembled about Lucerne.

The lad crossed himself devoutly, as he recounted the popular legend, that the wicked Pontius Pilate, Proconsul of Judea, had here found the termination of his impious life; having, after spending years in the recesses of that mountain which bears his name, at length, in remorse and despair rather than in penitence, plunged into the dismal lake which occupies the summit. Whether water refused to do the executioner's duty upon such a wretch, or whether, his body being drowned, his vexed spirit continued to haunt the place where he committed suicide, Antonio did not pretend to explain. But a form was often, he said, seen to emerge from the gloomy waters, and go through the action of one washing his hands; and when he did so, dark clouds of mist gathered first round the bosom of the Infernal Lake (such it had been styled of old), and then, wrapping the whole upper part of the mountain in darkness, presaged a tempest or hurricane, which was sure to follow in a short space. He added, that the evil spirit 10 was peculiarly exasperated at the audacity of such strangers as ascended the mountain to gaze at his place of punishment, and that, in consequence, the magistrates of Lucerne had prohibited any one from approaching Mount Pilatus, under severe penalties. Antonio once more crossed himself as he finished his legend; in which act of devotion he was imitated by his hearers, too good Catholics to entertain any doubt of the truth of the story.

"How the accursed heathen scowls upon us!" said the younger of the merchants, while the cloud darkened and seemed to settle on the brow of Mount Pilatus. "Vade retro! Be thou defied, sinner!"

A rising wind, rather heard than felt, seemed to groan forth, in the tone of a dying lion, the acceptance of the suffering spirit to the rash challenge of the young Englishman. The mountain was seen to send down its rugged sides thick wreaths of heaving mist, which, rolling through the rugged chasms that seamed the grisly hill, resembled torrents of rushing lava pouring down from a volcano. The ridgy precipices, which formed the sides of these huge ravines, showed their splintery and rugged edges over the vapour, as if dividing from each other the descending streams of mist which rolled around them. As a strong contrast to this gloomy and threatening scene, the more distant mountain range of Rigi shone brilliant with all the hues of an autumnal sun.

While the travellers watched this striking and varied contrast, which resembled an approaching combat betwixt the powers of Light and Darkness, their guide, in his mixed jargon of Italian and German, exhorted them to make haste on their 11 journey. The village to which he proposed to conduct them, he said, was yet distant, the road bad, and difficult to find, and if the Evil One (looking to Mount Pilatus, and crossing himself) should send his darkness upon the valley, the path would be both doubtful and dangerous. The travellers, thus admonished, gathered the capes of their cloaks close round their throats, pulled their bonnets resolvedly over their brows, drew the buckle of the broad belts which fastened their mantles, and each with a mountain staff in his hand, well shod with an iron spike, they pursued their journey, with unabated strength and undaunted spirit.

With every step the scenes around them appeared to change. Each mountain, as if its firm and immutable form were flexible and varying, altered in appearance, like that of a shadowy apparition, as the position of the strangers relative to them changed with their motions, and as the mist, which continued slowly though constantly to descend, influenced the rugged aspect of the hills and valleys which it shrouded with its vapoury mantle. The nature of their progress, too, never direct, but winding by a narrow path along the sinuosities of the valley, and making many a circuit round precipices and other obstacles which it was impossible to surmount, added to the wild variety of a journey, in which, at last, the travellers totally lost any vague idea which they had previously entertained concerning the direction in which the road led them.

"I would," said the elder, "we had that mystical needle which mariners talk of, that points ever to the north, and enables them to keep their way 12 on the waters, when there is neither cape nor headland, sun, moon, nor stars, nor any mark in heaven or earth, to tell them how to steer."

"It would scarce avail us among these mountains," answered the youth; "for though that wonderful needle may keep its point to the northern Pole-star, when it is on a flat surface like the sea, it is not to be thought it would do so when these huge mountains arise like walls, betwixt the steel and the object of its sympathy."

"I fear me," replied the father, "we shall find our guide, who has been growing hourly more stupid since he left his own valley, as useless as you suppose the compass would be among the hills of this wild country.—Canst tell, my boy," said he, addressing Antonio in bad Italian, "if we be in the road we purposed?"

"If it please St. Antonio"—said the guide, who was obviously too much confused to answer the question directly.

"And that water, half covered with mist, which glimmers through the fog, at the foot of this huge black precipice—is it still a part of the Lake of Lucerne, or have we lighted upon another since we ascended that last hill?"

Antonio could only answer that they ought to be on the Lake of Lucerne still, and that he hoped that what they saw below them was only a winding branch of the same sheet of water. But he could say nothing with certainty.

"Dog of an Italian!" exclaimed the younger traveller, "thou deservest to have thy bones broken, for undertaking a charge which thou art as incapable to perform as thou art to guide us to heaven!" 13

"Peace, Arthur," said his father; "if you frighten the lad, he runs off, and we lose the small advantage we might have by his knowledge; if you use your baton, he rewards you with the stab of a knife,—for such is the humour of a revengeful Lombard. Either way, you are marred instead of helped.—Hark thee hither, my boy," he continued, in his indifferent Italian, "be not afraid of that hot youngster, whom I will not permit to injure thee; but tell me, if thou canst, the names of the villages by which we are to make our journey to-day."

The gentle mode in which the elder traveller spoke reassured the lad, who had been somewhat alarmed at the harsh tone and menacing expressions of his younger companion; and he poured forth, in his patois, a flood of names, in which the German guttural sounds were strangely intermixed with the soft accents of the Italian, but which carried to the hearer no intelligible information concerning the object of his question; so that at length he was forced to conclude, "Even lead on, in Our Lady's name, or in St. Antonio's, if you like it better: we shall but lose time, I see, in trying to understand each other."

They moved on as before, with this difference, that the guide, leading the mule, now went first, and was followed by the other two, whose motions he had formerly directed by calling to them from behind. The clouds meantime became thicker and thicker, and the mist, which had at first been a thin vapour, began now to descend in the form of a small thick rain, which gathered like dew upon the capotes of the travellers. Distant rustling and groaning sounds were heard among the remote 14 mountains, similar to those by which the Evil Spirit of Mount Pilatus had seemed to announce the storm. The boy again pressed his companions to advance, but at the same time threw impediments in the way of their doing so, by the slowness and indecision which he showed in leading them on.

Having proceeded in this manner for three or four miles, which uncertainty rendered doubly tedious, the travellers were at length engaged in a narrow path, running along the verge of a precipice. Beneath was water, but of what description they could not ascertain. The wind, indeed, which began to be felt in sudden gusts, sometimes swept aside the mist so completely as to show the waves glimmering below; but whether they were those of the same lake on which their morning journey had commenced, whether it was another and separate sheet of water of a similar character, or whether it was a river or large brook, the view afforded was too indistinct to determine. Thus far was certain, that they were not on the shores of the Lake of Lucerne, where it displays its usual expanse of waters; for the same hurricane gusts which showed them water in the bottom of the glen gave them a transient view of the opposite side, at what exact distance they could not well discern, but near enough to show tall abrupt rocks and shaggy pine-trees, here united in groups, and there singly anchored among the cliffs which overhung the water. This was a more distinct landscape than the farther side of the lake would have offered, had they been on the right road.

Hitherto the path, though steep and rugged, was plainly enough indicated, and showed traces of 15 having been used both by riders and foot passengers. But suddenly, as Antonio with the loaded mule had reached a projecting eminence, around the peak of which the path made a sharp turn, he stopped short, with his usual exclamation, addressed to his patron saint. It appeared to Arthur that the mule shared the terrors of the guide; for it started back, put forwards its fore feet separate from each other, and seemed, by the attitude which it assumed, to intimate a determination to resist every proposal to advance, at the same time expressing horror and fear at the prospect which lay before it.

Arthur pressed forward, not only from curiosity, but that he might if possible bear the brunt of any danger before his father came up to share it. In less time than we have taken to tell the story, the young man stood beside Antonio and the mule, upon a platform of rock on which the road seemed absolutely to terminate, and from the farther side of which a precipice sank sheer down, to what depth the mist did not permit him to discern, but certainly uninterrupted for more than three hundred feet.

The blank expression which overcast the visage of the younger traveller, and traces of which might be discerned in the physiognomy of the beast of burden, announced alarm and mortification at this unexpected and, as it seemed, insurmountable obstacle. Nor did the looks of the father, who presently after came up to the same spot, convey either hope or comfort. He stood with the others gazing on the misty gulf beneath them, and looking all around, but in vain, for some continuation of the path, which certainly had never been originally 16 designed to terminate in this summary manner. As they stood uncertain what to do next, the son in vain attempting to discover some mode of passing onward, and the father about to propose that they should return by the road which had brought them hither, a loud howl of the wind, more wild than they had yet heard, swept down the valley. All being aware of the danger of being hurled from the precarious station which they occupied, snatched at bushes and rocks by which to secure themselves, and even the poor mule seemed to steady itself in order to withstand the approaching hurricane. The gust came with such unexpected fury that it appeared to the travellers to shake the very rock on which they stood, and would have swept them from its surface like so many dry leaves, had it not been for the momentary precautions which they had taken for their safety. But as the wind rushed down the glen, it completely removed for the space of three or four minutes the veil of mist which former gusts had only served to agitate or discompose, and showed them the nature and cause of the interruption which they had met with so unexpectedly.

The rapid but correct eye of Arthur was then able to ascertain that the path, after leaving the platform of rock on which they stood, had originally passed upwards in the same direction along the edge of a steep bank of earth, which had then formed the upper covering of a stratum of precipitous rocks. But it had chanced, in some of the convulsions of nature which take place in those wild regions, where she works upon a scale so formidable, that the earth had made a slip, or almost a precipitous descent, from the rock, and 17 been hurled downwards with the path, which was traced along the top, and with bushes, trees, or whatever grew upon it, into the channel of the stream; for such they could now discern the water beneath them to be, and not a lake, or an arm of a lake, as they had hitherto supposed.

The immediate cause of this phenomenon might probably have been an earthquake, not unfrequent in that country. The bank of earth, now a confused mass of ruins inverted in its fall, showed some trees growing in a horizontal position, and others, which, having pitched on their heads in their descent, were at once inverted and shattered to pieces, and lay a sport to the streams of the river which they had heretofore covered with gloomy shadow. The gaunt precipice which remained behind, like the skeleton of some huge monster divested of its flesh, formed the wall of a fearful abyss, resembling the face of a newly wrought quarry, more dismal of aspect from the rawness of its recent formation, and from its being as yet uncovered with any of the vegetation with which nature speedily mantles over the bare surface even of her sternest crags and precipices.

Besides remarking these appearances, which tended to show that this interruption of the road had been of recent occurrence, Arthur was able to observe, on the farther side of the river, higher up the valley, and rising out of the pine forests, interspersed with rocks, a square building of considerable height, like the ruins of a Gothic tower. He pointed out this remarkable object to Antonio, and demanded if he knew it; justly conjecturing that, from the peculiarity of the site, it was a landmark not easily to be forgotten by any who had seen it 18 before. Accordingly, it was gladly and promptly recognised by the lad, who called out cheerfully that the place was Geierstein—that is, as he explained it, the Rock of the Vultures. He knew it, he said, by the old tower, as well as by a huge pinnacle of rock which arose near it, almost in the form of a steeple, to the top of which the lammer-geier (one of the largest birds of prey known to exist) had in former days transported the child of an ancient lord of the castle. He proceeded to recount the vow which was made by the Knight of Geierstein to Our Lady of Einsiedlen; and, while he spoke, the castle, rocks, woods, and precipices again faded in mist. But as he concluded his wonderful narrative with the miracle which restored the infant again to its father's arms, he cried out suddenly, "Look to yourselves—the storm!—the storm!" It came accordingly, and, sweeping the mist before it, again bestowed on the travellers a view of the horrors around them.

"Ay!" quoth Antonio, triumphantly, as the gust abated, "old Pontius loves little to hear of Our Lady of Einsiedlen; but she will keep her own with him—Ave Maria!"

"That tower," said the young traveller, "seems uninhabited. I can descry no smoke, and the battlement appears ruinous."

"It has not been inhabited for many a day," answered the guide. "But I would I were at it, for all that. Honest Arnold Biederman, the Landamman [chief magistrate] of the Canton of Unterwalden, dwells near, and, I warrant you, distressed strangers will not want the best that cupboard and cellar can find them, wherever he holds rule." 19

"I have heard of him," said the elder traveller, whom Antonio had been taught to call Seignor Philipson; "a good and hospitable man, and one who enjoys deserved weight with his countrymen."

"You have spoken him right, Seignor," answered the guide: "and I would we could reach his house, where you should be sure of hospitable treatment, and a good direction for your next day's journey. But how we are to get to the Vulture's Castle, unless we had wings like the vulture, is a question hard to answer."

Arthur replied by a daring proposal, which the reader will find in the next chapter. 20


Away with me.

The clouds grow thicker—there—now lean on me.

Place your foot here—here, take this staff, and cling

A moment to that shrub—now, give me your hand.

The chalet will be gained within an hour.


After surveying the desolate scene as accurately as the stormy state of the atmosphere would permit, the younger of the travellers observed, "In any other country, I should say the tempest begins to abate; but what to expect in this land of desolation, it were rash to decide. If the apostate spirit of Pilate be actually on the blast, these lingering and more distant howls seem to intimate that he is returning to his place of punishment. The pathway has sunk with the ground on which it was traced—I can see part of it lying down in the abyss, marking, as with a streak of clay, yonder mass of earth and stone. But I think it possible, with your permission, my father, that I could still scramble forward along the edge of the precipice, till I come in sight of the habitation which the lad tells us of. If there be actually such a one, there must be an access to it somewhere; and if I cannot find the path out, I can at least make a signal to those who dwell near the Vulture's Nest yonder, and obtain some friendly guidance."

"I cannot consent to your incurring such a risk," said his father; "let the lad go forward, if 21 he can and will. He is mountain-bred, and I will reward him richly."

But Antonio declined the proposal absolutely and decidedly. "I am mountain-bred," he said, "but I am no chamois-hunter; and I have no wings to transport me from cliff to cliff, like a raven—gold is not worth life."

"And God forbid," said Seignor Philipson, "that I should tempt thee to weigh them against each other!—Go on, then, my son—I follow thee."

"Under your favour, dearest sir, no," replied the young man; "it is enough to endanger the life of one—and mine, far the most worthless, should, by all the rules of wisdom as well as nature, be put first in hazard."

"No, Arthur," replied his father, in a determined voice; "no, my son—I have survived much, but I will not survive thee."

"I fear not for the issue, father, if you permit me to go alone; but I cannot—dare not—undertake a task so perilous, if you persist in attempting to share it, with no better aid than mine. While I endeavoured to make a new advance, I should be ever looking back to see how you might attain the station which I was about to leave—And bethink you, dearest father, that if I fall, I fall an unregarded thing, of as little moment as the stone or tree which has toppled headlong down before me. But you—should your foot slip, or your hand fail, bethink you what and how much must needs fall with you!"

"Thou art right, my child," said the father. "I still have that which binds me to life, even though I were to lose in thee all that is dear to 22 me.—Our Lady and our Lady's Knight bless thee and prosper thee, my child! Thy foot is young, thy hand is strong—thou hast not climbed Plynlimmon in vain. Be bold, but be wary—remember there is a man who, failing thee, has but one act of duty to bind him to the earth, and, that discharged, will soon follow thee."

The young man accordingly prepared for his journey, and, stripping himself of his cumbrous cloak, showed his well-proportioned limbs in a jerkin of grey cloth, which sat close to his person. The father's resolution gave way when his son turned round to bid him farewell. He recalled his permission, and in a peremptory tone forbade him to proceed. But, without listening to the prohibition, Arthur had commenced his perilous adventure. Descending from the platform on which he stood, by the boughs of an old ash-tree, which thrust itself out of the cleft of a rock, the youth was enabled to gain, though at great risk, a narrow ledge, the very brink of the precipice, by creeping along which he hoped to pass on till he made himself heard or seen from the habitation, of whose existence the guide had informed him. His situation, as he pursued this bold purpose, appeared so precarious, that even the hired attendant hardly dared to draw breath as he gazed on him. The ledge which supported him seemed to grow so narrow, as he passed along it, as to become altogether invisible, while sometimes with his face to the precipice, sometimes looking forward, sometimes glancing his eyes upward, but never venturing to cast a look below, lest his brain should grow giddy at a sight so appalling, he wound his way onward. To his father and the 23 attendant, who beheld his progress, it was less that of a man advancing in the ordinary manner, and resting by aught connected with the firm earth, than that of an insect crawling along the face of a perpendicular wall, of whose progressive movement we are indeed sensible, but cannot perceive the means of its support. And bitterly, most bitterly, did the miserable parent now lament, that he had not persisted in his purpose to encounter the baffling and even perilous measure of retracing his steps to the habitation of the preceding night. He should then, at least, have partaken the fate of the son of his love.

Meanwhile, the young man's spirits were strongly braced for the performance of his perilous task. He laid a powerful restraint on his imagination, which in general was sufficiently active, and refused to listen, even for an instant, to any of the horrible insinuations by which fancy augments actual danger. He endeavoured manfully to reduce all around him to the scale of right reason, as the best support of true courage. "This ledge of rock," he urged to himself, "is but narrow, yet it has breadth enough to support me; these cliffs and crevices in the surface are small and distant, but the one affords as secure a resting-place to my feet, the other as available a grasp to my hands, as if I stood on a platform of a cubit broad, and rested my arm on a balustrade of marble. My safety, therefore, depends on myself. If I move with decision, step firmly, and hold fast, what signifies how near I am to the mouth of an abyss?"

Thus estimating the extent of his danger by the measure of sound sense and reality, and supported by some degree of practice in such exercise, the 24 brave youth went forward on his awful journey, step by step, winning his way with a caution and fortitude and presence of mind which alone could have saved him from instant destruction. At length he gained a point where a projecting rock formed the angle of the precipice, so far as it had been visible to him from the platform. This, therefore, was the critical point of his undertaking; but it was also the most perilous part of it. The rock projected more than six feet forward over the torrent, which he heard raging at the depth of a hundred yards beneath, with a noise like subterranean thunder. He examined the spot with the utmost care, and was led, by the existence of shrubs, grass, and even stunted trees, to believe that this rock marked the farthest extent of the slip or slide of earth, and that, could he but turn round the angle of which it was the termination, he might hope to attain the continuation of the path which had been so strangely interrupted by this convulsion of nature. But the crag jutted out so much as to afford no possibility of passing either under or around it; and as it rose several feet above the position which Arthur had attained, it was no easy matter to climb over it. This was, however, the course which he chose, as the only mode of surmounting what he hoped might prove the last obstacle to his voyage of discovery. A projecting tree afforded him the means of raising and swinging himself up to the top of the crag. But he had scarcely planted himself on it, had scarcely a moment to congratulate himself, on seeing, amid a wild chaos of cliffs and wood, the gloomy ruins of Geierstein, with smoke arising, and indicating something like a human habitation 25 beside them, when, to his extreme terror, he felt the huge cliff on which he stood tremble, stoop slowly forward, and gradually sink from its position. Projecting as it was, and shaken as its equilibrium had been by the recent earthquake, it lay now so insecurely poised, that its balance was entirely destroyed, even by the addition of the young man's weight.

Aroused by the imminence of the danger, Arthur, by an instinctive attempt at self-preservation, drew cautiously back from the falling crag into the tree by which he had ascended, and turned his head back as if spell-bound, to watch the descent of the fatal rock from which he had just retreated. It tottered for two or three seconds, as if uncertain which way to fall, and, had it taken a sidelong direction, must have dashed the adventurer from his place of refuge, or borne both the tree and him headlong down into the river. After a moment of horrible uncertainty, the power of gravitation determined a direct and forward descent. Down went the huge fragment, which must have weighed at least twenty tons, rending and splintering in its precipitate course the trees and bushes which it encountered, and settling at length in the channel of the torrent, with a din equal to the discharge of a hundred pieces of artillery. The sound was re-echoed from bank to bank, from precipice to precipice, with emulative thunders; nor was the tumult silent till it rose into the region of eternal snows, which, equally insensible to terrestrial sounds and unfavourable to animal life, heard the roar in their majestic solitude, but suffered it to die away without a responsive voice.

What, in the meanwhile, were the thoughts of 26 the distracted father, who saw the ponderous rock descend, but could not mark whether his only son had borne it company in its dreadful fall! His first impulse was to rush forward along the face of the precipice, which he had seen Arthur so lately traverse; and when the lad Antonio withheld him, by throwing his arms around him, he turned on the guide with the fury of a bear which had been robbed of her cubs.

"Unhand me, base peasant," he exclaimed, "or thou diest on the spot!"

"Alas!" said the poor boy, dropping on his knees before him, "I too have a father!"

The appeal went to the heart of the traveller, who instantly let the lad go, and holding up his hands, and lifting his eyes towards heaven, said, in accents of the deepest agony, mingled with devout resignation, "Fiat voluntas tua!—he was my last, and loveliest, and best beloved, and most worthy of my love; and yonder," he added, "yonder over the glen soar the birds of prey, who are to feast on his young blood.—But I will see him once more," exclaimed the miserable parent, as the huge carrion vulture floated past him on the thick air,—"I will see my Arthur once more, ere the wolf and the eagle mangle him—I will see all of him that earth still holds. Detain me not—but abide here, and watch me as I advance. If I fall, as is most likely, I charge you to take the sealed papers, which you will find in the valise, and carry them to the person to whom they are addressed, with the least possible delay. There is money enough in the purse to bury me with my poor boy, and to cause masses be said for our souls, and yet leave you a rich recompense for your journey." 27

The honest Swiss lad, obtuse in his understanding, but kind and faithful in his disposition, blubbered as his employer spoke, and, afraid to offer further remonstrance or opposition, saw his temporary master prepare himself to traverse the same fatal precipice over the verge of which his ill-fated son had seemed to pass to the fate which, with all the wildness of a parent's anguish, his father was hastening to share.

Suddenly there was heard, from beyond the fatal angle from which the mass of stone had been displaced by Arthur's rash ascent, the loud hoarse sound of one of those huge horns made out of the spoils of the urus, or wild bull, of Switzerland, which in ancient times announced the terrors of the charge of these mountaineers, and, indeed, served them in war instead of all musical instruments.

"Hold, sir, hold!" exclaimed the Grison. "Yonder is a signal from Geierstein. Some one will presently come to our assistance, and show us the safer way to seek for your son.—And look you—at yon green bush that is glimmering through the mist, St. Antonio preserve me, as I see a white cloth displayed there! it is just beyond the point where the rock fell."

The father endeavoured to fix his eyes on the spot, but they filled so fast with tears that they could not discern the object which the guide pointed out.—"It is all in vain," he said, dashing the tears from his eyes—"I shall never see more of him than his lifeless remains!"

"You will—you will see him in life!" said the Grison. "St. Antonio wills it so—See, the white cloth waves again!"

"Some remnant of his garments," said the despairing 28 father,—"some wretched memorial of his fate.—No, my eyes see it not—I have beheld the fall of my house—would that the vultures of these crags had rather torn them from their sockets!"

"Yet look again," said the Swiss; "the cloth hangs not loose upon a bough—I can see that it is raised on the end of a staff, and is distinctly waved to and fro. Your son makes a signal that he is safe."

"And if it be so," said the traveller, clasping his hands together, "blessed be the eyes that see it, and the tongue that tells it! If we find my son, and find him alive, this day shall be a lucky one for thee too."

"Nay," answered the lad, "I only ask that you will abide still, and act by counsel, and I will hold myself quit for my services. Only, it is not creditable to an honest lad to have people lose themselves by their own wilfulness; for the blame, after all, is sure to fall upon the guide, as if he could prevent old Pontius from shaking the mist from his brow, or banks of earth from slipping down into the valley at a time, or young harebrained gallants from walking upon precipices as narrow as the edge of a knife, or madmen, whose grey hairs might make them wiser, from drawing daggers like bravos in Lombardy."

Thus the guide ran on, and in that vein he might have long continued, for Seignor Philipson heard him not. Each throb of his pulse, each thought of his heart, was directed towards the object which the lad referred to as a signal of his son's safety. He became at length satisfied that the signal was actually waved by a human hand; and, as eager in the glow of reviving hope as he 29 had of late been under the influence of desperate grief, he again prepared for the attempt of advancing towards his son, and assisting him, if possible, in regaining a place of safety. But the entreaties and reiterated assurances of his guide induced him to pause.

"Are you fit," he said, "to go on the crag? Can you repeat your Credo and Ave without missing or misplacing a word? for, without that, our old men say your neck, had you a score of them, would be in danger.—Is your eye clear, and your feet firm?—I trow the one streams like a fountain, and the other shakes like the aspen which overhangs it! Rest here till those arrive who are far more able to give your son help than either you or I are. I judge, by the fashion of his blowing, that yonder is the horn of the Goodman of Geierstein, Arnold Biederman. He hath seen your son's danger, and is even now providing for his safety and ours. There are cases in which the aid of one stranger, well acquainted with the country, is worth that of three brothers who know not the crags."

"But if yonder horn really sounded a signal," said the traveller, "how chanced it that my son replied not?"

"And if he did so, as is most likely he did," rejoined the Grison, "how should we have heard him? The bugle of Uri itself sounded amid these horrible dins of water and tempest like the reed of a shepherd boy; and how think you we should hear the holloa of a man?"

"Yet, methinks," said Seignor Philipson, "I do hear something amid this roar of elements which is like a human voice—but it is not Arthur's." 30

"I wot well, no," answered the Grison; "that is a woman's voice. The maidens will converse with each other in that manner, from cliff to cliff, through storm and tempest, were there a mile between."

"Now, Heaven be praised for this providential relief!" said Seignor Philipson; "I trust we shall yet see this dreadful day safely ended. I will holloa in answer."

He attempted to do so, but, inexperienced in the art of making himself heard in such a country, he pitched his voice in the same key with that of the roar of wave and wind; so that, even at twenty yards from the place where he was speaking, it must have been totally indistinguishable from that of the elemental war around them. The lad smiled at his patron's ineffectual attempts, and then raised his voice himself in a high, wild, and prolonged scream, which, while produced with apparently much less effort than that of the Englishman, was nevertheless a distinct sound, separated from others by the key to which it was pitched, and was probably audible to a very considerable distance. It was presently answered by distant cries of the same nature, which gradually approached the platform, bringing renovated hope to the anxious traveller.

If the distress of the father rendered his condition an object of deep compassion, that of the son, at the same moment, was sufficiently perilous. We have already stated, that Arthur Philipson had commenced his precarious journey along the precipice with all the coolness, resolution, and unshaken determination of mind which was most essential to a task where all must depend upon firmness of nerve. But the formidable accident 31 which checked his onward progress was of a character so dreadful as made him feel all the bitterness of a death instant, horrible, and, as it seemed, inevitable. The solid rock had trembled and rent beneath his footsteps, and although, by an effort rather mechanical than voluntary, he had withdrawn himself from the instant ruin attending its descent, he felt as if the better part of him, his firmness of mind and strength of body, had been rent away with the descending rock, as it fell thundering, with clouds of dust and smoke, into the torrents and whirlpools of the vexed gulf beneath. In fact, the seaman swept from the deck of a wrecked vessel, drenched in the waves, and battered against the rocks on the shore, does not differ more from the same mariner, when, at the commencement of the gale, he stood upon the deck of his favourite ship, proud of her strength and his own dexterity, than Arthur, when commencing his journey, from the same Arthur, while clinging to the decayed trunk of an old tree, from which, suspended between heaven and earth, he saw the fall of the crag which he had so nearly accompanied. The effects of his terror, indeed, were physical as well as moral, for a thousand colours played before his eyes; he was attacked by a sick dizziness, and deprived at once of the obedience of those limbs which had hitherto served him so admirably; his arms and hands, as if no longer at his own command, now clung to the branches of the tree, with a cramp-like tenacity over which he seemed to possess no power, and now trembled in a state of such complete nervous relaxation as led him to fear that they were becoming unable to support him longer in his position. 32

An incident, in itself trifling, added to the distress occasioned by this alienation of his powers. All living things in the neighbourhood had, as might be supposed, been startled by the tremendous fall to which his progress had given occasion. Flights of owls, bats, and other birds of darkness, compelled to betake themselves to the air, had lost no time in returning into their bowers of ivy, or the harbour afforded them by the rifts and holes of the neighbouring rocks. One of this ill-omened flight chanced to be a lammer-geier, or Alpine vulture, a bird larger and more voracious than the eagle himself, and which Arthur had not been accustomed to see, or at least to look upon closely. With the instinct of most birds of prey, it is the custom of this creature, when gorged with food, to assume some station of inaccessible security, and there remain stationary and motionless for days together, till the work of digestion has been accomplished, and activity returns with the pressure of appetite. Disturbed from such a state of repose, one of these terrific birds had risen from the ravine to which the species gives its name, and having circled unwillingly round, with a ghastly scream and a flagging wing, it had sunk down upon the pinnacle of a crag, not four yards from the tree in which Arthur held his precarious station. Although still in some degree stupefied by torpor, it seemed encouraged by the motionless state of the young man to suppose him dead, or dying, and sat there and gazed at him, without displaying any of that apprehension which the fiercest animals usually entertain from the vicinity of man.

As Arthur, endeavouring to shake off the incapacitating effects of his panic fear, raised his eyes 33 to look gradually and cautiously around, he encountered those of the voracious and obscene bird, whose head and neck denuded of feathers, her eyes surrounded by an iris of an orange-tawny colour, and a position more horizontal than erect, distinguished her as much from the noble carriage and graceful proportions of the eagle, as those of the lion place him in the ranks of creation above the gaunt, ravenous, grisly, yet dastard wolf.

As if arrested by a charm, the eyes of young Philipson remained bent on this ill-omened and ill-favoured bird, without his having the power to remove them. The apprehension of dangers, ideal as well as real, weighed upon his weakened mind, disabled as it was by the circumstances of his situation. The near approach of a creature, not more loathsome to the human race than averse to come within their reach, seemed as ominous as it was unusual. Why did it gaze on him with such glaring earnestness, projecting its disgusting form, as if presently to alight upon his person? The foul bird, was she the demon of the place to which her name referred? and did she come to exult that an intruder on her haunts seemed involved amid their perils, with little hope or chance of deliverance? Or was it a native vulture of the rocks, whose sagacity foresaw that the rash traveller was soon destined to become its victim? Could the creature, whose senses are said to be so acute, argue from circumstances the stranger's approaching death, and wait, like a raven or hooded crow by a dying sheep, for the earliest opportunity to commence her ravenous banquet? Was he doomed to feel its beak and talons before his heart's blood should cease to beat? Had he already lost the 34 dignity of humanity, the awe which the being formed in the image of his Maker inspires into all inferior creatures?

Apprehensions so painful served more than all that reason could suggest to renew in some degree the elasticity of the young man's mind. By waving his handkerchief, using, however, the greatest precaution in his movements, he succeeded in scaring the vulture from his vicinity. It rose from its resting-place, screaming harshly and dolefully, and sailed on its expanded pinions to seek a place of more undisturbed repose, while the adventurous traveller felt a sensible pleasure at being relieved of its disgusting presence.

With more collected ideas, the young man, who could obtain, from his position, a partial view of the platform he had left, endeavoured to testify his safety to his father, by displaying, as high as he could, the banner by which he had chased off the vulture. Like them, too, he heard, but at a less distance, the burst of the great Swiss horn, which seemed to announce some near succour. He replied by shouting and waving his flag, to direct assistance to the spot where it was so much required; and, recalling his faculties, which had almost deserted him, he laboured mentally to recover hope, and with hope the means and motive for exertion.

A faithful Catholic, he eagerly recommended himself in prayer to Our Lady of Einsiedlen, and, making vows of propitiation, besought her intercession, that he might be delivered from his dreadful condition. "Or, gracious Lady!" he concluded his orison, "if it is my doom to lose my life like a hunted fox amidst this savage wilderness of 35 tottering crags, restore at least my natural sense of patience and courage, and let not one who has lived like a man, though a sinful one, meet death like a timid hare!"

Having devoutly recommended himself to that Protectress, of whom the legends of the Catholic Church form a picture so amiable, Arthur, though every nerve still shook with his late agitation, and his heart throbbed with a violence that threatened to suffocate him, turned his thoughts and observation to the means of effecting his escape. But, as he looked around him, he became more and more sensible how much he was enervated by the bodily injuries and the mental agony which he had sustained during his late peril. He could not, by any effort of which he was capable, fix his giddy and bewildered eyes on the scene around him;—they seemed to reel till the landscape danced along with them, and a motley chaos of thickets and tall cliffs, which interposed between him and the ruinous Castle of Geierstein, mixed and whirled round in such confusion, that nothing, save the consciousness that such an idea was the suggestion of partial insanity, prevented him from throwing himself from the tree, as if to join the wild dance to which his disturbed brain had given motion.

"Heaven be my protection!" said the unfortunate young man, closing his eyes, in hopes, by abstracting himself from the terrors of his situation, to compose his too active imagination, "my senses are abandoning me!"

He became still more convinced that this was the case, when a female voice, in a high-pitched but eminently musical accent, was heard at no 36 great distance, as if calling to him. He opened his eyes once more, raised his head, and looked towards the place whence the sounds seemed to come, though far from being certain that they existed saving in his own disordered imagination. The vision which appeared had almost confirmed him in the opinion that his mind was unsettled, and his senses in no state to serve him accurately.

Upon the very summit of a pyramidical rock, that rose out of the depth of the valley, was seen a female figure, so obscured by mist that only the outline could be traced. The form, reflected against the sky, appeared rather the undefined lineaments of a spirit than of a mortal maiden; for her person seemed as light, and scarcely more opaque, than the thin cloud that surrounded her pedestal. Arthur's first belief was, that the Virgin had heard his vows, and had descended in person to his rescue; and he was about to recite his Ave Maria, when the voice again called to him with the singular shrill modulation of the mountain halloo, by which the natives of the Alps can hold conference with each other from one mountain ridge to another, across ravines of great depth and width.

While he debated how to address this unexpected apparition, it disappeared from the point which it at first occupied, and presently after became again visible, perched on the cliff out of which projected the tree in which Arthur had taken refuge. Her personal appearance, as well as her dress, made it then apparent that she was a maiden of these mountains, familiar with their dangerous paths. He saw that a beautiful young 37 woman stood before him, who regarded him with a mixture of pity and wonder.

"Stranger," she at length said, "who are you, and whence come you?"

"I am a stranger, maiden, as you justly term me," answered the young man, raising himself as well as he could. "I left Lucerne this morning, with my father, and a guide. I parted with them not three furlongs from hence. May it please you, gentle maiden, to warn them of my safety, for I know my father will be in despair upon my account?"

"Willingly," said the maiden; "but I think my uncle, or some one of my kinsmen, must have already found them, and will prove faithful guides. Can I not aid you? Are you wounded? Are you hurt? We were alarmed by the fall of a rock—ay, and yonder it lies, a mass of no ordinary size."

As the Swiss maiden spoke thus, she approached so close to the verge of the precipice, and looked with such indifference into the gulf, that the sympathy which connects the actor and spectator upon such occasions brought back the sickness and vertigo from which Arthur had just recovered, and he sank back into his former more recumbent posture, with something like a faint groan.

"You are then ill?" said the maiden, who observed him turn pale. "Where and what is the harm you have received?"

"None, gentle maiden, saving some bruises of little import; but my head turns, and my heart grows sick, when I see you so near the verge of the cliff."

"Is that all?" replied the Swiss maiden. "Know, stranger, that I do not stand on my 38 uncle's hearth with more security than I have stood upon precipices compared to which this is a child's leap. You too, stranger, if, as I judge from the traces, you have come along the edge of the precipice which the earth-slide hath laid bare, ought to be far beyond such weakness, since surely you must be well entitled to call yourself a cragsman."

"I might have called myself so half an hour since," answered Arthur; "but I think I shall hardly venture to assume the name in future."

"Be not downcast," said his kind adviser, "for a passing qualm, which will at times cloud the spirit and dazzle the eyesight of the bravest and most experienced. Raise yourself upon the trunk of the tree, and advance closer to the rock out of which it grows. Observe the place well. It is easy for you, when you have attained the lower part of the projecting stem, to gain by one bold step the solid rock upon which I stand, after which there is no danger or difficulty worthy of mention to a young man, whose limbs are whole, and whose courage is active."

"My limbs are indeed sound," replied the youth; "but I am ashamed to think how much my courage is broken. Yet I will not disgrace the interest you have taken in an unhappy wanderer, by listening longer to the dastardly suggestions of a feeling which till to-day has been a stranger to my bosom."

The maiden looked on him anxiously, and with much interest, as, raising himself cautiously, and moving along the trunk of the tree, which lay nearly horizontal from the rock, and seemed to bend as he changed his posture, the youth at 39 length stood upright, within what, on level ground, had been but an extended stride to the cliff on which the Swiss maiden stood. But instead of being a step to be taken on the level and firm earth, it was one which must cross a dark abyss, at the bottom of which a torrent surged and boiled with incredible fury. Arthur's knees knocked against each other, his feet became of lead, and seemed no longer at his command; and he experienced, in a stronger degree than ever, that unnerving influence, which those who have been overwhelmed by it in a situation of like peril never can forget, and which others, happily strangers to its power, may have difficulty even in comprehending.

The young woman discerned his emotion, and foresaw its probable consequences. As the only mode in her power to restore his confidence, she sprang lightly from the rock to the stem of the tree, on which she alighted with the ease and security of a bird, and in the same instant back to the cliff; and extending her hand to the stranger, "My arm," she said, "is but a slight balustrade; yet do but step forward with resolution, and you will find it as secure as the battlement of Berne." But shame now overcame terror so much, that Arthur, declining assistance which he could not have accepted without feeling lowered in his own eyes, took heart of grace, and successfully achieved the formidable step which placed him upon the same cliff with his kind assistant.

To seize her hand and raise it to his lips, in affectionate token of gratitude and respect, was naturally the youth's first action; nor was it possible for the maiden to have prevented him from 40 doing so, without assuming a degree of prudery foreign to her character, and occasioning a ceremonious debate upon a matter of no great consequence, where the scene of action was a rock scarce five feet long by three in width, and which looked down upon a torrent roaring some three hundred feet below. 41


Cursed be the gold and silver, which persuade

Weak man to follow far fatiguing trade.

The lily, peace, outshines the silver store,

And life is dearer than the golden ore.

Yet money tempts us o'er the desert brown,

To every distant mart and wealthy town.

Hassan, or the Camel-driver.

Arthur Philipson and Anne of Geierstein, thus placed together in a situation which brought them into the closest possible contiguity, felt a slight degree of embarrassment; the young man, doubtless, from the fear of being judged a poltroon in the eyes of the maiden by whom he had been rescued, and the young woman, perhaps, in consequence of the exertion she had made, or a sense of being placed suddenly in a situation of such proximity to the youth whose life she had probably saved.

"And now, maiden," said Arthur, "I must repair to my father. The life which I owe to your assistance can scarce be called welcome to me, unless I am permitted to hasten to his rescue."

He was here interrupted by another bugle-blast, which seemed to come from the quarter in which the elder Philipson and his guide had been left by their young and daring companion. Arthur looked in that direction; but the platform, which he had seen but imperfectly from the tree, when he was 42 perched in that place of refuge, was invisible from the rock on which they now stood.

"It would cost me nothing to step back on yonder root," said the young woman, "to spy from thence whether I could see aught of your friends. But I am convinced they are under safer guidance than either yours or mine; for the horn announces that my uncle, or some of my young kinsmen, have reached them. They are by this time on their way to the Geierstein, to which, with your permission, I will become your guide; for you may be assured that my uncle Arnold will not allow you to pass farther to-day; and we shall but lose time by endeavouring to find your friends, who, situated where you say you left them, will reach the Geierstein sooner than we shall. Follow me, then, or I must suppose you weary of my guidance."

"Sooner suppose me weary of the life which your guidance has in all probability saved," replied Arthur, and prepared to attend her; at the same time taking a view of her dress and person, which confirmed the satisfaction he had in following such a conductor, and which we shall take the liberty to detail somewhat more minutely than he could do at that time.

An upper vest, neither so close as to display the person, a habit forbidden by the sumptuary laws of the canton, nor so loose as to be an incumbrance in walking or climbing, covered a close tunic of a different colour, and came down beneath the middle of the leg, but suffered the ankle, in all its fine proportions, to be completely visible. The foot was defended by a sandal, the point of which was turned upwards, and the crossings and knots of 43 the strings, which secured it on the front of the leg, were garnished with silver rings. The upper vest was gathered round the middle by a sash of party-coloured silk, ornamented with twisted threads of gold; while the tunic, open at the throat, permitted the shape and exquisite whiteness of a well-formed neck to be visible at the collar, and for an inch or two beneath. The small portion of the throat and bosom thus exposed was even more brilliantly fair than was promised by the countenance, which last bore some marks of having been freely exposed to the sun and air, by no means in a degree to diminish its beauty, but just so far as to show that the maiden possessed the health which is purchased by habits of rural exercise. Her long fair hair fell down in a profusion of curls on each side of a face, whose blue eyes, lovely features, and dignified simplicity of expression implied at once a character of gentleness and of the self-relying resolution of a mind too virtuous to suspect evil, and too noble to fear it. Above these locks, beauty's natural and most beseeming ornament—or rather, I should say, amongst them—was placed the small bonnet, which, from its size, little answered the purpose of protecting the head, but served to exercise the ingenuity of the fair wearer, who had not failed, according to the prevailing custom of the mountain maidens, to decorate the tiny cap with a heron's feather, and the then unusual luxury of a small and thin chain of gold, long enough to encircle the cap four or five times, and having the ends secured under a broad medal of the same costly metal.

I have only to add, that the stature of the 44 young person was something above the common size, and that the whole contour of her form, without being in the slightest degree masculine, resembled that of Minerva, rather than the proud beauties of Juno, or the yielding graces of Venus. The noble brow, the well-formed and active limbs, the firm and yet light step—above all, the total absence of anything resembling the consciousness of personal beauty, and the open and candid look, which seemed desirous of knowing nothing that was hidden, and conscious that she herself had nothing to hide, were traits not unworthy of the goddess of wisdom and of chastity.

The road which the young Englishman pursued, under the guidance of this beautiful young woman, was difficult and unequal, but could not be termed dangerous, at least in comparison to those precipices over which Arthur had recently passed. It was, in fact, a continuation of the path which the slip or slide of earth, so often mentioned, had interrupted; and although it had sustained damage in several places at the period of the same earthquake, yet there were marks of these having been already repaired in such a rude manner as made the way sufficient for the necessary intercourse of a people so indifferent as the Swiss to smooth or level paths. The maiden also gave Arthur to understand, that the present road took a circuit for the purpose of gaining that on which he was lately travelling, and that, if he and his companions had turned off at the place where this new track united with the old pathway, they would have escaped the danger which had attended their keeping the road by the verge of the precipice.

The path which they now pursued was rather 45 averted from the torrent, though still within hearing of its sullen thunders, which seemed to increase as they ascended parallel to its course, till suddenly the road, turning short, and directing itself straight upon the old castle, brought them within sight of one of the most splendid and awful scenes of that mountainous region.

The ancient tower of Geierstein, though neither extensive nor distinguished by architectural ornament, possessed an air of terrible dignity by its position on the very verge of the opposite bank of the torrent, which, just at the angle of the rock on which the ruins are situated, falls sheer over a cascade of nearly a hundred feet in height, and then rushes down the defile, through a trough of living rock, which perhaps its waves have been deepening since time itself had a commencement. Facing, and at the same time looking down upon this eternal roar of waters, stood the old tower, built so close to the verge of the precipice that the buttresses with which the architect had strengthened the foundation seemed a part of the solid rock itself, and a continuation of its perpendicular ascent. As usual throughout Europe in the feudal times, the principal part of the building was a massive square pile, the decayed summit of which was rendered picturesque, by flanking turrets of different sizes and heights, some round, some angular, some ruinous, some tolerably entire, varying the outline of the building as seen against the stormy sky.

A projecting sallyport, descending by a flight of steps from the tower, had in former times given access to a bridge connecting the castle with that side of the stream on which Arthur Philipson and 46 his fair guide now stood. A single arch, or rather one rib of an arch, consisting of single stones, still remained, and spanned the river immediately in front of the waterfall. In former times this arch had served for the support of a wooden drawbridge, of more convenient breadth, and of such length and weight as must have been rather unmanageable, had it not been lowered on some solid resting-place. It is true, the device was attended with this inconvenience, that even when the drawbridge was up, there remained a possibility of approaching the castle gate by means of this narrow rib of stone. But as it was not above eighteen inches broad, and could only admit the daring foe who should traverse it to a doorway regularly defended by gate and portcullis, and having flanking turrets and projections, from which stones, darts, melted lead, and scalding water might be poured down on the soldiery who should venture to approach Geierstein by this precarious access, the possibility of such an attempt was not considered as diminishing the security of the garrison.

In the time we treat of, the castle being entirely ruined and dismantled, and the door, drawbridge, and portcullis gone, the dilapidated gateway, and the slender arch which connected the two sides of the stream, were used as a means of communication between the banks of the river, by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, whom habit had familiarised with the dangerous nature of the passage.

Arthur Philipson had, in the meantime, like a good bow when new strung, regained the elasticity of feeling and character which was natural to him. It was not indeed with perfect composure that he 47 followed his guide, as she tripped lightly over the narrow arch, composed of rugged stones, and rendered wet and slippery with the perpetual drizzle of the mist issuing from the neighbouring cascade. Nor was it without apprehension that he found himself performing this perilous feat in the neighbourhood of the waterfall itself, whose deafening roar he could not exclude from his ears, though he took care not to turn his head towards its terrors, lest his brain should again be dizzied by the tumult of the waters as they shot forward from the precipice above, and plunged themselves into what seemed the fathomless gulf below. But notwithstanding these feelings of agitation, the natural shame to show cowardice where a beautiful young female exhibited so much indifference, and the desire to regain his character in the eyes of his guide, prevented Arthur from again giving way to the appalling feelings by which he had been overwhelmed a short time before. Stepping firmly on, yet cautiously supporting himself with his piked staff, he traced the light footsteps of his guide along the bridge of dread, and followed her through the ruined sallyport, to which they ascended by stairs which were equally dilapidated.

The gateway admitted them into a mass of ruins, formerly a sort of courtyard to the donjon, which rose in gloomy dignity above the wreck of what had been works destined for external defence, or buildings for internal accommodation. They quickly passed through these ruins, over which vegetation had thrown a wild mantle of ivy, and other creeping shrubs, and issued from them through the main gate of the castle into one of those spots in which Nature often embosoms her 48 sweetest charms, in the midst of districts chiefly characterised by waste and desolation.

The castle in this aspect also rose considerably above the neighbouring ground, but the elevation of the site, which towards the torrent was an abrupt rock, was on this side a steep eminence, which had been scarped like a modern glacis, to render the building more secure. It was now covered with young trees and bushes, out of which the tower itself seemed to rise in ruined dignity. Beyond this hanging thicket the view was of a very different character. A piece of ground, amounting to more than a hundred acres, seemed scooped out of the rocks and mountains, which, retaining the same savage character with the tract in which the travellers had been that morning bewildered, enclosed, and as it were defended, a limited space of a mild and fertile character. The surface of this little domain was considerably varied, but its general aspect was a gentle slope to the south-west.

The principal object which it presented was a large house composed of huge logs, without any pretence to form or symmetry, but indicating, by the smoke which arose from it, as well as the extent of the neighbouring offices, and the improved and cultivated character of the fields around, that it was the abode, not of splendour certainly, but of ease and competence. An orchard of thriving fruit-trees extended to the southward of the dwelling. Groves of walnut and chestnut grew in stately array, and even a vineyard, of three or four acres, showed that the cultivation of the grape was understood and practised. It is now universal in Switzerland, but was, in those early days, almost exclusively 49 confined to a few more fortunate proprietors, who had the rare advantage of uniting intelligence with opulent, or at least easy, circumstances.

Drawn and Etched by R de los Rios.

There were fair ranges of pasture-fields, into which the fine race of cattle which constitute the pride and wealth of the Swiss mountaineers had been brought down from the more Alpine grazings where they had fed during the summer, to be near shelter and protection when the autumnal storms might be expected. On some selected spots, the lambs of the last season fed in plenty and security, and in others, huge trees, the natural growth of the soil, were suffered to remain, from motives of convenience probably, that they might be at hand when timber was required for domestic use, but giving, at the same time, a woodland character to a scene otherwise agricultural. Through this mountain-paradise the course of a small brook might be traced, now showing itself to the sun, which had by this time dispelled the fogs, now intimating its course, by its gently sloping banks, clothed in some places with lofty trees, or concealing itself under thickets of hawthorn and nut bushes. This stream, by a devious and gentle course, which seemed to indicate a reluctance to leave this quiet region, found its way at length out of the sequestered domain, and, like a youth hurrying from the gay and tranquil sports of boyhood into the wild career of active life, finally united itself with the boisterous torrent, which, breaking down tumultuously from the mountains, shook the ancient Tower of Geierstein as it rolled down the adjacent rock, and then rushed howling through the defile in which our youthful traveller had well-nigh lost his life. 50

Eager as the younger Philipson was to rejoin his father, he could not help pausing for a moment to wonder how so much beauty should be found amid such scenes of horror, and to look back on the Tower of Geierstein, and on the huge cliff from which it derived its name, as if to ascertain, by the sight of these distinguished landmarks, that he was actually in the neighbourhood of the savage wild where he had encountered so much danger and terror. Yet so narrow were the limits of this cultivated farm, that it hardly required such a retrospect to satisfy the spectator that the spot susceptible of human industry, and on which it seemed that a considerable degree of labour had been bestowed, bore a very small proportion to the wilderness in which it was situated. It was on all sides surrounded by lofty hills, in some places rising into walls of rock, in others clothed with dark and savage forests of the pine and the larch, of primeval antiquity. Above these, from the eminence on which the tower was situated, could be seen the almost rosy hue in which an immense glacier threw back the sun; and still higher over the frozen surface of that icy sea arose, in silent dignity, the pale peaks of those countless mountains, on which the snow eternally rests.

What we have taken some time to describe, occupied young Philipson only for one or two hurried minutes; for on a sloping lawn, which was in front of the farm-house, as the mansion might properly be styled, he saw five or six persons, the foremost of whom, from his gait, his dress, and the form of his cap, he could easily distinguish as the parent whom he hardly expected at one time to have again beheld. 51

He followed, therefore, his conductress with a glad step, as she led the way down the steep ascent on which the ruined tower was situated. They approached the group whom Arthur had noticed, the foremost of which was his father, who hastily came forward to meet him, in company with another person, of advanced age, and stature well-nigh gigantic, and who, from his simple yet majestic bearing, seemed the worthy countryman of William Tell, Stauffacher, Winkelried, and other Swiss worthies, whose stout hearts and hardy arms had, in the preceding age, vindicated against countless hosts their personal liberty, and the independence of their country.

With a natural courtesy, as if to spare the father and son many witnesses to a meeting which must be attended with emotion, the Landamman himself, in walking forward with the elder Philipson, signed to those by whom he was attended, all of whom seemed young men, to remain behind. They remained accordingly, examining, as it seemed, the guide Antonio, upon the adventures of the strangers. Anne, the conductress of Arthur Philipson, had but time to say to him, "Yonder old man is my uncle, Arnold Biederman, and these young men are my kinsmen," when the former, with the elder traveller, were close before them. The Landamman, with the same propriety of feeling which he had before displayed, signed to his niece to move a little aside; yet while requiring from her an account of her morning's expedition, he watched the interview of the father and son with as much curiosity as his natural sense of complaisance permitted him to testify. It was of a character different from what he had expected. 52

We have already described the elder Philipson as a father devotedly attached to his son, ready to rush on death when he had expected to lose him, and equally overjoyed at heart, doubtless, to see him again restored to his affections. It might have been therefore expected that the father and son would have rushed into each other's arms, and such probably was the scene which Arnold Biederman expected to have witnessed.

But the English traveller, in common with many of his countrymen, covered keen and quick feelings with much appearance of coldness and reserve, and thought it a weakness to give unlimited sway even to the influence of the most amiable and most natural emotions. Eminently handsome in youth, his countenance, still fine in his more advanced years, had an expression which intimated an unwillingness either to yield to passion or encourage confidence. His pace, when he first beheld his son, had been quickened by the natural wish to meet him; but he slackened it as they drew near to each other, and when they met, said in a tone rather of censure and admonition than affection,—"Arthur, may the Saints forgive the pain thou hast this day given me."

"Amen," said the youth. "I must need pardon since I have given you pain. Believe, however, that I acted for the best."

"It is well, Arthur, that in acting for the best, according to your forward will, you have not encountered the worst."

"That I have not," answered the son, with the same devoted and patient submission, "is owing to this maiden," pointing to Anne, who stood at a few paces' distance, desirous perhaps of avoiding 53 to witness the reproof of the father, which might seem to her rather ill-timed and unreasonable.

"To the maiden my thanks shall be rendered," said his father, "when I can study how to pay them in an adequate manner; but is it well or comely, think you, that you should receive from a maiden the succour which it is your duty as a man to extend to the weaker sex?"

Arthur held down his head and blushed deeply, while Arnold Biederman, sympathising with his feelings, stepped forward and mingled in the conversation.

"Never be abashed, my young guest, that you have been indebted for aught of counsel or assistance to a maiden of Unterwalden. Know that the freedom of their country owes no less to the firmness and wisdom of her daughters than to that of her sons.—And you, my elder guest, who have, I judge, seen many years and various lands, must have often known examples how the strong are saved by the help of the weak, the proud by the aid of the humble."

"I have at least learned," said the Englishman, "to debate no point unnecessarily with the host who has kindly harboured me;" and after one glance at his son, which seemed to kindle with the fondest affection, he resumed, as the party turned back towards the house, a conversation which he had been maintaining with his new acquaintance before Arthur and the maiden had joined them.

Arthur had in the meantime an opportunity of observing the figure and features of their Swiss landlord, which, I have already hinted, exhibited a primeval simplicity mixed with a certain rude 54 dignity, arising out of its masculine and unaffected character. The dress did not greatly differ in form from the habit of the female which we have described. It consisted of an upper frock, shaped like the modern shirt, and only open at the bosom, worn above a tunic or under doublet. But the man's vest was considerably shorter in the skirts, which did not come lower down than the kilt of the Scottish Highlander; a species of boots or buskins rose above the knee, and the person was thus entirely clothed. A bonnet made of the fur of the marten, and garnished with a silver medal, was the only part of the dress which displayed anything like ornament; the broad belt which gathered the garment together was of buff leather, secured by a large brass buckle.

But the figure of him who wore this homely attire, which seemed almost wholly composed of the fleeces of the mountain sheep and the spoils of animals of the chase, would have commanded respect wherever the wearer had presented himself, especially in those warlike days, when men were judged of according to the promising or unpromising qualities of their thews and sinews. To those who looked at Arnold Biederman from this point of view, he displayed the size and form, the broad shoulders and prominent muscles, of a Hercules. But to such as looked rather at his countenance, the steady sagacious features, open front, large blue eyes, and deliberate resolution which it expressed, more resembled the character of the fabled King of Gods and Men. He was attended by several sons and relatives, young men, among whom he walked, receiving, as his undeniable due, respect and obedience, similar to that 55 which a herd of deer are observed to render to the monarch stag.

While Arnold Biederman walked and spoke with the elder stranger, the young men seemed closely to scrutinise Arthur, and occasionally interrogated in whispers their relation Anne, receiving from her brief and impatient answers, which rather excited than appeased the vein of merriment in which the mountaineers indulged, very much, as it seemed to the young Englishman, at the expense of their guest. To feel himself exposed to derision was not softened by the reflection, that in such a society it would probably be attached to all who could not tread on the edge of a precipice with a step as firm and undismayed as if they walked the street of a city. However unreasonable ridicule may be, it is always unpleasing to be subjected to it, but more particularly is it distressing to a young man, where beauty is a listener. It was some consolation to Arthur that he thought the maiden certainly did not enjoy the jest, and seemed by word and look to reprove the rudeness of her companions; but this he feared was only from a sense of humanity.

"She, too, must despise me," he thought, "though civility, unknown to these ill-taught boors, has enabled her to conceal contempt under the guise of pity. She can but judge of me from that which she has seen—if she could know me better" (such was his proud thought), "she might perhaps rank me more highly."

As the travellers entered the habitation of Arnold Biederman, they found preparations made in a large apartment, which served the purpose of general accommodation, for a homely but plentiful 56 meal. A glance round the walls showed the implements of agriculture and the chase; but the eyes of the elder Philipson rested upon a leathern corselet, a long heavy halberd, and a two-handed sword, which were displayed as a sort of trophy. Near these, but covered with dust, unfurbished and neglected, hung a helmet, with a visor, such as was used by knights and men-at-arms. The golden garland, or coronal twisted around it, though sorely tarnished, indicated noble birth and rank; and the crest, which was a vulture of the species which gave name to the old castle and its adjacent cliff, suggested various conjectures to the English guest, who, acquainted in a great measure with the history of the Swiss revolution, made little doubt that in this relic he saw some trophy of the ancient warfare between the inhabitants of these mountains, and the feudal lord to whom they had of yore appertained.

A summons to the hospitable board disturbed the train of the English merchant's reflections; and a large company, comprising the whole inhabitants of every description that lived under Biederman's roof, sat down to a plentiful repast of goat's flesh, fish, preparations of milk of various kinds, cheese, and, for the upper mess, the venison of a young chamois. The Landamman himself did the honours of the table with great kindness and simplicity, and urged the strangers to show, by their appetite, that they thought themselves as welcome as he desired to make them. During the repast, he carried on a conversation with his elder guest, while the younger people at table, as well as the menials, ate in modesty and silence. Ere the dinner was finished, a figure crossed on the 57 outside of the large window which lighted the eating-hall, the sight of which seemed to occasion a lively sensation amongst such as observed it.

"Who passed?" said old Biederman to those seated opposite to the window.

"It is our cousin, Rudolph of Donnerhugel," answered one of Arnold's sons eagerly.

The annunciation seemed to give great pleasure to the younger part of the company, especially the sons of the Landamman; while the head of the family only said with a grave, calm voice,—"Your kinsman is welcome—tell him so, and let him come hither."

Two or three arose for this purpose, as if there had been a contention among them who should do the honours of the house to the new guest. He entered presently—a young man, unusually tall, well-proportioned and active, with a quantity of dark-brown locks curling around his face, together with mustaches of the same, or rather a still darker hue. His cap was small considering the quantity of his thickly clustering hair, and rather might be said to hang upon one side of his head than to cover it. His clothes were of the same form and general fashion as those of Arnold, but made of much finer cloth, the manufacture of the German loom, and ornamented in a rich and fanciful manner. One sleeve of his vest was dark green, curiously laced and embroidered with devices in silver, while the rest of the garment was scarlet. His sash was twisted and netted with gold, and besides answering the purpose of a belt, by securing the upper garment round his waist, sustained a silver-hilted poniard. His finery was completed by boots, the tips of which were so long 58 as to turn upwards with a peak, after a prevailing fashion in the Middle Ages. A golden chain hung round his neck, and sustained a large medallion of the same metal.

This young gallant was instantly surrounded by the race of Biederman, among whom he appeared to be considered as the model upon which the Swiss youth ought to build themselves, and whose gait, opinions, dress, and manners all ought to follow who would keep pace with the fashion of the day, in which he reigned an acknowledged and unrivalled example.

By two persons in the company, however, it seemed to Arthur Philipson that this young man was received with less distinguished marks of regard than those with which he was hailed by the general voice of the youths present. Arnold Biederman himself was at least no way warm in welcoming the young Bernese, for such was Rudolph's country. The young man drew from his bosom a sealed packet, which he delivered to the Landamman with demonstrations of great respect, and seemed to expect that Arnold, when he had broken the seal and perused the contents, would say something to him on the subject. But the patriarch only bade him be seated, and partake of their meal, and Rudolph found a place accordingly next to Anne of Geierstein, which was yielded to him by one of the sons of Arnold with ready courtesy.

It seemed also to the observant young Englishman, that the new comer was received with marked coldness by the maiden, to whom he appeared eager and solicitous to pay his compliments, by whose side he had contrived to seat 59 himself at the well-furnished board, and to whom he seemed more anxious to recommend himself, than to partake of the food which it offered. He observed the gallant whisper her, and look towards him. Anne gave a very brief reply, but one of the young Biedermans, who sat on his other hand, was probably more communicative, as the youths both laughed, and the maiden again seemed disconcerted, and blushed with displeasure.

"Had I either of these sons of the mountain," thought young Philipson, "upon six yards of level greensward, if there be so much flat ground in this country, methinks I were more likely to spoil their mirth than to furnish food for it. It is as marvellous to see such conceited boors under the same roof with so courteous and amiable a damsel, as it would be to see one of their shaggy bears dance a rigadoon with a maiden like the daughter of our host. Well, I need not concern myself more than I can help about her beauty or their breeding, since morning will separate me from them for ever."

As these reflections passed through the young guest's mind, the father of the family called for a cup of wine, and having required the two strangers to pledge him in a maple cup of considerable size, he sent a similar goblet to Rudolph Donnerhugel. "Yet you," he said, "kinsman, are used to more highly flavoured wine than the half-ripened grapes of Geierstein can supply.—Would you think it, Sir Merchant," he continued, addressing Philipson, "there are burghers of Berne who send for wine for their own drinking both to France and Germany?"

"My kinsman disapproves of that," replied 60 Rudolph; "yet every place is not blessed with vineyards like Geierstein, which produces all that heart and eye can desire." This was said with a glance at his fair companion, who did not appear to take the compliment, while the envoy of Berne proceeded: "But our wealthier burghers, having some superfluous crowns, think it no extravagance to barter them for a goblet of better wine than our own mountains can produce. But we will be more frugal when we have at our disposal tuns of the wine of Burgundy, for the mere trouble of transporting them."

"How mean you by that, cousin Rudolph?" said Arnold Biederman.

"Methinks, respected kinsman," answered the Bernese, "your letters must have told you that our Diet is likely to declare war against Burgundy?"

"Ah! And you know, then, the contents of my letters?" said Arnold; "another mark how times are changed at Berne, and with the Diet of Switzerland. When did all her grey-haired statesmen die, that our allies should have brought beardless boys into their councils?"

"The Senate of Berne, and the Diet of the Confederacy," said the young man, partly abashed, partly in vindication of what he had before spoken, "allow the young men to know their purposes, since it is they by whom they must be executed. The head which thinks may well confide in the hand that strikes."

"Not till the moment of dealing the blow, young man," said Arnold Biederman, sternly. "What kind of counsellor is he who talks loosely the secrets of state affairs before women and strangers? Go, Rudolph, and all of ye, and try 61 by manly exercises which is best fitted to serve your country, rather than give your judgment upon her measures.—Hold, young man," he continued, addressing Arthur, who had arisen, "this does not apply to you, who are unused to mountain travel, and require rest after it."

"Under your favour, sir, not so," said the elder stranger. "We hold, in England, that the best refreshment after we have been exhausted by one species of exercise is to betake ourselves to another; as riding, for example, affords more relief to one fatigued by walking, than a bed of down would. So, if your young men will permit, my son will join their exercises."

"He will find them rough playmates," answered the Switzer; "but be it at your pleasure."

The young men went out accordingly to the open lawn in front of the house. Anne of Geierstein, and some females of the household, sat down on a bank to judge which performed best, and shouts, loud laughing, and all that announces the riot of juvenile spirits occupied by manly sports, was soon after heard by the two seniors, as they sat together in the hall. The master of the house resumed the wine-flask, and, having filled the cup of his guest, poured the remainder into his own.

"At an age, worthy stranger," he said, "when the blood grows colder, and the feelings heavier, a moderate cup of wine brings back light thoughts, and makes the limbs supple. Yet, I almost wish that Noah had never planted the grape, when of late years I have seen with my own eyes my countrymen swill wine like very Germans, till they were like gorged swine, incapable of sense, thought, or motion." 62

"It is a vice," said the Englishman, "which I have observed gains ground in your country, where within a century I have heard it was totally unknown."

"It was so," said the Swiss, "for wine was seldom made at home, and never imported from abroad; for indeed none possessed the means of purchasing that, or aught else, which our valleys produce not. But our wars and our victories have gained us wealth as well as fame; and in the poor thoughts of one Switzer, at least, we had been better without both, had we not also gained liberty by the same exertion. It is something, however, that commerce may occasionally send into our remote mountains a sensible visitor like yourself, worthy guest, whose discourse shows him to be a man of sagacity and discernment; for though I love not the increasing taste for trinkets and gewgaws which you merchants introduce, yet I acknowledge that we simple mountaineers learn from men like you more of the world around us, than we could acquire by our own exertions. You are bound, you say, to Bâle, and thence to the Duke of Burgundy's leaguer?"

"I am so, my worthy host," said the merchant—"that is, providing I can perform my journey with safety."

"Your safety, good friend, may be assured, if you list to tarry for two or three days; for in that space I shall myself take the journey, and with such an escort as will prevent any risk of danger. You will find in me a sure and faithful guide, and I shall learn from you much of other countries, which it concerns me to know better than I do. Is it a bargain?" 63

"The proposal is too much to my advantage to be refused," said the Englishman; "but may I ask the purpose of your journey?"

"I chid yonder boy but now," answered Biederman, "for speaking on public affairs without reflection, and before the whole family; but our tidings and my errand need not be concealed from a considerate person like you, who must indeed soon learn it from public rumour. You know doubtless the mutual hatred which subsists between Louis XI. of France and Charles of Burgundy, whom men call the Bold; and having seen these countries, as I understand from your former discourse, you are probably well aware of the various contending interests, which, besides the personal hatred of the sovereigns, make them irreconcilable enemies. Now Louis, whom the world cannot match for craft and subtlety, is using all his influence, by distributions of large sums amongst some of the counsellors of our neighbours of Berne, by pouring treasures into the exchequer of that state itself, by holding out the bait of emolument to the old men, and encouraging the violence of the young, to urge the Bernese into a war with the Duke. Charles, on the other hand, is acting, as he frequently does, exactly as Louis could have wished. Our neighbours and allies of Berne do not, like us of the Forest Cantons, confine themselves to pasture or agriculture, but carry on considerable commerce, which the Duke of Burgundy has in various instances interrupted, by the exactions and violence of his officers in the frontier towns, as is doubtless well known to you."

"Unquestionably," answered the merchant; "they are universally regarded as vexatious." 64

"You will not then be surprised, that, solicited by the one sovereign, and aggrieved by the other, proud of past victories, and ambitious of additional power, Berne and the City Cantons of our confederacy, whose representatives, from their superior wealth and better education, have more to say in our Diet than we of the Forests, should be bent upon war, from which it has hitherto happened that the Republic has always derived victory, wealth, and increase of territory."

"Ay, worthy host, and of glory," said Philipson, interrupting him with some enthusiasm; "I wonder not that the brave youths of your states are willing to thrust themselves upon new wars, since their past victories have been so brilliant and so far-famed."

"You are no wise merchant, kind guest," answered the host, "if you regard success in former desperate undertakings as an encouragement to future rashness. Let us make a better use of past victories. When we fought for our liberties God blessed our arms; but will He do so if we fight either for aggrandisement or for the gold of France?"

"Your doubt is just," said the merchant, more sedately; "but suppose you draw the sword to put an end to the vexatious exactions of Burgundy?"

"Hear me, good friend," answered the Switzer; "it may be that we of the Forest Cantons think too little of those matters of trade, which so much engross the attention of the burghers of Berne. Yet we will not desert our neighbours and allies in a just quarrel; and it is well-nigh settled that a deputation shall be sent to the Duke of Burgundy to request redress. In this embassy the General 65 Diet now assembled at Berne have requested that I should take some share; and hence the journey in which I propose that you should accompany me."

"It will be much to my satisfaction to travel in your company, worthy host," said the Englishman. "But, as I am a true man, methinks your port and figure resemble an envoy of defiance rather than a messenger of peace."

"And I too might say," replied the Switzer, "that your language and sentiments, my honoured guest, rather belong to the sword than the measuring-wand."

"I was bred to the sword, worthy sir, before I took the cloth-yard in my hand," replied Philipson, smiling, "and it may be I am still more partial to my old trade than wisdom would altogether recommend."

"I thought so," said Arnold; "but then you fought most likely under your country's banners against a foreign and national enemy; and in that case I will admit that war has something in it which elevates the heart above the due sense it should entertain of the calamity inflicted and endured by God's creatures on each side. But the warfare in which I was engaged had no such gilding. It was the miserable war of Zurich [c], where Switzers levelled their pikes against the bosoms of their own countrymen; and quarter was asked and refused in the same kindly mountain language. From such remembrances your warlike recollections are probably free."

The merchant hung down his head and pressed his forehead with his hand, as one to whom the most painful thoughts were suddenly recalled. 66

"Alas!" he said, "I deserve to feel the pain which your words inflict. What nation can know the woes of England that has not felt them—what eye can estimate them which has not seen a land torn and bleeding with the strife of two desperate factions, battles fought in every province, plains heaped with slain, and scaffolds drenched in blood! Even in your quiet valleys, methinks, you may have heard of the Civil Wars of England?"

"I do indeed bethink me," said the Switzer, "that England had lost her possessions in France during many years of bloody internal wars concerning the colour of a rose—was it not?—But these are ended."

"For the present," answered Philipson, "it would seem so."

As he spoke, there was a knock at the door; the master of the house said, "Come in!" the door opened, and, with the reverence which was expected from young persons towards their elders in those pastoral regions, the fine form of Anne of Geierstein presented itself. 67


And now the well-known bow the master bore,

Turn'd on all sides, and view'd it o'er and o'er;

Whilst some deriding, "How he turns the bow!

Some other like it sure the man must know:

Or else would copy—or in bows he deals;

Perhaps he makes them, or perhaps he steals."

Pope's Homer's Odyssey.

The fair maiden approached with the half-bashful half-important look which sits so well on a young housekeeper, when she is at once proud and ashamed of the matronly duties she is called upon to discharge, and whispered something in her uncle's ear.

"And could not the idle-pated boys have brought their own errand—what is it they want that they cannot ask themselves, but must send thee to beg it for them? Had it been anything reasonable, I should have heard it dinned into my ears by forty voices, so modest are our Swiss youths become nowadays." She stooped forward, and again whispered in his ear, as he fondly stroked her curling tresses with his ample hand, and replied, "The bow of Buttisholz, my dear? Why, the youths surely are not grown stronger since last year, when none of them could bend it? But yonder it hangs with its three arrows. Who is the wise champion that is challenger at a game where he is sure to be foiled?" 68

"It is this gentleman's son, sir," said the maiden, "who, not being able to contend with my cousins in running, leaping, hurling the bar, or pitching the stone, has challenged them to ride, or to shoot with the English long-bow."

"To ride," said the venerable Swiss, "were difficult where there are no horses, and no level ground to career upon if there were. But an English bow he shall have, since we happen to possess one. Take it to the young men, my niece, with the three arrows, and say to them from me, that he who bends it will do more than William Tell, or the renowned Stauffacher, could have done."

As the maiden went to take the weapon from the place where it hung amid the group of arms which Philipson had formerly remarked, the English merchant observed, "that were the minstrels of his land to assign her occupation, so fair a maiden should be bow-bearer to none but the little blind god Cupid."

"I will have nothing of the blind god Cupid," said Arnold, hastily, yet half laughing at the same time; "we have been deafened with the foolery of minstrels and strolling minnesingers, ever since the wandering knaves have found there were pence to be gathered among us. A Swiss maiden should only sing Albert Ischudi's ballads, or the merry lay of the going out and return of the cows to and from the mountain pastures."

While he spoke, the damsel had selected from the arms a bow of extraordinary strength, considerably above six feet in length, with three shafts of a cloth-yard long. Philipson asked to look at the weapons, and examined them closely. "It is a 69 tough piece of yew," he said. "I should know it, since I have dealt in such commodities in my time; but when I was of Arthur's age, I could have bent it as easily as a boy bends a willow."

"We are too old to boast like boys," said Arnold Biederman, with something of a reproving glance at his companion. "Carry the bow to thy kinsmen, Anne, and let him who can bend it say he beat Arnold Biederman." As he spoke, he turned his eyes on the spare yet muscular figure of the Englishman, then again glanced down on his own stately person.

"You must remember, good my host," said Philipson, "that weapons are wielded not by strength, but by art and sleight of hand. What most I wonder at, is to see in this place a bow made by Matthew of Doncaster, a bowyer who lived at least a hundred years ago, remarkable for the great toughness and strength of the weapons which he made, and which are now become somewhat unmanageable, even by an English yeoman."

"How are you assured of the maker's name, worthy guest?" replied the Swiss.

"By old Matthew's mark," answered the Englishman, "and his initials cut upon the bow. I wonder not a little to find such a weapon here, and in such good preservation."

"It has been regularly waxed, oiled, and kept in good order," said the Landamman, "being preserved as a trophy of a memorable day. It would but grieve you to recount its early history, since it was taken in a day fatal to your country."

"My country," said the Englishman, composedly, "has gained so many victories, that her children may well afford to hear of a single defeat. 70 But I knew not that the English ever warred in Switzerland."

"Not precisely as a nation," answered Biederman; "but it was in my grandsire's days, that a large body of roving soldiers, composed of men from almost all countries, but especially Englishmen, Normans, and Gascons, poured down on the Argau, and the districts adjacent. They were headed by a great warrior called Ingelram de Couci, who pretended some claims upon the Duke of Austria; to satisfy which, he ravaged indifferently the Austrian territory and that of our Confederacy. His soldiers were hired warriors—Free Companions they called themselves—that seemed to belong to no country, and were as brave in the fight as they were cruel in their depredations. Some pause in the constant wars betwixt France and England had deprived many of those bands of their ordinary employment, and battle being their element, they came to seek it among our valleys. The air seemed on fire with the blaze of their armour, and the very sun was darkened at the flight of their arrows. They did us much evil, and we sustained the loss of more than one battle. But we met them at Buttisholz, and mingled the blood of many a rider (noble, as they were called and esteemed) with that of their horses. The huge mound that covers the bones of man and steed is still called the English barrow."

Philipson was silent for a minute or two, and then replied, "Then let them sleep in peace. If they did wrong, they paid for it with their lives; and that is all the ransom that mortal man can render for his transgressions.—Heaven pardon their souls!" 71

"Amen," replied the Landamman, "and those of all brave men!—My grandsire was at the battle, and was held to have demeaned himself like a good soldier; and this bow has been ever since carefully preserved in our family. There is a prophecy about it, but I hold it not worthy of remark."

Philipson was about to inquire further, but was interrupted by a loud cry of surprise and astonishment from without.

"I must out," said Biederman, "and see what these wild lads are doing. It is not now as formerly in this land, when the young dared not judge for themselves, till the old man's voice had been heard."

He went forth from the lodge, followed by his guest. The company who had witnessed the games were all talking, shouting, and disputing in the same breath; while Arthur Philipson stood a little apart from the rest, leaning on the unbent bow with apparent indifference. At the sight of the Landamman all were silent.

"What means this unwonted clamour?" he said, raising a voice to which all were accustomed to listen with reverence.—"Rudiger," addressing the eldest of his sons, "has the young stranger bent the bow?"

"He has, father," said Rudiger; "and he has hit the mark. Three such shots were never shot by William Tell."

"It was chance—pure chance," said the young Swiss from Berne. "No human skill could have done it, much less a puny lad, baffled in all besides that he attempted among us."

"But what has been done?" said the Landamman.—"Nay, 72 speak not all at once!—Anne of Geierstein, thou hast more sense and breeding than these boys—tell me how the game has gone."

The maiden seemed a little confused at this appeal, but answered with a composed and downcast look—

"The mark was, as usual, a pigeon to a pole. All the young men, except the stranger, had practised at it with the cross-bow and long-bow, without hitting it. When I brought out the bow of Buttisholz, I offered it first to my kinsmen. None would accept of it, saying, respected uncle, that a task too great for you must be far too difficult for them."

"They said well," answered Arnold Biederman; "and the stranger, did he string the bow?"

"He did, my uncle, but first he wrote something on a piece of paper, and placed it in my hands."

"And did he shoot and hit the mark?" continued the surprised Switzer.

"He first," said the maiden, "removed the pole a hundred yards farther than the post where it stood."

"Singular!" said the Landamman, "that is double the usual distance."

"He then drew the bow," continued the maiden, "and shot off, one after another, with incredible rapidity, the three arrows which he had stuck into his belt. The first cleft the pole, the second cut the string, the third killed the poor bird as it rose into the air."

"By St. Mary of Einsiedlen," said the old man, looking up in amaze, "if your eyes really saw this, they saw such archery as was never before witnessed in the Forest States!" 73

"I say nay to that, my revered kinsman," replied Rudolph Donnerhugel, whose vexation was apparent; "it was mere chance, if not illusion or witchery."

"What say'st thou of it thyself, Arthur," said his father, half smiling. "Was thy success by chance or skill?"

"My father," said the young man, "I need not tell you that I have done but an ordinary feat for an English bowman. Nor do I speak to gratify that misproud and ignorant young man. But to our worthy host and his family, I make answer. This youth charges me with having deluded men's eyes, or hit the mark by chance. For illusion, yonder is the pierced pole, the severed string, and the slain bird, they will endure sight and handling; and, besides, if that fair maiden will open the note which I put into her hand, she will find evidence to assure you, that even before I drew the bow, I had fixed upon the three marks which I designed to aim at."

"Produce the scroll, good niece," said her uncle, "and end the controversy."

"Nay, under your favour, my worthy host," said Arthur, "it is but some foolish rhymes addressed to the maiden's own eye."

"And under your favour, sir," said the Landamman, "whatsoever is fit for my niece's eyes may greet my ears."

He took the scroll from the maiden, who blushed deeply when she resigned it. The character in which it was written was so fine that the Landamman in surprise exclaimed, "No clerk of St. Gall could have written more fairly.—Strange," he again repeated, "that a hand which could draw 74 so true a bow, should have the cunning to form characters so fair." He then exclaimed anew, "Ha! verses, by Our Lady! What, have we minstrels disguised as traders?" He then opened the scroll, and read the following lines:—

If I hit mast, and line, and bird,

An English archer keeps his word.

Ah! maiden, didst thou aim at me,

A single glance were worth the three.

"Here is rare rhyming, my worthy guest," said the Landamman, shaking his head; "fine words to make foolish maidens fain. But do not excuse it; it is your country-fashion, and we know how to treat it as such." And without further allusion to the concluding couplet, the reading of which threw the poet as well as the object of the verses into some discomposure, he added gravely, "You must now allow, Rudolph Donnerhugel, that the stranger has fairly attained the three marks which he proposed to himself."

"That he has attained them is plain," answered the party to whom the appeal was made; "but that he has done this fairly may be doubted, if there are such things as witchery and magic in this world."

"Shame, shame, Rudolph!" said the Landamman. "Can spleen and envy have weight with so brave a man as you, from whom my sons ought to learn temperance, forbearance, and candour, as well as manly courage and dexterity?"

The Bernese coloured high under this rebuke, to which he ventured not to attempt a reply.

"To your sports till sunset, my children," continued Arnold; "while I and my worthy friend 75 occupy our time with a walk, for which the evening is now favourable."

"Methinks," said the English merchant, "I should like to visit the ruins of yonder castle, situated by the waterfall. There is something of melancholy dignity in such a scene which reconciles us to the misfortunes of our own time, by showing that our ancestors, who were perhaps more intelligent or more powerful, have nevertheless, in their days, encountered cares and distresses similar to those which we now groan under."

"Have with you, my worthy sir," replied his host; "there will be time also upon the road to talk of things that you should know."

The slow step of the two elderly men carried them by degrees from the limits of the lawn, where shout and laugh and halloo were again revived. Young Philipson, whose success as an archer had obliterated all recollection of former failure, made other attempts to mingle in the manly pastimes of the country, and gained a considerable portion of applause. The young men, who had but lately been so ready to join in ridiculing him, now began to consider him as a person to be looked up and appealed to; while Rudolph Donnerhugel saw with resentment that he was no longer without a rival in the opinion of his male cousins, perhaps of his kinswoman also. The proud young Swiss reflected with bitterness that he had fallen under the Landamman's displeasure, declined in reputation with his companions, of whom he had been hitherto the leader, and even hazarded a more mortifying disappointment, all, as his swelling heart expressed it, through the means of a stranger stripling, of neither blood nor fame, who 76 could not step from one rock to another without the encouragement of a girl.

In this irritated mood, he drew near the young Englishman, and while he seemed to address him on the chances of the sports which were still proceeding, he conveyed, in a whisper, matter of a far different tendency. Striking Arthur's shoulder with the frank bluntness of a mountaineer, he said aloud: "Yonder bolt of Ernest whistled through the air like a falcon when she stoops down the wind!" and then proceeded in a deep low voice, "You merchants sell gloves—do you ever deal in single gauntlets, or only in pairs?"

"I sell no single glove," said Arthur, instantly apprehending him, and sufficiently disposed to resent the scornful looks of the Bernese champion during the time of their meal, and his having but lately imputed his successful shooting to chance or sorcery,—"I sell no single glove, sir, but never refuse to exchange one."

"You are apt, I see," said Rudolph. "Look at the players while I speak, or our purpose will be suspected.—You are quicker, I say, of apprehension than I expected. If we exchange our gloves, how shall each redeem his own?"

"With our good swords," said Arthur Philipson.

"In armour, or as we stand?"

"Even as we stand," said Arthur. "I have no better garment of proof than this doublet—no other weapon than my sword; and these, Sir Switzer, I hold enough for the purpose.—Name time and place."

"The old castle-court at Geierstein," replied Rudolph; "the time sunrise;—but we are watched.—I have lost my wager, stranger," he added, 77 speaking aloud, and in an indifferent tone of voice, "since Ulrick has made a cast beyond Ernest.—There is my glove, in token I shall not forget the flask of wine."

"And there is mine," said Arthur, "in token I will drink it with you merrily."

Thus, amid the peaceful though rough sports of their companions, did these two hot-headed youths contrive to indulge their hostile inclinations towards each other, by settling a meeting of deadly purpose. 78


I was one

Who loved the greenwood bank and lowing herd,

The russet prize, the lowly peasant's life,

Season'd with sweet content, more than the halls

Where revellers feast to fever-height. Believe me,

There ne'er was poison mix'd in maple bowl.


Leaving the young persons engaged with their sports, the Landamman of Unterwalden and the elder Philipson walked on in company, conversing chiefly on the political relations of France, England, and Burgundy, until the conversation was changed as they entered the gate of the old castle-yard of Geierstein, where arose the lonely and dismantled keep, surrounded by the ruins of other buildings.

"This has been a proud and a strong habitation in its time," said Philipson.

"They were a proud and powerful race who held it," replied the Landamman. "The Counts of Geierstein have a history which runs back to the times of the old Helvetians, and their deeds are reported to have matched their antiquity. But all earthly grandeur has an end, and free men tread the ruins of their feudal castle, at the most distant sight of whose turrets serfs were formerly obliged to vail their bonnets, if they would escape the chastisement of contumacious rebels." 79

"I observe," said the merchant, "engraved on a stone under yonder turret, the crest, I conceive, of the last family, a vulture perched on a rock, descriptive, doubtless, of the word Geierstein."

"It is the ancient cognisance of the family," replied Arnold Biederman, "and, as you say, expresses the name of the castle, being the same with that of the knights who so long held it."

"I also remarked in your hall," continued the merchant, "a helmet bearing the same crest or cognisance. It is, I suppose, a trophy of the triumph of the Swiss peasants over the nobles of Geierstein, as the English bow is preserved in remembrance of the battle of Buttisholz?"

"And you, fair sir," replied the Landamman, "would, I perceive, from the prejudices of your education, regard the one victory with as unpleasant feelings as the other?—Strange, that the veneration for rank should be rooted even in the minds of those who have no claim to share it! But clear up your downcast brows, my worthy guest, and be assured, that though many a proud baron's castle, when Switzerland threw off the bonds of feudal slavery, was plundered and destroyed by the just vengeance of an incensed people, such was not the lot of Geierstein. The blood of the old possessors of these towers still flows in the veins of him by whom these lands are occupied."

"What am I to understand by that, Sir Landamman?" said Philipson. "Are not you yourself the occupant of this place?"

"And you think, probably," answered Arnold, "because I live like the other shepherds, wear 80 homespun grey, and hold the plough with my own hands, I cannot be descended from a line of ancient nobility? This land holds many such gentle peasants, Sir Merchant; nor is there a more ancient nobility than that of which the remains are to be found in my native country. But they have voluntarily resigned the oppressive part of their feudal power, and are no longer regarded as wolves amongst the flock, but as sagacious mastiffs, who attend the sheep in time of peace, and are prompt in their defence when war threatens our community."

"But," repeated the merchant, who could not yet reconcile himself to the idea that his plain and peasant-seeming host was a man of distinguished birth, "you bear not the name, worthy sir, of your fathers—They were, you say, the Counts of Geierstein, and you are"——

"Arnold Biederman, at your command," answered the magistrate. "But know,—if the knowledge can make you sup with more sense of dignity or comfort,—I need but put on yonder old helmet, or, if that were too much trouble, I have only to stick a falcon's feather into my cap, and call myself Arnold, Count of Geierstein. No man could gainsay me—though whether it would become my Lord Count to drive his bullocks to the pasture, and whether his Excellency the High and Well-born could, without derogation, sow a field or reap it, are questions which should be settled beforehand. I see you are confounded, my respected guest, at my degeneracy; but the state of my family is very soon explained.

"My lordly fathers ruled this same domain of Geierstein, which in their time was very extensive, 81 much after the mode of feudal barons—that is, they were sometimes the protectors and patrons, but oftener the oppressors of their subjects. But when my grandfather, Heinrich of Geierstein, flourished, he not only joined the Confederates to repel Ingelram de Couci and his roving bands, as I already told you, but, when the wars with Austria were renewed, and many of his degree joined with the host of the Emperor Leopold, my ancestor adopted the opposite side, fought in front of the Confederates, and contributed by his skill and valour to the decisive victory at Sempach, in which Leopold lost his life, and the flower of Austrian chivalry fell around him. My father, Count Williewald, followed the same course, both from inclination and policy. He united himself closely with the state of Unterwalden, became a citizen of the Confederacy, and distinguished himself so much that he was chosen Landamman of the Republic. He had two sons,—myself, and a younger brother, Albert; and possessed, as he felt himself, of a species of double character, he was desirous, perhaps unwisely (if I may censure the purpose of a deceased parent), that one of his sons should succeed him in his Lordship of Geierstein, and the other support the less ostentatious, though not in my thought less honourable condition, of a free citizen of Unterwalden, possessing such influence among his equals in the Canton as might be acquired by his father's merits and his own. When Albert was twelve years old, our father took us on a short excursion to Germany, where the form, pomp, and magnificence which we witnessed made a very different impression on the mind of my brother and on my own. What 82 appeared to Albert the consummation of earthly splendour seemed to me a weary display of tiresome and useless ceremonials. Our father explained his purpose, and offered to me, as his eldest son, the large estate belonging to Geierstein, reserving such a portion of the most fertile ground as might make my brother one of the wealthiest citizens, in a district where competence is esteemed wealth. The tears gushed from Albert's eyes—'And must my brother,' he said, 'be a noble Count, honoured and followed by vassals and attendants, and I a homespun peasant among the grey-bearded shepherds of Unterwalden?—No, father—I respect your will—but I will not sacrifice my own rights. Geierstein is a fief held of the empire, and the laws entitle me to my equal half of the lands. If my brother be Count of Geierstein, I am not the less Count Albert of Geierstein; and I will appeal to the Emperor, rather than that the arbitrary will of one ancestor, though he be my father, shall cancel in me the rank and rights which I have derived from a hundred.' My father was greatly incensed. 'Go,' he said, 'proud boy, give the enemy of thy country a pretext to interfere in her affairs—appeal to the will of a foreign prince from the pleasure of thy father. Go, but never again look me in the face, and dread my eternal malediction!' Albert was about to reply with vehemence, when I entreated him to be silent and hear me speak. I had, I said, all my life loved the mountain better than the plain; had been more pleased to walk than to ride; more proud to contend with shepherds in their sports than with nobles in the lists; and happier in the village dance than among the feasts of the German nobles. 83 'Let me, therefore,' I said, 'be a citizen of the republic of Unterwalden; you will relieve me of a thousand cares; and let my brother Albert wear the coronet and bear the honours of Geierstein.' After some further discussion, my father was at length contented to adopt my proposal, in order to attain the object which he had so much at heart. Albert was declared heir of his castle and his rank, by the title of Count Albert of Geierstein; and I was placed in possession of these fields and fertile meadows amidst which my house is situated, and my neighbours called me Arnold Biederman."

"And if Biederman," said the merchant, "means, as I understand the word, a man of worth, candour, and generosity, I know none on whom the epithet could be so justly conferred. Yet let me observe, that I praise the conduct which, in your circumstances, I could not have bowed my spirit to practise. Proceed, I pray you, with the history of your house, if the recital be not painful to you."

"I have little more to say," replied the Landamman. "My father died soon after the settlement of his estate in the manner I have told you. My brother had other possessions in Swabia and Westphalia, and seldom visited his paternal castle, which was chiefly occupied by a seneschal, a man so obnoxious to the vassals of the family, that but for the protection afforded by my near residence, and relationship with his lord, he would have been plucked out of the Vulture's Nest, and treated with as little ceremony as if he had been the vulture himself. Neither, to say the truth, did my brother's occasional visits to Geierstein afford his 84 vassals much relief, or acquire any popularity for himself. He heard with the ears and saw with the eyes of his cruel and interested steward, Ital Schreckenwald, and would not listen even to my interference and admonition. Indeed, though he always demeaned himself with personal kindness towards me, I believe he considered me as a dull and poor-spirited clown, who had disgraced my noble blood by my mean propensities. He showed contempt on every occasion for the prejudices of his countrymen, and particularly by wearing a peacock's feather in public, and causing his followers to display the same badge, though the cognisance of the House of Austria, and so unpopular in this country, that men have been put to death for no better reason than for carrying it in their caps. In the meantime I was married to my Bertha, now a saint in heaven, by whom I had six stately sons, five of whom you saw surrounding my table this day. Albert also married. His wife was a lady of rank in Westphalia, but his bridal-bed was less fruitful; he had only one daughter, Anne of Geierstein. Then came on the wars between the city of Zurich and our Forest Cantons, in which so much blood was shed, and when our brethren of Zurich were so ill advised as to embrace the alliance of Austria. Their Emperor strained every nerve to avail himself of the favourable opportunity afforded by the disunion of the Swiss, and engaged all with whom he had influence to second his efforts. With my brother he was but too successful; for Albert not only took arms in the Emperor's cause, but admitted into the strong fortress of Geierstein a band of Austrian soldiers, with whom the wicked Ital Schreckenwald 85 laid waste the whole country, excepting my little patrimony."

"It came to a severe pass with you, my worthy host," said the merchant, "since you were to decide against the cause of your country or that of your brother."

"I did not hesitate," continued Arnold Biederman. "My brother was in the Emperor's army, and I was not therefore reduced to act personally against him; but I denounced war against the robbers and thieves with whom Schreckenwald had filled my father's house. It was waged with various fortune. The seneschal, during my absence, burnt down my house, and slew my youngest son, who died, alas! in defence of his father's hearth. It is little to add that my lands were wasted and my flocks destroyed. On the other hand, I succeeded, with help of a body of the peasants of Unterwalden, in storming the Castle of Geierstein. It was offered back to me by the Confederates; but I had no desire to sully the fair cause in which I had assumed arms, by enriching myself at the expense of my brother; and besides, to have dwelt in that guarded hold would have been a penance to one the sole protectors of whose house of late years had been a latch and a shepherd's cur. The castle was therefore dismantled, as you see, by order of the elders of the Canton; and I even think that, considering the uses it was too often put to, I look with more pleasure on the rugged remains of Geierstein, than I ever did when it was entire, and apparently impregnable."

"I can understand your feelings," said the Englishman, "though I repeat, my virtue would not perhaps have extended so far beyond the circle of 86 my family affections.—Your brother, what said he to your patriotic exertions?"

"He was, as I learnt," answered the Landamman, "dreadfully incensed, having no doubt been informed that I had taken his castle with a view to my own aggrandisement. He even swore he would renounce my kindred, seek me through the battle, and slay me with his own hand. We were, in fact, both at the battle of Freyenbach, but my brother was prevented from attempting the execution of his vindictive purpose by a wound from an arrow, which occasioned his being carried out of the mêlée. I was afterwards in the bloody and melancholy fight at Mount-Herzel, and that other onslaught at the Chapel of St. Jacob [d], which brought our brethren of Zurich to terms, and reduced Austria once more to the necessity of making peace with us. After this war of thirteen years, the Diet passed sentence of banishment for life on my brother Albert, and would have deprived him of his possessions, but forbore in consideration of what they thought my good service. When the sentence was intimated to the Count of Geierstein, he returned an answer of defiance; yet a singular circumstance showed us not long afterwards that he retained an attachment to his country, and amidst his resentment against me, his brother, did justice to my unaltered affection for him."

"I would pledge my credit," said the merchant, "that what follows relates to yonder fair maiden, your niece?"

"You guess rightly," said the Landamman. "For some time we heard, though indistinctly (for we have, as you know, but little communication with foreign countries), that my brother was high 87 in favour at the court of the Emperor, but latterly that he had fallen under suspicion, and, in the course of some of those revolutions common at the courts of princes, had been driven into exile. It was shortly after this news, and, as I think, more than seven years ago, that I was returning from hunting on the farther side of the river, had passed the narrow bridge as usual, and was walking through the courtyard which we have lately left" (for their walk was now turned homeward), "when a voice said, in the German language, 'Uncle, have compassion upon me!' As I looked around, I beheld a girl of ten years old approach timidly from the shelter of the ruins, and kneel down at my feet. 'Uncle, spare my life,' she said, holding up her little hands in the act of supplication, while mortal terror was painted upon her countenance.—'Am I your uncle, little maiden?' said I; 'and if I am, why should you fear me?'—'Because you are the head of the wicked and base clowns who delight to spill noble blood,' replied the girl, with a courage which surprised me.—'What is your name, my little maiden?' said I; 'and who, having planted in your mind opinions so unfavourable to your kinsman, has brought you hither, to see if he resembles the picture you have received of him?'—'It was Ital Schreckenwald that brought me hither,' said the girl, only half comprehending the nature of my question.—'Ital Schreckenwald?' I repeated, shocked at the name of a wretch I have so much reason to hate. A voice from the ruins, like that of a sullen echo from the grave, answered, 'Ital Schreckenwald!' and the caitiff issued from his place of concealment, and stood before me, 88 with that singular indifference to danger which he unites to his atrocity of character. I had my spiked mountain-staff in my hand—What should I have done—or what would you have done, under like circumstances?"

"I would have laid him on the earth, with his skull shivered like an icicle!" said the Englishman, fiercely.

"I had well-nigh done so," replied the Swiss, "but he was unarmed, a messenger from my brother, and therefore no object of revenge. His own undismayed and audacious conduct contributed to save him. 'Let the vassal of the noble and high-born Count of Geierstein hear the words of his master, and let him look that they are obeyed,' said the insolent ruffian. 'Doff thy cap, and listen; for though the voice is mine, the words are those of the noble Count.'—'God and man know,' replied I, 'if I owe my brother respect or homage—it is much if, in respect for him, I defer paying to his messenger the meed I dearly owe him. Proceed with thy tale, and rid me of thy hateful presence.'—'Albert Count of Geierstein, thy lord and my lord,' proceeded Schreckenwald, 'having on his hand wars, and other affairs of weight, sends his daughter, the Countess Anne, to thy charge, and graces thee so far as to intrust to thee her support and nurture, until it shall suit his purposes to require her back from thee; and he desires that thou apply to her maintenance the rents and profits of the lands of Geierstein, which thou hast usurped from him.'—'Ital Schreckenwald,' I replied, 'I will not stop to ask if this mode of addressing me be according to my brother's directions, or thine own insolent 89 pleasure. If circumstances have, as thou sayest, deprived my niece of her natural protector, I will be to her as a father, nor shall she want aught which I have to give her. The lands of Geierstein are forfeited to the state, the castle is ruinous, as thou seest, and it is much of thy crimes that the house of my fathers is desolate. But where I dwell Anne of Geierstein shall dwell, as my children fare shall she fare, and she shall be to me as a daughter. And now thou hast thine errand—Go hence, if thou lovest thy life; for it is unsafe parleying with the father, when thy hands are stained with the blood of the son.' The wretch retired as I spoke, but took his leave with his usual determined insolence of manner.—'Farewell,' he said, 'Count of the Plough and Harrow—farewell, noble companion of paltry burghers!' He disappeared, and released me from the strong temptation under which I laboured, and which urged me to stain with his blood the place which had witnessed his cruelty and his crimes. I conveyed my niece to my house, and soon convinced her that I was her sincere friend. I inured her, as if she had been my daughter, to all our mountain exercises; and while she excels in these the damsels of the district, there burst from her such sparkles of sense and courage, mingled with delicacy, as belong not—I must needs own the truth—to the simple maidens of these wild hills, but relish of a nobler stem, and higher breeding. Yet they are so happily mixed with simplicity and courtesy, that Anne of Geierstein is justly considered as the pride of the district; nor do I doubt but that, if she should make a worthy choice of a husband, the state would assign her a 90 large dower out of her father's possessions, since it is not our maxim to punish the child for the faults of the parent."

"It will naturally be your anxious desire, my worthy host," replied the Englishman, "to secure to your niece, in whose praises I have deep cause to join with a grateful voice, such a suitable match as her birth and expectations, but above all her merit, demand."

"It is, my good guest," said the Landamman, "that which hath often occupied my thoughts. The over-near relationship prohibits what would have been my most earnest desire, the hope of seeing her wedded to one of my own sons. This young man, Rudolph Donnerhugel, is brave, and highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens; but more ambitious, and more desirous of distinction, than I would desire for my niece's companion through life. His temper is violent, though his heart, I trust, is good. But I am like to be unpleasantly released from all care on this score, since my brother, having, as it seemed, forgotten Anne for seven years and upwards, has, by a letter which I have lately received, demanded that she shall be restored to him.—You can read, my worthy sir, for your profession requires it. See, here is the scroll, coldly worded, but far less unkindly than his unbrotherly message by Ital Schreckenwald—Read it, I pray you, aloud."

The merchant read accordingly.

"Brother—I thank you for the care you have taken of my daughter, for she has been in safety when she would otherwise have been in peril, and kindly used, when she would have been in hardship. I now entreat 91 you to restore her to me, and trust that she will come with the virtues which become a woman in every station, and a disposition to lay aside the habits of a Swiss villager, for the graces of a high-born maiden.—Adieu. I thank you once more for your care, and would repay it were it in my power; but you need nothing I can give, having renounced the rank to which you were born, and made your nest on the ground where the storm passes over you. I rest your brother,


"It is addressed 'to Count Arnold of Geierstein, called Arnold Biederman.' A postscript requires you to send the maiden to the court of the Duke of Burgundy.—This, good sir, appears to me the language of a haughty man, divided betwixt the recollection of old offence and recent obligation. The speech of his messenger was that of a malicious vassal, desirous of venting his own spite under pretence of doing his lord's errand."

"I so receive both," replied Arnold Biederman.

"And do you intend," continued the merchant, "to resign this beautiful and interesting creature to the conduct of her father, wilful as he seems to be, without knowing what his condition is, or what his power of protecting her?"

The Landamman hastened to reply. "The tie which unites the parent to the child is the earliest and the most hallowed that binds the human race. The difficulty of her travelling in safety has hitherto prevented my attempting to carry my brother's instructions into execution. But as I am now likely to journey in person towards the court of Charles, I have determined that Anne 92 shall accompany me; and as I will myself converse with my brother, whom I have not seen for many years, I shall learn his purpose respecting his daughter, and it may be I may prevail on Albert to suffer her to remain under my charge.—And now, sir, having told you of my family affairs at some greater length than was necessary, I must crave your attention, as a wise man, to what further I have to say. You know the disposition which young men and women naturally have to talk, jest, and sport with each other, out of which practice arise often more serious attachments, which they call loving par amours. I trust, if we are to travel together, you will so school your young man as to make him aware that Anne of Geierstein cannot, with propriety on her part, be made the object of his thoughts or attentions."

The merchant coloured with resentment, or something like it. "I asked not to join your company, Sir Landamman—it was you who requested mine," he said; "if my son and I have since become in any respect the objects of your suspicion, we will gladly pursue our way separately."

"Nay, be not angry, worthy guest," said the Landamman; "we Switzers do not rashly harbour suspicions; and that we may not harbour them, we speak, respecting the circumstances out of which they might arise, more plainly than is the wont of more civilised countries. When I proposed to you to be my companion on the journey, to speak the truth, though it may displease a father's ear, I regarded your son as a soft, faint-hearted youth, who was, as yet at least, too timid and milky-blooded to attract either respect or regard from the maidens. But a few hours have 93 presented him to us in the character of such a one as is sure to interest them. He has accomplished the emprise of the bow, long thought unattainable, and with which a popular report connects an idle prophecy. He has wit to make verses, and knows doubtless how to recommend himself by other accomplishments which bind young persons to each other, though they are lightly esteemed by men whose beards are mixed with grey, like yours, friend merchant, and mine own. Now, you must be aware, that since my brother broke terms with me, simply for preferring the freedom of a Swiss citizen to the tawdry and servile condition of a German courtier, he will not approve of any one looking towards his daughter who hath not the advantage of noble blood, or who hath, what he would call, debased himself by attention to merchandise, to the cultivation of land—in a word, to any art that is useful. Should your son love Anne of Geierstein, he prepares for himself danger and disappointment. And, now you know the whole,—I ask you, Do we travel together or apart?"

"Even as ye list, my worthy host," said Philipson, in an indifferent tone; "for me, I can but say that such an attachment as you speak of would be as contrary to my wishes as to those of your brother, or what I suppose are your own. Arthur Philipson has duties to perform totally inconsistent with his playing the gentle bachelor to any maiden in Switzerland, take Germany to boot, whether of high or low degree. He is an obedient son, besides—hath never seriously disobeyed my commands, and I will have an eye upon his motions." 94

"Enough, my friend," said the Landamman; "we travel together, then, and I willingly keep my original purpose, being both pleased and instructed by your discourse."

Then changing the conversation, he began to ask whether his acquaintance thought that the league entered into by the King of England and the Duke of Burgundy would continue stable. "We hear much," continued the Swiss, "of the immense army with which King Edward proposes the recovery of the English dominions in France."

"I am well aware," said Philipson, "that nothing can be so popular in my country as the invasion of France, and the attempt to reconquer Normandy, Maine, and Gascony, the ancient appanages of our English crown. But I greatly doubt whether the voluptuous usurper, who now calls himself king, will be graced by Heaven with success in such an adventure. This Fourth Edward is brave indeed, and has gained every battle in which he drew his sword, and they have been many in number. But since he reached, through a bloody path, to the summit of his ambition, he has shown himself rather a sensual debauchee than a valiant knight; and it is my firm belief, that not even the chance of recovering all the fair dominions which were lost during the civil wars excited by his ambitious house will tempt him to exchange the soft beds of London, with sheets of silk and pillows of down, and the music of a dying lute to lull him to rest, for the turf of France and the réveille of an alarm trumpet."

"It is the better for us should it prove so," said the Landamman; "for if England and Burgundy were to dismember France, as in our father's days 95 was nearly accomplished, Duke Charles would then have leisure to exhaust his long-hoarded vengeance against our Confederacy."

As they conversed thus, they attained once more the lawn in front of Arnold Biederman's mansion, where the contention of the young men had given place to the dance performed by the young persons of both sexes. The dance was led by Anne of Geierstein and the youthful stranger; which, although it was the most natural arrangement, where the one was a guest, and the other represented the mistress of the family, occasioned the Landamman's exchanging a glance with the elder Philipson, as if it had held some relation to the suspicions he had recently expressed.

But so soon as her uncle and his elder guest appeared, Anne of Geierstein took the earliest opportunity of a pause to break off the dance, and to enter into conversation with her kinsman, as if on the domestic affairs under her attendance. Philipson observed that his host listened seriously to his niece's communication; and, nodding in his frank manner, seemed to intimate that her request should receive a favourable consideration.

The family were presently afterwards summoned to attend the evening meal, which consisted chiefly of the excellent fish afforded by the neighbouring streams and lakes. A large cup, containing what was called the schlaf-trunk, or sleeping-drink, then went round, which was first quaffed by the master of the household, then modestly tasted by the maiden, next pledged by the two strangers, and finally emptied by the rest of the company. Such were then the sober manners of the Swiss, afterwards much corrupted by their intercourse with 96 more luxurious regions. The guests were conducted to the sleeping-apartments, where Philipson and young Arthur occupied the same couch, and shortly after the whole inhabitants of the household were locked in sound repose. 97


When we two meet, we meet like rushing torrents;

Like warring winds, like flames from various points,

That mate each other's fury—there is naught

Of elemental strife, were fiends to guide it,

Can match the wrath of man.


The elder of our two travellers, though a strong man and familiar with fatigue, slept sounder and longer than usual on the morning which was now beginning to dawn, but his son Arthur had that upon his mind which early interrupted his repose.

The encounter with the bold Switzer, a chosen man of a renowned race of warriors, was an engagement which, in the opinion of the period in which he lived, was not to be delayed or broken. He left his father's side, avoiding as much as possible the risk of disturbing him, though even in that case the circumstance would not have excited any attention, as he was in the habit of rising early, in order to make preparations for the day's journey, to see that the guide was on his duty, and that the mule had his provender, and to discharge similar offices which might otherwise have given trouble to his father. The old man, however, fatigued with the exertions of the preceding day, slept, as we have said, more soundly than his wont, and Arthur, arming himself with his good sword, sallied out to the lawn in front of the Landamman's dwelling, amid the magic dawn of a beautiful harvest morning in the Swiss mountains. 98

The sun was just about to kiss the top of the most gigantic of that race of Titans, though the long shadows still lay on the rough grass, which crisped under the young man's feet with a strong intimation of frost. But Arthur looked not round on the landscape, however lovely, which lay waiting one flash from the orb of day to start into brilliant existence. He drew the belt of his trusty sword which he was in the act of fastening when he left the house, and ere he had secured the buckle he was many paces on his way towards the place where he was to use it.

It was still the custom of that military period to regard a summons to combat as a sacred engagement, preferable to all others which could be formed; and stifling whatever inward feelings of reluctance Nature might oppose to the dictates of fashion, the step of a gallant to the place of encounter was required to be as free and ready as if he had been going to a bridal. I do not know whether this alacrity was altogether real on the part of Arthur Philipson; but, if it were otherwise, neither his look nor pace betrayed the secret.

Having hastily traversed the fields and groves which separated the Landamman's residence from the old castle of Geierstein, he entered the courtyard from the side where the castle overlooked the land; and nearly in the same instant his almost gigantic antagonist, who looked yet more tall and burly by the pale morning light than he had seemed the preceding evening, appeared ascending from the precarious bridge beside the torrent, having reached Geierstein by a different route from that pursued by the Englishman. 99

The young champion of Berne had hanging along his back one of those huge two-handed swords, the blade of which measured five feet, and which were wielded with both hands. These were almost universally used by the Swiss; for, besides the impression which such weapons were calculated to make upon the array of the German men-at-arms, whose armour was impenetrable to lighter swords, they were also well calculated to defend mountain passes, where the great bodily strength and agility of those who bore them enabled the combatants, in spite of their weight and length, to use them with much address and effect. One of these gigantic swords hung round Rudolph Donnerhugel's neck, the point rattling against his heel, and the handle extending itself over his left shoulder, considerably above his head. He carried another in his hand.

"Thou art punctual," he called out to Arthur Philipson, in a voice which was distinctly heard above the roar of the waterfall, which it seemed to rival in sullen force. "But I judged thou wouldst come without a two-handed sword. There is my kinsman Ernest's," he said, throwing on the ground the weapon which he carried, with the hilt towards the young Englishman. "Look, stranger, that thou disgrace it not, for my kinsman will never forgive me if thou dost. Or thou mayst have mine if thou likest it better."

The Englishman looked at the weapon with some surprise, to the use of which he was totally unaccustomed.

"The challenger," he said, "in all countries where honour is known, accepts the arms of the challenged." 100

"He who fights on a Swiss mountain, fights with a Swiss brand," answered Rudolph. "Think you our hands are made to handle penknives?"

"Nor are ours made to wield scythes," said Arthur; and muttered betwixt his teeth, as he looked at the sword, which the Swiss continued to offer him—"Usum non habeo [e], I have not proved the weapon."

"Do you repent the bargain you have made?" said the Swiss; "if so, cry craven, and return in safety. Speak plainly, instead of prattling Latin like a clerk or a shaven monk."

"No, proud man," replied the Englishman, "I ask thee no forbearance. I thought but of a combat between a shepherd and a giant, in which God gave the victory to him who had worse odds of weapons than falls to my lot to-day. I will fight as I stand; my own good sword shall serve my need now, as it has done before."

"Content!—But blame not me who offered thee equality of weapons," said the mountaineer. "And now hear me. This is a fight for life or death—yon waterfall sounds the alarum for our conflict.—Yes, old bellower," he continued, looking back, "it is long since thou hast heard the noise of battle;—and look at it ere we begin, stranger, for if you fall, I will commit your body to its waters."

"And if thou fall'st, proud Swiss," answered Arthur, "as well I trust thy presumption leads to destruction, I will have thee buried in the church at Einsiedlen, where the priests shall sing masses for thy soul—thy two-handed sword shall be displayed above thy grave, and a scroll shall tell the passenger, Here lies a bear's cub of Berne, slain by Arthur the Englishman." 101

"The stone is not in Switzerland, rocky as it is," said Rudolph, scornfully, "that shall bear that inscription. Prepare thyself for battle."

The Englishman cast a calm and deliberate glance around the scene of action—a courtyard, partly open, partly encumbered with ruins, in less and larger masses.

"Methinks," said he to himself, "a master of his weapon, with the instructions of Bottaferma of Florence in his remembrance, a light heart, a good blade, a firm hand, and a just cause, might make up a worse odds than two feet of steel."

Thinking thus, and imprinting on his mind, as much as the time would permit, every circumstance of the locality around him which promised advantage in the combat, and taking his station in the middle of the courtyard where the ground was entirely clear, he flung his cloak from him, and drew his sword.

Rudolph had at first believed that his foreign antagonist was an effeminate youth, who would be swept from before him at the first flourish of his tremendous weapon. But the firm and watchful attitude assumed by the young man reminded the Swiss of the deficiencies of his own unwieldy implement, and made him determine to avoid any precipitation which might give advantage to an enemy who seemed both daring and vigilant. He unsheathed his huge sword, by drawing it over the left shoulder, an operation which required some little time, and might have offered formidable advantage to his antagonist, had Arthur's sense of honour permitted him to begin the attack ere it was completed. The Englishman remained firm, however, until the Swiss, displaying his 102 bright brand to the morning sun, made three or four flourishes as if to prove its weight, and the facility with which he wielded it—then stood firm within sword-stroke of his adversary, grasping his weapon with both hands, and advancing it a little before his body, with the blade pointed straight upwards. The Englishman, on the contrary, carried his sword in one hand, holding it across his face in a horizontal position, so as to be at once ready to strike, thrust, or parry.

"Strike, Englishman!" said the Switzer, after they had confronted each other in this manner for about a minute.

"The longest sword should strike first," said Arthur; and the words had not left his mouth when the Swiss sword rose, and descended with a rapidity which, the weight and size of the weapon considered, appeared portentous. No parry, however dexterously interposed, could have baffled the ruinous descent of that dreadful weapon, by which the champion of Berne had hoped at once to begin the battle and end it. But young Philipson had not over-estimated the justice of his own eye, or the activity of his limbs. Ere the blade descended, a sudden spring to one side carried him from beneath its heavy sway, and before the Swiss could again raise his sword aloft he received a wound, though a slight one, upon the left arm. Irritated at the failure and at the wound, the Switzer heaved up his sword once more, and availing himself of a strength corresponding to his size, he discharged towards his adversary a succession of blows, downright, athwart, horizontal, and from left to right, with such surprising strength and velocity, that it required all the address of the 103 young Englishman, by parrying, shifting, eluding, or retreating, to evade a storm of which every individual blow seemed sufficient to cleave a solid rock. The Englishman was compelled to give ground, now backwards, now swerving to the one side or the other, now availing himself of the fragments of the ruins, but watching all the while, with the utmost composure, the moment when the strength of his enraged enemy might become somewhat exhausted, or when by some improvident or furious blow he might again lay himself open to a close attack. The latter of these advantages had nearly occurred, for in the middle of his headlong charge the Switzer stumbled over a large stone concealed among the long grass, and ere he could recover himself received a severe blow across the head from his antagonist. It lighted upon his bonnet, the lining of which enclosed a small steel cap, so that he escaped unwounded, and springing up, renewed the battle with unabated fury, though it seemed to the young Englishman with breath somewhat short, and blows dealt with more caution.

They were still contending with equal fortune, when a stern voice, rising over the clash of swords, as well as the roar of waters, called out in a commanding tone, "On your lives, forbear!"

The two combatants sank the points of their swords, not very sorry perhaps for the interruption of a strife which must otherwise have had a deadly termination. They looked round, and the Landamman stood before them, with anger frowning on his broad and expressive forehead.

"How now, boys?" he said. "Are you guests of Arnold Biederman, and do you dishonour his 104 house by acts of violence more becoming the wolves of the mountains, than beings to whom the great Creator has given a form after His own likeness, and an immortal soul to be saved by penance and repentance?"

"Arthur," said the elder Philipson, who had come up at the same time with their host, "what frenzy is this? Are your duties of so light and heedless a nature, as to give time and place for quarrels and combats with every idle boor who chances to be boastful at once and bull-headed?"

The young men, whose strife had ceased at the entrance of these unexpected spectators, stood looking at each other, and resting on their swords.

"Rudolph Donnerhugel," said the Landamman, "give thy sword to me—to me, the owner of this ground, the master of this family, and magistrate of the canton."

"And which is more," answered Rudolph, submissively, "to you who are Arnold Biederman, at whose command every native of these mountains draws his sword or sheathes it."

He gave his two-handed sword to the Landamman.

"Now, by my honest word," said Biederman, "it is the same with which thy father Stephen fought so gloriously at Sempach, abreast with the famous De Winkelried! Shame it is, that it should be drawn on a helpless stranger.—And you, young sir," continued the Swiss, addressing Arthur, while his father said at the same time, "Young man, yield up your sword to the Landamman."

"It shall not need, sir," replied the young Englishman, "since, for my part, I hold our strife at an end. This gallant gentleman called me hither, 105 on a trial, as I conceive, of courage: I can give my unqualified testimony to his gallantry and swordmanship; and as I trust he will say nothing to the shame of my manhood, I think our strife has lasted long enough for the purpose which gave rise to it."

"Too long for me," said Rudolph, frankly; "the green sleeve of my doublet, which I wore of that colour out of my love to the Forest Cantons, is now stained into as dirty a crimson as could have been done by any dyer in Ypres or Ghent. But I heartily forgive the brave stranger who has spoiled my jerkin, and given its master a lesson he will not soon forget. Had all Englishmen been like your guest, worthy kinsman, methinks the mound at Buttisholz had hardly risen so high."

"Cousin Rudolph," said the Landamman, smoothing his brow as his kinsman spoke, "I have ever thought thee as generous as thou art harebrained and quarrelsome; and you, my young guest, may rely, that when a Swiss says the quarrel is over, there is no chance of its being renewed. We are not like the men of the valleys to the eastward, who nurse revenge as if it were a favourite child. And now, join hands, my children, and let us forget this foolish feud."

"Here is my hand, brave stranger," said Donnerhugel; "thou hast taught me a trick of fence, and when we have broken our fast we will, by your leave, to the forest, where I will teach you a trick of woodcraft in return. When your foot hath half the experience of your hand, and your eye hath gained a portion of the steadiness of your heart, you will not find many hunters to match you." 106

Arthur, with all the ready confidence of youth, readily embraced a proposition so frankly made, and before they reached the house various subjects of sport were eagerly discussed between them, with as much cordiality as if no disturbance of their concord had taken place.

"Now this," said the Landamman, "is as it should be. I am ever ready to forgive the headlong impetuosity of our youth, if they will be but manly and open in their reconciliation, and bear their heart on their tongue, as a true Swiss should."

"These two youths had made but wild work of it, however," said Philipson, "had not your care, my worthy host, learned of their rendezvous, and called me to assist in breaking their purpose. May I ask how it came to your knowledge so opportunely?"

"It was e'en through means of my domestic fairy," answered Arnold Biederman, "who seems born for the good luck of my family,—I mean my niece, Anne, who had observed a glove exchanged betwixt the two young braggadocios, and heard them mention Geierstein and break of day. Oh, sir, it is much to see a woman's sharpness of wit! It would have been long enough ere any of my thick-headed sons had shown themselves so apprehensive."

"I think I see our propitious protectress peeping at us from yonder high ground," said Philipson; "but it seems as if she would willingly observe us without being seen in return."

"Ay," said the Landamman, "she has been looking out to see that there has been no hurt done; and now, I warrant me, the foolish girl is 107 ashamed of having shown such a laudable degree of interest in a matter of the kind."

"Methinks," said the Englishman, "I would willingly return my thanks, in your presence, to the fair maiden to whom I have been so highly indebted."

"There can be no better time than the present," said the Landamman; and he sent through the groves the maiden's name, in one of those shrilly accented tones which we have already noticed.

Anne of Geierstein, as Philipson had before observed, was stationed upon a knoll at some distance, and concealed, as she thought, from notice, by a screen of brushwood. She started at her uncle's summons, therefore, but presently obeyed it; and avoiding the young men, who passed on foremost, she joined the Landamman and Philipson, by a circuitous path through the woods.

"My worthy friend and guest would speak with you, Anne," said the Landamman, so soon as the morning greeting had been exchanged. The Swiss maiden coloured over brow as well as cheek, when Philipson, with a grace which seemed beyond his calling, addressed her in these words:—

"It happens sometimes to us merchants, my fair young friend, that we are unlucky enough not to possess means for the instant defraying of our debts; but he is justly held amongst us as the meanest of mankind who does not acknowledge them. Accept, therefore, the thanks of a father, whose son your courage, only yesterday, saved from destruction, and whom your prudence has, this very morning, rescued from a great danger. And grieve me not, by refusing to wear these earrings," he added, producing a small jewel-case, 108 which he opened as he spoke: "they are, it is true, only of pearls, but they have not been thought unworthy the ears of a countess"——

"And must, therefore," said the old Landamman, "show misplaced on the person of a Swiss maiden of Unterwalden; for such and no more is my niece Anne while she resides in my solitude. Methinks, good Master Philipson, you display less than your usual judgment in matching the quality of your gifts with the rank of her on whom they are bestowed—as a merchant, too, you should remember that large guerdons will lighten your gains."

"Let me crave your pardon, my good host," answered the Englishman, "while I reply, that at least I have consulted my own sense of the obligation under which I labour, and have chosen, out of what I have at my free disposal, that which I thought might best express it. I trust the host whom I have found hitherto so kind will not prevent this young maiden from accepting what is at least not unbecoming the rank she is born to; and you will judge me unjustly if you think me capable of doing either myself or you the wrong, of offering any token of a value beyond what I can well spare."

The Landamman took the jewel-case into his own hand.

"I have ever set my countenance," he said, "against gaudy gems, which are leading us daily further astray from the simplicity of our fathers and mothers.—And yet," he added, with a good-humoured smile, and holding one of the earrings close to his relation's face, "the ornaments do set off the wench rarely, and they say girls have more 109 pleasure in wearing such toys than grey-haired men can comprehend. Wherefore, dear Anne, as thou hast deserved a dearer trust in a greater matter, I refer thee entirely to thine own wisdom, to accept of our good friend's costly present, and wear it or not as thou thinkest fit."

"Since such is your pleasure, my best friend and kinsman," said the young maiden, blushing as she spoke, "I will not give pain to our valued guest, by refusing what he desires so earnestly that I should accept; but, by his leave, good uncle, and yours, I will bestow these splendid earrings on the shrine of Our Lady of Einsiedlen, to express our general gratitude to her protecting favour, which has been around us in the terrors of yesterday's storm, and the alarms of this morning's discord."

"By Our Lady, the wench speaks sensibly!" said the Landamman; "and her wisdom has applied the bounty well, my good guest, to bespeak prayers for thy family and mine, and for the general peace of Unterwalden.—Go to, Anne, thou shalt have a necklace of jet at next shearing-feast, if our fleeces bear any price in the market." 110


Let him who will not proffer'd peace receive,

Be sated with the plagues which war can give;

And well thy hatred of the peace is known,

If now thy soul reject the friendship shown.

Hoole's Tasso.

The confidence betwixt the Landamman and the English merchant appeared to increase during the course of a few busy days, which occurred before that appointed for the commencement of their journey to the court of Charles of Burgundy. The state of Europe, and of the Helvetian Confederacy, has been already alluded to; but, for the distinct explanation of our story, may be here briefly recapitulated.

In the interval of a week, whilst the English travellers remained at Geierstein, meetings or diets were held, as well of the City Cantons of the Confederacy as of those of the Forest. The former, aggrieved by the taxes imposed on their commerce by the Duke of Burgundy, rendered yet more intolerable by the violence of the agents whom he employed in such oppression, were eager for war, in which they had hitherto uniformly found victory and wealth. Many of them were also privately instigated to arms by the largesses of Louis XI., who spared neither intrigues nor gold to effect a breach betwixt these dauntless confederates and his formidable enemy, Charles the Bold. 111

On the other hand, there were many reasons which appeared to render it impolitic for the Switzers to engage in war with one of the most wealthy, most obstinate, and most powerful princes in Europe—for such unquestionably was Charles of Burgundy—without the existence of some strong reason affecting their own honour and independence. Every day brought fresh intelligence from the interior that Edward the Fourth of England had entered into a strict and intimate alliance, offensive and defensive, with the Duke of Burgundy, and that it was the purpose of the English King, renowned for his numerous victories over the rival House of Lancaster, by which, after various reverses, he had obtained undisputed possession of the throne, to reassert his claims to those provinces of France so long held by his ancestors. It seemed as if this alone were wanting to his fame, and that, having subdued his internal enemies, he now turned his eyes to the regaining of those rich and valuable foreign possessions which had been lost during the administration of the feeble Henry VI. and the civil discords so dreadfully prosecuted in the wars of the White and Red Roses. It was universally known, that throughout England generally the loss of the French provinces was felt as a national degradation; and that not only the nobility, who had in consequence been deprived of the large fiefs which they had held in Normandy, Gascony, Maine, and Anjou, but the warlike gentry, accustomed to gain both fame and wealth at the expense of France, and the fiery yeomanry, whose bows had decided so many fatal battles, were as eager to renew the conflict, as their ancestors of Cressy, 112 Poitiers, and Agincourt had been to follow their sovereign to the fields of victory, on which their deeds had conferred deathless renown.

The latest and most authentic intelligence bore, that the King of England was on the point of passing to France in person (an invasion rendered easy by his possession of Calais), with an army superior in numbers and discipline to any with which an English monarch had ever before entered that kingdom; that all the hostile preparations were completed, and that the arrival of Edward might instantly be expected; whilst the powerful co-operation of the Duke of Burgundy, and the assistance of numerous disaffected French noblemen in the provinces which had been so long under the English dominion, threatened a fearful issue of the war to Louis XI., sagacious, wise, and powerful as that prince unquestionably was.

It would no doubt have been the wisest policy of Charles of Burgundy, when thus engaging in an alliance against his most formidable neighbour, and hereditary as well as personal enemy, to have avoided all cause of quarrel with the Helvetian Confederacy, a poor but most warlike people, who already had been taught by repeated successes to feel that their hardy infantry could, if necessary, engage on terms of equality, or even of advantage, the flower of that chivalry which had hitherto been considered as forming the strength of European battle. But the measures of Charles, whom fortune had opposed to the most astucious and politic monarch of his time, were always dictated by passionate feeling and impulse, rather than by a judicious consideration of the circumstances in which he stood. Haughty, proud, and uncompromising, 113 though neither destitute of honour nor generosity, he despised and hated what he termed the paltry associations of herdsmen and shepherds, united with a few towns which subsisted chiefly by commerce; and instead of courting the Helvetian Cantons, like his crafty enemy, or at least affording them no ostensible pretence of quarrel, he omitted no opportunity of showing the disregard and contempt in which he held their upstart consequence, and of evincing the secret longing which he entertained to take vengeance upon them for the quantity of noble blood which they had shed, and to compensate the repeated successes they had gained over the feudal lords, of whom he imagined himself the destined avenger.

The Duke of Burgundy's possessions in the Alsatian territory [f] afforded him many opportunities for wreaking his displeasure upon the Swiss League. The little castle and town of Ferette, lying within ten or eleven miles of Bâle, served as a thoroughfare to the traffic of Berne and Soleure, the two principal towns of the confederation. In this place the Duke posted a governor, or seneschal, who was also an administrator of the revenue, and seemed born on purpose to be the plague and scourge of his republican neighbours.

Archibald von Hagenbach was a German noble, whose possessions lay in Suabia, and was universally esteemed one of the fiercest and most lawless of that frontier nobility known by the name of Robber-knights and Robber-counts. These dignitaries, because they held their fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire, claimed as complete sovereignty within their territories of a mile square as any reigning prince of Germany in his more extended 114 dominions. They levied tolls and taxes on strangers, and imprisoned, tried, and executed those who, as they alleged, had committed offences within their petty domains. But especially, and in further exercise of their seignorial privileges, they made war on each other, and on the Free Cities of the Empire, attacking and plundering without mercy the caravans, or large trains of wagons, by which the internal commerce of Germany was carried on.

A succession of injuries done and received by Archibald of Hagenbach, who had been one of the fiercest sticklers for this privilege of faustrecht, or club-law, as it may be termed, had ended in his being obliged, though somewhat advanced in life, to leave a country where his tenure of existence was become extremely precarious, and to engage in the service of the Duke of Burgundy, who willingly employed him, as he was a man of high descent and proved valour, and not the less, perhaps, that he was sure to find in a man of Hagenbach's fierce, rapacious, and haughty disposition, the unscrupulous executioner of whatsoever severities it might be his master's pleasure to enjoin.

The traders of Berne and Soleure, accordingly, made loud and violent complaints of Hagenbach's exactions. The impositions laid on commodities which passed through his district of La Ferette, to whatever place they might be ultimately bound, were arbitrarily increased, and the merchants and traders who hesitated to make instant payment of what was demanded were exposed to imprisonment and personal punishment. The commercial towns of Germany appealed to the Duke against this iniquitous conduct on the part of the Governor of 115 La Ferette, and requested of his Grace's goodness that he would withdraw Von Hagenbach from their neighbourhood; but the Duke treated their complaints with contempt. The Swiss League carried their remonstrances higher, and required that justice should be done on the Governor of La Ferette, as having offended against the law of nations; but they were equally unable to attract attention or obtain redress.

At length the Diet of the Confederation determined to send the solemn deputation which has been repeatedly mentioned. One or two of these envoys joined with the calm and prudent Arnold Biederman, in the hope that so solemn a measure might open the eyes of the Duke to the wicked injustice of his representative; others among the deputies, having no such peaceful views, were determined, by this resolute remonstrance, to pave the way for hostilities.

Arnold Biederman was an especial advocate for peace, while its preservation was compatible with national independence, and the honour of the Confederacy; but the younger Philipson soon discovered that the Landamman alone, of all his family, cherished these moderate views. The opinion of his sons had been swayed and seduced by the impetuous eloquence and overbearing influence of Rudolph of Donnerhugel, who, by some feats of peculiar gallantry, and the consideration due to the merit of his ancestors, had acquired an influence in the councils of his native canton, and with the youth of the League in general, beyond what was usually yielded by these wise republicans to men of his early age. Arthur, who was now an acceptable and welcome companion of all 116 their hunting parties and other sports, heard nothing among the young men but anticipations of war, rendered delightful by the hopes of booty and of distinction, which were to be obtained by the Switzers. The feats of their ancestors against the Germans had been so wonderful as to realise the fabulous victories of romance; and while the present race possessed the same hardy limbs, and the same inflexible courage, they eagerly anticipated the same distinguished success. When the Governor of La Ferette was mentioned in the conversation, he was usually spoken of as the bandog of Burgundy, or the Alsatian mastiff; and intimations were openly given, that if his course were not instantly checked by his master, and he himself withdrawn from the frontiers of Switzerland, Archibald of Hagenbach would find his fortress no protection from the awakened indignation of the wronged inhabitants of Soleure, and particularly of those of Berne.

This general disposition to war among the young Switzers was reported to the elder Philipson by his son, and led him at one time to hesitate whether he ought not rather to resume all the inconveniences and dangers of a journey, accompanied only by Arthur, than run the risk of the quarrels in which he might be involved by the unruly conduct of these fierce mountain youths, after they should have left their own frontiers. Such an event would have had, in a peculiar degree, the effect of destroying every purpose of his journey; but respected as Arnold Biederman was by his family and countrymen, the English merchant concluded, upon the whole, that his influence would be able to restrain his companions 117 until the great question of peace or war should be determined, and especially until they should have discharged their commission by obtaining an audience of the Duke of Burgundy; and after this he should be separated from their society, and not liable to be engaged in any responsibility for their ulterior measures.

After a delay of about ten days, the deputation commissioned to remonstrate with the Duke on the aggressions and exactions of Archibald of Hagenbach at length assembled at Geierstein, whence the members were to journey forth together. They were three in number, besides the young Bernese, and the Landamman of Unterwalden. One was, like Arnold, a proprietor from the Forest Cantons, wearing a dress scarcely handsomer than that of a common herdsman, but distinguished by the beauty and size of his long silvery beard. His name was Nicholas Bonstetten. Melchior Sturmthal, banner-bearer of Berne, a man of middle age, and a soldier of distinguished courage, with Adam Zimmerman, a burgess of Soleure, who was considerably older, completed the number of the envoys.

Each was dressed after his best fashion; but notwithstanding that the severe eye of Arnold Biederman censured one or two silver belt-buckles, as well as a chain of the same metal, which decorated the portly person of the burgess of Soleure, it seemed that a powerful and victorious people, for such the Swiss were now to be esteemed, were never represented by an embassy of such patriarchal simplicity. The deputies travelled on foot, with their piked staves in their hands, like pilgrims bound for some place of devotion. Two 118 mules, which bore their little stock of baggage, were led by young lads, sons or cousins of members of the embassy, who had obtained permission in this manner to get such a glance of the world beyond the mountains as this journey promised to afford.

But although their retinue was small, so far as respected either state or personal attendance and accommodation, the dangerous circumstances of the times, and the very unsettled state of the country beyond their own territories, did not permit men charged with affairs of such importance to travel without a guard. Even the danger arising from the wolves, which, when pinched by the approach of winter, have been known to descend from their mountain fastnesses into open villages, such as those the travellers might choose to quarter in, rendered the presence of some escort necessary; and the bands of deserters from various services, who formed parties of banditti on the frontiers of Alsatia and Germany, combined to recommend such a precaution.

Accordingly, about twenty of the selected youth from the various Swiss cantons, including Rudiger, Ernest, and Sigismund, Arnold's three eldest sons, attended upon the deputation. They did not, however, observe any military order, or march close or near to the patriarchal train. On the contrary, they formed hunting parties of five or six together, who explored the rocks, woods, and passes of the mountains, through which the envoys journeyed. Their slower pace allowed the active young men, who were accompanied by their large shaggy dogs, full time to destroy wolves and bears, or occasionally to surprise a chamois among the cliffs; while 119 the hunters, even while in pursuit of their sport, were careful to examine such places as might afford opportunity for ambush, and thus ascertained the safety of the party whom they escorted, more securely than if they had attended close on their train. A peculiar note on the huge Swiss bugle, before described, formed of the horn of the mountain bull, was the signal agreed upon for collecting in a body should danger occur. Rudolph Donnerhugel, so much younger than his brethren in the same important commission, took the command of this mountain body-guard, whom he usually accompanied in their sportive excursions. In point of arms, they were well provided; bearing two-handed swords, long partisans and spears, as well as both cross and long bows, short cutlasses, and huntsmen's knives. The heavier weapons, as impeding their activity, were carried with the baggage, but were ready to be assumed on the slightest alarm.

Arthur Philipson, like his late antagonist, naturally preferred the company and sports of the younger men to the grave conversation and slow pace of the fathers of the mountain commonwealth. There was, however, one temptation to loiter with the baggage, which, had other circumstances permitted, might have reconciled the young Englishman to forego the opportunities of sport which the Swiss youth so eagerly sought after, and endure the slow pace and grave conversation of the elders of the party. In a word, Anne of Geierstein, accompanied by a Swiss girl her attendant, travelled in the rear of the deputation.

The two females were mounted upon asses, whose slow step hardly kept pace with the baggage 120 mules; and it may be fairly suspected that Arthur Philipson, in requital of the important services which he had received from that beautiful and interesting young woman, would have deemed it no extreme hardship to have afforded her occasionally his assistance on the journey, and the advantage of his conversation to relieve the tediousness of the way. But he dared not presume to offer attentions which the customs of the country did not seem to permit, since they were not attempted by any of the maiden's cousins, or even by Rudolph Donnerhugel, who certainly had hitherto appeared to neglect no opportunity to recommend himself to his fair cousin. Besides, Arthur had reflection enough to be convinced, that in yielding to the feelings which impelled him to cultivate the acquaintance of this amiable young person, he would certainly incur the serious displeasure of his father, and probably also that of her uncle, by whose hospitality they had profited, and whose safe-conduct they were in the act of enjoying.

The young Englishman, therefore, pursued the same amusements which interested the other young men of the party, managing only, as frequently as their halts permitted, to venture upon offering to the maiden such marks of courtesy as could afford no room for remark or censure. And his character as a sportsman being now well established, he sometimes permitted himself, even when the game was afoot, to loiter in the vicinity of the path on which he could at least mark the flutter of the grey wimple of Anne of Geierstein, and the outline of the form which it shrouded. This indolence, as it seemed, was not unfavourably construed by his companions, being only accounted an indifference 121 to the less noble or less dangerous game; for when the object was a bear, wolf, or other animal of prey, no spear, cutlass, or bow of the party, not even those of Rudolph Donnerhugel, were so prompt in the chase as those of the young Englishman.

Meantime, the elder Philipson had other and more serious subjects of consideration. He was a man, as the reader must have already seen, of much acquaintance with the world, in which he had acted parts different from that which he now sustained. Former feelings were recalled and awakened, by the view of sports familiar to his early years. The clamour of the hounds, echoing from the wild hills and dark forests through which they travelled; the sight of the gallant young huntsmen, appearing, as they brought the object of their chase to bay, amid airy cliffs and profound precipices, which seemed impervious to the human foot; the sounds of halloo and horn reverberating from hill to hill, had more than once well-nigh impelled him to take a share in the hazardous but animating amusement, which, next to war, was then in most parts of Europe the most serious occupation of life. But the feeling was transient, and he became yet more deeply interested in studying the manners and opinions of the persons with whom he was travelling.

They seemed to be all coloured with the same downright and blunt simplicity which characterised Arnold Biederman, although it was in none of them elevated by the same dignity of thought or profound sagacity. In speaking of the political state of their country, they affected no secrecy; and although, with the exception of 122 Rudolph, their own young men were not admitted into their councils, the exclusion seemed only adopted with a view to the necessary subordination of youth to age, and not for the purpose of observing any mystery. In the presence of the elder Philipson, they freely discussed the pretensions of the Duke of Burgundy, the means which their country possessed of maintaining her independence, and the firm resolution of the Helvetian League to bid defiance to the utmost force the world could bring against it, rather than submit to the slightest insult. In other respects, their views appeared wise and moderate, although both the Banneret of Berne and the consequential Burgher of Soleure seemed to hold the consequences of war more lightly than they were viewed by the cautious Landamman of Unterwalden, and his venerable companion, Nicholas Bonstetten, who subscribed to all his opinions.

It frequently happened that, quitting these subjects, the conversation turned on such as were less attractive to their fellow-traveller. The signs of the weather, the comparative fertility of recent seasons, the most advantageous mode of managing their orchards and rearing their crops, though interesting to the mountaineers themselves, gave Philipson slender amusement; and notwithstanding that the excellent Meinherr Zimmerman of Soleure would fain have joined with him in conversation respecting trade and merchandise, yet the Englishman, who dealt in articles of small bulk and considerable value, and traversed sea and land to carry on his traffic, could find few mutual topics to discuss with the Swiss trader, whose commerce only extended into the neighbouring 123 districts of Burgundy and Germany, and whose goods consisted of coarse woollen cloths, fustian, hides, peltry, and such ordinary articles.

But ever and anon, while the Switzers were discussing some paltry interests of trade, or describing some process of rude cultivation, or speaking of blights in grain, and the murrain amongst cattle, with all the dull minuteness of petty farmers and traders met at a country fair, a well-known spot would recall the name and story of a battle in which some of them had served (for there were none of the party who had not been repeatedly in arms), and the military details, which in other countries were only the theme of knights and squires who had acted their part in them, or of learned clerks who laboured to record them, were, in this singular region, the familiar and intimate subjects of discussion with men whose peaceful occupations seemed to place them at an immeasurable distance from the profession of a soldier. This led the Englishman to think of the ancient inhabitants of Rome, where the plough was so readily exchanged for the sword, and the cultivation of a rude farm for the management of public affairs. He hinted this resemblance to the Landamman, who was naturally gratified with the compliment to his country, but presently replied—"May Heaven continue among us the homebred virtues of the Romans, and preserve us from their lust of conquest and love of foreign luxuries!"

The slow pace of the travellers, with various causes of delay which it is unnecessary to dwell upon, occasioned the deputation spending two nights on the road before they reached Bâle. The small towns or villages in which they quartered, 124 received them with such marks of respectful hospitality as they had the means to bestow, and their arrival was a signal for a little feast, with which the heads of the community uniformly regaled them.

On such occasions, while the elders of the village entertained the deputies of the Confederation, the young men of the escort were provided for by those of their own age, several of whom, usually aware of their approach, were accustomed to join in the chase of the day, and made the strangers acquainted with the spots where game was most plenty.

These feasts were never prolonged to excess, and the most special dainties which composed them were kids, lambs, and game, the produce of the mountains. Yet it seemed, both to Arthur Philipson and his father, that the advantages of good cheer were more prized by the Banneret of Berne and the Burgess of Soleure than by their host the Landamman and the Deputy of Schwitz. There was no excess committed, as we have already said; but the deputies first mentioned obviously understood the art of selecting the choicest morsels, and were connoisseurs in the good wine, chiefly of foreign growth, with which they freely washed it down. Arnold was too wise to censure what he had no means of amending: he contented himself by observing in his own person a rigorous diet, living indeed almost entirely upon vegetables and fair water, in which he was closely imitated by the old grey-bearded Nicholas Bonstetten, who seemed to make it his principal object to follow the Landamman's example in everything.

It was, as we have already said, the third day 125 after the commencement of their journey, before the Swiss deputation reached the vicinity of Bâle, in which city, then one of the largest in the south-western extremity of Germany, they proposed taking up their abode for the evening, nothing doubting a friendly reception. The town, it is true, was not then, nor till about thirty years afterwards, a part of the Swiss Confederation, to which it was only joined in 1501; but it was a Free Imperial City, connected with Berne, Soleure, Lucerne, and other towns of Switzerland by mutual interests and constant intercourse. It was the object of the deputation to negotiate, if possible, a peace, which could not be more useful to themselves than to the city of Bâle, considering the interruptions of commerce which must be occasioned by a rupture between the Duke of Burgundy and the Cantons, and the great advantage which that city would derive by preserving a neutrality, situated as it was betwixt these two hostile powers.

They anticipated, therefore, as welcome a reception from the authorities of Bâle as they had received while in the bounds of their own Confederation, since the interests of that city were so deeply concerned in the objects of their mission. The next chapter will show how far these expectations were realised. 126


They saw that city, welcoming the Rhine,

As from his mountain heritage he bursts,

As purposed proud Orgetorix of yore,

Leaving the desert region of the hills,

To lord it o'er the fertile plains of Gaul.


The eyes of the English travellers, wearied with a succession of wild mountainous scenery, now gazed with pleasure upon a country still indeed irregular and hilly in its surface, but capable of high cultivation, and adorned with cornfields and vineyards. The Rhine, a broad and large river, poured its grey stream in a huge sweep through the landscape, and divided into two portions the city of Bâle, which is situated on its banks. The southern part, to which the path of the Swiss deputies conducted them, displayed the celebrated cathedral, and the lofty terrace which runs in front of it, and seemed to remind the travellers that they now approached a country in which the operations of man could make themselves distinguished even among the works of nature, instead of being lost, as the fate of the most splendid efforts of human labour must have been, among those tremendous mountains which they had so lately traversed.

They were yet a mile from the entrance of the city, when the party was met by one of the magistrates, 127 attended by two or three citizens mounted on mules, the velvet housings of which expressed wealth and quality. They greeted the Landamman of Unterwalden and his party in a respectful manner, and the latter prepared themselves to hear, and make a suitable reply to, the hospitable invitation which they naturally expected to receive.

The message of the community of Bâle was, however, diametrically opposite to what they had anticipated. It was delivered with a good deal of diffidence and hesitation by the functionary who met them, and who certainly, while discharging his commission, did not appear to consider it as the most respectable which he might have borne. There were many professions of the most profound and fraternal regard for the cities of the Helvetian League, with whom the orator of Bâle declared his own state to be united in friendship and interests. But he ended by intimating, that, on account of certain cogent and weighty reasons, which should be satisfactorily explained at more leisure, the Free City of Bâle could not, this evening, receive within its walls the highly respected deputies, who were travelling, at the command of the Helvetian Diet, to the court of the Duke of Burgundy.

Philipson marked with much interest the effect which this most unexpected intimation produced on the members of the embassage. Rudolph Donnerhugel, who had joined their company as they approached Bâle, appeared less surprised than his associates, and, while he remained perfectly silent, seemed rather anxious to penetrate their sentiments than disposed to express his own. It was not the first time the sagacious merchant had 128 observed that this bold and fiery young man could, when his purposes required it, place a strong constraint upon the natural impetuosity of his temper. For the others, the Banneret's brow darkened; the face of the Burgess of Soleure became flushed like the moon when rising in the north-west; the grey-bearded Deputy of Schwitz looked anxiously on Arnold Biederman; and the Landamman himself seemed more moved than was usual in a person of his equanimity. At length he replied to the functionary of Bâle, in a voice somewhat altered by his feelings:—

"This is a singular message to the deputies of the Swiss Confederacy, bound as we are upon an amicable mission, on which depends the interest of the good citizens of Bâle, whom we have always treated as our good friends, and who still profess to be so. The shelter of their roofs, the protection of their walls, the wonted intercourse of hospitality, is what no friendly state hath a right to refuse to the inhabitants of another."

"Nor is it with their will that the community of Bâle refuse it, worthy Landamman," replied the magistrate. "Not you alone, and your worthy associates, but your escort, and your very beasts of burden, should be entertained with all the kindness which the citizens of Bâle could bestow—But we act under constraint."

"And by whom exercised?" said the Banneret, bursting out into passion. "Has the Emperor Sigismund profited so little by the example of his predecessors"——

"The Emperor," replied the delegate of Bâle, interrupting the Banneret, "is a well-intentioned and peaceful monarch, as he has been ever; but——there 129 are Burgundian troops, of late marched into the Sundgaw, and messages have been sent to our state from Count Archibald of Hagenbach."

"Enough said," replied the Landamman. "Draw not farther the veil from a weakness for which you blush. I comprehend you entirely. Bâle lies too near the citadel of La Ferette to permit its citizens to consult their own inclinations. Brother, we see where your difficulty lies—we pity you—and we forgive your inhospitality."

"Nay, but hear me to an end, worthy Landamman," answered the magistrate. "There is here in the vicinity an old hunting-seat of the Counts of Falkenstein, called Graffs-lust,[3] which, though ruinous, yet may afford better lodgings than the open air, and is capable of some defence—though Heaven forbid that any one should dare to intrude upon your repose! And hark ye hither, my worthy friends;—if you find in the old place some refreshments, as wine, beer, and the like, use them without scruple, for they are there for your accommodation."

"I do not refuse to occupy a place of security," said the Landamman; "for although the causing us to be excluded from Bâle may be only done in the spirit of petty insolence and malice, yet it may also, for what we can tell, be connected with some purpose of violence. Your provisions we thank you for; but we will not, with my consent, feed at the cost of friends who are ashamed to own us unless by stealth."

"One thing more, my worthy sir," said the official of Bâle—"You have a maiden in company, 130 who, I presume to think, is your daughter. There is but rough accommodation where you are going, even for men;—for women there is little better, though what we could we have done to arrange matters as well as may be. But rather let your daughter go with us back to Bâle, where my dame will be a mother to her, till next morning, when I will bring her to your camp in safety. We promised to shut our gates against the men of the Confederacy, but the women were not mentioned."

"You are subtle casuists, you men of Bâle," answered the Landamman; "but know, that from the time in which the Helvetians sallied forth to encounter Cæsar down to the present hour, the women of Switzerland, in the press of danger, have had their abode in the camp of their fathers, brothers, and husbands, and sought no further safety than they might find in the courage of their relations. We have enough of men to protect our women, and my niece shall remain with us, and take the fate which Heaven may send us."

"Adieu, then, worthy friend," said the magistrate of Bâle; "it grieves me to part with you thus, but evil fate will have it so. Yonder grassy avenue will conduct you to the old hunting-seat, where Heaven send that you may pass a quiet night; for, apart from other risks, men say that these ruins have no good name. Will you yet permit your niece, since such the young person is, to pass to Bâle for the night in my company?"

"If we are disturbed by beings like ourselves," said Arnold Biederman, "we have strong arms, and heavy partisans; if we should be visited, as your words would imply, by those of a different 131 description, we have, or should have, good consciences, and confidence in Heaven.—Good friends, my brethren on this embassy, have I spoken your sentiments as well as mine own?"

The other deputies intimated their assent to what their companion had said, and the citizens of Bâle took a courteous farewell of their guests, endeavouring, by the excess of civility, to atone for their deficiency in effective hospitality. After their departure, Rudolph was the first to express his sense of their pusillanimous behaviour, on which he had been silent during their presence. "Coward dogs!" he said; "may the Butcher of Burgundy flay the very skins from them with his exactions, to teach them to disown old friendships, rather than abide the lightest blast of a tyrant's anger!"

"And not even their own tyrant either," said another of the group—for several of the young men had gathered round their seniors, to hear the welcome which they expected from the magistrates of Bâle.

"No," replied Ernest, one of Arnold Biederman's sons, "they do not pretend that their own prince the Emperor hath interfered with them; but a word of the Duke of Burgundy, which should be no more to them than a breath of wind from the west, is sufficient to stir them to such brutal inhospitality. It were well to march to the city, and compel them at the sword's point to give us shelter."

A murmur of applause arose amongst the youth around, which awakened the displeasure of Arnold Biederman.

"Did I hear," he said, "the tongue of a son of 132 mine, or was it that of a brutish Lanzknecht,[4] who has no pleasure but in battle or violence? Where is the modesty of the youth of Switzerland, who were wont to wait the signal for action till it pleased the elders of the canton to give it, and were as gentle as maidens till the voice of their patriarchs bade them be bold as lions?"

"I meant no harm, father," said Ernest, abashed with this rebuke, "far less any slight towards you; but I must needs say"——

"Say not a word, my son," replied Arnold, "but leave our camp to-morrow by break of day; and, as thou takest thy way back to Geierstein, to which I command thine instant return, remember, that he is not fit to visit strange countries who cannot rule his tongue before his own countrymen, and to his own father."

The Banneret of Berne, the Burgess of Soleure, even the long-bearded Deputy from Schwitz, endeavoured to intercede for the offender, and obtain a remission of his banishment; but it was in vain.

"No, my good friends and brethren, no," replied Arnold. "These young men require an example; and though I am grieved in one sense that the offence has chanced within my own family, yet I am pleased in another light, that the delinquent should be one over whom I can exercise full authority, without suspicion of partiality.—Ernest, my son, thou hast heard my commands: Return to Geierstein with the morning's light, and let me find thee an altered man when I return thither."

The young Swiss, who was evidently much hurt and shocked at this public affront, placed one knee 133 on the ground, and kissed his father's right hand, while Arnold, without the slightest sign of anger, bestowed his blessing upon him; and Ernest, without a word of remonstrance, fell into the rear of the party. The deputation then proceeded down the avenue which had been pointed out to them, and at the bottom of which arose the massy ruins of Graffs-lust; but there was not enough of daylight remaining to discern their exact form. They could observe as they drew nearer, and as the night became darker, that three or four windows were lighted up, while the rest of the front remained obscured in gloom. When they arrived at the place, they perceived it was surrounded by a large and deep moat, the sullen surface of which reflected, though faintly, the glimmer of the lights within. 134


Francisco.Give you good-night.

Marcellus. O, farewell, honest soldier.

Who hath relieved you?

Francisco. Give you good-night; Bernardo hath my place.


The first occupation of our travellers was to find the means of crossing the moat, and they were not long of discovering the tête de pont on which the drawbridge, when lowered, had formerly rested. The bridge itself had been long decayed, but a temporary passage of fir-trees and planks had been constructed, apparently very lately, which admitted them to the chief entrance of the castle. On entering it, they found a wicket opening under the archway, which, glimmering with light, served to guide them to a hall prepared evidently for their accommodation as well as circumstances had admitted of.

A large fire of well-seasoned wood burned blithely in the chimney, and had been maintained so long there, that the air of the hall, notwithstanding its great size and somewhat ruinous aspect, felt mild and genial. There was also at the end of the apartment a stack of wood, large enough to maintain the fire had they been to remain there a week. Two or three long tables in the hall stood covered and ready for their reception; and, on looking more closely, several large hampers were found in a corner, containing cold 135 provisions of every kind, prepared with great care, for their immediate use. The eyes of the good Burgess of Soleure twinkled when he beheld the young men in the act of transferring the supper from the hampers and arranging it on the table.

"Well," said he, "these poor men of Bâle have saved their character; since, if they have fallen short in welcome, they have abounded in good cheer."

"Ah, friend!" said Arnold Biederman, "the absence of the landlord is a great deduction from the entertainment. Better half an apple from the hand of your host, than a bridal feast without his company."

"We owe them the less for their banquet," said the Banneret. "But, from the doubtful language they held, I should judge it meet to keep a strong guard to-night, and even that some of our young men should, from time to time, patrol around the old ruins. The place is strong and defensible, and so far our thanks are due to those who have acted as our quarter-masters. We will, however, with your permission, my honoured brethren, examine the house within, and then arrange regular guards and patrols.—To your duty then, young men, and search these ruins carefully,—they may perchance contain more than ourselves; for we are now near one who, like a pilfering fox, moves more willingly by night than by day, and seeks his prey amidst ruins and wildernesses rather than in the open field."

All agreed to this proposal. The young men took torches, of which a good provision had been left for their use, and made a strict search through the ruins. 136

The greater part of the castle was much more wasted and ruinous than the portion which the citizens of Bâle seemed to have destined for the accommodation of the embassy. Some parts were roofless, and the whole desolate. The glare of light—the gleam of arms—the sound of the human voice, and echoes of mortal tread, startled from their dark recesses bats, owls, and other birds of ill omen, the usual inhabitants of such time-worn edifices, whose flight through the desolate chambers repeatedly occasioned alarm amongst those who heard the noise without seeing the cause, and shouts of laughter when it became known. They discovered that the deep moat surrounded their place of retreat on all sides, and of course that they were in safety against any attack which could be made from without, except it was attempted by the main entrance, which it was easy to barricade, and guard with sentinels. They also ascertained by strict search, that though it was possible an individual might be concealed amid such a waste of ruins, yet it was altogether impossible that any number which might be formidable to so large a party as their own could have remained there without a certainty of discovery. These particulars were reported to the Banneret, who directed Donnerhugel to take charge of a body of six of the young men, such as he should himself choose, to patrol on the outside of the building till the first cock-crowing, and at that hour to return to the castle, when the same number were to take the duty till morning dawned, and then be relieved in their turn. Rudolph declared his own intention to remain on guard the whole night; and as he was equally remarkable 137 for vigilance as for strength and courage, the external watch was considered as safely provided for, it being settled that, in case of any sudden reencounter, the deep and hoarse sound of the Swiss bugle should be the signal for sending support to the patrolling party.

Within side the castle the precautions were taken with equal vigilance. A sentinel, to be relieved every two hours, was appointed to take post at the principal gate, and other two kept watch on the other side of the castle, although the moat appeared to insure safety in that quarter.

These precautions being taken, the remainder of the party sat down to refresh themselves, the deputies occupying the upper part of the hall, while those of their escort modestly arranged themselves in the lower end of the same large apartment. Quantities of hay and straw, which were left piled in the wide castle, were put to the purpose for which undoubtedly they had been destined by the citizens of Bâle, and, with the aid of cloaks and mantles, were judged excellent good bedding by a hardy race, who, in war or the chase, were often well satisfied with a much worse night's lair.

The attention of the Bâlese had even gone so far as to provide for Anne of Geierstein separate accommodation, more suitable to her use than that assigned to the men of the party. An apartment, which had probably been the buttery of the castle, entered from the hall, and had also a doorway leading out into a passage connected with the ruins; but this last had hastily, yet carefully, been built up with large hewn stones taken from the ruins; without mortar, indeed, or any other 138 cement, but so well secured by their own weight, that an attempt to displace them must have alarmed not only any one who might be in the apartment itself, but also those who were in the hall adjacent, or indeed in any part of the castle. In the small room thus carefully arranged and secured there were two pallet-beds and a large fire, which blazed on the hearth, and gave warmth and comfort to the apartment. Even the means of devotion were not forgotten, a small crucifix of bronze being hung over a table, on which lay a breviary.

Those who first discovered this little place of retreat came back loud in praise of the delicacy of the citizens of Bâle, who, while preparing for the general accommodation of the strangers, had not failed to provide separately and peculiarly for that of their female companion.

Arnold Biederman felt the kindness of this conduct. "We should pity our friends of Bâle, and not nourish resentment against them," he said. "They have stretched their kindness towards us as far as their personal apprehensions permitted; and that is saying no small matter for them, my masters, for no passion is so unutterably selfish as that of fear.—Anne, my love, thou art fatigued. Go to the retreat provided for you, and Lizette shall bring you from this abundant mass of provisions what will be fittest for your evening meal."

So saying, he led his niece into the little bedroom, and, looking round with an air of complacency, wished her good repose; but there was something on the maiden's brow which seemed to augur that her uncle's wishes would not be fulfilled. From the moment she had left Switzerland, her 139 looks had become clouded; her intercourse with those who approached her had grown more brief and rare; her whole appearance was marked with secret anxiety or secret sorrow. This did not escape her uncle, who naturally imputed it to the pain of parting from him, which was probably soon to take place, and to her regret at leaving the tranquil spot in which so many years of her youth had been spent.

But Anne of Geierstein had no sooner entered the apartment than her whole frame trembled violently, and the colour leaving her cheeks entirely, she sank down on one of the pallets, where, resting her elbows on her knees, and pressing her hands on her forehead, she rather resembled a person borne down by mental distress, or oppressed by some severe illness, than one who, tired with a journey, was in haste to betake herself to needful rest. Arnold was not quicksighted as to the many sources of female passion. He saw that his niece suffered; but imputing it only to the causes already mentioned, augmented by the hysterical effects often produced by fatigue, he gently blamed her for having departed from her character of a Swiss maiden ere she was yet out of reach of a Swiss breeze of wind.

"Thou must not let the dames of Germany or Flanders think that our daughters have degenerated from their mothers; else must we fight the battles of Sempach and Laupen over again, to convince the Emperor, and this haughty Duke of Burgundy, that our men are of the same mettle with their forefathers. And as for our parting, I do not fear it. My brother is a Count of the Empire, indeed, and therefore he must needs 140 satisfy himself that everything over which he possesses any title shall be at his command, and sends for thee to prove his right of doing so. But I know him well: He will no sooner be satisfied that he may command thy attendance at pleasure, than he will concern himself about thee no more. Thee? Alas! poor thing, in what couldst thou aid his courtly intrigues and ambitious plans? No, no—thou art not for the noble Count's purpose, and must be content to trudge back to rule the dairy at Geierstein, and be the darling of thine old peasantlike uncle."

"Would to God we were there even now!" said the maiden, in a tone of wretchedness which she strove in vain to conceal or suppress.

"That may hardly be till we have executed the purpose which brought us hither," said the literal Landamman. "But lay thee on thy pallet, Anne—take a morsel of food, and three drops of wine, and thou wilt wake to-morrow as gay as on a Swiss holiday, when the pipe sounds the réveille."

Anne was now able to plead a severe headache, and declining all refreshment, which she declared herself incapable of tasting, she bade her uncle good-night. She then desired Lizette to get some food for herself, cautioning her, as she returned, to make as little noise as possible, and not to break her repose if she should have the good fortune to fall asleep. Arnold Biederman then kissed his niece, and returned to the hall, where his colleagues in office were impatient to commence an attack on the provisions which were in readiness; to which the escort of young men, diminished by the patrols and sentinels, were no less disposed than their seniors. 141

The signal of assault was given by the Deputy from Schwitz, the eldest of the party, pronouncing in patriarchal form a benediction over the meal. The travellers then commenced their operations with a vivacity which showed that the uncertainty whether they should get any food, and the delays which had occurred in arranging themselves in their quarters, had infinitely increased their appetites. Even the Landamman, whose moderation sometimes approached to abstinence, seemed that night in a more genial humour than ordinary. His friend of Schwitz, after his example, ate, drank, and spoke more than usual; while the rest of the deputies pushed their meal to the verge of a carousal. The elder Philipson marked the scene with an attentive and anxious eye, confining his applications to the wine-cup to such pledges as the politeness of the times called upon him to reply to. His son had left the hall just as the banquet began, in the manner which we are now to relate.

Arthur had proposed to himself to join the youths who were to perform the duty of sentinels within, or patrols on the outside of their place of repose, and had indeed made some arrangement for that purpose with Sigismund, the third of the Landamman's sons. But while about to steal a parting glance at Anne of Geierstein, before offering his service as he proposed, there appeared on her brow such a deep and solemn expression, as diverted his thoughts from every other subject, excepting the anxious doubts as to what could possibly have given rise to such a change. The placid openness of brow; the eye which expressed conscious and fearless innocence; the lips which, seconded by a look as frank as her words, seemed 142 ever ready to speak, in kindness and in confidence, that which the heart dictated, were for the moment entirely changed in character and expression, and in a degree and manner for which no ordinary cause could satisfactorily account. Fatigue might have banished the rose from the maiden's beautiful complexion, and sickness or pain might have dimmed her eye and clouded her brow. But the look of deep dejection with which she fixed her eyes at times on the ground, and the startled and terrified glance which she cast around her at other intervals, must have had their rise in some different source. Neither could illness or weariness explain the manner in which her lips were contracted or compressed together, like one who makes up her mind to act or behold something that is fearful, or account for the tremor which seemed at times to steal over her insensibly, though by a strong effort she was able at intervals to throw it off. For this change of expression there must be in the heart some deeply melancholy and afflicting cause. What could that cause be?

It is dangerous for youth to behold beauty in the pomp of all her charms, with every look bent upon conquest—more dangerous to see her in the hour of unaffected and unapprehensive ease and simplicity, yielding herself to the graceful whim of the moment, and as willing to be pleased as desirous of pleasing. There are minds which may be still more affected by gazing on beauty in sorrow, and feeling that pity, that desire of comforting the lovely mourner, which the poet has described as so nearly akin to love. But to a spirit of that romantic and adventurous cast which the Middle Ages frequently produced, the sight of 143 a young and amiable person evidently in a state of terror and suffering, which had no visible cause, was perhaps still more impressive than beauty, in her pride, her tenderness, or her sorrow. Such sentiments, it must be remembered, were not confined to the highest ranks only, but might then be found in all classes of society which were raised above the mere peasant or artisan. Young Philipson gazed on Anne of Geierstein with such intense curiosity, mingled with pity and tenderness, that the bustling scene around him seemed to vanish from his eyes, and leave no one in the noisy hall save himself and the object of his interest.

What could it be that so evidently oppressed and almost quailed a spirit so well balanced, and a courage so well tempered, when, being guarded by the swords of the bravest men perhaps to be found in Europe, and lodged in a place of strength, even the most timid of her sex might have found confidence? Surely if an attack were to be made upon them, the clamour of a conflict in such circumstances could scarce be more terrific than the roar of those cataracts which he had seen her despise? At least, he thought, she ought to be aware that there is one, who is bound by friendship and gratitude to fight to the death in her defence. Would to Heaven, he continued in the same reverie, it were possible to convey to her, without sign or speech, the assurance of my unalterable resolution to protect her in the worst of perils!—As such thoughts streamed through his mind, Anne raised her eyes in one of those fits of deep feeling which seemed to overwhelm her; and, while she cast them round the hall, with a look of apprehension, as if she expected to see amid the well-known 144 companions of her journey some strange and unwelcome apparition, they encountered the fixed and anxious gaze of young Philipson. They were instantly bent on the ground, while a deep blush showed how much she was conscious of having attracted his attention by her previous deportment.

Arthur, on his part, with equal consciousness, blushed as deeply as the maiden herself, and drew himself back from her observation. But when Anne rose up, and was escorted by her uncle to her bedchamber, in the manner we have already mentioned, it seemed to Philipson as if she had carried with her from the apartment the lights with which it was illuminated, and left it in the twilight melancholy of some funeral hall. His deep musings were pursuing the subject which occupied them thus anxiously, when the manly voice of Donnerhugel spoke close in his ear—

"What, comrade, has our journey to-day fatigued you so much that you go to sleep upon your feet?"

"Now Heaven forbid, Hauptman," said the Englishman, starting from his reverie, and addressing Rudolph by this name (signifying Captain, or literally Head-man), which the youth of the expedition had by unanimous consent bestowed on him,—"Heaven forbid I should sleep, if there be aught like action in the wind."

"Where dost thou propose to be at cock-crow?" said the Swiss.

"Where duty shall call me, or your experience, noble Hauptman, shall appoint," replied Arthur. "But, with your leave, I purposed to take Sigismund's guard on the bridge till midnight or morning dawn. He still feels the sprain which he 145 received in his spring after yonder chamois, and I persuaded him to take some uninterrupted rest, as the best mode of restoring his strength."

"He will do well to keep his counsel, then," again whispered Donnerhugel; "the old Landamman is not a man to make allowances for mishaps, when they interfere with duty. Those who are under his orders should have as few brains as a bull, as strong limbs as a bear, and be as impassible as lead or iron to all the casualties of life, and all the weaknesses of humanity."

Arthur replied in the same tone: "I have been the Landamman's guest for some time, and have seen no specimens of any such rigid discipline."

"You are a stranger," said the Swiss, "and the old man has too much hospitality to lay you under the least restraint. You are a volunteer, too, in whatever share you choose to take in our sports or our military duty; and therefore, when I ask you to walk abroad with me at the first cock-crowing, it is only in the event that such exercise shall entirely consist with your own pleasure."

"I consider myself as under your command for the time," said Philipson; "but, not to bandy courtesy, at cock-crow I shall be relieved from my watch on the drawbridge, and will be by that time glad to exchange the post for a more extended walk."

"Do you not choose more of this fatiguing, and probably unnecessary duty, than may befit your strength?" said Rudolph.

"I take no more than you do," said Arthur, "as you propose not to take rest till morning."

"True," answered Donnerhugel, "but I am a Swiss." 146

"And I," answered Philipson quickly, "am an Englishman."

"I did not mean what I said in the sense you take it," said Rudolph, laughing; "I only meant, that I am more interested in this matter than you can be, who are a stranger to the cause in which we are personally engaged."

"I am a stranger, no doubt," replied Arthur; "but a stranger who has enjoyed your hospitality, and who, therefore, claims a right, while with you, to a share in your labours and dangers."

"Be it so," said Rudolph Donnerhugel. "I shall have finished my first rounds at the hour when the sentinels at the castle are relieved, and shall be ready to recommence them in your good company."

"Content," said the Englishman. "And now I will to my post, for I suspect Sigismund is blaming me already, as oblivious of my promise."

They hastened together to the gate, where Sigismund willingly yielded up his weapon and his guard to young Philipson, confirming the idea sometimes entertained of him, that he was the most indolent and least spirited of the family of Geierstein. Rudolph could not suppress his displeasure.

"What would the Landamman say," he demanded, "if he saw thee thus quietly yield up post and partisan to a stranger?"

"He would say I did well," answered the young man, nothing daunted; "for he is for ever reminding us to let the stranger have his own way in everything; and English Arthur stands on this bridge by his own wish, and no asking of mine.—Therefore, kind Arthur, since thou wilt barter 147 warm straw and a sound sleep for frosty air and a clear moonlight, I make thee welcome with all my heart. Hear your duty. You are to stop all who enter, or attempt to enter, or till they give the password. If they are strangers, you must give alarm. But you will suffer such of our friends as are known to you to pass outwards, without challenge or alarm, because the deputation may find occasion to send messengers abroad."

"A murrain on thee, thou lazy losel!" said Rudolph—"Thou art the only sluggard of thy kin."

"Then am I the only wise man of them all," said the youth.—"Hark ye, brave Hauptman, ye have supped this evening,—have ye not?"

"It is a point of wisdom, ye owl," answered the Bernese, "not to go into the forest fasting."

"If it is wisdom to eat when we are hungry," answered Sigismund, "there can be no folly in sleeping when we are weary." So saying, and after a desperate yawn or two, the relieved sentinel halted off, giving full effect to the sprain of which he complained.

"Yet there is strength in those loitering limbs, and valour in that indolent and sluggish spirit," said Rudolph to the Englishman. "But it is time that I, who censure others, should betake me to my own task.—Hither, comrades of the watch, hither."

The Bernese accompanied these words with a whistle, which brought from within six young men, whom he had previously chosen for the duty, and who, after a hurried supper, now waited his summons. One or two of them had large bloodhounds or lyme-dogs, which, though usually 148 employed in the pursuit of animals of chase, were also excellent for discovering ambuscades, in which duty their services were now to be employed. One of these animals was held in a leash, by the person who, forming the advance of the party, went about twenty yards in front of them; a second was the property of Donnerhugel himself, who had the creature singularly under command. Three of his companions attended him closely, and the two others followed, one of whom bore a horn of the Bernese wild bull, by way of bugle. This little party crossed the moat by the temporary bridge, and moved on to the verge of the forest, which lay adjacent to the castle, and the skirts of which were most likely to conceal any ambuscade that could be apprehended. The moon was now up, and near the full, so that Arthur, from the elevation on which the castle stood, could trace their slow, cautious march, amid the broad silver light, until they were lost in the depths of the forest.

When this object had ceased to occupy his eyes, the thoughts of his lonely watch again returned to Anne of Geierstein, and to the singular expression of distress and apprehension which had that evening clouded her beautiful features. Then the blush which had chased, for the moment, paleness and terror from her countenance, at the instant his eyes encountered hers—was it anger—was it modesty—was it some softer feeling, more gentle than the one, more tender than the other? Young Philipson, who, like Chaucer's Squire, was "as modest as a maid," almost trembled to give to that look the favourable interpretation which a more self-satisfied gallant would have applied to it without scruple. No hue of rising or setting day 149 was ever so lovely in the eyes of the young man as that blush was in his recollection; nor did ever enthusiastic visionary or poetical dreamer find out so many fanciful forms in the clouds, as Arthur divined various interpretations from the indications of interest which had passed over the beautiful countenance of the Swiss maiden.

In the meantime, the thought suddenly burst on his reverie, that it could little concern him what was the cause of the perturbation she had exhibited. They had met at no distant period for the first time—they must soon part for ever. She could be nothing more to him than the remembrance of a beautiful vision, and he could have no other part in her memory save as a stranger from a foreign land, who had been a sojourner for a season in her uncle's house, but whom she could never expect to see again. When this idea intruded on the train of romantic visions which agitated him, it was like the sharp stroke of the harpoon, which awakens the whale from slumbering torpidity into violent action. The gateway in which the young soldier kept his watch seemed suddenly too narrow for him. He rushed across the temporary bridge, and hastily traversed a short space of ground in front of the tête de pont, or defensive work, on which its outer extremity rested.

Here for a time he paced the narrow extent to which he was confined by his duty as a sentinel, with long and rapid strides, as if he had been engaged by vow to take the greatest possible quantity of exercise upon that limited space of ground. His exertion, however, produced the effect of in some degree composing his mind, recalling him to himself, and reminding him of the numerous 150 reasons which prohibited his fixing his attention, much more his affections, upon this young person, however fascinating she was.

I have surely, he thought, as he slackened his pace, and shouldered his heavy partisan, sense enough left to recollect my condition and my duties—to think of my father, to whom I am all in all—and to think also on the dishonour which must accrue to me, were I capable of winning the affections of a frank-hearted and confiding girl, to whom I could never do justice by dedicating my life to return them. "No," he said to himself, "she will soon forget me, and I will study to remember her no otherwise than I would a pleasing dream, which hath for a moment crossed a night of perils and dangers, such as my life seems doomed to be."

As he spoke, he stopped short in his walk, and as he rested on his weapon a tear rose unbidden to his eye, and stole down his cheek without being wiped away. But he combated this gentler mood of passion as he had formerly battled with that which was of a wilder and more desperate character. Shaking off the dejection and sinking of spirit which he felt creeping upon him, he resumed, at the same time, the air and attitude of an attentive sentinel, and recalled his mind to the duties of his watch, which, in the tumult of his feelings, he had almost forgotten. But what was his astonishment, when, as he looked out on the clear landscape, there passed from the bridge towards the forest, crossing him in the broad moonlight, the living and moving likeness of Anne of Geierstein! 151


We know not when we sleep nor when we wake.

Visions distinct and perfect cross our eye,

Which to the slumberer seem realities;

And while they waked, some men have seen such sights

As set at naught the evidence of sense,

And left them well persuaded they were dreaming.


The apparition of Anne of Geierstein crossed her lover—her admirer, at least we must call him—within shorter time than we can tell the story. But it was distinct, perfect, and undoubted. In the very instant when the young Englishman, shaking off his fond despondency, raised his head to look out upon the scene of his watch, she came from the nearer end of the bridge, crossing the path of the sentinel, upon whom she did not even cast a look, and passed with a rapid yet steady pace towards the verge of the woodland.

It would have been natural, though Arthur had been directed not to challenge persons who left the castle, but only such as might approach it, that he should nevertheless, had it only been in mere civility, have held some communication, however slight, with the maiden as she crossed his post. But the suddenness of her appearance took from him for the instant both speech and motion. It seemed as if his own imagination had raised up a phantom, presenting to his outward senses the form and features which engrossed his mind; and 152 he was silent, partly at least from the idea that what he gazed upon was immaterial and not of this world.

It would have been no less natural that Anne of Geierstein should have in some manner acknowledged the person who had spent a considerable time under the same roof with her, had been often her partner in the dance, and her companion in the field; but she did not evince the slightest token of recognition, nor even look towards him as she passed; her eye was on the wood, to which she advanced swiftly and steadily, and she was hidden by its boughs ere Arthur had recollected himself sufficiently to determine what to do.

His first feeling was anger at himself for suffering her to pass unquestioned, when it might well chance that upon any errand which called her forth at so extraordinary a time and place he might have been enabled to afford her assistance, or at least advice. This sentiment was for a short time so predominant, that he ran towards the place where he had seen the skirt of her dress disappear, and, whispering her name as loud as the fear of alarming the castle permitted, conjured her to return, and hear him but for a few brief moments. No answer, however, was returned; and when the branches of the trees began to darken over his head and to intercept the moonlight, he recollected that he was leaving his post, and exposing his fellow-travellers, who were trusting in his vigilance, to the danger of surprise.

He hastened, therefore, back to the castle gate, with matter for deeper and more inextricable doubt and anxiety than had occupied him during the commencement of his watch. He asked himself 153 in vain with what purpose that modest young maiden, whose manners were frank, but whose conduct had always seemed so delicate and reserved, could sally forth at midnight like a damsel-errant in romance, when she was in a strange country and suspicious neighbourhood; yet he rejected, as he would have shrunk from blasphemy, any interpretation which could have thrown censure upon Anne of Geierstein. No, nothing was she capable of doing for which a friend could have to blush. But connecting her previous agitation with the extraordinary fact of her leaving the castle, alone and defenceless, at such an hour, Arthur necessarily concluded it must argue some cogent reason, and, as was most likely, of an unpleasant nature.—"I will watch her return," he internally uttered, "and, if she will give me an opportunity, I will convey to her the assurance that there is one faithful bosom in her neighbourhood, which is bound in honour and gratitude to pour out every drop of its blood, if by doing so it can protect her from the slightest inconvenience. This is no silly flight of romance, for which common-sense has a right to reproach me; it is only what I ought to do, what I must do, or forego every claim to be termed a man of honesty or honour."

Yet scarce did the young man think himself anchored on a resolution which seemed unobjectionable, than his thoughts were again adrift. He reflected that Anne might have a desire to visit the neighbouring town of Bâle, to which she had been invited the day before, and where her uncle had friends. It was indeed an uncommon hour to select for such a purpose; but Arthur was aware that the Swiss maidens feared neither solitary 154 walks nor late hours, and that Anne would have walked among her own hills by moonlight much farther than the distance betwixt their place of encampment and Bâle, to see a sick friend, or for any similar purpose. To press himself on her confidence, then, might be impertinence, not kindness; and as she had passed him without taking the slightest notice of his presence, it was evident she did not mean voluntarily to make him her confidant; and probably she was involved in no difficulties where his aid could be useful. In that case, the duty of a gentleman was to permit her to return as she had gone forth, unnoticed and unquestioned, leaving it with herself to hold communication with him or not as she should choose.

Another idea, belonging to the age, also passed through his mind, though it made no strong impression upon it. This form, so perfectly resembling Anne of Geierstein, might be a deception of the sight, or it might be one of those fantastic apparitions, concerning which there were so many tales told in all countries, and of which Switzerland and Germany had, as Arthur well knew, their full share. The internal and undefinable feelings which restrained him from accosting the maiden, as might have been natural for him to have done, are easily explained, on the supposition that his mortal frame shrank from an encounter with a being of a different nature. There had also been some expressions of the magistrate of Bâle, which might apply to the castle's being liable to be haunted by beings from another world. But though the general belief in such ghostly apparitions prevented the Englishman from being positively incredulous on the subject, yet the instructions of 155 his father, a man of great intrepidity and distinguished good sense, had taught him to be extremely unwilling to refer anything to supernatural interferences which was capable of explanation by ordinary rules; and he therefore shook off, without difficulty, any feelings of superstitious fear which for an instant connected itself with his nocturnal adventure. He resolved finally to suppress all disquieting conjecture on the subject, and to await firmly, if not patiently, the return of the fair vision, which, if it should not fully explain the mystery, seemed at least to afford the only chance of throwing light upon it.

Fixed, therefore, in purpose, he traversed the walk which his duty permitted, with his eyes fixed on the part of the forest where he had seen the beloved form disappear, and forgetful for the moment that his watch had any other purpose than to observe her return. But from this abstraction of mind he was roused by a distant sound in the forest, which seemed the clash of armour. Recalled at once to a sense of his duty, and its importance to his father and his fellow-travellers, Arthur planted himself on the temporary bridge, where a stand could best be made, and turned both eyes and ears to watch for approaching danger. The sound of arms and footsteps came nearer—spears and helmets advanced from the greenwood glade, and twinkled in the moonlight. But the stately form of Rudolph Donnerhugel, marching in front, was easily recognised, and announced to our sentinel the return of the patrol. Upon their approach to the bridge, the challenge, and interchange of sign and countersign, which is usual on such occasions, took place in due form; and as 156 Rudolph's party filed off one after another into the castle, he commanded them to wake their companions, with whom he intended to renew the patrol, and at the same time to send a relief to Arthur Philipson, whose watch on the bridge was now ended. This last fact was confirmed by the deep and distant toll of the Minster clock from the town of Bâle, which, prolonging its sullen sound over field and forest, announced that midnight was past.

"And now, comrade," continued Rudolph to the Englishman, "have the cold air and long watch determined thee to retire to food and rest, or dost thou still hold the intention of partaking our rounds?"

In very truth it would have been Arthur's choice to have remained in the place where he was, for the purpose of watching Anne of Geierstein's return from her mysterious excursion. He could not easily have found an excuse for this, however, and he was unwilling to give the haughty Donnerhugel the least suspicion that he was inferior in hardihood, or in the power of enduring fatigue, to any of the tall mountaineers, whose companion he chanced to be for the present. He did not, therefore, indulge even a moment's hesitation; but while he restored the borrowed partisan to the sluggish Sigismund, who came from the castle yawning and stretching himself like one whose slumbers had been broken by no welcome summons, when they were deepest and sweetest, he acquainted Rudolph that he retained his purpose of partaking in his reconnoitring duty. They were speedily joined by the rest of the patrolling party, amongst whom was Rudiger, the eldest son 157 of the Landamman of Unterwalden; and when, led by the Bernese champion, they had reached the skirts of the forest, Rudolph commanded three of them to attend Rudiger Biederman.

"Thou wilt make thy round to the left side," said the Bernese; "I will draw off to the right—see thou keepest a good look-out, and we will meet merrily at the place appointed. Take one of the hounds with you. I will keep Wolf-fanger, who will open on a Burgundian as readily as on a bear."

Rudiger moved off with his party to the left, according to the directions received; and Rudolph, having sent forward one of his number in front, and stationed another in the rear, commanded the third to follow himself and Arthur Philipson, who thus constituted the main body of the patrol. Having intimated to their immediate attendant to keep at such distance as to allow them freedom of conversation, Rudolph addressed the Englishman with the familiarity which their recent friendship had created.—"And now, King Arthur, what thinks the Majesty of England of our Helvetian youth? Could they win guerdon in tilt or tourney, thinkest thou, noble prince? Or would they rank but amongst the coward knights of Cornouailles?"[5]

"For tilt and tourney I cannot answer," said Arthur, summoning up his spirits to reply, "because I never beheld one of you mounted on a steed, or having spear in rest. But if strong limbs and stout hearts are to be considered, I would match you Swiss gallants with those of any country in the universe, where manhood is to be looked for, whether it be in heart or hand." 158

"Thou speakest us fair; and, young Englishman," said Rudolph, "know that we think as highly of thee, of which I will presently afford thee a proof. Thou talkedst but now of horses. I know but little of them; yet I judge thou wouldst not buy a steed which thou hadst only seen covered with trappings, or encumbered with saddle and bridle, but wouldst desire to look at him when stripped, and in his natural state of freedom?"

"Ay, marry, would I," said Arthur. "Thou hast spoken on that as if thou hadst been born in a district called Yorkshire, which men call the merriest part of Merry England."

"Then I tell thee," said Rudolph Donnerhugel, "that thou hast seen our Swiss youth but half, since thou hast observed them as yet only in their submissive attendance upon the elders of their Cantons, or, at most, in their mountain-sports, which, though they may show men's outward strength and activity, can throw no light on the spirit and disposition by which that strength and activity are to be guided and directed in matters of high enterprise."

The Swiss probably designed that these remarks should excite the curiosity of the stranger. But the Englishman had the image, look, and form of Anne of Geierstein, as she had passed him in the silent hours of his watch, too constantly before him, to enter willingly upon a subject of conversation totally foreign to what agitated his mind. He, therefore, only compelled himself to reply in civility, that he had no doubt his esteem for the Swiss, both aged and young, would increase in proportion with his more intimate knowledge of the nation. 159

He was then silent; and Donnerhugel, disappointed, perhaps, at having failed to excite his curiosity, walked also in silence by his side. Arthur, meanwhile, was considering with himself whether he should mention to his companion the circumstance which occupied his own mind, in the hope that the kinsman of Anne of Geierstein, and ancient friend of her house, might be able to throw some light on the subject.

But he felt within his mind an insurmountable objection to converse with the Swiss on a subject in which Anne was concerned. That Rudolph made pretensions to her favour could hardly be doubted; and though Arthur, had the question been put to him, must in common consistency have resigned all competition on the subject, still he could not bear to think on the possibility of his rival's success, and would not willingly have endured to hear him pronounce her name.

Perhaps it was owing to this secret irritability that Arthur, though he made every effort to conceal and to overcome the sensation, still felt a secret dislike to Rudolph Donnerhugel, whose frank but somewhat coarse familiarity was mingled with a certain air of protection and patronage, which the Englishman thought was by no means called for. He met the openness of the Bernese, indeed, with equal frankness, but he was ever and anon tempted to reject or repel the tone of superiority by which it was accompanied. The circumstances of their duel had given the Swiss no ground for such triumph; nor did Arthur feel himself included in that roll of the Swiss youth over whom Rudolph exercised domination by general consent. So little did Philipson relish this affectation 160 of superiority, that the poor jest, that termed him King Arthur, although quite indifferent to him when applied by any of the Biedermans, was rather offensive when Rudolph took the same liberty; so that he often found himself in the awkward condition of one who is internally irritated, without having any outward manner of testifying it with propriety. Undoubtedly, the root of all this tacit dislike to the young Bernese was a feeling of rivalry; but it was a feeling which Arthur dared not avow even to himself. It was sufficiently powerful, however, to suppress the slight inclination he had felt to speak with Rudolph on the passage of the night which had most interested him; and as the topic of conversation introduced by his companion had been suffered to drop, they walked on side by side in silence, "with the beard on the shoulder," as the Spaniard says—looking round, that is, on all hands; and thus performing the duty of a vigilant watch.

At length, after they had walked nearly a mile through forest and field, making a circuit around the ruins of Graffs-lust, of such an extent as to leave no room for an ambush betwixt them and the place, the old hound, led by the vidette who was foremost, stopped, and uttered a low growl.

"How now, Wolf-fanger!" said Rudolph, advancing.—"What, old fellow! dost thou not know friends from foes? Come, what sayest thou, on better thoughts?—Thou must not lose character in thy old age—try it again."

The dog raised his head, snuffed the air all around, as if he understood what his master had said, then shook his head and tail, as if answering to his voice. 161

"Why, there it is now," said Donnerhugel, patting the animal's shaggy back; "second thoughts are worth gold; thou seest it is a friend after all."

The dog again shook his tail, and moved forward with the same unconcern as before; Rudolph fell back into his place, and his companion said to him—

"We are about to meet Rudiger and our companions, I suppose, and the dog hears their footsteps, though we cannot."

"It can scarcely yet be Rudiger," said the Bernese; "his walk around the castle is of a wider circumference than ours. Some one approaches, however, for Wolf-fanger is again dissatisfied—Look sharply out on all sides."

As Rudolph gave his party the word to be on the alert, they reached an open glade, in which were scattered, at considerable distance from each other, some old pine-trees of gigantic size, which seemed yet huger and blacker than ordinary, from their broad sable tops and shattered branches being displayed against the clear and white moonlight. "We shall here, at least," said the Swiss, "have the advantage of seeing clearly whatever approaches. But I judge," said he, after looking around for a minute, "it is but some wolf or deer that has crossed our path, and the scent disturbs the hound—Hold—stop—yes, it must be so; he goes on."

The dog accordingly proceeded, after having given some signs of doubt, uncertainty, and even anxiety. Apparently, however, he became reconciled to what had disturbed him, and proceeded once more in the ordinary manner.

"This is singular!" said Arthur Philipson; "and, to my thinking, I saw an object close by 162 yonder patch of thicket, where, as well as I can guess, a few thorn and hazel bushes surround the stems of four or five large trees."

"My eye has been on that very thicket for these five minutes past, and I saw nothing," said Rudolph.

"Nay, but," answered the young Englishman, "I saw the object, whatever it was, while you were engaged in attending to the dog. And by your permission, I will forward and examine the spot."

"Were you, strictly speaking, under my command," said Donnerhugel, "I would command you to keep your place. If they be foes, it is essential that we should remain together. But you are a volunteer in our watch, and therefore may use your freedom."

"I thank you," answered Arthur, and sprang quickly forward.

He felt, indeed, at the moment, that he was not acting courteously as an individual, nor perhaps correctly as a soldier; and that he ought to have rendered obedience, for the time, to the captain of the party in which he had enlisted himself. But, on the other hand, the object which he had seen, though at a distance and imperfectly, seemed to bear a resemblance to the retiring form of Anne of Geierstein, as she had vanished from his eyes, an hour or two before, under the cover of the forest; and his ungovernable curiosity to ascertain whether it might not be the maiden in person, allowed him to listen to no other consideration.

Ere Rudolph had spoken out his few words of reply, Arthur was halfway to the thicket. It was, as it had seemed at a distance, of small extent, 163 and not fitted to hide any person who did not actually couch down amongst the dwarf bushes and underwood. Anything white, also, which bore the human size and form must, he thought, have been discovered among the dark-red stems and swarthy-coloured bushes which were before him. These observations were mingled with other thoughts. If it was Anne of Geierstein whom he had a second time seen, she must have left the more open path, desirous probably of avoiding notice; and what right or title had he to direct upon her the observation of the patrol? He had, he thought, observed that, in general, the maiden rather repelled than encouraged the attentions of Rudolph Donnerhugel; or, where it would have been discourteous to have rejected them entirely, that she endured without encouraging them. What, then, could be the propriety of his intruding upon her private walk, singular, indeed, from time and place, but which, on that account, she might be more desirous to keep secret from the observation of one who was disagreeable to her? Nay, was it not possible that Rudolph might derive advantage to his otherwise unacceptable suit, by possessing the knowledge of something which the maiden desired to be concealed?

As these thoughts pressed upon him, Arthur made a pause, with his eyes fixed on the thicket, from which he was now scarce thirty yards distant; and although scrutinising it with all the keen accuracy which his uncertainty and anxiety dictated, he was actuated by a strong feeling that it would be wisest to turn back to his companions, and report to Rudolph that his eyes had deceived him. 164

But while he was yet undecided whether to advance or return, the object which he had seen became again visible on the verge of the thicket, and advanced straight towards him, bearing, as on the former occasion, the exact dress and figure of Anne of Geierstein! This vision—for the time, place, and suddenness of the appearance made it seem rather an illusion than a reality—struck Arthur with surprise, which amounted to terror. The figure passed within a spear's-length, unchallenged by him, and giving not the slightest sign of recognition; and, directing its course to the right hand of Rudolph, and the two or three who were with him, was again lost among the broken ground and bushes.

Once more the young man was reduced to a state of the most inextricable doubt; nor was he roused from the stupor into which he was thrown, till the voice of the Bernese sounded in his ear—"Why, how now, King Arthur—art thou asleep, or art thou wounded?"

"Neither," said Philipson, collecting himself; "only much surprised."

"Surprised? and at what, most royal"——

"Forbear foolery," said Arthur, somewhat sternly, "and answer as thou art a man—Did she not meet thee?—didst thou not see her?"

"See her!—see whom?" said Donnerhugel. "I saw no one. And I could have sworn you had seen no one either, for I had you in my eye the whole time of your absence, excepting two or three moments. If you saw aught, why gave you not the alarm?"

"Because it was only a woman," answered Arthur, faintly. 165

"Only a woman!" repeated Rudolph, in a tone of contempt. "By my honest word, King Arthur, if I had not seen pretty flashes of valour fly from thee at times, I should be apt to think that thou hadst only a woman's courage thyself. Strange, that a shadow by night, or a precipice in the day, should quell so bold a spirit as thou hast often shown"——

"And as I will ever show, when occasion demands it," interrupted the Englishman, with recovered spirit. "But I swear to you, that if I be now daunted, it is by no mere earthly fears that my mind hath been for a moment subdued."

"Let us proceed on our walk," said Rudolph; "we must not neglect the safety of our friends. This appearance, of which thou speakest, may be but a trick to interrupt our duty."

They moved on through the moonlight glades. A minute's reflection restored young Philipson to his full recollection, and with that to the painful consciousness that he had played a ridiculous and unworthy part in the presence of the person whom (of the male sex, at least) he would the very last have chosen as a witness of his weakness.

He ran hastily over the relations which stood betwixt himself, Donnerhugel, the Landamman, his niece, and the rest of that family; and, contrary to the opinion which he had entertained but a short while before, settled in his own mind that it was his duty to mention to the immediate leader under whom he had placed himself, the appearance which he had twice observed in the course of that night's duty. There might be family circumstances—the payment of a vow, perhaps, or some such reason—which might render intelligible to 166 her connections the behaviour of this young lady. Besides, he was for the present a soldier on duty, and these mysteries might be fraught with evils to be anticipated or guarded against; in either case, his companions were entitled to be made aware of what he had seen. It must be supposed that this resolution was adopted when the sense of duty, and of shame for the weakness which he had exhibited, had for the moment subdued Arthur's personal feelings towards Anne of Geierstein—feelings, also, liable to be chilled by the mysterious uncertainty which the events of that evening had cast, like a thick mist, around the object of them.

While the Englishman's reflections were taking this turn, his captain or companion, after a silence of several minutes, at length addressed him.

"I believe," he said, "my dear comrade, that, as being at present your officer, I have some title to hear from you the report of what you have just now seen, since it must be something of importance which could so strongly agitate a mind so firm as yours. But if, in your own opinion, it consists with the general safety to delay your report of what you have seen until we return to the castle, and then to deliver it to the private ear of the Landamman, you have only to intimate your purpose; and, far from urging you to place confidence in me personally, though I hope I am not undeserving of it, I will authorise your leaving us, and returning instantly to the castle."

This proposal touched him to whom it was made exactly in the right place. An absolute demand of his confidence might perhaps have been declined; the tone of moderate request and conciliation 167 fell presently in with the Englishman's own reflections.

"I am sensible," he said, "Hauptman, that I ought to mention to you that which I have seen to-night; but on the first occasion, it did not fall within my duty to do so; and, now that I have a second time witnessed the same appearance, I have felt for these few seconds so much surprised at what I have seen, that even yet I can scarce find words to express it."

"As I cannot guess what you may have to say," replied the Bernese, "I must beseech you to be explicit. We are but poor readers of riddles, we thick-headed Switzers."

"Yet it is but a riddle which I have to place before you, Rudolph Donnerhugel," answered the Englishman, "and a riddle which is far beyond my own guessing at." He then proceeded, though not without hesitation, "While you were performing your first patrol amongst the ruins, a female crossed the bridge from within the castle, walked by my post without saying a single word, and vanished under the shadows of the forest."

"Ha!" exclaimed Donnerhugel, and made no further answer.

Arthur proceeded. "Within these five minutes, the same female form passed me a second time, issuing from the little thicket and clump of firs, and disappeared, without exchanging a word. Know, further, this apparition bore the form, face, gait, and dress of your kinswoman, Anne of Geierstein."

"Singular enough," said Rudolph, in a tone of incredulity. "I must not, I suppose, dispute your word, for you would receive doubt on my part as a mortal injury—such is your northern chivalry. 168 Yet, let me say, I have eyes as well as you, and I scarce think they quitted you for a minute. We were not fifty yards from the place where I found you standing in amazement. How, therefore, should not we also have seen that which you say and think you saw?"

"To that I can give no answer," said Arthur. "Perhaps your eyes were not exactly turned upon me during the short space in which I saw this form—perhaps it might be visible—as they say fantastic appearances sometimes are—to only one person at a time."

"You suppose, then, that the appearance was imaginary, or fantastic?" said the Bernese.

"Can I tell you?" replied the Englishman. "The Church gives its warrant that there are such things; and surely it is more natural to believe this apparition to be an illusion, than to suppose that Anne of Geierstein, a gentle and well-nurtured maiden, should be traversing the woods at this wild hour, when safety and propriety so strongly recommend her being within doors."

"There is much in what you say," said Rudolph; "and yet there are stories afloat, though few care to mention them, which seem to allege that Anne of Geierstein is not altogether such as other maidens; and that she has been met with, in body and spirit, where she could hardly have come by her own unassisted efforts."

"Ha!" said Arthur; "so young, so beautiful, and already in league with the destroyer of mankind! It is impossible."

"I said not so," replied the Bernese; "nor have I leisure at present to explain my meaning more fully. As we return to the castle of Graffs-lust, I 169 may have an opportunity to tell you more. But I chiefly brought you on this patrol to introduce you to some friends, whom you will be pleased to know, and who desire your acquaintance; and it is here I expect to meet them."

So saying, he turned round the projecting corner of a rock, and an unexpected scene was presented to the eyes of the young Englishman.

In a sort of nook, or corner, screened by the rocky projection, there burned a large fire of wood, and around it sat, reclined, or lay, twelve or fifteen young men in the Swiss garb, but decorated with ornaments and embroidery, which reflected back the light of the fire. The same red gleam was returned by silver wine-cups, which circulated from hand to hand with the flasks which filled them. Arthur could also observe the relics of a banquet, to which due honour seemed to have been lately rendered.

The revellers started joyfully up at the sight of Donnerhugel and his companions, and saluted him, easily distinguished as he was by his stature, by the title of Captain, warmly and exultingly uttered, while, at the same time, every tendency to noisy acclamation was cautiously suppressed. The zeal indicated that Rudolph came most welcome—the caution that he came in secret, and was to be received with mystery.

To the general greeting he answered,—"I thank you, my brave comrades. Has Rudiger yet reached you?"

"Thou seest he has not," said one of the party; "had it been so, we would have detained him here till your coming, brave Captain."

"He has loitered on his patrol," said the Bernese. 170 "We too were delayed, yet we are here before him. I bring with me, comrades, the brave Englishman, whom I mentioned to you as a desirable associate in our daring purpose."

"He is welcome, most welcome to us," said a young man, whose richly embroidered dress of azure blue gave him an air of authority; "most welcome is he, if he brings with him a heart and a hand to serve our noble task."

"For both I will be responsible," said Rudolph. "Pass the wine-cup, then, to the success of our glorious enterprise, and the health of this our new associate!"

While they were replenishing the cups with wine of a quality far superior to any which Arthur had yet tasted in these regions, he thought it right, before engaging himself in the pledge, to learn the secret object of the association which seemed desirous of adopting him.

"Before I engage my poor services to you, fair sirs, since it pleases you to desire them, permit me," he said, "to ask the purpose and character of the undertaking in which they are to be employed."

"Shouldst thou have brought him hither," said the cavalier in blue to Rudolph, "without satisfying him and thyself on that point?"

"Care not thou about it, Lawrenz," replied the Bernese, "I know my man.—Be it known, then, to you, my good friend," he continued, addressing the Englishman, "that my comrades and I are determined at once to declare the freedom of the Swiss commerce, and to resist to the death, if it be necessary, all unlawful and extortionate demands on the part of our neighbours." 171

"I understand so much," said the young Englishman, "and that the present deputation proceeds to the Duke of Burgundy with remonstrances to that effect."

"Hear me," replied Rudolph. "The question is like to be brought to a bloody determination long ere we see the Duke of Burgundy's most august and most gracious countenance. That his influence should be used to exclude us from Bâle, a neutral town, and pertaining to the empire, gives us cause to expect the worst reception when we enter his own dominions. We have even reason to think that we might have suffered from his hatred already, but for the vigilance of the ward which we have kept. Horsemen, from the direction of La Ferette, have this night reconnoitred our posts; and had they not found us prepared, we had, without question, been attacked in our quarters. But since we have escaped to-night, we must take care for to-morrow. For this purpose, a number of the bravest youth of the city of Bâle, incensed at the pusillanimity of their magistrates, are determined to join us, in order to wipe away the disgrace which the cowardly inhospitality of their magistracy has brought on their native place."

"That we will do ere the sun, that will rise two hours hence, shall sink into the western sky," said the cavalier in blue; and those around joined him in stern assent.

"Gentle sirs," replied Arthur, when there was a pause, "let me remind you, that the embassy which you attend is a peaceful one, and that those who act as its escort ought to avoid anything which can augment the differences which it comes 172 to reconcile. You cannot expect to receive offence in the Duke's dominions, the privileges of envoys being respected in all civilised countries; and you will, I am sure, desire to offer none."

"We may be subjected to insult, however," replied the Bernese, "and that through your concerns, Arthur Philipson, and those of thy father."

"I understand you not," replied Philipson.

"Your father," answered Donnerhugel, "is a merchant, and bears with him wares of small bulk but high value?"

"He does so," answered Arthur; "and what of that?"

"Marry," answered Rudolph, "that if it be not better looked to, the Bandog of Burgundy is like to fall heir to a large proportion of your silks, satins, and jewellery work."

"Silks, satins, and jewels!" exclaimed another of the revellers; "such wares will not pass toll-free where Archibald of Hagenbach hath authority."

"Fair sirs," resumed Arthur, after a moment's consideration, "these wares are my father's property, not mine; and it is for him, not me, to pronounce how much of them he might be content to part with in the way of toll, rather than give occasion to a fray in which his companions, who have received him into their society, must be exposed to injury as well as himself. I can only say, that he has weighty affairs at the court of Burgundy, which must render him desirous of reaching it in peace with all men; and it is my private belief that, rather than incur the loss and danger of a broil with the garrison of La Ferette, he would be contented to sacrifice all the property which he has at present with him. Therefore, I 173 must request of you, gentlemen, a space to consult his pleasure on this occasion; assuring you, that if it be his will to resist the payment of these duties to Burgundy, you shall find in me one who is fully determined to fight to the last drop of his blood."

"Good King Arthur," said Rudolph; "thou art a dutiful observer of the Fifth Commandment, and thy days shall be long in the land. Do not suppose us neglectful of the same duty, although, for the present, we conceive ourselves bound, in the first place, to attend to the weal of our country, the common parent of our fathers and ourselves. But as you know our profound respect for the Landamman, you need not fear that we shall willingly offer him offence, by rashly engaging in hostilities, or without some weighty reason; and an attempt to plunder his guest would have been met, on his part, with resistance to the death. I had hoped to find both you and your father prompt enough to resent such a gross injury. Nevertheless, if your father inclines to present his fleece to be shorn by Archibald of Hagenbach, whose scissors, he will find, clip pretty closely, it would be unnecessary and uncivil in us to interpose. Meantime, you have the advantage of knowing, that in case the Governor of La Ferette should be disposed to strip you of skin as well as fleece, there are more men close at hand than you looked for, whom you will find both able and willing to render you prompt assistance."

"On these terms," said the Englishman, "I make my acknowledgments to these gentlemen of Bâle, or whatever other country hath sent them forth, and pledge them in a brotherly cup to our further and more intimate acquaintance." 174

"Health and prosperity to the United Cantons, and their friends!" answered the Blue Cavalier. "And death and confusion to all besides."

The cups were replenished; and instead of a shout of applause, the young men around testified their devoted determination to the cause which was thus announced, by grasping each other's hands, and then brandishing their weapons with a fierce yet noiseless gesture.

"Thus," said Rudolph Donnerhugel, "our illustrious ancestors, the fathers of Swiss independence, met in the immortal field of Rutli, between Uri and Unterwalden. Thus they swore to each other, under the blue firmament of heaven, that they would restore the liberty of their oppressed country; and history can tell how well they kept their word."

"And she shall record," said the Blue Cavalier, "how well the present Switzers can preserve the freedom which their fathers won.—Proceed in your rounds, good Rudolph, and be assured that at the signal of the Hauptman the soldiers will not be far absent;—all is arranged as formerly, unless you have new orders to give us."

"Hark thee hither, Lawrenz," said Rudolph to the Blue Cavalier,—and Arthur could hear him say,—"Beware, my friend, that the Rhine wine be not abused;—if there is too much provision of it, manage to destroy the flasks;—a mule may stumble, thou knowest, or so. Give not way to Rudiger in this. He is grown a wine-bibber since he joined us. We must bring both heart and hand to what may be done to-morrow."—They then whispered so low, that Arthur could hear nothing of their further conference, and bid each other 175 adieu, after clasping hands, as if they were renewing some solemn pledge of union.

Rudolph and his party then moved forward, and were scarce out of sight of their new associates, when the vidette, or foremost of their patrol, gave the signal of alarm. Arthur's heart leaped to his lips—"It is Anne of Geierstein!" he said internally.

"The dogs are silent," said the Bernese. "Those who approach must be the companions of our watch."

They proved, accordingly, to be Rudiger and his party, who, halting on the appearance of their comrades, made and underwent a formal challenge; such advance had the Swiss already made in military discipline, which was but little and rudely studied by the infantry in other parts of Europe. Arthur could hear Rudolph take his friend Rudiger to task for not meeting him at the halting-place appointed. "It leads to new revelry on your arrival," he said, "and to-morrow must find us cool and determined."

"Cool as an icicle, noble Hauptman," answered the son of the Landamman, "and determined as the rock it hangs upon."

Rudolph again recommended temperance, and the young Biederman promised compliance. The two parties passed each other with friendly though silent greeting; and there was soon a considerable distance between them.

The country was more open on the side of the castle, around which their duty now led them, than where it lay opposite to the principal gate. The glades were broad, the trees thinly scattered over pasture land, and there were no thickets, 176 ravines, or similar places of ambush, so that the eye might, in the clear moonlight, well command the country.

"Here," said Rudolph, "we may judge ourselves secure enough for some conference; and therefore may I ask thee, Arthur of England, now thou hast seen us more closely, what thinkest thou of the Switzer youth? If thou hast learned less than I could have wished, thank thine own uncommunicative temper, which retired in some degree from our confidence."

"Only in so far as I could not have answered, and therefore ought not to have received it," said Arthur. "The judgment I have been enabled to form amounts, in few words, to this: Your purposes are lofty and noble as your mountains; but the stranger from the low country is not accustomed to tread the circuitous path by which you ascend them. My foot has been always accustomed to move straight forward upon the greensward."

"You speak in riddles," answered the Bernese.

"Not so," returned the Englishman. "I think you ought plainly to mention to your seniors (the nominal leaders of young men who seem well disposed to take their own road) that you expect an attack in the neighbourhood of La Ferette, and hope for assistance from some of the townsmen of Bâle."

"Ay, truly," answered Donnerhugel; "and the Landamman would stop his journey till he despatched a messenger for a safe-conduct to the Duke of Burgundy; and should he grant it, there were an end of all hope of war."

"True," replied Arthur; "but the Landamman 177 would thereby obtain his own principal object, and the sole purpose of the mission—that is, the establishment of peace."

"Peace—peace?" answered the Bernese, hastily. "Were my wishes alone to be opposed to those of Arnold Biederman, I know so much of his honour and faith, I respect so highly his valour and patriotism, that at his voice I would sheathe my sword, even if my most mortal enemy stood before me. But mine is not the single wish of a single man; the whole of my canton, and that of Soleure, are determined on war. It was by war, noble war, that our fathers came forth from the house of their captivity—it was by war, successful and glorious war, that a race, who had been held scarce so much worth thinking on as the oxen which they goaded, emerged at once into liberty and consequence, and were honoured because they were feared, as much as they had been formerly despised because they were unresisting."

"This may be all very true," said the young Englishman; "but, in my opinion, the object of your mission has been determined by your Diet or House of Commons. They have resolved to send you with others as messengers of peace; but you are secretly blowing the coals of war; and while all, or most of your senior colleagues are setting out to-morrow in expectation of a peaceful journey, you stand prepared for a combat, and look for the means of giving cause for it."

"And is it not well that I do stand so prepared?" answered Rudolph. "If our reception in Burgundy's dependencies be peaceful, as you say the rest of the deputation expect, my precautions will be needless; but at least they can do no harm. 178 If it prove otherwise, I shall be the means of averting a great misfortune from my colleagues, my kinsman Arnold Biederman, my fair cousin Anne, your father, yourself—from all of us, in short, who are joyously travelling together."

Arthur shook his head. "There is something in all this," he said, "which I understand not, and will not seek to understand. I only pray that you will not make my father's concerns the subject of breaking truce; it may, as you hint, involve the Landamman in a quarrel, which he might otherwise have avoided. I am sure my father will never forgive it."

"I have pledged my word," said Rudolph, "already to that effect. But if he should like the usage of the Bandog of Burgundy less than you seem to apprehend he will, there is no harm in your knowing that, in time of need, he may be well and actively supported."

"I am greatly obliged by the assurance," replied the Englishman.

"And thou mayst thyself, my friend," continued Rudolph, "take a warning from what thou hast heard: Men go not to a bridal in armour, nor to a brawl in silken doublet."

"I will be clad to meet the worst," said Arthur; "and for that purpose I will don a light hauberk of well-tempered steel, proof against spear or arrow; and I thank you for your kindly counsel."

"Nay, thank not me," said Rudolph; "I were ill deserving to be a leader did I not make those who are to follow me—more especially so trusty a follower as thou art—aware of the time when they should buckle on their armour, and prepare for hard blows." 179

Here the conversation paused for a moment or two, neither of the speakers being entirely contented with his companion, although neither pressed any further remark.

The Bernese, judging from the feelings which he had seen predominate among the traders of his own country, had entertained little doubt that the Englishman, finding himself powerfully supported in point of force, would have caught at the opportunity to resist paying the exorbitant imposts with which he was threatened at the next town, which would probably, without any effort on Rudolph's part, have led to breaking off the truce on the part of Arnold Biederman himself, and to an instant declaration of hostilities. On the other hand, young Philipson could not understand or approve of Donnerhugel's conduct, who, himself a member of a peaceful deputation, seemed to be animated with the purpose of seizing an opportunity to kindle the flames of war.

Occupied by these various reflections, they walked side by side for some time without speaking together, until Rudolph broke silence.

"Your curiosity is then ended, Sir Englishman," said he, "respecting the apparition of Anne of Geierstein?"

"Far from it," replied Philipson; "but I would unwillingly intrude any questions on you while you are busy with the duties of your patrol."

"That may be considered as over," said the Bernese, "for there is not a bush near us to cover a Burgundian knave, and a glance around us from time to time is all that is now needful to prevent surprise. And so, listen while I tell a tale, never sung or harped in hall or bower, and which, I 180 begin to think, deserves as much credit, at least, as is due to the Tales of the Round Table, which ancient troubadours and minne-singers dole out to us as the authentic chronicles of your renowned namesake.

"Of Anne's ancestors on the male side of the house," continued Rudolph, "I dare say you have heard enough, and are well aware how they dwelt in the old walls at Geierstein beside the cascade, grinding their vassals, devouring the substance of their less powerful neighbours, and plundering the goods of the travellers whom ill luck sent within ken of the vulture's eyry, the one year; and in the next, wearying the shrines for mercy for their trespasses, overwhelming the priests with the wealth which they showered upon them, and, finally, vowing vows, and making pilgrimages, sometimes as palmers, sometimes as crusaders as far as Jerusalem itself, to atone for the iniquities which they had committed without hesitation or struggle of conscience."

"Such, I have understood," replied the young Englishman, "was the history of the house of Geierstein, till Arnold, or his immediate ancestors, exchanged the lance for the sheep-hook."

"But it is said," replied the Bernese, "that the powerful and wealthy Barons of Arnheim, of Swabia, whose only female descendant became the wife to Count Albert of Geierstein, and the mother of this young person, whom Swiss call simply Anne, and Germans Countess Anne of Geierstein, were nobles of a different caste. They did not restrict their lives within the limits of sinning and repenting—of plundering harmless peasants, and pampering fat monks; but were distinguished 181 for something more than building castles with dungeons and folter-kammers, or torture-chambers, and founding monasteries with Galilees and Refectories.

"These same Barons of Arnheim were men who strove to enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge, and converted their castle into a species of college, where there were more ancient volumes than the monks have piled together in the library of St. Gall. Nor were their studies in books alone. Deep buried in their private laboratories, they attained secrets which were afterwards transmitted through the race from father to son, and were supposed to have approached nearly to the deepest recesses of alchemy. The report of their wisdom and their wealth was often brought to the Imperial footstool; and in the frequent disputes which the Emperors maintained with the Popes of old, it is said they were encouraged, if not instigated, by the counsels of the Barons of Arnheim, and supported by their treasures. It was, perhaps, such a course of politics, joined to the unusual and mysterious studies which the family of Arnheim so long pursued, which excited against them the generally received opinion, that they were assisted in their superhuman researches by supernatural influences. The priests were active in forwarding this cry against men who, perhaps, had no other fault than that of being wiser than themselves.

"'Look what guests,' they said, 'are received in the halls of Arnheim! Let a Christian knight, crippled in war with the Saracens, present himself on the drawbridge, he is guerdoned with a crust and a cup of wine, and required to pass on his 182 way. If a palmer, redolent of the sanctity acquired by his recent visits to the most holy shrines, and by the sacred relics which attest and reward his toil, approach the unhallowed walls, the warder bends his crossbow, and the porter shuts the gate, as if the wandering saint brought the plague with him from Palestine. But comes there a greybearded, glib-tongued Greek, with his parchment scrolls, the very letters of which are painful to Christian eyes—comes there a Jewish Rabbin, with his Talmud and Cabala—comes there a swarthy sun-burnt Moor, who can boast of having read the language of the Stars in Chaldea, the cradle of astrological science—Lo, the wandering impostor or sorcerer occupies the highest seat at the Baron of Arnheim's board, shares with him the labours of the alembic and the furnace, learns from him mystic knowledge, like that of which our first parents participated to the overthrow of their race, and requites it with lessons more dreadful than he receives, till the profane host has added to his hoard of unholy wisdom all that the pagan visitor can communicate. And these things are done in Almain, which is called the Holy Roman Empire, of which so many priests are princes!—they are done, and neither ban nor monition is issued against a race of sorcerers, who, from age to age, go on triumphing in their necromancy!'

"Such arguments, which were echoed from mitred Abbots to the cell of Anchorites, seem, nevertheless, to have made little impression on the Imperial council. But they served to excite the zeal of many a Baron and Free Count of the Empire, who were taught by them to esteem a war 183 or feud with the Barons of Arnheim as partaking of the nature, and entitled to the immunities, of a crusade against the enemies of the Faith, and to regard an attack upon these obnoxious potentates as a mode of clearing off their deep scores with the Christian Church. But the Lords of Arnheim, though not seeking for quarrel, were by no means unwarlike, or averse to maintaining their own defence. Some, on the contrary, belonging to this obnoxious race, were not the less distinguished as gallant knights and good men-at-arms. They were, besides, wealthy, secured and strengthened by great alliances, and in an eminent degree wise and provident. This the parties who assailed them learned to their cost.

"The confederacies formed against the Lords of Arnheim were broken up; the attacks which their enemies meditated were anticipated and disconcerted; and those who employed actual violence were repelled with signal loss to the assailants: until at length an impression was produced in their neighbourhood, that by their accurate information concerning meditated violence, and their extraordinary powers of resisting and defeating it, the obnoxious Barons must have brought to their defence means which merely human force was incapable of overthrowing; so that, becoming as much feared as hated, they were suffered for the last generation to remain unmolested. And this was the rather the case, that the numerous vassals of this great house were perfectly satisfied with their feudal superiors, abundantly ready to rise in their defence, and disposed to believe that, whether their lords were sorcerers or no, their own condition would not be mended by exchanging 184 their government, either for the rule of the crusaders in this holy warfare, or that of the churchmen by whom it was instigated. The race of these barons ended in Herman von Arnheim, the maternal grandfather of Anne of Geierstein. He was buried with his helmet, sword, and shield, as is the German custom with the last male of a noble family.

"But he left an only daughter, Sybilla of Arnheim, to inherit a considerable portion of his estate; and I never heard that the strong imputation of sorcery which attached to her house, prevented numerous applications, from persons of the highest distinction in the Empire, to her legal guardian, the Emperor, for the rich heiress's hand in marriage. Albert of Geierstein, however, though an exile, obtained the preference. He was gallant and handsome, which recommended him to Sybilla; and the Emperor, bent at the time on the vain idea of recovering his authority in the Swiss mountains, was desirous to show himself generous to Albert, whom he considered as a fugitive from his country for espousing the imperial cause. You may thus see, most noble King Arthur, that Anne of Geierstein, the only child of their marriage, descends from no ordinary stock; and that circumstances in which she may be concerned are not to be explained or judged of so easily, or upon the same grounds of reasoning, as in the case of ordinary persons."

"By my honest word, Sir Rudolph of Donnerhugel," said Arthur, studiously labouring to keep a command upon his feelings, "I can see nothing in your narrative, and understand nothing from it, unless it be that because in Germany, as in other 185 countries, there have been fools who have annexed the idea of witchcraft and sorcery to the possession of knowledge and wisdom, you are therefore disposed to stigmatise a young maiden, who has always been respected and beloved by those around her, as a disciple of arts which, I trust, are as uncommon as unlawful."

Rudolph paused ere he replied.

"I could have wished," he said, "that you had been satisfied with the general character of Anne of Geierstein's maternal family, as offering some circumstances which may account for what you have, according to your own report, this night witnessed, and I am really unwilling to go into more particular details. To no one can Anne of Geierstein's fame be so dear as to me. I am, after her uncle's family, her nearest relative, and had she remained in Switzerland, or should she, as is most probable, return thither after the present visit to her father, perhaps our connection might be drawn yet closer. This has, indeed, only been prevented by certain prejudices of her uncle's respecting her father's authority, and the nearness of our relationship, which, however, comes within reach of a licence very frequently obtained. But I only mention these things, to show you how much more tender I must necessarily hold Anne of Geierstein's reputation, than it is possible for you to do, being a stranger, known to her but a short while since, and soon to part with her, as I understand your purpose, for ever."

The turn taken in this kind of apology irritated Arthur so highly, that it required all the reasons which recommended coolness to enable him to answer with assumed composure. 186

"I can have no ground, Sir Hauptman," he said, "to challenge any opinion which you may entertain of a young person with whom you are so closely connected, as you appear to be with Anne of Geierstein. I only wonder that, with such regard for her as your relationship implies, you should be disposed to receive, on popular and trivial traditions, a belief which must injuriously affect your kinswoman, more especially one with whom you intimate a wish to form a still more close connection. Bethink you, sir, that in all Christian lands, the imputation of sorcery is the most foul which can be thrown on Christian man or woman."

"And I am so far from intimating such an imputation," said Rudolph, somewhat fiercely, "that, by the good sword I wear, he that dared give breath to such a thought against Anne of Geierstein must undergo my challenge, and take my life, or lose his own. But the question is not whether the maiden herself practises sorcery, which he who avers had better get ready his tomb, and provide for his soul's safety; the doubt lies here, whether, as the descendant of a family whose relations with the unseen world are reported to have been of the closest degree, elfish and fantastical beings may not have power to imitate her form, and to present her appearance where she is not personally present—in fine, whether they have permission to play at her expense fantastical tricks, which they cannot exercise over other mortals, whose forefathers have ever regulated their lives by the rules of the Church, and died in regular communion with it. And as I sincerely desire to retain your esteem, I have no objection to communicate to you more 187 particular circumstances respecting her genealogy, confirming the idea I have now expressed. But you will understand they are of the most private nature, and that I expect secrecy under the strictest personal penalty."

"I shall be silent, sir," replied the young Englishman, still struggling with suppressed passion, "on everything respecting the character of a maiden whom I am bound to respect so highly. But the fear of no man's displeasure can add a feather's weight to the guarantee of my own honour."

"Be it so," said Rudolph; "it is not my wish to awake angry feelings; but I am desirous, both for the sake of your good opinion, which I value, and also for the plainer explanation of what I have darkly intimated, to communicate to you what otherwise I would much rather have left untold."

"You must be guided by your own sense of what is necessary and proper in the case," answered Philipson; "but remember I press not on your confidence for the communication of anything that ought to remain secret, far less where that young lady is the subject."

Rudolph answered, after a minute's pause,—"Thou hast seen and heard too much, Arthur, not to learn the whole, or at least all that I know, or apprehend, on the mysterious subject. It is impossible but the circumstances must at times recur to your recollection, and I am desirous that you should possess all the information necessary to understand them as clearly as the nature of the facts will permit. We have yet, keeping leftward to view the bog, upwards of a mile to make ere the circuit of the castle is accomplished. It will afford leisure enough for the tale I have to tell." 188

"Speak on—I listen!" answered the Englishman, divided between his desire to know all that it was possible to learn concerning Anne of Geierstein, and his dislike to hear her name pronounced with such pretensions as those of Donnerhugel, together with the revival of his original prejudices against the gigantic Swiss, whose manners, always blunt, nearly to coarseness, seemed now marked by assumed superiority and presumption. Arthur listened, however, to his wild tale, and the interest which he took in it soon overpowered all other sensations. 189



These be the adept's doctrines—every element

Is peopled with its separate race of spirits.

The airy Sylphs on the blue ether float;

Deep in the earthy cavern skulks the Gnome;

The sea-green Naiad skims the ocean-billow,

And the fierce fire is yet a friendly home

To its peculiar sprite—the Salamander.


I told you (said Rudolph) that the Lords of Arnheim, though from father to son they were notoriously addicted to secret studies, were, nevertheless, like the other German nobles, followers of war and the chase. This was peculiarly the case with Anne's maternal grandfather, Herman of Arnheim, who prided himself on possessing a splendid stud of horses, and one steed in particular, the noblest ever known in these circles of Germany. I should make wild work were I to attempt a description of such an animal, so I will content myself with saying his colour was jet black, without a hair of white either on his face or feet. For this reason, and the wildness of his disposition, his master had termed him Apollyon; a circumstance which was secretly considered as tending to sanction the evil reports which touched the house of Arnheim, being, it was said, the naming of a favourite animal after a foul fiend. 190

It chanced, one November day, that the Baron had been hunting in the forest, and did not reach home till nightfall. There were no guests with him, for, as I hinted to you before, the castle of Arnheim seldom received any other than those from whom its inhabitants hoped to gain augmentation of knowledge. The Baron was seated alone in his hall, illuminated with cressets and torches. His one hand held a volume covered with characters unintelligible to all save himself. The other rested on the marble table, on which was placed a flask of Tokay wine. A page stood in respectful attendance near the bottom of the large and dim apartment, and no sound was heard save that of the night wind, when it sighed mournfully through the rusty coats of mail, and waved the tattered banners which were the tapestry of the feudal hall. At once the footstep of a person was heard ascending the stairs in haste and trepidation; the door of the hall was thrown violently open, and, terrified to a degree of ecstasy, Caspar, the head of the Baron's stable, or his master of horse, stumbled up almost to the foot of the table at which his lord was seated, with the exclamation in his mouth,—

"My lord, my lord, a fiend is in the stable!"

"What means this folly?" said the Baron, arising, surprised and displeased at an interruption so unusual.

"Let me endure your displeasure," said Caspar, "if I speak not truth! Apollyon"——

Here he paused.

"Speak out, thou frightened fool," said the Baron; "is my horse sick, or injured?"

The master of the stalls again gasped forth the word, "Apollyon!" 191

"Say on," said the Baron; "were Apollyon in presence personally, it were nothing to shake a brave man's mind."

"The devil," answered the master of the horse, "is in Apollyon's stall!"

"Fool!" exclaimed the nobleman, snatching a torch from the wall; "what is it that could have turned thy brain in such silly fashion? Things like thee, that are born to serve us, should hold their brains on a firmer tenure, for our sakes, if not for that of their worthless selves."

As he spoke, he descended to the court of the castle, to visit the stately range of stables which occupied all the lower part of the quadrangle on one side. He entered, where fifty gallant steeds stood in rows, on each side of the ample hall. At the side of each stall hung the weapons of offence and defence of a man-at-arms, as bright as constant attention could make them, together with the buff-coat which formed the trooper's under garment. The Baron, followed by one or two of the domestics, who had assembled full of astonishment at the unusual alarm, hastened up to the head of the stable, betwixt the rows of steeds. As he approached the stall of his favourite horse, which was the uppermost of the right-hand row, the gallant steed neither neighed, nor shook his head, nor stamped with his foot, nor gave the usual signs of joy at his lord's approach; a faint moaning, as if he implored assistance, was the only acknowledgment he gave of the Baron's presence.

Sir Herman held up the torch, and discovered that there was indeed a tall dark figure standing in the stall, resting his hand on the horse's 192 shoulder. "Who art thou," said the Baron, "and what dost thou here?"

"I seek refuge and hospitality," replied the stranger; "and I conjure thee to grant it me, by the shoulder of thy horse, and by the edge of thy sword, and so as they may never fail thee when thy need is at the utmost!"

"Thou art, then, a brother of the Sacred Fire," said Baron Herman of Arnheim; "and I may not refuse thee the refuge which thou requirest of me, after the ritual of the Persian Magi. From whom, and for what length of time, dost thou crave my protection?"

"From those," replied the stranger, "who shall arrive in quest of me before the morning cock shall crow, and for the full space of a year and a day from this period."

"I may not refuse thee," said the Baron, "consistently with my oath and my honour. For a year and a day I will be thy pledge, and thou shalt share with me roof and chamber, wine and food. But thou too must obey the law of Zoroaster, which, as it says, Let the Stronger protect the weaker brother, says also, Let the Wiser instruct the brother who hath less knowledge. I am the stronger, and thou shalt be safe under my protection; but thou art the wiser, and must instruct me in the more secret mysteries."

"You mock your servant," said the strange visitor; "but if aught is known to Dannischemend which can avail Herman, his instructions shall be as those of a father to a son."

"Come forth, then, from thy place of refuge," said the Baron of Arnheim. "I swear to thee by the sacred fire which lives without terrestrial fuel, 193 and by the fraternity which is betwixt us, and by the shoulder of my horse, and the edge of my good sword, I will be thy warrand for a year and a day, if so far my power shall extend."

Drawn and Etched by R. de los Rios.

The stranger came forth accordingly; and those who saw the singularity of his appearance, scarce wondered at the fears of Caspar, the stall-master, when he found such a person in the stable, by what mode of entrance he was unable to conceive. When he reached the lighted hall to which the Baron conducted him, as he would have done a welcome and honoured guest, the stranger appeared to be very tall, and of a dignified aspect. His dress was Asiatic, being a long black caftan, or gown, like that worn by Armenians, and a lofty square cap, covered with the wool of Astracan lambs. Every article of the dress was black, which gave relief to the long white beard, that flowed down over his bosom. His gown was fastened by a sash of black silk network, in which, instead of a poniard or sword, was stuck a silver case, containing writing-materials, and a roll of parchment. The only ornament of his apparel consisted in a large ruby of uncommon brilliancy, which, when he approached the light, seemed to glow with such liveliness as if the gem itself had emitted the rays which it only reflected back. To the offer of refreshment the stranger replied, "Bread I may not eat, water shall not moisten my lips, until the avenger shall have passed by the threshold."

The Baron commanded the lamps to be trimmed, and fresh torches to be lighted, and, sending his whole household to rest, remained seated in the hall along with the stranger, his suppliant. At 194 the dead hour of midnight, the gates of the castle were shaken as by a whirlwind, and a voice, as of a herald, was heard to demand a herald's lawful prisoner, Dannischemend, the son of Hali. The warder then heard a lower window of the hall thrown open, and could distinguish his master's voice addressing the person who had thus summoned the castle. But the night was so dark that he might not see the speakers, and the language which they used was either entirely foreign, or so largely interspersed with strange words, that he could not understand a syllable which they said. Scarce five minutes had elapsed, when he who was without again elevated his voice as before, and said in German, "For a year and a day, then, I forbear my forfeiture;—but coming for it when that time shall elapse, I come for my right, and will no longer be withstood."

From that period, Dannischemend, the Persian, was a constant guest at the castle of Arnheim, and, indeed, never for any visible purpose crossed the drawbridge. His amusements, or studies, seemed centred in the library of the castle, and in the laboratory, where the Baron sometimes toiled in conjunction with him for many hours together. The inhabitants of the castle could find no fault in the Magus, or Persian, excepting his apparently dispensing with the ordinances of religion, since he neither went to mass nor confession, nor attended upon other religious ceremonies. The chaplain did indeed profess himself satisfied with the state of the stranger's conscience; but it had been long suspected that the worthy ecclesiastic held his easy office on the very reasonable condition of approving the principles, and asserting the 195 orthodoxy, of all guests whom the Baron invited to share his hospitality.

It was observed that Dannischemend was rigid in paying his devotions, by prostrating himself in the first rays of the rising sun, and that he constructed a silver lamp of the most beautiful proportions, which he placed on a pedestal, representing a truncated column of marble, having its base sculptured with hieroglyphical imagery. With what essences he fed this flame was unknown to all, unless perhaps to the Baron; but the flame was more steady, pure, and lustrous than any which was ever seen, excepting the sun of heaven itself, and it was generally believed that the Magian made it an object of worship in the absence of that blessed luminary. Nothing else was observed of him, unless that his morals seemed severe, his gravity extreme, his general mode of life very temperate, and his fasts and vigils of frequent recurrence. Except on particular occasions, he spoke to no one of the castle but the Baron; but, as he had money and was liberal, he was regarded by the domestics with awe indeed, but without fear or dislike.

Winter was succeeded by spring, summer brought her flowers, and autumn her fruits, which ripened and were fading, when a foot-page, who sometimes attended them in the laboratory to render manual assistance when required, heard the Persian say to the Baron of Arnheim, "You will do well, my son, to mark my words; for my lessons to you are drawing to an end, and there is no power on earth which can longer postpone my fate."

"Alas, my master!" said the Baron, "and must I then lose the benefit of your direction, just 196 when your guiding hand becomes necessary to place me on the very pinnacle of the temple of wisdom?"

"Be not discouraged, my son," answered the sage; "I will bequeath the task of perfecting you in your studies to my daughter, who will come hither on purpose. But remember, if you value the permanence of your family, look not upon her as aught else than a helpmate in your studies; for if you forget the instructress in the beauty of the maiden, you will be buried with your sword and your shield, as the last male of your house; and further evil, believe me, will arise; for such alliances never come to a happy issue, of which my own is an example.—But hush, we are observed."

The household of the castle of Arnheim having but few things to interest them, were the more eager observers of those which came under their notice; and when the termination of the period when the Persian was to receive shelter in the castle began to approach, some of the inmates, under various pretexts, but which resolved into very terror, absconded, while others held themselves in expectation of some striking and terrible catastrophe. None such, however, took place; and on the expected anniversary, long ere the witching hour of midnight, Dannischemend terminated his visit in the castle of Arnheim, by riding away from the gate in the guise of an ordinary traveller. The Baron had meantime taken leave of his tutor with many marks of regret, and some which amounted even to sorrow. The sage Persian comforted him by a long whisper, of which the last part only was heard—"By the first beam of sunshine she will be with you. Be kind to 197 her, but not over kind." He then departed, and was never again seen or heard of in the vicinity of Arnheim.

The Baron was observed during all the day after the departure of the stranger to be particularly melancholy. He remained, contrary to his custom, in the great hall, and neither visited the library nor the laboratory, where he could no longer enjoy the company of his departed instructor. At dawn of the ensuing morning, Sir Herman summoned his page, and, contrary to his habits, which used to be rather careless in respect of apparel, he dressed himself with great accuracy; and as he was in the prime of life, and of a noble figure, he had reason to be satisfied with his appearance. Having performed his toilet, he waited till the sun had just appeared above the horizon, and, taking from the table the key of the laboratory, which the page believed must have lain there all night, he walked thither, followed by his attendant. At the door the Baron made a pause, and seemed at one time to doubt whether he should not send away the page, at another to hesitate whether he should open the door, as one might do who expected some strange sight within. He pulled up resolution, however, turned the key, threw the door open, and entered. The page followed close behind his master, and was astonished to the point of extreme terror at what he beheld, although the sight, however extraordinary, had in it nothing save what was agreeable and lovely.

The silver lamp was extinguished, or removed from its pedestal, where stood in place of it a most beautiful female figure in the Persian costume, in which the colour of pink predominated. But she 198 wore no turban or headdress of any kind, saving a blue riband drawn through her auburn hair, and secured by a gold clasp, the outer side of which was ornamented by a superb opal, which, amid the changing lights peculiar to that gem, displayed internally a slight tinge of red like a spark of fire.

The figure of this young person was rather under the middle size, but perfectly well formed; the Eastern dress, with the wide trousers gathered round the ankles, made visible the smallest and most beautiful feet which had ever been seen, while hands and arms of the most perfect symmetry were partly seen from under the folds of the robe. The little lady's countenance was of a lively and expressive character, in which spirit and wit seemed to predominate; and the quick dark eye, with its beautifully formed eyebrow, seemed to presage the arch remark to which the rosy and half-smiling lip appeared ready to give utterance.

The pedestal on which she stood, or rather was perched, would have appeared unsafe had any figure heavier than her own been placed there. But, however she had been transported thither, she seemed to rest on it as lightly and safely as a linnet, when it has dropped from the sky on the tendril of a rose-bud. The first beam of the rising sun, falling through a window directly opposite to the pedestal, increased the effect of this beautiful figure, which remained as motionless as if it had been carved in marble. She only expressed her sense of the Baron of Arnheim's presence by something of a quicker respiration, and a deep blush, accompanied by a slight smile. 199

Whatever reason the Baron of Arnheim might have for expecting to see some such object as now exhibited its actual presence, the degree of beauty which it presented was so much beyond his expectation, that for an instant he stood without breath or motion. At once, however, he seemed to recollect that it was his duty to welcome the fair stranger to his castle, and to relieve her from her precarious situation. He stepped forward accordingly with the words of welcome on his tongue, and was extending his arms to lift her from the pedestal, which was nearly six feet high; but the light and active stranger merely accepted the support of his hand, and descended on the floor as light and as safe as if she had been formed of gossamer. It was, indeed, only by the momentary pressure of her little hand that the Baron of Arnheim was finally made sensible that he had to do with a being of flesh and blood.

"I am come as I have been commanded," she said, looking around her. "You must expect a strict and diligent mistress, and I hope for the credit of an attentive pupil."

After the arrival of this singular and interesting being in the castle of Arnheim, various alterations took place within the interior of the household. A lady of high rank and small fortune, the respectable widow of a Count of the Empire, who was the Baron's blood relation, received and accepted an invitation to preside over her kinsman's domestic affairs, and remove, by her countenance, any suspicions which might arise from the presence of Hermione, as the beautiful Persian was generally called.

The Countess Waldstetten carried her complaisance 200 so far as to be present on almost all occasions, whether in the laboratory or library, when the Baron of Arnheim received lessons from, or pursued studies with, the young and lovely tutor who had been thus strangely substituted for the aged Magus. If this lady's report was to be trusted, their pursuits were of a most extraordinary nature, and the results which she sometimes witnessed were such as to create fear as well as surprise. But she strongly vindicated them from practising unlawful arts, or overstepping the boundaries of natural science.

A better judge of such matters, the Bishop of Bamberg himself, made a visit to Arnheim, on purpose to witness the wisdom of which so much was reported through the whole Rhine-country. He conversed with Hermione, and found her deeply impressed with the truths of religion, and so perfectly acquainted with its doctrines, that he compared her to a doctor of theology in the dress of an Eastern dancing-girl. When asked regarding her knowledge of languages and science, he answered, that he had been attracted to Arnheim by the most extravagant reports on these points, but that he must return confessing "the half thereof had not been told unto him."

In consequence of this indisputable testimony, the sinister reports which had been occasioned by the singular appearance of the fair stranger were in a great measure lulled to sleep, especially as her amiable manners won the involuntary good-will of every one that approached her.

Meantime a marked alteration began to take place in the interviews between the lovely tutor and her pupil. These were conducted with the 201 same caution as before, and never, so far as could be observed, took place without the presence of the Countess of Waldstetten, or some other third person of respectability. But the scenes of these meetings were no longer the scholar's library, or the chemist's laboratory;—the gardens, the groves, were resorted to for amusement, and parties of hunting and fishing, with evenings spent in the dance, seemed to announce that the studies of wisdom were for a time abandoned for the pursuits of pleasure. It was not difficult to guess the meaning of this; the Baron of Arnheim and his fair guest, speaking a language different from all others, could enjoy their private conversation, even amid all the tumult of gaiety around them; and no one was surprised to hear it formally announced, after a few weeks of gaiety, that the fair Persian was to be wedded to the Baron of Arnheim.

The manners of this fascinating young person were so pleasing, her conversation so animated, her wit so keen, yet so well tempered with good nature and modesty, that, notwithstanding her unknown origin, her high fortune attracted less envy than might have been expected in a case so singular. Above all, her generosity amazed and won the hearts of all the young persons who approached her. Her wealth seemed to be measureless, for the many rich jewels which she distributed among her fair friends would otherwise have left her without ornaments for herself. These good qualities, her liberality above all, together with a simplicity of thought and character which formed a beautiful contrast to the depth of acquired knowledge which she was well known to possess—these, 202 and her total want of ostentation, made her superiority be pardoned among her companions. Still there was notice taken of some peculiarities, exaggerated perhaps by envy, which seemed to draw a mystical distinction between the beautiful Hermione and the mere mortals with whom she lived and conversed.

In the merry dance she was so unrivalled in lightness and agility that her performance seemed that of an aërial being. She could, without suffering from her exertion, continue the pleasure till she had tired out the most active revellers; and even the young Duke of Hochspringen, who was reckoned the most indefatigable at that exercise in Germany, having been her partner for half an hour, was compelled to break off the dance, and throw himself, totally exhausted, on a couch, exclaiming he had been dancing not with a woman, but with an ignis fatuus.

Other whispers averred that while she played with her young companions in the labyrinth and mazes of the castle gardens at hide-and-seek, or similar games of activity, she became animated with the same supernatural alertness which was supposed to inspire her in the dance. She appeared amongst her companions, and vanished from them, with a degree of rapidity which was inconceivable; and hedges, treillage, or such like obstructions, were surmounted by her in a manner which the most vigilant eye could not detect; for, after being observed on the side of the barrier at one instant, in another she was beheld close beside the spectator.

In such moments, when her eyes sparkled, her cheeks reddened, and her whole frame became 203 animated, it was pretended that the opal clasp amid her tresses, the ornament which she never laid aside, shot forth the little spark, or tongue of flame, which it always displayed, with an increased vivacity. In the same manner, if in the half-darkened hall the conversation of Hermione became unusually animated, it was believed that the jewel became brilliant, and even displayed a twinkling and flashing gleam which seemed to be emitted by the gem itself, and not produced in the usual manner, by the reflection of some external light. Her maidens were also heard to surmise that when their mistress was agitated by any hasty or brief resentment (the only weakness of temper which she was sometimes observed to display), they could observe dark-red sparks flash from the mystic brooch, as if it sympathised with the wearer's emotions. The women who attended on her toilet further reported that this gem was never removed but for a few minutes, when the Baroness's hair was combed out; that she was unusually pensive and silent during the time it was laid aside, and particularly apprehensive when any liquid was brought near it. Even in the use of holy water at the door of the church she was observed to omit the sign of the cross on the forehead, for fear, it was supposed, of the water touching the valued jewel.

These singular reports did not prevent the marriage of the Baron of Arnheim from proceeding as had been arranged. It was celebrated in the usual form, and with the utmost splendour, and the young couple seemed to commence a life of happiness rarely to be found on earth. In the course of twelve months, the lovely Baroness presented her 204 husband with a daughter, which was to be christened Sybilla, after the Count's mother. As the health of the child was excellent, the ceremony was postponed till the recovery of the mother from her confinement. Many were invited to be present on the occasion, and the castle was thronged with company.

It happened that amongst the guests was an old lady, notorious for playing in private society the part of a malicious fairy in a minstrel's tale. This was the Baroness of Steinfeldt, famous in the neighbourhood for her insatiable curiosity and overweening pride. She had not been many days in the castle, ere, by the aid of a female attendant, who acted as an intelligencer, she had made herself mistress of all that was heard, said, or suspected, concerning the peculiarities of the Baroness Hermione. It was on the morning of the day appointed for the christening, while the whole company were assembled in the hall, and waiting till the Baroness should appear, to pass with them to the chapel, that there arose between the censorious and haughty dame whom we have just mentioned, and the Countess Waldstetten, a violent discussion concerning some point of disputed precedence. It was referred to the Baron von Arnheim, who decided in favour of the Countess. Madame de Steinfeldt instantly ordered her palfrey to be prepared, and her attendants to mount.

"I leave this place," she said, "which a good Christian ought never to have entered; I leave a house of which the master is a sorcerer, the mistress a demon who dares not cross her brow with holy water, and their trencher companion one who, for a wretched pittance, is willing to act as 205 match-maker between a wizard and an incarnate fiend!"

She then departed, with rage in her countenance and spite in her heart.

The Baron of Arnheim then stepped forward, and demanded of the knights and gentlemen around if there were any among them who would dare to make good with his sword the infamous falsehoods thrown upon himself, his spouse, and his kinswoman.

There was a general answer, utterly refusing to defend the Baroness of Steinfeldt's words in so bad a cause, and universally testifying the belief of the company that she spoke in the spirit of calumny and falsehood.

"Then let that lie fall to the ground which no man of courage will hold up," said the Baron of Arnheim; "only, all who are here this morning shall be satisfied whether the Baroness Hermione doth or doth not share the rites of Christianity."

The Countess of Waldstetten made anxious signs to him while he spoke thus; and when the crowd permitted her to approach near him, she was heard to whisper, "Oh, be not rash! try no experiment! there is something mysterious about that opal talisman; be prudent, and let the matter pass by."

The Baron, who was in a more towering passion than well became the wisdom to which he made pretence—although it will be perhaps allowed that an affront so public, and in such a time and place, was enough to shake the prudence of the most staid, and the philosophy of the most wise—answered sternly and briefly, "Are you, too, such a fool?" and retained his purpose. 206

The Baroness of Arnheim at this moment entered the hall, looking just so pale from her late confinement as to render her lovely countenance more interesting, if less animated, than usual. Having paid her compliments to the assembled company, with the most graceful and condescending attention, she was beginning to inquire why Madame de Steinfeldt was not present, when her husband made the signal for the company to move forward to the chapel, and lent the Baroness his arm to bring up the rear. The chapel was nearly filled by the splendid company, and all eyes were bent on their host and hostess, as they entered the place of devotion immediately after four young ladies, who supported the infant babe in a light and beautiful litter.

As they passed the threshold, the Baron dipped his finger in the font-stone, and offered holy water to his lady, who accepted it, as usual, by touching his finger with her own. But then, as if to confute the calumnies of the malevolent lady of Steinfeldt, with an air of sportive familiarity which was rather unwarranted by the time and place, he flirted on her beautiful forehead a drop or two of the moisture which remained on his own hand. The opal, on which one of these drops had lighted, shot out a brilliant spark like a falling star, and became the instant afterwards lightless and colourless as a common pebble, while the beautiful Baroness sank on the floor of the chapel with a deep sigh of pain. All crowded around her in dismay. The unfortunate Hermione was raised from the ground, and conveyed to her chamber; and so much did her countenance and pulse alter, within the short time necessary to do this, that 207 those who looked upon her pronounced her a dying woman. She was no sooner in her own apartment than she requested to be left alone with her husband. He remained an hour in the room, and when he came out he locked and double locked the door behind him. He then betook himself to the chapel, and remained there for an hour or more, prostrated before the altar.

In the meantime, most of the guests had dispersed in dismay, though some abode out of courtesy or curiosity. There was a general sense of impropriety in suffering the door of the sick lady's apartment to remain locked; but, alarmed at the whole circumstances of her illness, it was some time ere any one dared disturb the devotions of the Baron.

At length medical aid arrived, and the Countess of Waldstetten took upon her to demand the key. She spoke more than once to a man, who seemed incapable of hearing, at least of understanding, what she said. At length he gave her the key, and added sternly, as he did so, that all aid was unavailing, and that it was his pleasure that all strangers should leave the castle. There were few who inclined to stay, when, upon opening the door of the chamber in which the Baroness had been deposited little more than two hours before, no traces of her could be discovered, unless that there was about a handful of light-grey ashes, like such as might have been produced by burning fine paper, found on the bed where she had been laid. A solemn funeral was nevertheless performed, with masses, and all other spiritual rites, for the soul of the high and noble Lady Hermione of Arnheim; and it was exactly on that same day three years 208 that the Baron himself was laid in the grave of the same chapel of Arnheim, with sword, shield, and helmet, as the last male of his family.

Here the Swiss paused, for they were approaching the bridge of the castle of Graffs-lust. 209


Believe me, sir,

It carries a rare form.—But 'tis a spirit.

The Tempest.

There was a short silence after the Bernese had concluded his singular tale. Arthur Philipson's attention had been gradually and intensely attracted by a story which was too much in unison with the received ideas of the age to be encountered by the unhesitating incredulity with which it must have been heard in later and more enlightened times.

He was also considerably struck by the manner in which it had been told by the narrator, whom he had hitherto only regarded in the light of a rude huntsman or soldier; whereas he now allowed Donnerhugel credit for a more extensive acquaintance with the general manners of the world than he had previously anticipated. The Swiss rose in his opinion as a man of talent, but without making the slightest progress in his affections. "The swashbuckler," he said to himself, "has brains, as well as brawn and bones, and is fitter for the office of commanding others than I formerly thought him." Then, turning to his companion, he thanked him for the tale, which had shortened the way in so interesting a manner.

"And it is from this singular marriage," he continued, "that Anne of Geierstein derives her origin?" 210

"Her mother," answered the Swiss, "was Sybilla of Arnheim, the infant at whose christening the mother died—disappeared—or whatever you may list to call it. The barony of Arnheim, being a male fief, reverted to the Emperor. The castle has never been inhabited since the death of the last lord, and has, as I have heard, become in some sort ruinous. The occupations of its ancient proprietors, and, above all, the catastrophe of its last inhabitant, have been thought to render it no eligible place of residence."

"Did there appear anything preternatural," said the Englishman, "about the young Baroness, who married the brother of the Landamman?"

"So far as I have heard," replied Rudolph, "there were strange stories. It was said that the nurses, at the dead of night, have seen Hermione, the last Baroness of Arnheim, stand weeping by the side of the child's cradle, and other things to the same purpose. But here I speak from less correct information than that from which I drew my former narrative."

"And since the credibility of a story, not very probable in itself, must needs be granted, or withheld, according to the evidence on which it is given, may I ask you," said Arthur, "to tell me what is the authority on which you have so much reliance?"

"Willingly," answered the Swiss. "Know that Theodore Donnerhugel, the favourite page of the last Baron of Arnheim, was my father's brother. Upon his master's death he retired to his native town of Berne, and most of his time was employed in training me up to arms and martial exercises, as well according to the fashion of Germany as of Switzerland, for he was master of all. He witnessed 211 with his own eyes, and heard with his own ears, great part of the melancholy and mysterious events which I have detailed to you. Should you ever visit Berne, you may see the good old man."

"You think, then," said Arthur, "that the appearance which I have this night seen is connected with the mysterious marriage of Anne of Geierstein's grandfather?"

"Nay," replied Rudolph, "think not that I can lay down any positive explanation of a thing so strange. I can only say, that unless I did you the injustice to disbelieve your testimony respecting the apparition of this evening, I know no way to account for it, except by remembering that there is a portion of the young lady's blood which is thought not to be derived from the race of Adam, but more or less directly from one of those elementary spirits which have been talked of both in ancient and modern times. But I may be mistaken. We will see how she bears herself in the morning, and whether she carries in her looks the weariness and paleness of a midnight watcher. If she doth not, we may be authorised in thinking, either that your eyes have strangely deceived you, or that they have been cheated by some spectral appearance, which is not of this world."

To this the young Englishman attempted no reply. Nor was there time for any, for they were immediately afterwards challenged by the sentinel from the drawbridge.

The question, "Who goes there?" was twice satisfactorily answered, before Sigismund would admit the patrol to cross the drawbridge.

"Ass and mule that thou art," said Rudolph, "what was the meaning of thy delay?" 212

"Ass and mule thyself, Hauptman!" said the Swiss, in answer to this objurgation. "I have been surprised by a goblin on my post once to-night already, and I have got so much experience upon that matter that I will not easily be caught a second time."

"What goblin, thou fool," said Donnerhugel, "would be idle enough to play his gambols at the expense of so very poor an animal as thou art?"

"Thou art as cross as my father, Hauptman," replied Sigismund, "who cries fool and blockhead at every word I speak; and yet I have lips, teeth, and tongue to speak with, just like other folk."

"We will not contest the matter, Sigismund," said Rudolph. "It is clear, that if thou dost differ from other people, it is in a particular which thou canst hardly be expected to find out or acknowledge. But what, in the name of simplicity, is it which hath alarmed thee on thy post?"

"Marry, thus it was, Hauptman," returned Sigismund Biederman. "I was something tired, you see, with looking up at the broad moon, and thinking what in the universe it could be made of, and how we came to see it just as well here as at home, this place being so many miles from Geierstein. I was tired, I say, of this and other perplexing thoughts, so I drew my fur cap down over my ears, for I promise you the wind blew shrill; and then I planted myself firm on my feet, with one of my legs a little advanced, and both my hands resting on my partisan, which I placed upright before me to rest upon; and so I shut mine eyes."

"Shut thine eyes, Sigismund, and thou upon thy watch!" exclaimed Donnerhugel. 213

"Care not thou for that," answered Sigismund; "I kept my ears open. And yet it was to little purpose, for something came upon the bridge with a step as stealthy as that of a mouse. I looked up with a start at the moment it was opposite to me, and when I looked up—whom think you I saw?"

"Some fool like thyself," said Rudolph, at the same time pressing Philipson's foot to make him attend to the answer; a hint which was little necessary, since he waited for it in the utmost agitation. Out it came at last.

"By St. Mark, it was our own Anne of Geierstein!"

"It is impossible!" replied the Bernese.

"I should have said so too," quoth Sigismund, "for I had peeped into her bedroom before she went thither, and it was so bedizened that a queen or a princess might have slept in it; and why should the wench get out of her good quarters, with all her friends about her to guard her, and go out to wander in the forest?"

"May be," said Rudolph, "she only looked from the bridge to see how the night waned."

"No," said Sigismund; "she was returning from the forest. I saw her when she reached the end of the bridge, and thought of striking at her, conceiving it to be the devil in her likeness. But I remembered my halberd is no birch switch to chastise boys and girls with; and had I done Anne any harm, you would all have been angry with me, and, to speak truth, I should have been ill pleased with myself; for although she doth make a jest of me now and then, yet it were a dull house ours were we to lose Anne."

"Ass," answered the Bernese, "didst thou speak to this form, or goblin as you call it?" 214

"Indeed I did not, Captain Wiseacre. My father is ever angry with me when I speak without thinking, and I could not at that particular moment think on anything to the purpose. Neither was there time to think, for she passed me like a snow-flake upon a whirlwind. I marched into the castle after her, however, calling on her by name; so the sleepers were awakened, and men flew to their arms, and there was as much confusion as if Archibald of Hagenbach had been among us with sword and pike. And who should come out of her little bedroom, as much startled and as much in a bustle as any of us, but Mrs. Anne herself! And as she protested she had never left her room that night, why I, Sigismund Biederman, was made to stand the whole blame, as if I could prevent people's ghosts from walking. But I told her my mind when I saw them all so set against me. 'And, Mistress Anne,' quoth I, 'it's well known the kindred you come of; and, after this fair notice, if you send any of your double-gangers[6] [g] to me, let them put iron skull-caps on their heads, for I will give them the length and weight of a Swiss halberd, come in what shape they list.' However, they all cried 'Shame on me!' and my father drove me out again, with as little remorse as if I had been the old house-dog, which had stolen in from his watch to the fireside."

The Bernese replied, with an air of coldness approaching to contempt, "You have slept on your watch, Sigismund—a high military offence, and 215 you have dreamed while you slept. You were in good luck that the Landamman did not suspect your negligence, or, instead of being sent back to your duty like a lazy watch-dog, you might have been scourged back like a faithless one to your kennel at Geierstein, as chanced to poor Ernest for a less matter."

"Ernest has not yet gone back, though," said Sigismund, "and I think he may pass as far into Burgundy as we shall do in this journey. I pray you, however, Hauptman, to treat me not dog-like, but as a man, and send some one to relieve me, instead of prating here in the cold night air. If there be anything to do to-morrow, as I well guess there may, a mouthful of food, and a minute of sleep, will be but a fitting preparative, and I have stood watch here these two mortal hours."

With that the young giant yawned portentously, as if to enforce the reasons of his appeal.

"A mouthful and a minute?" said Rudolph,—"a roasted ox, and a lethargy like that of the Seven Sleepers, would scarce restore you to the use of your refreshed and waking senses. But I am your friend, Sigismund, and you are secure in my favourable report; you shall be instantly relieved, that you may sleep, if it be possible, without disturbances from dreams.—Pass on, young men" (addressing the others, who by this time had come up), "and go to your rest. Arthur of England and I will report to the Landamman and the Banneret the account of our patrol."

The patrol accordingly entered the castle, and were soon heard joining their slumbering companions. Rudolph Donnerhugel seized Arthur's 216 arm, and, while they went towards the hall, whispered in his ear,—

"These are strange passages!—How think you we should report them to the deputation?"

"That I must refer to yourself," said Arthur; "you are the captain of our watch. I have done my duty in telling you what I saw—or thought I saw—it is for you to judge how far it is fitting to communicate it to the Landamman; only, as it concerns the honour of his family, to his ear alone I think it should be confided."

"I see no occasion for that," said the Bernese, hastily; "it cannot affect or interest our general safety. But I may take occasion hereafter to speak with Anne on this subject."

This latter hint gave as much pain to Arthur as the general proposal of silence on an affair so delicate had afforded him satisfaction. But his uneasiness was of a kind which he felt it necessary to suppress, and he therefore replied with as much composure as he could assume:—

"You will act, Sir Hauptman, as your sense of duty and delicacy shall dictate. For me, I shall be silent on what you call the strange passages of the night, rendered doubly wonderful by the report of Sigismund Biederman."

"And also on what you have seen and heard concerning our auxiliaries of Berne?" said Rudolph.

"On that I shall certainly be silent," said Arthur; "unless thus far, that I mean to communicate to my father the risk of his baggage being liable to examination and seizure at La Ferette."

"It is needless," said Rudolph; "I will answer with head and hand for the safety of everything belonging to him." 217

"I thank you in his name," said Arthur; "but we are peaceful travellers, to whom it must be much more desirable to avoid a broil than to give occasion for one, even when secure of coming out of it triumphantly."

"These are the sentiments of a merchant, but not of a soldier," said Rudolph, in a cold and displeased tone; "but the matter is your own, and you must act in it as you think best. Only remember, if you go to La Ferette without our assistance, you hazard both goods and life."

They entered, as he spoke, the apartment of their fellow-travellers. The companions of their patrol had already laid themselves down amongst their sleeping comrades at the lower end of the room. The Landamman and the Bannerman of Berne heard Donnerhugel make a report, that his patrol, both before and after midnight, had been made in safety, and without any encounter which expressed either danger or suspicion. The Bernese then wrapped him in his cloak, and, lying down on the straw, with that happy indifference to accommodation, and promptitude to seize the moment of repose, which is acquired by a life of vigilance and hardship, was in a few minutes fast asleep.

Arthur remained on foot but a little longer, to dart an earnest look on the door of Anne of Geierstein's apartment, and to reflect on the wonderful occurrences of the evening. But they formed a chaotic mystery, for which he could see no clue, and the necessity of holding instant communication with his father compelled him forcibly to turn his thoughts in that direction. He was obliged to observe caution and secrecy in accomplishing his purpose. For this he laid himself down beside his 218 parent, whose couch, with the hospitality which he had experienced from the beginning of his intercourse with the kind-hearted Swiss, had been arranged in what was thought the most convenient place of the apartment, and somewhat apart from all others. He slept sound, but awoke at the touch of his son, who whispered to him in English, for the greater precaution, that he had important tidings for his private ear.

"An attack on our post?" said the elder Philipson. "Must we take to our weapons?"

"Not now," said Arthur; "and I pray of you not to rise or make alarm—this matter concerns us alone."

"Tell it instantly, my son," replied his father; "you speak to one too much used to danger to be startled at it."

"It is a case for your wisdom to consider," said Arthur. "I had information, while upon the patrol, that the Governor of La Ferette will unquestionably seize upon your baggage and merchandise, under pretext of levying dues claimed by the Duke of Burgundy. I have also been informed that our escort of Swiss youth are determined to resist this exaction, and conceive themselves possessed of the numbers and means sufficient to do so successfully."

"By St. George, that must not be!" said the elder Philipson. "It would be an evil requital to the true-hearted Landamman, to give the fiery Duke a pretext for that war which the excellent old man is so anxiously desirous to avoid, if it be possible. Any exactions, however unreasonable, I will gladly pay. But to have my papers seized on were utter ruin. I partly feared this, and it made 219 me unwilling to join myself to the Landamman's party. We must now break off from it. This rapacious governor will not surely lay hands on the deputation, which seeks his master's court under protection of the law of nations; but I can easily see how he might make our presence with them a pretext for quarrel, which will equally suit his own avaricious spirit and the humour of these fiery young men, who are seeking for matter of offence. This shall not be taken for our sake. We will separate ourselves from the deputies, and remain behind till they are passed on. If this De Hagenbach be not the most unreasonable of men, I will find a way to content him so far as we are individually concerned. Meanwhile, I will instantly wake the Landamman," he said, "and acquaint him with our purpose."

This was immediately done, for Philipson was not slow in the execution of his resolutions. In a minute he was standing by the side of Arnold Biederman, who, raised on his elbow, was listening to his communication, while, over the shoulder of the Landamman, rose the head and long beard of the deputy from Schwitz, his large clear blue eyes gleaming from beneath a fur cap, bent on the Englishman's face, but stealing a glance aside now and then to mark the impression which what was said made upon his colleague.

"Good friend and host," said the elder Philipson, "we have heard for a certainty that our poor merchandise will be subjected to taxation or seizure on our passage through La Ferette, and I would gladly avoid all cause of quarrel, for your sake as well as our own."

"You do not doubt that we can and will protect 220 you?" replied the Landamman. "I tell you, Englishman, that the guest of a Swiss is as safe by his side as an eaglet under the wing of its dam; and to leave us because danger approaches is but a poor compliment to our courage or constancy. I am desirous of peace; but not the Duke of Burgundy himself should wrong a guest of mine, so far as my power might prevent it."

At this the deputy from Schwitz clenched a fist like a bull's knuckles, and showed it above the shoulders of his friend.

"It is even to avoid this, my worthy host," replied Philipson, "that I intend to separate from your friendly company sooner than I desire or purposed. Bethink you, my brave and worthy host, you are an ambassador seeking a national peace, I a trader seeking private gain. War, or quarrels which may cause war, are alike ruinous to your purpose and mine. I confess to you frankly, that I am willing and able to pay a large ransom, and when you are departed I will negotiate for the amount. I will abide in the town of Bâle till I have made fair terms with Archibald de Hagenbach; and even if he is the avaricious extortioner you describe him, he will be somewhat moderate with me rather than run the risk of losing his booty entirely, by my turning back or taking another route."

"You speak wisely, Sir Englishman," said the Landamman; "and I thank you for recalling my duty to my remembrance. But you must not, nevertheless, be exposed to danger. So soon as we move forward, the country will be again open to the devastations of the Burgundian Riders and Lanz-knechts, who will sweep the roads in every 221 direction. The people of Bâle are unhappily too timorous to protect you; they would yield you up upon the Governor's first hint; and for justice or lenity, you might as well expect it in hell as from Hagenbach."

"There are conjurations, it is said, that can make hell itself tremble," said Philipson; "and I have means to propitiate even this De Hagenbach, providing I can get to private speech with him. But I own I can expect nothing from his wild riders, but to be put to death for the value of my cloak."

"If that be the case," said the Landamman, "and if you must needs separate from us, for which I deny not that you have alleged wise and worthy reasons, wherefore should you not leave Graffs-lust two hours before us? The roads will be safe, as our escort is expected; and you will probably, if you travel early, find De Hagenbach sober, and as capable as he ever is of hearing reason—that is, of perceiving his own interest. But after his breakfast is washed down with Rhine-wine, which he drinks every morning before he hears mass, his fury blinds even his avarice."

"All I want, in order to execute this scheme," said Philipson, "is the loan of a mule to carry my valise, which is packed up with your baggage."

"Take the she-mule," said the Landamman; "she belongs to my brother here from Schwitz; he will gladly bestow her on thee."

"If she were worth twenty crowns, and my comrade Arnold desired me to do so," said the old whitebeard.

"I will accept her as a loan with gratitude," said the Englishman. "But how can you dispense 222 with the use of the creature? You have only one left."

"We can easily supply our want from Bâle," said the Landamman. "Nay, we can make this little delay serve your purpose, Sir Englishman. I named for our time of departure the first hour after daybreak; we will postpone it to the second hour, which will give us enough of time to get a horse or mule, and you, Sir Philipson, space to reach La Ferette, where I trust you will have achieved your business with De Hagenbach to your contentment, and will join company again with us as we travel through Burgundy."

"If our mutual objects will permit our travelling together, worthy Landamman," answered the merchant, "I shall esteem myself most happy in becoming the partner of your journey.—And now resume the repose which I have interrupted."

"God bless you, wise and true-hearted man," said the Landamman, rising and embracing the Englishman. "Should we never meet again, I will still remember the merchant who neglected thoughts of gain, that he might keep the path of wisdom and rectitude. I know not another who would not have risked the shedding a lake of blood to save five ounces of gold.—Farewell thou too, gallant young man. Thou hast learned among us to keep thy foot firm while on the edge of a Helvetian crag, but none can teach thee so well as thy father to keep an upright path among the morasses and precipices of human life."

He then embraced and took a kind farewell of his friends, in which, as usual, he was imitated by his friend of Schwitz, who swept with his long beard the right and left cheeks of both the Englishmen, 223 and again made them heartily welcome to the use of his mule. All then once more composed themselves to rest, for the space which remained before the appearance of the autumnal dawn. 224


The enmity and discord, which of late

Sprung from the rancorous outrage of your Duke

To merchants, our well-dealing countrymen,—

Who, wanting guilders to redeem their lives,

Have seal'd his rigorous statutes with their bloods,

Excludes all pity from our threat'ning looks.

Comedy of Errors.

The dawn had scarce begun to touch the distant horizon, when Arthur Philipson was on foot to prepare for his father's departure and his own, which, as arranged on the preceding night, was to take place two hours before the Landamman and his attendants proposed to leave the ruinous castle of Graffs-lust. It was no difficult matter for him to separate the neatly arranged packages which contained his father's effects from the clumsy bundles in which the baggage of the Swiss was deposited. The one set of mails was made up with the neatness of men accustomed to long and perilous journeys; the other, with the rude carelessness of those who rarely left their home, and who were altogether inexperienced.

A servant of the Landamman assisted Arthur in this task, and in placing his father's baggage on the mule belonging to the bearded deputy from Schwitz. From this man also he received instructions concerning the road from Graffs-lust to Brisach (the chief citadel of La Ferette), which was too plain and direct to render it likely that 225 they should incur any risk of losing their way, as had befallen them when travelling on the Swiss mountains. Everything being now prepared for their departure, the young Englishman awakened his father, and acquainted him that all was ready. He then retired towards the chimney, while his father, according to his daily custom, repeated the prayer of St. Julian, the patron of travellers, and adjusted his dress for the journey.

It will not be wondered at, that, while the father went through his devotions, and equipped himself for travel, Arthur, with his heart full of what he had seen of Anne of Geierstein for some time before, and his brain dizzy with the recollection of the incidents of the preceding night, should have kept his eyes riveted on the door of the sleeping-apartment at which he had last seen that young person disappear; that is, unless the pale and seemingly fantastic form which had twice crossed him so strangely should prove no wandering spirit of the elements, but the living substance of the person whose appearance it bore. So eager was his curiosity on this subject, that he strained his eyes to the utmost, as if it had been possible for them to have penetrated through wood and walls into the chamber of the slumbering maiden, in order to discover whether her eye or cheek bore any mark that she had last night been a watcher or a wanderer.

"But that was the proof to which Rudolph appealed," he said internally, "and Rudolph alone will have the opportunity of remarking the result. Who knows what advantage my communication may give him in his suit with yonder lovely creature? And what must she think of me, save as 226 one light of thought and loose of tongue, to whom nothing extraordinary can chance, but he must hasten to babble it into the ears of those who are nearest to him at the moment? I would my tongue had been palsied ere I said a syllable to yonder proud yet wily prize-fighter! I shall never see her more—that is to be counted for certain. I shall never know the true interpretation of those mysteries which hang around her. But to think I may have prated something tending to throw her into the power of yonder ferocious boor will be a subject of remorse to me while I live."

Here he was startled out of his reverie by the voice of his father. "Why, how now, boy? Art thou waking, Arthur, or sleeping on thy feet from the fatigue of last night's service?"

"Not so, my father," answered Arthur, at once recollecting himself. "Somewhat drowsy, perhaps; but the fresh morning air will soon put that to flight."

Walking with precaution through the group of sleepers who lay around, the elder Philipson, when they had gained the door of the apartment, turned back, and, looking on the straw couch which the large form of the Landamman, and the silvery beard of his constant companion, touched by the earliest beams of light, distinguished as that of Arnold Biederman, he muttered between his lips an involuntary adieu.

"Farewell, mirror of ancient faith and integrity,—farewell, noble Arnold,—farewell, soul of truth and candour—to whom cowardice, selfishness, and falsehood are alike unknown!"

And farewell, thought his son, to the loveliest, and most candid, yet most mysterious of maidens!—But 227 the adieu, as may well be believed, was not, like that of his father, expressed in words.

They were soon after on the outside of the gate. The Swiss domestic was liberally recompensed, and charged with a thousand kind words of farewell and of remembrance to the Landamman from his English guests, mingled with hopes and wishes that they might soon meet again in the Burgundian territory. The young man then took the bridle of the mule, and led the animal forward on their journey at an easy pace, his father walking by his side.

After a silence of some minutes, the elder Philipson addressed Arthur. "I fear me," he said, "we shall see the worthy Landamman no more. The youths who attend him are bent upon taking offence—the Duke of Burgundy will not fail, I fear, to give them ample occasion—and the peace which the excellent man desires for the land of his fathers will be shipwrecked ere they reach the Duke's presence; though, even were it otherwise, how the proudest prince in Europe will brook the moody looks of burgesses and peasants (so will Charles of Burgundy term the friends we have parted from) is a question too easily answered. A war, fatal to the interests of all concerned, save Louis of France, will certainly take place; and dreadful must be the contest, if the ranks of the Burgundian chivalry shall encounter those iron sons of the mountains, before whom so many of the Austrian nobility have been repeatedly prostrated."

"I am so much convinced of the truth of what you say, my father," replied Arthur, "that I judge even this day will not pass over without a breach of truce. I have already put on my shirt of mail, 228 in case we should meet bad company betwixt Graffs-lust and Brisach; and I would to Heaven that you would observe the same precaution. It will not delay our journey; and I confess to you, that I, at least, will travel with much greater consciousness of safety should you do so."

"I understand you, my son," replied the elder Philipson. "But I am a peaceful traveller in the Duke of Burgundy's territories, and must not willingly suppose that, while under the shadow of his banner, I must guard myself against banditti, as if I were in the wilds of Palestine. As for the authority of his officers, and the extent of their exactions, I need not tell you that they are, in our circumstances, things to be submitted to without grief or grudging."

Leaving the two travellers to journey towards Brisach at their leisure, I must transport my readers to the eastern gate of that small town, which, situated on an eminence, had a commanding prospect on every side, but especially towards Bâle. It did not properly make a part of the dominions of the Duke of Burgundy, but had been placed in his hands in pawn, or in pledge, for the repayment of a considerable sum of money, due to Charles by the Emperor Sigismund of Austria, to whom the seigniory of the place belonged in property. But the town lay so conveniently for distressing the commerce of the Swiss, and inflicting on that people, whom he at once hated and despised, similar marks of his malevolence, as to encourage a general opinion, that the Duke of Burgundy, the implacable and unreasonable enemy of these mountaineers, would never listen to any terms of redemption, however equitable or advantageous, 229 which might have the effect of restoring to the Emperor an advanced post of such consequence to the gratification of his dislike as Brisach.

The situation of the little town was in itself strong, but the fortifications which surrounded it were barely sufficient to repel any sudden attack, and not adequate to resist for any length of time a formal siege. The morning beams had shone on the spire of the church for more than an hour, when a tall, thin, elderly man, wrapped in a morning gown, over which was buckled a broad belt, supporting on the left side a sword, on the right a dagger, approached the barbican of the eastern gate. His bonnet displayed a feather, which, or the tail of a fox in lieu of it, was the emblem of gentle blood throughout all Germany, and a badge highly prized by those who had a right to wear it.

The small party of soldiers who had kept watch there during the course of the preceding night, and supplied sentinels both for ward and outlook, took arms on the appearance of this individual, and drew themselves up in the form of a guard, which receives with military reverence an officer of importance. Archibald de Hagenbach's countenance, for it was the Governor himself, expressed that settled peevishness and ill temper which characterise the morning hours of a valetudinary debauchee. His head throbbed, his pulse was feverish, and his cheek was pale—symptoms of his having spent the last night, as was his usual custom, amid wine-stoups and flagons. Judging from the haste with which his soldiers fell into their ranks, and the awe and silence which reigned among them, it appeared that they were accustomed to 230 expect and dread his ill humour on such occasions. He glanced at them, accordingly, an inquisitive and dissatisfied look, as if he sought something on which to vent his peevishness, and then asked for the "loitering dog Kilian."

Kilian presently made his appearance, a stout hard-favoured man-at-arms, a Bavarian by birth, and by rank the personal squire of the Governor.

"What news of the Swiss churls, Kilian?" demanded Archibald de Hagenbach. "They should, by their thrifty habits, have been on the road two hours since. Have the peasant-clods presumed to ape the manners of gentlemen, and stuck by the flask till cock-crow?"

"By my faith, it may well be," answered Kilian; "the burghers of Bâle gave them full means of carousal."

"How, Kilian?—They dared not offer hospitality to the Swiss drove of bullocks, after the charge we sent them to the contrary?"

"Nay, the Bâlese received them not into the town," replied the squire; "but I learned, by sure espial, that they afforded them means of quartering at Graffs-lust, which was furnished with many a fair gammon and pasty, to speak naught of flasks of Rhine-wine, barrels of beer, and stoups of strong waters."

"The Bâlese shall answer this, Kilian," said the Governor. "Do they think I am for ever to be thrusting myself between the Duke and his pleasure on their behalf?—The fat porkers have presumed too much since we accepted some trifling gifts at their hands, more for gracing of them, than for any advantage we could make of their paltry donations. Was it not the wine from Bâle 231 which we were obliged to drink out in pint goblets, lest it should become sour before morning?"

"It was drunk out, and in pint goblets too," said Kilian; "so much I can well remember."

"Why, go to, then," said the Governor; "they shall know, these beasts of Bâle, that I hold myself no way obliged by such donations as these, and that my remembrance of the wines which I carouse rests no longer than the headache which the mixtures they drug me with never fail of late years to leave behind, for the next morning's pastime."

"Your excellency," replied the squire, "will make it, then, a quarrel between the Duke of Burgundy and the city of Bâle, that they gave this indirect degree of comfort and assistance to the Swiss deputation?"

"Ay, marry will I," said De Hagenbach, "unless there be wise men among them, who shall show me good reasons for protecting them. Oh, the Bâlese do not know our Noble Duke, nor the gift he hath for chastising the gutter-blooded citizens of a free town. Thou canst tell them, Kilian, as well as any man, how he dealt with the villains of Liège, when they would needs be pragmatical."

"I will apprise them of the matter," said Kilian, "when opportunity shall serve, and I trust I shall find them in a temper disposed to cultivate your honourable friendship."

"Nay, if it is the same to them, it is quite indifferent to me, Kilian," continued the Governor; "but, methinks, whole and sound throats are worth some purchase, were it only to swallow black-puddings and schwarz-beer, to say nothing of Westphalian hams and Nierensteiner—I say, a slashed throat is a useless thing, Kilian." 232

"I will make the fat citizens to understand their danger, and the necessity of making interest," answered Kilian. "Sure, I am not now to learn how to turn the ball into your excellency's lap."

"You speak well," said Sir Archibald;—"but how chanced it thou hast so little to say to the Switzers' leaguer? I should have thought an old trooper like thee would have made their pinions flutter amidst the good cheer thou tellest me of."

"I might as well have annoyed an angry hedgehog with my bare finger," said Kilian. "I surveyed Graffs-lust myself;—there were sentinels on the castle walls, a sentinel on the bridge, besides a regular patrol of these Swiss fellows who kept strict watch. So that there was nothing to be done, otherwise, knowing your excellency's ancient quarrel, I would have had a hit at them, when they should never have known who hurt them. I will tell you, however, fairly, that these churls are acquiring better knowledge in the art of war than the best Ritter knight."

"Well, they will be the better worth the looking after when they arrive," said De Hagenbach; "they come forth in state doubtless, with all their finery, their wives' chains of silver, their own medals, and rings of lead and copper.—Ah, the base hinds, they are unworthy that a man of noble blood should ease them of their trash!"

"There is better ware among them, if my intelligence hath not deceived me," replied Kilian; "there are merchants"——

"Pshaw! the packhorses of Berne and Soleure," said the Governor, "with their paltry lumber, 233 cloth too coarse to make covers for horses of any breeding, and linen that is more like hair-cloth than any composition of flax. I will strip them, however, were it but to vex the knaves. What! not content with claiming to be treated like an independent people, and sending forth deputies and embassies forsooth, they expect, I warrant, to make the indemnities of ambassadors cover the introduction of a cargo of their contraband commodities, and thus insult the noble Duke of Burgundy, and cheat him at the same time? But De Hagenbach is neither knight nor gentleman if he allow them to pass unchallenged."

"And they are better worth being stopped," said Kilian, "than your excellency supposes; for they have English merchants along with them, and under their protection."

"English merchants!" exclaimed De Hagenbach, his eyes sparkling with joy; "English merchants, Kilian! Men talk of Cathay and Ind, where there are mines of silver, and gold, and diamonds; but, on the faith of a gentleman, I believe these brutish Islanders have the caves of treasure wholly within their own foggy land! And then the variety of their rich merchandise,—Ha, Kilian! is it a long train of mules—a jolly tinkling team?—By Our Lady's glove! the sound of it is already jingling in my ears, more musically than all the harps of all the minne-singers at Heilbron!"

"Nay, my lord, there is no great train," replied the squire;—"only two men, as I am given to understand, with scarce so much baggage as loads a mule; but, it is said, of infinite value, silk and samite, lace and furs, pearls and jewellery-work—perfumes 234 from the East, and gold-work from Venice."

"Raptures and paradise! say not a word more," exclaimed the rapacious knight of Hagenbach; "they are all our own, Kilian! Why, these are the very men I have dreamed of twice a week for this month past—ay, two men of middle stature, or somewhat under it—with smooth, round, fair, comely visages, having stomachs as plump as partridges, and purses as plump as their stomachs—Ha, what say'st thou to my dream, Kilian?"

"Only, that, to be quite soothfast," answered the squire, "it should have included the presence of a score, or thereabouts, of sturdy young giants as ever climbed cliff, or carried bolt to whistle at a chamois—a lusty plump of clubs, bills, and partisans, such as make shields crack like oaten cakes, and helmets ring like church-bells."

"The better, knave, the better!" exclaimed the Governor, rubbing his hands. "English pedlars to plunder! Swiss bullies to beat into submission! I wot well, we can have nothing of the Helvetian swine save their beastly bristles—it is lucky they bring these two island sheep along with them. But we must get ready our boar-spears, and clear the clipping-pens for exercise of our craft.—Here, Lieutenant Schonfeldt!"

An officer stepped forth.

"How many men are here on duty?"

"About sixty," replied the officer. "Twenty out on parties in different directions, and there may be forty or fifty in their quarters."

"Order them all under arms instantly;—hark ye, not by trumpet or bugle, but by warning them individually in their quarters, to draw to arms as 235 quietly as possible, and rendezvous here at the eastern gate. Tell the villains there is booty to be gained, and they shall have their share."

"On these terms," said Schonfeldt, "they will walk over a spider's web without startling the insect that wove it. I will collect them without loss of an instant."

"I tell thee, Kilian," continued the exulting commandant, again speaking apart with his confidential attendant, "nothing could come so luckily as the chance of this onslaught. Duke Charles desires to affront the Swiss,—not, look you, that he cares to act towards them by his own direct orders, in such a manner as might be termed a breach of public faith towards a peaceful embassy; but the gallant follower who shall save his prince the scandal of such an affair, and whose actions may be termed a mistake or misapprehension, shall, I warrant you, be accounted to have done knightly service. Perchance a frown may be passed upon him in public, but in private the Duke will know how to esteem him.—Why standest thou so silent, man, and what ails thy ugly ill-looking aspect? Thou art not afraid of twenty Switzer boys, and we at the head of such a band of spears?"

"The Swiss," answered Kilian, "will give and take good blows, yet I have no fear of them. But I like not that we should trust too much to Duke Charles. That he would be, in the first instance, pleased with any dishonour done the Swiss is likely enough; but if, as your excellency hints, he finds it afterwards convenient to disown the action, he is a prince likely to give a lively colour to his disavowal by hanging up the actors." 236

"Pshaw!" said the commandant, "I know where I stand. Such a trick were like enough to be played by Louis of France, but it is foreign to the blunt character of our Bold one of Burgundy.—Why the devil stand'st thou still, man, simpering like an ape at a roasted chestnut, which he thinks too warm for his fingers?"

"Your excellency is wise as well as warlike," said the esquire, "and it is not for me to contest your pleasure. But this peaceful embassy—these English merchants—if Charles goes to war with Louis, as the rumour is current, what he should most of all desire is the neutrality of Switzerland, and the assistance of England, whose King is crossing the sea with a great army. Now you, Sir Archibald of Hagenbach, may well do that in the course of this very morning which will put the Confederated Cantons in arms against Charles, and turn the English from allies into enemies."

"I care not," said the commandant; "I know the Duke's humour well, and if he, the master of so many provinces, is willing to risk them in a self-willed frolic, what is it to Archibald de Hagenbach, who has not a foot of land to lose in the cause?"

"But you have life, my lord," said the esquire.

"Ay, life!" replied the knight; "a paltry right to exist, which I have been ready to stake every day of my life for dollars—ay, and for kreutzers—and think you I will hesitate to pledge it for broad-pieces, jewels of the East, and goldsmith's work of Venice? No, Kilian; these English must be eased of their bales, that Archibald de Hagenbach may drink a purer flask than their thin Moselle, and wear a brocade doublet instead of 237 greasy velvet. Nor is it less necessary that Kilian should have a seemly new jerkin, with a purse of ducats to jingle at his girdle."

"By my faith," said Kilian, "that last argument hath disarmed my scruples, and I give up the point, since it ill befits me to dispute with your excellency."

"To the work then," said his leader. "But stay—we must first take the church along with us. The Priest of St. Paul's hath been moody of late, and spread abroad strange things from the pulpit, as if we were little better than common pillagers and robbers. Nay, he hath had the insolence to warn me, as he termed it, twice, in strange form. It were well to break the growling mastiff's bald head; but since that might be ill taken by the Duke, the next point of wisdom is to fling him a bone."

"He may be a dangerous enemy," said the squire dubiously; "his power is great with the people."

"Tush!" replied Hagenbach, "I know how to disarm the shaveling. Send to him, and tell him to come hither to speak with me. Meanwhile have all our force under arms; let the barbican and barrier be well manned with archers; station spearmen in the houses on each hand of the gateway; and let the street be barricaded with carts, well bound together, but placed as if they had been there by accident—place a body of determined fellows in these carts, and behind them. So soon as the merchants and their mules enter (for that is the main point), up with your drawbridge, down with the portcullis, send a volley of arrows among those who are without, if they make 238 any scuffle; disarm and secure those who have entered, and are cooped up between the barricade before, and the ambush behind and around them—And then, Kilian"——

"And then," said his esquire, "shall we, like merry Free Companions, be knuckle deep in the English budgets"——

"And, like jovial hunters," replied the knight, "elbow-deep in Swiss blood."

"The game will stand at bay though," answered Kilian. "They are led by that Donnerhugel whom we have heard of, whom they call the Young Bear of Berne. They will turn to their defence."

"The better, man—wouldst thou kill sheep rather than hunt wolves? Besides, our toils are set, and the whole garrison shall assist. Shame on thee, Kilian, thou wert not wont to have so many scruples!"

"Nor have I now," said Kilian. "But these Swiss bills, and two-handed swords of the breadth of four inches, are no child's play.—And then if you call all our garrison to the attack, to whom will your excellency intrust the defence of the other gates, and the circuit of the walls?"

"Lock, bolt, and chain up the gates," replied the Governor, "and bring the keys hither. There shall no one leave the place till this affair is over. Let some score of the citizens take arms for the duty of guarding the walls; and look they discharge it well, or I will lay a fine on them which they shall discharge to purpose."

"They will grumble," said Kilian. "They say, that not being the Duke's subjects, though the place is impledged to his Grace, they are not liable to military service." 239

"They lie! the cowardly slaves," answered De Hagenbach. "If I have not employed them much hitherto, it is because I scorn their assistance; nor would I now use their help, were it for anything save to keep a watch, by looking out straight before them. Let them obey, as they respect their property, persons, and families."

A deep voice behind them repeated the emphatic language of Scripture,—"I have seen the wicked man flourish in his power even like unto a laurel, but I returned and he was not—yea, I sought him, but he was not to be found."

Sir Archibald de Hagenbach turned sternly, and encountered the dark and ominous looks of the Priest of St. Paul's, dressed in the vestments of his order.

"We are busy, father," said the Governor, "and will hear your preachment another time."

"I come by your summons, Sir Governor," said the priest, "or I had not intruded myself where I well knew my preachments, if you term them so, will do no good."

"Oh, I crave your mercy, reverend father," said De Hagenbach. "Yes, it is true that I did send for you, to desire your prayers and kind intercession with Our Lady and St. Paul, in some transactions which are likely to occur this morning, and in which, as the Lombard says, I do espy roba di guadagno."

"Sir Archibald," answered the priest calmly, "I well hope and trust that you do not forget the nature of the glorified Saints so far as to ask them for their blessing upon such exploits as you have been too oft engaged in since your arrival amongst us—an event which of itself gave token of the 240 divine anger. Nay, let me say, humble as I am, that decency to a servant of the altar should check you from proposing to me to put up prayers for the success of pillage and robbery."

"I understand you, father," said the rapacious Governor, "and you shall see I do. While you are the Duke's subject, you must by your office put up your prayers for his success in matters that are fairly managed. You acknowledge this with a graceful bend of your reverend head? Well, then, I will be as reasonable as you are. Say we desire the intercession of the good Saints, and of you, their pious orator, in something a little out of the ordinary path, and, if you will, somewhat of a doubtful complexion,—are we entitled to ask you or them for their pains and trouble without a just consideration? Surely no. Therefore I vow and solemnly promise, that if I have good fortune in this morning's adventure, St. Paul shall have an altar-cloth and a basin of silver, large or little, as my booty will permit—Our Lady a web of satin for a full suit, with a necklace of pearl for holidays—and thou, priest, some twenty pieces of broad English gold, for acting as go-between betwixt ourselves and the blessed Apostles, whom we acknowledge ourselves unworthy to negotiate with in our profane person. And now, Sir Priest, do we understand each other, for I have little time to lose? I know you have hard thoughts of me, but you see the devil is not quite so horrible as he is painted."

"Do we understand each other?" answered the Black Priest of St. Paul's, repeating the Governor's question—"Alas, no! and I fear me we never shall. Hast thou never heard the words 241 spoken by the holy hermit, Berchtold of Offringen, to the implacable Queen Agnes, who had revenged with such dreadful severity the assassination of her father, the Emperor Albert?"

"Not I," returned the knight; "I have neither studied the chronicles of emperors, nor the legends of hermits; and therefore, Sir Priest, an you like not my proposal, let us have no further words on the matter. I am unwont to press my favours, or to deal with priests who require entreaty, when gifts are held out to them."

"Hear yet the words of the holy man," said the priest. "The time may come, and that shortly, when you would gladly desire to hear what you scornfully reject."

"Speak on, but be brief," said Archibald de Hagenbach; "and know, though thou mayst terrify or cajole the multitude, thou now speakest to one whose resolution is fixed far beyond the power of thy eloquence to melt."

"Know, then," said the Priest of St. Paul's, "that Agnes, daughter of the murdered Albert, after shedding oceans of blood in avenging his bloody death, founded at length the rich abbey of Königsfeldt; and, that it might have a superior claim to renowned sanctity, made a pilgrimage in person to the cell of the holy hermit, and besought of him to honour her abbey by taking up his residence there. But what was his reply?—Mark it and tremble. 'Begone, ruthless woman,' said the holy man; 'God will not be served with blood-guiltiness, and rejects the gifts which are obtained by violence and robbery. The Almighty loves mercy, justice, and humanity, and by the lovers of these only will He be worshipped.' And now, 242 Archibald of Hagenbach, once, twice, thrice, hast thou had warning. Live as becomes a man on whom sentence is passed, and who must expect execution."

Having spoken these words with a menacing tone and frowning aspect, the Priest of St. Paul's turned away from the Governor, whose first impulse was to command him to be arrested. But when he recollected the serious consequences which attached to the laying violent hands on a priest, he suffered him to depart in peace, conscious that his own unpopularity might render any attempt to revenge himself an act of great rashness. He called, therefore, for a beaker of Burgundy, in which he swallowed down his displeasure, and had just returned to Kilian the cup, which he had drained to the bottom, when the warden winded a blast from the watch-tower, which betokened the arrival of strangers at the gate of the city. 243


I will resist such entertainment, till

My enemy has more power.

The Tempest.

"That blast was but feebly blown," said De Hagenbach, ascending to the ramparts, from which he could see what passed on the outside of the gate. "Who approaches, Kilian?"

The trusty squire was hastening to meet him with the news.

"Two men with a mule, an it please your excellency; and merchants, I presume them to be."

"Merchants? 'Sdeath, villain! pedlars you mean. Heard ever man of English merchants tramping it on foot, with no more baggage than one mule can manage to carry? They must be beggarly Bohemians, or those whom the French people call Escossais. The knaves! they shall pay with the pining of their paunches for the poverty of their purses."

"Do not be too hasty, an please your excellency," quoth the squire; "small budgets hold rich goods. But, rich or poor, they are our men, at least they have all the marks—the elder, well-sized and dark-visaged, may write fifty and five years, a beard somewhat grizzled;—the younger, some two-and-twenty, taller than the first, and a well-favoured lad, with a smooth chin and light-brown mustaches." 244

"Let them be admitted," said the Governor, turning back in order again to descend to the street, "and bring them into the folter-kammer of the toll-house."

So saying, he betook himself to the place appointed, which was an apartment in the large tower that protected the eastern gateway, in which were deposited the rack, with various other instruments of torture, which the cruel and rapacious Governor was in the habit of applying to such prisoners from whom he was desirous of extorting either booty or information. He entered the apartment, which was dimly lighted, and had a lofty Gothic roof which could be but imperfectly seen, while nooses and cords hanging down from thence announced a fearful connection with various implements of rusted iron that hung round the walls or lay scattered on the floor.

A faint stream of light through one of the numerous and narrow slits, or shot-holes, with which the walls were garnished, fell directly upon the person and visage of a tall swarthy man, seated in what, but for the partial illumination, would have been an obscure corner of this evil-boding apartment. His features were regular, and even handsome, but of a character peculiarly stern and sinister. This person's dress was a cloak of scarlet; his head was bare, and surrounded by shaggy locks of black, which time had partly grizzled. He was busily employed in furbishing and burnishing a broad two-handed sword, of a peculiar shape, and considerably shorter than the weapons of that kind which we have described as used by the Swiss. He was so deeply engaged in his task, that he started as the heavy door opened with a 245 jarring noise, and the sword, escaping from his hold, rolled on the stone floor with a heavy clash.

"Ha! Scharfgerichter," said the Knight, as he entered the folter-kammer, "thou art preparing for thy duty?"

"It would ill become your excellency's servant," answered the man, in a harsh deep tone, "to be found idle. But the prisoner is not far off, as I can judge by the fall of my sword, which infallibly announces the presence of him who shall feel its edge."

"The prisoners are at hand, Francis," replied the Governor; "but thy omen has deceived thee for once. They are fellows for whom a good rope will suffice, and thy sword drinks only noble blood."

"The worse for Francis Steinernherz," replied the official in scarlet: "I trusted that your excellency, who have ever been a bountiful patron, should this day have made me noble."

"Noble!" said the Governor; "thou art mad—Thou noble! The common executioner!"

"And wherefore not, Sir Archibald de Hagenbach? I think the name of Francis Steinernherz von Blut-acker will suit nobility, being fairly and legally won, as well as another. Nay, do not stare on me thus. If one of my profession shall do his grim office on nine men of noble birth, with the same weapon, and with a single blow to each patient, hath he not a right to his freedom from taxes, and his nobility by patent?"

"So says the law," said Sir Archibald, after reflecting for a moment,—"but rather more in scorn than seriously, I should judge, since no one was ever known to claim the benefit of it." 246

"The prouder boast for him," said the functionary, "that shall be the first to demand the honours due to a sharp sword and a clean stroke. I, Francis Steinernherz, will be the first noble of my profession, when I shall have despatched one more knight of the Empire."

"Thou hast been ever in my service, hast thou not?" demanded De Hagenbach.

"Under what other master," replied the executioner, "could I have enjoyed such constant practice? I have executed your decrees on condemned sinners since I could swing a scourge, lift a crowbar, or wield this trusty weapon; and who can say I ever failed of my first blow, or needed to deal a second? Tristrem of the Hospital, and his famous assistants, Petit André and Trois Eschelles, are novices compared with me in the use of the noble and knightly sword. Marry, I should be ashamed to match myself with them in the field practice with bowstring and dagger; these are no feats worthy of a Christian man who would rise to honour and nobility."

"Thou art a fellow of excellent address, and I do not deny it," replied De Hagenbach. "But it cannot be—I trust it cannot be—that when noble blood is becoming scarce in the land, and proud churls are lording it over knights and barons, I myself should have caused so much to be spilled?"

"I will number the patients to your excellency by name and title," said Francis, drawing out a scroll of parchment, and reading with a commentary as he went on,—"There was Count William of Elvershoe—he was my assay-piece, a sweet youth, and died most like a Christian."

"I remember—he was indeed a most smart 247 youth, and courted my mistress," said Sir Archibald.

"He died on St. Jude's, in the year of grace 1455," said the executioner.

"Go on—but name no dates," said the Governor.

"Sir Miles of Stockenborg"——

"He drove off my cattle," observed his excellency.

"Sir Louis of Riesenfeldt"—continued the executioner.

"He made love to my wife," commented the Governor.

"The three Yung-herren of Lammerbourg—you made their father, the Count, childless in one day."

"And he made me landless," said Sir Archibald, "so that account is settled.—Thou needest read no further," he continued: "I admit thy record, though it is written in letters somewhat of the reddest. I had counted these three young gentlemen as one execution."

"You did me the greater wrong," said Francis; "they cost three good separate blows of this good sword."

"Be it so, and God be with their souls," said Hagenbach. "But thy ambition must go to sleep for a while, Scharfgerichter, for the stuff that came hither to-day is for dungeon and cord, or perhaps a touch of the rack or strappado—there is no honour to win on them."

"The worse luck mine," said the executioner. "I had dreamed so surely that your honour had made me noble;—and then the fall of my sword?"

"Take a bowl of wine, and forget your auguries." 248

"With your honour's permission, no," said the executioner; "to drink before noon were to endanger the nicety of my hand."

"Be silent, then, and mind your duty," said De Hagenbach.

Francis took up his sheathless sword, wiped the dust reverently from it, and withdrew into a corner of the chamber, where he stood leaning with his hands on the pommel of the fatal weapon.

Almost immediately afterwards, Kilian entered at the head of five or six soldiers, conducting the two Philipsons, whose arms were tied down with cords.

"Approach me a chair," said the Governor, and took his place gravely beside a table, on which stood writing-materials. "Who are these men, Kilian, and wherefore are they bound?"

"So please your excellency," said Kilian, with a deep respect of manner, which entirely differed from the tone, approaching to familiarity, with which he communicated with his master in private, "we thought it well that these two strangers should not appear armed in your gracious presence; and when we required of them to surrender their weapons at the gate, as is the custom of the garrison, this young gallant must needs offer resistance. I admit he gave up his weapon at his father's command."

"It is false!" exclaimed young Philipson; but his father making a sign to him to be silent, he obeyed instantly.

"Noble sir," said the elder Philipson, "we are strangers, and unacquainted with the rules of this citadel; we are Englishmen, and unaccustomed to submit to personal mishandling; we trust you 249 will have excuse for us, when we found ourselves, without any explanation of the cause, rudely seized on by we knew not whom. My son, who is young and unthinking, did partly draw his weapon, but desisted at my command, without having altogether unsheathed his sword, far less made a blow. For myself, I am a merchant, accustomed to submit to the laws and customs of the countries in which I traffic; I am in the territories of the Duke of Burgundy, and I know his laws and customs must be just and equitable. He is the powerful and faithful ally of England, and I fear nothing while under his banner."

"Hem! hem!" replied De Hagenbach, a little disconcerted by the Englishman's composure, and perhaps recollecting, that, unless his passions were awakened (as in the case of the Swiss, whom he detested), Charles of Burgundy deserved the character of a just though severe prince,—"Fair words are well, but hardly make amends for foul actions. You have drawn swords in riot, and opposition to the Duke's soldiers, when obeying the mandates which regulate their watch."

"Surely, sir," answered Philipson, "this is a severe construction of a most natural action. But, in a word, if you are disposed to be rigorous, the simple action of drawing, or attempting to draw a sword, in a garrison town, is only punishable by pecuniary fine, and such we must pay, if it be your will."

"Now, here is a silly sheep," said Kilian to the executioner, beside whom he had stationed himself, somewhat apart from the group, "who voluntarily offers his own fleece to the clipper."

"It will scarcely serve as a ransom for his 250 throat, Sir Squire," answered Francis Steinernherz; "for, look you, I dreamed last night that our master made me noble, and I knew by the fall of my sword that this is the man by whom I am to mount to gentility. I must this very day deal on him with my good sword."

"Why, thou ambitious fool," said the esquire, "this is no noble, but an island pedlar—a mere English citizen."

"Thou art deceived," said the executioner, "and hast never looked on men when they are about to die."

"Have I not?" said the squire. "Have I not looked on five pitched fields, besides skirmishes and ambuscades innumerable?"

"That tries not the courage," said the Scharfgerichter. "All men will fight when pitched against each other. So will the most paltry curs—so will the dunghill fowls. But he is brave and noble who can look on a scaffold and a block, a priest to give him absolution, and the headsman and good sword which is to mow him down in his strength, as he would look upon things indifferent; and such a man is that whom we now behold."

"Yes," answered Kilian, "but that man looks not on such an apparatus—he only sees our illustrious patron, Sir Archibald de Hagenbach."

"And he who looks upon Sir Archibald," said the executioner, "being, as yonder man assuredly is, a person of sense and apprehension, looks he not upon sword and headsman? Assuredly that prisoner apprehends as much, and being so composed as he is under such conviction, it shows him to be a nobleman by blood, or may I myself never win nobility!" 251

"Our master will come to compromise with him, I judge," replied Kilian; "he looks smilingly on him."

"Never trust to me, then," said the man in scarlet; "there is a glance in Sir Archibald's eye which betokens blood, as surely as the dog-star bodes pestilence."

While these dependants of Sir Archibald de Hagenbach were thus conversing apart, their master had engaged the prisoners in a long train of captious interrogatories concerning their business in Switzerland, their connection with the Landamman, and the cause of their travelling into Burgundy, to all which the senior Philipson gave direct and plain answers, excepting to the last. He was going, he said, into Burgundy, for the purpose of his traffic—his wares were at the disposal of the Governor, who might detain all, or any part of them, as he might be disposed to make himself answerable to his master. But his business with the Duke was of a private nature, respecting some particular matters of commerce, in which others as well as he himself were interested. To the Duke alone, he declared, would he communicate the affair; and he pressed it strongly on the Governor, that if he should sustain any damage in his own person or that of his son, the Duke's severe displeasure would be the inevitable consequence.

De Hagenbach was evidently much embarrassed by the steady tone of his prisoner, and more than once held counsel with the bottle, his never-failing oracle in cases of extreme difficulty. Philipson had readily surrendered to the Governor a list or invoice of his merchandise, which was of so inviting 252 a character that Sir Archibald absolutely gloated over it. After remaining in deep meditation for some time, he raised his head and spoke thus:—

"You must be well aware, Sir Merchant, that it is the Duke's pleasure that no Swiss merchandise shall pass through his territories; and that, nevertheless, you having been, by your own account, some time in that country, and having also accompanied a body of men calling themselves Swiss Deputies, I am authorised to believe that these valuable articles are rather the property of those persons, than of a single individual of so poor an appearance as yourself, and that, should I demand pecuniary satisfaction, three hundred pieces of gold would not be an extravagant fine for so bold a practice; and you might wander where you will with the rest of your wares, so you bring them not into Burgundy."

"But it is to Burgundy, and to the Duke's presence, that I am expressly bound," said the Englishman. "If I go not thither my journey is wrecked, and the Duke's displeasure is certain to light on those who may molest me. For I make your excellency aware, that your gracious Prince already knows of my journey, and will make strict inquiry where and by whom I have been intercepted."

Again the Governor was silent, endeavouring to decide how he might best reconcile the gratification of his rapacity with precaution for his safety. After a few minutes' consideration he again addressed his prisoner.

"Thou art very positive in thy tale, my good friend; but my orders are equally so to exclude 253 merchandise coming from Switzerland. What if I put thy mule and baggage under arrest?"

"I cannot withstand your power, my lord, to do what you will. I will in that case go to the Duke's footstool, and do my errand there."

"Ay, and my errand also," answered the Governor. "That is, thou wilt carry thy complaint to the Duke against the Governor of La Ferette, for executing his orders too strictly?"

"On my life and honest word," answered the Englishman, "I will make no complaint. Leave me but my ready money, without which I can hardly travel to the Duke's court, and I will look no more after these goods and wares than the stag looks after the antlers which he shed last year."

Again the Governor of La Ferette looked doubtful, and shook his head.

"Men in such a case as yours," he said, "cannot be trusted, nor, to say truth, is it reasonable to expect they should be trustworthy. These same wares, designed for the Duke's private hand, in what do they consist?"

"They are under seal," replied the Englishman.

"They are of rare value, doubtless?" continued the Governor.

"I cannot tell," answered the elder Philipson; "I know the Duke sets great store by them. But your excellency knows, that great princes sometimes place a high value on trifles."

"Bear you them about you?" said the Governor. "Take heed how you answer—Look around you on these engines, which can bring a dumb man to speak, and consider I have the power to employ them!"

"And I the courage to support their worst 254 infliction," answered Philipson, with the same impenetrable coolness which he had maintained throughout the whole conference.

"Remember, also," said Hagenbach, "that I can have your person searched as thoroughly as your mails and budgets."

"I do remember that I am wholly in thy power; and that I may leave thee no excuse for employing force on a peaceful traveller, I will own to you," said Philipson, "that I have the Duke's packet in the bosom of my doublet."

"Bring it forth," answered the Governor.

"My hands are tied, both in honour and literally," said the Englishman.

"Pluck it from his bosom, Kilian," said Sir Archibald; "let us see this gear he talks of."

"Could resistance avail," replied the stout merchant, "you should pluck forth my heart first. But I pray all who are present to observe that the seals are every one whole and unbroken at this moment when it is forcibly taken from my person."

As he spoke thus he looked around on the soldiers, whose presence De Hagenbach had perhaps forgotten.

"How, dog!" said Sir Archibald, giving way to his passion, "would you stir up mutiny among my men-at-arms?—Kilian, let the soldiers wait without."

So saying, he hastily placed under cover of his own robe the small but remarkably well-secured packet which Kilian had taken from the merchant's person. The soldiers withdrew, lingering, however, and looking back, like children brought away from a show before its final conclusion. 255

"So, fellow!" again began De Hagenbach, "we are now more private. Wilt thou deal more on the level with me, and tell me what this packet is, and whence it comes?"

"Could all your garrison be crowded into this room, I can only answer as before.—The contents I do not precisely know—the person by whom it was sent I am determined not to name."

"Perhaps your son," said the Governor, "may be more compliant."

"He cannot tell you that of which he is himself ignorant," answered the merchant.

"Perchance the rack may make you both find your tongues;—and we will try it on the young fellow first, Kilian, since thou knowest we have seen men shrink from beholding the wrenched joints of their children, that would have committed their own old sinews to the stretching with much endurance."

"You may make the trial," said Arthur, "and Heaven will give me strength to endure"——

"And me courage to behold," added his father.

All this while the Governor was turning and re-turning the little packet in his hand, curiously inspecting every fold, and regretting, doubtless, in secret, that a few patches of wax, placed under an envelope of crimson satin, and ligatures of twisted silk cord, should prevent his eager eyes from ascertaining the nature of the treasure which he doubted not it concealed. At length he again called in the soldiers, and delivered up the two prisoners to their charge, commanding that they should be kept safely, and in separate holds, and that the father, in particular, should be most carefully looked after. 256

"I take you all here to witness," exclaimed the elder Philipson, despising the menacing signs of De Hagenbach, "that the Governor detains from me a packet, addressed to his most gracious lord and master, the Duke of Burgundy."

De Hagenbach actually foamed at the mouth with passion.

"And should I not detain it?" he exclaimed, in a voice inarticulate with rage. "May there not be some foul practice against the life of our most gracious sovereign, by poison or otherwise, in this suspicious packet, brought by a most suspicious bearer? Have we never heard of poisons which do their work by the smell? And shall we, who keep the gate, as I may say, of his Grace of Burgundy's dominions, give access to what may rob Europe of its pride of chivalry, Burgundy of its prince, and Flanders of her father?—No! Away with these miscreants, soldiers—down to the lowest dungeons with them—keep them separate, and watch them carefully. This treasonable practice has been meditated with the connivance of Berne and Soleure."

Thus Sir Archibald de Hagenbach raved, with a raised voice and inflamed countenance, lashing himself as it were into passion, until the steps of the soldiers, and the clash of their arms, as they retired with the prisoners, were no longer audible. His complexion, when these had ceased, waxed paler than was natural to him—his brow was furrowed with anxious wrinkles—and his voice became lower and more hesitating than ordinary, as, turning to his esquire, he said, "Kilian, we stand upon a slippery plank, with a raging torrent beneath us—What is to be done?" 257

Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios.

"Marry, to move forward with a resolved yet prudent step," answered the crafty Kilian. "It is unlucky that all these fellows should have seen the packet, and heard the appeal of yonder iron-nerved trader. But this ill luck has befallen us, and the packet having been in your excellency's hands, you will have all the credit of having broken the seals; for, though you leave them as entire as the moment they were impressed, it will only be supposed they have been ingeniously replaced. Let us see what are the contents, before we determine what is to be done with them. They must be of rare value, since the churl merchant was well contented to leave behind all his rich mule's-load of merchandise, so that this precious packet might pass unexamined."

"They may be papers on some political matter. Many such, and of high importance, pass secretly between Edward of England and our bold Duke." Such was the reply of De Hagenbach.

"If they be papers of consequence to the Duke," answered Kilian, "we can forward them to Dijon.—Or they may be such as Louis of France would purchase with their weight of gold."

"For shame, Kilian!" said the Knight. "Wouldst thou have me betray my master's secrets to the King of France? Sooner would I lay my head on the block."

"Indeed? And yet your excellency hesitates not to"——

Here the squire stopped, apparently for fear of giving offence, by affixing a name too broad and intelligible to the practices of his patron.

"To plunder the Duke, thou wouldst say, thou impudent slave? And, saying so, thou wouldst 258 be as dull as thou art wont to be," answered De Hagenbach. "I partake, indeed, in the plunder which the Duke takes from aliens; and reason good. Even so the hound and the hawk have their share of the quarry they bring down—ay, and the lion's share too, unless the huntsman or falconer be all the nearer to them. Such are the perquisites of my rank; and the Duke, who placed me here for the gratification of his resentment, and the bettering of my fortune, does not grudge them to a faithful servant. And, indeed, I may term myself, in so far as this territory of La Ferette extends, the Duke's full representative, or, as it may be termed, Alter Ego—and, thereupon, I will open this packet, which, being addressed to him, is thereby equally addressed to me."

Having thus in a manner talked himself up to an idea of his own high authority, he cut the strings of the packet which he had all this while held in his hand, and, undoing the outer coverings, produced a very small case made of sandalwood.

"The contents," he said, "had need to be valuable, as they lie in so little compass."

So saying he pressed the spring, and the casket, opening, displayed a necklace of diamonds, distinguished by brilliancy and size, and apparently of extraordinary value. The eyes of the avaricious Governor, and his no less rapacious attendant, were so dazzled with the unusual splendour, that for some time they could express nothing save joy and surprise.

"Ay, marry, sir," said Kilian, "the obstinate old knave had reasons for his hardihood. My own joints should have stood a strain or two ere I 259 surrendered such sparklers as these.—And now, Sir Archibald, may your trusty follower ask you how this booty is to be divided between the Duke and his Governor, according to the most approved rules of garrison towns?"

"Faith, we will suppose the garrison stormed, Kilian; and in a storm, thou know'st, the first finder takes all—with due consideration always of his trusty followers."

"As myself, for example," said Kilian.

"Ay, and myself, for example," answered a voice, which sounded like the echo of the esquire's words, from the remote corner of the ancient apartment.

"'Sdeath! we are overheard," exclaimed the Governor, starting and laying his hand on his dagger.

"Only by a faithful follower, as the worthy esquire observes," said the executioner, moving slowly forward.

"Villain, how didst thou dare watch me?" said Sir Archibald de Hagenbach.

"Trouble not yourself for that, sir," said Kilian. "Honest Steinernherz has no tongue to speak, or ear to hear, save according to your pleasure. Indeed, we must shortly have taken him into our counsels, seeing these men must be dealt upon, and that speedily."

"Indeed!" said De Hagenbach; "I had thought they might be spared."

"To tell the Duke of Burgundy how the Governor of La Ferette accounts to his treasurer for the duties and forfeitures at his custom-house?" demanded Kilian.

"'Tis true," said the Knight; "dead men have 260 neither teeth nor tongue—they bite not, and they tell no tales. Thou wilt take order with them, Scharfgerichter."

"I will, my lord," answered the executioner, "on condition that, if this must be in the way of dungeon execution, which I call cellar practice, my privilege to claim nobility shall be saved and reserved to me, and the execution shall be declared to be as effectual to my claim, as it might have been if the blow had been dealt in broad daylight, with my honourable blade of office."

De Hagenbach stared at the executioner, as not understanding what he meant; on which Kilian took occasion to explain, that the Scharfgerichter was strongly impressed, from the free and dauntless conduct of the elder prisoner, that he was a man of noble blood, from whose decapitation he would himself derive all the advantages proposed to the headsman who should execute his function on nine men of illustrious extraction.

"He may be right," said Sir Archibald, "for here is a slip of parchment, commending the bearer of this carcanet to the Duke, desiring him to accept it as a true token from one well known to him, and to give the bearer full credence in all that he should say on the part of those by whom he is sent."

"By whom is the note signed, if I may make bold to ask?" said Kilian.

"There is no name—the Duke must be supposed to collect that information from the gems, or perhaps the handwriting."

"On neither of which he is likely to have a speedy opportunity of exercising his ingenuity," said Kilian. 261

De Hagenbach looked at the diamonds, and smiled darkly. The Scharfgerichter, encouraged by the familiarity into which he had in a manner forced himself, returned to his plea, and insisted on the nobility of the supposed merchant. Such a trust, and such a letter of unlimited credence, could never, he contended, be intrusted to a man meanly born.[7]

"Thou art deceived, thou fool," said the Knight; "kings now use the lowest tools to do their dearest offices. Louis has set the example of putting his barber, and the valets of his chamber, to do the work formerly intrusted to dukes and peers; and other monarchs begin to think that it is better, in choosing their agents for important affairs, to judge rather by the quality of men's brains than that of their blood. And as for the stately look and bold bearing which distinguish yonder fellow in the eyes of cravens like thee, it belongs to his country, not his rank. Thou think'st it is in England as in Flanders, where a city-bred burgher of Ghent, Liège, or Ypres is as distinct an animal from a knight of Hainault as a Flanders wagon horse from a Spanish jennet. But thou art deceived. England has many a merchant as haughty of heart, and as prompt of hand, as any noble-born son of her rich bosom. But be not dejected, thou foolish man; do thy business well on this merchant, and we shall presently have on our hands the Landamman of Unterwalden, who, though a churl by his choice, is yet a nobleman by blood, and shall, by 262 his well-deserved death, aid thee to get rid of the peasant slough which thou art so weary of."

"Were not your excellency better adjourn these men's fate," said Kilian, "till you hear something of them from the Swiss prisoners whom we shall presently have in our power?"

"Be it as you will," said Hagenbach, waving his hand, as if putting aside some disagreeable task. "But let all be finished ere I hear of it again."

The stern satellites bowed obedience, and the deadly conclave broke up; their chief carefully securing the valuable gems, which he was willing to purchase at the expense of treachery to the sovereign in whose employment he had enlisted himself, as well as the blood of two innocent men. Yet, with a weakness of mind not uncommon to great criminals, he shrank from the thoughts of his own baseness and cruelty, and endeavoured to banish the feeling of dishonour from his mind, by devolving the immediate execution of his villany upon his subordinate agents. 263


And this place our forefathers built for man!

Old Play.

The dungeon in which the younger Philipson was immured was one of those gloomy caverns which cry shame on the inhumanity of our ancestors. They seem to have been almost insensible to the distinction betwixt innocence and guilt, as the consequences of mere accusation must have been far more severe in those days than is in our own that species of imprisonment which is adjudged as an express punishment for crime.

The cell of Arthur Philipson was of considerable length, but dark and narrow, and dug out of the solid rock upon which the tower was founded. A small lamp was allowed him, not, however, without some grumbling, but his arms were still kept bound; and when he asked for a draught of water, one of the grim satellites by whom he was thrust into this cell answered surlily that he might endure his thirst for all the time his life was likely to last—a gloomy response, which augured that his privations would continue as long as his life, yet neither be of long duration. By the dim lamp he had groped his way to a bench, or rough seat, cut in the rock; and, as his eyes got gradually accustomed to the obscurity of the region in which he was immured, he became aware of a 264 ghastly cleft in the floor of his dungeon, somewhat resembling the opening of a draw-well, but irregular in its aperture, and apparently the mouth of a gulf of Nature's conformation, slightly assisted by the labour of human art.

"Here, then, is my death-bed," he said, "and that gulf perhaps the grave which yawns for my remains! Nay, I have heard of prisoners being plunged into such horrid abysses while they were yet alive, to die at leisure, crushed with wounds, their groans unheard, and their fate unpitied!"

He approached his head to the dismal cavity, and heard, as at a great depth, the sound of a sullen and, as it seemed, subterranean stream. The sunless waves appeared murmuring for their victim. Death is dreadful at all ages; but in the first springtide of youth, with all the feelings of enjoyment afloat, and eager for gratification, to be snatched forcibly from the banquet to which the individual has but just sat down, is peculiarly appalling, even when the change comes in the ordinary course of nature. But to sit, like young Philipson, on the brink of the subterranean abyss, and ruminate in horrid doubt concerning the mode in which death was to be inflicted, was a situation which might break the spirit of the boldest; and the unfortunate captive was wholly unable to suppress the natural tears that flowed from his eyes in torrents, and which his bound arms did not permit him to wipe away. We have already noticed that, although a gallant young man in aught of danger which was to be faced and overcome by active exertion, the youth was strongly imaginative, and sensitive to a powerful extent to all those exaggerations which, in a situation of helpless 265 uncertainty, fancy lends to distract the soul of him who must passively expect an approaching evil.

Yet the feelings of Arthur Philipson were not selfish. They reverted to his father, whose just and noble character was as much formed to attract veneration, as his unceasing paternal care and affection to excite love and gratitude. He too was in the hands of remorseless villains, who were determined to conceal robbery by secret murder—he too, undaunted in so many dangers, resolute in so many encounters, lay bound and defenceless, exposed to the dagger of the meanest stabber. Arthur remembered, too, the giddy peak of the rock near Geierstein, and the grim vulture which claimed him as its prey. Here was no angel to burst through the mist, and marshal him on a path of safety—here the darkness was subterranean and eternal, saving when the captive should behold the knife of the ruffian flash against the lamp which lent him light to aim the fatal blow. This agony of mind lasted until the feelings of the unhappy prisoner arose to ecstasy. He started up, and struggled so hard to free himself of his bonds, that it seemed they should have fallen from him as from the arms of the mighty Nazarene. But the cords were of too firm a texture; and after a violent and unavailing struggle, in which the ligatures seemed to enter his flesh, the prisoner lost his balance, and, while the feeling thrilled through him that he was tumbling backward into the subterranean abyss, he fell to the ground with great force.

Fortunately he escaped the danger which in his agony he apprehended, but so narrowly, that his head struck against the low and broken fence with 266 which the mouth of the horrible pit was partly surrounded. Here he lay stunned and motionless, and, as the lamp was extinguished in his fall, immersed in absolute and total darkness. He was recalled to sensation by a jarring noise.

"They come—they come—the murderers! Oh, Lady of Mercy! and oh, gracious Heaven, forgive my transgressions!"

He looked up, and observed, with dazzled eyes, that a dark form approached him, with a knife in one hand and a torch in the other. He might well have seemed the man who was to do the last deed upon the unhappy prisoner, if he had come alone. But he came not alone—his torch gleamed upon the white dress of a female, which was so much illuminated by it that Arthur could discover a form, and had even a glimpse of features, never to be forgotten, though now seen under circumstances least of all to be expected. The prisoner's unutterable astonishment impressed him with a degree of awe which overcame even his personal fear—"Can these things be?" was his muttered reflection. "Has she really the power of an elementary spirit? Has she conjured up this earthlike and dark demon to concur with her in my deliverance?"

It appeared as if his guess were real; for the figure in black, giving the light to Anne of Geierstein, or at least the form which bore her perfect resemblance, stooped over the prisoner, and cut the cord that bound his arms, with so much despatch that it seemed as if it fell from his person at a touch. Arthur's first attempt to arise was unsuccessful, and a second time it was the hand of Anne of Geierstein—a living hand, sensible to touch as 267 to sight—which aided to raise and to support him, as it had formerly done when the tormented waters of the river thundered at their feet. Her touch produced an effect far beyond that of the slight personal aid which the maiden's strength could have rendered. Courage was restored to his heart, vigour and animation to his benumbed and bruised limbs; such influence does the human mind, when excited to energy, possess over the infirmities of the human body. He was about to address Anne in accents of the deepest gratitude. But the accents died away on his tongue, when the mysterious female, laying her finger on her lips, made him a sign to be silent, and at the same time beckoned him to follow her. He obeyed in silent amazement. They passed the entrance of the melancholy dungeon, and through one or two short but intricate passages, which, cut out of the rock in some places, and built in others with hewn stone of the same kind, probably led to holds similar to that in which Arthur was so lately a captive.

The recollection that his father might be immured in some such horrid cell as he himself had just quitted, induced Arthur to pause as they reached the bottom of a small winding staircase, which conducted apparently from this region of the building.

"Come," he said, "dearest Anne, lead me to his deliverance! I must not leave my father."

She shook her head impatiently, and beckoned him on.

"If your power extends not to save my father's life, I will remain and save him or die!—Anne, dearest Anne"—— 268

She answered not, but her companion replied, in a deep voice, not unsuitable to his appearance, "Speak, young man, to those who are permitted to answer you; or rather, be silent, and listen to my instructions, which direct to the only course which can bring thy father to freedom and safety."

They ascended the stair, Anne of Geierstein going first; while Arthur, who followed close behind, could not help thinking that her form gave existence to a part of the light which her garment reflected from the torch. This was probably the effect of the superstitious belief impressed on his mind by Rudolph's tale respecting her mother, and which was confirmed by her sudden appearance in a place and situation where she was so little to have been expected. He had not much time, however, to speculate upon her appearance or demeanour, for, mounting the stair with a lighter pace than he was able at the time to follow closely, she was no longer to be seen when he reached the landing-place. But whether she had melted into the air, or turned aside into some other passage, he was not permitted a moment's leisure to examine.

"Here lies your way," said his sable guide; and at the same time dashing out the light, and seizing Philipson by the arm, he led him along a dark gallery of considerable length. The young man was not without some momentary misgivings, while he recollected the ominous looks of his conductor, and that he was armed with a dagger, or knife, which he could plunge of a sudden into his bosom. But he could not bring himself to dread treachery from any one whom he had seen in company with Anne of Geierstein; and in his 269 heart he demanded her pardon for the fear which had flashed across him, and resigned himself to the guidance of his companion, who advanced with hasty but light footsteps, and cautioned him by a whisper to do the same.

"Our journey," he at length said, "ends here."

As he spoke, a door gave way, and admitted them into a gloomy Gothic apartment, furnished with large oaken presses, apparently filled with books and manuscripts. As Arthur looked round, with eyes dazzled with the sudden gleam of daylight from which he had been for some time excluded, the door by which they had entered disappeared. This, however, did not greatly surprise him, who judged that, being formed in appearance to correspond with the presses around the entrance which they had used, it could not when shut be distinguished from them; a device sometimes then practised, as indeed it often is at the present day. He had now a full view of his deliverer, who, when seen by daylight, showed only the vestments and features of a clergyman, without any of that expression of supernatural horror which the partial light and the melancholy appearance of all in the dungeon had combined to impress on him.

Young Philipson once more breathed with freedom, as one awakened from a hideous dream; and the supernatural qualities with which his imagination had invested Anne of Geierstein having begun to vanish, he addressed his deliverer thus: "That I may testify my thanks, holy father, where they are so especially due, let me inquire of you if Anne of Geierstein"——

"Speak of that which pertains to your house and 270 family," answered the priest, as briefly as before. "Hast thou so soon forgot thy father's danger?"

"By heavens, no!" replied the youth. "Tell me but how to act for his deliverance, and thou shalt see how a son can fight for a parent!"

"It is well, for it is needful," said the priest. "Don thou this vestment, and follow me."

The vestment presented was the gown and hood of a novice.

"Draw the cowl over thy face," said the priest, "and return no answer to any man who meets thee. I will say thou art under a vow.—May Heaven forgive the unworthy tyrant who imposes on us the necessity of such profane dissimulation! Follow me close and near—beware that you speak not."

The business of disguise was soon accomplished, and the Priest of St. Paul's, for such he was, moving on, Arthur followed him a pace or two behind, assuming as well as he could the modest step and humble demeanour of a spiritual novice. On leaving the library, or study, and descending a short stair, he found himself in the street of Brisach. Irresistibly tempted to look back, he had only time, however, to see that the house he had left was a very small building of a Gothic character, on the one side of which rose the church of St. Paul's, and on the other the stern black gate-house, or entrance-tower.

"Follow me, Melchior," said the deep voice of the priest; and his keen eyes were at the same time fixed upon the supposed novice, with a look which instantly recalled Arthur to a sense of his situation.

They passed along, nobody noticing them, unless 271 to greet the priest with a silent obeisance, or muttered phrase of salutation, until, having nearly gained the middle of the village, the guide turned abruptly off from the street, and, moving northward by a short lane, reached a flight of steps, which, as usual in fortified towns, led to the banquette, or walk behind the parapet, which was of the old Gothic fashion, flanked with towers from space to space, of different forms and various heights at different angles.

There were sentinels on the walls; but the watch, as it seemed, was kept not by regular soldiers, but by burghers, with spears, or swords, in their hands. The first whom they passed said to the priest, in a half-whispered tone, "Holds our purpose?"

"It holds," replied the Priest of St. Paul's.—"Benedicite!"

"Deo Gratias!" replied the armed citizen, and continued his walk upon the battlements.

The other sentinels seemed to avoid them; for they disappeared when they came near, or passed them without looking, or seeming to observe them. At last their walk brought them to an ancient turret, which raised its head above the wall, and in which there was a small door opening from the battlement. It was in a corner, distinct from and uncommanded by any of the angles of the fortification. In a well-guarded fortress, such a point ought to have had a sentinel for its special protection, but no one was there upon duty.

"Now mark me," said the priest, "for your father's life, and, it may be, that of many a man besides, depends upon your attention, and no less upon your despatch.—You can run?—you can leap?" 272

"I feel no weariness, father, since you freed me," answered Arthur; "and the dun deer that I have often chased shall not beat me in such a wager."

"Observe then," replied the Black Priest of St. Paul's, "this turret contains a staircase, which descends to a small sallyport. I will give you entrance to it—The sallyport is barred on the inside, but not locked. It will give you access to the moat, which is almost entirely dry. On crossing it, you will find yourself in the circuit of the outer barriers. You may see sentinels, but they will not see you—speak not to them, but make your way over the palisade as you can. I trust you can climb over an undefended rampart?"

"I have surmounted a defended one," said Arthur. "What is my next charge?—All this is easy."

"You will see a species of thicket, or stretch of low bushes—make for it with all speed. When you are there, turn to the eastward; but beware, while holding that course, that you are not seen by the Burgundian Free Companions, who are on watch on that part of the walls. A volley of arrows, and the sally of a body of cavalry in pursuit, will be the consequence, if they get sight of you; and their eyes are those of the eagle, that spy the carnage afar off."

"I will be heedful," said the young Englishman.

"You will find," continued the priest, "upon the outer side of the thicket a path, or rather a sheep-track, which, sweeping at some distance from the walls, will conduct you at last into the road leading from Brisach to Bâle. Hasten forward to meet the Swiss, who are advancing. Tell them your father's hours are counted, and that 273 they must press on if they would save him; and say to Rudolph Donnerhugel, in especial, that the Black Priest of St. Paul's waits to bestow upon him his blessing at the northern sallyport. Dost thou understand me?"

"Perfectly," answered the young man.

The Priest of St. Paul's then pushed open the low-browed gate of the turret, and Arthur was about to precipitate himself down the stair which opened before him.

"Stay yet a moment," said the priest, "and doff the novice's habit, which can only encumber thee."

Arthur in a trice threw it from him, and was again about to start.

"Stay yet a moment longer," continued the Black Priest. "This gown may be a tell-tale—Stay, therefore, and help me to pull off my upper garment."

Inwardly glowing with impatience, Arthur yet saw the necessity of obeying his guide; and when he had pulled the long and loose upper vestment from the old man, he stood before him in a cassock of black serge, befitting his order and profession, but begirt, not with a suitable sash such as clergymen wear, but with a most uncanonical buff-belt, supporting a short two-edged sword, calculated alike to stab and to smite.

"Give me now the novice's habit," said the venerable father, "and over that I will put the priestly vestment. Since for the present I have some tokens of the laity about me, it is fitting it should be covered with a double portion of the clerical habit."

As he spoke thus he smiled grimly; and his 274 smile had something more frightful and withering than the stern frown, which suited better with his features, and was their usual expression.

"And now," said he, "what does the fool tarry for, when life and death are in his speed?"

The young messenger waited not a second hint, but at once descended the stairs, as if it had been by a single step, found the portal, as the priest had said, only secured by bars on the inside, offering little resistance save from their rusted state, which made it difficult to draw them. Arthur succeeded, however, and found himself at the side of the moat, which presented a green and marshy appearance. Without stopping to examine whether it was deep or shallow, and almost without being sensible of the tenacity of the morass, the young Englishman forced his way through it, and attained the opposite side, without attracting the attention of two worthy burghers of Brisach, who were the guardians of the barriers. One of them indeed was deeply employed in the perusal of some profane chronicle, or religious legend; the other was as anxiously engaged in examining the margin of the moat, in search of eels, perhaps, or frogs, for he wore over his shoulder a scrip for securing some such amphibious booty.

Seeing that, as the priest foretold, he had nothing to apprehend from the vigilance of the sentinels, Arthur dashed at the palisade, in hope to catch hold of the top of the stockade, and so to clear it by one bold leap. He overrated his powers of activity, however, or they were diminished by his recent bonds and imprisonment. He fell lightly backward on the ground, and, as he got to his feet, became aware of the presence of a soldier, in yellow 275 and blue, the livery of De Hagenbach, who came running towards him, crying to the slothful and unobservant sentinels, "Alarm!—alarm!—you lazy swine! Stop the dog, or you are both dead men."

The fisherman, who was on the farther side, laid down his eel-spear, drew his sword, and, flourishing it over his head, advanced towards Philipson with very moderate haste. The student was yet more unfortunate, for, in his hurry to fold up his book and attend to his duty, he contrived to throw himself (inadvertently, doubtless) full in the soldier's way. The latter, who was running at top speed, encountered the burgher with a severe shock which threw both down; but the citizen, being a solid and substantial man, lay still where he fell, while the other, less weighty, and probably less prepared for the collision, lost his balance and the command of his limbs at once, and, rolling over the edge of the moat, was immersed in the mud and marsh. The fisher and the student went with deliberate speed to assist the unexpected and unwelcome partner of their watch; while Arthur, stimulated by the imminent sense of danger, sprang at the barrier with more address and vigour than before, and, succeeding in his leap, made, as he had been directed, with his utmost speed for the covert of the adjacent bushes. He reached them without hearing any alarm from the walls. But he was conscious that his situation had become extremely precarious, since his escape from the town was known to one man at least who would not fail to give the alarm in case he was able to extricate himself from the marsh—a feat, however, in which it seemed to Arthur 276 that the armed citizens were likely to prove rather his apparent than actual assistants. While such thoughts shot across his mind, they served to augment his natural speed of foot, so that in less space than could have been thought possible, he reached the thinner extremity of the thicket, whence, as intimated by the Black Priest, he could see the eastern tower and the adjoining battlements of the town—

With hostile faces throng'd, and fiery arms.

It required, at the same time, some address on the part of the fugitive to keep so much under shelter as to prevent himself from being seen in his turn by those whom he saw so plainly. He therefore expected every moment to hear a bugle wind, or to behold that bustle and commotion among the defenders which might prognosticate a sally. Neither, however, took place, and heedfully observing the footpath, or track, which the priest had pointed out to him, young Philipson wheeled his course out of sight of the guarded towers, and soon falling into the public and frequented road, by which his father and he had approached the town in the morning, he had the happiness, by the dust and flash of arms, to see a small body of armed men advancing towards Brisach, whom he justly concluded to be the van of the Swiss deputation.

He soon met the party, which consisted of about ten men, with Rudolph Donnerhugel at their head. The figure of Philipson, covered with mud, and in some places stained with blood (for his fall in the dungeon had cost him a slight wound), attracted the wonder of every one, who crowded around to 277 hear the news. Rudolph alone appeared unmoved. Like the visage on the ancient statues of Hercules, the physiognomy of the bulky Bernese was large and massive, having an air of indifferent and almost sullen composure, which did not change but in moments of the fiercest agitation.

He listened without emotion to the breathless tale of Arthur Philipson, that his father was in prison, and adjudged to death.

"And what else did you expect?" said the Bernese, coldly. "Were you not warned? It had been easy to have foreseen the misfortune, but it may be impossible to prevent it."

"I own—I own," said Arthur, wringing his hands, "that you were wise, and that we were foolish.—But oh! do not think of our folly in the moment of our extremity! Be the gallant and generous champion which your Cantons proclaim you—give us your aid in this deadly strait!"

"But how, or in what manner?" said Rudolph, still hesitating. "We have dismissed the Bâlese, who were willing to have given assistance, so much did your dutiful example weigh with us. We are now scarce above a score of men—how can you ask us to attack a garrison town, secured by fortifications, and where there are six times our number?"

"You have friends within the fortifications," replied Arthur—"I am sure you have. Hark in your ear—The Black Priest sent to you—to you, Rudolph Donnerhugel of Berne—that he waits to give you his blessing at the northern sallyport."

"Ay, doubtless," said Rudolph, shaking himself free of Arthur's attempt to engage him in private conference, and speaking so that all around might 278 hear him, "there is little doubt on't; I will find a priest at the northern sallyport to confess and absolve me, and a block, axe, and headsman to strike my throat asunder when he has done. But I will scarce put the neck of my father's son into such risk. If they assassinate an English pedlar, who has never offended them, what will they do with the Bear of Berne, whose fangs and talons Archibald de Hagenbach has felt ere now?"

Young Philipson at these words clasped his hands together, and held them up to heaven, as one who abandons hope, excepting thence. The tears started to his eyes, and, clenching his hands and setting his teeth, he turned his back abruptly upon the Swiss.

"What means this passion?" said Rudolph. "Whither would you now?"

"To rescue my father, or perish with him," said Arthur; and was about to run wildly back to La Ferette, when a strong but kindly grasp detained him.

"Tarry a little till I tie my garter," said Sigismund Biederman, "and I will go with you, King Arthur."

"You? oaf!" exclaimed Rudolph. "You?—and without orders?"

"Why, look you, cousin Rudolph," said the youth, continuing, with great composure, to fasten his garter, which, after the fashion of the time, was somewhat intricately secured—"you are always telling us that we are Swiss and freemen; and what is the advantage of being a freeman, if one is not at liberty to do what he has a mind? You are my Hauptman, look you, so long as it pleases me, and no longer." 279

"And why shouldst thou desert me now, thou fool? Why at this minute, of all other minutes in the year?" demanded the Bernese.

"Look you," replied the insubordinate follower, "I have hunted with Arthur for this month past, and I love him—he never called me fool or idiot, because my thoughts came slower, maybe, and something duller, than those of other folk. And I love his father—the old man gave me this baldrick and this horn, which I warrant cost many a kreutzer. He told me, too, not to be discouraged, for that it was better to think justly than to think fast, and that I had sense enough for the one if not for the other. And the kind old man is now in Hagenbach's butcher-shambles!—But we will free him, Arthur, if two men may. Thou shalt see me fight, while steel blade and ashen shaft will hold together."

So saying, he shook in the air his enormous partisan, which quivered in his grasp like a slip of willow. Indeed, if Iniquity was to be struck down like an ox, there was not one in that chosen band more likely to perform the feat than Sigismund; for though somewhat shorter in stature than his brethren, and of a less animated spirit, yet his breadth of shoulders and strength of muscles were enormous, and if thoroughly aroused and disposed for the contest, which was very rarely the case, perhaps Rudolph himself might, as far as sheer force went, have had difficulty in matching him.

Truth of sentiment and energy of expression always produce an effect on natural and generous characters. Several of the youths around began to exclaim that Sigismund said well; that if the old man had put himself in danger, it was because 280 he thought more of the success of their negotiation than of his own safety, and had taken himself from under their protection, rather than involve them in quarrels on his account. "We are the more bound," they said, "to see him unscathed; and we will do so."

"Peace! all you wiseacres," said Rudolph, looking round with an air of superiority; "and you, Arthur of England, pass on to the Landamman, who is close behind. You know he is our chief commander, he is no less your father's sincere friend, and, whatever he may determine in your father's favour, you will find most ready executors of his pleasure in all of us."

His companions appeared to concur in this advice, and young Philipson saw that his own compliance with the recommendation was indispensable. Indeed, although he still suspected that the Bernese, by his various intrigues, as well with the Swiss youth as with those of Bâle, and, as might be inferred from the Priest of St. Paul's, by communication even within the town of La Ferette, possessed the greater power of assisting him at such a conjuncture; yet he trusted far more in the simple candour and perfect faith of Arnold Biederman, and pressed forward to tell to him his mournful tale, and crave his assistance.

From the top of a bank which he reached in a few minutes after he parted from Rudolph and the advanced guard, he saw beneath him the venerable Landamman and his associates, attended by a few of the youths, who no longer were dispersed upon the flanks of the party, but attended on them closely, and in military array, as men prepared to repel any sudden attack. 281

Behind came a mule or two with baggage, together with the animals which, in the ordinary course of their march, supported Anne of Geierstein and her attendant. Both were occupied by female figures as usual, and, to the best of Arthur's ken, the foremost had the well-known dress of Anne, from the grey mantle to a small heron's plume, which, since entering Germany, she had worn in compliance with the custom of the country, and in evidence of her rank as a maiden of birth and distinction. Yet, if the youth's eyes brought him true tidings at present, what was the character of their former information, when, scarce more than half an hour since, they had beheld, in the subterranean dungeon of Brisach, the same form which they now rested upon, in circumstances so very different! The feeling excited by this thought was powerful, but it was momentary, like the lightning which blazes through a midnight sky, which is but just seen ere it vanishes into darkness. Or, rather, the wonder excited by this marvellous incident only maintained its ground in his thoughts by allying itself with the anxiety for his father's safety, which was their predominant occupation.

"If there be indeed a spirit," he said, "which wears that beautiful form, it must be beneficent as well as lovely, and will extend to my far more deserving father the protection which his son has twice experienced."

But ere he had time to prosecute such a thought further, he had met the Landamman and his party. Here his appearance and his condition excited the same surprise as they had formerly occasioned to Rudolph and the vanguard. To the repeated 282 interrogatories of the Landamman he gave a brief account of his own imprisonment, and of his escape, of which he suffered the whole glory to rest with the Black Priest of St. Paul's, without mentioning one word of the more interesting female apparition, by which he had been attended and assisted in his charitable task. On another point also Arthur was silent. He saw no propriety in communicating to Arnold Biederman the message which the priest had addressed to Rudolph's ear alone. Whether good should come of it or no, he held sacred the obligation of silence imposed upon him by a man from whom he had just received the most important assistance.

The Landamman was struck dumb for a moment with sorrow and surprise at the news which he heard. The elder Philipson had gained his respect, as well by the purity and steadiness of the principles which he expressed, as by the extent and depth of his information, which was peculiarly valuable and interesting to the Switzer, who felt his admirable judgment considerably fettered for want of that knowledge of countries, times, and manners, with which his English friend often supplied him.

"Let us press forward," he said to the Banneret of Berne and the other deputies; "let us offer our mediation betwixt the tyrant De Hagenbach and our friend, whose life is in danger. He must listen to us, for I know his master expects to see this Philipson at his court. The old man hinted to me so much. As we are possessed of such a secret, Archibald de Hagenbach will not dare to brave our vengeance, since we might easily send to Duke Charles information how the Governor of 283 La Ferette abuses his power, in matters where not only the Swiss but where the Duke himself is concerned."

"Under your reverend favour, my worthy sir," answered the Banneret of Berne, "we are Swiss Deputies, and go to represent the injuries of Switzerland alone. If we embroil ourselves with the quarrels of strangers, we shall find it more difficult to settle advantageously those of our own country; and if the Duke should, by this villany done upon English merchants, bring upon him the resentment of the English monarch, such breach will only render it more a matter of peremptory necessity for him to make a treaty advantageous to the Swiss Cantons."

There was so much worldly policy in this advice, that Adam Zimmerman of Soleure instantly expressed his assent, with the additional argument, that their brother Biederman had told them scarce two hours before how these English merchants had, by his advice and their own free desire, parted company with them that morning, on purpose that they might not involve the Deputies in the quarrels which might be raised by the Governor's exactions on his merchandise.

"Now what advantage," he said, "shall we derive from this same parting of company, supposing, as my brother seems to urge, we are still to consider this Englishman's interest as if he were our fellow-traveller, and under our especial protection?"

This personal reasoning pinched the Landamman somewhat closely, for he had but a short while before descanted on the generosity of the elder Philipson, who had freely exposed himself to 284 danger, rather than that he should embarrass their negotiation by remaining one of their company; and it completely shook the fealty of the white-bearded Nicholas Bonstetten, whose eyes wandered from the face of Zimmerman, which expressed triumphant confidence in his argument, to that of his friend the Landamman, which was rather more embarrassed than usual.

"Brethren," said Arnold at length with firmness and animation, "I erred in priding myself upon the worldly policy which I taught to you this morning. This man is not of our country, doubtless, but he is of our blood—a copy of the common Creator's image—and the more worthy of being called so, as he is a man of integrity and worth. We might not, without grievous sin, pass such a person, being in danger, without affording him relief, even if he lay accidentally by the side of our path; much less should we abandon him if the danger has been incurred in our own cause, and that we might escape the net in which he is himself caught. Be not, therefore, downcast—We do God's will in succouring an oppressed man. If we succeed by mild means, as I trust we shall, we do a good action at a cheap rate;—if not, God can assert the cause of humanity by the hands of few as well as of many."

"If such is your opinion," said the Bannerman of Berne, "not a man here will shrink from you. For me, I pleaded against my own inclinations when I advised you to avoid a breach with the Burgundian. But as a soldier, I must needs say, I would rather fight the garrison, were they double the number they talk of, in a fair field, than undertake to storm their defences." 285

"Nay," said the Landamman, "I sincerely hope we shall both enter and depart from the town of Brisach, without deviating from the pacific character with which our mission from the Diet invests us." 286


For Somerset, off with his guilty head!

3d Part of Henry VI.

The Governor of La Ferette stood on the battlements of the eastern entrance-tower of his fortress, and looked out on the road to Bâle, when first the vanguard of the Swiss mission, then the centre and rear, appeared in the distance. At the same moment the van halting, the main body closed with it, while the females and baggage, and mules in the rear, moved in their turn up to the main body, and the whole were united in one group.

A messenger then stepped forth, and winded one of those tremendous horns, the spoils of the wild-bulls, so numerous in the Canton of Uri, that they are supposed to have given rise to its name.

"They demand admittance," said the esquire.

"They shall have it," answered Sir Archibald de Hagenbach. "Marry, how they may pass out again, is another and a deeper question."

"Think yet a moment, noble sir," continued the esquire. "Bethink you, these Switzers are very fiends in fight, and have, besides, no booty to repay the conquest—some paltry chains of good copper, perchance, or adulterated silver. You have knocked out the marrow—do not damage your teeth by trying to grind the bone."

"Thou art a fool, Kilian," answered De Hagenbach, "and it may be a coward besides. The 287 approach of some score, or at most some score and a half, of Swiss partisans, makes thee draw in thy horns like a snail at a child's finger! Mine are strong and inflexible as those of the Urus, of whom they talk so much, and on which they blow so boldly. Keep in mind, thou timid creature, that if the Swiss deputies, as they presume to call themselves, are permitted to pass free, they carry to the Duke stories of merchants bound to his court, and fraught with precious commodities, specially addressed to his Grace! Charles has then at once to endure the presence of the ambassadors, whom he contemns and hates, and learns by them that the Governor of La Ferette, permitting such to pass, has nevertheless presumed to stop those whom he would full gladly see; for what prince would not blithely welcome such a casket as that which we have taken from yonder strolling English pedlar?"

"I see not how the assault on these ambassadors will mend your excellency's plea for despoiling the Englishmen," said Kilian.

"Because thou art a blind mole, Kilian," answered his chief. "If Burgundy hears of a ruffle between my garrison and the mountain churls, whom he scorns, and yet hates, it will drown all notice of the two pedlars who have perished in the fray. If after-inquiry should come, an hour's ride transports me with my confidants into the Imperial dominions, where, though the Emperor be a spiritless fool, the rich prize I have found on these islanders will ensure me a good reception."

"I will stick by your excellency to the last," returned the esquire; "and you shall yourself witness that, if a fool, I am at least no coward." 288

"I never thought thee such when it came to hand-blows," said De Hagenbach; "but in policy thou art timid and irresolute. Hand me mine armour, Kilian, and beware thou brace it well. The Swiss pikes and swords are no wasp-stings."

"May your excellency wear it with honour and profit," said Kilian; and, according to the duty of his office, he buckled upon his principal the complete panoply of a knight of the empire. "Your purpose of assaulting the Swiss then holds firm," said Kilian. "But what pretext will your excellency assign?"

"Let me alone," said Archibald de Hagenbach, "to take one, or to make one. Do you only have Schonfeldt and the soldiers on their stations. And remember the words are—'Burgundy to the Rescue!' When these words are first spoken, let the soldiers show themselves,—when repeated, let them fall on. And now that I am accoutred, away to the churls and admit them."

Kilian bowed and withdrew.

The bugle of the Switzers had repeatedly emitted its angry roar, exasperated by the delay of nearly half an hour, without an answer from the guarded gate of Brisach; and every blast declared, by the prolonged echoes which it awakened, the increased impatience of those who summoned the town. At length the portcullis arose, the gate opened, the drawbridge fell, and Kilian, in the equipage of a man-at-arms arrayed for fight, rode forth on an ambling palfrey.

"What bold men are ye, sirs, who are here in arms before the fortress of Brisach, appertaining in right and seignorie to the thrice noble Duke of Burgundy and Lorraine, and garrisoned for his 289 cause and interest by the excellent Sir Archibald, Lord of Hagenbach, Knight of the most Holy Roman Empire?"

"So please you, Sir Esquire," said the Landamman, "for such I conjecture you to be by the feather in your bonnet, we are here with no hostile intentions; though armed, as you see, to defend us in a perilous journey, where we are something unsafe by day, and cannot always repose by night in places of security. But our arms have no offensive purpose; if they had such, our numbers had not been so few as you see them."

"What, then, is your character and purpose?" said Kilian, who had learned to use, in his master's absence, the lordly and insolent tone of the Governor himself.

"We are Delegates," answered the Landamman, in a calm and even tone of voice, without appearing to take offence at, or to observe, the insolent demeanour of the esquire, "from the Free and Confederated Cantons of the Swiss States and provinces, and from the good town of Soleure, who are accredited from our Diet of Legislature to travel to the presence of his Grace the Duke of Burgundy, on an errand of high importance to both countries, and with the hope of establishing with your master's lord—I mean with the noble Duke of Burgundy—a sure and steadfast peace, upon such terms as shall be to the mutual honour and advantage of both countries, and to avert disputes, and the effusion of Christian blood, which may otherwise be shed for want of timely and good understanding."

"Show me your letters of credence," said the esquire. 290

"Under your forgiveness, Sir Esquire," replied the Landamman, "it will be time enough to exhibit these, when we are admitted to the presence of your master the Governor."

"That is as much as to say, wilful will to it. It is well, my masters; and yet you may take this advice from Kilian of Kersberg. It is sometimes better to reel backwards than to run forwards.—My master, and my master's master, are more ticklish persons than the dealers of Bâle, to whom you sell your cheeses. Home, honest men, home! your way lies before you, and you are fairly warned."

"We thank thee for thy counsel," said the Landamman, interrupting the Banneret of Berne, who had commenced an angry reply, "supposing it kindly meant; if not, an uncivil jest is like an overcharged gun, which recoils on the cannoneer. Our road lies onward through Brisach, and onward we propose to go, and take such hap as that which we may find before us."

"Go onward then, in the devil's name," said the squire, who had entertained some hope of deterring them from pursuing their journey, but found himself effectually foiled.

The Switzers entered the town, and, stopped by the barricade of cars which the Governor had formed across the street, at about twenty yards from the gate, they drew themselves up in military order, with their little body formed into three lines, the two females and the fathers of the deputation being in the centre. The little phalanx presented a double front, one to each side of the street, while the centre line faced so as to move forward, and only waited for the removal of the barricade in order to do so. But while they stood 291 thus inactive, a knight in complete armour appeared from a side door of the great tower, under the arch of which they had entered into the town. His visor was raised, and he walked along the front of the little line formed by the Swiss, with a stern and frowning aspect.

"Who are you," he said, "who have thus far intruded yourselves in arms into a Burgundian garrison?"

"With your excellency's leave," said the Landamman, "we are men who come on a peaceful errand, though we carry arms for our own defence. Deputies we are from the towns of Berne and Soleure, the Cantons of Uri, Schwitz, and Unterwalden, come to adjust matters of importance with the gracious Duke of Burgundy and Lorraine."

"What towns, what cantons?" said the Governor of La Ferette. "I have heard no such names among the Free Cities of Germany.—Berne, truly! when became Berne a free state?"

"Since the twenty-first day of June," said Arnold Biederman, "in the year of grace one thousand three hundred and thirty-nine, on which day the battle of Laupen was fought."

"Away, vain old man!" said the Knight. "Thinkest thou that such idle boasts can avail thee here? We have heard, indeed, of some insurgent villages and communities among the Alps, and how they rebelled against the Emperor, and by the advantage of fastnesses, ambuscades, and lurking-places, how they have murdered some knights and gentlemen sent against them by the Duke of Austria; but we little thought that such paltry townships and insignificant bands of mutineers had the insolence to term themselves 292 Free States, and propose to enter into negotiation as such with a mighty prince like Charles of Burgundy."

"May it please your excellency," replied the Landamman, with perfect temper; "your own laws of chivalry declare, that if the stronger wrong the weaker, or the noble does injury to the less gentle, the very act levels distinctions between them, and the doer of an injury becomes bound to give condign satisfaction, of such kind as the wronged party shall demand."

"Hence to thy hills, churl!" exclaimed the haughty Knight; "there comb thy beard and roast thy chestnuts. What! because a few rats and mice find retreat among the walls and wainscoting of our dwelling-houses, shall we therefore allow them to intrude their disgusting presence, and their airs of freedom and independence, into our personal presence? No, we will rather crush them beneath the heel of our ironshod boots."

"We are not men to be trodden on," said Arnold Biederman, calmly; "those who have attempted it have found us stumbling-blocks. Lay, Sir Knight, lay aside for an instant this haughty language, which can only lead to warfare, and listen to the words of peace. Dismiss our comrade, the English merchant Philipson, on whom you have this morning laid unlawful hands; let him pay a moderate sum for his ransom, and we, who are bound instantly to the Duke's presence, will bear a fair report to him of his Governor of La Ferette."

"You will be so generous, will you!" said Sir Archibald, in a tone of ridicule. "And what pledge shall I have that you will favour me so kindly as you propose?" 293

"The word of a man who never broke his promise," answered the stoical Landamman.

"Insolent hind!" replied the Knight, "dost thou stipulate? Thou offer thy paltry word as a pledge betwixt the Duke of Burgundy and Archibald de Hagenbach? Know that ye go not to Burgundy at all, or you go thither with fetters on your hands and halters round your necks.—So ho, Burgundy to the Rescue!"

Instantly, as he spoke, the soldiers showed themselves before, behind, and around the narrow space where the Swiss had drawn themselves up. The battlements of the town were lined with men, others presented themselves at the doors of each house in the street, prepared to sally, and, at the windows, prepared to shoot, as well with guns as with bows and crossbows. The soldiers who defended the barricade also started up, and seemed ready to dispute the passage in front. The little band, encompassed and overmatched, but neither startled nor disheartened, stood to their arms. The centre rank under the Landamman prepared to force their way over the barricade. The two fronts stood back to back, ready to dispute the street with those that should issue from the houses. It could not fail to prove a work of no small blood and toil to subdue this handful of determined men, even with five times their number. Some sense of this, perhaps, made Sir Archibald delay giving the signal for onset, when suddenly behind arose a cry of, "Treason, treason!"

A soldier, covered with mud, rushed before the Governor, and said, in hurried accents, that, as he endeavoured to stop a prisoner who had made his escape some short time since, he had been seized 294 by the burghers of the town, and well-nigh drowned in the moat. He added, that the citizens were even now admitting the enemy into the place.

"Kilian," said the Knight, "take two score of men—hasten to the northern sallyport; stab, cut down, or throw from the battlements, whomsoever you meet in arms, townsmen or strangers. Leave me to settle with these peasants by fair means or foul."

But ere Kilian could obey his master's commands, a shout arose in the rear, where they cried, "Bâle! Bâle!—Freedom! freedom!—The day is our own!"

Onward came the youth of Bâle, who had not been at such a distance but that Rudolph had contrived to recall them—onward came many Swiss who had hovered around the embassy, holding themselves in readiness for such a piece of service; and onward came the armed citizens of La Ferette, who, compelled to take arms and mount guard by the tyranny of De Hagenbach, had availed themselves of the opportunity to admit the Bâlese at the sallyport through which Philipson had lately made his escape.

The garrison, somewhat discouraged before by the firm aspect of the Swiss, who had held their numbers at defiance, were totally disconcerted by this new and unexpected insurrection. Most of them prepared rather to fly than to fight, and they threw themselves in numbers from the walls, as the best chance of escaping. Kilian and some others, whom pride prevented from flying, and despair from asking quarter, fought with fury, and were killed on the spot. In the midst of this confusion the Landamman kept his own bands unmoved, permitting them to take no share in the 295 action, save to repel such violence as was offered to them.

"Stand fast all!" sounded the deep voice of Arnold Biederman along their little body. "Where is Rudolph?—Save lives, but take none.—Why, how now, Arthur Philipson! stand fast, I say."

"I cannot stand fast," said Arthur, who was in the act of leaving the ranks. "I must seek my father in the dungeons; they may be slaying him in this confusion while I stand idle here."

"By our Lady of Einsiedlen, you say well," answered the Landamman; "that I should have forgot my noble guest! I will help thee to search for him, Arthur—the affray seems well-nigh ended.—Ho, there, Sir Banneret, worthy Adam Zimmerman, my good friend Nicholas Bonstetten, keep our men standing firm—Have nothing to do with this affray, but leave the men of Bâle to answer their own deeds. I return in a few minutes."

So saying, he hurried after Arthur Philipson, whose recollection conducted him, with sufficient accuracy, to the head of the dungeon stairs. There they met an ill-looking man clad in a buff jerkin, who bore at his girdle a bunch of rusted keys, which intimated the nature of his calling.

"Show me the prison of the English merchant," said Arthur Philipson, "or thou diest by my hand!"

"Which of them desire you to see?" answered the official;—"the old man, or the young one?"

"The old," said young Philipson. "His son has escaped thee."

"Enter here then, gentlemen," said the jailer, undoing the spring-bolt of a heavy door. 296

At the upper end of the apartment lay the man they came to seek for, who was instantly raised from the ground, and loaded with their embraces.

"My dear father!"—"My worthy guest!" said his son and friend at the same moment, "how fares it with you?"

"Well," answered the elder Philipson, "if you, my friend, and son, come, as I judge from your arms and countenance, as conquerors, and at liberty—ill, if you come to share my prison-house."

"Have no fear of that," said the Landamman; "we have been in danger, but are remarkably delivered.—Your evil lair has benumbed you. Lean on me, my noble guest, and let me assist you to better quarters."

Here he was interrupted by a heavy clash, as it seemed, of iron, and differing from the distant roar of the popular tumult, which they still heard from the open street, as men hear the deep voice of a remote and tempestuous ocean.

"By St. Peter of the fetters!" said Arthur, who instantly discovered the cause of the sound, "the jailer has cast the door to the staple, or it has escaped his grasp. The spring-lock has closed upon us, and we cannot be liberated saving from the outside.—Ho, jailer dog! villain! open the door, or thou diest!"

"He is probably out of hearing of your threats," said the elder Philipson, "and your cries avail you nothing. But are you sure the Swiss are in possession of the town?"

"We are peaceful occupants of it," answered the Landamman, "though without a blow given on our side." 297

"Why, then," said the Englishman, "your followers will soon find you out. Arthur and I are paltry ciphers, and our absence might easily pass over unobserved; but you are too important a figure not to be missed and looked after, when the sum of your number is taken."

"I well hope it will prove so," said the Landamman, "though methinks I show but scurvily, shut up here like a cat in a cupboard when he has been stealing cream.—Arthur, my brave boy, dost thou see no means of shooting back the bolt?"

Arthur, who had been minutely examining the lock, replied in the negative; and added, that they must take patience perforce, and arm themselves to wait calmly their deliverance, which they could do nothing to accelerate.

Arnold Biederman, however, felt somewhat severely the neglect of his sons and companions.

"All my youths, uncertain whether I am alive or dead, are taking the opportunity of my absence, doubtless, for pillage and licence—and the politic Rudolph, I presume, cares not if I should never reappear on the stage—the Banneret, and the white-bearded fool Bonstetten, who calls me his friend—every neighbour has deserted me—and yet they know that I am anxious for the safety of the most insignificant of them all, as dearer to me than my own. By heavens! it looks like stratagem; and shows as if the rash young men desired to get rid of a rule too regular and peaceful to be pleasing to those who are eager for war and conquest."

The Landamman, fretted out of his usual serenity of temper, and afraid of the misbehaviour of his countrymen in his absence, thus reflected upon 298 his friends and companions, while the distant noise soon died away into the most absolute and total silence.

"What is to do now?" said Arthur Philipson. "I trust they will take the opportunity of quiet to go through the roll-call, and inquire then who are a-missing."

It seemed as if the young man's wish had some efficacy, for he had scarce uttered it before the lock was turned, and the door set ajar by some one who escaped upstairs from behind it, before those who were set at liberty could obtain a glance of their deliverer.

"It is the jailer, doubtless," said the Landamman, "who may be apprehensive, as he has some reason, that we might prove more incensed at our detention in the dungeon, than grateful for our deliverance."

As they spoke thus they ascended the narrow stairs, and issued from the door of the Gate-house tower, where a singular spectacle awaited them. The Swiss Deputies and their escort still remained standing fast and firm on the very spot where Hagenbach had proposed to assail them. A few of the late Governor's soldiers, disarmed, and cowering from the rage of a multitude of the citizens, who now filled the streets, stood with downcast looks behind the phalanx of the mountaineers, as their safest place of retreat. But this was not all.

The cars, so lately placed to obstruct the passage of the street, were now joined together, and served to support a platform, or scaffold, which had been hastily constructed of planks. On this was placed a chair, in which sat a tall man, with his head, neck, and shoulders bare, the rest of his body 299 clothed in bright armour. His countenance was as pale as death, yet young Philipson recognised the hard-hearted Governor, Sir Archibald Hagenbach. He appeared to be bound to the chair. On his right, and close beside him, stood the Priest of St. Paul's, muttering prayers, with his breviary in his hand; while on his left, and somewhat behind the captive, appeared a tall man, attired in red [h], and leaning with both hands on the naked sword, which has been described on a former occasion. The instant that Arnold Biederman appeared, and before the Landamman could open his lips to demand the meaning of what he saw, the priest drew back, the executioner stepped forward, the sword was brandished, the blow was struck, and the victim's head rolled on the scaffold. A general acclamation and clapping of hands, like that by which a crowded theatre approves of some well-graced performer, followed this feat of dexterity. While the headless corpse shot streams from the arteries, which were drunk up by the sawdust that strewed the scaffold, the executioner gracefully presented himself alternately at the four corners of the stage, modestly bowing, as the multitude greeted him with cheers of approbation.

"Nobles, knights, gentlemen of free-born blood, and good citizens," he said, "who have assisted at this act of high justice, I pray you to bear me witness that this judgment hath been executed after the form of the sentence, at one blow, and without stroke missed or repeated."

The acclamations were reiterated.

"Long live our Scharfgerichter Steinernherz, and many a tyrant may he do his duty on!"

"Noble friends," said the executioner, with the 300 deepest obeisance, "I have yet another word to say, and it must be a proud one.—God be gracious to the soul of this good and noble knight, Sir Archibald de Hagenbach. He was the patron of my youth, and my guide to the path of honour. Eight steps have I made towards freedom and nobility on the heads of freeborn knights and nobles, who have fallen by his authority and command; and the ninth, by which I have attained it, is upon his own, in grateful memory of which I will expend this purse of gold, which but an hour since he bestowed on me, in masses for his soul. Gentlemen, noble friends, and now my equals, La Ferette has lost a nobleman and gained one. Our Lady be gracious to the departed knight, Sir Archibald de Hagenbach, and bless and prosper the progress of Stephen Steinernherz von Blutsacker, now free and noble of right!"[8]

With that he took the feather out of the cap of the deceased, which, soiled with the blood of the wearer, lay near his body upon the scaffold, and, putting it into his own official bonnet, received the homage of the crowd in loud huzzas, which were partly in earnest, partly in ridicule of such an unusual transformation.

Arnold Biederman at length found breath, which the extremity of surprise had at first denied him. Indeed, the whole execution had passed much too rapidly for the possibility of his interference.

"Who has dared to act this tragedy?" he said indignantly. "And by what right has it taken place?"

A cavalier, richly dressed in blue, replied to the question— 301

"The free citizens of Bâle have acted for themselves, as the fathers of Swiss liberty set them an example; and the tyrant, De Hagenbach, has fallen by the same right which put to death the tyrant Geysler. We bore with him till his cup was brimming over, and then we bore no longer."

"I say not but that he deserved death," replied the Landamman; "but for your own sake, and for ours, you should have forborne him till the Duke's pleasure was known."

"What tell you us of the Duke?" answered Laurenz Neipperg, the same blue cavalier whom Arthur had seen at the secret rendezvous of the Bâlese youth, in company with Rudolph. "Why talk you of Burgundy to us, who are none of his subjects? The Emperor, our only rightful lord, had no title to pawn the town and fortifications of La Ferette, being as it is a dependency of Bâle, to the prejudice of our free city. He might have pledged the revenue indeed; and supposing him to have done so, the debt has been paid twice over by the exactions levied by yonder oppressor, who has now received his due. But pass on, Landamman of Unterwalden. If our actions displease you, abjure them at the footstool of the Duke of Burgundy; but, in doing so, abjure the memory of William Tell and Stauffacher, of Furst and Melchtal, the fathers of Swiss freedom."

"You speak truth," said the Landamman; "but it is in an ill-chosen and unhappy time. Patience would have remedied your evils, which none felt more deeply, or would have redressed more willingly, than I. But oh, imprudent young man, you have thrown aside the modesty of your age, and the subjection you owe to your elders. 302 William Tell and his brethren were men of years and judgment, husbands and fathers, having a right to be heard in council, and to be foremost in action. Enough—I leave it with the fathers and senators of your own city, to acknowledge or to reprove your actions.—But you, my friends,—you, Banneret of Berne,—you, Rudolph,—above all, you, Nicholas Bonstetten, my comrade and my friend, why did you not take this miserable man under your protection? The action would have shown Burgundy that we were slandered by those who have declared us desirous of seeking a quarrel with him, or of inciting his subjects to revolt. Now, all these prejudices will be confirmed in the minds of men, naturally more tenacious of evil impressions than of those which are favourable."

"As I live by bread, good gossip and neighbour," answered Nicholas Bonstetten, "I thought to obey your injunctions to a tittle; so much so, that I once thought of breaking in and protecting the man, when Rudolph Donnerhugel reminded me that your last orders were, to stand firm, and let the men of Bâle answer for their own actions; and surely, said I to myself, my gossip Arnold knows better than all of us what is fitting to be done."

"Ah, Rudolph, Rudolph," said the Landamman, looking on him with a displeased countenance, "wert thou not ashamed thus to deceive an old man?"

"To say I deceived him is a hard charge; but from you, Landamman," answered the Bernese, with his usual deference, "I can bear anything. I will only say, that, being a member of this 303 embassy, I am obliged to think, and to give my opinion as such, especially when he is not present who is wise enough to lead and direct us all."

"Thy words are always fair, Rudolph," replied Arnold Biederman, "and I trust so is thy meaning. Yet there are times when I somewhat doubt it.—But let disputes pass, and let me have your advice, my friends; and for that purpose go we where it may best profit us, even to the church, where we will first return our thanks for our deliverance from assassination, and then hold counsel what next is to be done."

The Landamman led the way, accordingly, to the church of St. Paul's, while his companions and associates followed in their order. This gave Rudolph, who, as youngest, suffered the others to precede him, an opportunity to beckon to him the Landamman's eldest son, Rudiger, and whisper to him to get rid of the two English merchants.

"Away with them, my dear Rudiger, by fair means, if possible; but away with them directly. Thy father is besotted with these two English pedlars, and will listen to no other counsel; and thou and I know, dearest Rudiger, that such men as these are unfit to give laws to free-born Switzers. Get the trumpery they have been robbed of, or as much of it as is extant, together as fast as thou canst, and send them a-travelling, in Heaven's name."

Rudiger nodded intelligently, and went to offer his services to expedite the departure of the elder Philipson. He found the sagacious merchant as desirous to escape from the scene of confusion now presented in the town, as the young Swiss could be to urge his departure. He only waited to 304 recover the casket of which De Hagenbach had possessed himself, and Rudiger Biederman set on foot a strict search after it, which was the more likely to be successful, that the simplicity of the Swiss prevented them from setting the true value upon its contents. A strict and hasty search was immediately instituted, both on the person of the dead De Hagenbach, on which the precious packet was not to be found, and on all who had approached him at his execution, or were supposed to enjoy his confidence.

Young Arthur Philipson would gladly have availed himself of a few moments to bid farewell to Anne of Geierstein. But the grey wimple was no longer seen in the ranks of the Switzers, and it was reasonable to think that, in the confusion which followed the execution of De Hagenbach, and the retreat of the leaders of the little battalion, she had made her escape into some of the adjacent houses, while the soldiers around her, no longer restrained by the presence of their chiefs, had dispersed, some to search for the goods of which the Englishmen had been despoiled, others doubtless to mingle with and join in the rejoicings of the victorious youths of Bâle, and of those burghers of La Ferette by whom the fortifications of the town had been so gently surrendered.

The cry amongst them was universal, that Brisach, so long considered as the curb of the Swiss confederates, and the barrier against their commerce, should henceforth be garrisoned, as their protection against the encroachments and exactions of the Duke of Burgundy and his officers. The whole town was in a wild but joyful jubilee, while the citizens vied with each other in offering 305 to the Swiss every species of refreshment, and the youths who attended upon the mission hurried gaily, and in triumph, to profit by the circumstances, which had so unexpectedly converted the ambuscade so treacherously laid for them, into a genial and joyous reception.

Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios.

Amid this scene of confusion, it was impossible for Arthur to quit his father, even to satisfy the feelings which induced him to wish for a few moments at his own disposal. Sad, thoughtful, and sorrowful, amid the general joy, he remained with the parent whom he had so much reason to love and honour, to assist him in securing and placing on their mule the various packages and bales which the honest Switzers had recovered after the death of De Hagenbach, and which they emulated each other in bringing to their rightful owner; while they were with difficulty prevailed on to accept the guerdon which the Englishman, from the means which he had still left upon his person, was disposed not merely to offer but to force upon the restorers of his property, and which, in their rude and simple ideas, seemed greatly to exceed the value of what they had recovered for him.

This scene had scarcely lasted ten or fifteen minutes, when Rudolph Donnerhugel approached the elder Philipson, and in a tone of great courtesy invited him to join the council of the Chiefs of the Embassy of the Swiss Cantons, who, he said, were desirous of having the advantage of his experience upon some important questions respecting their conduct on these unexpected occurrences.

"See to our affairs, Arthur, and stir not from the spot on which I leave you," said Philipson to 306 his son. "Look especially after the sealed packet of which I was so infamously and illegally robbed: its recovery is of the utmost consequence."

So speaking, he instantly prepared himself to attend the Bernese, who in a confidential manner whispered, as he went arm-in-arm with him towards the church of St. Paul's,—

"I think a man of your wisdom will scarce advise us to trust ourselves to the mood of the Duke of Burgundy, when he has received such an injury as the loss of this fortress, and the execution of his officer. You, at least, would be too judicious to afford us any further the advantage of your company and society, since to do so would be wilfully to engage in our shipwreck."

"I will give my best advice," answered Philipson, "when I shall be more particularly acquainted with the circumstances under which it is asked of me."

Rudolph muttered an oath, or angry exclamation, and led Philipson to the church without further argument.

In a small chapel adjoining to the church, and dedicated to St. Magnus the Martyr, the four deputies were assembled in close conclave, around the shrine in which the sainted hero stood, armed as when he lived. The Priest of St. Paul's was also present, and seemed to interest himself deeply in the debate which was taking place. When Philipson entered, all were for a moment silent, until the Landamman addressed him thus: "Seignor Philipson, we esteem you a man far travelled, well versed in the manners of foreign lands, and acquainted with the conditions of this Duke Charles of Burgundy; you are therefore fit to 307 advise us in a matter of great weight. You know with what anxiety we go on this mission for peace with the Duke; you also know what has this day happened, which may probably be represented to Charles in the worst colours. Would you advise us, in such a case, to proceed to the Duke's presence, with the odium of this action attached to us? or should we do better to return home, and prepare for war with Burgundy?"

"How do your own opinions stand on the subject?" said the cautious Englishman.

"We are divided," answered the Banneret of Berne. "I have borne the banner of Berne against her foes for thirty years; I am more willing to carry it against the lances of the knights of Hainault and Lorraine, than to undergo the rude treatment which we must look to meet at the footstool of the Duke."

"We put our heads in the lion's mouth if we go forward," said Zimmerman of Soleure;—"my opinion is, that we draw back."

"I would not advise retreat," said Rudolph Donnerhugel, "were my life alone concerned; but the Landamman of Unterwalden is the father of the United Cantons, and it would be parricide if I consented to put his life in peril. My advice is, that we return, and that the Confederacy stand on their defence."

"My opinion is different," said Arnold Biederman; "nor will I forgive any man who, whether in sincere or feigned friendship, places my poor life in the scale with the advantage of the Cantons. If we go forward, we risk our heads—be it so. But if we turn back, we involve our country in war with a power of the first magnitude in Europe. 308 Worthy citizens! you are brave in fight—show your fortitude as boldly now; and let us not hesitate to incur such personal danger as may attend ourselves, if by doing so we can gain a chance of peace for our country."

"I think and vote with my neighbour and gossip, Arnold Biederman," said the laconic deputy from Schwitz.

"You hear how we are divided in opinion," said the Landamman to Philipson. "What is your opinion?"

"I would first ask of you," said the Englishman, "what has been your part in this storming of a town occupied by the Duke's forces, and putting to death his Governor?"

"So help me, Heaven!" said the Landamman, "as I knew not of any purpose of storming the town until it unexpectedly took place."

"And for the execution of De Hagenbach," said the Black Priest, "I swear to you, stranger, by my holy order, that it took place under the direction of a competent court, whose sentence Charles of Burgundy himself is bound to respect, and whose proceedings the deputies of the Swiss mission could neither have advanced nor retarded."

"If such be the case, and if you can really prove yourselves free of these proceedings," answered Philipson, "which must needs be highly resented by the Duke of Burgundy, I would advise you by all means to proceed upon your journey; with the certainty that you will obtain from that prince a just and impartial hearing, and it may be a favourable answer. I know Charles of Burgundy; I may even say that, our different ranks and walks of life considered, I know him well. He will be deeply 309 incensed by the first tidings of what has here chanced, which he will no doubt interpret to your disfavour. But if, in the course of investigation, you are able to clear yourselves of these foul imputations, a sense of his own injustice may perhaps turn the balance in your favour, and in that case he will rush from the excess of censure into that of indulgence. But your cause must be firmly stated to the Duke, by some tongue better acquainted with the language of courts than yours; and such a friendly interpreter might I have proved to you, had I not been plundered of the valuable packet which I bore with me in order to present to the Duke, and in testimony of my commission to him."

"A paltry fetch," whispered Donnerhugel to the Banneret, "that the trader may obtain from us satisfaction for the goods of which he has been plundered."

The Landamman himself was perhaps for a moment of the same opinion.

"Merchant," he said, "we hold ourselves bound to make good to you—that is, if our substance can effect it—whatever loss you may have sustained, trusting to our protection."

"Ay, that we will," said the old man of Schwitz, "should it cost us twenty zechins to make it good."

"To your guarantee of immunity I can have no claim," said Philipson, "seeing I parted company with you before I sustained any loss. And I regret the loss, not so much for its value, although that is greater than you may fancy; but chiefly because, that the contents of the casket I bore being a token betwixt a person of considerable importance and the Duke of Burgundy, I shall 310 not, I fear, now that I am deprived of them, receive from his grace that credence which I desire, both for my own sake and yours. Without them, and speaking only in the person of a private traveller, I may not take upon me as I might have done, when using the names of the persons whose mandates I carried."

"This important packet," said the Landamman, "shall be most rigorously sought for, and carefully re-delivered to thee. For ourselves, not a Swiss of us knows the value of its contents; so that if they are in the hands of any of our men, they will be returned of course as baubles, upon which they set no value."

As he spoke, there was a knocking at the door of the chapel. Rudolph, who stood nearest to it, having held some communication with those without, observed with a smile, which he instantly repressed, lest it had given offence to Arnold Biederman,—"It is Sigismund, the good youth—Shall I admit him to our council?"

"To what purpose, poor simple lad?" said his father, with a sorrowful smile.

"Yet let me undo the door," said Philipson; "he is anxious to enter, and perhaps he brings news. I have observed, Landamman, that the young man, though with slowness of ideas and expression, is strong in his principles, and sometimes happy in his conceptions."

He admitted Sigismund accordingly; while Arnold Biederman felt, on the one hand, the soothing compliment which Philipson had paid to a boy, certainly the dullest of his family, and, on the other, feared some public display of his son's infirmity, or lack of understanding. Sigismund, 311 however, seemed all confidence; and he certainly had reason to be so, since, as the shortest mode of explanation, he presented to Philipson the necklace of diamonds, with the casket in which it had been deposited.

"This pretty thing is yours," he said. "I understand so much from your son Arthur, who tells me you will be glad to have it again."

"Most cordially do I thank you," said the merchant. "The necklace is certainly mine; that is, the packet of which it formed the contents was under my charge; and it is at this moment of greater additional value to me than even its actual worth, since it serves as my pledge and token for the performance of an important mission.—And how, my young friend," he continued, addressing Sigismund, "have you been so fortunate as to recover what we have sought for hitherto in vain? Let me return my best acknowledgments; and do not think me over-curious if I ask how it reached you."

"For that matter," said Sigismund, "the story is soon told. I had planted myself as near the scaffold as I could, having never beheld an execution before; and I observed the executioner, who I thought did his duty very cleverly, just in the moment that he spread a cloth over the body of De Hagenbach, snatch something from the dead man's bosom, and huddle it hastily into his own; so, when the rumour arose that an article of value was a-missing, I hurried in quest of the fellow. I found he had bespoke masses to the extent of a hundred crowns at the high altar of St. Paul's; and I traced him to the tavern of the village, where some ill-looking men were joyously drinking 312 to him as a free citizen and a nobleman. So I stepped in amongst them with my partisan, and demanded of his lordship either to surrender to me what he had thus possessed himself of, or to try the weight of the weapon I carried. His lordship, my Lord Hangman, hesitated, and was about to make a brawl. But I was something peremptory, and so he judged it best to give me the parcel, which I trust you, Seignor Philipson, will find safe and entire as it was taken from you. And—and—I left them to conclude their festivities—and that is the whole of the story."

"Thou art a brave lad," said Philipson; "and with a heart always right, the head can seldom be far wrong. But the Church shall not lose its dues, and I take it on myself, ere I leave La Ferette, to pay for the masses which the man had ordered for the sake of De Hagenbach's soul, snatched from the world so unexpectedly."

Sigismund was about to reply; but Philipson, fearing he might bring out some foolery to diminish the sense which his father had so joyously entertained of his late conduct, immediately added, "Hie away, my good youth, and give to my son Arthur this precious casket."

With simple exultation at receiving applause to which he was little accustomed, Sigismund took his leave, and the council were once more left to their own privacy.

There was a moment's silence; for the Landamman could not overcome the feeling of exquisite pleasure at the sagacity which poor Sigismund, whose general conduct warranted no such expectations, had displayed on the present occasion. It was not, however, a feeling to which circumstances 313 permitted him to give vent, and he reserved it for his own secret enjoyment, as a solace to the anxiety which he had hitherto entertained concerning the limited intellect of this simple-minded young man. When he spoke, it was to Philipson, with the usual candour and manliness of his character.

"Seignor Philipson," he said, "we will hold you bound by no offer which you made while these glittering matters were out of your possession; because a man may often think that if he were in such and such a situation he would be able to achieve certain ends which, that position being attained, he may find himself unable to accomplish. But I now ask you, whether, having thus fortunately and unexpectedly regained possession of what you say will give you certain credence with the Duke of Burgundy, you conceive yourself entitled to mediate with him on our behalf, as you formerly proposed?"

All bent forward to hear the merchant's answer.

"Landamman," he replied, "I never spoke the word in difficulty which I was not ready to redeem when that difficulty was removed. You say, and I believe, that you had no concern with this storming of La Ferette. You say also, that the life of De Hagenbach was taken by a judicature over which you had no control, and exercised none—let a protocol be drawn up, averring these circumstances, and, as far as possible, proving them. Intrust it to me—under seal if you will—and if such points be established, I will pledge my word as a—as a—as an honest man and a true-born Englishman, that the Duke of Burgundy will neither detain nor offer you any personal 314 injury. I also hope to show to Charles strong and weighty reasons why a league of friendship betwixt Burgundy and the United Cantons of Helvetia is, on his grace's part, a wise and generous measure. But it is possible I may fail in this last point; and if I do, I shall deeply grieve for it. In warranting your safe passage to the Duke's court, and your safe return from it to your own country, I think I cannot fail. If I do, my own life, and that of my beloved and only child, shall pay the ransom for my excess of confidence in the Duke's justice and honour."

The other deputies stood silent, and looked on the Landamman; but Rudolph Donnerhugel spoke.

"Are we then to trust our own lives, and, what is still dearer to us, that of our honoured associate, Arnold Biederman, on the simple word of a foreign trader? We all know the temper of the Duke, and how vindictively and relentlessly he has ever felt towards our country and its interests. Methinks this English merchant should express the nature of his interest at the court of Burgundy more plainly, if he expects us to place such implicit reliance in it."

"That, Seignor Rudolph Donnerhugel," replied the merchant, "I find myself not at liberty to do. I pry not into your secrets, whether they belong to you as a body or as individuals. My own are sacred. If I consulted my own safety merely, I should act most wisely to part company with you here. But the object of your mission is peace; and your sudden return, after what has chanced at La Ferette, will make war inevitable. I think I can assure you of a safe and free audience from the Duke, and I am willing, for the chance of 315 securing the peace of Christendom, to encounter any personal peril which may attach to myself."

"Say no more, worthy Philipson," said the Landamman; "thy good faith is undoubted on our part, and ill luck is his who cannot read it written on thy manly forehead. We go forward, then, prepared to risk our own safety at the hand of a despotic prince, rather than leave undischarged the mission which our country has intrusted us with. He is but half a brave man who will risk his life only in the field of battle. There are other dangers, to front which is equally honourable; and since the weal of Switzerland demands that we should encounter them, not one of us will hesitate to take the risk."

The other members of the mission bowed in assent, and the conclave broke up to prepare for their farther entrance into Burgundy. 316


Upon the mountain's heathery side,

The day's last lustre shone,

And rich with many a radiant hue,

Gleam'd gaily on the Rhone.


The English merchant was now much consulted by the Swiss Commissioners in all their motions. He exhorted them to proceed with all despatch on their journey, so as to carry to the Duke their own account of the affair of Brisach, and thus anticipate all rumours less favourable to their conduct on the occasion. For this purpose Philipson recommended that the Deputies, dismissing their escort, whose arms and numbers might give umbrage and suspicion, while they were too few for defence, should themselves proceed by rapid journeys on horseback towards Dijon, or wherever the Duke might chance to be for the time.

This proposal was, however, formally resisted by the very person who had hitherto been the most ductile of the party, and the willing echo of the Landamman's pleasure. On the present occasion, notwithstanding that Arnold Biederman declared the advice of Philipson excellent, Nicholas Bonstetten stood in absolute and insurmountable opposition; because, having hitherto trusted to his own limbs for transporting himself to and fro on all occasions, he could by no means be persuaded 317 to commit himself to the discretion of a horse. As he was found obstinately positive on this subject, it was finally determined that the two Englishmen should press forward on their journey, with such speed as they might, and that the elder of them should make the Duke acquainted with so much as to the capture of La Ferette as he had himself witnessed of the matter. The particulars which had attended the death of De Hagenbach, the Landamman assured him, would be sent to the Duke by a person of confidence, whose attestation on the subject could not be doubted.

This course was adopted, as Philipson expressed his confidence of getting an early and private audience with his grace of Burgundy.

"My best intercession," he said, "you have a good right to reckon upon; and no one can bear more direct testimony than I can to the ungovernable cruelty and rapacity of De Hagenbach, of which I had so nearly been the victim. But of his trial and execution I neither know nor can tell anything; and as Duke Charles is sure to demand why execution was done upon his officer without an appeal to his own tribunal, it will be well that you either provide me with such facts as you have to state, or send forward, at least, as speedily as possible, the evidence which you have to lay before him on that most weighty branch of the subject."

The proposal of the merchant created some visible embarrassment on the countenance of the Swiss, and it was with obvious hesitation that Arnold Biederman, having led him aside, addressed him in a whisper— 318

"My good friend," he said, "mysteries are in general like the hateful mists which disfigure the noblest features of nature; yet, like mists, they will sometimes intervene when we most desire their absence, when we most desire to be plain and explicit. The manner of De Hagenbach's death you saw—we will take care that the Duke is informed of the authority by which it was inflicted. This is all that I can at present tell you on the subject; and let me add, that the less you speak of it with any one, you will be the more likely to escape inconvenience."

"Worthy Landamman," said the Englishman, "I also am by nature, and from the habits of my country, a hater of mysteries. Yet, such is my firm confidence in your truth and honour, that you shall be my guide in these dark and secret transactions, even as amongst the mists and precipices of your native land, and I rest contented in either case to place unlimited confidence in your sagacity. Let me only recommend that your explanation with Charles be instant, as well as clear and candid. Such being the case, I trust my poor interest with the Duke may be reckoned for something in your favour. Here then we part, but, as I trust, soon to meet again."

The elder Philipson now rejoined his son, whom he directed to hire horses, together with a guide, to conduct them with all speed to the presence of the Duke of Burgundy. By various inquiries in the town, and especially among the soldiers of the slain De Hagenbach, they at length learned that Charles had been of late occupied in taking possession of Lorraine, and, being now suspicious of unfriendly dispositions on the part of the Emperor 319 of Germany, as well as of Sigismund Duke of Austria, had drawn a considerable part of his army together near Strasburg, in order to be prepared against any attempt of these princes, or of the Free Imperial Cities, which might interfere with his course of conquest. The Duke of Burgundy, at this period, well deserved his peculiar epithet of the Bold, since, surrounded by enemies, like one of the nobler animals of the chase, he yet astounded, by his stern and daring countenance, not only the princes and states we have mentioned, but even the King of France, equally powerful, and far more politic, than himself.

To his camp, therefore, the English travellers bent their way, each full of such deep and melancholy reflection as, perhaps, prevented his bestowing much attention on the other's state of mind. They rode as men deeply immersed in their own thoughts, and with less intercourse than had been usual betwixt them on their former journeys. The nobleness of the elder Philipson's nature, and his respect for the Landamman's probity, joined with gratitude for his hospitality, had prevented him from separating his cause from that of the Swiss deputies, nor did he now repent his generosity in adhering to them. But when he recollected the nature and importance of the personal affairs which he himself had to despatch with a proud, imperious, and irritable prince, he could not but regret the circumstances which had involved his own particular mission, of so much consequence to himself and his friends, with that of persons likely to be so highly obnoxious to the Duke as Arnold Biederman and his companions; and, however grateful for the hospitality of Geierstein, 320 he regretted, nevertheless, the circumstances which had obliged him to accept of it.

The thoughts of Arthur were no less anxious. He found himself anew separated from the object to which his thoughts were, almost against his own will, constantly returning. And this second separation had taken place after he had incurred an additional load of gratitude, and found new as well as more mysterious food for his ardent imagination. How was he to reconcile the character and attributes of Anne of Geierstein, whom he had known so gentle, candid, pure, and simple, with those of the daughter of a sage, and of an elementary spirit, to whom night was as day, and an impervious dungeon the same as the open portico of a temple? Could they be identified as the same being? or, while strictly alike in shape and lineament, was the one a tenant of the earth, the other only a phantom, permitted to show itself among those of a nature in which she did not partake? Above all, must he never see her more, or receive from her own lips an explanation of the mysteries which were so awfully entwined with his recollections of her? Such were the questions which occupied the mind of the younger traveller, and prevented him from interrupting, or even observing, the reverie in which his father was plunged.

Had either of the travellers been disposed to derive amusement from the country through which their road lay, the vicinity of the Rhine was well qualified to afford it. The ground on the left bank of that noble river is indeed rather flat and tame; and the mountains of Alsace, a ridge of which sweeps along its course, do not approach so near as 321 greatly to vary the level surface of the valley which divides them from its shores. But the broad stream itself, hurrying forward with dizzy rapidity, and rushing around the islets by which its course is interrupted, is one of the most majestic spectacles in nature. The right bank is dignified at once, and adorned, by the numerous eminences covered with wood, and interspersed with valleys, which constitute the district so well known by the name of the Black Forest, to which superstition attached so many terrors, and credulity such a variety of legends. Terrors, indeed, it had, of a real and existing character. The old castles, seen from time to time on the banks of the river itself, or on the ravines and large brooks which flow into it, were then no picturesque ruins, rendered interesting by the stories which were told about their former inhabitants, but constituted the real and apparently impregnable strongholds of that Robber-chivalry whom we have already frequently mentioned, and of whom, since Goethe, an author born to arouse the slumbering fame of his country, has dramatised the story of Goetz of Berlichingen, we have had so many spirit-stirring tales. The danger attending the vicinity of these fortresses was only known on the right, or German bank of the Rhine, for the breadth and depth of that noble stream effectually prevented any foray of their inhabitants from reaching Alsace. The former was in possession of the Cities or Free Towns of the Empire, and thus the feudal tyranny of the German lords was chiefly exerted at the expense of their own countrymen, who, irritated and exhausted with their rapine and oppression, were compelled to erect barriers against it, of a 322 nature as interesting and extraordinary as were the wrongs from which they endeavoured to protect themselves.

But the left bank of the river, over great part of which Charles of Burgundy exercised his authority, under various characters, was under the regular protection of the ordinary magistrates, who were supported in the discharge of their duty by large bands of mercenary soldiers. These were maintained by Charles out of his private revenue; he, as well as his rival Louis, and other princes of the period, having discovered that the feudal system gave an inconvenient degree of independence to their vassals, and thinking, of course, that it was better to substitute in its place a standing army, consisting of Free Companies, or soldiers by profession. Italy furnished most of these bands, which composed the strength of Charles's army, at least the part of it in which he most trusted.

Our travellers, therefore, pursued their way by the banks of the river, in as great a degree of security as could well be enjoyed in that violent and distracted time, until at length the father, after having eyed for some time the person whom Arthur had hired to be their guide, suddenly asked of his son who or what the man was. Arthur replied that he had been too eager to get a person who knew the road, and was willing to show it, to be very particular in inquiring into his station or occupation; but that he thought, from the man's appearance, he must be one of those itinerant ecclesiastics, who travel through the country with relics, pardons, and other religious trinkets, and were in general but slightly respected, excepting by the lower orders, on whom these vendors of 323 superstitious wares were often accused of practising gross deceptions.

The man's appearance was rather that of a lay devotee, or palmer, bound on his pilgrimage to different shrines, than of a mendicant friar, or questionary. He wore the hat, scrip, staff, and coarse dalmatic, somewhat like the military cloak of the modern hussar, which were used by such persons on their religious peregrinations. St. Peter's keys, rudely shaped out of some scarlet rag of cloth, appeared on the back of his mantle, placed, as heralds say, saltire wise. This devotee seemed a man of fifty and upwards, well-made, and stout for his age, with a cast of countenance which, though not positively ugly, was far from being well-favoured. There was shrewdness, and an alert expression in his eye and actions, which made some occasional contrast with the sanctimonious demeanour of the character he now bore. This difference betwixt his dress and physiognomy was by no means uncommon among persons of his description, many of whom embraced this mode of life, rather to indulge roving and idle habits, than from any religious call.

"Who art thou, good fellow?" said the elder Philipson; "and by what name am I to call thee while we are fellow-travellers?"

"Bartholomew, sir," said the man; "Brother Bartholomew—I might say Bartholomæus, but it does not become a poor lay brother like me to aspire to the honour of a learned termination."

"And whither does thy journey tend, good Brother Bartholomew?"

"In whichever direction your worship chooses to travel, and to require my services as guide," 324 answered the palmer; "always premising, you allow me leisure for my devotions at such holy stations as we pass on our route."

"That is, thine own journey hath no professed or pressing object or end?" said the Englishman.

"None, as your worship says, peculiar," said the itinerant; "or I might rather say, that my journey, good sir, embraces so many objects, that it is matter of indifference to me which of them I accomplish first. My vow binds me for four years to travel from one shrine, or holy place, to another; but I am not directly tied to visit them by any precise rule of rotation."

"That is to say, thy vow of pilgrimage does not prevent thee from hiring thyself to wait upon travellers as their guide," replied Philipson.

"If I can unite the devotion I owe to the blessed saints whose shrines I visit, with a service rendered to a wandering fellow-creature who desires to be directed upon his journey, I do maintain," replied Bartholomew, "that the objects are easily to be reconciled to each other."

"Especially as a little worldly profit may tend to cement the two duties together, if otherwise incompatible," said Philipson.

"It pleases your honour to say so," replied the pilgrim; "but you yourself may, if you will, derive from my good company something more than the mere knowledge of the road in which you propose to travel. I can make your journey more edifying by legends of the blessed saints whose holy relics I have visited, and pleasing, by the story of the wonderful things which I have seen and heard in my travels. I can impart to you an opportunity of providing yourself with his Holiness's 325 pardon, not only for the sins which you have committed, but also granting you indulgence for future errors."

"These things are highly available doubtless," replied the merchant; "but, good Bartholomew, when I desire to speak of them, I apply to my father confessor, to whom I have been uniformly regular in committing the charge of my conscience, and who must be, therefore, well acquainted with my state of mind, and best accustomed to prescribe what its case may require."

"Nevertheless," said Bartholomew, "I trust your worship is too religious a man, and too sound a Catholic, to pass any hallowed station without endeavouring to obtain some share of the benefits which it is the means of dispensing to those who are ready and willing to deserve them. More especially as all men, of whatever trade and degree, hold respect to the holy saint who patroniseth his own mystery; so I hope you, being a merchant, will not pass the Chapel of Our Lady of the Ferry, without making some fitting orison."

"Friend Bartholomew," said Philipson, "I have not heard of the shrine which you recommend to me; and, as my business is pressing, it were better worth my while to make a pilgrimage hither on purpose to make mine homage at a fitter season, than to delay my journey at present. This, God willing, I will not fail to do, so that I may be held excused for delaying my reverence till I can pay it more respectfully, and at greater leisure."

"May it please you not to be wroth," said the guide, "if I say that your behaviour in this matter is like that of a fool, who, finding a treasure by 326 the road-side, omits to put it in his bosom and carry it along with him, proposing to return from a distance on a future day, of express purpose to fetch it."

Philipson, something astonished at the man's pertinacity, was about to answer hastily and angrily, but was prevented by the arrival of three strangers, who rode hastily up from behind them.

The foremost of these was a young female, most elegantly attired, and mounted upon a Spanish jennet, which she reined with singular grace and dexterity. She wore on her right hand such a glove as that which was used to carry hawks, and had a merlin perched upon it. Her head was covered with a montero cap, and, as was frequently the custom at the period, she wore on her face a kind of black silk vizard, which effectually concealed her features. Notwithstanding this disguise, Arthur Philipson's heart sprang high at the appearance of these strangers, for he was at once certain he recognised the matchless form of the Swiss maiden by whom his mind was so anxiously occupied. Her attendants were a falconer with his hunting-pole, and a female, both apparently her domestics. The elder Philipson, who had no such accuracy of recollection as his son manifested upon the occasion, saw in the fair stranger only some dame or damsel of eminence engaged in the amusement of hawking, and, in return to a brief salutation, merely asked her, with suitable courtesy, as the case demanded, whether she had spent the morning in good sport.

"Indifferent, good friend," said the lady. "I dare not fly my hawk so near the broad river, lest he should soar to the other side, and so I might 327 lose my companion. But I reckon on finding better game when I have crossed to the other side of the ferry, which we are now approaching."

"Then your ladyship," said Bartholomew, "will hear mass in Hans' Chapel, and pray for your success?"

"I were a heathen to pass the holy place without doing so," replied the damsel.

"That, noble damsel, touches the point we were but now talking of," said the guide Bartholomew; "for know, fair mistress, that I cannot persuade this worthy gentleman how deeply the success of his enterprise is dependent upon his obtaining the blessing of Our Lady of the Ferry."

"The good man," said the young maiden, seriously, and even severely, "must know little of the Rhine. I will explain to the gentleman the propriety of following your advice."

She then rode close to young Philipson, and spoke in Swiss, for she had hitherto used the German language, "Do not start, but hear me!" and the voice was that of Anne of Geierstein. "Do not, I say, be surprised—or at least show not your wonder—you are beset by dangers. On this road, especially, your business is known—your lives are laid in wait for. Cross over the river at the Ferry of the Chapel, or Hans' Ferry, as it is usually termed."

Here the guide drew so near to them that it was impossible for her to continue the conversation without being overheard. At that same moment a woodcock sprang from some bushes, and the young lady threw off her merlin in pursuit.

"Sa ho—sa ho—wo ha!" hollowed the falconer, in a note which made the thicket ring 328 again; and away he rode in pursuit. The elder Philipson and the guide himself followed the chase eagerly with their eyes, so attractive was the love of that brave sport to men of all ranks. But the voice of the maiden was a lure, which would have summoned Arthur's attention from matters more deeply interesting.

"Cross the Rhine," she again repeated, "at the Ferry to Kirch-hoff, on the other side of the river. Take your lodgings at the Golden Fleece, where you will find a guide to Strasburg. I must stay here no longer."

So saying, the damsel raised herself in her saddle, struck her horse lightly with the loose reins, and the mettled animal, already impatient at her delay, and the eager burst of its companions, flew forward at such a pace, as if he had meant to emulate the flight of the hawk, and of the prey he pursued. The lady and her attendants soon vanished from the sight of the travellers.

A deep silence for some time ensued, during which Arthur studied how to communicate the warning he had received, without awakening the suspicions of their guide. But the old man broke silence himself, saying to Bartholomew, "Put your horse into more motion, I pray you, and ride onward a few yards; I would have some private conference with my son."

The guide obeyed, and, as if with the purpose of showing a mind too profoundly occupied by heavenly matters to admit a thought concerning those of this transitory world, he thundered forth a hymn in praise of St. Wendelin the Shepherd, in a strain so discordant as startled every bird from every bush by which they passed. There 329 was never a more unmelodious melody, whether sacred or profane, than that under protection of which the elder Philipson thus conferred with his son.

"Arthur," he said, "I am much convinced that this howling hypocritical vagrant has some plot upon us; and I had well-nigh determined that the best mode to baffle it would be to consult my own opinion, and not his, as to our places of repose, and the direction of our journey."

"Your judgment is correct, as usual," said his son. "I am well convinced of yonder man's treachery, from a whisper in which that maiden informed me that we ought to take the road to Strasburg, by the eastern side of the river, and for that purpose cross over to a place called Kirch-hoff, on the opposite bank."

"Do you advise this, Arthur?" replied his father.

"I will pledge my life for the faith of this young person," replied his son.

"What!" said his father, "because she sits her palfrey fairly, and shows a faultless shape? Such is the reasoning of a boy—and yet my own old and cautious heart feels inclined to trust her. If our secret is known in this land, there are doubtless many who may be disposed to think they have an interest in barring my access to the Duke of Burgundy, even by the most violent means; and well you know that I should on my side hold my life equally cheap, could I discharge mine errand at the price of laying it down. I tell thee, Arthur, that my mind reproaches me for taking hitherto over little care of insuring the discharge of my commission, owing to the natural desire I 330 had to keep thee in my company. There now lie before us two ways, both perilous and uncertain, by which we may reach the Duke's Court. We may follow this guide, and take the chance of his fidelity, or we may adopt the hint of yonder damsel-errant, and cross over to the other side of the Rhine, and again repass the river at Strasburg. Both roads are perhaps equally perilous. I feel it my duty to diminish the risk of the miscarriage of my commission, by sending thee across to the right bank, while I pursue my proposed course upon the left. Thus, if one of us be intercepted, the other may escape, and the important commission which he bears may be duly executed."

"Alas, my father!" said Arthur, "how is it possible for me to obey you, when by doing so I must leave you alone, to incur so many dangers, to struggle with so many difficulties, in which my aid might be at least willing, though it could only be weak? Whatever befall us in these delicate and dangerous circumstances, let us at least meet it in company."

"Arthur, my beloved son," said his father, "in parting from thee I am splitting mine own heart in twain; but the same duty which commands us to expose our bodies to death, as peremptorily orders us not to spare our most tender affections. We must part."

"Oh, then," replied his son, eagerly, "let me at least prevail in one point. Do thou, my father, cross the Rhine, and let me prosecute the journey by the route originally proposed."

"And why, I pray you," answered the merchant, "should I go one of these roads in preference to the other?" 331

"Because," said Arthur eagerly. "I would warrant yonder maiden's faith with my life."

"Again, young man?" said his father. "And wherefore so confident in that young maiden's faith? Is it merely from the confidence which youth reposes in that which is fair and pleasing, or have you had further acquaintance with her than the late brief conversation with her admitted?"

"Can I give you an answer?" replied his son. "We have been long absent from lands of knights and ladies, and is it not natural that we should give to those who remind us of the honoured ties of chivalry and gentle blood, the instinctive credence which we refuse to such a poor wretch as this itinerant mountebank, who gains his existence by cheating, with false relics and forged legends, the poor peasants amongst whom he travels?"

"It is a vain imagination, Arthur," said his father; "not unbefitting, indeed, an aspirant to the honours of chivalry, who draws his ideas of life and its occurrences from the romances of the minstrels, but too visionary for a youth who has seen, as thou hast, how the business of this world is conducted. I tell thee, and thou wilt learn to know I say truth, that around the homely board of our host the Landamman were ranged truer tongues, and more faithful hearts, than the cour plénière of a monarch has to boast. Alas! the manly spirit of ancient faith and honour has fled even from the breast of kings and knights, where, as John of France said, it ought to continue to reside a constant inhabitant, if banished from all the rest of the world."

"Be that as it may, dearest father," replied the 332 younger Philipson, "I pray you to be persuaded by me; and if we must part company, let it be by your taking the right bank of the Rhine, since I am persuaded it is the safest route."

"And if it be the safest," said his father, with a voice of tender reproach, "is that a reason why I should spare my own almost exhausted thread of life, and expose thine, my dear son, which has but begun its course?"

"Nay, father," answered the son with animation, "in speaking thus you do not consider the difference of our importance to the execution of the purpose which you have so long entertained, and which seems now so nigh being accomplished. Think how imperfectly I might be able to discharge it, without knowledge of the Duke's person, or credentials to gain his confidence. I might indeed repeat your words, but the circumstances would be wanting to attract the necessary faith, and of consequence, your scheme, for the success of which you have lived, and now are willing to run the risk of death, would miscarry along with me."

"You cannot shake my resolution," said the elder Philipson, "or persuade me that my life is of more importance than yours. You only remind me that it is you, and not I, who ought to be the bearer of this token to the Duke of Burgundy. Should you be successful in reaching his court or camp, your possession of these gems will be needful to attach credit to your mission; a purpose for which they would be less necessary to me, who can refer to other circumstances under which I might claim credence, if it should please Heaven to leave me alone to acquit myself of this important commission, which, may Our Lady, in her 333 mercy, forefend! Understand, therefore, that, should an opportunity occur by which you can make your way to the opposite side of the Rhine, you are to direct your journey so as again to cross to this bank at Strasburg, where you will inquire for news of me at the Flying Stag, a hostelry in that city, which you will easily discover. If you hear no tidings of me at that place, you will proceed to the Duke, and deliver to him this important packet."

Here he put into his son's hand, with as much privacy as possible, the case containing the diamond necklace.

"What else your duty calls on you to do," continued the elder Philipson, "you well know; only I conjure you, let no vain inquiries after my fate interfere with the great duty you have there to discharge. In the meantime, prepare to bid me a sudden farewell, with a heart as bold and confident as when you went before me, and courageously led the way amid the rocks and storms of Switzerland. Heaven was above us then, as it is over us now. Adieu, my beloved Arthur! Should I wait till the moment of separation, there may be but short time to speak the fatal word, and no eye save thine own must see the tear which I now wipe away."

The painful feeling which accompanied this anticipation of their parting was so sincere on Arthur's part, as well as that of his father, that it did not at first occur to the former, as a source of consolation, that it seemed likely he might be placed under the guidance of the singular female, the memory of whom haunted him. True it was, that the beauty of Anne of Geierstein, as well as 334 the striking circumstances in which she had exhibited herself, had on that very morning been the principal occupation of his mind; but they were now chased from it by the predominant recollection, that he was about to be separated in a moment of danger from a father so well deserving of his highest esteem and his fondest affection.

Meanwhile, that father dashed from his eye the tear which his devoted stoicism could not suppress, and, as if afraid of softening his resolution by indulging his parental fondness, he recalled the pious Bartholomew, to demand of him how far they were from the Chapel of the Ferry.

"Little more than a mile," was the reply; and when the Englishman required further information concerning the cause of its erection, he was informed, that an old boatman and fisherman, named Hans, had long dwelt at the place, who gained a precarious livelihood by transporting travellers and merchants from one bank of the river to the other. The misfortune, however, of losing first one boat and then a second, in the deep and mighty stream, with the dread inspired in travellers by the repetition of such accidents, began to render his profession an uncertain one. Being a good Catholic, the old man's distress took a devotional turn. He began to look back on his former life, and consider by what crimes he had deserved the misfortunes which darkened the evening of his days. His remorse was chiefly excited by the recollection that he had, on one occasion, when the passage was peculiarly stormy, refused to discharge his duty as a ferryman, in order to transport to the other shore a priest, who bore along with him an image of the Virgin, destined for the village of 335 Kirch-hoff, on the opposite or right bank of the Rhine. For this fault Hans submitted to severe penance, as he was now disposed to consider as culpable his doubt of the Virgin's power of protecting herself, her priest, and the bark employed in her service; besides which, the offering of a large share of his worldly goods to the church of Kirch-hoff expressed the truth of the old man's repentance. Neither did he ever again permit himself to interpose any delay in the journey of men of holy Church; but all ranks of the clergy, from the mitred prelate to the barefooted friar, might at any time of day or night have commanded the services of him and his boat.

While prosecuting so laudable a course of life, it became at length the lot of Hans to find, on the banks of the Rhine, a small image of the Virgin, thrown by the waves, which appeared to him exactly to resemble that which he had formerly ungraciously refused to carry across, when under charge of the sacristan of Kirch-hoff. He placed it in the most conspicuous part of his hut, and poured out his soul before it in devotion, anxiously inquiring for some signal by which he might discover whether he was to consider the arrival of her holy image as a pledge that his offences were forgiven. In the visions of the night, his prayers were answered, and Our Lady, assuming the form of the image, stood by his bedside, for the purpose of telling him wherefore she had come hither.

"My trusty servant," she said, "men of Belial have burned my dwelling at Kirch-hoff, spoiled my chapel, and thrown the sacred image which represents me into the swoln Rhine, which swept me downward. Now, I have resolved to dwell no 336 longer in the neighbourhood of the profane doers of this deed, or of the cowardly vassals who dared not prevent it. I am, therefore, compelled to remove my habitation, and, in despite of the opposing current, I determined to take the shore on this side, being resolved to fix my abode with thee, my faithful servant, that the land in which thou dwellest may be blessed, as well as thou and thy household."

As the vision spoke, she seemed to wring from her tresses the water in which they had been steeped, while her disordered dress and fatigued appearance was that of one who has been buffeting with the waves.

Next morning brought intelligence that, in one of the numerous feuds of that fierce period, Kirch-hoff had been sacked, the church destroyed, and the church treasury plundered.

In consequence of the fisherman's vision being thus remarkably confirmed, Hans entirely renounced his profession; and, leaving it to younger men to supply his place as ferryman, he converted his hut into a rustic chapel, and he himself, taking orders, attended upon the shrine as a hermit, or daily chaplain. The figure was supposed to work miracles, and the ferry became renowned from its being under the protection of the Holy Image of Our Lady, and her no less holy servant.

When Bartholomew had concluded his account of the Ferry and its Chapel, the travellers had arrived at the place itself. 337


Upon the Rhine, upon the Rhine they cluster,

The grapes of juice divine,

Which make the soldier's jovial courage muster;

O blessed be the Rhine!

Drinking Song.[9]

A cottage or two on the side of the river, beside which were moored one or two fishing-boats, showed the pious Hans had successors in his profession as a boatman. The river, which at a point a little lower was restrained by a chain of islets, expanded more widely, and moved less rapidly, than when it passed these cottages, affording to the ferryman a smoother surface, and a less heavy stream to contend with, although the current was even there too strong to be borne up against, unless the river was in a tranquil state.

On the opposite bank, but a good deal lower than the hamlet which gave name to the ferry, was seated on a small eminence, screened by trees and bushes, the little town of Kirch-hoff. A skiff departing from the left bank was, even on favourable occasions, carried considerably to leeward ere it could attain the opposite side of the deep and full stream of the Rhine, so that its course was oblique towards Kirch-hoff. On the other hand, 338 a boat departing from Kirch-hoff must have great advantage both of wind and oars, in order to land its loading or crew at the Chapel of the Ferry, unless it were under the miraculous influence which carried the image of the Virgin in that direction. The communication, therefore, from the east to the west bank was only maintained by towing boats up the stream, to such a height on the eastern side that the leeway which they made during the voyage across might correspond with the point at which they desired to arrive, and enable them to attain it with ease. Hence it naturally happened that, the passage from Alsace into Suabia being the most easy, the ferry was more used by those who were desirous of entering Germany, than by travellers who came in an opposite direction.

When the elder Philipson had by a glance around him ascertained the situation of the ferry, he said firmly to his son,—"Begone, my dear Arthur, and do what I have commanded thee."

With a heart rent with filial anxiety, the young man obeyed, and took his solitary course towards the cottages, near which the barks were moored, which were occasionally used for fishing, as well as for the purposes of the ferry.

"Your son leaves us?" said Bartholomew to the elder Philipson.

"He does for the present," said his father, "as he has certain inquiries to make in yonder hamlet."

"If they be," answered the guide, "any matters connected with your honour's road, I laud the Saints that I can better answer your inquiries than those ignorant boors, who hardly understand your language." 339

"If we find that their information needs thy commentary," said Philipson, "we will request it—meanwhile, lead on to the chapel, where my son will join us."

They moved towards the chapel, but with slow steps, each turning his looks aside to the fishing-hamlet; the guide as if striving to see whether the younger traveller was returning towards them, the father anxious to descry, on the broad bosom of the Rhine, a sail unloosed, to waft his son across to that which might be considered as the safer side. But though the looks of both guide and traveller were turned in the direction of the river, their steps carried them towards the chapel, to which the inhabitants, in memory of the founder, had given the title of Hans-Kapelle.

A few trees scattered around gave an agreeable and silvan air to the place; and the chapel, that appeared on a rising ground at some distance from the hamlet, was constructed in a style of pleasing simplicity, which corresponded with the whole scene. Its small size confirmed the tradition that it had originally been merely the hut of a peasant; and the cross of fir-trees, covered with bark, attested the purpose to which it was now dedicated. The chapel and all around it breathed peace and solemn tranquillity, and the deep sound of the mighty river seemed to impose silence on each human voice which might presume to mingle with its awful murmur.

When Philipson arrived in the vicinity, Bartholomew took the advantage afforded by his silence to thunder forth two stanzas to the praise of the Lady of the Ferry, and her faithful worshipper Hans, after which he broke forth into the rapturous 340 exclamation,—"Come hither, ye who fear wreck, here is your safe haven!—Come hither, ye who die of thirst, here is a well of mercy open to you!—Come, those who are weary and far-travelled, this is your place of refreshment!"—And more to the same purpose he might have said, but Philipson sternly imposed silence on him.

"If thy devotion were altogether true," he said, "it would be less clamorous; but it is well to do what is good in itself, even if it is a hypocrite who recommends it.—Let us enter this holy chapel, and pray for a fortunate issue to our precarious travels."

The pardoner caught up the last words.

"Sure was I," he said, "that your worship is too well advised to pass this holy place without imploring the protection and influence of Our Lady of the Ferry. Tarry but a moment until I find the priest who serves the altar, that he may say a mass on your behalf."

Here he was interrupted by the door of the chapel suddenly opening, when an ecclesiastic appeared on the threshold. Philipson instantly knew the Priest of St. Paul's, whom he had seen that morning at La Ferette. Bartholomew also knew him, as it would seem; for his officious hypocritical eloquence failed him in an instant, and he stood before the priest with his arms folded on his breast, like a man who waits for the sentence of condemnation.

"Villain," said the ecclesiastic, regarding the guide with a severe countenance, "dost thou lead a stranger into the houses of the Holy Saints, that thou mayst slay him, and possess thyself of his spoils? But Heaven will no longer bear with thy 341 perfidy. Back, thou wretch, to meet thy brother miscreants, who are hastening hitherward. Tell them thy arts were unavailing, and that the innocent stranger is under MY protection—under my protection, which those who presume to violate will meet with the reward of Archibald de Hagenbach!"

The guide stood quite motionless, while addressed by the priest in a manner equally menacing and authoritative; and no sooner did the latter cease speaking, than, without offering a word either in justification or reply, Bartholomew turned round, and retreated at a hasty pace by the same road which had conducted the traveller to the chapel.

"And do you, worthy Englishman," continued the priest, "enter into this chapel, and perform in safety those devotions, by means of which yonder hypocrite designed to detain you until his brethren in iniquity came up.—But first, wherefore are you alone? I trust naught evil hath befallen your young companion?"

"My son," said Philipson, "crosses the Rhine at yonder ferry, as we had important business to transact on the other side."

As he spoke thus, a light boat, about which two or three peasants had been for some time busy, was seen to push from the shore, and shoot into the stream, to which it was partly compelled to give way, until a sail stretched along the slender yard, and supporting the bark against the current, enabled her to stand obliquely across the river.

"Now, praise be to God!" said Philipson, who was aware that the bark he looked upon must be in the act of carrying his son beyond the reach of the dangers by which he was himself surrounded. 342

"Amen!" answered the priest, echoing the pious ejaculation of the traveller. "Great reason have you to return thanks to Heaven."

"Of that I am convinced," replied Philipson; "but yet from you I hope to learn the special cause of danger from which I have escaped?"

"This is neither time nor place for such an investigation," answered the Priest of St. Paul's. "It is enough to say, that yonder fellow, well known for his hypocrisy and his crimes, was present when the young Switzer, Sigismund, reclaimed from the executioner the treasure of which you were robbed by Hagenbach. Thus Bartholomew's avarice was awakened. He undertook to be your guide to Strasburg, with the criminal intent of detaining you by the way till a party came up, against whose numbers resistance would have been in vain. But his purpose has been anticipated.—And now, ere giving vent to other worldly thoughts, whether of hope or fear—to the chapel, sir, and join in orisons to Him who hath been your aid, and to those who have interceded with him in your behalf."

Philipson entered the chapel with his guide, and joined in returning thanks to Heaven, and the tutelary power of the spot, for the escape which had been vouchsafed to him.

When this duty had been performed, Philipson intimated his purpose of resuming his journey, to which the Black Priest replied, "That far from delaying him in a place so dangerous, he would himself accompany him for some part of the journey, since he also was bound to the presence of the Duke of Burgundy." 343

"You, my father!—you!" said the merchant, with some astonishment.

"And wherefore surprised?" answered the priest. "Is it so strange that one of my order should visit a prince's court? Believe me, there are but too many of them to be found there."

"I do not speak with reference to your order," answered Philipson, "but in regard of the part which you have this day acted, in abetting the execution of Archibald de Hagenbach. Know you so little of the fiery Duke of Burgundy as to imagine you can dally with his resentment with more safety than you would pull the mane of a sleeping lion?"

"I know his mood well," said the priest; "and it is not to excuse but to defend the death of De Hagenbach that I go to his presence. The Duke may execute his serfs and bondsmen at his pleasure, but there is a spell upon my life which is proof to all his power. But let me retort the question—You, Sir Englishman, knowing the conditions of the Duke so well—you, so lately the guest and travelling companion of the most unwelcome visitors who could approach him—you, implicated, in appearance at least, in the uproar at La Ferette—what chance is there of your escaping his vengeance? and wherefore will you throw yourself wantonly within his power?"

"Worthy father," said the merchant, "let each of us, without offence to the other, keep his own secret. I have, indeed, no spell to secure me from the Duke's resentment—I have limbs to suffer torture and imprisonment, and property which may be seized and confiscated. But I have had in former days many dealings with the Duke; I may 344 even say I have laid him under obligations, and hope my interest with him may in consequence be sufficient, not only to save me from the consequences of this day's procedure, but be of some avail to my friend the Landamman."

"But if you are in reality bound to the court of Burgundy as a merchant," said the priest, "where are the wares in which you traffic? Have you no merchandise save that which you carry on your person? I heard of a sumpter-horse with baggage. Has yonder villain deprived you of it?"

This was a trying question to Philipson, who, anxious about the separation from his son, had given no direction whether the baggage should remain with himself, or should be transported to the other side of the Rhine. He was, therefore, taken at advantage by the priest's inquiry, to which he answered with some incoherence,—"I believe my baggage is in the hamlet—that is, unless my son has taken it across the Rhine with him."

"That we will soon learn," answered the priest.

Here a novice appeared from the vestiary of the chapel at his call, and received commands to inquire at the hamlet whether Philipson's bales, with the horse which transported them, had been left there, or ferried over along with his son.

The novice, being absent a few minutes, presently returned with the baggage-horse, which, with its burden, Arthur, from regard to his father's accommodation, had left on the western side of the river. The priest looked on attentively, while the elder Philipson, mounting his own horse, and taking the rein of the other in his hand, bade the Black Priest adieu in these words,—"And now, 345 father, farewell! I must pass on with my bales, since there is little wisdom in travelling with them after nightfall, else would I gladly suit my pace, with your permission, so as to share the way with you."

"If it is your obliging purpose to do so, as indeed I was about to propose," said the priest, "know I will be no stay to your journey. I have here a good horse; and Melchior, who must otherwise have gone on foot, may ride upon your sumpter-horse. I the rather propose this course, as it will be rash for you to travel by night. I can conduct you to an hostelry about five miles off, which we may reach with sufficient daylight, and where you will be lodged safely for your reckoning."

The English merchant hesitated a moment. He had no fancy for any new companion on the road, and although the countenance of the priest was rather handsome, considering his years, yet the expression was such as by no means invited confidence. On the contrary, there was something mysterious and gloomy which clouded his brow, though it was a lofty one, and a similar expression gleamed in his cold grey eye, and intimated severity and even harshness of disposition. But notwithstanding this repulsive circumstance, the priest had lately rendered Philipson a considerable service, by detecting the treachery of his hypocritical guide, and the merchant was not a man to be startled from his course by any imaginary prepossessions against the looks or manners of any one, or apprehensions of machinations against himself. He only revolved in his mind the singularity attending his destiny, which, while it was necessary 346 for him to appear before the Duke of Burgundy in the most conciliatory manner, seemed to force upon him the adoption of companions who must needs be obnoxious to that prince; and such, he was too well aware, must be the case with the Priest of St. Paul's. Having reflected for an instant, he courteously accepted the offer of the priest to guide him to some place of rest and entertainment, which must be absolutely necessary for his horse before he reached Strasburg, even if he himself could have dispensed with it.

The party being thus arranged, the novice brought forth the priest's steed, which he mounted with grace and agility, and the neophyte, being probably the same whom Arthur had represented during his escape from La Ferette, took charge, at his master's command, of the baggage-horse of the Englishman; and crossing himself, with a humble inclination of his head, as the priest passed him, he fell into the rear, and seemed to pass the time, like the false brother Bartholomew, in telling his beads, with an earnestness which had perhaps more of affected than of real piety. The Black Priest of St. Paul's, to judge by the glance which he cast upon his novice, seemed to disdain the formality of the young man's devotion. He rode upon a strong black horse, more like a warrior's charger than the ambling palfrey of a priest, and the manner in which he managed him was entirely devoid of awkwardness and timidity. His pride, whatever was its character, was not certainly of a kind altogether professional, but had its origin in other swelling thoughts which arose in his mind, to mingle with and enhance the self-consequence of a powerful ecclesiastic. 347

As Philipson looked on his companion from time to time, his scrutinising glance was returned by a haughty smile, which seemed to say, "You may gaze on my form and features, but you cannot penetrate my mystery."

The looks of Philipson, which were never known to sink before mortal man, seemed to retort, with equal haughtiness, "Nor shall you, proud priest, know that you are now in company with one whose secret is far more important than thine own can be."

At length the priest made some advance towards conversation, by allusion to the footing upon which, by a mutual understanding, they seemed to have placed their intercourse.

"We travel then," he said, "like two powerful enchanters, each conscious of his own high and secret purpose; each in his own chariot of clouds, and neither imparting to his companion the direction or purpose of his journey."

"Excuse me, father," answered Philipson; "I have neither asked your purpose, nor concealed my own, so far as it concerns you. I repeat, I am bound to the presence of the Duke of Burgundy, and my object, like that of any other merchant, is to dispose of my wares to advantage."

"Doubtless, it would seem so," said the Black Priest, "from the extreme attention to your merchandise, which you showed not above half an hour since, when you knew not whether your bales had crossed the river with your son, or were remaining in your own charge. Are English merchants usually so indifferent to the sources of their traffic?"

"When their lives are in danger," said Philipson, 348 "they are sometimes negligent of their fortune."

"It is well," replied the priest, and again resumed his solitary musings; until another half-hour's travelling brought them to a dorf, or village, which the Black Priest informed Philipson was that where he proposed to stop for the night.

"The novice," he said, "will show you the inn, which is of good reputation, and where you may lodge with safety. For me, I have to visit a penitent in this village who desires my ghostly offices;—perhaps I may see you again this evening, perhaps not till the next morning;—at any rate, adieu for the present."

So saying, the priest stopped his horse, while the novice, coming close up to Philipson's side, conducted him onward through the narrow street of the village, whilst the windows exhibited here and there a twinkling gleam, announcing that the hour of darkness was arrived. Finally, he led the Englishman through an archway into a sort of courtyard, where there stood a car or two of a particular shape, used occasionally by women when they travel, and some other vehicles of the same kind. Here the young man threw himself from the sumpter-horse, and placing the rein in Philipson's hand, disappeared in the increasing darkness, after pointing to a large but dilapidated building, along the front of which not a spark of light was to be discovered from any of the narrow and numerous windows, which were dimly visible in the twilight. 349


Note I. p. 300.

There is abundant evidence that in the Middle Ages the office of public executioner was esteemed highly honourable all over Germany. It still is, in such parts of that country as retain the old custom of execution by stroke of sword, very far from being held discreditable to the extent to which we carry our feelings on the subject, and which exposed the magistrates of a Scotch town, I rather think no less a one than Glasgow, to a good deal of ridicule when they advertised, some few years ago, on occasion of the death of their hangman, that "none but persons of respectable character" need apply for the vacant situation. At this day in China, in Persia, and probably in other Oriental kingdoms, the Chief Executioner is one of the great officers of state, and is as proud of the emblem of his fatal duty as any European Lord Chamberlain of his Golden Key.

The circumstances of the strange trial and execution of the Knight of Hagenbach are detailed minutely by M. de Barante, from contemporary MS. documents; and the reader will be gratified with a specimen of that writer's narrative. A translation is also given for the benefit of many of my kind readers.

"De toutes parts on était accourus par milliers pour assister au procès de ce cruel gouverneur, tant la haine était grande contre lui. De sa prison, il entendait retentir sur le pont le pas des chevaux, et s'enquérait à son geôlier de ceux qui arrivaient: soit pour être ses juges, soit pour être témoins de son supplice. Parfois le geôlier répondait, 'Ce sont des étrangers; je ne les connais pas.' 'Ne sont-ce pas,' disait le prisonnier, 'des gens assez mal vêtus, de haute taille, de forte apparence, montés sur des chevaux aux courtes oreilles?' et si le geôlier répondait: 'Oui.'—'Ah ce sont les Suisses,' s'écriait Hagenbach; 'Mon Dieu, ayez pitié de moi!' et il se rappelait toutes les insultes qu'il leur avait faites, toutes ses insolences envers eux. Il pensait, mais trop tard, que c'était leur 350 alliance avec la maison d'Autriche qui était cause de sa perte. Le 4 Mai, 1474, après avoir été mis à la question, il fut, à la diligence d'Hermann d'Eptingen, gouverneur pour l'archiduc, amené devant ses juges, sur la place publique de Brisach. Sa contenance était ferme et d'un homme qui ne craint pas la mort. Henri Iselin de Bâle porta la parole au nom d'Hermann d'Eptingen, agissant pour le seigneur du pays. Il parla à peu près en ces termes: 'Pierre de Hagenbach, chevalier, maître d'hôtel de Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne, et son gouverneur dans le pays de Sératte et Haute Alsace, aurait dû respecter les privilèges reservés par l'acte d'engagement; mais il n'a pas moins frotté aux pieds les lois de Dieu et des hommes, que les droits jurés et garantis au pays. Il a fait mettre à mort sans jugement quatre honnêtes bourgeois de Sératte; il a depouillé la ville de Brisach de sa juridiction, et y a établi juges et consuls de son choix; il a rompu et dispersé les communautés de la bourgeoisie et des métiers; il a levé des impôts par sa seule volonté; il a, contre toutes les lois, logé chez les habitans des gens de guerre—Lombards, Français, Picards, ou Flamands; et a favorisé leur désordres et pillages. Il leur a même commandé d'égorger leurs hôtes durant la nuit, et avait fait préparer, pour y embarquer les femmes et les enfans, des bateaux qui devaient être submergés dans le Rhin. Enfin, lors même qu'il rejetterait de telles cruautés sur les ordres qu'il a reçus, comment pourrait il s'excuser d'avoir fait violence et outrage à l'honneur de tant de filles et femmes, et même de saintes religieuses?'

"D'autres accusations furent portées dans les interrogatoires; et des témoins attestèrent les violences faites aux gens de Mulhausen et aux marchands de Bâle.

"Pour suivre toutes les formes de la justice, on avait donné un avocat à l'accusé. 'Messire Pierre de Hagenbach,' dit-il, 'ne reconnaît d'autre juge et d'autre seigneur que Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne, dont il avait commission, et recevait les commandemens. Il n'avait nul droit de contrôler les ordres qu'il était chargé d'exécuter; et son devoir était d'obéir. Ne sait-on pas quelle soumission les gens de guerre doivent à leur seigneur et maître? Croit-on que le landvogt de Monseigneur le Duc eût à lui remontrer et à lui résister? Et monseigneur n'a-t-il pas ensuite, par sa présence, confirmé et ratifié tout ce qui avait été fait en son nom? Si des impôts ont été demandés, c'est qu'il avait besoin d'argent. Pour les recueillir, il a bien fallu punir ceux qui se refusaient à payer. C'est ce que Monseigneur le Duc, et même l'empereur, quand ils sont venus, ont reconnu nécessaire. Le logement des gens de guerre était aussi la suite des ordres du Duc. Quant à la juridiction de Brisach; le landvogt pouvait-il souffrir cette résistance? Enfin, dans une affaire si grave, où il y va de la vie, convient-il de produire 351 comme un véritable grief, le dernier dont a parlé l'accusateur? Parmi ceux qui écoutent, y en a-t-il un seul qui puisse se vanter de ne pas avoir saisi les occasions de se divertir? N'est-il pas clair que Messire de Hagenbach a seulement profité de la bonne volonté de quelques femmes ou filles; ou, pour mettre les choses au pis, qu'il n'a exercé d'autre contrainte envers elles qu'au moyen de son bon argent?'

"Les juges siégèrent long temps sur leur tribunal. Douze heures entières passèrent sans que l'affaire fût terminée. Le Sire de Hagenbach, toujours ferme et calme, n'allégua d'autres défenses, d'autres excuses, que celles qu'il avait donné déjà sous la torture—les ordres et la volonté de son seigneur, qui était son seul juge, et le seul qui pût lui demander compte.

"Enfin, à sept heures du soir, à la clarté des flambeaux, les juges, après avoir déclaré qu'à eux appartenait le droit de prononcer sur les crimes imputés au landvogt, le firent rappeler; et rendirent leur sentence qui le condamna à mort. Il ne s'émeut pas davantage; et demanda pour toute grace d'avoir seulement la tête tranchée. Huit bourreaux des diverses villes se présentèrent pour exécuter l'arrêt. Celui de Colmar, qui passait pour le plus adroit, fut préféré. Avant de le conduire à l'échafaud, les seize chevaliers qui faisaient partie des juges requirent que Messire de Hagenbach fût dégradé de sa dignité de chevalier et de tous ses honneurs. Pour lors s'avança Gaspard Hurter, héraut de l'empereur; et il dit: 'Pierre de Hagenbach, il me déplaît grandement que vous ayez si mal employé votre vie mortelle: de sorte qu'il convient que vous perdiez non-seulement la dignité et ordre de chevalerie, mais aussi la vie. Votre devoir était de rendre la justice, de protéger la veuve et l'orphelin; de respecter les femmes et les filles, d'honorer les saints prêtres; de vous opposer à toute injuste violence; et, au contraire, vous avez commis tout ce que vous deviez empêcher. Ayant ainsi forfait au noble ordre de chevalerie, et aux sermens que vous aviez jurés, les chevaliers ici présens m'ont enjoint de vous en ôter les insignes. Ne les voyant pas sur vous en ce moment, je vous proclame indigne chevalier de Saint George, au nom et à l'honneur duquel on vous avait autrefois honoré de l'ordre de chevalerie.' Puis s'avança Hermann d'Eptingen: 'Puis qu'on vient de te dégrader de chevalerie, je te dépouille de ton collier, chaîne d'or, anneau, poignard, éperon, gantelet.' Il les lui prit et lui en frappa le visage, et ajouta: 'Chevaliers, et vous qui désirez le devenir, j'espère que cette punition publique vous servira d'exemple, et que vous vivrez dans la crainte de Dieu, noblement et vaillamment, selon la dignité de la chevalerie et l'honneur de votre nom.' Enfin, le prévôt d'Einsilheim et maréchal de cette commission de juges se leva, et s'adressant au bourreau, lui dit: 'Faites selon la justice.' 352

"Tous les juges montèrent à cheval ainsi qu'Hermann d'Eptingen. Au milieu d'eux marchait Pierre de Hagenbach, entre deux prêtres. C'était pendant la nuit. Des torches éclairaient la marche; une foule immense se pressait autour de ce triste cortège. Le condamné s'entretenait avec son confesseur d'un air pieux et recueilli, mais ferme; se recommandant aussi aux prières de tous ceux qui l'entouraient. Arrivé dans une prairie devant la porte de la ville, il monta sur l'échafaud d'un pas assuré; puis élevant la voix:—

"'Je n'ai pas peur de la mort,' dit-il; 'encore que je ne l'attendisse pas de cette sorte, mais bien les armes à la main; que je plains c'est tout le sang que le mien fera couler. Monseigneur ne laissera point ce jour sans vengeance pour moi. Je ne regrette ni ma vie, ni mon corps. J'étais homme—priez pour moi.' Il s'entretint encore un instant avec son confesseur, présenta la tête et reçut le coup."—M. de Barante, tom. x. p. 197.


"Such was the detestation in which this cruel governor was held, that multitudes flocked in from all quarters to be present at his trial. He heard from his prison the bridge re-echo with the tread of horses, and would ask of his jailer respecting those who were arriving, whether they might be his judges, or those desirous of witnessing his punishment. Sometimes the jailer would answer, 'These are strangers whom I know not.'—'Are not they,' said the prisoner, 'men meanly clad, tall in stature, and of bold mien, mounted on short-eared horses?' And if the jailer answered in the affirmative, 'Ah, these are the Swiss,' cried Hagenbach. 'My God, have mercy on me!' and he recalled to mind all the insults and cruelties he had heaped upon them. He considered, but too late, that their alliance with the house of Austria had been his destruction.

"On the 4th of May, 1474, after being put to the torture, he was brought before his judges in the public square of Brisach, at the instance of Hermann d'Eptingen, who governed for the Archduke. His countenance was firm, as one who fears not death. Henry Iselin of Bâle first spoke in the name of Hermann d'Eptingen, who acted for the lord of the country. He proceeded in nearly these terms:—'Peter de Hagenbach, knight, steward of my lord the Duke of Burgundy, and his governor in the country of Seratte and Haute Alsace, was bound to observe the privileges reserved by act of compact, but he has alike trampled under foot the laws of God and man, and the rights which have been guaranteed by oath to the country. He has caused four worshipful burgesses of Seratte 353 to be put to death without trial; he has spoiled the city of Brisach, and established there judges and consuls chosen by himself; he has broken and dispersed the various communities of burghers and craftsmen; he has levied imposts of his own will; contrary to every law, he has quartered upon the inhabitants soldiers of various countries, Lombards, French, men of Picardy and Flemings, and has encouraged them in pillage and disorder; he has even commanded these men to butcher their hosts during night, and had caused boats to be prepared to embark therein women and children to be sunk in the Rhine. Finally, should he plead the orders which he had received as an excuse for these cruelties, how can he clear himself of having dishonoured so many women and maidens, even those under religious vows?'

"Other accusations were brought against him by examination, and witnesses proved outrages committed on the people of Mulhausen, and the merchants of Bâle.

"That every form of justice might be observed, an advocate was appointed to defend the accused. 'Messire Peter de Hagenbach,' said he, 'recognises no other judge or master than my lord the Duke of Burgundy, whose commission he bore and whose orders he received. He had no control over the orders he was charged to execute;—his duty was to obey. Who is ignorant of the submission due by military retainers to their lord and master? Can any one believe that the landvogt of my lord the Duke could remonstrate with or resist him? And has not my lord confirmed and ratified by his presence all acts done in his name? If imposts have been levied, it was because he had need of money; to obtain it, it was necessary to punish those who refused payment: this proceeding my lord the Duke, and the Emperor himself, when present, have considered as expedient. The quartering of soldiers was also in accordance with the orders of the Duke. With respect to the jurisdiction of Brisach, could the landvogt permit any resistance from that quarter? To conclude, in so serious an affair,—one which touches the life of the prisoner,—can the last accusation be really considered a grievance? Among all those who hear me, is there one man who can say he has never committed similar imprudences? Is it not evident that Messire de Hagenbach has only taken advantage of the good-will of some girls and women, or, at the worst, that his money was the only restraint imposed upon them?'

"The judges sat for a long time on the tribunal. Twelve hours elapsed before the termination of the trial. The Knight of Hagenbach, always calm and undaunted, brought forward no other defence or excuse than what he had before given when under the torture; viz. the orders and will of his lord, who alone was his judge, and 354 who alone could demand an explanation. At length, at seven in the evening, and by the light of torches, the judges, after having declared it their province to pronounce judgment on the crimes of which the landvogt was accused, caused him to be called before them, and delivered their sentence condemning him to death. He betrayed no emotion, and only demanded as a favour, that he should be beheaded. Eight executioners of various towns presented themselves to execute the sentence; the one belonging to Colmar, who was accounted the most expert, was preferred.

"Before conducting him to the scaffold, the sixteen knights, who acted as judges, required that Messire de Hagenbach should be degraded from the dignity of knight, and from all his honours. Then advanced Gaspar Hurter, herald of the Emperor, and said:—'Peter de Hagenbach, I deeply deplore that you have so employed your mortal life, that you must lose not only the dignity and honour of knighthood, but your life also. Your duty was to render justice, to protect the widow and orphan, to respect women and maidens, to honour the holy priests, to oppose every unjust outrage: but you have yourself committed what you ought to have opposed in others. Having broken, therefore, the oaths which you have sworn, and having forfeited the noble order of knighthood, the knights here present have enjoined me to deprive you of its insignia. Not perceiving them on your person at this moment, I proclaim you unworthy Knight of St. George, in whose name and honour you were formerly admitted in the order of knighthood.' Then Hermann d'Eptingen advanced. 'Since you are degraded from knighthood, I deprive you of your collar, gold chain, ring, poniard, spur, and gauntlet.' He then took them from him, and, striking him on the face, added:—'Knights, and you who aspire to that honour, I trust this public punishment will serve as an example to you, and that you will live in the fear of God, nobly and valiantly, in accordance with the dignity of knighthood, and the honour of your name.' At last the provost of Einselheim, and marshal of that commission of judges, arose, and addressing himself to the executioner,—'Let justice be done.'

"All the judges, along with Hermann d'Eptingen, mounted on horseback; in the midst of them walked Peter de Hagenbach between two priests. It was night, and they marched by the light of torches; an immense crowd pressed around this sad procession. The prisoner conversed with his confessor, with pious, collected, and firm demeanour, recommending himself to the prayers of the spectators. On arriving at a meadow without the gate of the town, he mounted the scaffold with a firm step, and elevating his voice, exclaimed:—

"'I fear not death, I have always expected it; not, indeed, in 355 this manner, but with arms in my hand. I regret alone the blood which mine will cause to be shed; my lord will not permit this day to pass unavenged. I regret neither my life nor body. I was a man—pray for me!' He conversed an instant more with his confessor, presented his head, and received the blow."—M. de Barante, tom. x. p. 197.



[1] Owen Pugh's Elegies of Lewarch Hen, Pref., p. 46. The place of these meetings was set apart by forming a circle of stones round the Maen Gorsedd, or Stone of the Gorsedd.

[2] See Editor's Notes at the end of the Volume. Wherever a similar reference occurs, the reader will understand that the same direction applies.

[3] Graffs-lust—i. e., Count's-delight.

[4] A private soldier of the German infantry.

[5] The chivalry of Cornwall are generally undervalued in the Norman-French romances. The cause is difficult to discover.

[6] Double-walkers, a name in Germany for those aërial duplicates of humanity who represent the features and appearance of other living persons.

[7] Louis XI. was probably the first king of France who flung aside all affectation of choosing his ministers from among the nobility. He often placed men of mean birth in situations of the highest trust.

[8] Note I.

[9] This is one of the best and most popular of the German ditties:—

"Am Rhein, am Rhein, da wachsen unsere Reben, Gesegnet sei der Rhein," &c.


(a) p. 3. Laupen and Sempach. The former battle was fought in 1339, and resulted in a triumph of the city of Berne over the neighbouring noblesse. Sempach (July 9, 1386) was the famous victory of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, and Lucerne over a much larger force of Austrian chivalry. Leopold III. and Arnold von Winkelried fell in this action.

(b) p. 6. "A large body of whom had long since invaded the Forest Cantons." This foray was called the English, or Gugler, war (1374-75). Enguerrand (Ingelram) de Coucy, husband of Isabella, daughter of Edward III., was endeavouring to gain some towns in the Aargau, which he claimed through his mother, Catherine, daughter of Leopold III., who fell at Sempach in 1386. Many Englishmen served under Enguerrand: they were routed in the Entlibuch, in 1375, by the men of Lucerne, Schwyz, Berne, and Unterwalden.

(c) p. 65. "The war of Zurich." Civil war, mainly arising from the conquests and ambitions of the Cantons, broke out in 1436, and, with intervals, lasted till 1450. Zurich renounced the Hapsburg alliance, and most of her lost lands were restored by her opponents, the Confederates.

(d) p. 86. "The Chapel of St. Jacob." Zurich was defeated at St. Jacob, on the Sihl, in 1443. There was also a battle near the Leper hospital of St. Jacob on the Birs, on August 26, 1444.

(e) p. 100. "Usum non habeo." The reference, of course, is to David's refusal of armour before his duel with Goliath.

(f) p. 113. "The Duke of Burgundy's possessions in Alsatian territory." A history of these complex matters cannot be written in a note to a romance. The reader who is anxious for information may consult Mr. Kirk's "Charles the Bold," vol. ii. book iv. ch. iv. (London, 1863). Mr. Kirk supplies an interesting defence of Hagenbach, and does not believe in a spontaneous popular insurrection, caused by his 358 tyranny. The intrigues of Louis XI. receive the credit, or discredit, of the whole affair, which culminated in the ruin of Burgundy. The Swiss declared war "simply as the strong, intelligent, hired bravoes of a foreign potentate, too weak, too timid, or too crafty to strike with his own hand."

(g) p. 214. "Double gangers." This is the appearance described and criticised by Mr. Kirk in his "Secret Commonwealth" (1691) as "The Co-Walker." The learned author explains that we have all our spiritual shadows in the "Secret Commonwealth": it is these which are sometimes seen when the real human being is not present. The end of the "Co-Walker" is that he "goes to his own herd." Goethe is said to have seen his own co-walker, and the same experience occurred to a living person of the Editor's acquaintance, in the open air, where no mirror could account for the hallucination. Even the sceptical Lucretius admits the existence of such apparitions, which he explains by what Kirk calls "exuvious fumes." The passage is not very intelligible, because the author's ideas were not very distinct.

(h) p. 299. "A tall man, attired in red." The headsman was, in fact, "a short man with a short sword," the executioner of Colmar (Kirk, "Charles the Bold," ii. 240). Hagenbach was racked four times before his death. "Schilling confesses that a general sympathy was excited by Hagenbach's Christian-like demeanour." His real name was Peter. Mr. Kirk endeavours to "whitewash" Hagenbach. As that unfortunate hero had "a gaunt countenance deeply caved between the jaw-bones, and restless searching blood-shot eyes" ("Vitæ SS. Gervasii et Prothasii," 1506), we may presume that his character was unamiable.

"Andrew Lang.

May 1894. 359


Abye, to pay the penalty of, to atone for.

Aigrette, a plume of feathers.

Alembic, an old chemical apparatus or vessel, used for distilling.

Astucious, astute, shrewd, cunning.

Baaren-hauter, a nickname for a German private soldier.

Ban-dog, a large fierce dog.

Banneret, a standard-bearer.

Banquette, the walk behind the parapet of a fortress.

Barbican, the outwork defending the gate of a fortress.

Bartizan, a small overhanging turret or projecting parapet.

Brache, a kind of sporting dog.

Braggadocio, a blusterer, a boaster.

Caftan, a long robe worn by men in the East.

"Cour plénière," in ancient French history a gathering of all a king's vassals.

Cresset, a large kind of candlestick for holding a small fire or illuminant.

Dalmatic, dalmatique, a long ecclesiastical robe.

Diet, the national assembly.

Doomsmen, all who gathered at the doom, or great popular court of the ancient Scandinavians.

Dorf, a village.

Double-ganger, Doppelgänger, a spectral counterpart of a living person.

Earth-shoot, a landslip.

Emprise, feat, enterprise.

Espadon, a long heavy sword.

"Fain, to make one," to please, to give pleasure or joy to.

Faustrecht, the right claimed by the petty barons of the Empire to wage private warfare.

Folter-kammer, a torture-chamber.

Gammon, a smoked ham.

Gauds, trinkets, ornaments.

Gear, business, affair; property.

Geierstein, vulture-stone.

Graffs-lust, the count's delight.

Hauberk, a shirt of mail.

Hauptman, a captain.

Hundred, an old subdivision of the English counties.

Kreutzer, a German copper coin, worth one third of a penny English.

Lammer-geier, the bearded vulture.

Landamman, the chief magistrate in a Swiss canton.

Landvogt, a bailiff.

Lanzknecht, a German mercenary soldier.

Largesse, a free distribution of money. 360

Leaguer, a camp.

Losel, a slothful person.

Lyme-hound, a large dog.

"Maen Gorsedd," the stone of the British bards.

Mail, a trunk.

Mainour, a thing stolen, discovered in the hands of the thief.

Malecredence, mistrust.

Merlin, a kind of hawk, formerly trained to hunt game birds.

Minnesinger, a poet-minstrel of mediæval Germany.

Montero-cap, a horseman's scarlet cap of fine Spanish cloth trimmed with fur.

Morisco, a Moor of Spain.

Palmer, a pilgrim to the Holy Land.

"Par amours," forbidden love.

Partisan, a kind of pike or halberd.

Peltry, skins and furs of wild animals.

Pight, pitched, placed, fixed.

Ptisan, a decoction of barley.

Rigadoon, a dance with a peculiar hopping step.

"Roba di guadagno," profitable goods.

Romaunt, a story or tale in verse.

Saltire-wise, two lines crossing one another diagonally like a St. Andrew's cross.

Samite, a textile made of gold cloth or satin.

Schlaf-trunk, a sleeping-draught.

Schwarz-bier, black beer.

Schwarz-reiter, a German mercenary horse-soldier

Seigniory, the right of ownership vested in a feudal superior or lord.

Shaveling, a priest.

Soothfast, true, worthy of belief.

Stoup, a drinking-cup.

Strappado, a cruel form of military punishment.

Strick-kind, the child of the cord—the prisoner on trial before the Vehmic Tribunal.

Switzer, a native of Switzerland.

Thane, intermediate between a freeman and a noble.

Treillage, trellis-work.

Vail, to doff, to lower, to take off.

Verjämbt, condemned by the Vehmic Tribunal.

Vestiary, a room for keeping vestments.

Visne, venue, the place where a law action can be tried.

Wapentake, an old subdivision of the English counties.

Warrand, a defender.

Wassail, ale or wine sweetened and flavoured with spices.

Welked, marked with protuberances or ridges.

Wimple, a shawl worn by women out of doors.

Wroge, Vroge, lists of offences that called for the attention of the court.

Yung-herr, Jung-her, Junker, a young man.

Zechin, a Venetian gold coin, worth from 9s. to 10s.


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
Edinburgh and London.




Transcriber's Note:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistent spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization (e.g. his grace/Grace) in the original document have been preserved.


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