Imagens das páginas

would anywhere look down upon either glass vase of crystal clearness. A a lovelier' or a happier spectacle than Rabbi with a truly Rabbinical beard, the one in the room below, by the couch elevated above the rest in the centre of of her own sleeping infant.

the apartment, addressed them at great She remained here with truly Chris- length on their various duties ; at the tian patience, until the chill of the fresh- conclusion of which the vase was preening breeze from the ocean warned sented to him. Raising it to the utmost her of the danger of too protracted a height of his arms, he let it fall to the stay, when, as she descended the steep floor beneath him. The countless atoms and circuitous steps that led to the to which it was broken were then careturret, she met the happy Esteer, fully gathered up and deposited in the hastening to warn her how late it was. case, which was sealed and placed in Benaliel had left her ; he had much to the Rabbi's keeping, as a type of the indo that night before day-break when he dissoluble union of the parties, who would be on his way to the capital.— could not be separated on earth till these Deeply penetrated with remorse and broken fragments should reunite themmortification, Benaliel's mother on the selves into the pristine form and clearfollowing day waited on Esteer with ness of the shattered crystal ;—and this costly garments, richly embroidered, and was the deed, the record, of a Jewish the gold-wrought zone of Fez to encir. Barbary marriage. This time, at least, cle the rounded beauty of her form. I hope that Hadzar's augury of “good Rich treasures of pearls were braided luck” from a broken glass was just. into her dark flowing hair, and rose and With a bright sun and a favoring sank with the swell of her happy bo- breeze, Esteer set sail with her faithful som : and anklets and armlets of heavy Benaliel ; and she parted from her formgold and gleaming, gems, tinkled and er attached mistress and equally attachshone as she moved her graceful limbs ed child, on the same spot which about to embrace the donor, in whom she re- three years before had witnessed a difmembered nothing but that she was ferent parting. This time there was no Benaliel's mother.

bowl of milk poured upon the wave that According to the customs of her peo- danced brightly and buoyantly beneath ple it was proper for Esteer to be under the tossing boat. The Christian lady the roof of her own people, and she was herself, shortly afterwards left Mogatherefore taken home by Madam Za- dore, or Swarrah, and has never since guery to prepare for her nuptials. Her heard further tidings of her “ Poor Esfriends, to whom she had been so faith- TEER.” If she is living still, her former ful and devoted, and from whom it cost mistress wonders greatly, how she would her no slight pang to part, were given like to see her story thus simply and the seat of honor, next to Benaliel's truly related in the Democratic Review father and mother, on the last nuptial --and know that the infant charge evening—for the ceremonies were con- she nursed so tenderly and well, has betinued during three in succession. On come its Editor ! a rich and substantial case rested a



"Shapeless sights come wandering by, The ghastly people of the realm of dream.


The scene we stopped to contemplate Rhine, till on the verge of the horizon might have employed the pencil of the rises, in misty indistinctness, the giganfirst of Germany's landscape painters. tic tower of the Strasburg Cathedral. Sublimity was here, as well as beauty, It is long before the eye takes in the on which the eye could never be weary different points; now it lingers on the of dwelling: The ruins of the cloister animated picture of Durlach, now wanat Bruchsal had melted away in the ders through the poplar avenues to distance; but before us was a broad Carlsruhe; now glances at Landau, or range of mountains, some of them Speier, the monument of so many emcastle-crowned ; the upper line of the perors, now rests on Mannheim, or Black Forest could be traced in relief Frankenthal, or roves in unsated delight against the dusky blue background; and over the beauty so many pens have celethere were hills covered with verdure, brated--of the Palatinate of the Rhine. sprinkled with vineyards, and with

A gentleman of the party, who had groves of the peach and almond tree; lived many years in Germany, informed patches of woodland, meadows of lux- us the tower had been destroyed a long uriant green; a plain like a map of time before the desolation of the other pictures, and winding through the val. buildings.

A superstition connected ley the silver Pfinz, hastening to mingle with the place had prevented its ever its stream with father Rhine.

being rebuilt. At the request of several On the steep side of the mountain persons curious in tales of the wild and could be seen the ruined walls of a strange, he consented to relate the story high, square tower, so black and ancient- -promising only that he could enterlooking, that it seemed to have been tain us with no pranks of ghost or hobbuilt many years before the old castle goblin. It was only a simple narration to which it had belonged, although this of facts, far enough removed, however, once stately pile had been desolated by from the present time to be invested the hand of time.

with a coloring of romance. I give the It was a pleasant afternoon's excur- story as he told it. sion to ascend the mountain, partly by a winding path, partly by steps roughly At the close of the Thirty-Years' hewn in the rock, to the solitary ruins. War, this castle was owned and inThere, standing on the massive arch habited by Conrad, Baron von Runsitwhich for centuries has crowned the ten. He lived in singular retirement ; precipice, hovering almost in mid-air, and though the father of two sons, eduall sense of danger is lost in admiration cated them at a distance. He sent, unof the unrivalled view. The eye, as it der the care of different preceptors, the follows the luxuriant valley of the Pfinz, elder to another part of Germany, the rests in the distance on the spires of younger to Italy. Since the death of Pforeheim, and the lofty chain of the their mother, he had remained in the Black Forest Mountains; to the left are castle alone, retaining but few servants, the town, and the hamlet-sprinkled plain and seldom seen even by them, with the of Baden-Baden; and new objects of exception of one who had grown grey interest and wonder burst on the view, in his service, Daniel, the castellan. as one traces upwards the majestic This man was as reserved and silent as

• This tradition has been wrought up into a story hy E. T. W. Hoffmann. I have never seen the tale, but merely an outline of it, from which it appears that the incidents are the same.-E. F. E. VOL. XVI.NO. LXXXII.



his master ; a fitting confidant, there. admitted into the Baron's presence. fore, for his gloomy secrets. He alone They remained all day, and left the knew why the Baron had separated castle in the evening; but none could himself from his sons. He knew that ascertain what had been their business, he passed his time in the study of the for they were bound, it was said, by an occult sciences; that he was particu- oath of secresy. larly devoted to astrology, and had read, After this, Runsitten secluded himin his calculations of the starry move. self more closely than ever, resuming ments, a prediction that alarmed his his studies and labors in the tower, and, parental affection and his baronial pride. as usual, approached only by the castelAccording to this evil augury, he was lan. threatened, in case his sons were brought It was in the beginning of Novemhome in his lifetime, with some name- ber. Two of the domestics belonging less misfortune, arising from their mu- to the castle, were conversing about the tual enmity, which should cause the strange self-inflicted penance of their extinction of his ancient house. lord, all, as they supposed, for the ac

For this cause the two brothers were quisition of wealth and long life. brought up from childhood in a kind of “ If only the bad Fiend does not blind exile, being forbidden even to visit the him to his destruction!” said one in a place of their nativity. The old Baron low voice, and knitting his brows. so sternly and rigorously enforced obe- Ay,” returned the other, “he risks dience to this command, that his very much, in truth. I have heard of those precaution began to accomplish what he who have been tempted to sell their most dreaded; for the young men looked, souls to the enemy of mankind.". each upon the other, as a natural enemy. “ Saint Michael preserve us !” said

Meanwhile the lonely Baron pursued the first, crossing himself. “These his astrological studies with more in- midnight watchings bode no good.” tense ardor and unwearied patience than “ Then to banish the young lords, ever. Day and night were spent in the who both long to come home! Ah, we monotonous toil. It seemed as if he should have other times, if they were cherished the hope of reversing, by la- here !” And the speaker shook his bor that taxed the utmost of human head. powers, the iron decrees of fate; of Just then, Daniel passed, with even a triumphing over destiny itself, by the more gloomy and severe expression of refinements of science. He no longer countenance than he generally wore. appeared even occasionally in the in- He had apparently heard enough to inhabited parts of the castle, but shut form him of the subject of their rehimself up in the tower, waited on only marks, for, turning round, he sternly by the castellan. Here at all hours his bade them be silent, and not concern experiments were carried on, and the themselves about things into which it volumes of hidden lore were searched. was unlawful for them to pry. The No intercourse with the outer world dis- men dared not resist this order, but tracted his thoughts ; for he seldom muttered as they went away. spoke even to his sole attendant, who Their discontent was changed into placed his food and drink on the table astonishment, not unmingled with fear, at stated hours, and always retired as when they saw the Baron himself, crosssoon as he had performed these duties. ing the great hall. It might have been Among the few servants about the castle, taken for his spectre, so pale and the belief was current that their master emaciated was he, from long confinewas laboring in his solitude to discover ment, vigils and mental toil. His eyes the philosopher's stone, and the elixir of were sunken and faded; his long white life.

hair and beard showed entire neglect; At last it was evident that some pro- his dress was disordered. But in his gress was made in these scientific la- countenance was an expression of tribors. The Baron was seen to leave umph and rapture, strangely at variance the tower, and enter his old cabinet in with his worn and wretched aspect. the castle, whither Daniel was sum- His step was proud, and elastic as that moned. The next morning two nota- of youth. ries and a magistrate from the neigh- “Call me the chamberlain !" cried boring village, for whom a messenger he, and his voice, scarce heard for years, had been despatched, came, and were thrilled with strange power on the ears of the attendants. Then turning to sive walls. All was ruin and chaotic Daniel-he said exultingly: “The confusion. A thick smoke filled the work is nearly finished; the victory is whole space, and far down in the abyss mine!”

of ruins, a feeble glimmer might be The chamberlain appeared; he was seen, which expired immediately. All ordered to resume the duty from which was silence. It was beyond doubt, that he had been so long discharged-of ar- the catastrophe had been caused by raying his master's person. The rich- some unfortunate chemical experiment; est court-dress was selected by Runsit- although the retainers looked upon each ten. He then packed up with his other as if they thought some agency own hands, all the family jewels and of another kind had produced their mastreasure, and ordered Daniel to carry ter's death. It will not be wondered at the box to the tower. He was obeyed that the same belief prevailed in the in silence. At nine in the evening he neighboring country. retired thither himself, dismissing the The castellan soon perceived that it faithful Daniel with the command to was impossible, without a great deal of wait in his cabinet early in the morning, labor, to clear away the rubbish from as he had orders of great importance to the narrow interior of the tower, so as give him. The castellan withdrew from to remove the corpse of the late Baron. his presence with a profound obeisance, He resolved, therefore, to do nothing till and heard the bolts of the door carefully his sons should arrive at Runsitten. drawn, as he descended.

" It is their part,” he said, “to dig for It may well be conceived that this their father's body, and the treasure surprising occurrence excited no small buried with him which is their property : sensation among the retainers of Run- or to decide if they will leave both in sitten. These were assembled after their sad resting-place.” It was wisely supper, in the hall appropriated to their determined, for the faithful old servant use, talking earnestly of what had hap- knew he might not be able to secure the pened, and exchanging opinions on the money or jewels from the cupidity of subject. They were interrupted by the the other domestics. entrance of Daniel, who commanded Messages were despatched at once them all to retire to rest. This he was by the civil authorities, informing the accustomed to do, whenever his lord heirs of Runsitten of their father's had an important experiment to carry death, and requiring their immediate on in the astrological tower; and know- return to the castle, to witness the ing him to be invested with authority, opening of the Baron's last will and they prepared to obey. But before the testament. foremost had quitted the hall, a fearful The younger brother, Hubert von explosion was heard, that shook the Runsitten, was the first to return, acwhole castle, even to its rockbuilt foun- companied by a single attendant. He dations. Stunned by the shock, the as- was a handsome, noble-looking young sembled household stood pale and mo. man, of open countenance and pleasing tionless, and trembling with affright. manners, and received the salutations Not one dared to stir or speak. From of the household, especially the casthis spell of breathless terror, Daniel tellan, with kindness and cordiality. was the first to rouse himself.

Daniel loved him from the first. With "I feared it!” he exclaimed-flinging the communicativeness natural to one up his arms—“I feared it always !who had suffered so deep an affliction And he rushed out of the hall.

in his master's death, and longed for The terrified domestics hurried after some object on which his sufferings him. They ascended the stairs leading might rest, he told over to Hubert the to the tower, and rushed along the gala awful circumstances of the late cataslery to the iron-plated door. It was trophe ; informing him further of the fastened within. In the extremity of contents of the will, to which he had agitation, the castellan called for forcing been a witness. The Baron had esbars; they were brought, and the door tablished a right of primogeniture, and was at length forced open.

bequeathed all his estates to his eldest A frightful scene presented itself. The son, the younger to have three-fourths whole interior of the tower had been of the property in money and treasure, demolished by the explosion, which yet and his mother's jewels. had not been able to shatter the mas- “Alas !" answered Hubert, "I am a beggar, if you speak truly! My whole Baron would be opened in the presence life must be one of wretchedness! I of the people of the castle, and the civil love the daughter of a noble German authorities, who were invited to be family, whom I met in Italy : her re- present. lations did not oppose our betrothal, be- Rudolph sought no opportunity of concause they expected—as I until this versation with his brother, and nothing moment expected—that half the estates more passed between them than a for. of Runsitten were to be mine. But mal salutation. Daniel resolved on an now-will they give their daughter to effort to reconcile them. He begged an the beggar! And what am I other audience with the young Baron, and wise? We all know that my father having proffered his own respects and has spent the greater part of his trea- submission, endeavored, with all the sure in fruitless experiments in al- simple eloquence he could command, to chemy; as for the jewels, they are set forth the claims of Hubert to his buried with him under the ruins of brotherly regard. Rudolph knit his brow, the tower—perhaps the prey of evil while a contemptuous smile curled his spirits !"

lip. The poor castellan had not couDaniel endeavored to comfort the rage to finish what he had to say, but sorrowing youth. “It cannot be, my turned to depart ; and as he did so, lord," he said, " that your brother heard the Baron say to one of his atRudolph will be unkind enough to in- tendants—“ That is the old hypocrite sist on the rigid fulfilment of the will." who encouraged my father in all his

" Ah, mine old friend,"—returned superstitious folly." Hubert, “ you know him not. He has The day came, appointed for reading been for some years privately married; the testament. It was opened in the his wife has no possessions, except an great ancestral hall of the castle, in infant son, and he is deeply involved in presence of the commissary and several debt, from the necessity of concealing oficial persons from the village, as well his marriage from our father. Nor as a large number of the tenants of would I receive a gift from Rudolph; Runsitten. The will drawn up with at our last meeting in childhood he every legal sanction, declared Rudolph, suffered me to perceive what I had in the eldest son of the deceased Baron future to expect from him.”

Conrad von Runsitten, proprietor of all It grieved the faithful castellan, not the estates, and invested with the rights only to perceive the chagrin of his of primogeniture. The fourth part of young lord, but that reflection should be the property in ready money was also cast on the memory of his late beloved given to him. Three quarters of the master. Ile strove to vindicate him by said personal property was left to the revealing the secret purpose of all his younger son, Hubert'; and it was enwasting toil and the study of years. joined on him that, immediately after He had wished not only to make good the division, he should leave the castle the sums spent in experiments—but to of his ancestors to settle in some forobtain for his younger son an inherit- eign country, and on no account return ance rich enough to compensate for the to Runsitten during the life of his elder loss of his ancestral estates, and to brother. In case of the death of Ruenable him to purchase, in some distant dolph without male heirs, Hubert was land, possessions as valuable. Thus to become proprietor of the castle and he hoped to avert the threatened cala- lands. mity; and this hope he deemed him- Pale and silent stood the younger self on the point of realizing, on the brother, during the reading of the will; night of the melancholy catastrophe. Rudolph on the other hand showed an

In a few days Rudolph arrived at the ungenerous exultation. He received castle. Every one who saw him was the homage of all his dependants, and struck with his personal resemblance to took the keys of the castle from the his father. He had the same tall pow- hands of old Daniel. erful frame, the same severe expression “ We will now proceed to the diviof countenance, and the same reserve sion,” he said to the commissary, turnof manner.

ing also to Hubert, with something With him came the notaries, and it more of cordiality. Hubert smiled bitwas immediately announced that, on a terly, for he knew what a disappointment day appointed, the last will of the late was in store for his brother. When

« AnteriorContinuar »