Puslapio vaizdai

more radiant, and seemed to proceed from the opposite wall, although there was nothing there, nor in any part of the room, to give a solution to its mysterious appearance. Some dark object it at first dimly revealed, writhing on the ground, but gradually lighted it better, until, with sickening eyes, the Germans perceived it to be the figure of a man, deadly pale, with face, hair, and garments, elotted with blood, who, apparently with great effort, rose to a sitting posture, glared wildly round, and putting out the right hand, from which a finger seemed but just severed, motioned as though he would repulse the savage beings, who, with Mary at their head, had rushed over the threshold, but now stood, rooted with amazement, garing en in silent stupefaction.

"Approach not, murderers," said a deep, hollow voice, proceeding from the ghastly object before them: "you have already wrought your worst upon me, and mortal fear I may no longer know;-but I come to warn to panish.-Kneel and repent, for the hour of your destruction is at hand. The avenger of blood is behind you.Again, I say, though you murdered me, I would fain save your souls.-Repent! repent!""

The sounds expired in a sort of death-rattle within the threat of the bleeding figure, which having crawled to the wall, seemed to vanish through it.

Repent; for the angel of Mary calls you. Mary, you once implored him," spoke a voice as clear as a silver bell. A strain of music of surpassing sweetness seemed now wafted from above, and floated through the apartment in selemn, thrilling chords, whose strange, harrowing melaneboly was almost too painful for pleasure. Sure never had mortal ears drank in such sounds as those. No human touch was that. Mary-who had not been able to restrain her screams on first seeing the accusing phantom, and whose terror had gradually augmented to such a degree, that her husband, in spite of his own consternation, had in pity put his arm around her-now dropped from his bold to the floor, where she lay prostrate, giving no other sign of life but the sobs that ever and anon convulsed her frame. Her companions were themselves now so powerfaily agitated, that they no longer noticed her. Indeed, they formed a frightful group to behold; their stalwart, half-elad frames, swarthy visages, with eyes starting out of their heads with fear and wonder; their wild countenances, rendered wilder with terror; their relaxed muscles suffering the instruments of meditated crime to fall harmless, and for once unstained by blood, from their nerveless hands. So absorbed were they that the repeated ejaculations of the two friends fell unnoticed on their ears.

But the mysterious strain had passed away. The light on the opposite wall grew fainter and fainter, until it nearly disappeared; when suddenly playing with renewed brilliancy much higher up, almost reaching, or rather seeming to burst from, the ceiling, it gradually formed a still more dazzling focus, although less extensive than before, from which a man's hand, armed with a dagger, became distinctly visible; whilst a deep, full, brassy voice exclaimed in loud angry tones

"The time allotted for repentance is rapidly passing away, and you shall all be mine! mine! I am the Angel of Revenge—and you-Hark! your hour is past!"

The large house clock struck one with a harsh sound that grated on every ear, aud caused each heart to palpitate: "Now, I am coming-and you are lost" said the


voice with increased vehemence. A triumphant laugh followed, then a loud voice, seemingly starting from the midst of the terrified group, repeated in exulting accents, "Lost-lost-for I am come !"

With one loud yell, the ruffians now fled; even the half-distracted Mary, uttering scream upon scream, rose from the floor, and with the blind haste of the hunted doe, followed the others through the dark room beyond; and the mingled noise of the hurried tramp of men's feet and the shrieks of Mary, after sounding loud in the gallery, died away in a confused noise, and finally subsided altogether into complete silence. Some time elapsed, during which the bewildered steward and bookseller durst not so much as move a muscle, and scarcely draw their breath. A slow, stealthy step was now heard, as if proceeding from an adjacent apartment -a door was cautiously pushed back-the step came nearer, and the old man was on the point of roaring lustily for help, when a hand, wandering in uncertainty along the wall, encountered his arm and grasped it firmly. "It is you,'' whispered the Italian, "is it not?"

"Sancta Maria!" exclaimed the steward, in scarce audible accents, "are you still alive? Well, I scarcely know if I am so.-Es spuckt."

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The bookseller had by this time crept out of his own hiding place, and joined the cautious whisperers. He could scarcely be said to be possessed of life, if life should mean aught else but the power of motion. The steward mastered his emotions better. The Italian took the portmanteau from the trembling hand of the young German, who was staggering under its weight, and urging his companions forward with rapid, though noiseless steps, passed with them through the outer chamber. When they emerged into the silent gallery, the gusts of wind were just driving a thick cloud from the face of the moon, that shone for a moment in her pale splendour, showing distinctly the deserted court-yard and the door of the stables, which seemed unwatched. The storm was at its height; the wind howled through the distant trees of the surrounding forest, like angry and chafed spirits of the air; the thunder rolled occasionally in loud, prolonged peals, reverberating awfully through the silence; and more sad still was the sound of the many unfastened doors on the gallery, as they swung heavily on their hinges, the lightning casting, ever and anon, a lurid glare into the deserted chambers, of which each might be supposed to have been the scene of what the imagination dared not dwell upon.

A slight shudder passed over the frame of the travellers. Even the Italian was not free from it; but with him such sensations were but momentary. They had at a glance encompassed and felt what it takes us longer to describe. "Had I not better try if we can reach the stables in safety?" asked the stranger in low accents.

"Wherever you go, I follow," said the steward, clinging to him; whilst the bookseller, instead of speaking his intention, grasped his other arm tighter. But their fears were groundless. Staircase, passage, and yard, were alike deserted, and the fugitives reached the stables unhindered and unobserved.

The dogs were the only beings awake or stirring in the place, and the travellers' pale, haggard countenances, and dripping clothes, met no prying eyes. They all three paused, moved by the same impulse, before the pretty little church, whose gilded cross had just caught the first ray of the rising sun; and, dismounting, knelt in pious humility on the wet stone steps, leading to the principal door, of course yet closed at that early hour. In long, though silent, thanksgivings, did each pour out his gratitude to the Almighty, for the extraordinary mercies of that night.

The horses were soon found, saddled, and mounted; trees gradually gave way to low furze; and, above this,' there were no others along with them, which greatly com- they soon saw rising, not the miserable huts of a poor forted the travellers. The only, and apparently insur-village, but the neat, white-washed houses of a comfortmountable, difficulty yet remaining was, the notice the able little market town. clatter of the horses' hoofs must naturally attract to their movements. But the risk was not to be avoided. The Italian bade them suffer him to take the lead, and follow as slowly, and cautiously, as they could. Luckily, the yard was not paved, and the sod was softened by the torrents of rain which had fallen in the course of that night. The Italian's keen eye soon discovered the road from the stables into the open country; and the moment they cleared the outer buildings, they made for the next forest at full gallop. For one instant, a fresh terror froze the blood of the Germans in their veins: the Italian, who had taken the start of them, suddenly turned his horse's head, So absorbed were they in their effusions, that they felt and rode back to within a few feet of the front of the neither the cold of the damp stones, nor the small searchhouse which was now in full view. Although prudence ing rain, that now, as if to complete, on their devoted should have urged them on, yet, paralysed by fear, they persons, the effects of the night's drenching, seemed willstood still, gazing after him, until they beheld him hurry-ing to pierce their very bones. It was the unclosing of a ing back in great haste.

"On, on!" he said, as soon as he was near enough to be heard by them without making too loud a call. "Put forth your utmost speed. I think we are saved."


few shutters that first roused them, when remounting, but evidently mechanically, the Germans turned to the Italian, as if to inquire what was next to be done. Until then they had merely exchanged occasionally some broken sentences, but had scarcely dared to listen to the sounds of their own voices..

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First of all," said the Italian, "we must to the Amtmann (Mayor of the place), and make our depositions. Perhaps the robbers may not yet have escaped.'

His two companions suffered him to lead them like children, and after some difficulty, for which the early hour accounted, they at last found, and what was still more fortunate, succeeded in awaking the Amtmann. He immediately recognised the Italian, who cut short his kind greetings by the recital of the last night's adventures; bat he was interrupted in his turn by the loud and united clamour of his companions who, seemingly as anxious to take the lead on this occasion as they formerly had been to keep in the back ground, strove each to cry down the other by dint of the strength of lungs, and rapidity of enunciation, with which it had pleased nature to gift them. Here, however, the steward had decidedly the advantage: he clearly beat the bookseller off the field, and eagerly, not to say somewhat incoherently, did he detail to the magistrate all the horrors they had gone through; the bookseller contenting himself, now and then, with "con

For a good half hour they galloped on at the utmost speed of their horses, and cleared a considerable space of the forest; but the jaded animals could no longer proceed at such a rate, and flagged every moment more and more. The unusual exertion of the previous day, which had been a very fatiguing one, together with their imperfect rest, had not sufficiently recruited their strength for such a night expedition. Though the storm had abated in its violence, and the thunder had ceased, the rain poured down in torrents; the night was black as ink; and the forest spread on all sides with its waving, dark masses, like an endless ocean of firs. None of the party knew whither they were riding; it was scarcely possible, in the increasing darkness, to distinguish the undulations of the road; and the risk of being dashed against a tree was every moment more imminent. Each recommended himself aloud, and in his own language, to his patron Saint. Still they rode on; but every now and then they fancied they heard the tramp of pursuing horses and shouting voices behind them, as the wind howled through the long avenues of the older trees, and the more fragile ones moaned almost with the sound of human complaint to the sweeping blast. The rain, too, and its deceptive patter-firming the steward's words by some ejaculation or exing, added to the terrors of that night. They rode on as in a dream, unconscious of the difficulties they overcame—of what their path led to their hearts beating audibly, and all their senses concentrated in that of hearing.

It were useless to say how often they stood still, and listened to the sounds of the abating storm, conceiving the murderers at hand-mistaking the rage of the elements for that of man; but, in what words express the nameless joy that thrilled through every breast, when the first grey dawn showed them the waving outlines of the forest more distinctly, and when they first conceived the hope, from the fair open road they found themselves upon, of being on their way to some large village; nor were they mistaken. Soon after the light on the horizon grew clearer, the distant baying of house-dogs sounded gladly in their ears, like a welcome again to life. The high

clamation of assent, with all the emphasis with which a Greek chorus bears out the hero in his tale of tragic wonder; whilst the Italian, with folded arms, quietly waited the moment when their breath should fairly fail them. And thus did the Amtmann become duly informed of the visible interposition of the saints in behalf of the travellers, in very extraordinary dangers-nay of a palpable miracle having been, at their devout intercession, granted them in their hour of need. Something more the mayor managed to collect from their disjointed and confused account, about an inn, a forest, and a few ghosts, but nothing that he could either comprehend or make sense of. His patience totally exhausted, he now turned to the stranger, who evidently was none-such for him, and said—" Dear Signor, in the name of Heaven, what is all this about? You must have turned these poor people's heads by some of your singular performances, to which, after all, you

alone can give a satisfactory clue; for my explanations wonders of phantasmagoria and the deceptions of optics, would only be second hand at best.”

“Nay, the affair is more serious than you take it to be, my good master Amtmann;" and he begged the magistrate to allow him a private interview. When they came out of the adjoining room to which they had retired, the Amtmann, with a grave countenance, put to the Germans several questions, bearing reference to the less poetical part of their narrative; and having listened attentively to their replies, he begged them and the Italian to remain in the town until he should be able to collect their further depositions; so hug, in short, as might be necessary to the ends of justice. He then explained, in a few brief but emphatic words, how much the travellers were indebted to their companion for their escape from the perils of the night. He had long known, he said, Signor Thomassini, and often admired his wondrous display of talents, in his occasional visits to the neighbouring great towns; but never could have anticipated that, what he considered to be the triumph of jugglery, should prove available for such noble purposes as the Signor had shown they could be turned


'Why," answered the Italian, “chance, or rather the mercy of God," piously crossing himself, “permitted circumstances to be altogether in my favour. Besides the advantage of having all my paraphernalia about me, such as my far-famed harmonica, my mirrors of reflexion, and sundry other conveniences for my phantasmagorical delusions, which I meant to display in every small town on my road-having taken nothing with me but what I could make use of without the aid of my partner the rooms were well adapted for the execution of the design I immediately formed on perceiving our danger. Over each door there was a small opening, or casement, probably provided by the robbers for their own purposes. Indeed, of holes and crevices in the walls there was no lack. Everything marvellously seconded the plan I had in view to play on the credulity of ignorance, and the superstitious terrors of guilt; for I have often had occasion to observe how powerfully my art acts upon gross and untaught minds. I did not, as the result has proved, over-estimate my


these branches of art and science were, if not altogether unknown, at least not spread among the people; and the unheard-of success Cagliostro's tricks obtained, in circles the most distinguished in intelligence as well as rank, form an ample apology for the simple astonishment and awe with which the first attempts of the kind were everywhere received, even among the educated. We find, also, that they who first made the public familiar with those arts and deceptions-the secret of which, in past ages, had been confined to the privileged few, and accordingly made an abuse of met with favour and respect, and were encouraged in every possible manner by the great, with whom it was their luck to come in contact. The harmonica itself, now a toy in almost every boy's hand, was then but a recent discovery, whose effects, together with other complicated and well-adapted means, were likely to impress with the idea of the supernatural, not only the uncultured minds of boors, but even those of men who, like the steward and bookseller, without being scientific, were by no means uncultivated. It took very long, and required no small patience, to make them comprehend the real nature of the mystery by which they had so largely benefited, and the extent of their obligations to the Italian.

The surprise of the Germans was boundless; and when they at last comprehended the whole, they were clamorous in their gratitude. The magistrate now begged them to adjourn to the neighbouring inn, that he might busy himself in collecting what people he could, if possible to surprise the robbers in their den; "though I doubt," said he, as his visiters took their leave," they will already have taken wing.”

The friends removed, accordingly, to the Golden Dragon, leaving the Amtmann to take his own measures. Nearly the whole of the morning was taken up with relating over and over again all that had occurred; for not only had they to satisfy the curiosity of the host and hostess, but also that of a very numerous assemblage of townspeople, collected together expressly to sec and speak with them, the rumour of their tale having flown through the place like wildfire, and excited in every breast a feverish curiosity.

The streets were filled with groups of idle talkers, ges

'And the heavenly music?" said the steward, lost in ticulating and recounting in every possible key, and with


"Was any harmonica," replied the Signor, smiling. 'But still the many different voices, from as many different parts of the room?" exclaimed the bookseller, still dubiously,

every possible variation, the tale of horror. Now, indeed, could they account for the frequency, and the extraordinary nature, of the crimes which had of late years happened in their neighbourhood; and whose perpetrators had, by successfully baffling the efforts of Government

"Signor Thomassini," answered the magistrate, "is for their discovery and apprehension, excited a mystea renowned ventriloquist."

rious awe in all the country round. Now, the solution

"And the murdered man?" again asked the inquisitive seemed plain enough; and the wonder was, how it could bookseller.


'Was one of my favourite ghosts; all of which, should I be fortunate enough to recover them, I intend to exhibit in this good town before I depart from it," answered Thomassini.

Although these few words of explanation at once made the mysteries of the previous night clear to the Amtmann, not so with Signor Thomassini's new friends. To account satisfactorily for an obtuseness of comprehension, which to the modern reader may seem to border on the crudest ignorance, we must remind him that, in the days we speak of, when Robertson and Ollivier had not yet exhibited the


have escaped their minds for such a length of time.-The Stiebers were so very bad; all their farm-boys were the most complete scamps in the district;-for what reason should they have kept so many men to work ground which could yield no crops?-Why, it was as clear as the nose on the face-a child might have hit it :-how could Mary have afforded her silk dresses and Sunday finery, and Stieber and his men the money they squandered in liquor and the Kegeln? Government must have been blind indeed!

The popular agitation continued increasing as time wore on, and the party of soldiers gathered from the G

neighbouring barracks, and the country people armed with pitchforks, whom the authorities had collected in all haste to march against the devoted inn, returned not. Hour passed after hour, and no tidings of their success were heard; at last, when the sun was on the wane, the more curious of the gazers perceived in the distance a compact, dark mass, moving slowly forward on the high road. Their hopes were soon confirmed-it was their friends returning.

When warned of this circumstance, and that most of the brigands were taken, Peter Stieber among the rest, by a feeling they could scarcely account for, the heroes of the night's adventure, mounted to a private chamber, with the intention of profiting by the window that overlooked the main street, through which the prisoners must pass. It might be, that an innate feeling of terror induced them to avoid meeting face to face those objects which, the evening before, had struck them with so much awe, or, perhaps, a disinclination to triumph over the wretches whom they had been the means of bringing to justice. Carefully peeping through the close-drawn curtains, they saw the returning party pass slowly through the street, leading the prisoners, strongly bound and guarded, so that escape was impossible. They were generally of a most repulsive aspect, and answered the shouts and triumphant clamours of the populace, who for the most part called upon them by name, with looks of impotent rage. Peter Stieber alone seemed an altered man; the sulky savage expression his features usually bore had given way to one of utter despair; he seemed not to hear, see, or be in any manner conscious of surrounding objects. His eyes were immoveably fixed on a shutter borne by four peasants, on which lay stretched a ghastly female corpse -it was Mary.

"Good Heaven!" exclaimed the Italian, clasping his hands together, his cheek growing very pale, "I thought she had merely fainted."

"What do you mean?" inquired with a subdued accent the trembling bookseller, whose heart sickened at the sight.

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'Why last night," continued the Italian, in a hurried manner, "when I rode back within view of the public room to see if there were any danger of immediate pursuit, in order to take my measures accordingly, I saw this woman lying on the table, her husband wildly gesticulating over her, and the other men looking on so absorbed and immoveable that I imagined we should yet have time to gain a start. But this I had not anticipated. Indeed, I had meant to save, but not to punish."

Tears glistened in the eyes of the old steward. "Poor pretty Mary!" he exclaimed; "giddiness paved thy way to sin and crime, and these have met their reward."

"What a warning should this be to girls of that class," said the bookseller, as he slowly turned away from the casement, for there was nothing more to be scen.

The criminals were shortly after conducted to a town of more importance, whither the friends were compelled to follow them, although most unwillingly, to enact the painful part of witnesses on their trial. But when the multifarious crimes, of which all, especially Peter Stieber and his wife, had been guilty, were brought clearly home to them, and confirmed by the villains' own confessions, they considered themselves as chosen instruments of justice, and fortunate in having been the means of putting an end

to such iniquities. Even the old steward himself, who had once taken so fatherly an interest in Mary, and the Italian, who regretted having literally killed her, could not but rejoice in her having met with her deserts, when they learned how upon leaving the post-house where the steward had first known her, Peter Stieber having taken to the woods and his knife for a livelihood, the young girl, availing herself of her charms to decoy unwary travellers into the latter's bloody hands, had occasioned the disappearance of so many foolish youths, whom her situation enabled her to rob at her leisure, once she had made sure of their never returning to claim their own. With the funds this traffic had enabled them to collect, the treacherous pair had set up the solitary inn, where so many more unfortunate travellers had seen their earthly pilgrimage brought to an untimely close. Peter Stieber, according to the prevailing custom of that time, ended his days on the wheel, the fate always allotted to the leader of a gang; the others were executed by the heads


To his no small satisfaction, the Italian recovered all his goods which he had well nigh given up for lost; but, for some hidden reason, he did not feel in the humour to make his accustomed use of them. He received, however, not only the warmest expressions of thanks and gratitude, on the part of his travelling companions, but likewise as generous proofs of their sense of obligation as their limited finances permitted. Moreover, the most flattering marks of approbation from the authorities were accorded him for his spirited conduct, which, together with many private donations from unknown hands, enabled him to leave the town a much richer man than he had entered it. Here the young bookseller separated from his companions, promising to write to Signor Thomassini of his safe arrival, the very day the event should take place; and the steward and juggler continued their road together, to the little capital, to which they had originally both been journeying. They were sadder and graver than when they first met, and were heartily glad when they reached their place of destination. Most anxiously had they been expected. The Count of Rantzau, alarmed by confused and exaggerated rumours, had given up his money and his faithful servant for lost; and the countryman and partner of Signor Thomassini was probably even more distressed for the sake of his friend than the Count for both his losses, however serious they might have proved in their consequences. Great was the joy with which the travellers were greeted by those they sought; and the Count presented the Italian with a most munificent remuneration, which, as it was perfectly unexpected, and most graciously proffered, gave heartfelt pleasure to the receiver. He took the foreigners under his own immediate patronage, and need we say how brilliantly their exhibitions were attended? The story was soon spread over the capital; the Prince himself, and many others of high rank, showed the utmost favour to Signor Thomassini, who afterwards declared he never in his life had made such a golden harvest. But what he most prided himself upon was the letters he received from the sharers in his perils and their families. Their thanks, which he declared he did not feel he deserved, were in his eyes the greatest triumph his favourite art ever obtained.

Time has rolled on, and wrought, as it still does, even in its most minute fractions, never-ceasing changes. The little market town has risen to the dignity of a manufac

looking creature, whose wan face will inspire pity but no terror-cross that gallery, and sleep in one of those very rooms, in the very corner, perhaps, where, years ago, a miserable victim groaned in his last agony-carelessly neglect to bolt those doors, whose revolving creak once jarred in the ear of the helpless traveller like a death knell. Then, if what the philosophers of old did say be in any way founded on truth-that the air, and places desecrated by crime be haunted with visions of horror-we will take leave of you, hoping that your dreams, when resting, unconscious of the forgotten past, at the Golden Stork, may not be disturbed by any reminiscences of "pretty Mary."

turing city of much importance; the oceans of wood and be welcomed on that very threshold by a pale, sicklyforest have gradually given way to the fast-increasing development of agriculture in Germany, and there remains of them but what is indispensable to the variety and beauty of the scenery. The lonely inn is still an inn; but as Beat, as comfortable a one, as may be met with in any of the minor villages. It now, under the appellation of the Golden Stork, (how it got this name I never could discover) is one of the most important houses of a rich, thriving village, and affords, as I have myself experienced, very tolerable accommodation. Start not, gentle reader, sweet lady, grow not pale,-when I hint at the great probability of your having, at some time or other, when on your continental tour, slept in that very house; nay, as it stands on a most frequented route, you may do so again


A VOICE from thee, thou land of dreams,
O Greece, a voice from thee,
Borne o'er the trackless wastes of old,
Comes booming mournfully:
Of thy pride, thy power, thy glory,

Thou hast spoken through the past;
Thou speakest here of thy ruined homes,
And thy broken hearts, at last.

Thou hast thrown aside thy splendour,


Thou hast doffed thy casque and plume, And we hail thee, "Greece the mortal," In this garden's wasted bloom;

We behold thy children playing

"Mid the sunshine and the flowers,

And feel thy homes were the nestling nooks
Of holiest love, like ours.

We have seen thy schools and altars,
And thy trophies proud, of war;

But this record of thy earliest days

Is to us more touching far:

Thou too hadst hearths and homesteads

To guard from slavery's thrall,

Were thy household gods, in the battle-field,

The mightiest gods of all?

What shapes of gorgeous loveliness

Start up by fount and tree,

As fancy calls back all the past,
Whilst gazing here on thee,

Thou mute memorial of the days
Time ne'er may see again,
And of the beauty and the love

That hallowed them-in vain!
O thou grave-like, ancient garden--
With thy slopes that mock the sun,
With thy statues sunk and broken,

With thy paths by weed o'errun,
With thy viewless wilds of laurel,

With thy vases, moss o'ergrown,
Thy despoiled and waveless fountains-
Thou art left-alone, alone!

Far before thee sweep the wild waves

Of a solitary sea,

That shall never more bear homeward bark,

With its freight of joy, to thee :

From the grey tops of the mountains

Fall the twilight shadows down,

Where thou picturest well thy ruined land,

In the night of its renown!

There are hearts, too, might find pictured

Their own weary fate in thine

The trodden flowers, and the clinging weed,
By the wrecks of many a shrine ;
And the dried-up founts, and the silence,
And the shadows cold and lone--

O for the land where earth's glory
And blight, are alike unknown!


HID in shell, deep in a well,

Lay Truth.

This known, one day a smiling youth

Thought he would like awhile to dwell

'Neath the waters clear,

Truth's voice to hear.

Splashing and dashing, in he went,--
But be could not bear

The first chill feelings that cold bath sent
Över his delicate skin so fair;
And, not having heard of Mr. Lane,
Or Malvern, I ween, came out again.
After a time, a man in his prime
Came there.

Much had he seen of this world's care,

And much of pleasure's sunny clime

Had lost and won,

And had just begun

To take care of the pence" (in a moral way)—
To turn a new leaf.

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