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Title: Diary And Notes Of Horace Templeton, Esq. Volume I (of II)

Author: Charles James Lever

Release date: July 21, 2010 [eBook #33216]
Most recently updated: February 24, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Widger




In Two Volumes. Vol. I.

By Charles James Lever

Second Edition.

London: Chapman And Hall, 186 Strand.



















Hôtel des Princes, Paris.

It is a strange thing to begin a “Log” when the voyage is nigh ended! A voyage without chart or compass has it been: and now is land in sight—the land of the weary and heart-tired!

Here am I, at the Hôtel des Princes, en route for Italy, whither my doctors have sentenced me! What a sad record would be preserved to the world if travellers were but to fill up, with good faith, the police formula at each stage of the journey, which asks, “the object of the tour!” How terribly often should we read the two short words—“To Die.” With what sorrowful interest would one gaze at the letters formed by a trembling hand; and yet how many would have to write them! Truly, the old Italian adage, “Vedere Napole es poi morire” has gained a new signification; and, unhappily, a far more real one.

This same practice of physicians, of sending their patients to linger out the last hours of life in a foreign land, is, to my thinking, by no means so reprehensible as the generality of people make out. It is a theme, however, on which so many commonplaces can be strung, that common-place people, who, above all others, love their own eloquence, never weary of it. Away from his children—from his favourite haunts—from the doctors that understood his case—from his comfortable house—from the family apothecary,—such are the changes they ring; and if dying were to be done often, there would be much reason in all this. But it is not so; this same change occurs but once, and its approach brings with it a new train of thoughts and feelings from all that we have ever felt before. In that twilight hour of life, objects that have escaped our vision in the blaze of noon-day become clear and distinct; and, even to the least reflecting of minds, an increased power of perception and judgment is accorded—the viaticum for the coming journey!

I remember being greatly affected by the stories in the “Diary of a Physician,” when first I read them: they were powerfully written—and so real! Now this is the very quality they want: they are altogether unreal.

Terrific and heart-stirring as the death-bed scenes are, they are not true to nature: the vice and the virtue are alike exaggerated. Few, very few persons can bring themselves by an effort to believe that they are dying—easy as it seems, often as we talk of it, frequent as the very expression becomes in a colloquialism, it is still a most difficult process; but once thoroughly felt, there is an engrossing power, in the thought that excludes all others.’

At times, indeed, Hope will triumph for a brief interval, and “tell of bright days to come.” Hope! the glorious phantom that we follow up the Rhine—through the deep glens of the Tyrol, and over the Alps!—Only content to die when we have lost it!

There are men to whom the truth, however shocking, is always revealed—to whom the Lawyer says, “You have no case,” and the Physician confesses, “You have no constitution.” Happily or unhappily—I will not deny it may be both—I am one of these. Of the three doctors summoned to consult on my health, one spoke confidently and cheeringly; he even assumed that kind of professional jocularity that would imply, “the patient is making too much of it.” The second, more reserved from temperament, and graver, counselled caution and great care—hinted at the danger of the malady—coupling his fears with the hopes he derived from the prospect of climate. The third (he was younger than either of the others, and of inferior repute,) closed the door after them, and resumed his seat.

I waited for some time expecting him to speak, but he sat in silence, and seemingly in deep thought. “And you, my dear doctor,” said I at length, “are you equally confident as your learned colleagues? Will the air of Italy——?” He lifted up his eyes as I got so far, and their expression I shall not readily forget—so softly tender, so full of compassionate pity, did they beam. Never did a look convey more of sorrowing regret, nor more of blank despair. I hesitated—-on his account I feared to finish what I had begun; but, as if replying to the expression of his glance, I added, “But still you advise me to go? You counsel the journey, at least?”

He blushed deeply before he could answer. He felt ashamed that he had failed in one great requisite of his art. I hastened to relieve him, by saying with a joyous air, “Well, I will go. I like the notion myself; it is at least a truce with physic. It is like drawing a game before one has completely lost it.”

And so here I am—somewhat wearied and fevered by the unaccustomed exertion, but less so than I expected.

I sincerely hope it is only the fastidiousness of a sick man, and not that most insufferable of all affectations—exclusiveness; but I will own I never disliked the mixed company of a steam-boat so much before. It is always an unpleasant part of our English travelling-experience, that little steam trip from our own coast to the French or Belgian shore. The pleasuring Cockney, only sufferable when sick—the runaway Bank clerk—the Hamburg Jew—the young lady going to Paris for spring fashions—the newly-married barrister, with his bit of tawdry finery from Norwood, silly, simpering, and fidgetty—the Irish landlord, sulky and familiar by turns; all, even to the Danseuse, who, too refined for such association, sits in her carriage on deck, have a terrible sameness when seen, as I have done them, something like fifty times; nor can I suppose their united attractions greatly heightened by the figure of the pale gentleman, who coughs so incessantly, and whose wan cheek and colourless eye are seen to such formidable contrast with the bronzed and resolute face of the courier beside him.

Yet I would far rather think this want of due tolerance for my travelling companions was a symptom of my malady, than of that truly English disease—self-importance, I know of nothing that tracks our steps on the Continent so invariably, nor is there any quality which earns for us so much ill-will.

It is quite a mistake to suppose that these airs of superiority are only assumed by persons of a certain rank and fortune—far from it. Every denizen of Cheapside and the Minories that travels abroad, deems himself immeasurably above “the foreigner.” Strong in his City estimation, and charged with the leader in “The Times,” he struts about like an upstart visiting the servants’ hall, and expecting every possible demonstration of respect in return for his condescension. Hence the unhappy disparity between the situation of an Englishman and that of any other native abroad. Instead of rejoicing at any casualty which presents to him a chance-meeting with a countryman, he instinctively shrinks from it. He sees the Frenchman, the Italian, the German, overjoyed at recognition with some stranger from his own land, while he acknowledges, in such a contingency, only another reason for guardedness and caution. It is not that our land is wanting in those sterling qualities which make men respected and venerated—it is not that we are not, from principle and practice, both more exacting in all the requisites of good faith, and more tenacious of truth, than any people of the Continent;—it is simply that we are the least tolerant to every thing that differs from what we have at home, that we unscrupulously condemn whatever is un-English; and, not satisfied with this, we expect foreigners to respect and admire us for the very censure we pass upon their institutions.

There is, therefore, nothing so compromising to an Englishman abroad as a countryman; except—hélas that I should say so!—a countrywoman!

Paris is very beautiful in spring. There is something radiant and gorgeous in the commingled splendour of a great city, with the calmer beauties of leafy foliage and the sparkling eddies of the bright river. Better, however, not to dwell longer on this theme, lest my gloomy thoughts should stray into the dark and crime-trodden alleys of the Bois de Boulogne, or the still more terrible filets de St. Cloud! How sad is it when one’s temperament should, as if instinctively, suggest the mournful view of each object! Rather let me jot down a little incident of this morning—an event which has set my heart throbbing, and my pulse fluttering, at a rate that all the Prussic acid I have learned to take cannot calm down again.

There come now and then moments to the sick man, when to be well and vigorous he would consent to be poor, unfriended in the world—taking health alone for his heritage. I felt that half an hour ago—but it is gone again. And now to my adventure, for, in my unbroken dream of daily life, it seems such.

I have said I am lodged at the Hôtel des Princes. How different are my quarters from those I inhabited when first I saw this city! This would entail a confession, however, and I shall make it some other day. My salon is No. 21, the first drawing-room to the right as you turn from the grand staircase, and opening by the three spacious windows on a balcony overlooking the Rue de Richlieu. It is, indeed, a very splendid apartment, as much so as immense mirrors, gilding, bronze, and or moulu can make it. There are soft couches and chairs, and ottomans too, that would inspire rest, save when the soul itself was restless.

Well. I lounged out after breakfast for a short stroll along the Boulevards, where the shade of the trees and the well-watered path were most inviting. Soon wearied—I cannot walk in a crowd—I returned to the hôtel; slowly toiled up-stairs, waking the echoes with my teasing cough; and, instead of turning to the right, I went left, taking the wrong road, as I have so often done in life; and then, mistaking the numerals, I entered No. 12 instead of No. 21. Who would credit it, that the misplacement of a unit could prove so singular.

There was one change alone which struck me. I could not find the book I was reading—a little volume of Auerbach’s village stories of the Schwartz-Walders. There was, however, another in its place, one that told of humble life in the provinces—not less truthful and heart-appealing—but how very unlike! It was Balzac’s story of “Eugénie Grandet,” the most touching tale I have ever read in any language. I have read it a hundred times, and ever with renewed delight. Little troubling myself to think how it came there—for, like an old and valued friend, its familiar features were always welcome—I began again to read it.

Whether the result of some peculiar organisation, or the mere consequence of ill health, I know not, but I have long remarked, that when a book has taken a strong hold upon me—fascinating my attention and engaging all my sympathies, I cannot long continue its perusal. I grow dreary and speculative; losing the thread of the narrative, I create one for myself, imagining a variety of incidents and scenes quite foreign to the intention of the writer, and identifying myself usually with some one personage or other of the story—till the upshot of all is, I drop off asleep, to awake an hour or so afterwards with a very tired brain, and a very confused sense of the reality or unreality of my last waking sensations.

It is, therefore, rather a relief to me, when, as in the present case, the catastrophe is known to me, and all speculation on the future denied. Poor Eugénie, how I felt for all your sorrows!—wondrous spectacle of a heart that could transmute its one absorbing passion into another, and from love, the fondest and most confiding, beget a pure and disinterested friendship!

At last the book glided unnoticed from my hand, and I slept. The sofa where I lay stood in a part of the room where a deep shadow fell from the closed jalousies of a window, so that any person might easily have entered or traversed the apartment without noticing me. I slept calmly and without a stir—my dreaming thoughts full of that poor girl’s love. How little does any first passion depend upon the excellence of the object that creates it! How ideal, purely ideal, are those first emotions of the heart! I knew something of this, too; for, when young—very young, and very impressionable, with a strong dash of romance in my nature, that lent its Claude Lorraine tint to all I looked at, I fell in love. Never was the phrase more fitting. It was no gradual or even imperceptible declension, but a headlong, reckless plunge; such as some confident and hardy swimmer, or very often a bold bather, makes into the water, that all may be quickly over.

I had been appointed attaché at Vienna, where Lord Newington was then ambassador—a widower with an only daughter. I was very young, fresh from Woolwich, where I had been studying for the Artillery service, when the death of a distant relative, who but a year before had refused to see me, put me in possession of a very large fortune. My guardian, Lord Elderton, an old diplomate, at once removed me from Woolwich, and, after a short sojourn at his house near Windsor, I was introduced into what Foreign-office people technically denominate “The Line,” and what they stoutly uphold as the only career for a gentleman.

I must some day or other jot down a few recollections of my life at Gortham, Lord Elderton’s seat, where, with Grotius and Puffendorf of a morning, and old Sir Robert Adams and Lord Hailiebury of an evening, I was believed to be inhaling the very atmosphere of learned diplomacy. Tiresome old gentlemen, whose thoughts stood fast at the time of Fox and Pitt, and, like a clock that went down in the night, steadily pointed to an hour long bygone. How wearied I was of discussions as to whether the King of Prussia would declare war, or the Emperor of Austria make peace! whether we should give up Malta, and lose Hanover! Pitt must, indeed, have been a man of “dark counsels,” for, whether he wished for an alliance with France or not was a nightly topic of debate, without a chance of agreement.

All these discussions, far from tending to excite my ardour for the career, served to make me dread it, as the most tiresome of all possible pursuits. The light gossip, too, over which they regaled themselves with such excellent relish, was insupportably dull. Who could care for the pointless repartees of defunct Grand Dukes, or the meaningless caprices of long-buried Archduchesses?

If, then, I was glad to escape from Gortham and its weary company, I had formed no very sanguine expectations of pleasure at Vienna.

I saw very little of the Continent in this my first journey. I was consigned to the charge of a cabinet messenger, who had orders to deliver me “safe” at Vienna. Poor M’Kaye, slight as I was, he left me very little of the small coupé we travelled in. He weighed something more than twenty stone, a heaving mass of fat and fretting: the great misery of his life being that Washington Irving had held him up to European ridicule, for he was the original “Stout Gentleman” whose heavy perambulations overhead suggested that inimitable sketch.

We arrived at Vienna some hours after dark, and after speedily traversing the narrow and winding streets of the capital, drew up within the porte-cochère of the English embassy. There was a grand ball at the embassy—a sovereign’s birth-day, or a coronation, I forget which—but I can well remember the dazzling splendour of the grand staircase, a blaze of wax-lights, and glittering with the brilliant lustre of jewelled dresses and gorgeous uniforms; but, perhaps, even more struck by the frequent announcement of names which were familiar to me as almost historical personages—the Ester-hazies, the Schwarzenbergs, and the Lichtensteins, when suddenly, with almost a shock, I heard my own untitled name called aloud, “Mr. Horace Templeton.” It is, I believe, a very old gentry name, and has maintained a fair repute for some half-dozen centuries; but, I own, it clinked somewhat meagre on the ear amid the high-sounding syllables of Austrian nobility.

I stood within the doorway of the grand salon, almost stunned by the sudden transition from the dark monotony of a night-journey to the noonday blaze of splendour before me, when a gentle tap from a bouquet on my arm aroused me, and a very silvery voice, in accents every one of which sank into my heart, bade me welcome to Vienna. It was Lady Blanche Newington that spoke—the most lovely creature that ever beauty and station combined to form. Fascinations like hers were new to me: she mingled gentleness of manner with a spiritual liveliness, that seemed ever ready to say the right thing at the right moment. The ease with which, in different languages, she addressed the various individuals of the company, employing all the little delicate forms of those conventionalities French and Italian so abound in, and through all, an unobtrusive solicitude to please, that was most captivating.

My whole occupation that night was to steal after her unobserved, and gaze with delight at traits of manner that my ardent imagination had already elevated into graces of mind. I was very much in love—so much so that, ere a few weeks went over, iny brother attachés saw it, and tormented me unceasingly on the subject. Nay, they went further: they actually told Lady Blanche herself, so that I dreaded to meet her, not knowing how she might treat my presumption. I fancied all manner of changes in her bearing towards me—reserve, coldness, perhaps disdain. Nothing of the kind! She was only more familiar and cordial than ever. Had I known more of the world, or of the feminine part of it, I should have read this differently: as it was, it overwhelmed me with delight. There was a frankness in her tone towards me, too; for, now, she discussed the temper and character of our mutual acquaintances, and with a shrewdness of criticism strange in one so young. At last we came to talk of a certain Count de Favancourt, the secretary of the French embassy; and as I mentioned his name she said, somewhat abruptly,

“I half suspect you don’t like the Count?”

“Who could?” replied I, eagerly; “is he not a ‘Fat?’”—using that precious monosyllable by which his countrymen designate a certain class of pretenders.

She laughed, and I went on, not sorry to have an opportunity of severity on one for whom I had conceived an especial hatred—indeed, not altogether without cause, since he had, on more than one occasion, marked the difference of our official rank in a manner sufficiently pointed to be offensive;

and yet, the rigid etiquette observable to another embassy forbade all notice of whatever could be passed over.

Like a very young man, I did not bound my criticism on the Count by what I saw and observed in his manner, but extended it to every possible deduction I could draw from his air and bearing; winding up all by a very broadly-hinted doubt that those ferocious whiskers and that deep baritone were any thing but a lion’s skin over a very craven heart.

The last words were scarcely uttered, when a servant announced the Count de Favancourt. There is something, to a young person at least—I fancy I should not mind it now—so overwhelming on the sudden appearance of any one on whom the conversation has taken a turn of severity, that I arose confused and uneasy—I believe I blushed; at all events, I perceived that Lady Blanche remarked my discomfiture, and her eyes glanced on me with an expression I never observed before. As for the Count, he advanced and made his deep reverence without ever noticing me, nor, even while taking his seat, once shewed any consciousness of my presence.

Burning with indignation that I could scarce repress, I turned towards a table, and affected to occupy myself tossing over the prints and drawings that lay about—my maddened thoughts rendered still more insufferable from fancying that Lady Blanche and the Count seemed on far better and more intimate footing than I had ever known them before.

Some other visitors being announced, I took the occasion to retire unobserved, and had just reached the landing of the stairs when I heard a foot behind me. I turned—it was Favancourt. For the first time in my life, I perceived a smile upon his countenance—an expression, I own, that became it even less than his habitual stern scowl.

“You have done me the honour, sir,” said he, “to make some observations on my manner, which, I regret to learn, has not acquired your favourable opinion. Now, I have a strong sense of the inconvenance of any thing like a rupture of amicable relations between the embassy I have the honour to serve and that to which you belong. It is, then, exceedingly unpleasant for me to notice your remarks—it is impossible for me to let them pass unnoticed.”

He made a pause at these words, and so long that I felt bound to speak, and, in a voice that passion had rendered slightly tremulous, said,

“Am I to receive this, sir, in the light of a rebuke? because, as yet, I only perceive it conveys the expression of your own regret that you cannot demand an explanation I am most ready to afford you.

“My demand is somewhat different, sir, but, I trust, will be as readily accorded. It is this: that you resign your position as attaché to this embassy, and leave Vienna at once. There is no necessity that any unfavourable notice of this affair should follow you to another mission, or to England.”

“Stop, sir, I beg of you: I cannot be answerable for my temper, if you persist to outrage it. While you may press me to acknowledge that, while half an hour ago I only deemed you a ‘Fat,’ I now account you an imbecile.’”

“Enough!” said the Count, passing down the stairs before me.

When I reached my lodgings, I found a “friend” from him, who arranged a speedy meeting. We fought that same evening, behind the Prater, and I received his ball in my shoulder—mine, pierced his hat. I was recalled before my wound permitted me to leave my bed. The day I left Vienna, Lady Blanche was married to Count Favancourt!

Some fourteen years had elapsed since that event and the time in which I now lay sleeping on the sofa; and yet, after all that long interval—with all its scenes of varied interests, its stormy passions, its hopes, its failures, its successes—the image of Blanche was before my mind’s eye, as brightly, joyously fair, as on the evening I first beheld her. I had forgotten all, that time and worldly knowledge had taught me, that, of all her attractions, her beauty only was real—that the graceful elegance of her bearing was only manner—that her gentleness was manner—her winning softness and delicacy mere manner—that all the fair endowments that seemed the rich promise of a gifted mind, united to a nature so bounteously endowed, were mere manner. She was spirituelle, lively, animated, and brilliant—all, from nothing but manner. To this knowledge I did not come without many a severe lesson. The teaching has been perfect, however, and made me what I am! Alas! how is it that mere gilding can look so like solid gold—nay, be made to cover more graceful tracery, and forms more purely elegant, than the real metal?

I have said that I slept; and, as I lay, dreams came over me—dreams of that long-past time, when the few shadows that fell over my path in life were rather spots where, like the traveller on a sunny road, one halts to breathe awhile, and taste in the cool shade the balmy influence of repose. I thought of Blanche, too, as first I had seen her, and when first she taught my heart to feel the ecstasy of loving, breathing into my nature high hopes and longings, and making of life itself an ideal of delight and happiness. And, as I dreamed, there stole over my senses a faint, thrilling memory of that young joy my heart had known, and a feeling like that of health and ardent buoyancy, which for years long I had not experienced. Her voice, tremulous with feeling, vibrating in all the passionate expression of an Italian song, was in my ears—I could hear the words—my very heart throbbed to their soft syllables as she sung the lines of Metastasio,—

“E tu, qui sa si te
Ti sovrerai  di  me.”

I started—there she was before me, bending over the harp, whose cords still trembled with the dying sounds; the same Blanche I had known and loved, but slightly changed indeed: more beautiful perhaps in womanhood than as a girl. Her long and silky hair fell over her white wrist and taper hand in loose and careless tresses, for she had taken off her bonnet, which lay on the floor beside her; her attitude was that of weariness—nay, there was a sigh! Good Heavens! is she weeping? My book fell to the ground; she started up, and, in a voice not louder than a whisper, exclaimed, “Mr. Templeton!”

“Blanche!—Lady Blanche!” cried I, as my head swam round in a strange confusion, and a dim and misty vapour danced before my eyes.

“Is this a visit, Mr. Templeton?” said she, with that soft smile I had loved so well; “am I to take this surprise for a visit?”

“I really—I cannot understand—I thought—I was certain that I was in my own apartment. I believed I was in Paris, in the Hôtel des Princes.”

“Yes, and most correct were all your imaginings; only that at this moment you are chez moi—this is our apartment, No. 12.”

“Oh, forgive me, I beg, Lady Blanche!—the similarity of the rooms, the inattentive habit of an invalid, has led to this mistake.”

“I heard you had been ill,” said she, in an accent full of melting tenderness; while taking a seat on a sofa, by a look rather than an actual gesture she motioned me to sit beside her: “you are much paler than you used to be.”

“I have been ill,” said I, struggling to repress emotion and a fit of coughing together.

“It is that dreadful life of England, depend upon it,” said she eagerly; “that fearful career of high excitement and dissipation combined—the fatigues of parliament—the cares and anxieties of party—the tremendous exertions for success—the torturing dread of failure. Why didn’t you remain in diplomacy?”

“It looked so very like idling,” said I, laughingly, and endeavouring to assume something of her own easy tone.

“So it is. But what better can one have, after all?” said she, with a faint sigh.

“When they are happy,” added I, stealing a glance at her beneath my eyelids. She turned away, however, before I had succeeded, and I could merely mark that her breathing was quick and hurried.

“I hope you have no grudge towards Favancourt?” said she hastily, and with a manner that shewed how difficult it was to disguise agitation. “He would be delighted to see you again! He is always talking of your success in the House, and often prophesies the most brilliant advancement for you.”

“I have outlived resentment,” said I, in a low whisper: “would that I could add, other feelings were as easily forgotten.”

Not at once catching my meaning, she turned her full and lustrous eyes upon me, and then suddenly aware of my words, or reading the explanation in my own looks, she blushed deeply, and after a pause said,

“And what are your plans now? do you remain here some time?”

“No, I am trying to reach Italy. It has become as classic to die there nowadays, as once it was to live in that fair land.”

“Italy!” interrupted she, blushing still deeper. “Favancourt is now asking for a mission there—Naples is vacant.”

This time I succeeded in catching her eyes, but she hastily withdrew them, and we were both silent.

“Have you been to the Opera yet?” said she, with a voice full of all its habitual softness.

“You forget,” said I, smiling, “that I am an invalid: besides, I only arrived here last night.”

“Oh, I am sure that much will not fatigue you. The Duc de Blancard has given us his box while we stay here, and we shall always have a place for you; and I pray you to come; if not for the music, for my sake,” she added hastily: “for I own nothing can be possibly more stupid than our nightly visitors. I hear of nothing but ministerial intrigue, the tactics of the centre droit and the opposition, with a little very tiresome gossip of the Tuileries; and Favancourt thinks himself political, when he is only prosy. Now, I long for a little real chit-chat about London and our own people. Apropos, what became of Lady Frances Gunnington? did she really marry the young cornet of dragoons and sail for India?”

“The saddest is to be told: he was killed in the Punjaub, and she is now coming home a widow.”

“How very sad!—was she as pretty as they said?—handsomer than Lucy Fox I have heard!”

“I almost think so.”

“That is great praise from you, if there be any truth in on dits. Had not you a kind of tenderness in that quarter?”


“Nay, don’t affect surprise: we heard the story at Florence, and a very funny story it was: that Lucy insisted upon it, if you didn’t propose for her, that she would for you, since she was determined to be mistress of a certain black Arabian that you had; and that you, fearing consequences, sent her the horse, and so compromised the affair.”

“How very absurd!”

“But is it not true? Can you deny having made a present of the steed?”

“She did me the honour to accept of a pony, but the attenuating circumstances are all purely imaginary.”

Si non vero e ben trovato.—It was exactly what she would do!”

“An unfair inference, which I feel bound to enter a protest against. If we were only to charge our acquaintances with what we deem them capable of——”

“Well, finish, I pray you.”

“I was only about to add, what would become of ourselves?”

“Meaning you and me, for instance?”

I bowed an assent.

“‘Qui s’excuse, s’accuse,’ says the adage,” rejoined she gaily: “I neither do one nor the other. At the same time, let me confess to one thing of which I am capable, which is, of detesting any one who in this age of the world affects to give a tone of moralizing to a conversation. Now I presume you don’t wish this. I will even take it for granted, that you would rather we were good friends, as we used to be long ago.—Oh dear, don’t sigh that way!”

“It was you that sighed!”

“Well, I am very sorry for it. It was wrong of me, and very wrong of you to tell me of it. But dear me! is it so late? can it really be three o’clock?”

“I am a quarter past; but I think we must both be fast. You are going out?”

“A mere drive in the Champs Elysées, where I shall pay a few visits and be back to dinner. Will you dine with us?”

“I pray you to excuse me—don’t forget I am a sick man.”

“Well, then, we shall see you at the Opera?”

“I fear not. If I might ask a favour, it would be to take the volume of Balzac away with me.”

“Oh, to be sure! But we have some others, much newer. You know ‘Le Recherche de l’Absolu’, already?”

“Yes; but I like ‘Eugénie’ still better. It was an old taste of mine, and as you quoted a proverb a few moments ago, let me give you another as trite and as true,—

‘On revient toujours.’”

“‘A ses premières amours,’”

said she, finishing; while with a smile, half playful, half sad, she turned toward the window, and I retired noiselessly, and without an adieu.

Heigho! how nervous and irritable I feel! The very sight of that handsome barouche that has driven from the hôtel, with its beautiful occupant lying listlessly back among the cushions, has set my heart a-beating far far too hurriedly. How is it that the laws that govern material nature are so inoperative in ours, and that a heart that never felt can make another feel? Heaven knows! It is not love; even my first passion, perhaps, little merited the name: but now, reading her as worldliness as taught roe to do-seeing how little relation exists between attractions and fascinations of the very highest order and any real sentiment, any true feeling—knowing how “Life” is her idol, how in that one idea is comprised all that vanity, self-love, false pride, and passion can form,—how is it that she, whom I recognise thus, that she can move me? There is nothing so like a battle as a sham fight in a review.


I must leave Paris at once. The weather is intolerably hot; the leaves that were green ten days ago already are shewing symptoms of the sear and yellow. Is it in compliment to the august inhabitant of the palace that the garden is so empressé to turn its coat? Shame on my ingratitude to say so! for I find that his Majesty has sent me a card of invitation to dine on Friday next. Another reason for a hurried departure! Of all moderate endurances, I know of none to compare with a dinner at the Tuileries. “Stay!—halt!” cries Memory; “I’ll tell you of one worse again—a dinner at Neuilly!”

The former is sure to include a certain number of distinguished and remarkable men, who, even under the chill and restraint of a royal entertainment, venture now and then on some few words that supply the void where conversation should be. At Neuilly it is strictly a family party, where, whatever ease may be felt by the illustrious hosts, the guests have none of it. Juvenal quaintly asks, If that can be a battle where you strike and I am beaten? so one is tempted to inquire, If that can be called society where a royal personage talks rapidly for hours, and the listener must not even look dissent? The King of the French is unquestionably a great man, but not greater in any thing than in the complete mystification in which he has succeeded in enveloping his real character, mingling up together elements so strange, so incongruous, and seemingly inconsistent, that the actual direction or object of any political move he has ever made, will always bear a double appreciation. The haughty monarch is the citizen king; the wily and secret politician, the most free-spoken and candid of men: the most cautious in an intrigue, the very rashest in action. How is it possible to divine the meaning, or guess the wishes, of one whose nature seems so Protean?

His foreign policy is, however, the master-stroke of his genius,—the cunning game by which he has conciliated the party of popular institutions and beguiled the friends of absolutism, delighting Tom Buncombe and winning praise from Nicholas. Like all clever men who are vain of their cleverness, he has always been fond of employing agents of inferior capacity, but of unquestionable devotion to his interests. What small intelligences—to use a phrase more French than English—were the greater number of the French ministers and secretaries I have met accredited to foreign courts! I remember Talleyrand’s observation, on the remark being made, was, “His Majesty always keeps the trumps in his own hand.” Though, to be sure, he himself was an evidence to the contrary—a “trump” led boldly out, the first card played!

So well did that subtle politician comprehend the future turn events must take, that on hearing, at two o’clock in the morning, that his Royal Highness the Duc d’Orléans had consented to assume the crown, he exclaimed, “And I am now ambassador at St. James’s!” It must have been what the Londoners call “good fun” to have lived in the days of the Empire, when all manner of rapid elevations occurred on every hand. The commis of yesterday, the special envoy to-day; a week ago a corporal, and now gazetted an officer, with the cross of the Legion—on the grande route, to become a general. A General, why not a Marshal of France—ay, or a King?

We have seen something of this kind in Belgium within a few years back—on a small scale, it is true. What strange ingredients did the Revolution throw up to the surface! what a mass of noisy, turbulent, self-opinionated incapables, who, because they had led a rabble at the Porte de Flandre, thought they could conduct the march of an army! And the statesmen!—good lack! the miserable penny-a-liners of the “Indépendant” and the “Lion Beige,” that admirable symbol of the land, who carries his tail between his legs. The really able, and, I believe, honest men, were soon overwhelmed by the influence of the priest party—the vultures who watched the fight from afar, and at last descended to take all the spoils of the victory.

Wandeweyer and Nothomb are both men of ability, the latter a kind of Brummagen Thiers, with the same taste for intrigue, the same subtle subserviency to the head of the state, and, in his heart, the same cordial antipathy to England. But why dwell on these people? they will scarce occupy a foot-note in the old “Almanach.”

The diplomatic history of our day, if it ever be written, will present no very striking displays of high-reaching intellect or devoted patriotism; the men who were even greatest before the world were really smallest behind “the fact.” We deemed that Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston, and Messrs. Guizot and Thiers, and a few more, were either hurrying us on to war or maintaining an admirable peace. But the whole thing resolves itself into the work of one man and one mind; neither very conspicuous, but so intently occupied, so devotedly persevering, that persistance has actually elevated itself to genius; and falling happily upon times when mediocrity is sublime, he has contrived to make his influence felt in every state of Europe. I speak not of Louis Philippe, but of his son-in-law, King Leopold.

“Let me make the ballads of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws,” said the great statesman; and in something of the same spirit his Majesty of Belgium may have said, “Let me make the royal marriages of Europe, and any one who pleases may choose the ministry.”

Apropos of the Roi Leopold, is it not difficult to understand a Princess Charlotte falling in love with his good looks? There is no disputing on this point. The most eminently successful man I ever knew in ladies’ society was Jack Beauclerc—“Caucasian Jack” we used to call him at Brookes’s. Everybody knows Jack was no beauty. Heavy beetling brows, a dark, saturnine, ill-omened expression, was ever on his features. Nor did his face light up at times, as one occasionally sees with such men; he was always the same sail misanthropic-looking fellow. Neither could one call him agreeable—at least I, meeting him very often, never found him so. But he was of a determined, resolute nature; one of those men that appear never to turn from any object on which they have set a strong will. This may have gone very far with ladies, who very often conceive a kind of esteem for whatever they fear. He said himself that his secret was, “always using them ill;” and certainly, if facts could bear out such a theory, one might believe him. Probably no man ever cultivated these tastes with such assiduity—these, I say, for play and duelling were also passions with him.

He was attaché to our mission at Naples before he was sixteen, and had the honour of wounding the old Marquis d’Espagna with the small sword at the same precocious era. The duel originated after a truly Italian manner; and as there are at Naples many incorrect reports of it, I will take the trouble to give the real one. The Marquis was an old man, married to one of the most beautiful women in Italy. She was a Venetian, and if my memory serves me right, a Guillardini by birth. She married him at eighteen to escape a convent, he being the richest noble under the rank of the blood royal at Naples. Very unlike the majority of Italian husbands, the Marquis was excessively jealous, would not permit the most innocent freedoms of his young and lovely wife, and eventually secluded himself and—worse still—her from all society, and never appeared except at a court ball, or some such festivity that there were no means of avoiding. It was at one of these festivities that the King, who liked to see his ball-room put forth its fairest aspect, bantered the Marquis on the rumour that had even reached the ears of royalty, as to his inordinate jealousy. The Marquis, whose old spirit of courtiership predominated even as strongly as his jealousy, assured his Majesty that the worthy people of Naples did him great injustice, and that, although conscious of the Marquesa’s great beauty and attractiveness, he had yet too high a sense of the distinguished place he and his family had always held in the esteem of his sovereign to feel jealous of any man’s pretension; adding, “If I have not admitted the conventional addition of a cavalière servente to my household, I would beg your Majesty to believe it is simply because I have seen no one as yet worthy to hand la Mar-quesa to her carriage or fold her shawl.”

“Admirably spoken, Marquis!” said the King; “the sentiment is quite worthy of one who has the best blood of Sicily in his veins. But remember what an artificial state of society we live in; think of our conventional usages, and what a shock it gives to public opinion when one, placed in so exalted a position as you are, so palpably affronts universal and admitted custom; recollect that your reserve involves a censure on others, less suspicious, and, we would hope, not less rigidly honourable men, than yourself.”

“But what would your Majesty counsel?”

“Select a cavalière yourself, as little likely to excite your jealousy as you please; as little agreeable as possible, if you prefer it: but, comply at least so far with the world’s prescription, and do not shock our worthy Neapolitans by appearing to reflect upon them. There, what say you to that boy yonder? he is only a boy—he has just joined the English mission here. I’m sure he has formed no tender engagements to prevent you adopting him, and you will at least seem to conform with the usages of your neighbours.”

“If your Majesty commands——”

“Nay, Marquis, I but advise.”

“Your Majesty’s wish is always a command. I feel proud to obey.”

“Then, I am very happy to say I wish it,” said the King, who turned away, dying to tell the court-party how miserable he had made the old Marquis.

Such are débauché Kings; the glorious prerogative of power becomes the mere agent of perverted ingenuity to work mischief and do wrong!

The poor Marquis lost no time to follow out the royal commands, and at once made acquaintance with Beauclerc—only too happy to be noticed in such a quarter. I know not whether the lady was much gratified by the result of this kingly interposition in her favour: some said, Yes, and that the youth was really gifted and spirituel, with a vein of quiet, caustic humour, most amusing; others—and I half incline to this notion—pronounced him dull and uninteresting. At all events, the Marquesa enjoyed the liberty of appearing often in public, and seeing more of the world than heretofore. She usually visited the San Carlos, too, twice a week; a great improvement in her daily life, as previously the Opera was denied her.

Immediately over the Marquesa’s box was the large box, or rather salon, belonging to the club of the Italian nobili, who frequented the theatre far less for the pleasures of the opera and the ballet than for the more exciting delights of faro and écarté; and here, nightly, were assembled all the most dissipated and spendthrift youth of a capital, whose very gravest and most exemplary citizens would be reckoned “light company” any where else.

High play, with all its consequences of passionate outbreaks, ruin, and duelling, were the pastimes of this ill-fated loge; and, notwithstanding the attractions the box underneath contained, Jack Beauclerc was far oftener in the second tier than the first. He was, indeed, a most inveterate gambler; and the few moments which he devoted to attending the Marquesa to her box, or her carriage, were so many instants of pregnant impatience till he was back at the play-table.

It was on one evening, when, having lost a very heavy sum, that his turn came to deal; and, with the superstitious feeling that only a play-man can understand, he resolved to stake a very large amount upon the game. The attention of the bystanders—never very deeply engaged by the scène—was now entirely engrossed by the play-table, where Beauclerc and his adversary were seated at écarté. It was that critical moment when the cards were dealt, but the trump not yet turned, and Beauclerc sat enjoying, with a gambler’s “malign” delight, the eager anxiety in the other player’s countenance, when suddenly a voice said,—

“Ha, Beauclerc! the Marquesa is rising—she is about to leave the theatre.”

“Impossible!” said he; “it is only the second act.”

“It is quite true, though,” rejoined another; “she is putting on her mantle.”

“Never mind our party, then,” cried Beauclerc’s antagonist; “I will hold myself ready to play the match out whenever you please.”

“I please it now, then!” said he, with a degree of energy that heavy losses had, in spite of him, rendered uncontrollable.

“Il Signor Beauclerc!” said a servant, approaching, “the Marquis d’Espagna desires to see you.”

“Tell him I am engaged—I can’t come,” said Beauclerc, turning up the trump-card, which he held out triumphantly before his adversary, saying, “The king!”

At the same instant the old Marquis entered, and, approaching the table, whispered a few words in his ear. If an adder had pierced him with its sting, Beauclerc could not have started with a more agonised expression; and he sprang from the chair and rushed out of the theatre, not by the door, however, where the Marquesa’s carriage was yet standing, but by a private passage, which led more easily towards his lodgings.

“What is this piece of news, that all are so amused by?” said the King, the next morning, as he was rising.

“Your majesty alludes to the Marquis d’Es-pagna, no doubt,” said Count Villafranca. “He challenged the young English attaché last night, at the theatre, and they have been out this morning; and, strange to say, that the Marquis, the very best swordsman we have ever had here, was disarmed and run through the side by his antagonist.”

“Is the wound dangerous?” said the King, coolly.

“I believe not, your Majesty. Beauclerc has behaved very well since it happened; he has not left the Marquis for a moment, and has, they say, asked pardon most humbly for his offence, which was, indeed, a very gross neglect of the Marchesa no husband could pardon.”

“So I heard,” said the King, yawning. “The Marquis is very tiresome, and a great bore: but, for all that, he is a man of spirit; and I am glad he has shewn this young foreigner that Italian honour cannot be outraged with impunity!”

Such is the true version; and, let people smile as they like at the theory, I can assure them it is no laughing matter. It is, doubtless, somewhat strange to our northern ideas of domestic happiness that a husband should feel called on to punish a want of sufficient attention to his wife, from the man whom the world regards as her lover. We have our own ideas on the subject; and, however sensitive we may feel on this subject, I sincerely hope we shall never push punctilio so far as the Neapolitans.

Such, without the slightest exaggeration, are the pictures Italy presents, for more impressive on the minds of our travelling youth than all that Correggio has touched or Raphael rendered immortal. Will their contemplation injure us? Shall we become by habit more lenient to vice, and less averse to its shame? or shall we, as some say, be only more charitable to others, and less hypocritical ourselves? I sadly fear that, in losing what many call “our affected prudery,” we lose the best safeguard of virtue. It was, at the least, the “livery of honour,” and we shewed ourselves not ashamed to wear it. And yet there are those who will talk to you—ay, and talk courageously—of the domestic LIFE OP ITALY!

The remark has been so often made, that by the mere force of repetition it has become like an acknowledged truth, that, although strangers are rarely admitted within its precincts, there exists in Italy and in Italian cities a state of domestic enjoyment to which our boasted home-life in England must yield the palm. Never was there any more absurd assertion less propped by fact—never was the “ignotum” so easily taken “pro beatifico.”

The domestic life of England has no parallel in any part of Europe, save, perhaps, in some of the French provinces, where the old “vie du château” presents something similar; but, even there, it rather lingers like the spirit of a departed time, the relic of bygone associations, than in the full reign of a strong national taste. In Germany, notwithstanding the general impression to the contrary, there is still less of it: the passion for household duties by the woman, the irresistible charms of beer and tobacco to the men, suggest different paths; and while she indulges her native fondness for cookery and counting napkins at home, he, in some wine-garden, dreams away life in smoke-inspired visions of German regeneration and German unity. In Italy, however, the points of contact between the members of a family are still fewer again: the meal-times, that summon around the board the various individuals of a house, are here unknown; each rises when he pleases, and takes his cup of coffee or chocolate in solitary independence—unseen, unknown, and, worse still, unwashed!

The drawing-room, that paradise of English home-existence, has no place in the life of Italy. The lady of the house is never seen of a morning; not that the cares of family, the duties of a household, engross her—not that she is busied with advancing the education of her children, or improving her own. No: she is simply en deshabille. That is, to be sure, a courteous expression for a toilet that has cost scarce five minutes to accomplish, and would require more than the indulgence one concedes to the enervation of climate to forgive.

The master of the family repairs to the café: his whole existence revolves around certain little tables, with lemonade, sorbets, and dominoes; his physical wants are, indeed, few, but his intellectual ones even fewer; he cares little for politics—less for literature; his thoughts have but one theme—intrigue; and his whole conversation is a sort of chronique scandaleuse on the city he lives in.

There is a tone of seeming good-nature—an easy, mock charity, in the way he treats his neighbours’ backslidings—that have often suggested to strangers favourable impressions as to the kindliness of the people; but this is as great an error as can be: the real explanation of the fact is the levity of national feeling, and the little impression that breaches of morality make upon a society dead to all the higher and better dictates of virtue—such offences being not capital crimes, but mere misdemeanours.

The dinner-hour occasionally, but not always, assembles the family to a meal that in no respect resembles that in more civilised communities. The periodical return of a certain set of forms—those convenances which inspire, at the same time, regard for others and self-respect—the admixture of courtesy with cordial enjoyment—have no representatives around a board where the party assemble, some dusty and heated, others wrapped up in dressing-gowns—all negligent, inattentive to each other, and weary of themselves—tired of the long, unbroken morning, which no occupation lightens, no care beguiles, no duty elevates. The Siesta follows, evening draws near, and at last the life of Italy dawns—dawns when the sun is setting! It is the hour of the theatre—the Theatre, the sole great passion of the nation, the one rallying point for every grade and class. Thither, now, all repair; and for a brief interval the silent streets of the city bustle with the life and movement of the inhabitants, as, on foot or in carriages, they hasten past.

The “business of the scène” is the very least among the attractions of a theatre in Italy. The opera-box is the drawing-room, the only one of an Italian lady; it is the club-room of the men. Whist and faro, ombre and piquet, dispute the interest with the prima donna or the danseuse in one box; while in another the fair occupant turns from the ardent devotion of stage-passion to listen to the not less impassioned, but as unreal, protestation of her admirer beside her.

That the drama, as such, is not the attraction, it is sufficient to say that the same piece is often played forty, fifty, sometimes seventy nights in succession, and yet the boxes lose few, if any, of their occupants. Night after night the same faces reappear, as regularly as the actors; the same groupings are formed, the selfsame smiles go round; and were it not that no trait of ennui is discernible, you would say that levity had met its own punishment in the dreariness of monotony. These boxes seldom pass out of the same family; from generation to generation they descend with the family mansion, and are as much a part of the domestic property of a house as the rooms of the residence. Furnished and lighted up according to the taste and at the discretion of the owner, they present to eyes only habituated to our theatres the strangest variety, and even discordance, of aspect: some, brilliant in wax-light and gorgeous in decoration, glitter with the jewelled dresses of the gay company; others, mysteriously sombre, shew the shadowy outlines of an almost shrouded group, dimly visible in the distance.

The theatre is the very spirit and essence of life in Italy. To the merchant it is the Bourse; it is the club to the gambler, the café to the lounger, the drawing-room and the boudoir to the lady. But where is the domestic life?


Another note from Favancourt, asking me to dine and meet Alfred de Vigny, whose “Cinque Mars” I praised so highly. Be it so; I am curious to see a Frenchman who has preferred the high esteem of the best critics of his country, to the noisy popularity such men as Sue and Dumas write for.

De Vigny is a French Washington Irving, with more genius, higher taste, but not that heartfelt appreciation of tranquil, peaceful life, that the American possesses. As episode, his little’tale, the “Canne de Jonc,” is one of the most affecting I ever read. From the outset you feel that the catastrophe must be sad, yet there is nothing harassing or wearying in the suspense. The cloud of evil, not bigger than a man’s hand at first, spreads gradually till it spans the heavens from east to west, and night falls solemn and dark, but without storm or hurricane.

I scarcely anticipate that such a writer can be a brilliant converser. The best gauge I have ever found of an authors agreeability, is in the amount of dialogue he throws into his books. Wherever narrative, pure narrative, predominates, and the reflective tone prevails, the author will be, perhaps necessarily, more disposed to silence. But he who writes dialogue well, must be himself a talker. Take Scott, for instance; the very character of his dialogue scenes was the type of his own social powers: a strong and nervous common sense; a high chivalry, that brooked nothing low or mean; a profound veneration for antiquity; an innate sense of the humorous, ran through his manner in the world, as they display themselves in his works.

See Sheridan, too, he talked the School for Scandal all his life; whereas Goldsmith was a dull man in company. Taking this criterion, Alfred de Vigny will be quiet, reserved, and thoughtful; pointed, perhaps, but not brilliant. Apropos of this talking talent, what has become of it? French causerie, of which one hears so much, was no more to be compared to the racy flow of English table-talk, some forty years back, than a group of artificial flowers is fit to compete with a bouquet of richly scented dew-spangled buds, freshly plucked from the garden.

Lord Brougham is our best man now, the readiest—a great quality—and, strange as it may sound to those who know him not, the best-natured, with anecdote enough to point a moral, but no storyteller; using his wit as a skilful cook does lemon-juice—to flavour but not to sour the plat.

Painters and anglers, I have remarked, are always silent, thoughtful men. Of course I would not include under this judgment such as portrait and miniature painters, who are about, as a class, the most tiresome and loquacious twaddlers that our unhappy globe suffers under. Wilkie must have been a real blessing to any man sentenced to sit for his picture: he never asked questions, seldom indeed did he answer them; he had nothing of that vulgar trick of calling up an expression in his sitter; provided the man staid awake, he was able always to catch the traits of feature, and, when he needed it, evoke the prevailing character of the individual’s expression by a chance word or two. Lawrence was really agreeable—so, at least, I have always heard, for he was before my day; but I suspect it was that officious agreeability of the artist, the smartness that lies in wait for a smile or the sparkle of the eye, that he may transmit it to the panel.

The great miniature painter of our day is really a specimen of a miniature intelligence—the most incessant little driveller of worse than nothings: the small gossip that is swept down the back-stairs of a palace, the flat commonplaces of great people, are his stock-in-trade: the only value of such contributions to history is, that they must be true. None but kings could be so tiresome! I remember once sitting to this gentleman, when only just recovering from an illness, and when possibly I endured his forced and forty-horse power of small talk with less than ordinary patience. He had painted nearly every crowned head in Europe—kings, kaisers, archdukes, and grand-duchesses in every principality, from the boundless tracts of the Czar’s possessions, to those states which emulate the small green turf deposited in a bird’s cage. Dear me! how wearisome it was to hear him recount the ordinary traits that marked the life of great people, as if the greatest Tory of us all ever thought Kings and Queens were anything but men and women!

I listened, as though in a long distressing dream, to narratives of how the Prince de Joinville, so terribly eager to burn our dockyards and destroy our marine, could be playful as a lamb in his nursery with the children. How Louis Philippe held the little Count de Paris fast in his chair till his portrait was taken. (Will he be able to seat him so securely on the throne of France?) How the Emperor of Austria, with a simplicity of a great mind and a very large head, always thought he could sit behind the artist and watch the progress of his own picture! I listened, I say, till my ears tingled and my head swam, and in that moment there was not a “bounty man” from Kentucky or Ohio that held royalty more cheaply than myself. Just at this very nick my servant came to whisper me, that an agent for Messrs. Lorch, Rath; et Co., the wine-merchants of Frankfort, had called, by my desire, to take an order for some hock. Delighted at the interruption, I ordered he should be admitted, and the next moment a very tall pretentious-looking German, with a tremendously frogged and Brandenburged coat, and the most extensive beard and moustaches, entered, and with all the ceremonial of his native land saluted us both, three times over.

I received him with the most impressive and respectable politeness, and seemed, at least, only to resume my seat after his expressed permission. The artist, who understood nothing of German, watched all our proceedings with a “miniature eye,” and at last whispered gently, “Who is he?”

“Heavens!” said I, in a low tone, “don’t you know?—he is the Crown Prince of Hanover!”

The words were not uttered when my little friend let fall his palette and sprang off his chair, shocked at the very thought of his being seated in such presence. The German turned towards him one of those profoundly austere glances that only a foreign bagman or an American tragedian can compass, and took no further notice of him.

The interview over, I accompanied him to the antechamber, and then took my leave, to the horror of Sir C——-, who asked me at least twenty times, “why I did not go down to the door?”

“Oh, we are old friends,” said I; “I knew him at Gottingen a dozen years ago, and we never stand on any ceremony together.” My fiction, miserable as it was, served me from further anecdotes of royalty, since what private history of kings could astonish the man on such terms of familiarity with the Crown Prince of Hanover?

Talking of Hanover, and apropos of “humbugs,” reminds me of a circumstance that amused me at the time it occurred. Soon after the present King of Hanover ascended the throne, the Orangemen of Ireland, who had long been vain of their princely Grand Master, had sufficient influence on the old corporation of Dublin to carry a motion that a deputation should be despatched to Hanover, to convey to the foot of the throne the sincere and respectful gratulations of the mayor, aldermen, and livery of Dublin on the auspicious advent of his Majesty to the crown of that kingdom. The debate was a warm one, but the majority which carried the measure large; and, now, nothing remained but to name the happy individuals who should form the deputation, and then ascertain in what part of the globe Hanover lay, and how it should be come at.

Nothing but the cares of state and the important considerations of duty, could prevent the mayor himself accepting this proud task: the sheriffs, however, were free. Their office was a sinecure, and they accordingly were appointed, with a sufficient suite, fully capable of representing to advantage, abroad, the wealth, splendour, and intelligence of the “ancient and loyal corporation.”

One of the sheriffs, and the chief member of the mission, was, if I remember aright, a Mr. Timothy Brien; the name of the “lesser bear” I have forgotten. Tim was, however, the spokesman, whenever speaking was available; and when it was not, it was he that made the most significant signs.

I was at the period a very young attaché of the mission at Hanover; our secretary, Melmond, being chargé d’affaires in the absence of our chief, Melmond was confined to bed by a feverish attack, and the duties of the mission, limited to signing a passport or two once a-month, or some such form, were performed by me. Despatches were never sent. The Foreign Office told us, if we had any thing to say, to wait for the Russian courier passing through, but not to worry them about anything. I therefore had an easy post, and enjoyed all the dignities of office without its cares. If I had only had the pay, I could have asked nothing better.

It was, then, of a fine morning in May that Count Beulwitz, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, was announced, and the same moment entered my apartment. I was, I own it, not a little fluttered and flattered by this mark of recognition on the part of a minister, and resolved to play my part as deputy assistant chargé d’affaires to my very utmost.

“I come, Mr. Templeton,” said the minister, in a voice not quite free from agitation, “to ask your counsel on a question of considerable nicety; and as Mr. Melmond is still unable to attend to duty, you must excuse me if I ask you to bestow the very gravest attention upon the point.”

I assumed the most Talleyrand of looks, and he went on.

“This morning there has arrived here in four carriages, with great pomp and state, a special mission, sent from Ireland to convey the congratulations of the government on his Majesty’s accession to the throne. Now we have always believed and understood that Ireland was a part of the British empire, living under the same monarchy and the same laws. If so, how can this mission be accredited? It would be a very serious thing for us to recognise the partition of the British empire, or the separation of an integral portion, without due thought and consideration.

“It would be also a very bold step to refuse the advances of a state that deputes such a mission as this appears to be. Do your despatches from England give any clue by which we may guide our steps in this difficulty? have you heard latterly what are the exact relations existing between England and Ireland? You are aware that his Majesty is at Berlin, and Barring and Von der Decken, who know England so well, are both with him?”

I nodded assent, and, after a second’s silence, a strong temptation to quiz the Minister crossed my mind; and without even a guess at what this mysterious deputation might mean, I gravely hinted that our last accounts from Ireland were of the most serious nature. It was certainly true that kingdom had been conquered by the English and subjected to the crown of England, but there were the most well-founded reasons to fear that the arrangement had not the element of a permanence. The descendant of the ancient sovereigns of the land was a man of bold and energetic and adventurous character; he was a prince of the house of O’Connell, of which, doubtless, his Excellency had heard. There was no saying what events might have occurred to favour his ambitious views, and whether England might not have found the advantage of restoring a troublesome land to its ancient dynasty.

“How does the present mission present itself—how accredited?”

“From the court of Dublin, with the great seal, so far as I can understand the representation, for none of the embassy speak French.”

“That sounds very formal and regular,” said I, with deep gravity.

“So I think it, too,” said his Excellency, who really was impressed by the state-coach of Sheriff Timothy and three footmen in bag-wigs. “At any rate,” said he, “we must decide at once, and there can be no hesitation about the matter. I suppose we must give them an audience of the Crown Prince, and then let all rest till his Majesty returns, which he will do on Friday next.”

Without compromising myself by any assent, I looked as if he had spoken very wisely, and his Excellency departed.

That same afternoon two state-carriages of the court, with servants in dress livery, drew up at the Hof von London, the hôtel where the deputation had taken up their quarters, and a Maréchal de Cour alighted to inform the “Irish ambassador” that his Royal Highness the Crown Prince would receive their homage in the absence of the King. The intimation, more conveyed by pantomime than oral intelligence, was replied to by an equivalent telegraph; but the sheriffs, in all their gala, soon took their places in the carriage and set out for the palace.

Their reception was most flattering; enough to say, they had the honour to address and be replied to by one of the most courteous princes of Europe. An invitation to dinner, the usual civility to a newly arrived mission, ensued, and the Irish embassy, overwhelmed with the brilliant success of their journey, returned to the hôtel in a state of exaltation that bordered on ecstasy.

Their corporation address, formidable by its portentous parchment and official seal, had puzzled the Foreign Office in no ordinary way, and was actually under their weighty consideration the following day, when the King most unexpectedly made his entreé into the capital. King Ernest heard with some amazement, not unmingled by disbelief, that an Irish diplomatic body had actually arrived at his court, and immediately demanded to see their credentials. There is no need to recount the terrible outbreak of temper which his Majesty displayed on discovering the mistake of his ministers. The chances are, indeed, that, had he called himself Pacha instead of King, he would have sentenced the Irish ambassador and his whole following to be hanged like onions on the one string. As it was, he could scarcely control his passion; and whatever the triumphant pleasures of the day before, when a dinner-card for the palace was conveyed by an aide-de-camp to the hotel, the “second Epistle to Timothy” was a very awful contrast to its predecessor. The hapless deputation, however, got leave to return unmolested, and betook themselves to their homeward journey, the chief of the mission by no means so well satisfied of his success in the part of the “Irish Ambassador.”

Now to dress for dinner. I wish I had said “No” to this same invitation.

Nothing is pleasanter when one is in health and spirits than a petit diner; nothing is more distressing when one is weak, low, and dejected. At a large party there is always a means of lying perdu, and neither taking any share in the cookery or the conversation. At a small table one must eat, drink, and be merry, though the plat be your doom and the talk be your destruction. There is no help for it; there is no playing “supernumerary” in farce with four characters.

Is it yet too late to send an apology?—it still wants a quarter of six, and six is the hour. I really cannot endure the fatigue and the exhaustion.

Holland, besides, told me that any excitement would be prejudicial. Here goes, then, for my excuse.... So! I’m glad I’ve done it. I feel myself once more free to lie at ease on this ottoman and dream away the hours undisturbed.

“Holloa! what’s this, Legrelle?” “De la part de Madame la Comtesse, sir. How provoking!—how monstrously provoking! She writes me, ‘You really must come. I will not order dinner till I see you.—Yours, &c. B. de F———.’ What a bore! and what an absurd way to incur an attack of illness! There’s nothing for it, however, but submission; and to-morrow, if I’m able, I’ll leave Paris.

“Legrelle, don’t forget to order horses for tomorrow at twelve.”

“What route does monsieur take?”

“Avignon—no, Strasbourg—Couilly, I think, is the first post. I should like to see Munich once more, or, at least, its gallery. The city is a poor thing, worthy of its people, and, I was going to say—no matter what! Germany, in any case, for the summer, as I am sentenced to die in Italy. I feel I am taking what the Irish call ‘a long day’ in not crossing the Alps till late in autumn!”

How many places there are which one has been near enough to have visited and somehow always neglected to see! and what a longing, craving wish to behold them comes over the heart at such a time as this? What, then, is “this time,” that I speak it thus?

How late it is! De Vigny was very agreeable, combining in his manner a great deal of the refinement of a highly cultivated mind, with the shrewd perception of a keen observer of the world. He is a Légitimiste, I take it, without any hope of his party. This, after all, is the sad political creed of all who adhere to the “elder branch.” Their devotion is indeed great, for it wars against conviction. But where can an honest man find footing in France nowadays? Has not Louis Philippe violated in succession every pledge by which he had bound himself? Can such an example of falsehood so highly placed be without its influence on the nation? Can men cry “Shame!” on the Minister, when they witness the turpitude of the Monarch?

But what hope does any other party offer?—None. Henri Cinque, a Bourbon of the vieille roche, gentle, soft-hearted, sensual, and selfish, who, if he returned to France to-morrow, would never believe that the long interval since the Three Days had been any thing but an accident; and would not bring himself to credit the possibility that the succession had been ever endangered.

I believe, after all, one should be as lenient in their judgment of men’s change of fealty in France as they are indulgent to the capricious fancies of a spoiled beauty. The nation, like a coquette, had every thing its own way. The cold austerities of principle had yielded to the changeful fortunes of success for so many years, that men very naturally began to feel that instability and uncertainty were the normal state of things, and that to hold fast one set of opinions was like casting anchor in a stream when we desired to be carried along by the current. Who are they who have risen in France since the time of the Great Revolution? Are they the consistent politicians, the men of one unvarying, unaltered faith? or are they the expediency makers, the men of emergencies and crises, yielding, as they would phrase it, to “the enlightened temper of the times”—the Talleyrands, the Soults, the Guizots of the day?—not to speak of one higher than them all, but not more conspicuous for his elevation than for the subserviency that has placed him there.

Poor Chateaubriand! the man who never varied, the man that was humblest before his rightful sovereign, and prouder than the proudest Marshal in presence of the Emperor, how completely forgotten is he—standing like some ruined sign-post to point the way over a road no longer travelled! A more complete revolution was never worked in the social condition of a great kingdom than has taken place in France since the time of the Emperor. The glorious career of conquering armies had invested the soldier’s life with a species of chivalry, that brought back the old days of feudalism again. Now, it is the bourgeoisie are uppermost. Trade and money-getting, railroads and mines, have seized hold of the nation’s heart; and where the bâton of a Maréchal was once the most coveted of all earthly distinctions, a good bargain on the Bourse, or a successful transaction in scrip, are now the highest triumphs. The very telegraph, whose giant limbs only swayed to speak of victories, now beckons to an expectant crowd the rates of exchange from London to Livorno, and with a far greater certainty of stirring the spirits it addresses.

I fell into all this moody reflection from thinking of an incident—I might almost call it story—I remembered hearing from an old cuirassier officer some years ago. I was passing through the north of France, and stopped to dine at Sedan, where a French cavalry regiment, three thousand strong, were quartered. Some repairs that were necessary to my carriage detained me till the next day; and as I strolled along the shady boulevards in the evening, I met an old soldier-like person, beside whom I dined at the table-d’hôte. He was the very type of a chef-d’escadron of the Empire, and such he really proved to be.

After a short preamble of the ordinary commonplaces, we began to talk of the service in which he lived, and I confess it was with a feeling of surprise I heard him say that the old soldiers of the Empire had met but little favour from the new dynasty; and I could not help observing that this was not the impression made upon us in England, but that we inclined to think it was the especial policy of the present reign to conciliate the affections of the nation by a graceful acknowledgment of those so instrumental to its glory.

“Is not Soult as high, or rather, is he not far higher, in the favour of his sovereign, Louis Philippe, than ever he was in that of the Emperor? Is not Moncey a man nobly pensioned as Captain of the Invalides?”

“All true! But where are the hundreds—I had almost said thousands, but that death has been so busy in these tranquil times with those it had spared in more eventful days—where are they, the old soldiers, who served in inferior grades, the men whose promotions for the hard fighting at Montereau and Chalons needed but a few days more of prosperity to have confirmed, but who saw their best hopes decline as the sun of the Emperor’s glory descended?

“What rewards were given even to many of the more distinguished, but whose principles were known to be little in accordance with the new order of things? What of Pajol, who captured a Dutch fleet with his cavalry squadrons;—ay! charged the three-deckers as they lay ice-locked in the Scheldt, dismounted half of his force and boarded them, as in a sea-fight? Poor Pajol! he died the other day, at eighty-three or four, followed to the grave by the comrades he had fought and marched beside, but with no honours to his memory from the King or his government. No, sir, believe me, the present people never liked the Buonapartists; the sad contrasts presented by all their attempts at military renown with those glorious spectacles of the Empire were little flattering to them.”

“Then you evidently think Soult and some others owe their present favour, less to the eminence of their services than to the plasticity of their principles?”

“Who ever thought Soult a great general?” said he, abruptly answering my question by this transition. “A great military organizer, certainly—the best head for the administration of an army, or the Emperor’s staff—but nothing more. His capacity as a tactician was always third rate.”

I could not help acknowledging that such was the opinion of our own great captain, who has avowed that he regarded Massena as the most accomplished and scientific general to whom he was ever opposed.

“And Massena’s daughter,” cried the veteran indignantly, “lives now in the humblest poverty—the wife of a very poor man, who cultivates a little garden near Brussels, where femmes de chambre are sent to buy bouquets for their mistresses! The daughter of a Maréchal de France, a title once that Kings loved to add to their royalty, as men love to ennoble station by evidences of high personal desert!”

“How little fidelity, however, did these men shew to him who had made them thus great! how numerous were the desertions!—how rapid too!”

“Yes, there was an epidemic of treason at that time in France, just as you have seen at different epochs, here, other epidemics prevail: in the Revolution the passion was for the guillotine; then came the lust of military glory—that suited us best, and lasted longest; we indulged in it for twenty years: then succeeded that terrible revulsion, and men hastened to prove how false-hearted they could be. Then came the Restoration—and the passion was to be Catholic; and now we have another order of things, whose worst feature is, that there is no prevailing creed. Men live for the day and the hour. The King’s health—the state of Spain—a bad harvest—an awkward dispute between the commander of our squadron in the Pacific with some of your admirals,—anything may overturn the balance, and our whole political and social condition may have to be built up once more.”

“The great remedy against this uncertainty is out of your power,” said I: “you abolished the claims of Sovereignty on the permanent affection of the people, and now you begin to feel the want of ‘Loyalty.’”

“Our kings had ceased to merit the respect of the nation when they lost it.”

“Say, rather, you revenged upon them the faults and vices of their more depraved, but bolder, ancestors. You made the timid Louis XVI. pay for the hardy Louis XIV. Had that unhappy monarch but been like the Emperor, his court might have displayed all the excesses of the regency twice told, and you had never declared against them.”

“That may be true; but you evidently do not—I doubt, indeed, if any but a Frenchman and a soldier can—feel the nature of our attachment to the Emperor. It was something in which personal interest partook a large part, and the hope of future advancement, through him, bore its share. The army regarded him thus, and never forgave him perfectly, for preferring to be an Emperor rather than a General. Now, the very desertions you have lately alluded to, would probably never have occurred if the leader had not merged into the monarch.

“There was a fascination, a spirit of infatuating ecstasy, in serving one whose steps had so often led to glory, that filled a man’s entire heart. One learned to feel, that the rays of his own splendid achievements shed a lustre on all around him and each had his portion of undying fame. This feeling, as it became general, grew into a kind of superstition, and even to a man’s own conscience it served to excuse many grave errors, and some direct breaches of true faith.”

“Then, probably, you regard Ney’s conduct in this light?” said I.

“I know it was of this nature,” replied he, vehemently. “Ney, like many others, meant to be faithful to the Bourbons when he took the command. He had no thought of treachery in his mind; he believed he was marching against an enemy until he actually saw the Emperor, and then——”

“I find this somewhat difficult to understand,” said I, dubiously. “Ney’s new allegiance was no hasty step, but one maturely and well considered. He had weighed in his mind various eventualities, and doubtless among the number the possibility of the Emperor’s return. That the mere sight of that low cocked-hat and the redingote gris could have at once served to overturn a sworn fealty and a plighted word—-”

“Have you time to listen to a short story?” interrupted the old dragoon, with a degree of emotion in his manner that bespoke a deeper interest than I suspected in the subject of our conversation.

“Willingly,” said I. “Will you come and sup with me at my hôtel, and we can continue a theme in which I feel much interest?”

“Nay; with your permission, we will sit down here—on the ramparts. I never sup: like an old campaigner, I only make one meal a-day, and mention the circumstance to excuse my performance at the table d’hôte: and here, if you do not dislike it, we will take our places under this lime-tree.”

I at once acceded to this proposal, and he began thus:—


You are, perhaps, aware, that in no part of France was the cause of the exiled family sustained with more perseverance and courage than Auvergne. The nobles, who, from generation to generation, had lived as seigneurs on their estates, equally remote from the attractions and advantages of a court, still preserved their devotion to the Bourbons as a part of religious faith; nor ever did the evening mass of a château conclude without its heartfelt prayer for the repose of that “Saint Roi” Louis XVI., and for the blessing of heaven on him, his rightful successor, now a wanderer and an exile.

In one of these antique châteaux, whose dilapidated battlements and shattered walls shewed that other enemies than mere time had been employed against it, lived an old Count de Vitry: so old was he, that he could remember the time he had been a page at the court of Louis XV., and could tell many strange tales of the Regency, and the characters who flourished at that time.

His family consisted of two grandchildren, both of them orphans of his two sons. One had fallen in La Vendée; the other, sentenced to banishment by the Directory, had died on the passage out to Guadaloupe. The children were nearly of the same age—the boy a few months older than the girl—and regarded each other as brother and sister.

It is little to be wondered at if these children imbibed from the very cradle a horror of that system and of those men which had left them fatherless and almost friendless, destitute of rank, station, and fortune, and a proportionate attachment to those who, if they had been suffered to reign, would have preserved them in the enjoyment of all their time-honoured privileges and possessions.

If the members of the executive government were then remembered among the catalogue of persons accursed and to be hated, the names of the royal family were repeated among those saintly personages to whom honour and praise were rendered. The venerable Père Duclos, to whom their education was confided, certainly neglected no available means of instilling these two opposite principles of belief; and if Alfred de Vitry and Blanche were not impressed with this truth, it could not be laid to the charge of this single-hearted teacher; every trait and feature that could deform and disgrace humanity being attributed to one, and all the graces and ennobling virtues of the race associated with the name of the other. The more striking and impressive to make the lesson, the Père was accustomed to read a comment on the various events then occurring at Paris, and on the campaigns of the Republican army in Italy; dwelling, with pardonable condemnation, on the insults offered to the Church and all who adhered to its holy cause.

These appeals were made with peculiar force to Alfred, who was destined for an ecclesiastic, that being the only career which the old Count and his chaplain could satisfy themselves as offering any hope of safety; and now that the family possessions were all confiscated, and a mere remnant of the estate remaining, there was no use in hoping to perpetuate a name which must sink into poverty and obscurity. Blanche was also to become a member of a religious order in Italy, if, happily, even in that sacred land, the privileges of the Church were destined to escape.

The good Père, whose intentions were unalloyed by one thought unworthy of an angel, made the mistake that great zeal not unfrequently commits—he proved too much; he painted the Revolutionary party in colours so terrible, that no possible reality could sustain the truth of the portraiture. It is true, the early days of the Revolution warranted all he did or could say; but the party had changed greatly since that, or, rather, a new and a very differently minded class had succeeded. Marat, Danton, and Robespierre had no resemblance with Sieyes, Carnot, and Buonaparte. The simple-minded priest, however, recognised no distinction: he thought that, as the stream issued from a tainted source, the current could never become purer by flowing; and he delighted, with all the enthusiasm of a dévote, to exaggerate the evil traits of those whose exploits of heroism might have dazzled and fascinated unthinking understandings.

Alfred was about sixteen, when one evening, nigh sunset, a peasant approached the Château in eager haste to say that a party of soldiers were coming up the little road which led towards the house, instead of turning off, as they usually did, to the village of Puy de Dôme, half a league further down the valley.

Père Duclos, who assumed absolute authority over the household since the old Count had fallen into a state of childlike dotage, hastened to provide himself with the writ of exemption from billet the Directory had conferred on the château—an amende for the terrible misfortunes of the ruined family—and advanced to meet the party, the leading files of which were already in sight.

Nothing could less have suggested the lawless depredators of the Republic than the little column that now drew near. Four chasseurs-à-pied led the van, their clothes ragged and torn, their shoes actually in ribbons; one had his arm in a sling, and another carried his shako on his back, as his head was bound up in a handkerchief, whose blood-stained folds shewed the marks of a severe sabre-cut. Behind them came a litter, or, rather, a cart with a canvass awning, in which lay the wounded body of their officer; the rear consisting of about fourteen others, under the command of a sergeant.

They halted and formed as the old Père approached them, and the sergeant, stepping to the front, carried his hand to his cap in military salute; and then, without waiting for the priest to speak, he began a very civil, almost an humble, apology, for the liberty of their intrusion.

“We are,” said he, “an invalid party, en route for Paris, with an officer who was severely wounded at the bridge of Lodi.” And here he lowered his voice to a whisper: “The poor lieutenant’s case being hopeless, and his constant wish—his prayer,—being to see his mother before he dies, we are pushing on for her Château, which is near St. Jean de Luc, I hear.”

Perhaps the mention of the word Château—the claim of one whose rank was even thus vaguely hinted at—had nearly an equal influence on the Père with the duties of humanity. Certain is it he laid less stress than he might have done on the writ of exemption, and blandly said that the out-offices of the Château should be at their disposal for the night; apologising if late events had not left its inhabitants in better circumstances to succour the unfortunate.

“We ask very little, Père,” said the sergeant, respectfully—“some straw to sleep on, some rye-bread and a little water for supper; and to-morrow, ere sunrise, you shall see the last of us.”

The humility of the request, rendered even more humble by the manner in which it was conveyed, did not fail to strike the Père Duclos, who began to wonder what reverses had overtaken the “Blues” (the name the Republicans were called), that they were become thus civil and respectful; nor could he be brought to believe the account the sergeant gave of a glorious victory at the Ada, nor credit a syllable of the bulletin which, in letters half-a-foot long, proclaimed the splendid achievement.

A little pavilion in the garden was devoted to the reception of the wounded lieutenant, and the soldiers bivouacked in the farm-buildings, and some even in the open air, for it was the vintage-time, and the weather delightful. There was nothing of outrage or disturbance committed by the men; not even any unusual noise disturbed the peaceful quiet of the old Château; and, except that a lamp burned all night in the garden-pavilion, nothing denoted the presence of strangers.

Before day broke the men were mustered in the court of the Château; and the sergeant, having seen that his party were all regularly equipped for the march, demanded to speak a few words to the Père Duclos. The Père, who was from his window watching these signs of approaching departure with some anxiety, hastily descended on hearing the request.

“We are about to march, reverend father,” said the sergeant, saluting, “all of us, save one—our poor lieutenant; his next billet will be for another, and, we hope, a better place.”

“Is he dead?” asked the Père, eagerly.

“Not yet, father; but the event cannot now be far off. He raved all through the night, and this morning the fever has left him, but without strength, and evidently going fast. To take him along with us would be inhuman, were it even possible—to delay would be against my orders; so that nothing else is to be done than leave him among those who would be kind to his last hours, and minister to the wants of a death-bed.”

The Père, albeit very far from gratified by his charge, promised to do all in his power; and the sergeant, having commanded a “present arms” to the Château, wheeled right-about and departed.

For some days the prediction of the sergeant seemed to threaten its accomplishment at every hour. The sick man, reduced to the very lowest stage of debility, appeared at moments as if struggling for a last breath; but by degrees these paroxysms grew less frequent and less violent: he slept, too, at intervals, and awoke seemingly refreshed; and thus between the benefits derived from tranquillity and rest, a mild and genial air, and his own youth, his recovery became at length assured, accompanied, however, by a degree of feebleness that made the least effort impossible, and even the utterance of a few words a matter of great pain and difficulty.

If, during the most sad and distressing periods of the sick bed, the Père indirectly endeavoured to inspire Alfred’s mind with a horror of a soldier’s life—depicting, by the force of the terrible example before him, the wretchedness of one who fell a victim to its ambition—so did he take especial care, as convalescence began to dawn, to forbid the youth from ever approaching the pavilion, or holding any intercourse with its occupant. That part of the garden was strictly interdicted to him, and the very mention of the lieutenant at last forbidden, or only alluded to when invoking a Christian blessing upon enemies.

In this way matters continued till the end of autumn, when the Père, who had long been anxiously awaiting the hour when the sick man should take his leave, had one morning set off for the town to make arrangements for his departure, and order post-horses to be ready on the following day.

It was a calm and mellow day of autumn, and Alfred, who had at first determined to set out on a fishing excursion, without any reason, changed his mind, and sauntered into the garden. Loitering listlessly for some time, from walk to walk, he was at length returning to the Château, when he beheld, seated under the shade of a walnut-tree, a young man, whose pale and languid look at once bespoke the invalid, even had not the fact been proclaimed by his dress, the uniform of a Lander rouge.

Mindful of the Father’s precept, and fully impressed with an obedience never violated, the youth was turning hastily away, when the wounded man slowly arose from his seat, and removing his cap, made a salute of deep and most respectful meaning.

Alfred returned it, and stood irresolute. The eyes of the sick man, full of an expression of mild and thankful beaming, were on him. What should he do? to retire without speaking would be a rudeness, even a cruelty: beside, what possible harm could there be in a few words of friendly greeting with one so long their guest? Ere he could resolve the point, the wounded officer was slowly advancing towards him, still uncovered, and in an attitude betokening a most respectful gratitude.

“I pray you will permit me, Mons. le Comte,” said he, “to express my heartfelt thanks for the hospitality and kindness of your treatment. I feared that I should leave this without the occasion of saying how grateful I feel for the remnant of life your care has been the means of preserving.”

Alfred tried to answer: but a dread of his disobedience and its consequences, and a strange sense of admiration for the stranger, whose manner and appearance had deeply impressed him, made him silent.

“I see,” said the lieutenant smiling, “that you are indisposed to receive an acknowledgment for what you set such small store by—a kindness to a mere ‘soldier of the Republic;’ but when you wear a sword yourself, Mons. le Comte, as you will doubtless one of these days——”

“No,” said Alfred, hastily interrupting him, “never! I shall never wear one.”

“How, never! What can you mean?”

“That I shall never be a soldier,” said Alfred. “I am to be a priest.”

“A priest! You, Mons. le Comte de Vitry, of the best blood of Auvergne—you, a monk!”

“I did not say a monk,” said Alfred, proudly; “there are other ranks among churchmen. I have heard tell of Prince-bishops and Cardinals.”

“And if one were to begin life at the age they usually take leave of it, such a career might not be held so cheaply; but for a young man of good birth and blood, with a heart to feel proudly, and a hand to wield a weapon—no, no, this were a shame not to be thought of.”

Stung alike by the severity of the sarcasm, and animated by the old spirit of the Père’s teaching, Alfred hastily answered:—

“And if men of rank and station no longer carry arms as their forefathers did, with whom lies the blame? Why do they now bend to adopt a path that in former days was only trodden by the weak-hearted and the timid? Because they would not draw the sword in a cause they abhor, and for a faction they despised; neither would they shed their blood to assure the triumph of a rabble.”

“Nor would I,” interposed the lieutenant, while a slight flush coloured his cheek. “The cause in which I perilled life was that of France, my country. You may safely trust, that the nation capable of such conquests will neither be disgraced by bad rulers, nor dishonoured by cowardly ones.”

“I have no faith in Republicans,” said Alfred, scornfully.

“Because they were not born to a title, perhaps! But do you know how many of those who now carry victory into foreign lands belong to this same class that includes all your sympathy?—prouder, far prouder, that they sustain the honour of France against her enemies than that they carry the blazon of a marquis or the coronet of a duke on their escutcheon? You look incredulous! Nay, I speak no more than what I well know: for instance, the humble lieutenant who now addresses you can claim rank as high and ancient as your own. You have heard of the Liancourts?”

“Le Duc de Liancourt?”

“Yes; I am, or rather I was, the Duc de Liancourt,” said the lieutenant, with an almost imperceptible struggle: “my present rank is Sous-Lieutenant of the Third Lancers. Now listen to me calmly for a few moments, and I hope to shew you, that in a country where a dreadful social earthquake has uprooted every foundation of rank, and strewed the ground with the ruins of every thing like prescription, it is nobler and better to shew that nobility could enter the lists, unaided by its prestige, and win the palm, among those who vainly boasted themselves better and braver. This we have done, not by assuming the monk’s cowl and the friar’s cord, but by carrying the knapsack and the musket; not by shirking the struggle, but by confronting it. Where is the taunt now against the nobility of France? whose names figure oftenest in the lists of killed and wounded? whose lot is it most frequently to mount first to the assault or the breach? No, no, take to the alb and the surplice if your vocation prompt it, but do not assume to say that no other road is open to a Frenchman because his heart is warmed by noble blood.”

If Alfred was at first shocked by hearing assertions so opposed to all the precepts of his venerated tutor, he was soon ashamed of offering opposition to one so far more capable than himself of forming a just judgment on the question, while he felt, inwardly, the inequality of the cause for which he would do battle against—that glorious and triumphant one of which the young officer assumed the championship.

Besides, De Liancourt’s history was his own; he had been bred up with convictions precisely like his, and might, had he followed out the path intended for him, been a priest at the very hour that he led a charge at Lodi.

“I was saved by an accident,” said he. “In the march of Berthault’s division through Chalons, a little drummer-boy fell off a waggon when asleep, and was wounded by a wheel passing over him: they brought him to our château, where we nursed and tended him till he grew well. The Curé, wishing to snatch him as a brand saved from the burning, adopted him, and made him an acolyte; and so he remained till one Sunday morning, when the ‘Chasseurs gris’ marched through the town during mass. Pierre stole out to see the soldiers; he heard a march he had often listened to before; he saw the little drummers stepping out gaily in front; worse, too, they saw him, and one called out to his comrades, ‘Regarde donc le Prêtre; ce petit drôle là—c’est un Prêtre.’

“‘Du tout,’ cried he; tearing off his white robe, and throwing it behind him, ‘Je suis tambour comme toi,’ and snatching the drum, he beat his ‘Ran tap-plan’ so vigorously and so well, that the drum-major patted him on the head and cheek, and away marched Pierre at the head of the troop, leaving Chalons, and Curé, and all behind him, without a thought or a pang.

“I saw it all from the window of the church; and suddenly, as my eyes turned from the grand spectacle of the moving column, with its banners flying and bayonets glistening, to the dim, half-lighted aisles of the old church, with smoky tapers burning faintly, amid which an old decrepid priest was moving slowly, a voice within me cried,—‘Better a tambour, than this!’ I stole out, and reached the street just as the last files were passing: I mingled with the crowd that followed, my heart beating time to the quick march. I tracked them out of the town, further and further, till we reached the wide open country.

“‘Will you not come back, Pierre?’ said I, pulling him by the sleeve, as, at last, I reached the leading files, where the little fellow marched, proud as the tambour-major.

“‘I go back, and the regiment marching against the enemy!’ exclaimed he, indignantly; and a roar of laughter and applause from the soldiers greeted his words.

“‘Nor I either!’ cried I. And thus I became a soldier, never to regret the day I belted on the knapsack. But here comes the Père Duclos: I hope he may not be displeased at your having kept me company. I know well he loves not such companionship for his pupil—perhaps he has reason.”

Alfred did not wait for the priest’s arrival, but darted from the spot and hastened to his room, where, bolting the door, he threw himself upon his bed and wept bitterly. Who knows if these tears decided not all his path in life?

That same evening the lieutenant left the château; and in about two months after came a letter, expressing his gratitude for all the kindness of his host, and withal a present of a gun and a chasseur’s accoutrement for Alfred.. They were very handsome and costly, and he was never weary of trying them on his shoulder and looking how they became him; when, in examining one of the pockets for the twentieth time, he discovered a folded paper: he opened it, and found it was an appointment for a cadet in the military school of St. Cyr. Alfred de Vitry was written in pencil where the name should be inscribed, but very faintly, and so that it required sharp looking to detect the letters. It was enough, however, for him who read the words: he packed up a little parcel of clothes, and, with a few francs in his pocket, he set out that night for Chalons, where he took the malle. The third day, when he was tracked by the Père, he was already enrolled a cadet, and not all the interest in France could have removed him against his consent.

I will not dwell on a career which was in no respect different from that of hundreds of others. Alfred joined the army in the second Italian campaign—was part of Dessaix’s division at Marengo—was wounded at Aspern, and finally accompanied the Emperor in his terrible march to Moscow. He saw more service than his promotion seemed to imply, however; for, after Leipsig, Dresden, Bautzen, he was carried on a litter, with some other dying comrades, into a little village of Alsace—a lieutenant of hussars, nothing more.

An hospital, hastily constructed of planks, had been fitted up outside the village—there were many such, on the road between Strasbourg and Nancy; and here poor Alfred lay, with many more, their sad fate rendered still sadder by the daily tidings, which told them that the cause for which they had shed their blood was hourly becoming more hopeless.

The army that never knew defeat now counted nothing but disasters. Before Alfred had recovered from his wound, the allies bivouacked in the Place Carrousel, and Napoleon was at Elba!

When little dreaming that he could take any part in that general joy by which France, in one of her least-thinking moments, welcomed back the Bourbons, Alfred was loitering listlessly along one of the quays of Paris, wondering within himself by what process of arithmetic he could multiply seven sous—they were all he had—into the price of a supper and a bed; and while his eyes often dwelt with lingering fondness on the windows of the restaurants, they turned, too, with a dreadful instinct towards the Seine, whose eddies had closed over many a sorrow and crime.

As he wandered thus, a cry arose for help: an unfortunate creature—one whose woes were greater, or whose courage to bear them less, than his own—had thrown herself from the Pont-Neuf into the river, and her body was seen to rise and sink several times in the current of the rapid stream, It was from no prompting of humanity—it was something like a mere instinct, and no more—mayhap, too, his recklessness of life had some share in the act;—whatever the reason, he sprung into the river, and, after a long and vigorous struggle, he brought her out alive; and then, forcing through the crowd that welcomed him, he drew his miserable and dripping hat over his eyes. He continued his road—Heaven knows he had little purpose or object to warrant the persistence!

He had not gone far when a number of voices were heard behind him, calling out,—

“That is he!—there he is!” and at the same instant an officer rode up beside him, and, saluting him politely, said that her royal highness the Duchess of Berri desired to speak to him;—her carriage was just by.

Alfred was in that humour when, so indifferent is every object in life, that he would have turned at the bidding of the humblest gamin of the streets; and, wet and weary, he stood beside the door of the splendid equipage.

“It was thou that saved the woman?” said the Duchess, addressing him, and using the conventional “Du,” as suitable to his mean appearance.

“Madame,” said Alfred, removing his tattered hat, “I am a gentleman! These rags were once—the uniform of the Guard.”

“My God!—my cousin!” cried a voice beside the Duchess; and, at the same instant, a young girl held out her hands towards him, and exclaimed,—

“Knowest thou not me, Alfred? I am Alice—Alice de Vitry—thy cousin and thy sister!”

It would little interest you to dwell on the steps that followed, and which, in a few weeks, made of a wretched outcast—without a home or a meal—an officer of the Guard du Corps, with the order of St. Louis at his breast.

Time sped on, and his promotion with it; and at length his Majesty, graciously desiring to see the old nobility resume their place and grade, consented to the union of Alfred with his cousin. There was no violent love on either side, but there was sincere esteem and devoted friendship; and if they neither of them felt that degree of attachment which becomes a passion, they regarded each other with true affection.

Alice was a devoted Royalist: all that she had suffered for the cause had endeared it to her; and she could forgive, but not forget, that her future husband had shed his blood for the Usurper.

Alfred was what every one, and with reason, called a most fortunate fellow: a colonel at twenty-eight—a promotion that, under the Empire, nothing but the most distinguished services could have gained—and yet he was far from happy. He remembered with higher enthusiasm his first grade of “corporal,” won at Aspern, and his epaulettes that he gained at Wilna. His soldiering had been learned in another school than in the parade-ground at Versailles, or the avenue of the Champs Elysées.

“Come, mon ami!” said Alice, gaily, to him one morning, about ten days before the time appointed for their marriage; “thou art about to have some occasion for thy long-rusting sword: the Usurper has landed at Cannes.”

“The Emperor at Cannes!”

“The Emperor, if thou wilt—but without an Empire.”

“No matter. Is he without an army?” said Alfred.

“Alone—with some half-dozen followers, at most. Ney has received orders to march against him, and thou art to command a brigade.”

“This is good news!” said Alfred; for the very name of war had set his heart a-throbbing; and as he issued forth into the streets, the stirring sounds of excitement and rapid motion of troops increased his ardour.

Wondering groups were gathered in every street, some, discussing the intelligence, others, reading the great placards, which, in letters of portentous size, announced that “the Monster” had once more polluted by his presence the soil of France.

Whatever the enthusiasm of the old Royalists to the Bourbon cause, there seemed an activity and determination on the part of the Buonapartists who had taken service with the King to exhibit their loyalty to the new sovereign; and Ney rode from one quarter of Paris to the other, with a cockade of most conspicuous size, followed by a staff equally remarkable.

That same day Alfred left Paris for Lyons, where his regiment lay, with orders to move to the south, by forced marches, and arrest the advance of the small party which formed the band of the invader. It was Alice herself fastened the knot of white ribbon in his shako, and bade him adieu with a fondness of affection he had never witnessed before.

From Paris to Lyons, and to Grenoble, Alfred hastened with promptitude. At Lesseim, at last, he halted for orders.

His position was a small village, three leagues in advance of Lesseim, called Dulaure, where, at nightfall on the 18th of March, Alfred arrived with two companies of his regiment, his orders being to reconnoitre the valley towards Lesseim, and report if the enemy should present himself in that quarter.

After an anxious night on the alert, Alfred lay down to sleep towards morning, when he was awoke by the sharp report of a musket, followed immediately after by the roll of the drum and the call for the guard to “turn out.” He rushed out, and hastened towards the advanced picket. All was in confusion: some were in retreat; others stood at a distance from their post, looking intently towards it; and at the picket itself were others, again, with piled arms, standing in a close group. What could this mean? Alfred called out, but no answer was returned. The men stared in stupid amazement, and each seemed waiting for the other to reply.

“Where is your officer?” cried De Vitry, in an angry voice.

“He is here!” said a pale, calm-featured man, who, buttoned up in a grey surtout, and with a low chapeau on his head, advanced towards him.

“You the officer!” replied Alfred, angrily: “you are not of our regiment, sir.”

“Pardon me, Colonel,” rejoined the other; “I led the twenty-second at Rovigo, and they were with me at Wagram.”

Grand Dieu!” said Alfred, trembling; “who are you, then?”

“Your Emperor, Colonel de Vitry!”

Alfred stepped back at the words. The order to arrest and make him prisoner was almost on his lips. He turned towards his men, who instinctively had resumed their formation; his head was maddened by the conflict within it; his eyes turned again towards Napoleon—the struggle was over-he knelt and presented his sword.

“Take mine in exchange, General de Vitry,” said the Emperor; “I know you will wear it with honour.”

And thus, in a moment, was all forgotten—plighted love and sworn faith—for who could resist the Emperor?

The story is now soon told. Waterloo came, and once more the day of defeat descended, never to dawn upon another victory. Alfred, rejected and scorned, lived years in poverty and obscurity. When the fortunes of the Revolution brought up once more the old soldiers of the Empire, he fought at the Quai Voltaire and was wounded severely. The Three Days over, he was appointed to a sous-lieutenancy in the dragoons. He is now chef-d’escadron, the last of his race, weary of a world whose vicissitudes have crushed his hopes and made him broken-hearted.

The relator of this tale was Alfred de Vitry himself, who, under the name of his maternal grandfather, St. Amand, served in the second regiment of Carabiniers.


12 o’clock, Tuesday night, May 31st, 184-.

“Que bella cosa” to be a king! Here am I now, returned from Neuilly, whither I dreaded so much to venture, actually enchanted with the admirable manner of his Majesty Louis Philippe, adding one more to the long list of those who, beginning with Madame de Genlis and Johnson, have delighted to extol the qualities whose pleasing properties have been expended on themselves.

There is, however, something wonderfully interesting in the picture of a royal family living en bourgeois—a King sitting with his spectacles on his forehead and his newspaper on his knee, playfully alluding to observations whose fallacy he alone can demonstrate; a Queen busily engaged amid the toils of the work-table, around which Princesses of every European royalty are seated, gaily chatting over their embroidery, or listening while an amusing book is read out by a husband or a brother: even an American would be struck by such a view of monarchy.

The Duc de Nemours is the least prepossessing of the princes; his deafness, too, assists the impression of his coldness and austerity: while the too-studied courtesy of the Prince de Joinville towards Englishmen is the reverse of an amicable demonstration.

I could not help feeling surprised at the freedom with which his Majesty canvassed our leading political characters; for his intimate acquaintance with them all, I was well prepared. One remark he made worth remembering,—“The Duke of Wellington should always be your Minister of Foreign Affairs, no matter what the changes of party. It is not that his great opportunities of knowing the Continent, assisted by his unquestionable ability, alone distinguish him, but that his name and the weight of his opinion on any disputed question exert a greater influence than any other man’s over the various sovereignties of Europe. After the Emperor himself, he was the greatest actor in the grand drama of the early part of the century; he made himself conspicuous in every council, even less by the accuracy of his views than by their unerring, unswerving rectitude. The desperate struggle in which he had taken part had left no traces of ungenerous feeling or animosity behind, and the pride of conquest had never disturbed the equanimity of the negotiator.”

What other statesman in England had dared to ratify the Belgian revolution, and, by his simple acknowledgment, place the fact beyond appeal? It is with statesmen as with soldiers; the men who have been conversant with great events maintain the prestige of their ascendancy over all who “never smelt powder;” and Metternich wields much of his great influence on such a tenure.

Apropos of Metternich; the King told a trait of him which I have not heard before. In one of those many stormy interviews which took place between him and the Emperor, Napoleon, irritated at the tone of freedom assumed by the Austrian envoy, endeavoured by an artifice to recall him to what he deemed a recollection of their relative stations, and then, as it were, inadvertently let fall his hat for the Prince to take it up; instead of which Metternich moved back and bowed, leaving the Emperor to lift it from the ground himself.

Napoleon, it would seem, was ever on the watch to detect and punish the slightest infraction of that respect which “doth hedge a king,” even in cases when the offender had nothing further from his mind than the intention to transgress: a rather absurd illustration was mentioned by the King. The Emperor was one day seeking for a book in the library at Malmaison, and at last discovered it on a shelf somewhat above his reach. Marshal Moocey, one of the tallest men in the army, who was present, immediately stepped forward, saying, “Permettez, Sire. Je suis plus grand que votre Majesté!” “Vous voulez dire plus long, Maréchal,” said the Emperor, with a frown that made the reproof actually a severity.

From the tone of his Majesty’s observations on our nobility, and the security such an order necessarily creates, I thought I could mark a degree of regret at the extinction of the class in France. How natural such a feeling! For how, after all, can a monarchy long subsist with such a long interval between the crown and the people? The gradations of rank are the best guarantees against any assault on its privileges; a House of Lords is the best floating breakwater against the storms of a people in revolt.

With a marked condescension, his Majesty inquired after my health and the object of my journey; and when I mentioned Naples, hastily remarked, “Ah, well! I can promise you a very agreeable house to pass your evenings in: we are going to send Favancourt there as envoy, and Madame la Comtesse is your countrywoman. This, however, is a secret which even Favancourt himself is ignorant of.”

I am not casuist enough to say if this intimation of the King is binding on me as to secrecy; but, possibly, I need not risk the point, as I shall not be likely to see Favancourt or Madame de Favancourt before I start to-morrow.

I am already impatient for the hour to go; I want to be away—afar—from the gorgeous glitter of this splendid capital. Something nigh to misanthropy creeps over me at the sight of pleasures in which I am no more to take a part, and I would not that a feeling thus ungenerous should be my travelling companion. I do not experience the inordinate love of life which, we are told, ever accompanies my malady. If I have a wish to live, it is to frame a different kind of existence from what I have hitherto followed, and I believe most sick people’s love of life is the desire of dwelling longer amid the pursuits they have followed. And now for the map, to see how I may trace a route, and see—shame that I must say so!—fewest of my countrymen. Well, then, from Strasbourg to Fribourg, and through the Hohlen-Thal.

So far, so good! This is all new to me. Thence to Munich, or direct to Inspruck, as I may decide later on. This, at least, avoids Switzerland, and all its radicalism and roguery, not to speak of the “Perkinses,” who are “out” by this time, touring it to Lausanne and Chamouni.

What a tremendous noise a carriage makes coming through these portes-cochères! Truly, the luxury is heavily paid for by all the inhabitants of a house. Is that a tap at my door?

A few lines before I lie down to sleep! It is already daybreak. What would poor Dr. S—— say if he knew I had been sitting up to this hour, and at a petit souper too, with some half-dozen of the wealthiest people in Paris, not to speak of the prettiest? Madame de F——— would take no refusal, however, and averred she had made the party expressly for me; that V——— H——— had declined another engagement to come; and, in fact—no matter what little flatteries—I went; and here I am, with my cheek flushed and my head on fire, my brain whirling with mad excitement, laughter still ringing in my ears, and all the exaltation he feels who, drinking water while others sip champagne, is yet the only one whose faculties are intoxicated.

What a brilliant scene in a comedy would that little supper have been, just as it really was; scenery, decorations, people all unchanged! the dimly lighted boudoir, where all the luxury of modern requirement was seen through a chiaroscuro, that made it seem half unreal; and then, the splendid brilliancy of the supper-room beyond, where, amid the gorgeous dis-play of vaisselle and flowers, shone still more brightly the blaze of beauty and the fire of genius.

How often have I remarked in these little “jousts of the table,” where each man puts forth his sharpest weapons of wit and pleasantry, that the conqueror, like an Ivanhoe, is an unknown knight, and with a blank shield.

So was it, I remember once, where we had a sprinkling of every class of celebrity, from the Chamber of Deputies to the Théâtre Français; and yet the heart of all was taken by a young Spaniard, whom nobody seemed to know whence or how he came,—a handsome, dark-eyed fellow, with a short upper lip that seemed alive with energy, combining in his nature the stern dignity of the Castilian and the hot blood of Andalusia. It was the Marquis de Brabançon brought him, presenting him to the lady of the house in a half whisper.

There are men it would be utter ruin to place in positions of staid and tranquil respectability, and yet who make great names. They are born to be adventurers. I remained the last, on purpose to hear who he was, feeling no common curiosity, even though—as so often happens—the name, when heard, conveys nothing to the ear, and leaves as little for the memory.

I could not avoid remarking that he bore, in the mild and thoughtful character of his brow, a strong resemblance to the portraits of Claverhouse.

“Alike in more than looks,” said the hostess: “they have many traits in common, and shew that the proud Dundee was no exceptional instance of humanity, uniting the softness of a girl with a courage even verging upon ferocity.”

The stranger was the Spanish General Cabrebra!

“And now that you have seen him, let me tell you a short anecdote of him, only worth remembering as so admirably in colouring with his appearance on entering.

“Last year, at the head of a division of the army, the Bishop of Grenada, accompanied by all his clergy, received him in a grand procession, and safely escorted him to the episcopal palace, where a splendid collation was prepared. The soldierlike air and manly beauty of the young General were even less the theme of admiration than his respectful reception of the Bishop, to whom he knelt in devout reverence, and kissed the hand with deep humility, walking at his side with an air of almost bashful deference.

“At table, too, his manner was even more marked by respect. As the meal proceeded, the Bishop could not fail remarking that his guest seemed deeply possessed by some secret care, which made him frequently sigh, in a manner betokening heavy affliction. After some pressing, it came out; the source of the grief was, the inability of the General to pay his troops, for the military chest was quite empty, and daily desertions were occurring. The sum required was a large one, 20,000 contos, and the venerable Bishop hastened to assure him, with unfeigned sorrow, that the poor and suffering city could not command one-fourth of the amount. Cabrebra rose, and paced the room in great excitement, ever throwing, as he passed, a glance into the court-yard, where a party of grenadiers stood under arms, and then, resuming his place at the table, he seemed endeavouring, but vainly, to join in the festivity around him.

“‘It is evident to me, my son,’ said the Bishop, ‘that some heavier sorrow is lying at your heart; tell it, and let me, if it may be, give you comfort and support.’ Cabrebra hesitated; and at last avowed that such was the case. Considerable entreaty, however, was necessary to wring the mystery from him: when at last he said, in a voice broken and agitated, ‘You know me, Holy Father, for a good and faithful son of the Church—for one who reveres its ordinances, and those who dispense them» Think, then, of my deep misery when—— but I cannot—I am utterly unable to proceed.’ After much pressing he resumed, with sudden energy—‘Yes—I know I shall never feel peace and happiness more, for although I have done many a hard and cruel deed, I never, till now, had the dreadful duty to order a Bishop to be shot! This is what is breaking my heart—this is my secret misery.’

“It is scarcely necessary to say, that he was speedily recovered from so dreadful an embarrassment, for the Bishop was too good a Christian to see a devout soldier reduced to such extremity. The money was paid, and the Bishop ransomed.”

Our celebrity of to-night was of less mark—indeed, nominally, of none—but he has but to escape “rope and gun.” and he will make a name for himself.

He is a young Frenchman, one who, beginning at the lowest rung of the ladder, may still climb high. Strange paths are open to eminence nowadays, and there is no reason why a man may not begin life as a “Vaudevilliste,” and end it “Pair de France.”

Jules de Russigny—whence the “de” came from we must not inquire—like most of the smart men of the day, is a Provençal; he was educated at a Séminaire, and destined for the priesthood. Some slight irregularity caused his dismissal, and he came to Paris on foot to seek his fortune. When toiling up a steep ascent of the road at St Maurice, he saw before him on the way a heavily laden travelling carriage, which, with the aid of his struggling post-horses, was also labouring up the hill; an elderly gentleman had descended to walk, and was plodding wearily after his lumbering equipage. As Jules reached the crest of the ridge, all were gone, and nothing but a deep column of dust announced the course of the departed carriage: at his feet, however, he discovered a paper, which, closely written, and, by its numerous corrections, appeared as closely studied, must have fallen from the pocket of the traveller.

Jules sat down to inspect it, and found to his surprise it was a species of memorandum on the subject of the educationary establishments of France, with much statistic detail, and a great amount of information, evidently the result of considerable labour and research. There were many points, of course, perfectly new to him, but there were others with which he was well acquainted, and some on which he was so well informed as to be able to detect mistakes and fallacies in the memorandum. Conning the theme over, he reached a little way-side inn, and inquiring who the traveller was that passed, he heard, to his surprise, it was the Minister of Public Instruction.

When Jules reached Paris, it was about a fortnight before the opening of the Chambers, and the newspapers were all in full cry discussing the various systems of education, and with every variety of opinion pronouncing for and against the supposed views of the Government. Most men, in his situation, would have sought out the Minister’s residence, and, restoring to him the lost paper, retired well satisfied with a very modest recompense for a service that cost so little.

Not so Jules; he established himself in a cheap corner of the Pays Latin, and spent his days conning over the various journals of Paris, until, by dint of acute study and penetration, he had possessed himself of every shade and hue of political opinion professed by each. At last he discovered that the “Siècle” was the most decidedly obnoxious to the Government, and the “Moniteur” most favourable to the newly projected system. To each he sent an article: in one, setting forth a dim, but suggestive idea, of what the Minister might possibly attempt, with a terrific denunciation annexed to it; in the other, a half defence of the plan, supported by statistic detail, and based on the information of the manuscript.

These two papers both appeared, as assertion and rejoinder; and so did the polemic continue for above a week, increasing each day in interest, and gradually swelling in the number of the facts adduced, and the reasons for which the opinion was entertained. Considerable interest was created to know the writer, but although he was then dining each day, and that his only meal, for four sous in the “Ilee St. Louis,” he preserved his incognito unbroken, and never divulged to any one his secret. At last came an announcement in the “Siècle,” at the close of one of the articles, that on the next day would appear a full disclosure of the whole government measure, with the mechanism by which its views were to be strengthened, and the whole plan of conception on which it was based. That same evening a young man, pale, and sickly looking, stood at the porte-cochere of a splendid mansion in the Rue St. George, and asked to see the owner. The rude repulse of the porter did not abash him, nor did the insolent glance bestowed on his ragged shoes and threadbare coat cost him a pang of displeasure: he felt that he could bide his time, for it would come at last.

“His Excellency is at the Council!” at last said the porter, somewhat moved by a pertinacity that had nothing of rudeness in it.

With a calm resolve he sat down on a stone bench, and fell a-thinking to himself. It was full three hours later when the Minister’s carriage rolled in, and the Minister, hastily descending, proceeded to mount the stairs.

“One word, your Excellency,” cried Jules, in a voice collected and firm, but still of an almost imploring sound.

“Not now—at another time,” said the Minister, as he took some papers from his secretary.

“But one word, Sir—I crave no more,” repeated Jules.

“See to that man, Delpierre,” said the Minister to his secretary; but Jules, passing hastily forward, came close to the Minister, and whispered in his ear, “M. le Ministre, je suis Octave,” the name under which the “Siècle” articles appeared. A few words followed, and Jules was ordered to follow the Minister to his cabinet. The article of the “Siècle” did appear the next day, but miserably inefficient in point of ability; and so false in fact-, that the refutation was overwhelming. The “Moniteur” had a complete triumph, only to be exceeded by that of the Minister’s own in the Chamber. The Council of Ministers was in ecstasy, and Jules de Russigny, who arrived in Paris by the mail from Orleans—for thither he was despatched, to make a more suitable entry into the great world—was installed as a clerk in the office of the Finance Minister, with very reasonable hopes of future advancement. Such was the fortune of him who was one, and, I repeat it, the pleasantest of our convives.

This is the age of smart men—not of high intelligences. The race is not for the thoroughbred, but the clever hackney, always “ready for his work,” and if seldom pre-eminent, never a dead failure.

Of my own brief experience, all the first-rate men, without exception, have broke down. All the moderates—the “clever fellows”—have carried the day. Now I could pick out from my contemporaries, at school and university, some half-dozen brilliant, really great capacities, quite lost—some, shipwrecked on the first venture in life—some, disheartened and disgusted, have retired early from the contest, to live unheard of and die brokenhearted. But the smart men! What crowds of them come before my mind in high employ—some at home, some abroad, some waxing rich by tens of thousands, some running high up the ambitious road of honours and titles! There is something in inordinate self-esteem that buoys up this kind of man. It is the only enthusiasm he is capable of feeling—-but it serves as well as the “real article.”

For the mere adventurer, the man of ready wit and a fearless temperament, politics offer the best road to fortune. The abilities that would have secured a mere mediocrity of position in some profession will here win their way upwards. The desultory character of reading and acquirements, so fatal to men chained to a single pursuit, is eminently favourable to him who must talk about every thing, with, at least, the appearance of knowledge; while the very scantiness of his store suggests a recklessness that has great success in the world.

In England we have but one high road to eminence—Parliament. Literature, whose rewards are so great in France, with us only leads to intimacy with the “Trade” and a name in “the Row.” It is true, Parliamentary reputation is of slow growth, and dependent on many circumstances totally remote from the capacity and attainments of him who seeks it. Are you the son of a great name in the Lords, the representative of an immense estate, or of great commercial wealth? are you high in the esteem of Corn men or Cotton men? are you a magnate of Railroads, or is your word law in the City? then your way is open and your path easy. Without these, or some one of them, you must be a segment of some leading man’s party’.

My own little experience of Parliament—about the very briefest any man can recall—presents little pleasurable in the retrospect. Lord Collyton was one of my Christchurch acquaintances, and at his invitation I spent the autumn of 18— at his father, the Duke of Wrexington’s.

The house was full of company, and, like an English house in such circumstances, the most delightful séjour imaginable. Every second day or so brought a relay of new arrivals, either from town or some other country-house full of the small-talk of the last visit,—all that strange but most amusing farrago which we designate by the humble title of “gossip,” but which, so far as I can judge, is worth ten thousand times more than the boasted causerie of France, and the perpetual effort at smartness so much aimed at by our polite neighbours.

The guests were numerous, and presented specimens of almost every peculiarity observable in Englishmen of a certain class. We had great lords and high court functionaries, deep in the mysteries of Buckingham House and Windsor; a sprinkling of distinguished foreigners; ministers, and secretaries of embassy; some parliamentary leaders, men great on the Treasury benches or strong on the Opposition. Beauties there were too, past, present, and some, coming; a fair share of the notorieties of fashion, and the last winner of the Derby, with—let me not forget him—a Quarterly Reviewer. This last gentleman came with the Marquis of Deepdene, and was, with the exception of a certain pertinacity of manner, a very agreeable person.

Although previously unknown to the host, he had come down “special” under the protection of his friend Lord Deepdene, hoping to secure his grace’s interest in the borough of Collyton, at that time vacant. He was a man of very high attainments, had been an optime at Cambridge, was a distinguished essayist, and his party had conceived the very greatest expectations of his success in Parliament. Of the world, or at least that portion of it that moves upon Tournay carpets, amid Vandykes and Velasquez, with sideboards of gold and lamps of silver, he had not seen much, and learned still less; and it was plain to see that, in the confidence of his own strong head, he was proof against either the seductions of fashion or the sneers of those who might attempt to criticise his breeding.

Before he was twenty-four hours in the house he had corrected his grace in an historical statement, caught up the B—— of D—— in a blunder of prosody, detected a sapphire in Lady Dollington’s suite of yellow diamonds, and exposed an error of Lord Sloperton’s in his pedigree of Brown Menelaus. It is needless to say he was almost universally detested, for of those he had suffered to pass free, none knew how soon his own time might arrive. His patron was miserable; he saw nothing but failure where he looked for triumph. The very acquirements he had built upon for success were become a terror to every one, and “the odious Mr. Kitely” became a proverb. His political opponents chuckled over the “bad tone” of such men in general; the stupid ones gloried over the fall of a clever man; and the malignant part of the household threw out broad hints that he was a mere adventurer, and they should not wonder if actually—— an Irishman! Indeed, he had been heard to say “entirely” twice upon the same evening in conversation, and suspicion had almost become a certainty.

It was towards the end of my first week, as I was one day dressing for dinner, Lord Collyton came hastily into my room, exclaiming, “By Jove, Templeton! Mr. Kitely has done the thing at last, as he would say himself, entirely.”

“How do you mean? what has he done?” “You know my father is excessively vain of his landscape-gardening, and the prodigious improvements which he has made in this same demesne around us. Well, compassionating some one whom Kitely was mangling, ‘more suo’ in an argument, he took that gentleman out for a walk, and, with a conscious pride in his own achievements, led him towards the Swiss cottage beside the waterfall.

“Kitely was pleased with every thing; the timber is really well grown, and he praised it; the view is fine, and he said so. Even of the chalet he condescended a few words of approval, as a feature in the scene. The waterfall, however, he would not praise; it might foam, and splash, and whirl as it would; in vain it threw its tiny spray aloft, and hissed beneath the rocks below; he never wasted even a word upon it.

“You’d scarce fancy, Mr. Kitely,” said my father, whose patience was sorely tried; “you’d scarce fancy that river you see there was only a mill-stream.”

“I’d scarcely think of calling that mill-stream a river, my lord,” was the reply.

“Hence the borough of Collyton is still open, and I have come, by his grace’s request, to say that if you desire to enter Parliament it is very much at your service.”

This was my introduction to the House.

My parliamentary life was, as I have said, a brief one, but not without its triumphs. I was long enough a member to have excited the ardent hopes of my friends, and make my name a thing quoted in the lists of party.

Had I remained, I was to have spoken second to the address on the opening of the new session. There was, I own, a most intoxicating sense of pleasure in the first success. The moment in which, fatigued and almost overpowered, I sank into a chair at Bellamy’s, with some twenty around me, congratulating, praising, flattering, and foretelling, was worth living for; and yet, perhaps, in that same instant of triumph were sown the seeds of my malady. I was greatly heated; I had excited myself beyond my strength, and spoken for two hours—to myself it seemed scarce twenty minutes; and then, with open cravat and vest, I sat in the current of air between a door and window, drinking in delicious draughts of iced water and flattery. I went home with a slight cough, and something strange, like an obstruction to full breathing, in my chest. Brodie, who saw me next day, I suppose, guessed the whole mischief; for these men look far a-head, and, like sailors, they see storm and hurricane in the cloud not bigger than a man’s hand.

I often regret—I shall continue to do, perhaps, still oftener—that I did not die in the harness. To quit the field for sake of life, and not secure it after all, was paltry policy. But what could I do? a severe and contested election would have killed me, and for Collyton it was impossible I could continue to sit.

Irish politics would seem the rock a-head of every man in the House. On these unhappy questions all are shipwrecked: the Premier loses party—Party loses confidence—members displease constituents, and protégés offend their patrons. Such was my own case: the Duke who owned the borough of Collyton, resolved on making a great stand and show of his influence in both Houses. All his followers, myself among the number, were summoned to a conference, when the tactic of attack should be adopted, and each assigned his fitting part. To me was allotted the office of replying to the first speaker of the Treasury Bench—a post of honour and of danger, and only distasteful because impossible: the fact was, that my own opinions were completely with the Government on the subject in dispute, and consequently at open variance with those of my own friends. This I declared at once, endeavouring to shew why my judgment had so inclined, and what arguments I believed to be unanswerable.

Instead of replying to my reasons, or convincing me of their inefficiency, my colleagues only ap-pealed to the “necessity of union”—the imperative call of party—and “the impossibility,” as they termed it, “of betraying the Duke.”

I immediately resolved to resign my seat, and accept the Chiltern Hundreds. To this there was a unanimous cry of dissent, one and all pronouncing that such a step would damage them more even than my fiercest opposition. The Duke sat still and said nothing. Somewhat offended at this, I made a personal appeal to him resolving by the tone of his reply to guide my future conduct. He was too old a politician to give me any clue to his sentiments, shrouding his meaning in vague phrases of compliment to my talents, and his perfect confidence that, however my judgment inclined, I should be able to shew sufficient reasons for my opinion. I went home baffled, worried, and ill. I sent for Brodie. “You cannot speak on the coming question,” said he; “there is a great threat of haemorrhage from the lungs—you must have rest and quiet. Keep beyond the reach of excitement for a few weeks—don’t even read the newspapers. Go over to Spa—there you can be quite alone.”

I took the advice, and without one word of adieu to any one—without even leaving any clue to my hiding-place, I left London. Spa was as quiet and retired as Brodie described it. A little valley shut in among hills, that a Cockney would have called mountains; a clear little trout-stream, and some shady alleys to stroll among, being all I wanted. Would that I could have brought there the tranquil spirit to enjoy them! But my mind was far from at ease. The conflict between a sense of duty and a direct obligation, raged continually within me. What I owed to my own conscience, and what I owed to my patron, were at variance, and never did the sturdiest Radical detest the system of Nomination Boroughs as I did at this moment. Each day, too, I regretted that I had not done this or that—taken some line different from what I adopted, and at least openly braved the criticism that I felt I had fled from.

To deny me all access to newspapers was a measure but ill calculated to allay the fever of my mind. Expectation and imagination were at work, speculating on every possible turn of events, and every likely and unlikely version of my own conduct. The first two days over, all my impatience returned, and I would have given life itself to be once again back “in my place,” to assert my opinions, and stand or fall by my own defence of my motives.

About a week after my arrival I was sitting under the shade of some trees, at the end of the long avenue that forms the approach to the town, when I became suddenly aware that, at a short distance off, an Englishman was reading aloud to his friend the report of the last debate on the “Irish Question.” My attention was fettered at once; spell bound, I sat listening to the words of one of the speakers on the ministerial side, using the very arguments I had myself discovered, and calling down the cheers of the House as he proceeded. A sarcastic allusion to my own absence, and a hackneyed quotation from Horace as to my desertion, were interrupted by loud laughter, and the reader laying down the newspaper, said,—

“Can this be the Duke of Wrexington’s Templeton that is here alluded to?”

“Yes. He wrote a paper on this subject in the last ‘Quarterly,’ but the Duke would not permit of his taking the same side in the House, and so he affected illness they say, and came abroad.”

“The usual fortune of your protégé members—they have the pleasant alternative of inconsistency or ingratitude. Why didn’t he resign his seat?”

“It is mere coquetry with Peel. They told me at Brookes’s that he wanted a mission abroad, and would ‘throw over’ the Duke at the first opportunity. Now Peel gives nothing for nothing. For open apostasy he will pay, and pay liberally; but for mere defalcation, he’ll give nothing.”

“Templeton has outwitted himself, then; besides that, he has no standing in the House to play the game alone.”

“A smart fellow, too, but no guidance. If he had been deep, he must have seen that old Wrexington only gave him the borough till Collyton was of age to come in. It was meant for Kitely, but he refused the conditions. ‘I cannot be a tenant-at-will, my lord,’ said he; and so they took Templeton.”

I could bear no more. How I reached my inn I cannot remember. A severe fit of coughing overtook me as I ascended the stairs, and a small vessel gave way—a bad symptom, I believed; but the doctor of the place, whom my servant soon brought to my bedside, applied leeches, and I was better a few hours after.

The first use I made of strength was to write a brief note to the Duke, resigning the borough. The next post brought me his reply, full of compliment and assurance of esteem, accepting my resignation, and acknowledging his full concurrence in the reasons I had given for my step. The division was against him; and he half-jestingly remarked, it might have been otherwise if I had fought on his side.

The letter was civil throughout, but in that style that shews a tone of careless ease had been adopted to simulate frankness. I had had enough of his Grace, and of politics too!


So, all is settled!—I leave Paris to-morrow. I hate leave-takings, even where common acquaintanceship only is concerned. I shall just write a few lines to the Favancourts, with the volume of Balzac—happily I know no one else here—and then for the road!

Why this haste to set out, I cannot even tell to myself. I know, I feel, I shall never pass this way again; I have that sense of regret a last look at even indifferent objects suggests, and yet I would be “en route” There are places and scenes I wish to see before I go hence, and I feel that my hours are numbered.

And now for a moonlight stroll through Paris! Already the din and tumult is subsiding—the many-voiced multitude that throngs the streets long after the roll of equipage and the clattering hoofs of horses have ceased. How peacefully the long shadows are sleeping in the garden of the Tuileries! and how clearly sounds the measured tread of the sentinel beneath the deep arch of the palace!

Not a light twinkles along that vast façade, save in that distant pavilion, where a single star seems glistening—it is the apartment of the King, “The cares of Agamemnon never sleep;” and royalty is scarce more fortunate now than in the days of Homer.

Louis Philippe has a task not less arduous than had Napoleon to found a dynasty. There is little prestige any longer in the name of Bourbon; and the members of his family, brave and high-spirited though they be, are scarcely of the stuff to stand the storm that is brewing for them.

As for the Emperor, the incapacity of his brothers was a weight upon his shoulders all through life. His family contributed more to his fall than is generally believed: it was a never-ending struggle he had to maintain against the childish vanity and extravagance of Josephine, the wrongheadedness of Joseph, the simple credulity of Louis, and the fatuous insufficiency of Jerome and Lucien. All, more good than otherwise, were manifestly unsuited to the places they occupied in life, and were continually mingling up the associations and habits of their small identities with the great requirements of newly acquired station.

Napoleon created the Empire—the vast drama was his own. However he might please to represent royalty, however he might like to ally the splendours of a throne with the glories of a great captain, it was all his own doing. But how miserably deficient were the others in that faculty of adaptation that made him “de pair” with every dynasty of Europe!

Into these thoughts I was led by finding myself standing in the Rue Taibout, opposite the house which was once celebrated as the Café du Roi—a name which it bore for many years under the Empire, and, in consequence, was held in high esteem by certain worthy Légitimistes, who little knew that the “King” was only a pretender, and, so far from being his sainted majesty Louis Dix-huit, was merely Jerome Buonaparte, king of Westphalia.

The name originated thus:—One warm evening in autumn, a young man, somewhat over-dressed in the then “mode” with a very considerable border of pinkish silk stocking seen above the margin of his low boots “à revers” and a most inordinate amount of coat-collar, lounged along the Boulevard Italiens, occasionally ogling the passers-by, but, oftener still, throwing an admiring glance at himself, as the splendid windows of plate-glass reflected back his figure. His whole air and mien exhibited the careless insouciance of one with whom the world went easily, asking little from him of exertion, less still of forethought.

He had just reached the angle of the Rue Vi-vienne, and was about to turn, when two persons advanced towards him, whose very different style of dress and appearance bespoke very different treatment at the hands of Fortune. They were both young, and, although palpably men of a certain rank and condition, were equally what is called out-at-elbows; hats that exhibited long intimacy with rain and wind, shoes of very questionable colour, coats suspiciously buttoned about the throat, being all signs of circumstances that were far from flourishing.

“Ah, Chopard, is’t thou?” said the fashionably dressed man, advancing with open hand to each, and speaking in the “tu” of intimate friendship, “And thou, too, Brissole, how goes it? What an age since we have met! Art long in Paris?”

“About two hours,” said the first. “Just as I stepped out of the Place des Victoires I met our old friend here; and, strange enough, now we have come upon you; three old schoolfellows thus assembled at a hazard!”

“A minute later, and we should have missed each other,” said Brissole. “I was about to take my place in the malle for Nancy.”

“To leave Paris?” exclaimed both the others.

“Even so—to leave Paris! I’ve had enough of it.”

“Come, what do you mean by this?” said Cho-pard; “it sounds very like discouragement to me, who have come up here with all manner of notions of fortune, wealth, and honours.”

“So much the worse for you,” said Brissole, gaily; “I’ve tried it for five years, and will try it no longer. I was vaudevillist, journalist, novelist, feuilletonist—I was the glory of the Odéon—the prop of the ‘Moniteur’—the hope of the ‘Siècle’—and look at me——”

“And thou?” said the fashionable, addressing him called Chopard.

“I have just had a little opera damned at Lyons, and have come up to try what can be done here.”

“Poor devil!” exclaimed Brissole, shrugging his shoulders; then, turning abruptly towards the other, he said, “And what is thy luck? for, so far as externals go, thou seemest to have done better.”

“Ay, Jerome,” chimed in Chopard, “tell us, how hast thou fared?—thou wert ever a fortunate fellow.”

“Pretty well,” said he, laughing. “I’ve just come from St. Cloud—they’ve made me King of Westphalia!”

“The devil they have!” exclaimed Chopard; “and dost know, par hazard, where thy kingdom lies on the map?”

“Why should he torment himself about that?” said Brissole. “It’s enough to know they have capital hams there.”

“What if we sup together,” said Jerome, “and taste one? I am most anxious to baptize my new Royalty in a glass of wine. Here we are in the Rue Taibout—this is Villaret’s. Come in, gentlemen—I’m the host. Make your minds easy about the future: you, Brissole, I appoint to the office of my Private Secretary. Chopard, you shall be Maître de Chapelle.”

“Agreed,” cried the others gaily; and with a hearty shake of hands was the contract ratified.

Supper was quickly prepared, and, in its splendour and profusion, pronounced, by both the guests, worthy of a king. Villaret could do these things handsomely, and as he was told expense was of no consequence, the entertainment was really magnificent. Nor was the spirit of the guests inferior to the feast. They were brilliant in wit, and overflowing in candour; concealing nothing of their past lives that would amuse or interest, each vied with the other in good stories and ludicrous adventures—all their bygone vicissitudes so pleasantly contrasting with the brilliant future they now saw opening before them. They drank long life and reign to the King of Westphalia in bumpers of foaming champagne.

The pleasant hours flew rapidly past—bright visions of the time to come lending their charm to the happiness, and making their enjoyment seem but the forerunner of many days and nights of festive delight. At last came day-break, and, even by the flickering of reason left, they saw it was time to separate.

“Bring the bill,” said Jerome to the exhausted-looking waiter, who speedily appeared with a small slip of paper ominously marked “eight hundred francs.”

Diable!” exclaimed Jerome; “that is smart, and I have no money about me. Come, Brissole, this falls among your duties—pay the fellow.”

Parbleu, then—it comes somewhat too soon. I am not yet installed, and have not got the key of our treasury.”

“No matter—pay it out of thine own funds.”

“But I have none—save this;” and he produced two francs, and some sous in copper.

“Well, then, Chopard must do it.”

“I have not as much as himself,” said Chopard.

“Send the landlord here,” said Jerome; but indeed the command was unnecessary, as that functionary had been an anxious listener at the door to the very singular debate.

“We have forgotten our purses, Villaret,” said Jerome, in the easy tone his last ten hours of royalty suggested; “but we will send your money when we reach home.”

“I have no doubt of it, gentlemen,” said the host, obsequiously; “but it would please me still better to receive it now—particularly as I have not the honour of knowing the distinguished company.”

“The distinguished company is perfectly satisfied to know you: the cuisine was excellent,” hiccupped Brissole.

“And the wine unexceptionable.”

“The champagne might have been a little more frappé,” said Brissole; “the only improvement I could suggest.”

“Perhaps there was a nuance, only a nuance, too much citron in the rognons à la broche, but the filets de sole were perfect.”

“If I had the happiness of knowing ‘Messieurs,’” said Villaret, “I should hope, that at another time I might be more fortunate in pleasing them.”

“Nothing easier,” said Chopard. “I am Maître de Chapelle to the King of Westphalia.”

Villaret bowed low.

“And I am the Private Secretary and Privy Purse of his majesty.”

Villaret bowed again—a slight smile of very peculiar omen flitting across his cunning features, while, turning hastily, he whispered a word in the ear of the waiter. “And this gentleman here?” said he, looking at Jerome, who, with his legs resting on a chair, was coolly awaiting the termination of the explanation. “And this gentleman, if I might make so bold, what office does he hold in his Majesty’s service?”

“I am the King of Westphalia!” said Jerome.

“Just as I suspected. François,” said the landlord insolently, “go fetch the gendarmes.”

“No, no, parbleu!” said Jerome, springing up in alarm; “no gendarmes, no police. Here, take my watch—that is surely worth more than your bill? When I reach home I’ll send the money.”

The landlord, more than ever convinced that his suspicions were well grounded, took the watch, which was a very handsome one, and suffered them to depart in peace.

They had not been gone many minutes when, on examining the watch, the landlord perceived that it bore the emblematic “N” of the Emperor within the case, and at once suspecting that it had been stolen from some member of the imperial household, he hurried off in terror to communicate his fears to the commissary of police. This functionary no sooner saw it that he hastened to Fouché, the minister, who, making himself acquainted with the whole details, immediately hurried off to the Tuileries and laid it all before the Emperor. The watch had been a present from Napoleon to Jerome; but this was but a small part of the cause of indignation. The derogation from dignity, the sacrifice of the regard due to his station, were crimes of a very different order; and, summoned to the imperial presence, the new-made king was made to hear, in terms of reproachful sarcasm, a lesson in his craft that few could impart with such cutting severity.

As for the Maître de Chapelle and the Secretary, an agent of the police waited on each before they were well awake, with strict injunctions to them to maintain a perfect secrecy on the whole affair; and while guaranteeing them an annual pension in their new offices, assuring them that the slightest indiscretion as to the mystery would involve their ruin and their exile from France for ever.

It was years before the landlord learned the real secret of the adventure, and, in commemoration of it, called his house “Le Café du Roi,” a circumstance which the Government never noticed, for the campaign of Russia and the events of 1812-13 left little time to attend to matters of this calibre.

The Café du Roi is now a shop where artificial flowers are sold; as nearly like nature perhaps, or more so, than poor Jerome’s royalty resembled the real article.


Baden-Baden. It is like a dream to me now to think of that long, dusty road from Paris, with its rattling pavement, its noisy postilions, shouting ostlers, bowing landlords, dirty waiters, garlic diet, and hard beds; and here I sit by my open window, with a bright river beneath my feet, the song of birds on every side, a richly wooded mountain in front, and at the foot a winding road, which ever and anon gives glimpses of some passing equipage, bright in all the butterfly glitter of female dress, or, mayhap, resounding with merry laughter and sweet-voiced mirth. How brilliant is every thing!—the cloudless sky, the sparkling water, the emerald grass, the foliage in every tint of beauty, the orange-trees and the cactus along the terraces, where lounging parties come and go; and then the measured step of princely equipages, in all the panoply of tasteful wealth! Truly, Vice wears its holiday suit in Baden, and the fairness of this lovely valley seems to throw a softened light over a scene where, as in a sea, the stormy waves of every bad passion are warring.

When, in all the buoyant glow of youth and health, I remembered feeling shocked, as I strolled through the promenade at Carlsbad, at the sight of so many painful objects of sickness and suffering; the eager, almost agonising, expressions of hoping convalescence; the lustreless stare of those past hope; the changeful looks of accompanying friends, who seemed to read the fate of some dear one in the compassionate pity of those who passed, were all sights that threw a chill, like death, over the warm current of my blood. Yet never did this feeling convey the same intense horror and disgust that I felt last night as I walked through the Cursaal.

To pass from the mellow moonlight, dappling the pathway among the trees and kissing the rippling stream, from the calm, mild air of a summer’s night, when every leaf lay sleeping and none save the nightingale kept watch, into the glare and glitter of a gilded saloon, is somewhat trying to the jarred nerves of sickness. But what was it to the sight of that dense crowd around the play-table, where avarice, greed of gain, recklessness, and despair are mingled, giving, even to faces of manly vigour and openness, expressions of low cunning and vulgar meaning? There is a terrible sameness in the gambler’s look, a blending of slavish terror with a resolution to brave the worst, almost demoniacal in its fierceness. I knew most of the persons present; I need not say, not personally, but from having seen them before at various other similar places. Many were professed gamblers, men who starved and suffered for the enjoyment of that one passion, living on the smallest gain, and never venturing a stake beyond what daily life demanded; haggard, sad, wretched-looking creatures they were, the abject poverty of their dress and appearance vouching that this métier was not a prosperous one. Others farmed out their talents, and played for those who were novices. These men have a singular existence; they exact a mere per-centage on the winning, and are in great request among elderly ladies, whose passion for play is modified by the fears of its vicissitudes. Then there were the usual sprinkling of young men, not habitually gamblers, but always glad to have the opportunity of tempting Fortune, with here and there some old votary of the “table” satisfied to witness the changeful temper of the game without risking a stake.

Into many vices men are led by observing the apparent happiness and pleasure of others who indulge in them. Not so with regard to play. No man ever became a gambler from this delusion, there being no such terrible warning against the passion as the very looks of its votaries.

But it is not in such a low tripot of vice I care to linger. It was a ball-night, and I turned with a sense of relief from the aspect of sordid, vulgar iniquity, to gaze on its more polished brother (quore, sister?) in the salle de danse.

Here there was a large—I might almost call it a brilliant—company assembled: a less exclusive assemblage cannot be conceived; five francs and clean gloves being the only qualification needed. The guests were as varied, too, in nation as in rank. About equal numbers of German and French, several Russians, and a large proportion of English, with, here and there, a bilious-looking American, or a very dubious Marquis from beyond the Alps. Many of the men I knew to be swindlers and blacklegs of the very lowest stamp; some others I recognised as persons of the highest station in my own country. Of the lady part of the company the disparities were even greater.

There was, it is true, a species of sifting process discernible, by which the various individuals fell among those of their own order; but though this was practicable enough where conversation and grouping were concerned, it was scarcely attainable in other circumstances, and thus, the Mazurka and the Polka assembled ingredients that should never have been placed in close propinquity.

The demoralising influence of such reunions upon the daughters of our own land need not be insisted upon. Purity of mind and simplicity of character are no safeguard against the scenes which, in all the propriety of decorum, are ever occurring. And how terribly rapid are the downward steps when the first bloom and blush of modesty have faded! It demands but a very indifferent power of observation to distinguish the English girl for the first time abroad from her who has made repeated visits to foreign watering-places; while even among those who have been habituated to the great world at home, and passed the ordeal of London seasons, there is yet much to learn in the way of cool and self-possessed effrontery, from the habits of Baden and its brethren.

I was dreadfully shocked last night by meeting one I had not seen for many years before. How changed from what I knew her once!—what a terrible change! When first I saw her, it was during a visit I made to her mother’s house in Wales; her brother was an Oxford friend, and brought me down with him for the shooting season to Merionethshire. Poor fellow! he died of consumption at two-and-twenty, and left all he possessed—a handsome estate—to his only sister. Hence all her misery! Had she remained comparatively portionless, rich only in her beauty and the graces of a manner that was fascination itself, she might now have been the happy wife of some worthy Englishman—one whose station is a trust held on the tenure of his rectitude and honour; for such is public feeling in our country, and such is it never elsewhere.

She was then about eighteen or nineteen, and the very ideal of what an English girl at that age should be. On a mind highly stored and amply cultivated, no unworthy or depreciating influence had yet descended; freedom of thought, freshness almost childish, had given her an animation and buoyancy only subdued by the chastening modesty of coming womanhood. Enthusiastic in all her pursuits, for they were graceful and elevating, her mind had all the simplicity of the child with the refinement of the highest culture; and, like those who are brought up in narrow circles, her affections for a few spread themselves out in the varied forms that are often scattered and diffused over the wider surface of the world. Thus her brother was not merely the great object of her affection and pride, but he was the companion of her rides and walks, the confidant of all her secret feelings, the store in which she laid up her newly acquired knowledge, or drew, at will, for more. With him she read and studied; delighted by the same pursuits, their natures blended into one harmonious corde, which no variance or dissonance ever troubled.

His death, although long and gradually anticipated, nearly brought her to the grave. The terrible nature of the malady, so often inherent in the same family, gave cause for the most anxious fears on her account, and her mother, herself almost brokenhearted, took her abroad, hoping by the mildness of a southern climate and change of scene to arrest the progress of the fell disease.

In this she was successful; bodily health was indeed secured. But might it not have been better that she had wasted slowly away, to sleep at last beneath the yews of her own ancient churchyard, than live and become what she has done?

Some years after this event I was, although at the time only an attaché of the mission, acting as Charge d’affaires at Naples, during the absence of the minister and the secretary. I was sitting one morning reading in my garden, when my servant announced the visit of an Italian gentleman, il Signor Salvatori. The name was familiar to me, as belonging to a man who had long been employed as a Spy of the Austrian government, and, indeed, was formerly entrusted in a secret capacity by Lord W. Bentinck in Sicily—a clever, designing, daring rascal, who obtained his information no one knew how; and although we had always our suspicions that he might be “selling” us, as well as the French, we never actually traced any distinct act of treachery to his door. He possessed a considerable skill in languages, was very highly informed on many popular topics, and, I have been told, was a musician of no mean powers of performance. These and similar social qualities were, however, never displayed by him in any part of his intercourse with us, although we had often heard of their existence.

As I never felt any peculiar pleasure in the relations which office compels with men of his stamp, I received him somewhat coldly, and asked, without much circumlocution, the reason of his visit.

He replied, with his habitual smile of self-possession, that his present duty at “the Mission” was not a business-call, but concerned a matter purely personal;—in fact, “with his Excellency’s permission, he desired to get married.”

Not stopping him on the score of his investing me with a title to which, no one knew better than himself, I had no pretensions, I quietly assured him that his relation with “the Mission” did not, in any way, necessitate his asking for such a permission—that, however secret and mysterious the nature of his communications, they were still beyond the pale of affairs personally private.

He suffered me to continue my explanation, somewhat scornful as it was, to the end, and then calmly said,—

“Your Excellency will pardon my intrusion, when I inform you that the marriage should take place here, at ‘the Mission,’ as the lady is an English woman.”

Whether it was the fact itself, or his manner of delivering it, that outraged me, I cannot now remember; but I do recollect giving expression to a sentiment of surprise and anger not exactly suitable.

He merely smiled, and said nothing.

“Very well, M. Salvatori,” said I, corrected by the quietude of his manner; “what is your day?”

“Wednesday, if your Excellency pleases.”

“Wednesday be it, and at eight o’clock.”

“As your Excellency desires,” said he, bowing and retiring.

It had never occurred to me to ask for any information about the happy fair one; indeed, if I had given a thought at all to the matter, it would have been that she was of the rank of a femme-de-chambre, or, at least, some unhappy children’s governess, glad to exchange one mode of tyranny for another. As he was leaving the room, however, some sense of remorse, perhaps, at the brusquerie I had shewn towards him, suggested the question, “Who might the lady be?”

“Mademoiselle Graham.”

“Ah! a very good name, indeed,” said I; and so, with a word or two of common-place, I bade him good-by.

The Wednesday morning arrived, and two carriages drove into the court of “the Mission:” out of one sprung Signor Salvatori and a very bearded gentleman, who accompanied him as his friend; from the other alighted, first, an elderly lady, whose dress was a mixture of wedding finery and widow’s mourning; then came a very elegant-looking girl, veiled from head to foot, followed by her maid; and, lastly, the chaplain to “the Mission.”

They were some minutes too early, and I equally behind my time; but I dressed hastily, and descended to the salon, where M. Salvatori received me with a very gracious expression of his self-satisfaction. Passing him by, I advanced to address a few words to the old lady, who had risen from her seat; when, stepping back, I exclaimed,

“Mrs. Graham—my old friend, Mrs. Graham! Is this possible?”

“Oh, Caroline, it is Mr. Templeton!” said she; while her daughter, drawing her veil still closer over her face, trembled dreadfully. Meanwhile Mrs. Graham had seized my hand with cordial warmth, and pressed it in all the earnestness of friendship. Her joy—and it was very evident it was such—was little participated in by her son-in-law elect, who stood, pale and conscience-stricken, in a distant part of the room.

“I must entreat these gentlemen’s permission to speak a few words here alone, as these ladies are very old friends I have not seen for some years.”

“I would humbly suggest to your Excellency that, as the ceremony still waits——”

“I wish it, Marquis,” said Mrs. Graham, in a tone half-command, half-entreaty; and, with a deep bow of submission, Salvatori and his friend withdrew, accompanied by the chaplain.

“The title by which you have just addressed that person, Mrs. Graham,” said I, in a voice trembling from agitation, “shews me how you have been duped and deceived by him, and in what total ignorance you are as to his real character.”

“Oh, Mr. Templeton!” broke in her daughter, now speaking for the first time, and in accents I shall never forget, such was their heart-thrilling earnestness,—“Oh, sir, this does indeed exceed the license of even old friendship! We are well aware how the Marquis of Salvatori has suffered from persecution; but we little expected to have found you among the number of his enemies.”

“You do me great wrong, Miss Graham,” said I, eagerly; “in nothing greater than supposing me capable of being the enemy of such a man as this. Unworthy as the sentiment is, it at least implies a sense of equality. Now, are you certain of what this person is? are you aware in what capacity he has been employed by our government, and by that of other countries?”

“We know that the Marquis has been engaged in secret missions,” said Miss Graham, proudly.

“Your reply, brief as it is, conveys two errors, Miss Graham. He is not a Marquis; little as the title often implies in Italy, he has no right to it. He asked Lord William Bentinck to let him call himself Marquis, and so to address him, as a means of frequenting circles where important information was accessible. Lord William said, ‘Call yourself what you please—Grand Duke, if you like it—I am no dispenser of such designations.’ The gentleman was modest;—he stopped at Marquis. As to his diplomatic functions, we have a short and expressive word for them;—he was and is, a Spy!”

Not heeding the scornful reception of the daughter, I turned towards Mrs. Graham, and, with all the power I possessed, urged her, at least, to defer this fatal step;—that she was about to bestow her child upon a man of notoriously degraded character, and one whose assumption of rank and position was disregarded and despised in the very humblest circles. The mother wept bitterly; at one moment, turning to dissuade her daughter from her rashness, at the next, appealing to me against what she called my unjust prejudices against the Marquis. Miss Graham scornfully refused to vouchsafe me even a word.

I confess more than once my temper prompted me to abandon the enterprise, and suffer wilfulness to reap its own bitter harvest; but then, my better feelings prevailed, and old memories of my poor friend Graham again enlisted me in defence of his sister.

Of no avail was it that I followed these worthier promptings. It seemed as if the man had thrown a spell over these two unhappy women, one, being perfectly enthralled, the other, nearly so, by the artful fascinations of his manner; and yet he was neither young, handsome, rich, nor of high lineage. On the contrary, the man was at least fifty-three or four, a perfect monster of ugliness, with an ex-pression of sardonic sycophancy actually demoniac.

If I were not relating “a fact”—one of which I can answer, that many now living can entirely corroborate—I would hesitate about dwelling on a case where improbabilities are so strong, and where I have nothing to offer like an explanation of them. Wilkes has long since convinced the world how little good looks are concerned in winning a woman’s heart, and how, indeed, a very considerable share of ugliness can be counterbalanced by captivations of manner and personal agreeability. But, judging from the portraits—even Hogarth’s fearful sketch—Wilkes was handsome compared to Salvatori; and in point of reputation, low as it was, the Libeller and the Satirist was still better than the Spy.

To go back again: I argued, I entreated, begged, threatened, and denounced. I went further;—I actually transgressed the limits of official authority, and refused to sanction the ceremony—a threat which, I soon remembered, I dare not sustain. But, do what, say what, I would, they were equally resolute and determined; and nothing was left for me but to recall M. Salvatori and his friend, and suffer the affair to proceed.

I do not remember, among the varied incidents of my life, one whose effect weighed more heavily upon me. Although acquitted by my conscience, I felt at moments horror-struck at even my share in this infamy, and would have given any thing that it had never occurred. It may be believed I was happy to hear that they all left Naples the same day.

Years rolled over, and I never even heard of them, till one morning, when waiting along with a diplomatic friend for an interview with the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, a person hastily passed through the room, saluting us as he went.

“I have seen that face before,” said I to my friend; “do you know him?”

“To be sure!” said he, smiling; “one must be young in diplomacy not to know the Mephistophiles of the craft; and I guess why he is here, too: that fellow is in the pay of the Prince de Capua, but has sold him to Louis Philippe. The reconciliation with Naples would have been long since effected but for the King of the French.”

“And his name—this man’s name—what is it?”


“What! the same who married an English girl at Naples?”

“And sold her to the Marquis Brandini for ten thousand sequini. The very man. But here comes the messenger to say his Excellency will receive us.”

My friend quitted Paris the moment his interview ended, and I heard no more.

Last night I saw her in the Cursaal—beautiful, perhaps more beautiful than ever! At least there was a lofty elegance and a splendour about her that I never remember in her girlish days; nor was it till she smiled that I could now believe that the queen-like beauty before me was the timid, delicate girl I first saw tripping along the narrow path of a Welsh mountain.

Even from the gossip of Baden I could learn no more about her than that she was a Sicilian Countess of great wealth, and a widow; that she was intimately received into the very highest circles—even of royalty—and constantly was seen driving in the carriage of the Archduchess. It was, then, possible that I might be mistaken, after all! Great people are not accessible so easily.

I tried in various quarters to get presented to her—for she shewed not the slightest sign of having ever met me—but failed every where: they who knew her did not do so intimately enough to introduce me.

The reminiscences I have just jotted down have made me miserably feverish and ill; for although I now begin to doubt that I ever saw this Countess before, the sad story of Caroline Graham is ever present to my mind—a terrible type of the fortune of many a fair English girl left to the merciless caprice of a foreign husband!

I am not bigot enough to fancy that happy, eminently happy, marriages do not exist abroad as well as with us; but I am fully minded to say that the individuals should be of the same nation, reared in the midst of the same traditions, imbued with feelings that a common country, language, and religion bestow.

I know of nothing that presents so pitiable a picture of unhappy destiny, as a fair and delicately minded English girl the wife of a foreigner! How I wish to resolve my doubts in this case! for although I began this memorandum fully persuaded it was Caroline Graham that I had seen, every line I write increases my uncertainty.


It was with a rare audacity that the devil pitched his tent in Baden! Perhaps, on the whole continent, another spot could not be found so fully combining, in a small circuit, as many charms of picturesque scenery; and it was a bold conception to set down vice, in all its varieties, in the very midst of—in open contrast as it were to—a scene of peaceful loveliness and beauty.

I do confess myself one of those who like living figures in a landscape. I like not only those groupings which artists seem to stereotype, so nearly alike they all are, of seated foreground figures, dark-shadowed observers of a setting sun, or coolly watering cattle beneath a gushing fountain. I like not merely the red-kirtled peasant knee-deep in the river, or the patient fisherman upon his rock; but I have a strong regard—I mean here, where the scene is Nature’s own, and not on canvass—a strong regard for those flitting glimpses of the gayer world, which, in the brightest tints that Fashion sanctions, are caught now, in some deep dell of the Tyrol, now, on some snow-peaked eminence of a Swiss glacier, beside the fast-rolling Danube or the sluggish Nile.

I have no sympathy for those who exclaim against the incongruity of pink parasols and blue reticules in scenes of mild and impressive grandeur. Methinks it bespeaks but scanty store of self-resources in those who thus complain, not knowing any thing of the feelings that have prompted their presence there. No one holds cheaper than I do the traveller who, under the guidance of his John Murray, sees what is set down for him through the eyes of the “Hand-book”—mingling up in his addled brain crude notions of history and antiquarianism with the names of inns and post-houses—counsels against damp sheets—cheating landlords—scraps of geology, and a verse of “Childe Harold.” This is detestable: but for otherwise is the meeting with those whose dress and demeanour tell of the world of fashion—the intertwined life of dissipation and excess in solitary unfrequented places. Far from being struck by their inaptitude and unfitness for such scenes, I willingly fall back upon the thought of how such people must be impressed by objects so far beyond the range of daily experience, of objects, whose wondrous meaning speaks to hearts the most cloyed and jaded, “as never man spoke.” I can luxuriate in fancying how long-forgotten feelings, old memories of the past, long buried beneath the load of daily cares, come back fresh and bright under the influence of associations that recall parer, happier hours. I can dwell in imagination on the sudden spring made from the stern ordinances of a world of forms and conventionalities, to that more beautiful and grander world, whose incense is the odour of wild flowers and whose music is the falling cataract.

I love to speculate how the statesman, the wily man of forecasting thought and deep devices, must feel in presence of agencies which make those of mere man’s contrivance seem poor and contemptible; and how the fine lady, whose foot knows no harder surface than a velvet carpet, and whose artificial existence palls by its own voluptuousness, contemplates a picture of grand and stern sublimity. Disguise it how they will, feign indifference how they may, such scenes always are felt, and deeply felt! The most accomplished lounger of St. James’s Street does not puff his cigar so coolly as he affects to do, nor is that heart all unmoved that throbs beneath the graceful folds of a rich Cashmere. Now and then some Brummagem spirit intrudes, who sees in the felling torrent but a wasted “water-power:” but even he has his own far-reaching thoughts imbued with a poetry of their own. He sees in these solitudes new cities arise, the busy haunts of acting heads and hands; he hears in imagination the heavy bang of the iron hammer, the roar of the furnace, the rush of steam, the many-voiced multitude called by active labour to new activity of mind; and perhaps he soars away, in thought, to those far-off wilds of the new world, whose people, clothed by these looms, are brought thus into brotherhood with their kindred men.

I, myself, have few sympathies in common with these; but I respect the feelings that I do not fathom. “Nihil humani a me alienum puto.”

What has suggested these thoughts? A little excursion that I made this evening from the village of Lichtenthal towards the Waterfall, a winding glen, narrowing as you advance; wilder too, but not less peopled; every sheltered spot having its own dwelling-place—the picturesque chalet, with its far-stretching eave, and its quaint galleries of carved wood, its brightly shining windows sparkling between the clustering vine-leaves, and its frieze of Indian corn hung up beneath the roof to dry. Leaving the carriage, I followed the bank of the stream—just such a river as in my boyish days I loved to linger by, and fancy I was fishing. It was no more than fancy: for although my rod and landing-net were in most fitting perfection, my hackles and orange bodies, my green drakes and may-flies, all that could be wished, I was too dreamy and destrait for “the gentle craft;” and liked Walton better in his rambling discursions than in his more practical teaching. What a glorious day for scenery, too! Not one of those scorching, blue sky, cloudless days, when a general hardness prevails, but a mingled light of sun and cloud shadow, with misty distances, and dark, deep foregrounds on the still water, where ever and anon a heavy plash, breaking in widening circles, told of the speckled trout: save that, no other sound was heard. All was calm and noiseless, as in some far-off valley of the Mississippi, a little surging of the water on the rocky shore—a faint melancholy plash—scarce heard even in the stillness.

I sat thinking, not sadly, but seriously, of the past, and of that present time that was so soon to add itself to the Past; for the Future, I felt, by sensations that never deceive, it must be brief! My malady gained rapidly on me; symptoms, I was told to guard against, had already shewn themselves, and I knew that the battle was fought and lost.

“It is sad to die at thirty,” saith Balzac, somewhere; and to the Frenchman of Paris, who feels that death is the cessation of a round of pleasures and dissipations, whose hold is hourly stronger; who thinks that life and self-indulgence are synonymous; whose ideal is the ceaseless round of exciting sensations that spring from every form of human passion nurtured to excess;—to him, the sleep of the grave is the solitude and not the repose of the tomb.

To me, almost alone in the world, to die suggests few sorrows or regrets; without family, without friends, save those the world’s complaisance calls such; with no direct object for exertion, nothing for hope or fear to cling to; no ambition that I could nourish, no dream of greatness or distinction to elevate me above the thought of daily suffering; life is a mere monotony—and the monotony of waiting.

While watching the progress of my malady, seeing day by day the advancing steps of the disease that never sleeps, I recognise in myself a strange adaptation in my mind and feelings to the more developed condition of my illness. At first, my cough irritated and fevered me. It awoke me if I slept—it worried me as I read; my fast and hurried breathing, too, exciting the heart’s action, rendered me impatient and discontented. Now, both these symptoms are in excess, and yet, by habit and some acquired power of conforming to them, I am scarcely aware of their existence. I have learned to look on them as my normal, natural condition. My cough on awaking in the morning—my hectic as night falls—only tell of the day’s dawn and decline. I fancy that this dreamy calm, this spirit of submissive waiting that I feel, is dependent on my infirmity; for how otherwise could I, if strong in mind and body, endure the thraldom of my present life? The watchful egotism of sickness demands the mind of sickness.

In the whole phenomena of malady, nothing is more striking than the accommodation of the mind to the condition of suffering. I remember once—I was then in all the strength and confidence of youth and health—discussing this point with a friend, a physician of skill and eminence, now no more, and was greatly struck by a theory which was new, at least to me. He regarded every species of disease, from the most simple to the most complicated, as a sanatory process, an effort—not always successful, of course—on the part of Nature to restore the system to its condition of health. He instanced maladies the most formidable, some of them attended by symptoms of terrible suffering; but in every case he assumed to shew that they were efforts to oppose the march of some other species of disorganisation. So far from there being any taint of Materialism in these views, he deduced from them a most devout and conscientious belief in a Supreme Power; and instead of resting upon Contrivance and Design as the great attributes of the Deity, he went further, and made the Forethought, the Providence of God for his creatures, the great object of his wonderment and praise. His argument, if I dare trust my memory, was briefly this: The presence of a superintending guardian spirit, ever watchful to avert evil from its charge, is the essential difference which separates every object of God’s creation from the mere work of man’s hand. The ingenuity that contrived the mechanism of a steam-engine or a clock, was yet unable to endow the machinery with latent powers of reparation; secret resources against accident or decay, treasured up for the hour of necessity, and not even detectable, if existent, before the emergency that evoked them. Not so with the objects of creation. They are each and all, according to various laws, provided with such powers; their operations, whether from deficient energy or misdirection, constituting what we call disease. What is dropsy, for instance, save the resolution of an inflammatory action that would almost inevitably prove fatal? Formidable as the malady is, it yet affords time for treatment; its march is comparatively slow and uniform, whereas the disease that originated it would have caused death, if effusion of fluid had not arrested the violence of the inflammation.

Take the most simple case—a wounded bloodvessel, a cut finger: by all the laws of hydraulics, the blood must escape from this small vessel, and the individual bleed to death as certainly, though not so speedily, as from the largest artery. But what ensues? after a slight loss of blood, the vessel contracts—a coagulum forms—the bleeding is arrested—the coagulum solidifies and forms a cicatrix; and the whole of these varied processes—a series of strange and wonderful results—will follow, without any interference of the Will, far less any aid from the individual himself, being powers inherent in the organisation, and providentially stored up for emergency.

The blood poured out upon the brain from an apoplectic stroke, must, and does, prove fatal, save when the vis medicatrix is able to interpose in time, by encircling the fluid, enclosing it with a sac, and subsequently by absorption removing the extraneous pressure. All these are vital processes, over which the sufferer has no control—of which he is not even conscious.

The approach of an abscess to the surface of the body, by a law similar to that which determines the approach of a plant to the surface of the earth—the reparation of a fractured bone, by the creation and disposition of elements not then existing in the body—and many similar cases, warranted him in assuming that all these processes were exactly analogous to what we call disease, being disturbances of the animal economy accompanied by pain; and that disease of every kind was only a curative effort, occasionally failing from sufficient energy—occasionally, from the presence of antagonistic agency,—and occasionally, from our ignorance of its tendency and object.

I feel I have been a lame expositor of my friend’s theory. I have omitted many of his proofs—some of them the best and strongest. I have, besides, not adverted to objections which he foresaw and refuted. Indeed, I fell into the digression without even knowing it, and I leave it here in the same fashion. I fancy a kind of comfort in the notion that my malady is, at least, an attempt at restoration. The idea of decay—of declining slowly away, leaf by leaf, branch by branch—is very sad; and even this “conceit” is not without its consolation.

And now to wander homewards. How houseless the man is who calls his inn his home! It was all very well for “Sir John” to say, “I like to take mine ease in mine inn;” and in his day the thing was practicable. The little parlour, with its wainscot of walnut-wood and its bright tiles, all shining in the tempered light through the diamond-paned window; the neatly spread table, where smoked the pasty of high-seasoned venison, beside the tall cup of sack or canary; and the buxom landlady herself, redolent of health, good spirits, and broad jest;—these were all accessories to that abandonment to repose and quiet so delightful to the weary-minded. But think of some “Cour de Russie,” some “Angelo d’ Oro,” or some “Schwarzen Adler,” all alive with dusty arrivals and frogged couriers—the very hall a fair, with fifty bells, all ringing; postboys blowing—whips cracking—champagne corks flying—and a Bable of every tongue in Europe, making a thorough-bass din that would sour a saint’s temper!...

I’ll leave at once—I’ll find some quiet little gasthaus in the Tyrol for a few weeks, till the weather moderates, and it becomes cool enough to cross the Alps—and die!


These watering-place doctors have less tact than their confrères elsewhere: their theory is, “the Wells and Amusement;” they never strain their faculties to comprehend any class but that of hard-worked, exhausted, men of the world, to whom the regularity of a Bad-ort, and the simple pleasures it affords, are quite sufficient to relieve the load of over-taxed minds and bodies. The “distractions” of these places suit such people well; the freedom of intercourse, which even among our strait-laced countrymen prevails, is pleasant. My Lord refreshes in the society of a clever barrister, or an amusing essayist of the “Quarterly.” The latter puts forth all his agreeability for the delectation of a grander audience than he ever had at home. But to one who has seen all these ranks and conditions of men—who finds nothing new in the morgue of the Marquis, or the last mot of the Bench—it is somewhat too bad to be told that such intercourse is a part of your treatment.

My worthy friend Dr. Guckhardt has mistaken me; he fancies my weariness is the result of solitude, and that my exhaustion is but ennui; and, in consequence, has he gone about on the high roads and public places inquiring if any one knows Horace Templeton, who is “sick and ill.” And here is the fruit: a table covered with visiting cards and scented notes of inquiry. My Lord Tollington—a Lord of the Bedchamber, a dissolute old fop—very amusing to very young men, but intolerable to all who have seen anything themselves. Sir Harvey Clifford, a Yorkshire Jesuit, who travels with a socius from Oscot and a whole library of tracts controversial. Reginald St. John, a “levanter” from the Oaks. Colonel Morgan O’Shea, absent without leave for having shot his father-in-law. Such are among the first I find. But whose writing is this?... I know the hand well.... Frank Burton, that I knew so well at Oxford! Poor devil! he joined the 9th Lancers when he came of age, and ran through every thing he had in the world in three years. He married a Lady Mary somebody, and lives now on her family. What is his note about?

“Dear Tempy,

“I have just heard of your being here, and would have gone
over to see you, but have sprained my ancle in a hopping-
match with Kubetskoi—walked into him for two hundred,
nevertheless. Come and dine with us to-day at the France,
and we’ll shew you some of the folk here. That old bore,
Lady Bellingham Blakely, is with us, and gives a pic-nic on
Saturday at the Waterfall—rare fun for you, who like a
field-day of regular quizzes! Don’t fail—sharp seven—and
believe me,


“F. B.”

This requires but brief deliberation; and so, my dear Frank, you must excuse my company, both at dinner and pic-nic. What an ass he must be to suppose that a man of thirty has got no farther insight into the world, and knows no more of its inhabitants, than a boy of eighteen! These “quizzes,” doubtless, had been very amusing to me once—just as I used to laugh at the “School for Scandal” the first fifty times I saw it; but now that I have épuisé les ridicules—have seen every manner of absurdity the law of Chancery leaves at large—why hammer out the impression by repetition?

What is here by way of postscript?

“Lady B. has made the acquaintance of a certain Sicilian
Countess, the handsomest woman here, and has engaged her for
Saturday. If you be the man you used to be, you’ll not fail
to come.”

“Dear F——

“I cannot dine out. I can neither eat, drink, nor talk, nor
can I support the heat or ‘confaz’ of a dinner; but, if
permitted, will join your party on Saturday for half an

“Yours truly,

“H. Templeton.”

Now has curiosity—I have no worthier name to bestow on it—got the better of all my scruples and dislikes to such an agglomeration as a pic-nic! Socially I know nothing so bad: the liberty is license, and the license is an intolerable freedom, where only the underbred are at ease. N’importe—I’ll go; for while I now suspect that I was wrong in believing the Countess to have been my old acquaintance, Caroline Graham, I have a strange interest, at least, in seeing how one so like her, externally, may resemble her in traits of mind and manner. And then I’ll leave Baden.

I am really impatient to get away. I feel—I suppose there is nothing unusual in the feeling—that, as I meet acquaintances, I can read in their looks those expressions of compassion and pity by which the sick are admonished of their hopeless state; and for the very reason that I can dare to look it steadily in the face myself, I have a strong repugnance to its being forcibly placed before me. My greatest wish to live—if it ever deserved the name of wish—is to see the upshot of certain changes that time inevitably will bring out. I have watched the game in some cases so closely, I should like to know who rises the winner.

What will become of France under a regency? How will the new government turn the attention of the mauvaises têtes, and where will they carry their arms? What will Austria do, when the Pope shall have given the taste for free institutions, and the Italians fancy that they are strong enough for self-government? What America, when the government of her newly acquired territory must be a military dictation, with a standing army of great strength? What Ireland, when the landlords, depressed by an increasing poor-rate, have brought down the gentry to a condition of mere subsistence, with Romanism hourly assuming a bolder, higher tone, dictating its terms with the Minister, and treating the Government de pair?

What Prussia, when democracy grows quicker when Constitutional Liberty, and Freedom of the Press get ahead of the Censor?

For Belgium and Switzerland I have little interest. Priest-ridden and mob-ridden, they may indulge their taste for domestic quarrel so long as a general war is remote; let that come, and their small voices will be lost in the louder din of far different elements.

As for the Peninsula, Spain and Portugal are in as miserable a plight as free institutions combined with Popery can make them. If Romanism is to be the religion of the State, let it be allied with Absolutism. The right to think, read, and speak, are incompatible with the dictates of a Church that forbids all three. Rome is the type. It is a grand and a stupendous tyranny. Gare! to those who try to make it a popular rule!

So... I find that all Baden is full of our great picnic! Ours, I say, for here lies Lady B—— B——‘s respectful compliments, &c, and my own replication is already delivered. It seems that we have taken the true way to create popular interest, by trespassing on popular enjoyment. We have engaged M. Gougon, the chef of the Cursaal; engaged the band who usually perform before the promenade; engaged all the saddle-horses, and most of the carriages—in fact, we have enlisted every thing save the Genius Loci, the hump-backed croupier of the roulette table.

Why we should travel twelve miles or so, out of our way, to bring Baden with us I cannot so clearly see. Why we cannot be satisfied with vice without a change of venue I do not understand. But with this I have nothing to do. Like the Irishman, “I am but a lodger.” Indeed, I believe my own poor presence was less desired at this fête than that of my London phaeton and my two black ponies, which, I am told, are very much admired here—a certain sign that they are not in the most correct taste. However, I have my revenge. As Hussars, when invited to dine out at questionable places, always appear in plain clothes, so shall I come to the rendezvous in a fiacre; though, I own, it is very like obtaining a dinner under false pretences.

Already the little town is a-stir; servants are hastening to and fro; ominous-looking baskets and hampers are seen to pass and repass; strange quadrupeds are led by as saddle-horses, their gay headstalls and splendid saddle-cloths scarce diverting the eye from “groggy” fore-legs and drawn-up quarters; curiously dressed young gentlemen, queer combinations of Jockeyism with an Arcadian simplicity, stand in groups about; and, now and then, a carriage rolls by, and disappears up some steep street in search of its company.

Ah! there go the Tollingtons! and in a conveniency, too, they’d scarcely like to be seen with in Hyde Park. What a droll old rattle-trap! and what a pair of wretched hacks to draw it! After all, one cannot help avowing that these people, seated there in that most miserable equipage, where poverty exhibits its most ludicrous of aspects, even there, they preserve as decisive an air of class and rank as—as—yes, I have found the exact equivalent—as almost every foreigner seated in a handsome carriage does of the opposite. Prejudice, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, or any thing else of the same kind it may be; but, after a great part of a life spent abroad, my testimony is, that for one person of either sex, whose appearance unmistakeably pronounces condition, met, abroad—I care not where—at least one hundred are to be seen in England. So much for the nation of shopkeepers!

Ah! a tandem, by Jove! and rather well got up. Of course it could be no other than Burton—“the ruling passion strong in ‘debt!’” Well, he may have forgotten his creditors, but he has not forgotten how to hold the ribbons.

What’s this heavy old coach with a cabriolet over the rumble?—the Russian minister, Kataffsky! Lord bless us! from all the strong braces and bars of wood and iron, one would say that it was built to stand a journey to Siberia. Who knows, but it may travel that road yet!... Pretty woman the Princess, but with all the characteristic knavery of her race in the eyes. Paulwas right when he refused to license Jews in Russia, because he knew his subjects would cheat them!

Bon jour, Marquis.” Monsieur de Tavanne, very absurd but a chivalrous Frenchman of the old school. They say that, meeting the late Duc d’Orléans at Lady Grenville’s, he took a very abrupt leave, expressing as his reason that he did not know her Ladyship received “des gens comme cela.”

A Vienna Coupé, with a Vienna Coachman, and a Vienna Countess inside, are very distinctive in their way. The Grafin von Lowenhaufen, one of those pretty intriguantes of modern political warfare who frequent watering-places and act as the tirailleurs for Metternich and Guizot. Talleyrand avowed the great advantage of such assistance, which he said was impossible for an English minister, for “les Anglaises” always fell in love and blabbed!

Here comes a showy affair!—a real landau with four horses, as fine as bouquets and worsted tassels can make them! No mistaking it—Erin go Brag! Sir Roger M’Causland and my lady, and the four Misses and the Master M’Causland. They are the invincibles of modern travel; they have stormed every court in Europe, and are the terror of Grand Maréchals from Naples to the Pole. Heaven help the English minister in whose city they squat for a winter! He would have less trouble with a new tariff or a new boundary than in arranging their squabbles with court functionaries and the police. Sir Roger must know the King and his Ministers, and expound to them his own notions of the government, with divers hints about free trade and other like matters. My Lady must be invited to all court balls and concerts, and a fair proportion of dinners; and this, “de droit,” because “the M’Causland” was a King of Ballyshandera in the year 4, and my Lady herself being an O’Dowde, also of blood royal. People may laugh at these absurd, shameless pretensions, but “il rit le mieux, qui rit le dernier,” says the proverb; and if the sentiment be one the M’Causlands’ dignity permit, they have the right to laugh heartily. Boredom, actual boredom—a perseverance that is dead to all shame—a persistance that no modesty rebukes—a steady resolve to push forward, wins its way socially as well as strategically; and even the folding-doors of court saloons fly open before its magic sésame.

And who are these gay equestrians with prancing hackneys, flowing plumes, and flaunting habits?—The Fothergills; four handsome, dashing, effronté girls, who, under the mock protection of a small schoolboy brother, are, really, escorted by a group of moustached heroes, more than one of whom I already recognise as scarcely fit company for the daughters of an English church dignitary. Mais que voulez-vous? They would not visit the curate’s wife and sister in Durham, but they will ride out at Baden with blacklegs and swindlers! The Count yonder, Monsieur de Mallenville, is a noted character in Paris, and is always attended, when there, by an emissary of the police, who, with what Alphonse Karr calls an empressement de bonne compagnie, never leaves him for a moment.

And here we have the “dons” of the entertainment, la Princesse de Rubetzki, as pretty a piece of devilry as ever Poland manufactured to sow treason and disaffection, accompanied by her devoted admirer the Austrian general, Count Cohary. Poor fellow! all his efforts to appear young and volage are as nothing to the difficulties he endures in steering between the fair Princess’s politics and her affection. An Austrian of the “vieille roche” he is shocked by the Liberalism of his lady-love; and yet, with Spielberg before him, he cannot tear himself away.

They who are not acquainted with the world of the Continent may think it strange that society, even in a watering-place, should assemble individuals so different in rank and social position; but a very little experience will always shew that intercourse is really as much denied between such parties as though they were in different hemispheres. As the Rhone rolls its muddy current through the blue waters of the Lake of Geneva, and never mingles its turbid stream with the clear waves beside it, so these people are seen pouring their flood through every assemblage, and never disturbing the placid surface in their course. To effect this, two requisites are indispensable to the company,—a very rigid good-breeding and a very lax morality. No one can deny that both are abundant.

And here, if I mistake not, comes my own cher-à-banc. Truly, my excellent valet has followed my directions to the letter. I said, “Something of the commonest,” and he has brought me a fiacre that seems as moribund and creaky as myself. No matter, I am ready. And now to be off!


Now has there happened to me one of the strangest adventures of my strange life, and before I sleep I have determined to note it down, for no other reason than this: that my waking thoughts to-morrow will refuse to credit mere memory, without some such corroboration. Nay, I have another witness—this glove!

Were it not for this, I should have chronicled our féte which really was far more successful than such things usually are. Not only was there no contretemps, but all went off well and pleasantly. The men were witty and good-tempered; the women—albeit many of them handsome—were aimable, and disposed to be pleased; the weather and the champagne were perfect. They who could eat—which I couldn’t—say, that Gougon was admirable; and the band played some of Donizetti’s pieces with great precision and effect. Ainsi, the elements were all favourable; each instrument filled its part; and the ensemble was good—rather a rare event where people come out expressly bent on enjoyment, and determined to take pleasure by storm. Premeditated happiness, like marriage for love, is often too much premeditated. Here, however, “the gods were propitious.” Unlike most picnics, there neither was rain nor rancour; and considering that we had specimens of at least half-a-dozen different nationalities, and frequently as many different languages going at once, there was much amusing conversation, and a great deal of pleasant, gossip-ping anecdote: not that regular story-telling which depends upon its stage-effect of voice and manner, but that far more agreeable kind of narrative that claims interest from being about people and places that we know beforehand, conveying traits of character and mind of well-known persons, always amusing and interesting.

There was a French secretary of legation for Berne, a most pleasant convive; and the Austrian general was equally amusing. Some of his anecdotes of the campaign of 1805 were admirable: by the way, he felt dreadfully shocked at his own confession that he remembered Wagram. The Countess Giordani came late. We were returning from our ramble among rocks and cliffs when she appeared.

I did not wish to be presented; I preferred rather the part of observing her, which acquaintance would have prevented. But old Lady B—— did not give me the choice: she took my arm, and, after a little tour through the company, came directly in front of the Countess, saying, with a bluntness all her own,—

“Madame la Comtesse, let me present a friend whose long residence in your country gives him almost the claim of a countryman:—M, Templeton.”

If I was not unmoved by the suddenness of this introduction—appealing as it did, to me at least, to old memories—the Countess was composure itself: a faint smile in acknowledgment of the speech, a gentle expression of easy satisfaction on meeting one who had visited her country, were all that even my prying curiosity could detect.

“What part of Sicily have you seen?” said she to me.

“My friend Lady B——,” said I, “has made me a greater traveller than I can pretend to be: I have been no further south than Naples.”

“Oh! I am not Neapolitan,” said she, hastily, and with an air like disappointment.

I watched her closely as she spoke, and at once said to myself, “No! this is not, this cannot be, Caroline Graham.”

We conversed but little during dinner. She evidently did not speak French willingly, and my Italian had been too long in rust for fluency. Of English she shewed not the least knowledge. There were stories told in her hearing, at some of which to avoid laughter would have been scarcely possible, and still she never smiled once. If I wanted any additional evidence that she was not of English origin, chance presented one, as she was referred to by the Russian for the name of a certain Sicilian family where a “vendetta” had been preserved for two entire centuries; and the Countess replied, with a slight blush, “The Marquis of Bianconetti—my uncle.”

I own that, while it was with a sense of relief I learned to believe that the Countess was not the sister of my poor friend, I still could not help feeling something akin to disappointment at the discovery. I felt as though I had been heaping up a store of care and anxiety around me for one I had never seen before, and for whom I could really take no deep interest. One husbands their affections as they grow older. The spendthrift habit of caring for people without even knowing why, or asking wherefore, which is one of the pastimes—and sometimes a right pleasant one, too—of youth, becomes rarer as we go further on in life, till at last we grow to be as grudging of our esteem as of our gold, and lend neither, save on good interest and the best security. Bad health has done for me the work of time, and I am already oppressed and weary of the evils of age.

Something, perhaps, of this kind—some chagrin, too, that the Countess was not my old acquaintance» though, Heaven knows, it had grieved me far more to know she had been—some discontent with myself for being discontented—or “any other reason why,”—but so was it, I felt what in fashionable slang is called “put out,” and, in consequence, resolved to leave the party and make my way homeward at the first favourable opportunity. Before setting out I had determined, as the night would be moonlit, to make a slight détour, and thus avoid all the fracas and tumult of driving home in a mob; and, with this intention, had ordered my phaeton to meet me in the Mourg-Thal, at a small inn, whither I should repair on foot, and then make my tour back by the Castle of Eberstein.

A move of the company to take coffee on a rock beside the Waterfall gave me the opportunity I desired, and I sauntered along a little path which in a few moments led me into the Pine Forest, and which, from the directions I had received, I well knew conducted over the mountain, and descended by a series of steep zigzags into the valley of the Mourg.

Although I had quitted the party long before sunset, the moon was high and bright ere I reached the spot where my carriage awaited me. Exhilarated by the unwonted exertion—half-gratified, too, by the consciousness of supporting a degree of fatigue I had been pronounced incapable of,—I took my seat in good spirits, to drive back to Baden. As I ascended the steep road towards Eberstein, I observed that lights were gleaming from the windows of the large salon of the castle, that looks towards the glen. I knew that the Grand Ducal family were at Carlsruhe, and was therefore somewhat surprised to see these signs of habitation in one of the state apartments of the château.

Alternately catching glimpses of and again losing these bright lights, I slowly toiled up the steep acclivity, which, to relieve my ponies, I ascended on foot. We were near the top, the carriage had preceded me some fifty yards or so, and I, alone, had reached a deeply-shaded spot, over which an ancient outwork of the castle threw a broad shadow, when suddenly I was startled by the sound of voices, so close beside me that I actually turned to see if the speakers were not following me; nor was it till they again spoke that I could believe that they were standing on the terrace above me. If mere surprise at the unexpected sound of voices was my first sensation, what was it to that which followed, as I heard a man’s voice say,—

“But how comes this M. Templeton to be of any consequence in the matter? It is true he was a witness, but he has no interest in troubling himself with the affair. He is an invalid besides—some say, dying.”

“Would he were dead!” interrupted a lower voice; but, although the accents were uttered with an unusual force, I knew them—at once I recognised them. It was the Countess spoke.

“Why so, if he never recognised you?”

“How am I certain of this?” said she again. “How shall I satisfy my own fears, that at every instant are ready to betray me? I dread his reserve more than all.”

“If he be so very inconvenient,” interposed the man, in a half-careless tone, “there may surely be found means to induce him to leave this. Invalids are often superstitious. Might not a civil intimation that his health was suffering from his séjour incline him to depart?”

The Countess made no reply: possibly the bantering tone assumed by her companion displeased her. After a brief silence, he resumed,—

“Does the man play? does he frequent the Saal? There surely are a hundred ways to force a quarrel on him.”

“Easier than terminate it with advantage,” said she, bitterly.

I heard no more; for, although they still continued to speak, they had descended from the terrace and entered the garden. I was alone. Before me, at the turn of the road, stood my servant, waiting with the horses. All was still as the grave. Was this I had heard real? were the words truly spoken, or were they merely some trick of an overwrought, sickly imagination! I moved into the middle of the road, so as to have a better view of the old “Schloss;” but, except a single light in a remote tower, all was shrouded in darkness: the salon, I believed to have been lit up, lay in deepest shadow. There was nothing I had not given, at that instant, to be able to resolve my doubts.

I walked hurriedly on, eager to question my servant both as to the voices and the lights; and as I went my eye fell upon an object before me in the road. I took it up—it was a glove—a lady’s glove! How came it there, if it had not fallen from the terrace?

With increased speed I moved forward, my convictions now strengthened by this new testimony.

My servant had neither seen nor heard any thing; indeed his replies to me were conveyed in a tone that shewed in what light he regarded my questioning. It was scarcely possible that he could not have been struck with the bright glare that illuminated a portion of the castle, yet he had not seen it; and as to voices, he stoutly averred that, although he could distinctly note the clatter of the mill in the valley below us, he had heard no human sound since we left the little inn.

It was to no purpose that I questioned and cross-questioned. I soon saw that my eagerness was mistaken by him for evidence of wandering faculties; and I perceived, in his anxiety that I should return, a fear, that my malady had taken some new turn. So far, too, was he right. My head was, indeed, troubled—strange fancies and shadowy fears crossing my excited mind as I went; so that, ere I reached my inn, I really was unable to collect my faculties, and separate the dream-land from the actual territory of fact. And now it is with painful effort I write these lines, each moment doubting whether I should not erase this, or insert that. Were it not for this glove, that lies on my paper before me, I should believe all to be mere illusion. What a painful struggle this is, and how impossible to allay the fears of self-deception! At one moment I am half resolved to order a saddle-horse and return to Eberstein—for what?—with what hope of unravelling the mystery? At the next I am determined to repair to the Countess’s villa near the town, and ask if she has returned; but how shall I venture on such a liberty? If my ears had not deceived me, she is and must be Caroline Graham; and yet would I not rather believe that my weary brain had wandered, than that this were so?

But what are these sounds of voices in the antechamber? I hear Guckhardt’s voice!

Yes: my servant had thought it prudent to fetch the doctor, and he has been here and felt my pulse, and ordered cold to my temples, and a calming draught. It is clear, then, that I have been ill, and I must write no more!


Gasthaus, Zum Bär, Dallas, Tyrol.

It is exactly seven weeks this day since I last opened my journal. I promised Guckhardt not to look into it for a month, and so I have well kept my word! It would seem, indeed, a small privation in most circumstances to abstain from chronicling the ebbing hours of a life; but Egotism is next of kin to Sickness, and I can vent mine more harmlessly here than if spent in exhausting the patience of my friends. Some listener must be found to the dreamy querulousness of the invalid, and why not his own heart?

Even to those nearest and dearest to our affections, there is always a sense of shame attendant on the confessions of our weakness, more so than of our actual vices. But what a merciful judge is Self! how gentle to rebuke! how reluctant to punish! how sanguine to hope for reformation! Hence is it that I find a comfort in jotting down these “mems” of the past; but from a friend, what shaking of the head, what regretful sorrowings, should I meet with! How should I hear of faculties and fortune—life itself—wasted without one object, even a wish, compassed! When I reflect upon the position in life attainable by one who starts with moderate abilities, a large fortune, reasonable habits of industry, and a fair share of well-wishers, and then think of what I now am, I might easily be discontented and dispirited; but if I had really reached the goal, can I say that I should be happy? can I say, that all the success within my reach could have stilled within me the tone of peaceful solitude I have ever cherished as the greatest of blessings? But why speculate on this? I never could have been highly successful. I have not the temper, had I the talent, that climbs high. I must always have done my best at once; put forth my whole strength on each occasion—husbanded nothing, and consequently gained nothing.

Here I am at Dallas, in the Tyrol, a wild and lonely glen, with a deep and rushing river foaming through it. The mountain in front of me is speckled with wooden chalets, some of them perched on lofty cliffs, not distinct from realms of never-melting snow.

All is poverty on every side; even in the little church, where Piety would deck its shrine at any sacrifice, the altar is bare of ornament. The Cure’s house, too, is humble enough for him who is working yonder in his garden, an old and white-haired man, too feeble and frail for such labour; and already the sun has set, and now he ceases from his toil: for the “Angelus” is ringing, and soon the village will be kneeling in prayer. Already the bell has ceased, and through the stilly air rises the murmur of many voices.

There was somewhat of compassionate pity in the look of the old man who has just passed the window; he stopped a moment to gaze at me—at the only one whose unbended knee and closed lips had no brotherhood in the devotion. He seemed very poor, and old, and feeble, and yet he could look with a sense of pity upon me, as an outcast from the faith. So did I feel his steady stare at least; for, at that instant, the wish was nearest to my heart that I, too, could have knelt and prayed with the rest. And why could |I not? was it that my spirit was too stubborn, too proud, to mingle with the humble throng? did I feel myself better, or nobler, or greater than the meanest there, when uttering the same words of thankfulness or hope? No, far from it; a very different, but not less powerful barrier interposed. Education, habits of thought, prejudices, convictions, even party spirit, had all combined to represent Romanism to my mind, in all the glaring colours of its superstitions, its cruelties, and its deceptions. Then arose before me a kind of vision of its tyranny over mankind,—its inquisitions, its persecutions, its mock miracles, and its real bloodshed; and I could not turn from the horrible picture, even to the sight of those humble worshippers who knelt in all the sincerity of belief.

I actually dreaded the sway of the devotional influence, lest, when my heart had yielded to it, some chance interruption of ceremonial, some of those fantastic forms of the Church, should turn my feelings of trust and worship to one of infidelity and scorn.

There, all is over now, and the villagers are returning homewards—some, to the little hamlet—others, are wending their way upwards, to homes high amid the mountains—and here I sit alone, in my little whitewashed room, watching the shadows as they deepen over the glen, and gazing on that mountain peak that glows like a carbuncle in the setting sun.

It is like a dream to me how I have come to sojourn in this peaceful valley. The last entry I made was in Baden, the night of that party at the Waterfall. The next day I awoke ill—fevered from a restless night. Guckhardt came early, and thinking I was asleep, retired without speaking to me. He laid his hand on my temples, and seemed to feel that I required rest and quiet, for he cautioned my servant not to suffer the least disturbance near me.

I conclude I must have been sleeping, for the sudden noise of voices and the tramp of many feet aroused me. There was evidently something strange and unexpected going forward in the town. What could it mean? My servant seemed most unwilling to tell me, and only yielded to my positive commands to speak.. Even now I tremble to recall the tidings—a murder had been committed! One of the guests at our late féte, a young Englishman named Lockwood, had been discovered dead on the side of the road about two miles from the Waterfall; his watch, and purse with several gold pieces, were found on his person, so that no robbery had been the reason of the crime. I remember his having come on foot, and hearing that I should not require my char-à-banc to return, he engaged it. The driver’s story is, that the stranger always got out to walk at the hills, usually lingering slowly in his ascent of them; and that at last, at the top of the highest, he had waited for a considerable time without his appearing, and growing weary of expectancy he returned, and at the foot of the hill discovered something dark, lying motionless beside the pathway; he came closer, and saw it was the stranger quite dead. Three wounds, which from their depth and direction seemed to have been given by a dagger, were found in the chest; one, entered from the back between the shoulders; the fingers of the right hand were also cut nearly through, as though he had grasped a sharp weapon in his struggle. Death must have been immediate, as the heart was twice wounded; probably he expired almost at once. The direction and the position of the wounds refuted every idea of a suicide—and yet how account for the crime of murder? The stranger was scarcely a week in Baden, not known to any one before his arrival here, and since had merely formed those chance acquaintanceships of watering-places. There was not, so far as one could see, the slightest ground to suspect any malice or hatred towards him.. The few particulars I have here set down were all that my servant could tell me. But what from the terrible nature of the tidings themselves, my own excitable state when hearing them, but, more than either, the remembrance of the dialogue I had overheard the night before—all combined and increased my fever to that degree that ere noon I became half wild with delirium. What I said, or how my wandering faculties turned, I cannot—nor would I willingly—remember. There was enough of illness in my ravings, and of method in them too, to bring Guckhardt again to my bedside, accompanied by a high agent of the police. The attempt to examine a man in such a state relative to the circumstances of a dreadful crime could only have entered the head of a Préfet de Police or a Juge d’Instruction. What my revelations were I know not; but it is clear they assumed a character of independent fancy that balked the scrutiny of the official, for he left me to the unmixed cares of my doctor.

By his counsel I was speedily removed from Baden, under the impression that the scene would be prejudicial to my recovery. I was indifferent where, or in what way, they disposed of me; and when I was told I was to try the air of the Lake of Constance, I heard it with the apathy of one sunk in a trance. Nor do I yet know by what means the police, so indefatigable in tormenting the innocent, abandoned their persecution of me. They must have had their own sufficient reasons for it; so much is certain.

And now, once more, I ask myself, Is all that I have here set down the mere wanderings of a broken and disjointed brain? have these incidents no other foundation than a morbid fancy? I would most willingly accept even this sad alternative, and have it so; but here is evidence too strong to disbelieve. Here before me lies an English newspaper, with a paragraph alluding to the mysterious murder of an English gentleman at Baden. The dates, circumstances, all tally in the minutest particulars. Shall I discredit these proofs?

The Countess is married to the Marquis de Courcelles; a distant relative of the Archduchess, it is said. Let me dismiss the theme for ever—that is, if I can. And now for one whose interest to me is scarcely less sad, but of a very different shade of sadness.

This is my birthday, the 31st August. “Why had the month more than thirty days?” is a question I have been tempted to hazard more than once. Nor is it from ingratitude that I say this. I have long enjoyed the easy path in life; I have tasted far more of the bright, and seen less of the shady side of this world’s high-road than falls to the share of most men. With fortune more than sufficient to supply all that I could care for, I have had, without any pretension to high talent, that kind of readiness that is often mistaken for ability; and, what is probably even more successful with the world, I have had a keen appreciation of talent in other men—a thorough value for their superior attainments; and this—no great gift, to be sure—has always procured me acceptance in circles where my own pretensions would have proved feeble supporters. And then, this delicacy of health—what many would have called my heaviest calamity—has often carried me triumphantly through difficulties where I must have succumbed. Even in “the House” have I heard the prognostications of what I might have been, “if my health permitted;” so that my weak point ministered to me what strength had denied me.

Then, I have the most intense relish for the life of idleness I have been leading; the lounging “do-nothingism” that would kill most men with ennui, is to me inexpressibly delightful. All those castle-buildings which, in the real world, are failures, succeed admirably in imagination. I overcome competitors, I convince opponents, I conciliate enemies at will, so long as they are all of my own making; and so far from falling back disappointed from the vision, to the fact, I revel in the conviction that I can go to work again at new fancies; and that, in such struggles, there is neither weariness nor defeat. A small world for ambition to range in! but I value it as Touchstone did his mistress,—“a poor thing, but it was mine own.”

It would be a strange record if a man were to chronicle his birthdays, keeping faithful note of his changed and changing nature as years stole on. For myself I have always regarded them somewhat like post-stations in a journey, ever expecting to find better horses and smoother roads next stage, and constantly promising myself to be more equable in temperament and more disposed to enjoy my tour. But the journey of life, like all other journeys, puts to flight the most matured philosophy, and the accidents of the way are always ready to divert the mind from its firmest resolves.

Tuesday Morning, When I had written so far last night, the arrival of a travelling carriage and four, with a Courier preceding, caused such a commotion in the little inn that, notwithstanding all my assumed indifference, I could not entirely escape the contagion, and, at last, was fain to open my window and stare at the new arrival with all the hardihood that becomes him already in possession of an apartment. “I took little by my motion.” All I saw was a portly travelling carriage, heavily laden with its appurtenances and imperials, well-corded springs, rope-lashed pole, and double drag-chains,—evidences of caution and signs of long-projected travel.

I might have readily forgotten the new comer—indeed, I had almost done so ere I closed the window—had not his memory been preserved for me by a process peculiar to small and unfrequented inns,—a species of absorption by which the traveller of higher pretensions invariably draws in all the stray articles of comfort scattered through the establishment. First my table took flight, and in its place a small and ricketty thing of white deal had arrived; next followed a dressing-glass; then waddled forth a fat, unwieldy, old arm-chair, that seemed by its difficulty of removal to have strong objections to locomotion; and lastly, a chest of drawers set out on its travels, but so stoutly did it resist, that it was not captured without the loss of two legs, while every drawer was thrown out upon the floor, to the manifest detriment of the waiter’s shins and ankles. These “distraints” I bore well and equably, and it was only a summary demand to surrender a little sofa on which I lay that at length roused me from my apathy, and I positively demurred, asking, I suppose, querulously enough, who it was that required the whole accommodation of the inn, and could spare nothing for another traveller? An “English Prince” was the answer; at which I could not help laughing, well knowing that the title is tolerably indiscriminate in its application. Indeed, I once heard Colonel Sibthorp called such.

It is all very well to affect indifference and apathy, to pretend that you care nothing who or what your neighbour in an inn may be. This is very practicable where his identity takes no more corporeal shape than No. 42 or 53 in some great overgrown hôtel. But imagine yourself in some small secluded spot, some little nook, of which you had half fancied you were the first discoverer—conceiving yourself a kind of new Pérouse; fancy, then, when in the very ecstasy of your adventure, the arrival of a travelling carriage and four, with a belted Courier and a bearded Valet; not only are your visions routed, but your own identity begins to dissolve away with them. You are neither a hero to yourself nor to “mine host.” His best smiles, his deepest reverence, are now for the last comer, for whose accommodation a general tribute is levied. Do what you will, say what you will, there is no remaining deaf to the incessant turmoil that bespeaks the great man’s wants. There is a perpetual hurry-scurry to seek this and fetch that; soda-water—tea—champagne—a fire—hot water—are continually echoing along the corridor, and “the Prince” seems like some vast “Maelstrom” that all the larder and the cellar contain can never satiate. Such, certainly, the least exacting of men appear when under the auspices of a Courier and the host of a small inn.

The poverty of the establishment makes the commonest requirements seem the demand of a Sybarite indulgence, and every-day wants are luxuries where cleanliness is the highest of virtues.

I was—I own it—worried and vexed by the clamour and movement, that not even coming night calmed down. The repose and quiet I had been so fully enjoying were gone, and, in their place, the vulgar noises and tumult of a little inn. All these interruptions, intimately associated in my mind with the traveller, invested him, to me, with a character perfectly detestable, so that there was somewhat of open defiance in my refusal to yield up my sofa.

A pause followed. What was to come next? I listened and waited in half anxiety, wondering what new aggression might ensue; but all was still: nay, there was a clattering of knives and forks, and then went the pop of a cork—“the Prince” was eating. “Well,” thought I, “there is some vengeance here, for the cuisine is detestable.” “His Highness” thought so too, for more than one plat was dismissed, accompanied by a running commentary of abuse on the part of the Courier.

At last came a really tranquil moment. The cheese had been sent away as uneatable, and the Courier had followed it, cursing manfully, if I might pronounce from the odour wafted to my own chamber, not unreasonably. “Mi Lor le Prince” was probably composing himself to a siesta; there was a stealthy quietude in the step of his servant along the corridor that said so much. I had scarcely made the reflection when a tap came to my door. “The Prince” wished for an English newspaper, and the host had seen two on my table. The “Post” and the “Chronicle” were both before me, and I sent them, half wondering which best might suit his Highness’s politics.

Another tap at the door! Really this is intolerable. Has he not had my table, my arm-chair, my newspapers—what will he ask for next? “Come in,” said I, now trying English, after in vain shouting “Entrez” and “Herein” three times over.

An English servant entered, and in that peculiarly low, demure tone, so distinctive of his caste, said,—

“Sir Robert Chawuth presents his compliments, and begs to know if he may pay his respects to Mr. Templeton?”

“Is Sir Robert here? is that his carriage?” said I, hastily.

“Yes, sir; he came about an hour ago.”

“Oh, very well. Say, I shall feel great pleasure in seeing him. Is he disengaged at present?”

“Yes, sir, he is quite alone.”

“Shew me his apartment, then.”

“So,” thought I, as I arose to seek the chamber, “this time they were nearer right than usual; for, if not an ‘English Prince,’ he has wielded more substantial power, and exerted a much wider sway over the destinies of the world, than ever a ‘foreign Prince’ from the Baltic to the Bosphorus.”

Strange enough, our last meeting was at Downing Street; he was then Minister. I waited upon him by appointment, as I was leaving England for the Prussian mission, and he desired to give me his own instructions before I sailed; and now, I visit him in a little Tyrol “Gasthaus,” he, destitute of power, and myself——

It would be presumptuous in one so humbly placed to hazard an opinion on the subject; but if I were to dare it, I should say that the statesmen of England possess a range of knowledge and a wider intimacy with the actual condition of the world as it is than any other class, in any country. I was greatly struck with this last evening. The topics wandered far a-field, varying from the Poor Laws to Hong Kong, from the Health of Towns to the state of the Peninsula: Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, the Navigation Laws, the policy of Louis Philippe, and the rot in the potatoes; and on each of these themes he not only spoke well, but he spoke with a degree of knowledge that smacked of a special study. “How comes it,” I asked myself, “that this man, with the weighty cares of a mighty empire on his brain, has time to hear and memory to retain little traits of various people in remote quarters of the world? How, for instance, did he hear, or why remember, these anecdotes of the present Landamman of Switzerland, Ochsenbein?” And yet there were good reasons perhaps, to remember them. The man who has personally shewn the white feather will scarcely be courageous as the head of a government, though there is great reason to suspect that he may exhibit all the rashness of cowardice—its worst, because its most dangerous, quality.

I had often suspected, but I never knew before, how completely this Minister had usurped every department of the Cabinet, and concentrated in himself the Home, the Foreign, and the Colonial Governments. The very patronage, too, he had assumed; so that, in fact, his colleagues were comparatively without influence or occupation. I confess that, on hearing him talk so unconcernedly of mighty events and portentous changes, of great interests and powerful states, that my heart beat strongly with an ambitious ardour, and a feverish throbbing of my temples suggested to me that the longing for rank, and station, and power, had not yet died away within me. Was it with serious intention that he spoke to me of again entering Parliament and taking office in some future arrangement, or was it merely from a sense of compassion that he ministered this meed of encouragement to the hopes of a sick man? Whatever the motive, the result has been an increased buoyancy, more of vitality about me, than I have known for some time—a secret wishing for life and strength to “do something” ere I die.

He rather appeared pleased with a suggestion I threw out for augmenting the elective franchise in Ireland, by making the qualification “an intellectual one,” and extending the right of voting to all who should take a certain degree or diploma in either the University of Dublin or any of the provincial colleges, all admitted as members of learned bodies, and all licentiates of law and physic. This would particularly suit the condition of Ireland, where property is a most inadequate and limited test, and at the same time, by an infusion of educated and thinking men into the mass, serve to counterbalance and even guide the opinions of those less capable of forming judgments. We are becoming more democratic every day. Let our trust be in well-informed, clearsighted democracy, and let the transition be from the aristocracy to the cultivated middle classes, and not to the rule of Feargus O’Connor and his Chartists.

And now, to wander down this lonely glen, and forget, if I may, these jarring questions, where men’s passions and ambitions have more at stake than human happiness. Do what I will, think of what I will, the image of—Caroline Graham—yes, I must call her so, rises before me at every step. It is a sad condition of the nervous system when slight impressions cut deep. Like the diseased state of the mucous membrane, when tastes and odours cling and adhere to it for days long, I suppose that the prevalence of such images in the brain would at last lead to insanity, or, at least, that form of it called Monomania. Let no man suppose that this is so very rare a malady. Let us rather ask, Who is quite free from some feature of the affection? The mild cases are the passionate ardour we see exhibited by men in the various and peculiar pursuits in life; the bad ones, only greater in degree, are shut up in asylums.

The most singular instance that ever occurred within my own knowledge was one I met several years back in Germany; and as “thereby hangs a tale,” I will set it down in the words of the relator. This is his own recital—in his own handwriting too!

There are moments in the life of almost every man which seem like years. The mind, suddenly calling up the memory of bygone days, lives over the early hours of childhood—the bright visions of youth, when all was promise and anticipation—and traverses with a bound the ripe years of manhood, with all their struggles, and cares, and disappointments; and even throws a glance into the dark vista of the future, computing the “to come” from the past; and, at such times as these, one feels that he is already old, and that years have gone over him.

Such were to me the few brief moments in which I stood upon the Meissner hill that overhangs my native city. Dresden, the home of my childhood, of my earliest and my dearest friends, lay bathed in the soft moonlight of a summer’s eve. There, rose the ample dome of the cathedral in all the majesty of its splendid arch, the golden tracery glittering with the night dew; here, wound the placid Elbe, its thousand eddies through purple and blushing vineyards, its fair surface flashing into momentary brilliancy, as the ripples broke upon the buttresses of that graceful bridge, long accounted the most beautiful in Europe; while from the boat that lay sleeping upon its shadow came the rich tones of some manly voices, bearing to my ear the evening hymn of my fatherland! Oh, how strong within the heart of the wanderer in distant lands is the love of country!—how deeply rooted amid all the feelings which the cares and trials of after-life scatter to the wind! It lives on, bringing to our old age the only touch and trace of the bright and verdant feelings of our youth. And oh, how doubly strong this love, when it comes teeming with a flood of long-forgotten scenes—the memory of our first, best friends—the haunts of our boyhood—the feats of youthful daring—and, far more than all, the recollection of that happy home, around whose hearth we met with but looks of kindness and affection, where our sorrows were soothed, our joys shared in! For me, ‘tis true, there remained nought of this. The parents who loved me had gone to their dark homes—the friends of my childhood had doubtless forgotten me. Years of absence had left me but the scenes of past happiness—the actors were gone. And thus it was as I looked down upon the city of my native land. The hour which in solitude and lowness of heart I had longed and prayed for had at length arrived—that hour which I believed in my heart would repay me for all the struggles, the cares, the miseries of fourteen years of exile; and now I stood upon that self-same spot where I had turned to take a farewell look of my native city, which I was leaving poor, unfriended, and unknown, to seek in Italy those opportunities my forlorn condition had denied to me at home. Years of toil and anxiety had followed; the evils of poverty had fallen on me; one by one the cheerful thoughts and bright fancies of youth deserted me; yet still I struggled on, unshaken in courage. The thought of one day returning to my loved Saxon land, rich in reputation, crowned with success, had sustained and upheld me. And now that hour was come—my earliest hopes more than realised—my fondest aspirations accomplished. Triumphant over all the difficulties of my hard lot, I returned, bearing with me the well-won spoils of labour and exertion. But, alas! where were they who should rejoice with me, and share my happiness? The very home of my infancy was tenanted by strangers; they knew me not in my poverty, they could not sympathise in my elevation. My heart sickened within me as I thought of my lone and desolate condition; and as the tears coursed fast and faster down my cheeks, how gladly would I have given all the proud triumph of success for one short and sunny hour of boyhood’s bright anticipation, shared in by those who loved me!

Oh! how well were it for us if the bright visions of happiness our imaginations picture forth should ever recede as we advance, and, mirage-like, evade us as we follow! and that we might go down to the grave still thinking that the “morrow” would accomplish the hopes of to-day—as the Indian follows the phantom-bark, ever pursuing, never reaching. The misery of hope deferred never equalled the anguish of expectation gratified, only to ascertain how vain was our prospect of happiness from the long-cherished desire, and how far short reality ever falls of the bright colouring hope lends to our imaginings. In such a frame of deep despondency I re-entered my native city—no friend to greet, no voice to welcome me.

Happily, however, I was not long left to the indulgence of such regrets; for no sooner was my arrival made known in the city, than my brother artists waited on me with congratulations; and I learned, for the first time, that the reputation of my successes had reached Saxony, and that my very best picture was at that moment being exhibited in the Dresden Gallery. I was now invited to the houses of the great, and even distinguished by marks of my sovereign’s favour. If I walked the streets, I heard my name whispered as I passed; if I appeared in public, some burst of approbation greeted me. In a word, and that ere many days had elapsed, I became the reigning favourite of a city in which the love of “art” is an inheritance: for, possessed of a gallery second to none in Europe, the Dresdeners have long enjoyed and profited by the opportunity of contemplating all that is excellent in painting; and, in their enthusiastic admiration of the fine arts, thought no praise too exalted to bestow on one who had asserted the claim of a Saxon painter among the schools of Italy.

To the full and unmeasured intoxication of the flattery that beset me on every side, I now abandoned myself. At first, indeed, I did so as a relief from the sorrowful and depressing feelings my unfriended solitude suggested; and at last, as the passion crept in upon and grasped my very heart-strings, the love of praise took entire possession of my being, and in a short time the desire for admiration had so completely supplanted every other emotion, that I only lived with enjoyment when surrounded by flattery; and those praises which before I heard with diffidence and distrust, I now looked for as my desert, and claimed as my right. The “spoiled child of fortune,” my life was one round of gaiety and excitement, For me, and for my amusement, fêtes were given, parties contrived, and entertainments planned, and the charmed circle of royalty was even deserted to frequent the places at which I was expected.

From these circumstances it may readily be believed how completely I was beset by the temptations of flattery, and how recklessly I hurried along that career of good fortune which, in my mad infatuation, t deemed would last for ever. I saw my name enrolled among the great ones of my art—myself the friend of the exalted in rank and great in wealth—my very praise, patronage. Little knew I that such sudden popularity is often as fleeting as it is captivating, that the mass of those who admire and are ever loudest in their praises are alike indifferent to, and ignorant of, art. Led along by fashion alone, they seemed delighted, because it was the rage to appear so. They visited, because my society was courted by others; and if their knowledge was less their plaudits were louder than those of the discriminating few, whose caution and reserve seemed to me the offspring of jealousy and envy.

It is well known to almost all, how, in the society of large cities, some new source of interest or excitement is eagerly sought after to enliven the dull routine of nightly dissipation, and awaken the palled and jaded appetite of pleasure to some new thrill of amusement!—how one succeeds another, and how short-lived are all! The idol of to-day is forgotten to-morrow; and whether the object of momentary attraction be a benefactor of mankind, or some monster of moral deformity, it matters but little, so that for the hour he furnish an article for the fashionable journalist, and a subject of conversation to the coterie; the end and aim of his being seems to be perfectly accomplished, and all interest for him as readily transferred to his successor, who or whatever he may be, as though his existence had been as unreal as the spectre of a magic lantern.

Little did I suppose when, in the full blaze of my popularity, that to such an ordinance of fashion alone I was indebted for the proud eminence I occupied. I was not long destined to enjoy the deception.

It chanced that about three months after my arrival in Dresden, circumstances required my absence from the city for a few days. The occasion which called me detained me beyond the time I had calculated on, and it was not till after a fortnight I reached my home. I had travelled that day from sunrise till late in the evening, being anxious, if possible, to redeem a promise I had made to my friend and patron, Count Lowenstein, to be present at a fête in honour of his sister’s birthday. The weather had been unusually hot and sultry, even for the season; and although I felt much fatigued and jaded, I lost not a moment on my arrival to dress for the fête, over which, calculating on my late career, I deemed my absence would throw a gloom. Besides that, I longed once more to drink of that Circean cup of flattery, for which my short absence from the city had given me new zest; and it was with a high-beating heart and fevered brain I hung upon my breast the many crosses and decorations I had been gifted with in my hours of brilliant success.

Lights gleamed brightly from the ample windows of the Lowenstéin palace. Numerous equipages stood at the portico. I followed the chasseur up the spacious marble steps which led to the ante-chamber. I stopped one moment before a large mirror, and almost startled at the brilliancy of my dress, which, a present from my sovereign, I now wore for the first time. With a high-swelling heart and bounding step—for all fatigue was long since forgotten—I approached the door; and oh! the throb with which I heard my name now, for the first time, announced with the title of “Baron,” which his Majesty had conferred upon me the day of my departure! That name, which alone had, talisman-like, opened for me the doors of all who were illustrious and exalted in rank—that name, which heard, silenced the hum of voices, to break forth the moment after in accents of praise and welcome! Again it rung through the crowded salon, and I stood within the door. Formerly, when appearing in society, the moment I made my entrée I found myself the centre of a group of friends and admirers, all eagerly pressing forward to pay their homage to the star of fashion. Now, what was my amazement to mark no thrill of pleasure, as of old, animate that vast assembly!—not even surprise! group after group passed by me, as though I were unknown, and had no claim to their attention. It is true, I heard some friendly voices and kind inquiries; but I could neither distinguish the words nor the speaker. My brain was in a whirl; for, alas! long since had I learned to care less for the language of affection than the voice of the flatterer. I stood thunderstruck and amazed; and it was some minutes before I could, with any appearance of composure, reply to the salutations I met with. Something must have occurred in my absence to weaken the interest my appearance ever excited;—but what could that be? And the assembly, too! had my own baffled hopes lent their gloomy colouring to all around? I certainly thought it far less brilliant than usual; a sad and depressing influence seemed to pervade all the guests, which they appeared vainly to struggle against. Tortured with doubt and disappointment, I hastened through the crowd to where the Count was standing, surrounded by his suite. His quick eye instantly perceived me, and, familiarly kissing his hand to me, he continued to converse with those about him. Up to this moment I had borne all the chilling indifference of manner I met with, from the secret satisfaction that told me in my heart that he, my protector, my friend, would soon vindicate my claim to notice and distinction, and that, in the sunshine of his favour, I should soon receive the attention my heart thirsted for. But now that hope deserted me, the cold distance of his manner chilled me to the very heart’s core* Not one word of kind inquiry, no friendly chiding for protracted absence, no warm welcome for my coming! I looked around on every side for some clue to this strange mystery; I felt as if all eyes were upon me, and thought for a moment I could perceive the sneer of gratified malice at my downfall. But no: I was unnoticed and unobserved; and even this hurt me still more. Alas! alas! the few moments of heart-cutting, humbling misery I then endured, too dearly paid for all the selfish gratification I reaped from being the idol of fashion. While I remained thus the Count approached me, and, with something like his usual tone of familiarity, said,—

“Ah, Carl!—you here? You have, of course, heard of our sad disappointment?”

“No, my lord,” I replied, with some bitterness of tone, “I have scarcely had time, for I have not been yet an hour in Dresden.”

Without noticing either the manner of my answer or the allusion to my absence, the Count continued,—

“This evening we were to have had the happiness to have amongst us one who seems to be gifted with some magic power of diffusing delight and ecstasy on every side where she appears. Those whose hearts were cold to beauty in all others, have yielded to the fascination of hers; and the soul that never before was touched by melody has thrilled with transport at her heavenly voice. Divine La Mercia! the paragon of beauty and the soul of song! There, there stands her harp, and here you see her music; but she is absent. Alas! we have only the wand of the magician—the spell is not there.”

In an instant the veil was lifted from my eyes; the whole truth burst on me like a lightning flash—the course of my popularity was run, the sun of my favour had set for ever.

The fatigue of my journey, the heat of the salon, the confusion of my mind, and the bitter conflict of my feelings, all conspired to unman me, and I sank upon a sofa. As I sat thus unnoticed (for the tone of the Count’s manner had divested the few who were previously attentive of all interest for me), I overheard the conversation of those around me. But one name was mentioned, but one person seemed to engross every tongue or heart—that was La Mercia.

From what I could collect it appeared that she, a most beautiful and interesting girl, had appeared at the Opera a few evenings since, and by the charms of her surpassing beauty, as well as the surprising richness and clearness of her voice, had captivated the whole city, from the palace to the cottage. The enthusiastic repetition of her praises gradually led to regrets for her absence, and surmises as to the cause, while a young nobleman, who had just joined the circle, said,—

“Trust me, La Mercia would have come if she alone were consulted; but I fear that ill-tempered looking old fellow, whom she calls her ‘Dottore,’ has had much to say to this refusal.”

“Yes,” said another; “so late as yesterday evening, at the palace, when she was surrounded by several members of the royal family, eagerly pressing her to repeat a song she had just sung,—just as she consented, a look from the ‘Dottore’ shot across the room and met her eyes; she immediately hesitated, begged to be permitted not to sing, and immediately afterwards withdrew.”

“How strange!” said the nobleman who spoke before, “how very strange! It was but a few nights since, at the Opera, I witnessed the deference and submission with which she addressed him, and the cold indifference with which he met looks and heard tones that, would have made another’s heart beat beyond his bosom. It must, indeed, be a strange mystery that unites two beings so every way unlike;—one all beauty and loveliness, and the other the most sarcastic, treacherous-looking wretch, ever my eyes beheld.”

The deep interest with which I listened to those particulars of my rival—for such I now felt her to be—gradually yielded to a sense of my own sunken and degraded condition; and envy, the most baleful and pernicious passion that can agitate the bosom, took entire possession of me: envy of one whose very existence one hour before I was ignorant of. I felt that she—she had injured me,—robbed me of all for which life and existence was dear. But for her, I should still be the centre of this gay and brilliant assembly, by whom I am already forgotten and neglected: and, with a fiendish malignity, I thought how soon this new idol of a fickle and ungrateful people would fall from the pinnacle from which she had displaced me, and suffer in her own heart the cruel pangs I was then enduring.

I arose from where I had been sitting, my brain maddened with my sudden reverse of fortune, and fled from the salon to my home* In an agony of grief I threw myself upon my bed, and that night was to me like years of sorrowing and affliction.

When morning broke, my first resolve was to leave Dresden for ever; my next to remain, until, by applying all my energies to the task, I had accomplished something beyond all my former efforts; and then, spurning the praise and flattery my success would inspire, take a proud farewell of my fickle and ungrateful countrymen. The longer I thought upon, the more was I pleased with, this latter resolution, and panted with eagerness for the moment of contemptuous disdain, in which, flinging off the caresses of false friends, I should carry to other lands those talents which my own was unworthy to possess. It was but a few days before this the Prior of the Augustine monastery had called upon me, to beg I would paint an altar-piece for their chapel: they wished to have a kneeling figure of Mary, to whom the shrine was dedicated; but the subject, being a favourite one of Titian’s, had at that time deterred me. Its difficulty was now its charm; and as I pondered over in my mind the features I wished to transfer to my canvass, I suddenly remembered a painting which I had had for some years in my possession, and which, from the surpassing loveliness of the countenance it represented, as well as the beauty of its execution, had long fascinated me. I now reverted to it at once, and opening a secret drawer in my cabinet, took out the picture and placed it before me. It was a small and most beautifully painted enamel, representing two figures—one that of an old and stern-visaged man, upon whose harsh and severe features there played a scowl of deadly hate and scorn: he stood, drawn up to his full height, his hands and arms widely extended before him, as if in the act of performing some mystic or sacred rite over the lovely being who knelt at his feet in an attitude of the deepest and most reverential supplication. This was a lovely girl, her age scarcely eighteen years: her forehead, fair as alabaster, was shaded by two braids of dark brown hair, which hung back in heavy locks upon her neck and shoulders. Her eyes, of the deepest blue, were upraised and tearful, and the parted lips seemed almost to utter a murmured prayer, as her heaving bosom told some inward anguish; her hands were firmly clasped, but the arms hung powerless before her, and the whole figure conveyed the most perfect abandonment to grief it was possible to conceive. Here were the features, here the very attitude, I desired. Could I only succeed in imparting to my Madonna the lovely and sorrow-struck countenance before me, my triumph were certain. I had walked every gallery of Europe, from one end to the other; I had visited every private collection where a good picture was to be found, yet never had I beheld the same magic power of conveying, in one single scene, so much of storied interest as this small picture displayed. The features of that beautiful girl, too, bad the semblance of being copied from the life. There are certain slight and indescribable traits by which a painter will, in almost every case, distinguish when nature and when only fancy have lent the subject; and here, every thing tended to make me believe it to be a portrait. The manner in which I became possessed of it, also, contributed to invest it with a more than common interest in my eyes. The circumstances were these:—When a very young man, and only a short time settled at Rome, whither I had gone to prosecute my studies as a painter, the slender state of my purse had compelled me to take up my residence in one of the less known suburbs of the city. In the same humble dwelling in which I took up my abode there lived an old and paralytic man, whom age and infirmity had rendered bed-ridden for years. At first, my occupation being entirely without doors, left me but little opportunity to see or know much of him; but when winter closed in, and confined me whole days to the house, my acquaintance with him gradually increased, and, to my great surprise, I discovered in this poverty-struck and decrepid old man one who possessed the most intimate and critical knowledge of art; every gallery was familiar to him—he knew the history of each celebrated picture, and distinguished originals from their copies by such traits of discernment as evinced the most consummate intimacy with the deepest secrets of colouring, and, in a word, shewed himself to be, what I afterwards learned he was, a most accomplished artist: but the circumstances which threw him into his present mean and wretched condition ever remained a mystery. Various little acts of kindness and attention, which I had in my power to bestow, seemed to make a great impression on him, while my own friendless and solitary situation drew me into closer intimacy with one who seemed to have fewer of this world’s comforts than myself. To him, therefore, I confided all the circumstances which led me to Rome—my ardent desire for distinction—my longing for eminence in art: while he, by his advice and counsel, which he was well qualified to afford, directed my studies and encouraged my efforts.

Our acquaintance thus formed, rapidly ripened into friendship, and it was with pleasure I hurried from my gayer and more volatile companions to the poor and humble abode, where my old and feeble friend awaited me with impatience.

As the winter advanced, the infirmities of the old painter rapidly gained ground; he became daily weaker, and, by degrees, the calm serenity of his mind, which was his most remarkable trait, yielded to fits of impatience, in which, sometimes, his very reason seemed to struggle for empire: and at such times as these he would drop hints, and give vent to thoughts, that were awful and appalling to listen to. It appeared to me that he regarded his present afflicted state as the dreadful retribution of some real or imaginary crime; for, in addition to the unceasing depression which seized him, his fears of death were incessant, and great beyond measure* Sometimes, the thought that there was no future state would shoot across his mind, and a species of reckless gaiety would follow; but in a moment after, the strong and full conviction of his self-deception would visit him—and then his agony was frightful to witness. In the sad alternation of these states of hope and fear, in which the former was, if possible, more affecting to witness, weeks rolled on. One night when recovering from a nervous attack, which, by its duration and severity seemed to threaten more fatally than usual, he called me to him, and desired me to bring, from a concealed drawer in his trunk, a small ebony box clasped with silver. I did so. He took it with trembling hands, and placed it beside him on the pillow, while, with a voice scarcely audible from agitation, he whispered:—

“Leave me, Carl—leave me to myself! There is in this box what may meet no other eye than mine. And oh! would to Heaven that its bright lightnings had struck and blighted me, rather than I should ever have looked upon it.”

The energy with which these words were spoken seemed to weary and overcome him, and he was barely able to say:—

“Leave me now, my friend. But stay: ere you go, promise me—swear to me, as you hope—ay, as you hope your death-bed may be not like mine—swear, when all is at rest within this torn and afflicted heart, that you will, with your own hands, place this box within my coffin,—swear to place it there unopened: better far you had not enjoyed the blessed gift of sight, than look upon what it contains. I grow weaker,—promise me this.”

“I do,” I replied hurriedly. “I promise.”

“Swear it,” he said; while the large drops of sweat stood upon his brow, and his bloodshot eyes glared upon me like a maniac.

“I swear,” said I, anxious to relieve the terrific convulsion which his eagerness brought on; “I swear.” And as he lay back slowly upon the bed, I left the room.

When again, after a considerable time, I entered the chamber, he had turned his face towards the wall—his head buried between both his hands; while sobs, which he appeared struggling to control, burst from him at intervals. The casket lay locked beside him. I took it up, and placed it within my portmanteau; and, not daring to interfere with the course of that sorrow, the cause of which he had not confided to me, I stole noiselessly from the room.

When next I saw him he appeared to be somewhat better; but the feeble powers of life had received a severe shock, and his haggard and broken look shewed how much a few hours had hastened the approach of death. That evening he never once alluded to the subject which had agitated him, and bade me “Good night” earlier than usual, wishing to relieve his fatigue by sleep.—I never saw him after.

I had scarcely composed myself to sleep, my mind full of the events of the day, when an express arrived from an English nobleman, who had been my most influential and steadiest friend, requiring me immediately to set out for Naples, to make a picture of his only daughter ere her body was committed to the earth. She had died of the malaria, and her funeral could not be long delayed. I immediately set out, taking with me the portmanteau that contained the casket, and such requisites for painting as I could hurriedly collect. With all my anxiety to return to my old companion, I was unable to leave Naples before the tenth day; I then turned my face homewards, with a heart beating with anxiety, lest his death should have taken place in my absence. The diligence in which I travelled was attacked near Calvi by Banditti. Several of the passengers, being well armed, made resistance, and a dreadful conflict took place. Severely wounded in the side with a stiletto, I remained for dead upon the ground, and lost all remembrance of every thing till the moment I discovered myself a patient in the public hospital of Naples.

Several weeks of fever and delirium had passed over me, and I lay now weak and powerless. By degrees my strength was restored, and as I lay, one day, meditating a speedy departure from the hospital, the intendant of the police came to inform me that several articles of value, contained in a portmanteau bearing my initials, had been discovered near the scene of the late encounter, where they had probably been dropped by the robbers in their flight, and that, on my identifying and claiming them as mine they should be restored to me. Among other things he mentioned the ebony casket.

I dared not ask if it were opened, lest my agitation might occasion surprise or suspicion, and promised to inspect them the following morning, and identify such as were my property.

The next day I appeared at the bureau of the police. The portmanteau was produced and unlocked, and the very first thing I set my eyes upon was the picture. The case had been rudely torn open, and it lay there exposed to all. My promise—my solemnly pledged oath, came instantly to my mind, and all the awful denunciations the old man had spoken of, as in store for him who should look upon that picture! I was horror-struck and speechless, and only remembered where I was, as the Commissaire, who stood behind me and looked at it, asked if I were the painter? I replied not.

“The likeness is, indeed, wonderful,” said he.

I started; but immediately recovering myself, said:—

“You must be under some mistake. You could scarcely have seen the person for whom this was intended?” I said this because, from the attentive consideration I had given it, as well as the initials in the corner of the drapery, I perceived it to be one of the most beautifully executed enamels of Julio Romano, and must, at least, have been nearly two centuries old.

“Impossible I can be mistaken!” said he: “that is not only the Comtess d’Alvini herself, but there, and even more like, stands her uncle, ‘Il Dottore Albretto,’ as he was called. Why, I remember as well as though it were but yesterday, though I was only a boy at the time, her marriage—with one of your own profession, too. How can I forget his name!—ah, I have it—Antonio Gioventa! By the by, they said, too, the union was none of the happiest, and that they separated soon after. But of that I know nothing myself, for they never appeared in Naples after the morning they were married.”

How I longed to make one or two inquiries! but fear prevented me;—fear lest my own ignorance concerning the history of the picture might be discovered, and I confess, too, something like dread; for, the evident age of the picture tallied but ill with the account the Commissaire gave of the characters represented; and I longed for the moment I should put into execution, at least, so much of my promise as was yet in my power: putting it up, therefore, with such of my effects as I recognised, I returned to my hôtel.

The entire evening I could think of nothing but the story of the Commissaire. The artist could have been none other than my old friend Nichola Calertio—for by this name I had known him,—and that lovely creature must have been his wife! And what was her fate? and what could have been the awful mystery that wrapt their history? These thoughts dwelt in my mind, and, framing ten thousand solutions of the secret, I at last sunk into sleep.

The following day I took my departure for Rome. On my arrival, what was my horror to discover that Nichola had died the day after my departure from Naples, and that he had been buried in the strangers’ burial-ground; but in what spot, no one knew—nor had he one left who could point out his grave. Again my oath came to my mind, and I could not divest myself of the thought, that in the series of events which prevented its accomplishment chance had nothing to do; and that the hand of a guiding Providence had worked these apparent accidents for His own wise ends.

From that hour I guarded, how closely I cannot say, this picture from all human eye; but if I did so, the very impulse which drove me to conceal it from all others led me to look upon it myself. Like the miser who possesses a hidden treasure, ten thousand times dearer that it is known to him alone, I have sat, hour by hour, in the silent contemplation of it in my chamber; I have studied the features one by one, till I almost thought the figure lived and breathed before me; and often have I left the crowded and brilliant salon to seek, in the stillness of my own home, the delicious calm and dreamy tranquillity that painting ever inspired me with.

And so it had been my custom, when first I returned to Dresden, to sit for days long with that picture open before me. As a work of art, it possessed undoubted excellence; but I could not help feeling that its mysterious history had invested it with an interest altogether deeper and more powerful than the beauty of the execution could alone account for. This habit had been first broken in upon by the numerous and varied occupations my newly-arisen popularity brought upon me; and amid the labours of the painting-room, and the gay hours of fashionable dissipation, I had been now some weeks without once having seen it, when the events I have just detailed, and my determination to copy from it, brought it again fully to my mind.

The day which followed that long night of misery passed I know not how. When I awoke from the deep musing my thoughts had fallen into, it was already evening: the sun had set, and a soft twilight was sleeping on all around. I opened my window, and let the cool breeze of the evening blow upon my heated and fevered brain; and as I sat thus, lost in reverie, the last traces of daylight gradually faded away, and a thin, crescent-like moon, shewed itself over the hill of the Meissner. The city lay in deep shadow, and almost in silence; the mournful plashing of the river being plainly heard above all other sounds. There is something sad, and almost awful, in the sight of a large and populous city bathed in the silence and sleep of night; its busy voice hushed, its streets untrodden, or echoing to the tread of a solitary passer-by. To me this was now most welcome. The dreamy melancholy of my mind felt pleasure in the death-like stillness about me, and I wandered forth to enjoy the free air and balmy breeze upon the bank of the Elbe. After some time I crossed the bridge, and continued my walk through the suburb, intending to return by a beautiful garden which lies on that side of the river. As I approached the Elbe I was struck by the bright glare of light which, proceeding from some building near, illuminated the river nearly the whole way across, displaying upon its glassy surface several boats, in which the people sat resting on their oars, and scarcely moving in the gentle tide of the stream. I remembered for a moment, and then it occurred to me that the brilliant glare of light proceeded from the villa of Count Lowenstein, which stood upon a small promontory of land, about two miles from Dresden, this being the night of a private soiree, to which only his nearest and most intimate friends were ever invited. Report had spoken loudly of the singular beauty of the villa itself, the splendour of its decorations, the richness and taste of its furniture; and, indeed, around the whole character of the place, and the nature of the entertainments held there, the difficulty of entrée, and the secrecy observed by the initiated, had thrown an air of the most romantic interest. To these soirées although honoured by marks of the greatest distinction, and even admitted to the closest intimacy, the Count never invited me, and in the days of my prosperity it had ever been with a sense of pique I called to mind the circumstance. Thither I now inadvertently bent my steps, and it was only when the narrowness of the path which lay between the hedge of the garden and the river required my caution in walking, that I remembered I must have entered the grounds, and was then actually within a few paces of the villa. While I stood for a moment, uncertain whether to retreat or advance, I was struck by observing that the boats had gradually and noiselessly approached the bank, a short way from where I was, and, by the attitudes of the figures I could perceive that they were listening most eagerly and attentively. I approached a few steps, till, at the sudden turning of the walk, I found myself beneath the terrace of a splendid salon, brilliantly lighted, and crowded by numerous and full-dressed guests. The rarest plants and most beautiful exotics stood in jars along the balustrade, diffusing their perfume around, and the cheerful hum of voices was heard in the still night air as parties walked to and fro upon the balcony. Suddenly the din of voices was hushed, those that were walking stood still, as if spell-bound,—a few seconds of the most perfect silence followed—then two or three chords of a harp, lightly but tastefully struck,—and then flowed forth a burst of melody, so full, so rich, so swelling, in the recitative of Rossini, “Oh, Patria!—oh, dolce ingrata Patria!”—that it filled my heart with transport, and my eyes with tears; and to my wounded and broken spirit there came a holy and delicious calm, as if by some magic spell another had divined my inward sorrow, and, in giving it expression, had given it relief.

The recitative over, oh with what triumphant gladness came the brilliant aria, diffusing joy and happiness through every fibre of my frame! and, as one delicious cadence succeeded another, I felt my heart beat strong and stronger against my side. My sorrow—my deep, depressing sorrow—was forgotten; a very heaven of brilliant hopes was opened before me, and peace flowed in upon my soul once more. The singer paused; then came a melting cadence, followed by a thrilling shake—so low, so plaintive, and so clear, I felt as if the last emotion of happiness fled with it. A silence of a moment followed, and then a thunder of applause flowed in on every side; and the words, “Divine La Mercia!” burst from every voice around.

I stood amazed and thunderstruck. The quick transition of my feelings had completely overpowered me, and I was only aroused by hearing a voice so near me as to startle me. It was the Count who spoke: he stood directly above me, leaning against a pillar of the portico, and supported upon his arm a lady, but, from her position, I could not catch her features. From his soft, low, and earnest tone of voice, it was plain the nature of his suit was one of heartfelt interest; while the few words she spoke in answer, from their soft tones and foreign accent, left me no doubt they came from La Mercia. I crept nearer the balcony, and, concealed behind the balustrades, waited anxiously to catch a glance at her as she passed. The light fell strongly from an open window upon this part of the terrace; and I could perceive, as she came forward, that, disengaging herself from the Count’s arm, she assumed a more gay and lively manner. She was now within a few feet of where I stood eagerly waiting for the moment she would turn to enter the salon. She curtsied deeply to some persons in the crowd; and ere I could recover from the effect of the graceful and beautiful attitude she assumed, she turned. Merciful Heaven! could it be true? I almost screamed aloud, and, but for the hold I took of the balcony, should have fallen. The picture was La Mercia: the same calm brow, the same melting look, that beautiful outline of neck and throat, and, above all, that lovely contour of head, to see which once was never to forget. She was gone! the guests disappeared one by one from the terrace, the salon became again crowded, and the windows were closed against the now chilling night air; and yet so suddenly all seemed to happen, I could scarcely believe but that still that lovely voice and beauteous form were before me; and I could not help thinking, as I left the spot, that to an excited brain and fevered imagination the likeness of the picture to La Mercia must have been owing, as with slow steps I retraced my way homeward.

The next morning early I left Dresden for the Augustine monastery at Tetchen, and ardently commenced the intended altar-piece; but, fearing lest the likeness to La Mercia might have been real, I did not copy from the painting as I had resolved. For three months I laboured unceasingly; and, whether from the perfect occupation of my time, or that the peaceful and tranquil life of the holy men with whom I lived had its influence, I know not, but my mind once more regained its calmness and serenity, and I felt almost happy again.

In this frame of mind I was, when, one morning, one of the fathers, entering my apartment, informed me that my old friend and patron, Count Lowenstein, was about to be married. I started, and hurriedly asked to whom, while the deep blush which suffused my cheek told too plainly the interest I took in the answer.

“I know not,” said the monk; “but report speaks of her as eminently beautiful.”

“Would you recognise the name if you heard it?” I asked.

“I have heard it but once, but think I might remember it again,” said he.

“Then it is La Mercia,” I replied.

“The same—La Mercia was the name; and they say a more splendid wedding Dresden has never witnessed than this will be.”

I cannot explain why, but never did I feel, at any period of my life, so completely overcome as when I listened to this report. Never before had I confessed to myself how I had felt towards La Mercia, nor even now could I tell: it was not love; I had never seen her but for a few brief seconds, and yet in my heart she lived, the guiding-star of all my thoughts and aspirations; and though my most sanguine dreams never anticipated my calling her mine, yet I could not bear the thought that she was to belong to another. I resolved at once to set out for Dresden, and, if possible, see her once before the wedding would take place. I thought it would he a balm to my feelings should I look upon her, before she was lost to me for ever, and I longed ardently to trace, with what calmness I was able, how far the likeness with the picture was real or imaginary. With these intentions I left the monastery that evening, and returned to Dresden.

When I reached home I learned that the Count had been married, and found upon my table a most pressing invitation from him to his soirée at the villa that evening. At first I resolved not to accept it. The full measure of my loneliness had never so pressed on me before; for although, in reality, La Mercia was not, nor could ever have been, aught to me, yet I felt as if my fate and happiness were, by some inexplicable ties, wound up with hers; and now that tie was to be broken. I had begun to believe that the extraordinary impression she had made upon my mind had entirely suggested the resemblance with the picture, which some chance trait of likeness might have contributed to, and I longed ardently to see her;—but then, to see her the bride of another! These conflicting thoughts agitated me during the entire day, and I knew not what to decide on.

When evening came I embarked upon the Elbe, and, after a half-hour’s rowing, reached the villa of the Count. Lights gleamed from every window, and delicious music was borne on the night wind, that blew gently along the river. Numerous servants, in gorgeous liveries, passed and repassed along the spacious veranda, which ran the entire length of the building, carrying fruit, wine, and ices to those who preferred the balmy air and starry sky without, to the heat and glitter of the crowded salon within.

With difficulty I made my way through the dense mass that filled the antechamber, and at length reached one of the reception-rooms, scarcely less crowded. On every side I beheld some of the highest persons of the city: groups of officers in splendid uniforms, ambassadors glittering in orders and crosses, distinguished foreigners, artists, authors, were all mingled together in thick profusion, enjoying the magnificence and splendour which unbounded wealth, guided and directed by the most cultivated taste, could create. Standing in mute admiration of a beautiful figure of Psyche, which seemed fresh from the chisel of Canova, I was roused by a voice addressing me, while at the same moment my shoulder was gently tapped. I turned;—it was the Count himself.

“Ah, Monsieur le Baron,” said he, “‘Enfin après un an!’ as Racine has it. Where have you buried yourself and all your agreeability these ages past? But come, I shall not tax your invention for excuses and apologies; follow me—the Countess has heard me frequently speak of you, and longs to make your acquaintance. This way—after me as well as you can.”

The friendly tone of the Count, as well as its being almost the first time of my being addressed by my new title, brought a deep blush to my cheek, which fortunately was unobserved as I followed him in the crowd. He passed through this room to one still larger, filled with parties playing at several small tables, and thence into an oval salon, where waltzing was going on. With great difficulty we got through this, and arrived at a curtain of white cloth, fringed at the bottom with deep and massive silver lace; this he drew gently aside, and we entered the boudoir. Upon a small ottoman, over which was thrown a rich Persian shawl, sat the Countess.

“Isadora,” said the Count, as he approached—“Isadora, ‘carissima mia,’ this is my friend, Carl Stelling.”

She lifted her head from the picture she was shewing to a lady beside her, and as her eye beamed fully upon me and her lips parted to address me, I fell fainting to the ground.

“It is!—it is!” I muttered, as the last ray of consciousness was leaving my whirling brain.

When I recovered, the Count was standing over me bathing my temples. I looked wildly around. I saw we were still in the boudoir, although all but one or two had departed; and from the window, now opened, there came a cool and refreshing breeze. I looked anxiously around for the Countess: she stood at a table, her cheek deadly pale, and I thought her appearance evinced great agitation. I heard her, in a low whisper, ask,—

“What can this mean?”

I immediately recovered myself sufficiently to say, that, overcome by the heat of the salon, in my then weak state, that I felt completely overpowered. But I saw my explanation seemed incomplete, and that some words must have fallen from me which I did not remember.

The Count, at the same instant, putting his lips to my ear, said,—

“Carl, this must be explained at another and more fitting moment.”

This increased my agitation, for I now perceived that my merely being taken suddenly ill could never have given rise to such a feeling as all around seemed to labour under. Before, then, I could at all determine how to act, the Countess approached me, and, in her softest and kindest manner, asked if I were better.

In a moment all my agitation was forgotten; and, indeed, every one of the party seemed to participate, as if by magic, in the balmy influence her few words shed around. Conversation soon resumed its course. For some time the Count’s manner was constrained and uncertain, but that soon wore away, as the joyous tone and sparkling gaiety of his lovely bride seemed to have their effect upon every one about her; and even I—torn, as I was, by feelings I could neither trace nor divine—felt under the mystic spell that so much beauty and grace diffused on every side. With a wonderful tact she alluded at once to such subjects that compelled me, as an artist, to speak, and speak warmly; and, seemingly, catching the enthusiasm from me that she herself had created, she spoke of Venice—its thousand recollections—its treasures of art—its rich historical associations—its ancient glory; and then, taking up her guitar, played with such tenderness and feeling one of the well-known gondolier canzonette, as made the very tears stand in my eyes.

The victory was complete: I forgot the past—I knew no longer where I was. A bright Elysium of bliss had opened before me; and even now, after years of such misery as few have known, I could say that one hour of such intoxicating happiness would be, almost, cheaply bought by even such affliction.

I started from my trance of pleasure on observing that the guests were taking leave. I at once arose, and, as she extended her hand to me, I felt the blood rush to my face and forehead. I barely dared to touch it with my lips, and retired. I hurried from the villa, and, springing into my boat, was soon landed at the bridge of Dresden.

From that time my visits at the villa were frequent; seldom a week elapsed without my receiving one or two invitations from the Count; and, at last, to such an extent did my intimacy proceed, and so superior in attraction was the society there, that for it I deserted all other, and only felt happy when with my kind patrons. During this, by far the most delightful period of my life, I was not entirely free from unhappiness. Sometimes the likeness of the Countess to the picture would appear to me so striking as not to be mistaken: one day particularly, when some sudden intelligence was brought to her that caused momentary alarm for the Count’s safety, her pale cheek and quivering lip brought the portrait so perfectly before me, that I was unable to speak or offer her advice when she asked my opinion; and then, vague and horrid doubts, and a dread of some unknown and unforeseen calamity, would flash upon my mind; and those who have experienced how deeply they can be impressed by a presentiment of evil, can tell how little it is in their power to rally their spirits against terrors which take every or any shape. And while I reasoned with myself against what might be mere groundless fear, yet I never could look upon the picture and call to mind the death-bed sorrow of the old artist, without feeling that some dreadful fate was connected with its history, in which, as its mere possessor, I might be involved. Sometimes to such a degree did this anxiety prevail upon me, that I had fully determined to shew it to the Countess, and either endeavour to trace its history from her, or at once rid myself of all apprehension concerning it, if she disclaimed all knowledge of it; but then, if she really were connected with its story—if, as it was possible, a mother’s fate (for the resemblance could warrant such a relationship) were wound up’ with the story,—what right had I, or how could I answer to myself, for the mere satisfaction of my own doubts, to renew the sorrows, and, perhaps, even be the means of publishing to the world the sad detail of forgotten crime or misfortune? Perhaps, however, the picture was not, as I supposed, an antique: it might be an admirable copy. But this idea was relinquished at once: the more I examined, the more fully did it corroborate my opinion of its being the work of a master. Such thoughts as these—and they grew upon me daily more and more—embittered the happiest moments of my intercourse with my friends; and often, when the merry laugh and the joyous glee which pervaded our parties at the villa were at the highest, I thought of that picture, and my heart sank at the recollection, and I would hasten to my home to conceal from every eye the terror and anguish these thoughts ever inspired me with.

One evening when dressing for the Count’s villa I received a billet, written in pencil and evidently in haste; it came from himself, and informed me that the Countess, who had that morning made a short excursion upon the river, had returned home so ill that the entertainment was deferred. I was, however, requested to call the following morning, to take some sketches of Pirna from the villa, which I had long since promised to make for them. So completely had I withdrawn myself from all other society during my great intimacy with Count Lowenstein, that I now felt the billet I received left me unable to say where or how I should pass my evening.

In this uncertainty I wandered forth, and without thinking whither my steps led me, it was only on hearing the boatman ask if I were ready, that I perceived I had strolled to the steps beside the bridge, where I usually took my departure for the villa. Lost in reverie and led captive by habit, I had walked to this spot unconsciously to myself.

I was about to dismiss the boatmen for the night, when a whim seized me to drop on board and visit those small and wooded islands that lie about a league up the river. It was a calm and beautiful night; and in the wild and untrodden solitude of these romantic islands I remained till near midnight.

As we passed the grounds of the Count, I or-dered the boatmen to land me at a spot remote from the house, whence I could proceed on foot, wishing to make some inquiry for the Countess before I returned home. They accordingly put me on shore at a small flight of steps which descended to the water’s edge, from a terraced path that ran a considerable distance through the park, and was concealed in its entire length by tall hedges of beech, completely overgrown with flowering creeping shrubs, and so impenetrable, that, even in noon-day, it was impossible for those without, to see persons walking within, while the closely-shaven sod effectually prevented footsteps being heard. The moon was up, and nearly at the full, and all beneath me in the richly-ornamented flower-garden was bathed in a sea of mellow light. The marble statues that adorned the walks threw their lengthened shadows at their bases, while their own whiteness seemed purer and fairer than ever. The villa itself, half obscured by trees, seemed, in its tranquil beauty, the very emblem of peace; and as the pillars of the portico threw a deeper shadow, gave a broadness to the effect which struck me as wonderfully beautiful. I gazed around me with momentarily increasing admiration. The gentle murmuring of the leaves agitated by the breeze, and the plash of the river, made the silence around me even more striking. I stood lost in the enjoyment of the delicious repose of the whole scene, when a slight noise upon the gravel walk attracted my attention; I listened, and now distinctly heard footsteps approaching, and also the voices of persons whispering in a low and much-suppressed tone. They came nearer, and were now only concealed from my view by the tall hedge, beneath which they walked; and soon the shadow of two figures were cast along the broad walk in the bright moonlight. For a moment they stopped speaking, and then I heard a laugh, in a low and under tone—but such a laugh! My very blood ran chilled back upon my heart as I heard it. Oh, if the fiend himself had given that dreadful and heart-appalling laugh, it could not be more awful! It scarcely died away in the faint echo, ere I heard the sobs, deep and low, of another and far different voice. At this instant the figures emerged from the darkness and stood in the bright moonlight. They stood beside an old and broken pillar, which had once supported a sun-dial, and around whose shaft the clustering ivy had wound itself. They were entirely concealed by large cloaks which enveloped their entire figures, but still I could perceive that one was much larger and more robust than the other. This latter taking a small lamp, which was concealed beneath the folds of his cloak, placed it upon the pillar, while at the same instant the other figure, throwing off the cloak, knelt at his feet. Oh, that reason had left me, or that life itself had parted from me, ere I should look upon that scene! She—she who knelt and held her suppliant hands was La Mercia; and he who, now divested of his mantle, stood over her, was the dark and awful-looking man of the picture! There they stood. The dresses of both were copied to the life; their looks—oh, Heaven! their very looks were pictured as they stood. She spoke: and as she did so, her arms fell powerless before her; he scowled the same horrid scowl of hate and scorn. My brain was turning; I tried to scream out, my voice failed me—I was mute and powerless; my knees rocked and smote each other; convulsive tremor shook me to the centre, and with a groan of agony I sank fainting to the earth.

The day was breaking ere I came to myself; I arose, all was quiet around me. I walked to the boat—the boatmen were sleeping; I awoke them, and we returned to Dresden. I threw myself upon my bed—my brain seemed stupified and exhausted—I fell into a profound sleep, and woke not till late the following evening. A messenger had brought a note from the Count—“The Countess is worse.” The note detailed briefly that she had passed a feverish and disturbed night, and that the medical attendants had never left the villa. Was it then but a dream, my dreadful vision of the past night? and had my mind, sorrowing for the affliction of my best friend, conjured up the awful scenes I believed to have witnessed? How could it be otherwise? The billet I received told most distinctly that she was confined to her bed, severely, dangerously ill; and of course watched with all the care and attention the most sedulous anxiety could confer. I opened the picture, and then conviction flashed with lightning’s rapidity upon me, that it was not delusion—that no dream had brought these images before my mind. “Ah,” I cried, “my friend, my patron, how have I betrayed thee? Why did I not earlier communicate the dreadful story of the picture, and thus guard you against the machinations by which the fiend himself has surrounded you? But then, what had I to tell? how embody the vague and shadowy doubts that took, even in my own mind, no palpable shape or form?”

That entire day was passed in alternate resolution and abandonment; now, determined to hasten to the villa, and disclose to the Count every circumstance I had seen, and then thinking how little such mere suspicion would gain credence, and how unfit the present moment to obtrude upon his breaking and distracted heart the horrid dread that haunted mine. Towards evening a messenger arrived, breathless with haste. He brought no note, but merely bade me hasten to the villa, as the Count wished to see me with all possible despatch. I mounted the servant’s horse, and in a few minutes reached the place. Servants were running hither and thither distractedly. I asked, eagerly, How was the Countess? No one could tell, but all seemed to imply that there was no hope of recovery. I entered the large spacious and hall, and threw myself upon a sofa; and as I looked around upon the splendid hangings, the gilded cornices, and marbled pillars, and thought upon that sorrow such splendour surrounded, my heart sickened. A shadow fell upon the brightly polished floor. I looked up—a figure stood at the window of the hall, and stared me steadily in the face. The eyes glared wildly, and the dark, malignant features were lit up with a scornful scowl of more than human hate and triumph. It was the incarnation of the Evil One exulting over a fallen and lost spirit. A loud shriek rent the air behind me. I dared not turn my eyes from the horrid sight before me. “Oh, Heavens! it is true!—he is, he is the Tutore!” I cried, as the features, convulsed for an instant with fiendish triumph, resumed their cold and even more appalling aspect. A threatening gesture from his hand arrested me, as I was about to call aloud. My voice came not, though my lips moved. I could not rise from the seat—a dreadful scream rang through the building—another, and another followed—the figure was gone. At the same moment the Count rushed forward—his dress disordered, his hair falling loosely upon his shoulders—madness, wild insanity, in his look. He turned and saw me; and bursting into a torrent of hysterical laughter, cried out,—

“Ha, ha, Carl!—welcome to our abode of pleasure; here, all is gaiety and happiness. What sorrow ever crosses this threshold?” and then, with a sudden revulsion, he stared me fixedly, and said in a low sepulchral voice, “She is dead—dead! But the time is passing—a few minutes more, and ‘twill be too late. This, Carl, will explain all. Take this, and this—these papers must be your care—promise me to observe them to the letter; they were her—her last wishes, and you knew her. Oh, is this a dream? it is too, too horrible to be real. Ah!” said he, after a moment’s pause; “I am ready!” and springing from me wildly, rushed through the door towards the inner apartments.

I started up and followed him—I knew not which way he took in the corridor; and as I stood uncertain, a loud report of fire-arms crashed on my ear. I flew to the sick chamber—servants stood gasping and trembling without, I tore open the door; there, lay the Count upon the floor, his head rent asunder by the bullets from the pistol his hand still grasped. He had endeavoured to reach the bed, and fell half upon a chair. In the bed lay the still warm corpse of the Countess, beautiful as in life. I looked from one to the other; my seared and stony heart, turned to apathy by the horrors I had witnessed, gave no relief to its feeling in tears, and I spoke not as I slowly left the room.

For two days I spoke not to any one. A dreamy unconsciousness seemed to wrap my faculties, and I felt not the time passing. On the third day I rallied sufficiently to open the papers the Count had entrusted to me. One contained an affectionate farewell to myself, from the Count, with a dying bequest; the other, was in a lady’s hand—it bore the Countess’s signature; and here I discovered with surprise and horror, that to the performance of the rash act, by which the Count had terminated his existence, he was bound by a solemn oath. I ready and re-read, to assure myself of the fact. It was true! Such was the terrible promise she extorted from the wretched lover, under the delusive hope of their meeting in another and happier life. Then followed the directions for the funeral, which were minute to a degree. The bodies of both, when coffined, were to be placed in a small temple in the garden, near the river; the key of which was to be sent to a Dominican monk, who lived in an obscure part of the city. By him were the coffins to be closed, which it was strictly enjoined should be done by him, alone and unaccompanied, the night before the burial.

All was done as the wish of the deceased enjoined, and the key despatched by a trusty servant of my own to the friar, who appeared to be in expectation of it, and knew its import.

I sat in the lonely and desolate room, which had formerly been mine, in the villa of the Count; that long and dreary night the wind poured its mournful wailing through the pine-trees in dirgeful memory of him who was no more. From the window of the temple a bright light gleamed till near morning, when it gradually faded away. Thither I repaired at day-break, with the household. All was still—the door lay open—the coffins were closed and screwed down. The friar was gone; we afterwards found that he had not returned to his lodgings in the city, nor was he ever after seen in Dresden. The bodies were committed to the earth, and I returned to my home alone in the world.

It was several years after this—the awful death of my earliest, best friend—that I arrived in Paris to exhibit, in the gallery of the Luxembourg, an historical picture, upon which I had laboured for years. I must be brief—my picture was exhibited, and my most sanguine expectations surpassed by its success; and in a few short days the whole scene of my early triumph was re-enacted. Praise and flattery poured in upon me; and as in Dresden before, so now in Paris, I became the fashion and the rage. But how changed was I! No longer exulting in my success, and buoyant with hopes, I received all the adulation I met with, with cold indifference and apathy.

Among the many attentions which my popularity had conferred upon me, was an invitation to the Hôtel de Rohan. The Duke, a most distinguished connoisseur in painting, having seen and applauded my picture, waited on me. Thus bound in duty, I went; and fatigued by the round of soulless gaiety, in what I could no longer feel happy, or even forgetful, I was retiring early, when the Duke met me and said,—

“Ah, monsieur, I have been looking for you. The Comtesse de Julliart has desired me to present you to her; and when I tell you that she is the most beautiful woman in Paris, I need not say how much you must prize the honour among all the distinctions your talents have earned. Come this way.”

I followed mechanically—my heart took no interest in the scene—and I only longed to be once more alone and unobserved. As I walked after the Duke, he gave me a short account of the beautiful Countess, whom he mentioned as the last descendant of an old and honoured family, supposed to have been long since extinct, when she, a few months before, appeared in Paris, and laid claim to the title. As she possessed unbounded wealth, and had no great favours to ask any where, the Court were charmed with her beauty, and readily admitted her claims, which some were ill-natured enough to say were, perhaps, merely assumed without foundation.

I took little interest in the story. My thoughts were far away, as they ever were for many years, from every thing of the present; and ‘twas only as I heard the Duke announce my name, among a group who stood near a sofa, that I remembered why I was there.

The Countess sat with her back to us, but rose immediately on hearing my name. I bowed deeply as she stood up; and recovering myself from my obeisance, looked up. Oh, merciful Heaven, with what horror I looked!—It was no other than La Mercia! With one loud cry of “Tis she! ‘tis she!” I fell fainting to the floor.

Weeks of wild raving and delirium followed. I left Paris!—I returned to Dresden. There, all reminded me of the past. I fled from my home; and now, after years of wandering in solitary and distant lands, I feel deep in my heart the heavy curse that has followed upon my broken oath, and which has made me an outcast and a broken-hearted wanderer in the world for ever.


Before leaving the Vorarlberg, and while now on its very frontier, I would wish to keep some record of two very different but yet very characteristic actions, of which this place was the scene. As you begin the ascent of the Arlberg from the westward the road makes two very abrupt zigzags, being carried along the edge of a deep precipice. On looking down over the low battlements that guard the side of the way, you discover, immediately under you, the spire and roofs of a small village several hundred feet below. The churchyard, the little gardens, the narrow streets, and the open “Platz,” where stands a fountain, are all mapped out distinctly. This is the village of Steuben. A strange spot you would deem it for any to have chosen as a dwelling-place, hemmed in between lofty mountains, on whose bleak sides the snow is seen in the very midsummer; surrounded by wild crags and yawning clefts, without even pasturage for any thing save a goat: but your surprise will increase on learning that twice within the last century has this village been swept away by falling avalanches. The first time, the snow meeting in its descent from the mountains on either side actually formed a bridge over a portion of the village; and the houses thus saved were long regarded as under the special favour of the Virgin, with whose image they were most bounteously decorated. The next calamity, however, destroyed the prestige, for they were mingled in the common destruction.

It would be difficult for “Gentlemen of England, who live at home in ease,” to fancy any reason for this unaccountable selection of a residence which adds the highest amount of peril to all the woes of poverty. But every traveller has seen many such instances. In every mountain land they are to be met with, and in each of the Alpine passes little groups of houses—they can scarcely be called villages—can be detected in spots where access is most difficult, where no feature around indicates any means of supporting life, and where the precautions—simple and ineffectual enough—against avalanches, shew that danger to be among their calculations. How explain this? By what associations have these dreary spots become hallowed into homes? Possibly the isolated lives of these little families of men give them the same distaste to mixing with their brethren of the great world, that is felt by a solitary recluse to entering into society. Mayhap, too, the sense of peril itself has its share in the attraction. There is no saying how far this feeling may go, so strange and wayward are the caprices of human nature.

If you enter any of these villages, the narratives of snow storms, of falling precipices, and “Lavines,” as avalanches are called, meet you at every step. They are the great topics of these communities, as the movements of Politics or the vacillations of the Bourse are elsewhere. Scarcely one who has reached the middle term of life has not been, at least once, in the most imminent peril; and these things are talked of as the common accidents of existence, the natural risks of humanity! Very strange does it sound to us who discuss so eagerly the perils of a wooden pavement in our thoroughfares!

It is curious, too, to hear, as one may, most authentically, the length of time life can be preserved beneath the snow. Individuals have been buried so long as three entire days, and yet taken out alive. The cold, of which it would be supposed they had suffered dreadfully, seems scarcely very great; and the porous nature of the snow, and possibly the chinks and crevices left between falling masses, have usually left air sufficient for respiration. That individuals in such circumstances of peril are not, always at least, devoid of their exercise of the faculties, I remember one instance which is sufficiently convincing. It was in the Via Mala, about five miles from the village of Splügen, where, in the year 1829, the little cabriolet that conveyed the mail was swept away by an avalanche. The calamity was not known for full seven or eight hours afterwards, when some travellers from Andeer reaching the spot, found the road blocked up by snow, and perceived a portion of the wooden rail of the road, and a fragment of a horse-harness adhering to it, half-way down the precipice. The guides of the party, well accustomed to reason from such sad premises, at once saw what had happened. Conceiving, however, that the driver had been carried down over the cliff, and consequently to certain death, they directed their sole care to clearing a passage for the travellers. In so doing, they proceeded with long poles to sound the snow, and ascertain to what depth it lay unhardened. It was in one of these “explorations,” and when the pole had sunk above ten feet deep into a mass of soft unfrozen snow, that the man who held it found himself unable to withdraw the staff, and called his comrades to aid him. They soon perceived, however, that the resistance gradually yielded, and from the instinct peculiar to the “hand”—another illustration for Sir Charles Bell—they recognised that it must be the grip of human fingers which held the other end of the pole. They immediately began to excavate on the spot, and in half an hour liberated the poor postilion of the mail car, who, although hearing the shouts and cries of the party for nearly an hour over his head, could not succeed in making his own voice heard, and but for the fortunate accident of the pole must have perished.

Many curious escapes were told to me, but this appeared most singular of all; and now I come back to Steuben, or rather to the wild mountain above it, over which, by a succession of windings, the road leads which joins the Vorarlberg to the Tyrol. About one third of the ascent accomplished, you come upon an abrupt turning of the way, in rounding which a wide carriage can scarcely escape grating on the rock on one side, while from the window on the opposite, the traveller looks down upon * gorge actually yawning at his feet; the low barrier of wall, which does not rise above the nave of the wheel, is a very frail and insignificant protection ok such a spot, but when hid from view, as it is to those seated in a carriage, the effect of the gulf is really enough to shake common nerves. A little inscription upon a stone in this wall records the name of the engineer—Donegani, if I remember aright—who, deeming this spot the triumph of his skill, has selected it whereon to inscribe his achievement. There is another meaning connected with the place, but unrecorded; it could not, indeed, have been transmitted like that of the Engineer, for when the event of which it treats occurred, there was neither wall nor railing, and the road passed some twelve feet higher up, over a ledge of rock, and actually seemed to jut out above the precipice. There is, indeed, a memorial of the transaction to which I allude, but it stands about twelve hundred feet down in the gorge below,—a small wooden cross of rudest workmanship, with the equally rudely inscribed words, “Der Vorspann’s Grab.”

Now for the story, which happily is short.

It was late on a severe evening of winter, as a calèche drawn by two horses drew up to the door of the post-house at Steuben; for then, as now, Steuben was the last post-station before commencing the ascent of the Arlberg. The travellers, two in number, wore military cloaks and foraging caps; but what the precise rank, or to what arm of the service they belonged, not even the prying observations of the host could fathom. Their orders were for fresh horses immediately to cross the mountain, and although the snow-drift was falling fast, and the night dark as pitch, they peremptorily insisted on proceeding. The post regulations of those days were not very stringent and arbitrary; as a post-master may seem nowadays, he was nothing to the autocrat that once ruled the comings and goings of unhappy travellers.

When he averred that his horses had done enough—that it was a saint’s-day—that the weather was too bad or his postilions too weary, the case was hopeless, and the traveller was consigned, without appeal, to the consolations of his own philosophy.

It chanced that on this occasion the whole disposable cavalry of the Post consisted of two blind mares, which were both too old and weak to tempt the cravings of the Commissary, who a few days before had seized on all the draught-cattle to convey stores to Feldkirch, at that time menaced by a French force under Massena.

The officers, however, were urgent in their demand; it was of the last importance that they should reach Inspruck by the following evening. At last, half by menace, half by entreaty, it was arranged that the two old mares should be harnessed to the carriage, the host remonstrating all the while on the inability of the expedient, and averring that, without a Vorspann, a relay of horses, to lead at the steepest parts of the mountain, the attempt would be fruitless. “Nay,” added he, “if you doubt me, ask the boy who is sleeping yonder, and has been driving the Vorspann for years over the Arlberg.” The travellers turned and beheld on a heap of straw, in the corner of the kitchen, a poor little boy, whose ragged uniform of postilion had evidently reached him at third or fourth hand, so large and loosely did it hang around his slender figure. He was sleeping soundly, as well he might, for he had twice crossed the mountain to St. Cristoph on that same day.

“And this book,” said one of the travellers, taking a very tattered and well-thumbed volume which had dropped from the sleeper’s fingers, “has this poor little fellow time to read?”

“He contrives to do it somehow,” said the host, laughing; “nay, more, as you may see there, he has begun to teach himself French. Since he heard that the French army was about to invade us, he has never ceased his studies, sitting up half the night working at that old grammar there, for which he gave all his month’s earnings.”

“And what maybe his reason for this?” said the elder traveller, evidently interested in the recital.

“He has got the notion, that if the French succeed in forcing the pass of Feldkirch and enter the Tyrol, that, as he will be constantly engaged as Vorspann on the mountain, his knowledge of French would enable him to discover many secrets of the enemy, as no one would ever suspect a poor creature like him of having learned a foreign language.

“And his motive was then purely a patriotic one?”

“Purely; he is poor as you see, and an orphan, but his Tyrol blood runs warm and thick in his veins.”

“And what progress has he made?”

“That I cannot answer you, mein Herr; for no one hereabouts knows any thing of French—nor, I suppose, had he ever the opportunity of testing the acquirement himself. They are driven back, I am told.”

“For the present,” said the elder stranger, gravely; “but we shall need all the reserves at Inspruck to hold our ground whenever they renew the attack.”

The sleeper was now aroused to take the saddle; for in the absence of the regular postilion the Vorspann was obliged to take his place.

Still but half awake, the little fellow stood up, and mechanically buttoning up his worn jacket, he took down his whip and prepared for the road.

The travellers were soon ready, and ere many minutes elapsed the calèche had left the village, and, with the best pace the old mares could accomplish, was breasting the snow-drift and the first rise of the mountain. After about an hour’s driving, during which Joseph had exhibited his utmost skill in taking advantage of every available bit of trotting ground, they came at length to the commencement of the steep ascent; and there, hanging his whip on the saddle-peak, the little fellow got down, to relieve his cattle as they toiled up the precipitous ascent. He had not gone far, when, happening to drop behind beside the calèche, what did he hear but the sounds of that very language upon which all his day and night dreams were set! All that he had remarked of the two travellers was, that they wore cloaks of military cut and foraging caps, and now he heard them conversing in French. The whole train of events on which his mind so long had been dwelling came now forcibly before him. “Feldkirch had been forced, the French were already masters of the pass; in a few days they would be over the Arlberg and in possession of all Tyrol!” Such was the terrible series of events a few words of French revealed to his excited imagination. With this conviction he drew nearer and nearer the door, till he could hear the very words they spoke. Now he returned to accomplish the great purpose he had planned.

This “Zuflucht-Haus” or Hospice of Heinrich “Findelkind”—for he was named the “Foundling,” having none to claim or acknowledge him—has been superseded by a more commodious and better endowed edifice under the auspices of the Imperial Government, who have gracefully preserved the memory of the first founder; thus shewing themselves not ashamed to be reminded of their own devoirs by a poor orphan.

And now from the heights of St. Christopher I look down upon the winding glens and bold mountains of Tyrol! The great cross yonder on the rock marks the boundary. And now, adieu! the square fur caps of the Bregenzer Walderin; the huge silver filigree leaves, which look like peacocks’ tails of frosted silver, fastened to the back of the head; the short-waisted dresses, gaily embroidered with the wearer’s initials upon the stomacher; and the stockings, so piously adorned with saintly emblems; and last, but not least, the peaceful quietude of a primitive people—to have lived among whom is to carry away for life-long a pleasant memory of a simple-minded, kindly peasantry.

On descending the Arlberg by the eastward, or the Tyrol side, there is a little low ruin not far from the road. It stands nestled in a small nook between the hills, and shews the stunted and cattle-cropped remains of a few fruit-trees around. This was an ancient shrine where four monks formerly lived, devoting their lives to aiding the travellers of the pass; and some say that its foundation dates from that of the establishment of St. Gallen in Switzerland, and that both owe their origin to the same pious hand—an Irish monk. So is it incontestably true that the great monastery of St. Gall, and the spacious convents of Mehrer-Au and Loch-Au on the borders of the Lake of Constance, were founded by an Irishman. What a destiny, that the nation whose mission should have been the spread of Christianity in the earliest centuries, should present such a spectacle of crime and God-forgetfulness in our own!


I wish my travelling countrymen—and what land tarns ont such myriads of wanderers?—would betake themselves, in their summer rambles, to the Tyrol, rather than Switzerland. If the use of German be not as frequent with us as French, still very little suffices for the every-day necessities of the road; and while, in point of picturesque beauty, the tour is little, if any thing, inferior to Switzerland in all that regards the people, the superiority of the Tyrolese is without a question.

Switzerland—save in some few remote spots of the German cantons, and these not generally worth the visiting—is a land of extortion and knavery. The whole country is laid out pretty much as St. Paul’s in London used to be, some years back—so much for the Aisle, so much for the Whispering Gallery, so much for the Ball, &c. Each mountain, each glen, every glacier and snow-peak, has its corps of guides, farming out by a tariff the wild regions of the roe and the chamois, and vulgarising the features of nature to the level of the Colosseum in London, and its pasteboard avalanches.

This may be all very delightful for those junket-ting parties who steam up the Rhine on a three weeks’ excursion, and want to “do Switzerland” before they reach home—jogging to Chamouni in an omnibus, and riding up the Rigi in an ass-pannier. But to enjoy mountains—to taste really of the exquisite sense of impressive solemnity a wild mountain-scene can suggest,—give me the Tyrol—give me the land where the crashing cataract is heard in the midst of unbroken stillness—where, in the deep valleys, the tinkling bell of the herd sounds for miles afar—where, better than all, the peasant is not degraded from his self-respect to become a hanger-on of each stranger that he sees, but is still a peasant, stout of heart and limb, ready to do the honours of his humble châlet if you cross his threshold, but not bartering his native hospitality for gold! What a fine national character is made up of that sturdy independence—that almost American pride of equality—with the devoted loyalty to their sovereign! How admirably does the sense of personal freedom blend with obedience to the Kaiser! How intimately is love of country bound up with fealty to the country’s king! O Austria! if all thy subjects were like these, how little need you fear revolutionary Poles or reforming Popes! The sounds of the national sign, “Gott erhalte unser Kaiser!” would drown the wildest cry that ever Anarchy shouted.

The gifted advocates of Progress and Enlightenment, who write in Penny Magazines and People’s Journals, may sneer at the simple faith of a people who recognise a father in their monarch—who are grateful for a system of government that secures to them the peaceful enjoyment of their homes and properties, with scarcely the slightest burden of taxation.

Such travellers as Inglis may record conversations with individuals disposed to grumble at the few opportunities for social convulsion and change; but, taking the mass of the people, judging from what is palpable to every sojourner in the land, where does one see less of poverty—where so much contentment, so much of enjoyment of life, such a general feeling of brotherhood in every rank and class?—where are the graceful virtues of charity and kindliness more conspicuous?—and, above all, where is there so little of actual crime?

It may be said, the temptations are not so great to breaches of law where a general well-being prevails, where each has enough for his daily wants, and life displays no inordinate ambitions. I am willing to acknowledge all this; I cavil not for the cause—I only ask acceptance for the fact. If one would wish to see the boldest spirit of personal freedom united to implicit obedience to a ruler, the most stubborn independence of character with & courteous submission to the will of him recognised as superior, a manly self-reliance with a faithful trust that there are others better, wiser, and more far-seeing than himself,—then let him come to the Tyrol!

The Tyrol is, perhaps, the only part of Europe where any portion of romance still dwells—where the little incidents of daily life are tinctured with customs that derive from long ago—where facts of bygone days, traditions of their fathers’ time, are interwoven with the passing hour—and where primitive habits and tastes are believed to carry with them a blessing, as to those who honour their fathers’ memories. National gratitude is far more closely allied with individual gratitude than is usually believed. Under the shade of the great tree the little plant is often nurtured. It is easy to imagine well of the individual, where the masses are moved by noble aspirations.

Scarcely a valley, not a single defile here, is without Us historic glories—many of them as of yesterday, and yet, in their simple heroism, recalling a time when personal valour was of greater worth than strategic skill and science. I always regret that Scott, who understood mountains and those who dwell thereon so thoroughly, should never have made the Tyrol the scene of a romance.

Even among the “simple annals of the poor” here are little incidents eminently romantic in their character, while so distinctly national that they tell, in every detail, the mind of the people who enacted them.

How I should like once more to be young of heart and limb, and able to travel these winding glens and climb these mountain steeps as once I could have done! Even now, as I sit here in this little “Wirth’s-Haus,” how the old spirit of wandering comes back ‘again as I watch the peasant, with his long staff in hand, braving the mountain side, or standing for a second on some rocky peak, to gaze down into the steep depth below—that narrow valley filled by road and river.

“Gott hat sein plan Für Jedenmann.”

What a road is that from Landeck to Meran!—at once the most beautiful and the grandest of all the Tyrol passes. The gorge is so narrow, that it seems rather like a deep channel cut by the river itself; where, on either side, hundreds of feet in height, rise the rocks—not straight, but actually impending above the head, leaving, in some places, the ravine narrower above than beneath.

Escarped in this rock, the road winds on, protected by a little parapet along the edge of the precipice. Beneath, at a depth to make the head dizzy to gaze at, is seen the river, whose waters are of a pale sky-blue, the most delicate and beautiful colour I ever beheld. As the necessities of the road require, you have to cross the river; more than once, on wooden bridges, which in themselves are curious for their ingenuity of construction, if one could think of aught save the grandeur of the scene around them.

At the second of these bridges, called the Pontlatzer

Brücke, the ravine grows wider, and open, a distant prospect of the “Kaunser-Thal,” backed by the tremendous glacier of Gebatsch. A glorious valley is it, with its grouped cottages and village spires studded along the plain, through which the Inn winds its rapid stream, its surface still ruffled and eddying from the deep descent of the Fünstermünze.

Above the Pontlatzer Brücke, high upon a little table-land of the mountain, stands a small village—if even that humble name be not too dignified for the little group of peasant-houses here assembled. This, called the “Kletscher,” derives its title from a mountain torrent which, leaping from cliff to cliff, actually divides the village into two portions, over each of which, with pretty fair equality, it distributes its spray and foam, and then plunges madly down, till, by a succession of bounds and springs, it reaches the river Inn beneath. The Kletscher, it must be owned, deserves its name: it is at once the most boisterous and foam-covered torrent of the whole region, and, as frequently in its course it pierces the soft rock of the mountain, the roaring stream echoes more loudly still beneath these natural bridges. These, however, are not the only sounds which greet the ear on nearing the spot: the whole air is tremulous with the thumping and crashing noise of saw-mills, every second cottage having one of these ingenious contrivances at work; and thus, between the roaring torrent itself and its forced labour, such a tremendous uproar is created, that the uninitiated are completely stunned.

It is, indeed, a curious transition from the deathlike stillness of the pine forest, the unbroken silence of the steep path by which you wend your way upward, to emerge at once into this land of active life and turmoil, to see here, high amidst the Alps, where the roe and chamois are wild and free—to see here a little colony busied in all the arts of life, and carrying their industry into the regions of cataract and glacier.

What animation and movement on every side does that bright flowing torrent carry with it! The axe of the wood-cutter—the rustling branches sweeping, as twenty or thirty peasants tug some mighty pine-tree along—the hacking clink of the bark adzes—the voices of the children gathering and peeling the bark, and, above and through all, the heavy throbbing of the mill-timbers, shaking the frail sheds and even the very cottages with their giant strokes! There is a character of enterprise in the selection of such a wild spot irresistibly captivating. One cannot look upon those hardy peasants without a sense of respect and admiration for those who have braved climate and danger—and such there is—to seek a livelihood and a home, rather than toil in indigence and dependence in the valley beneath.

The Kletscher is not picturesque for situation only. Its houses, built of the pine-wood, are covered over with a kind of varnish, which, while it preserves the colour, protects the timber from the effects of weather. Each story is flanked externally by a little gallery, whose ornamental balustrades display their native skill in carpentry, and are often distinguished by grotesque carvings, executed with an ability that none but a Tyroler could pretend to. The door and window-frames, too, are finished in the same taste; while, instead of other designation, each cottage is known by some animal of the owner’s selection, which stands proudly above the door-porch: and thus some old white-headed Bauer of eighty winters is called the Chamois; a tart-looking, bitter-faced Frau, his neighbour, being known as the Lamb; a merry little cheerful-eyed peasant being a Buffalo; and the schoolmaster—I blush to write it—diffusing “Useful Knowledge” under the sign of a braying Donkey.

Animated and cheerful as the scene is by day, alive with all the instincts and sounds of happy labour, I like bettor to look upon it by night, when all is calm and still, and nothing but the plash of the waterfall stirs the air—to see these quaint old houses, with their sculptured pinnacles and deep-shadowing eaves sleeping in the mellow moonlight—mill and miller sunk in slumber—not a footstep nor a voice to be heard, save one, the village watchman, going his nightly round, chanting his little verse of assuring comfort to the waking ear, and making the sleeper’s dream a peaceful one.

See how he moves along, followed by his little dog, sleepy-looking and drowsy as its master! He stands in front of that cottage—it belongs to the Vorsteher, or ruler of the Dorf. Power has its privileges even here, and the great man should know how the weather fares, and what the hour is, if, perchance, the cares of state have kept him waking, as Homer tells us that they can. Now he has ended his little song, and he wends his way over the bridge of a single plank that spans the torrent; he slowly descends the flight of stone steps, slippery with falling spray, and, guided by the wooden railing, he treads the narrow path along the edge of the cliff, which, nearly perpendicular, stands over the valley of the Inn. There is a little hut here—a very poor and humble one, the very poorest of the whole village—and yet it is before the door of this lowly dwelling that the “Nachtwachter” stands at midnight each night throughout the year, and then, as he calls the hour, he cries, “Hans Jörgle, good night!—rest soundly, Hans Jörgle!”

Who can be this Hans Jörgle, for whose peaceful slumber authority is watchful? If you care for the answer of the question, you must listen to a story—if I dare to call by so imposing a name the following little narrative—which, for want of better, I shall call


Something short of forty years ago, there came to dwell at the Kletscher a poor widow with one child, a boy of about nine years old. She never told much of her history to the neighbours, and merely accounted for her choice of this secluded spot from the circumstance that she had known it when a child, her grandfather having been many years an inhabitant of the “Dorf;” and that, from dwelling on the pleasant days she had known there once, and talking over them so often with her little Hans, she at last determined to gratify him and herself by revisiting the cherished spot, hoping to end her days there in peace.

The grandfather of whom she spoke—long since dead—had been well known and respected in the village; so that, at first on his account, and subsequently on her own, the widow was welcomed kindly amongst them. Her subsistence was derived principally from a small pension she received from the Government, for her husband had been a grenadier of the Austrian Imperial Guard, and fell on the field of Austerlitz. This little pittance would not have sufficed for wants even humble as hers, without the aid of her own industry; but she was clever at her needle, and could accomplish many a triumph in millinery above village skill; and by the exertion of this art she contrived to eke out a subsistence—in poverty, it is true, but in contentment also.

If little Hans Jörgle could not contribute to the common stock by any efforts of his labour, his gentle, quiet nature, his guileless innocence, won for him the love of all the village. Old and young were pleased to see him, and to talk to him; for, child as he was, Hans had read a great many books, and could tell the most wonderful stories about the Swedes in the Thirty Years’ War, and also what happened in the long wars between Frederic of Prussia and the Austrians—stories that, if Hans were fond of telling, his audience were far more delighted to listen to. This amusing gift, joined to the claims of infirmity—for he was lame, the effect of a fall in his infancy—made him a favourite with every one; for even they—and the number was a small one—who could not relish his stores of narrative could feel compassion for the little fatherless boy, bereft of the means of earning a livelihood, and wholly dependent on one whose frail health gave little promise of long life.

Hans was tall and slight, and, but for his lameness, would haye been as remarkable for the symmetry of his form, as, even with it, he was for agility. His countenance was eminently handsome; the brow lofty, and the eyes, which were of the darkest blue, were set deeply; their habitual expression was one of great melancholy—not the sorrow of infirm health, or the depression of a heart in conflict with itself, but the sadness of a spirit too finely attuned for its daily associations—above, immeasurably above, all around in its ambitions, and yet an object of actual pity and compassion! The prevailing tone of his mind, though sorrowful, did not prevent his joining the village children at their play; nor was he, perhaps, the less welcome amongst them for those strange fits of absence which, seizing him in the midst of some rural sport, would make him forget all around, and burst out with some exciting anecdote of heroic daring, some bold achievement of the Austrians in their memorable battles with the Turks. Then, would the day cease; gradually gathering around him, the children would form a circle, soon to be strengthened by their elders, who took the most lively pleasure in these recitals,—tales which many a setting sun and rising moon shone upon.

It may have been remarked by the reader, that Hans’ literary stores were all military. Such was the case. Battles and sieges, campaigns and marches, were a passion so exclusive, that he had no interest left for any other form of reading. This may seem strange in one so young, and in one, too, whose nature was gentleness itself; his very infirmity, besides, might have turned his thoughts away from themes in which he never could be a participator: but how little have material influences power over the flight of a highly imaginative nature! His father’s stories as he sat at the fireside, his earliest lessons in reading, implanted the impulse, which the very events of the time served to strengthen and mature.

It was just the period when the Tyrol, crushed by the oppression of Bavaria, insulted and outraged in every feeling, had begun to think of vengeance. The transient success of the Austrians on the Danube animated the brave mountaineers, and cheered them with the hope of freedom. Already the low muttering of the distant storm was heard. Wherever a group of peasants gathered, their low whisperings, their resolute looks, their clenched hands, denoted some stern purpose. Secret Masses were said in the chapels for the “rescue of the Vaterland;” the ancient legends of the land were all remembered; sights and sounds of ominous meaning were reported to have been observed; all indicative of a speedy convulsion, all suggesting hope and courage. Rumour had told of conferences between the Archduke John of Austria and the Tyrol leaders; not failing to exaggerate the aid proffered by the Imperial Government in the event of a struggle. The ancient spirit of the land was up, and only waited the signal for the fight.

Remote and secluded as the little village of my story lay, the news of the coming conflict did not fail to reach it. Little Hans formed the link which bound them to the world of the valley beneath; and daily did he, in despite of lameness, descend the steep path that led to the Pontlatzer Brucke, bringing back with him towards nightfall the last rumours of the day. Vague and uncertain as they were, they were listened to with breathless eagerness. Sometimes, the intelligence merely announced a gathering of the peasants in a mountain glen; sometimes, the arrival of a messenger with secret despatches from Vienna. Now, Hofer had passed through Maltz the night before; now, it was a Bavarian reinforcement was seen arriving at Landeck.

These simple tidings had seemed of little meaning to their ears if Hans were not there to give them significance, filling up all the blanks by wise surmises, and suggesting reasons and causes for every thing. He had his own theory of the war—where the enemy should be met, and how; in what manner certain defiles should be defended, and how, in case of defeat, the scattered forces might re-unite; little views of strategy and tactics, that seemed like inspiration to the simple ears who beard him.

Hans’ tidings grew daily more important; and one evening he returned to the Kletscher with a sealed note for the Curate—a circumstance which excited the most intense curiosity in the Dorf. It was not long ungratified, for the old priest speedily appeared in the little square before the Vorsteher’s House, and announced that each evening, at sunset, a Mass would be said in the chapel, and a prayer invoked on all who loved “Gott, der Kaiser, und das Vaterland.” Hans was pressed on every side; some asking what was going on in the valley, others eager to hear if the Austrians had not been defeated, and that the Mass was for the slain. Hans knew less than usual; he could only tell that large bodies of the peasantry were seen ascending the mountain towards Landeck, armed with saws and hatchets, while kegs of blasting powder were borne along between others. “We shall know more, soon,” added Hans; “but come! the chapel is lighted already; the Mass has begun.”

How picturesque was the effect the chapel presented! The sun was setting, and its long golden rays, mingled with the red light of the tapers, tipping the rich draperies of the altar and its glittering vessels with a parti-coloured light; the kneeling figures of the peasantry, clad in all the varied colours of Tyrol taste; the men bronzed by sun and season, dark-bearded, stern, and handsome; the women fairer, but not less earnest in expression; the white-haired priest, dressed in a simple robe of white, with a blue scarf over it—the Bavarians had stripped the chapels even of the vestments of the clergy—the banners of the little volunteer battalion of the mountain waving overhead,—all, made up a picture simple and unpretending, but still solemn and impressive.

The Mass ended, the priest addressed a few words on the eventful position of the Vaterland—at first, in terms of vague, uncertain meaning; but growing warmer as he proceeded, more clearly and more earnestly, he told them that the “Wolves”—none needed to be told that Frenchmen were meant—that the “Wolves” were about to ravage the flocks and overrun the villages, as they had already done twice before; that the Bavarians, who should be their friends, were about to join their bitterest enemies; that although the “Gute Franzerl”—for so familiarly did they ever name the Emperor—wished them well, he could help them but little. “The Tyroler’s hand alone must save Tyrol,” he exclaimed. “If that cannot be, then God pity us; for there is no mercy to be looked for from our enemies!”

If many a bold and patriotic heart sorrowed over these things, not one felt them with a more intense sense of anguish than little Hans Jörgle. The French, who had crushed his country, had killed his father; and now they were coming to bring fire and sword among those lonely glens, where his widowed mother had hoped to live her last years peacefully. Oh! if he had been a man to stand beside his father in the day of battle, or if even now he could hope to see the time when he should be strong of limb as he was of heart... a burst of tears was the ever-present interruption to utterings which, in the eagerness of his devotion, he could not resist from making aloud.

These thoughts now took entire possession of his mind. If the clatter of horses’ hoofs was heard unusually loud over the wooden bridge in the valley, Hans would start up and cry, “Here they are!—the cavalry picquets are upon us!” If a Bauer-house in the plain caught fire, it was the French were approaching and burning the villages. The rumbling of heavily-laden sledges over the hard snow was surely “the drums of the advanced guard;” and never could the ring of jäger’s rifle be heard, that he did not exclaim, “Here come the skirmishers!” If the worthy villagers were indifferent to these various false alarms, the epithets and terms of war employed by Hans realised no small portions of its terror; and while they could afford to smile at his foolish fears, they exchanged very grave looks when he spoke of cavalry squadrons, and looked far from happy at the picture of a brigade of artillery in position on the bridge, while the tirailleurs ascended the face of the mountain in scattered parties.

While the winter continued, and the snow lay deep upon the roads, and many of the bridges were removed for safety from the drifting ice, the difficulties to a marching force were almost insurmountable; but as the spring came, and the highways cleared, the rumour again grew rife that the enemy was preparing his blow: the great doubt was, by which of the Alpine passes he would advance.

Staff-officers and engineers had been despatched from Vienna to visit the various defiles, and suggest the most efficient modes of defence. Unhappily, however, all their counsels were given with a total ignorance of the means of those by whom they were to be executed. To speak of fortifying Landeck, and entrenching here and stockading there, sounded like an unknown tongue to these poor chamois-hunters, whose sole idea of defence lay in the cover of a crag and the certainty of a rifle bullet.

Disappointed, then, in their hope of aid, they betook themselves to their own devices, and hit upon a plan the most perfectly adapted to the crisis, as well as the most suitable to their own means of accomplishment. Is it necessary that I should speak of what is so familiar to every reader? the rude preparations of the Tyrolers to defend their native defiles, by trunks of trees and fragments of rocks, so disposed that at a word they could be hurled from the mountains down into the valleys beneath.

The pass I here speak of was eminently suited for this, not only from its narrowness and the precipitate nature of its sides, but that the timber was large and massive, and the rocks, in many cases, so detached by the action of the torrents, that little force was required to move them. Once free, they swept down the steep sides, crushing all before them; loosening others as they went, and with a thunder louder than any artillery, plunging into the depths below. Simple as these means of defence may seem—it is but necessary to have once seen the country to acknowledge how irresistible they must have been—there was positively no chance of escape left. The road, exposed in its entire length, lay open to view; beneath it, roared a foaming torrent, above, stood cliffs and crags the hardiest hunter could not clamber; and if, perchance, some little path led upwards to a mountain chalet or a Dorf, a handful of Tyrol riflemen could have defended it against an army.

All was arranged early in the year, and it was determined that the revolt should break forth a week or ten days before the time when the Bavarians were to march the reliefs to the various garrisons—a movement which, it was known, would take place in the spring. By signal-fires in the mountain-tops, intimation was to be given to those who inhabited the Alpine regions; while for those in the plains, and particularly in the valley of the Inn—the great line of operations—the signal was to be given by sawdust thrown on the surface of the stream. A month, or even more, was to elapse from the time I have just spoken of ere the preparations would be fully made. What an interval of intense anxiety was that to poor Hans!

A small detachment of Bavarian infantry, now stationed at the Pontlatzer Brücke, made it unsafe to venture often, as before, into the valley. Such frequent coming and going would have excited suspicion; and the interval between suspicion and a drum-head tribunal was a short one, and generally had a bloody ending. Hans could do little more, then, than sit the livelong day on the brow of the cliff, watching the valley, straining his eyes along the narrow glen towards Landeck, or gazing over the wide expanse to the Kaunser-Thal. How often did his imagination people the space beneath with an armed host! and how did he build up before his mind’s eye the glitter of steel, the tramp and dust of mounted squadrons, the long train of ammunition waggons, the gorgeous staff—all the “circumstance of glorious war!” And how strangely did it seem, as he rubbed his eyes and looked again, to see that silent valley and that untrodden road, the monotonous tramp of the Bavarian sentry the only sound to be heard! On the chapel door the previous Sunday some one had written in chalk, “Ist zeit?—Is it time?” to which another had written for answer, “Bald zeit—It will soon be!” “Oh,” thought Hans, “that it were come at last!” And a feverish eagerness had so gained possession of him, that he scarcely could eat or sleep, starting from his bed at night to peep out of the window and see if the signal fire was not blazing.

The devotional feeling is, as I have remarked, the most active and powerful in a Tyroler’s heart; and deeply intent as each was now on the eventful time that drew nigh, the festival of Easter, which intervened, at once expelled all thoughts save those pertaining to the solemn season. Not a word, not a syllable, fell from any lip evincing an interest in their more worldly anxieties. The village chapel was crowded from before daybreak to late in the evening; the hum of prayer sounded from every cottage; and scarcely was there time for the salutations of friends, as they met, in the eagerness to continue the works of some pious ritual.

I know not if Hans Jörgle was as deeply impressed as his neighbours by these devout feelings; I only can tell that he refrained as rigidly as the others from any allusion to the coming struggle, and never by a chance word shewed that his thoughts were wandering from the holy theme. A very prying observer, had there been such in the Dorf, might perhaps have detected that the boy’s eyes, when raised in prayer, rested longer on the spot where the striped banners of Tyroler chivalry waved overhead, or that an expression of wild excitement rested on his features as the different groups, before entering the church, deposited their broadswords and rifles in the porch,—every clank of the weapons seemed to thrill through Hans’ heart.

The devotional observances over, Easter Monday came with all the joyous celebrations with which the villagers were wont to fête that happy day. It was a time for families to assemble their scattered members, for old and attached friends to renew the pledges of their friendship, for those at variance with each other to become reconciled; little children paid visits to their grandfathers and grandmothers, with bouquets of spring flowers, repeating the simple verses of some village hymn to welcome in the morning; garlands and wreaths hung from every door-porch; lovers scaled up the galleries to leave a rose, or an Alp daisy, plucked some thousand feet high among the snow-peaks, at their sweethearts’ window. Pious souls made little presents to the Curé in the chapel itself. The cattle were led through the village in a great procession, with garlands on their heads and fresh flowers fastened to their horns; the villagers accompanying them with a Tyrol song, descriptive of the approaching delights of summer, when they could quit their dark dwellings and rove free and wild over their native hills. It was joy every where: in the glad faces and the glancing eyes, the heartfelt embraces of those who met and saluted with the well-known “Gott grilse dich—God greet thee!” in the little dwellings pranked with holly-boughs and wild flowers; in the chapel glittering with tapers on every altar, pious offerings of simple hearts; in the tremulous accents of age, in the boisterous glee of childhood, it was joy.

It was the season of gifts, too. And what scenes of pleasure and delight were there, as some new arrival from the valley displayed before the admiring eyes of a household some little toy, the last discovery of inventive genius: Bauer-houses, that took to pieces and exhibited all their interior economy at will; saw-mills, that actually seemed to work, so vigorously did they perform the incessant time that mark their labour; dolls of every variety of attraction, but all in Tyrol taste; nutcrackers that looked like old men, but smashed nuts with the activity of the youngest; soldiers of lead, stout-looking fellows, that never quitted the posts committed to them, if the wire was not too powerful—all were there; appearing, besides, with a magic in true keeping with their wonderful properties. Some emerged from unknown pockets in the cuff of a jacket; others, from the deep waistband of particoloured leather; some, from the recesses of a hat: but all in some wonderful guise that well became them.

In one cottage only this little festive scene was not enacted. Hanserl’s mother, who for some time back had been in declining health, was unable to contribute, as she was wont, to their support. Too proud to confess her poverty in the village, she contrived to keep up all the externals of their condition as before. She and her son were seen on Sunday as well dressed as ever; perhaps, if any thing, a more than ordinary attention in this respect could be detected. Her offering to the curate rather exceeded than fell short of its customary amount, These were, however, costly little sacrifices to pride; for these, their meal was made scantier and poorer; for these, the hours of the wintry night were made longer and drearier, as, to save the cost of candle-light, they sat in darkness beside the stove; a hundred little privations, such as only poverty knows or can sympathise with, fell to their lot; all, borne with fortitude and patience, but in their slow process chilling and freezing up the hope from which these virtues spring.

“Hanserl, my love,” said the poor widow, and her eyes swam and her tongue faltered as she spoke, “thou hast had none of the pleasures of this joyous day. Take these twelve kreutzers and buy thyself something in the Dorf. There be many pretty things cost not more than twelve kreutzers.”

Hanserl made no answer; his thoughts were wandering far away. Heaven knows whether they had strayed back to the bold days of Wallenstein, or the siege of Prague, or were now, with the stormy cataract of the Danube—at the iron gate, as it is called, the desperate scene of many a bloody meeting between Turks and Austrians.

“Hans, love, dost hear me? I say, thou canst buy a bow with arrows; thou hast long been wishing for one. But bring no more books of battles, child,” added she, more feelingly; “strife and war have cost us both dearly. If thy father had not served the Kaiser, he would not have fallen at Elchingen.”

“I know it well,” said the boy, his features flashing as he spoke. “He would not have stood beside the ammunition-waggons when the French dragoons bore down, and with a loud voice called out, ‘Halt! these tumbrels are powder; another step and I’ll explode the train!’ How they reined up and fled! My father saved the train; didn’t he, mother?”

“He did,” sobbed the widow; “and fell under the wall of the citadel as the last waggon entered the gate.‘’

“God preserve Franz the Emperor!” said the boy, with a wild enthusiasm; “he has given many a brave soldier a glorious grave. But for this,” here he struck his shrunken limb violently with his hand, “I, too, had been able to serve him. But for this—” a passion of sorrow, that found vent in tears, checked his words, and he buried his head in his hands and sobbed hysterically.

The poor mother did everything she could think of to console her son. She appealed to his piety for submission under a visitation of God’s own making; she appealed to his affection for her, since, had it not been for his helplessness, he might one day have left her to be a soldier.

“The conscription is so severe now, Hanserl that they take only sons away, like the rest—ay, and when they are but thirteen years of age! Take them away, and leave the mothers childless! But they cannot take thee, Hans!”

“No, that they cannot,” cried the boy, in a burst of grief. “The cripple and the maimed have not alone to weep over their infirmity, but to feel themselves dishonoured before others.”

The widow saw the unhappy turn her consolations had taken, and tried in different ways to recall her error. At last, yielding to her entreaties, Hans left the cottage, taking the twelve kreutzers in his hand to buy his Easter gift.

It was from no want of affection to his mother he acted, nor was it from any deficiency of gratitude that when he left the hut he forgot all about the toy, and the twelve kreutzers, and the fête itself. It was that a deeper sentiment had swallowed up every other, and left no place in his heart for aught else.

Hans then sauntered along, and at last found himself on the little projecting point of rock from which he usually surveyed the valley of the Kaunser-Thal. There, he sat down and watched till the darkness thickened around and hid out every thing.

When he arose to turn homeward the lights were glittering in every window of the village, and the merry sounds of rustic music filled the air. Hans suddenly remembered it was Easter-night, the glad season of home rejoicings, and he thought of his poor mother, who sat alone, unfriended and suffering, in her little cabin. A feeling of self-reproach at once struck him, and he turned speedily toward the cottage. His shortest way was through the village, and thither he bent his steps. The night was starlit but dark, and none of the villagers were in the street; indeed, all were too happy within doors to wander forth. In the Vorsteher’s house the village band was assembled, and there the merry notes of a hopsa waltz were accompanied by the tramp of feet and the sound of mirthful voices. A little farther on was a rich peasant’s house. Hans stopped to peep through the half-closed shutters, and there sat the family at their supper. It was a well-filled board, and many a wine-flask stood around, while the savoury steam rose up and hung like a feint cloud above the dishes—not sufficiently, however, to obscure a little larch-tree, which, set in a small bucket, occupied the centre of the table. On this all the candles were fastened, glittering like stars through the sprayey branches, and glancing in bright sparkles over a myriad of pretty toys that hung suspended around. For this was the Easter-tree, to which every friend of the house attaches some little present. Many a more gorgeous epergne has not yielded one hundredth part of the delight. Every eye was fixed upon it; some in pure astonishment and wonder, others speculating what might fall to their share; and while the old grandfather tried to curb impatience among the elder children, the young baby, with the destructive privilege that belongs to infancy, was permitted to pull and tear from time to time at the glittering fruit,—little feats which excited as much laughter from the grown people as anxiety from the younger.

Hans moved on, with a sigh, at these new signs of home happiness in which he had no share. The next was the Curate’s cabin, and there sat a pleasant party round the stove, while the old priest read something from an amusing volume; the lecture never proceeding far without some interruption to comment upon it, to indulge a laugh, or mayhap clink their glasses together, as, in token of friendship, they pledged each other health and long life. Beyond this again was a new cabin, just taken possession of; and here Hans, peeping in, beheld a young Tyroler exhibiting to his wife—(they had been married but a few weeks)—his new rifle. It was strange to see how she admired the weapon, gazing at it with all the delight most of her sex reserve for some article of dress or decoration. She balanced it, too, in her hand, and held it to her shoulder, with the ease of one accustomed to its use.

In every cabin some group, some home picture, met his eye; peaceful age, happy manhood, delighted childhood, beamed around each hearth and board. The song, the dance, the merry story, the joyous meal, succeeded each other, as he went along. He alone, of all, was poor and sad: in his mother’s hut all was darkness and gloom; the half-suppressed sigh of pain the only sound. The last cabin of the village, and the poorest too, belonged to an old peasant, who had been a soldier under the Emperor Joseph; he was a very old man, and being burdened with a large family of grandchildren, whose parents were both dead, all he could do by hard labour was to maintain his household, “Here,” thought Hans, as he stopped to look in, “here are some poor as ourselves,—I hope they are happier.” So they seemed to be. They were all seated on the floor of the cabin, with the grandfather among them on a low stool, while he performed for them the evolutions of the Grand Army at Presburg—the great review which Maria Theresa held of all the Imperial troops. The old man was sorely puzzled to convey a sufficiently formidable notion of the force, for he had only some twenty little wooden soldiers to fill up the different arms of the service, and was obliged to plant individuals to represent entire corps, while walnut-shells answered for field-pieces and mortars; the citadel of Presburg being performed by the bowl of hit Meerschaum pipe.

There were many more brilliant displays met Hans’ eyes that evening than this humble spectacle, and yet not one had the same attraction for him. What would he not have given to be among that group—to have watched all the evolutions, many of which were now hidden from his view—perchance to be permitted to move some of the regiments, and suggest his own ideas of tactics! Ah, that would have been happiness indeed! How long he might have watched there is no saying, when a slight incident occurred which interrupted him—slight and trivial enough was it, and yet in all its seeming insignificance to be the turning point of his destiny!

It chanced that one of the little soldiers, from some accident or other, would not stand upright, and a little boy, whose black eyes and sunburnt cheeks bespoke a hasty temper, in endeavouring to set him on his legs, broke one of them off. “Ah, thou worthless thing!” cried he passionately, “thou art no use now to King or Kaiser, for thou art as lame as Hans Jörgle;” and as he spoke he opened the little pane of the window, and flung the little figure into the street.

“Shame on thee, Carl!” said the old man reprovingly; “he would have done for many a thing yet. The best scout we ever had on the Turkish frontier was so lame, you couldn’t think him able to walk. Besides, don’t you remember the Tyrol proverb?—

‘Gott hat sein plan Fur Jedenmann:’

God has his plan For every man.

So never despise those who are unfit for thine own duties; mayhap, what thou deemest imperfection, may fit them for something far above thee.”

Oh, how Hans drank in these words! the grief that filled him, on the insulting comparison of the child was now changed to gratitude, and seizing the little soldier, his own sad emblem, he kissed it a hundred times, and then placed it in his bosom.

Hanserl’s mother was asleep when he reached home, so, creeping silently to his bed, he lay down in his clothes, dreading lest he might awaken her; and with what a happy heart did he lie down that night! How full of gratitude and of love as he thought over the blessed words! How he wished to remain awake all night long and think over them, fancying, as he could do, the various destinies which, even to such as him, might still fall! But sleep, that will not come when wooed, stole over him as he lay, and in a deep, heavy slumber, he clasped the little wooden figure in his hands.

The first effect of weariness over, Hans dreamed of all he had seen; vague and confused images of the different objects passed and re-passed before his mind, in that disorder and incoherency that belong to dreams. The scene of the Vorsteher’s house became mingled with the remembrance of the Pontlatzer bridge, where, until nightfall, he had been watching the Bavarian sentinel; and the curate’s parlour beside its listening group, had, now, a merry mob of children dancing around the Easter-tree, under whose spreading branches a cavalry picquet were lying—the horses grazing—while the men lay stretched before the watch-fires, smoking and chattering.

The memory of the soldiers once touched upon, every other fled; and now he could only think of the evolutions around Presburg: and he fancied he saw the whole army defiling oyer the bridge across the Danube, and disappearing within the ancient gates of the city. The white-cloaked cuirassiers of Austria, gigantic forms, seeming even greater from the massive folds of their white drapery; the dark Bohemians on their coal-black horses; the Uhlans with their banners floating from their tall lances; the prancing Hungarians mounted on their springing white steeds of Arab blood; the gay scarlet of their chakos, the clink of their dolmans, all glitter-* ing with gold, eclipsing all around them. Then came the Jagers of the Tyrol, a countless host, marching like one man, their dark plumes waving like a vast forest for miles in distance. These followed again by the long train of guns and ammunition carts.

Fitful glances of distant lands, of which he had once read, passed before him: the wide-spreading plains of the Lower Danube—the narrow passes of the Styrian Alps—the bleak, vast tracts of sterile country on the Turkish frontier, with here and there a low mud-walled village, surmounted by a minaretted tower;—all, however, were peopled with soldiers, marching or bivouacking, striking their tents at day-break, or sitting around their camp-fires by night. The hoarse challenge of the sentries, the mellow call of the bugle, the quivering tramp of a mounted patrol, were all vividly presented to his sleeping senses. From these thoughts of far-away scenes, he was suddenly recalled to home, and his own Tyrol land. He thought he stood upon the rocky cliff and looked down into the valley which he had left so tranquil at nightfall, but which now presented an aspect of commotion and trouble. The inhabitants of the little village at the head of the Kaunser-Thal were all preparing to quit their homes and fly up the valley; carts covered with their furniture and effects crowded the little street; pack-horses and mules laden with every thing portable; while in the eager and affrighted gestures of the peasants it was easy to see that some calamity impended. Now and then some horseman would ride in amongst them, and by his manner it was plain the tidings he brought were full of disaster. Hans looked towards the bridge: and there, to his astonishment, he saw the very same soldiers the old man had manoeuvred with. They had, seemingly, come off a long march, and with their knapsacks unstrung, and their arms piled, were regaling themselves with wine from the guard-house.

Hans’ first thought was to hasten back and tell his mother what he saw; and now he stood up and leaned over her bed, but her sleep was so tranquil and so happy he could not bear to awaken her. “What can it mean?” thought he. “Are these the movements of our own people? or are the French wolves coming down upon us?” As he ruminated thus, he thought there came a gentle tap at the door of the hut: he opened it cautiously, and there, who should be standing before him but the lame soldier, his own poor little fellow, the castaway?

“Come along, Hans,” said he in a friendly voice; “there is little time to lose. The Wolves are near.” He pressed his finger to his lips, in token of caution, and led Hans without the door. No sooner were they outside than he resumed,—

“Thou art maimed and crippled like myself, Hans Jörgle. We should be but indifferent front-rank men before the enemy: but remember the Tyrol proverb,—

‘Gott hat sein plan Für Jedenmann.’

Who knows if even we cannot serve the Vaterland? We must away, Hanserl—away to the top of the Kaiser-fells, where the fagots lie ready for the signal fire. The Bavarians have found out where it lies, and have sent a scout party to destroy it, while their battalions are advancing by forced marches up the Inn Thai. Thou knowest all these paths well, Hans; so lead the way, my brave boy, and I’ll do my best to follow.”

Hans waited for no further bidding, but hastily crossing the little wooden bridge, commenced the ascent of the mountain with an activity that bore no trace of his infirmity.

“We must light the beacon, Hans,” said the lame soldier. “When it is seen blazing, the signal will be repeated up the Kaunser-Thal; Fünstermünze will have it; and then Nauders. Maltz will shew it next, and then all Tyrol will be up. The war jodeln will resound in every valley and glen, and then let the Wolves beware!”

Oh, how Hans strained each nerve and sinew to push forward! The path led across several torrents, many of them by places which, in day, demanded the greatest circumspection, but Hans cleared them now at a spring. The deep marshy ground, plashy with rivulets and melted snow, he waded through ankle deep, climbing the briery rocks and steep banks without a moment’s halt.

He thought that the lame soldier continued to exhort him, and encourage his zeal, while gradually his own pace slackened, and at last he cried out,—“I can do no more, Hans. Thou must go forward alone, my boy,—to thee all the glory,—I am old and worn out! Hasten, then, my child, and save the Vaterland. Thou wilt see the tinder-box and the rags in the hollow pine-tree beside the faggot. It is wrapped in tow, and will light at once. Farewell, and Gott guide thee!”

I cannot tell a thousandth part of the dangers and difficulties of that night’s walk: in one place the path, for several yards, is on the brink of a ravine, eleven hundred feet deep, and so abrupt is the turn at the end, that an iron hook is inserted in the rock, by which the traveller must grip; a steep glacier is to be crossed farther on; and lastly, the torrent of the Kletscher must be traversed on a tree, whose bark, wet and slippery from the falling spray, would be impossible to all but the feet of a mountaineer. Each of these did Hans now surmount with all the precision and care of waking senses; with greater courage, by far, than in his waking moments he could have confronted them.

Gorges he never gazed on before without a shudder, he passed now in utter disregard; paths he trembled to tread, he stepped along now in nimble speed, and at last caught sight of a large dark object that stood out against the sky—the great heap of fire-wood for the beacon.

As he came nearer, his eagerness grew greater; each minute now seemed an hour—every false step he made appeared to him as though it might prove fatal to his mission; and when, by any turn of the way, the beacon pile disappeared for a moment from his eyes, his heart throbbed so powerfully as almost to impede his breath. At last he gained the top—the wild mountain-peak of the Kaiser-fells. The Snow lay deep, and a cold, cutting wind swept the drift along, and made the sensation far more intense. Hans cared not for this: his whole soul was on one object; suffering, torture, death itself, he would have braved and welcomed, could he only accomplish it. The mist lay heavily on the side by which he had ascended, but towards Landeck the air was clear, and Hans gazed down in that direction as well as the darkness would permit; but all seemed tranquil—nothing stirred, nor shewed the threatened approach. “What if he should be mistaken?” thought Hans. “What if the lame soldier should have only fancied this? or could he be a traitor, that would endeavour by a false alarm to excite the revolt before its time?”

These were torturing doubts, and while he yet revolved them he stood unconsciously peering into the depth below, when suddenly, close beneath him—so close that he thought it almost beside him, though still about eighty yards off—he saw two figures emerge from the shadow of a pine copse, and commence the steep ascent of the peak. They were followed by two others, and now a long compact line issued forth, and began to clamber up pass. Their weapons clinked as they came: there the could be no doubt of it—they were the enemy!

With one spring he seized the tinder-box and struck the light: the wood, smeared with tar, ignited when touched, and before a minute elapsed a bright pillar of flame sprung up into the dark sky. Hans, not content with leaving any thing to chance, seized a brand and touched the fagots here and there, till the whole reeking mass blazed out—a perfect column of fire.

No sooner had the leading files turned the cliff, than with a cry of horror and vengeance they sprang forward. It was too late: the signal was already answered from the Kaiser-fells, and a glittering star on the Gebatsch told where another fire was about to blaze forth. Hans had but time to turn and fly down the mountain as the soldiers drew up. A particle of burning wood had touched his jacket, however, and, guided by the sparks, four bullets followed him. It was at the moment when he had turned for a last look at the blazing pile. He fell, but, speedily regaining his feet, continued his flight. His mission was but half accomplished if the village were not apprised of their danger. All the dangers of his upward course were now to be encountered in his waking state; and with the agony of a terrible wound—for the bullet had pierced him beneath the left breast—half frantic with pain and excitement, he bounded from cliff to cliff, clearing the torrents by leaps despair alone could have made, and at length staggered rather than ran along the village street, and fell at the door of the Vorsteher’s house.

Already the whole village was a-foot: the signal blazing on the mountain had called them to arm, but none could tell by whom it was lighted, or by which path the enemy might be expected. They now gathered around the poor boy, who, in accents broken and faltering, could scarce reply.

“What! thou hast done it?” cried the Vorsteher, angrily. “So, then, thou silly fool, it is to thy mad ravings we owe all this terror—a terror that may cost our country bitter tears! Who prompted thee to this?”

“The lame soldier told me they were coming,” said Hans, with eyes swimming in tears.

“The lame soldier!—he is mad!” cried an old peasant: “there is none such in all the Dorf.”

“Yes, yes,” reiterated Hans; “they flung him away last night, because he was lame—lame, and a cripple like me: but he told me they were coming; and I had only time to reach the Kaiser-fells when they gained the top too.”

“Wretched fool!” said the Vorsteher, sternly; “thy mad reading and wild fancies have ruined the Vaterland. See, there is the signal from Pfunds, and the whole Tyrol will be up! If thy life were worth anything, thou shouldst die for this!”

“So shall I!” said Hans, sobbing; “the bullet is yet here.” And he opened his jacket, and displayed to their horrified gaze the whole chest bathed in blood, and the round, blue mark of a gun-shot wound.

This terrible evidence dispelled every doubt of Hans’ story: all its strange incoherency vanished before that pool of blood, which, welling forth at every respiration, ran in currents over him. Dreadful, too, as the tidings were, the better nature of the poor villagers prevailed over their fears, and in the sorrow the child’s fate excited all other thoughts were lost.

In a sad procession they bore him home to his mother’s cottage, the Vorsteher walking at his side; while Hans, with rapid utterance, detailed the events which have been told. Broken and unconnected as parts of his recital were—incomprehensible as the whole history of the lame soldier appeared—the wounded figure—the blazing fires that already twinkled on every peak,—were facts too palpable for denial; and the hearers stared at each other in amazement, not knowing how to interpret the strange story.

The agonising grief of the bereaved mother, as she beheld the shattered and bleeding form of her child, broke in upon these doubtings; and while they endeavoured to offer her their consolation, none thought of the impending danger.

For a while after he was laid in bed, Hans seemed sunk in a swoon; but, suddenly awakening, he made an effort to rise. Too weak for this, he called the chief people of the village around, and said,

“They are coming from the Kaiser-fells; they will be down soon, and burn the village, if you do not cut away the bridges over the Kletscher, and close the pass on the Weissen Spitze. Throw out skirmishers along the mountain side, and guard the footpath from the Pontlatzer Brücke.”

Had the words been the dying orders of a general commanding an army, they could not have been heard with more implicit reverence, nor more strictly obeyed. From the spot the Vorsteher issued commands for these instructions to be followed. Hans’ revelations were, to the superstitious imaginations of the peasants, of divine inspiration: and many already stoutly affirmed that the lame soldier was St. Martin himself, their patron saint, at whose shrine a crowd of devout worshippers were soon after seen kneeling.

The village doctor soon pronounced the case above his skill, but did not abandon hope. Hans only smiled faintly, and whispered,—

“Be it so! The proverb is always right,—

‘Gott hat sein plan Für Jedenmann.’

“What do you see there, Herr Vorsteher?” cried he, as the old man stared with astonished eyes from the little window that commanded the valley. “What is it you see?”

“The Dorf in the Kaunser-Thal seems all in commotion,” answered the Vorsteher. “The people are packing every thing in their waggons, and preparing to fly.”

“I know that,” said Hans, quietly; “I saw it already.”

“Thou hast seen it already?” muttered the old man, in trembling awe.

“Yes, I saw it all. Look sharply along the river side, and tell me if a child is not holding two mules, who are striving to get down into the stream to drink.”

“God be around and about us!” murmured the Vorsteher; “his power is great!” He crossed himself three times, and the whole company followed the pious motion; and a low, murmuring prayer, was heard to fill the chamber.

“There is a waggon with eight bullocks, too, but they cannot stir the load,” continued Hans, as, with closed eyes, he spoke with the faint accents of one half-sleeping.

“Who are these coming along the valley, Hans?” asked the Vorsteher; “they seem like our own Jagers, as well as my eyes can make out.”

“He is asleep!” whispered his mother, with a cautious gesture to enforce silence.

It was true. Wearied, and faint, and dying, he had fallen into slumber.

While poor Hans slept, the tidings of which he was the singular messenger had received certain confirmation. The village scouts had already exchanged shots with the Bavarian troops upon the mountains, and driven them back. The guard at the Pontlatzer Brücke was seen to withdraw up the valley towards Landeck, escorting three field-pieces which had only arrived the preceding day. Every moment accounts came of garrisons withdrawn from distant outpost stations, and troops falling back to concentrate in the open country. It was seen, from various circumstances, that a forward movement had been intended, and was only thwarted by the inexplicable intervention of Hans Jörgle.

The Tyrolers could not fail to perceive that their own hour was now come, and the blow must be struck at once or never! So felt the leaders; and scarcely had the Bavarians withdrawn their advanced posts, than emissaries flew from village to village, with little scraps of paper, bearing the simple words, “Es ist zeit!—It is time!” while, as the day broke, a little plank was seen floating down the current, with a small flag-staff, from which a pennon fluttered—a signal that was welcomed by the wildest shouts of enthusiasm as it floated along:—the Tyrol was up! “Fur Gott, der Kaiser, und das Vaterland!” rung from every glen and every mountain.

I dare not suffer myself to be withdrawn, even for a moment, to that glorious struggle—one of the noblest that ever a nation carried on to victory. My task is rather within that darkened room in the little hut, where, with fast-ebbing life, Hans Jörgle lay.

The wild cheers and echoing songs of the marching peasants awoke him from his sleep, which, if troubled by pangs of pain, had still lasted for some hours. He smiled, and made a gesture as if for silence, that he might hear the glorious sounds more plainly, and then lay in a calm, peaceful reverie, for a considerable time.

The Vorsteher had, with considerable difficulty, persuaded the poor widow to leave the bedside for a moment, while he asked Hans a question.

The wretched mother was borne, almost fainting, away; and the old man sat in her place, but, subdued by the anguish of the scene, unable to speak. At last, while the tears ran down his aged cheeks, he kissed the child’s hand, and said,—

“Thou wilt leave us soon, Hans!”

Hans gave a smile of sad, but beautiful meaning, while his upturned eyes seemed to intimate his hope and his faith.

“True, Hans—thy reward is ready for thee!”

He paused a second, and then went on:—

“But even here, my child, in our own poor village, let thy devotion be a treasure, to be handed down in memory to our children, that they may know how one like themselves—more helpless, too—could serve his Vaterland. Say, Hans Jörgle, will it make thy last moments happier to think that our gratitude will raise a monument to thee in the Dorf, with thy father’s name, who fell at Elchingen, above thine own? The villagers have bid me ask thee this.”

“My mother—my poor mother!” murmured Hans.

“She shall never want, Hans Jörgle. The best house in the Dorf shall not have a better fireside than hers. But my question, Hans—time presses.”

Hans was silent, and lay with closed eyes for several minutes; then, laying his hand on the old man, he spoke with an utterance clear at first, but which gradually grew fainter as he proceeded,—

“Let them build no monument to one poor and humble as I am; mine were not actions glorious enough for trophies in the noon-day; but let the ‘Nachtwachter’ come here at midnight—at the same hour of my blessed dream—and let him wish me a good night. They who are sleeping will dream happier; and the waking will think, as they hear the cry, of Hans Jörgle!”