« AnkstesnisTęsti »
a guest who was able and willing to replace the reluctant performer. The dance now proceeded gaily and without interruption; but insensible even to the solicitations of beauty, Emanuel stood in a corner of the room, and eyed the gay whirl of the dance with an aspect of the deepest gloom.
"Meantime the siege held on its brief but terrific course. I trembled for my friend, whose desperate plans, the offspring of an over-excited mind, were condemned, even by the most foolhardy of our companions; though, had all the defenders been inspired with the same contempt of death, the result of the siege might probably have been different. The actual result is sufficiently known; with the opening of our gates to the British troops, who entered not as enemies but as friends, our warlike functions ceased. Impatient, irritated at the daily necessity of meeting on a footing of courtesy with those whom we hated from the very bottom of our hearts, I seized the first opportunity to leave the capital, and knowing that every where in the neighbourhood I should meet with English troops, or encounter general irritation and annoyance, I determined to take a wider circuit, and to visit Germany.
I need hardly say that Emanuel's society had by this time become indispensable to me; his wit, which I had at one time thought far-fetched and wanton, now afforded me delight. I laboured in silence to mitigate the inequality of his humours, though every day unfolded to me some new and strange peculiarity in his character. Among these was his aversion to every sort of dancing; he assured me that neither he nor his sisters had ever learned, or would learn, to dance. Nay, on one occasion, during a visit to a common friend in the country, where we happened to meet a party of young people who were anxious for that amusement, and who, knowing that he was the only person present who played the violin, had requested him to act the part of musician on the occasion, he at first resisted vehemently, and only yielded at last to my repeated entreaties. He played one or two dances with visible reluctance; but just as he was about to commence a third, and a young and beautiful girl, in some measure resembling the subject of the picture, whom he had long been following with his eyes with visible interest, advanced into the circle, he cast his violin away with violence, and by no entreaties could he be prevailed upon to resume it. The dancing must have ceased entirely, but for the fortunate arrival of
"My sympathies being once awakened in his favour, I only pitied him the more for these singularities, and urged him, with the view of diverting his mind, to resume with energy and perseverance his neglected studies. He promised to do so, but medicine seemed only to increase the discomfort and despondency of his mind. Often would he throw his books away, exclaiming, 'Oh! admirable training for the future! In eternity what need have I to know how men are to be made away with by rule and method?-There men die notor if they do, not by pill or potion. Why waste in such enquiries the hours which might be much better devoted to the education of the soul?'
“Is such then your employment when you throw your books away?' I asked after one of these tirades.
“Alas!' said he, with deep earnestness, that which occupies my mind is enough in the eyes of God to excuse a being of flesh and blood.' I understood him not; but thinking that a foreign tour might produce a salutary effect upon his mental malady, I pressed him to accompany me in my intended journey. He reIceived the invitation with visible pleasure, yet he hesitated long, as if some conflict were going on within, before he accepted it; at last he yielded to my entreaties.
"He commenced his journey with a feeling of uneasiness, which, however, was shortly removed by a fortunate occurrence. He had informed his father of our project, but had received no answer, and had begun to apprehend that their long silence must be occasioned by some unfortunate event, chiefly, as he admitted, from the feeling that he had long been accustomed to hear of nothing but misfortune from home. We sailed by a small vessel for Lubeck. The violence of the wind, rather than apprehension from the English vessels, had induced the captain to take the course between the islands. But autumn was already advanced; the
gloom of evening was fast closing upon the sea; he was but imperfectly acquainted with the soundings, and so he resolved, after sailing a league or two, to come to anchor, and resume his course on the following day.
"Emanuel now found himself, I may say, almost in sight of his paternal home. It was long, as he told me with emotion, since he had visited it, and unfortunate as might be the nature of his connexion with it, it was evident that the recollections of the past, and the apprehension of some present evil, had filled his mind with an indescribable longing to land, and once more to visit the home of his youth. He promised to be on board again by sunrise. My heart beat as I listened to this resolution, for I foresaw that he could not in courtesy avoid inviting me to accompany him; though it was not less evident, from the constraint with which the invitation was shortly afterwards given, that he would have been happier had I remained. For deeper reasons, however, than that on which I rested my acceptance of his offer which was, that in the event of any thing unpleasant having happened, my assistance might be of use to him-I determined to accompany him, and having made the necessary arrangements with the captain, we landed.
"We had still a full league to go; some time elapsed before we could procure any conveyance, and when we commenced our route, the night had set in dark and misty. The man who drove the vehicle mistook the path, and led us astray, so that it was bedtime ere we reached the town. In the restlessness of his anxiety, my friend would not wait to alight at his father's house; we entered the inn, and there learned, that the old clergyman was at that moment suffering severely from the return of a painful complaint, to which he was occasionally subject.
"Emanuel knew that any agitation of mind at the present moment might be attended with the most dangerous consequences to his father; so taking our little bundles in our hand, we set out on foot toward the parsonage, which stood near the church, and into which, after knocking gen
tly for a long time at the door, an old servant gave us admittance.
"She confirmed the intelligence we had received at the inn, with the consoling addition, that there was no immediate danger; that the invalid was asleep, and that she would call up the daughter who was watching beside him; while my friend, learning that his eldest sister had gone to rest, that she might relieve the other in the morning, gave her express injunctions not to disturb her, nor the two children, as he called them, by the news of our arrival. We entered, in the meantime, a large and somewhat gloomy parlour, dimly illuminated by the single light which was carried by the servant.
"It was with a strange emotion that I looked around upon the dreary dwelling, which contained the being who had been so long the object of my daily and nightly dreams, and whom I now hoped at last to see face to face; a happiness the more agitating and intense, that it was so unexpected and so unlikely. My glance wandered rapidly over the lonesome chamber; its furniture was of that modest kind which I had seen a hundred times before in the dwellings of respectable citizens; but my eyes involuntarily dwelt on several little work-tables, which stood in the windows or against the walls, without knowing to which in particular I ought to direct my attention and my homage. Emanuel had thrown himself on an old-fashioned sofa, in visible and painful expectation.
"At last the door opened gently. A young lady in a simple house dress, bearing in her hand a light, which threw its clear ray on her countenance, entered the room, with a timid but friendly air. The joyful beating of my heart seemed to announce to me that this was the charming original of the miniature; I drew in my breath that I might not disturb her, as, without observing me in the recess of the window, she flew towards her brother, with the faltering exclamation, Emanuel, dearest Emanuel!' He started up, stared on her with a fixed look, and extended his arms to receive her, but without uttering a word.
"You would scarcely know me again,' said she, 'I have grown so
tall since we parted; but I am still your own Jacoba,'
"Jacoba! he repeated, in a sorrowful tone; yes! yes! even such I had pictured you. Come to my heart!" Then drawing her to him'How is my father?' said he; how are Regina, Lucia, and the little one ?'
"All as usual,' answered the young lady, 'only that my father has suffered more severely from his pains this time than before. We could not venture to leave him except when asleep: I watch beside him always till about daybreak, and then I waken Regina. Ah! she is no longer so strong and healthy as I am, -and poor Lucia is still but a child!'
Enough,' said my friend, as if struggling with an oppression at the heart, and introduced me to his sister. She saluted me with an air of shyness and embarrassment, the natural result of her solitary education, and then hurried out to prepare some refreshments, and to give directions for our repose.
"Now,' said I, with a triumphant glance at my friend, when we were left alone, now I know the name of the charming picture, or rather of the still more lovely original. It is Jacoba.'
"Jacoba !' he repeated with a deep sigh- well, well, be it as you will; -but, for heaven's sake, no more of this, earnestly I ask it of younot a word of the picture. That is my secret.'
"The sister entered again occásionally, but only for a moment at a time. Her shyness seemed to prevent her from taking any part in our conversation; and every instant she hurried out to see that her father was still asleep. We agreed that the old man, to whom any mental agitation might be dangerous in his present irritable state, should know nothing of his son's presence, and that Jacoba should merely waken her elder sister an hour earlier than usual, that before commencing her duties by her father's bed-side, she might have time to bestow a parting embrace upon her brother.
"Jacoba went out and did not return. Shortly afterwards the servant came in, and whispered that the old man was awake, I grieved at this;
I would gladly have gazed longer on those features, and compared them with the portrait which lay concealed as usual in the breast of my friend. Yet this was needless. The resemblance had already struck me; and though there seemed to me more fire, more lustre in her eye, some allowance was of course to be made for the failure of the painter, who drew but from memory.
"My friend accompanied me to my room, and then betook himself to the little apartment which bore his name, and which, it seemed, had always been kept in readiness for him. I felt my heart filled with a sensation of ineffable contentment and delight. I had seen the being whom my fancy had invested with a thousand perfections, and whose retiring shyness seemed only to add new charms to her beauty. Despite of the veil of mystery which seemed to rest over the situation of the family, I felt an internal conviction how short a space of time would be sufficient to fan those feelings of admiration into a glowing passion; particularly now that my suspicions as to the nature of Emanuel's attachment had disappeared. True, he had received her with emotion, and embraced her; but his embrace was passionless, nay, almost cold and strange. There was no appearance of delight in his look, but on the contrary, I could not but feel, an air of horror. Absorbed in the contemplation of this dark enigma, I drew near to the window.
"The mist had dispersed; the moon had risen calm and cloudless. The window of my room looked directly out upon the churchyard, which lay bright beneath me in the moonshine, while the broad walls of the church and its pointed tower threw out a long dark shadow that seemed to lose itself in the distance. Between the window at which I stood and the (not far distant) church, was a large burial-place, surrounded by a low iron railing; my eyes accidentally rested upon it, and I drew back with involuntary terror on perceiving some object move near it, half hid in the shadow projected from a monument beyond. Mastering my first sensation, however, I thought, upon a second glance, that I recognised the figure of Emanuel in that of the being thus leaning against the
monument, and dwelling as it were
it is late with dayCome in
"What would you with me?' he replied. It is long since I have seen my home. Let me remain a while with mine own.'
That,' said I, you will do better within,' pointing to the house. 'Enjoy the society of the living-let the dead
"The living repeated he, in a tone of bitterness. 'Here is my home, the home of my fathers-here moulder the ashes of my mother, soon to be mingled with those of one and all of us. Not without a deep meaning has my father placed this last resting-place so near to our mansion, but to remind us that it is but a step from our home to the grave; and with the affection of a father he wishes that he may be able, even when we are gone, to have all his children in his view. An irresistible feeling impelled me hither; a longing, as it were, to prepare another grave. To-morrow you will see!-'
I sprang up; I saw by the weathercock that the wind was fair, and I knew that if we detained the vessel under such circumstances, we should be made to pay dearly enough for our passage. I stept into my friend's room, who was fast asleep, but roused himself the moment I awakened him. Soon after, we heard the servant bustling about with the breakfast things in the parlour, and walked in. Her master, she told us, had passed a very restless night. Mamselle Jacoba had never stirred a moment from his side. But she had gently wakened her sisters, had told Regina of her brother's visit and his arrangements, and they would be with us immediately.
"She had scarcely in fact finished her information, when the three young ladies entered with a joyful, but noiseless step, lest the unwonted sound of conversation at that early hour might reach the ears of their father. The first look shewed me that my yesterday's conjecture must be right; the picture could represent no one but Jacoba. Regina, the eldest, was much about the same height, but almost as different from her blooming sister, as the pallid and fading autumn from the vigorous maturity of summer; the same family features appeared in both faces, but in the pale if not sallow.complexion, hollow eyes, and wasted form of Regina, scarcely could you have recognised the sister of Jacoba. Lucia, though pretty well grown, was at that period of life when she was not likely to attract much attention; and of both, indeed, I had but a hasty glance. The third sister, a child of twelve years old, pale, deli- !
"Dear friend,' I replied, 'away with evil dreams! It was not for this that I brought you to your home: you are creating anxiety and vexa-cate, and little of her age, seemed tion, not only to yourself and to me, but to all whom your presence ought to cheer.'
"You are right. It must have been a dream,' said he briefly, and with an effort at calmness. Come, we will to bed.' We re-entered the house.
"I slept not, however; partly because my thoughts were busied with my friend, whose conduct appeared to me more and more extraordinary, and partly, perhaps, from the very fear of over-sleeping myself. A half slumber only at times sunk upon my eyes; with the first dawn of morning
still overcome with sleep, while joy, regret, and surprise seemed mingled in the sweet expression of her childish face. All three were immediately hushed into silence at the sight of a stranger.
"Sweet blossom of my heart,' cried my friend, who had extended his hands to the two elder sisters almost without looking at them, but gazed with the deepest affection upon the youngest, embraced her with the greatest tenderness, and occupied himself exclusively with her, leaving me to entertain the others as I best could. Meantime
I could not but perceive that, while he was caressing the youngest, and rapidly swallowing his coffee, he frequently stole a glance at the two elder, with an expression of griefnay, almost of aversion, which must have deeply wounded their feelings, had not the brevity of our interview, and the numerous enquiries relative to his father with which it was filled up, prevented the singularity of his demeanour from being observed by them. Though the eyes of all of them, especially of the elder, still dwelt upon him with the fondest emotion, I was obliged to press our immediate departure; and, after Emanuel had once more shaken hands with the two elder sisters, and kissed the younger, we hastened away, followed by the gaze of the three sisters, who lingered at the door.
"We spoke but little of the scene which had passed. I had enough to do hurrying the coachman, lest we should arrive too late for our passage. My friend sat silent, wrapped in his own thoughts; and when at last we had got safely again on board, and once more spread our sails to the wind, he manifested so decided a disinclination to allude to the subject, that I found it necessary to adjourn to a future opportunity any conversation as to the fair Jacoba, of whom I had unfortunately obtained only a fleeting glance by daylight, as she greeted us at our departure from the window of her father's apartment; but that glance was enough to render her the unceasing object of my meditations.
"We soon arrived in Lubeck. The distant sight of its stately towers restored to my friend some portion of his cheerfulness; he drew near with emotion to that city, in which, as I then learnt, his mother was either born, or had spent some years of her youth. This cheerfulness of temper, united with a more than ordinary mildness, gave me the best hopes as to the salutary effects of our prolonged tour. I was far enough from foreseeing by what chance our projected ramble was to be cut short in a single day.
"We resolved to employ the first hours of our short stay in seeing the curiosities of the town. We soon, however, turned from the traces of VOL. XXXI, NO. CXCI.
civil decay into the magic province of art; and with this view we entered the church of St Mary.
"The love for German art was then but imperfectly developed; men seemed to have no suspicion of the existence of those treasures, which, covered with dirt and dust, and, at best, the object of passing curiosity, were here left to moulder in the vaulted aisles of this vast edifice. The remarkable clock, with the effigies of the seven electors, who, notwithstanding this deficiency of number, were pertinaciously set down as the twelve apostles, then constituted the chief glory of the building. I accompanied my friend into the open church, waiting for the striking of the hour which sets the figures in motion, and casting at the same time a hurried glance on the numerous objects which on every side presented themselves to the eye. Several young people, who perceived that we were strangers, exerted themselves as our ciceroni. One of them opened a small grated door at one side of the chapel, and invited us to enter. We walked into the chapel; and here, in better preservation than the other pictures, the walls were covered with multiplied representations of Death, who, in dancing attitudes, was leading off as his prey persons of every age, sex, That,' said the and costume. young man, 'is the celebrated Dance of Death.'
"How!' said my friend, hastily interrupting him, while his eyes fixed with a look of horror on one compartment of the picture, in which Death, tall and slender, was represented winding his bony arm round a young maiden, who, in a rosy-coloured dress, and with the bridal garland in her hair, was vainly struggling to emancipate herself from his embrace. Emanuel spoke not another word;-he stood with his finger pointing in the position in which it seemed to have been arrested, till at last, pale and trembling, he clasped hold of my arm, which I had extended to him, and breathed a deep sigh, as if some oppressive weight had been suddenly removed from his bosom.
"What is the matter?' said I, anxiously.
"I feel,' replied he,' as if I had