« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
them, none so much as the prince. tired to his native city, and continued He threw himself on his knees, and to amaze and terrify all those whose loudly cried to God for pardon and superstitious curiosity led them to protection. All whose voices were his cave. At last he conducted three not rendered powerless by terror pupils to the wood of Rosendaal, to besought Schrepfer to remove the show them something more wonderhorrible apparition, but that was ful than anything yet witnessed by more easily asked for than effected. them. It was about three o'clock of It was an hour before the wizard's a summer morning, and when they spells of power succeeded in causing came to the selected spot he retired the frightful thing to disappear. from them to make some necessary
Even then, when they began to incantations, as he said. Immediately gather some courage, and congratu- after they were startled by the report late themselves on their riddance of a pistol, and hastening in the from the fearful object, the door flew direction of the sound they found open once more, and once more the him expiring. Credulous people atghastly apparition rolled in, and an- tributed his suicide to the wretched other scene of mortal terror was state into which the powers of his enacted. However, the adept rid his evil genii had reduced him. patrons of its presence in a shorter We left our travellers preparing time than before, and the company their mails for departure for Dresden, separated to their several lodgings to pay a flying visit to the court of with all possible speed. N. W. Bayreuth, now graced by the erewhile Wraxall was personally acquainted Princess Royal of Prussia, who, havwith several of that company, but ing been sought in marriage by none of them could give him any Charles XII., Prince Frederic of satisfactory account of how the thing England, Augustus of Saxony, one of was effected, if a piece of clever jug- the Romanotts, and a nobleman or glery, nor explain why they had not two of inferior rank, and having presence of mind to attempt to lay suffered sufficient rough treatment at hold of the cause of their confusion. the hands of her harsh father, was so
The assistants at the spectacle fortunate as to be united to the estiwere not much inclined to speak of mable Margrave of Bayreuth. In due their ghastly experiences, but still the time and place tlie reader will be made Elector came to hear of it, and was better acquainted with whatever they in consequence very wroth against all saw there and at other courts of the parties concerned. Schrepfer re- greater pretension.
A PASSAGE FROM AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MS.
DJSCOVERED AT OSTEND, A.D. 1860. In the autumn of 1860 I crossed to with drifts of rain, and sweeping Ostend, in which town I believed my away over the leatless trees of the stay would be limited to a couple of canals and fortifications to the desodays, but where, as it happened, I was late sandy down which stretches to destined to reinain for more than a the south-east, dotted here and there week, awaiting instructions from the by a bosky mound or wooden hutLondon house of which I was an the only objects which mark its wild agent. As it was still the bathing overblown and dismal expansure. In season, the town continued pretty the summer or autumn, however, a full, and presented an aspect of gaiety week may be expended passably in very different from that it displays visiting the churches and historic locaduring the winter, when the strong lities, watching the polyglot gathering cold wind of the Mer du Nord sends of visitors, bathers, and oyster-eaters, the discoloured waters raging along or making a pedestrian excursion to the muddy shores and over the long some of the spacious clean farmwooden pier, rustles round the chim- houses in the adjoining country, where neys, and whirls the slates from the the rural Flemish beauties, with buff-coloured lines of houses, coming honest blue eyes, and skin and hair across the deserted gravelly Place du 80 fair that they seem to have fed Roi, lashing the panes and shutters only on the purest wheat, adorned
with caps of rich Valenciennes lace, drifts along the deserted streets (the welcome the stranger with bowls of canal fronting our window being the sumptuous cream, and display an only object which seemed to take to it honest pride in exhibiting the beauti- with an indifferent relish), it was clear ful kine in their clean farm stalls- that, for that day at least, we were presenting in appearance, manner, destined to remain in-doors, hopeand conversation, no bad idea of a lessly imprisoned by the weather. prose Belgium picture of pastoral life. After despatching some correspon
A week is quite enough, however, dence, we began to look about the to see all that can be seen in this sand- chamber for books to while the girt sea-town and its neighbourhood; hours till dinner-time, and presently and this period having elapsed, ennui found in a bracket a volume of Thiers’ was already taking possession of us, Consulate,
,” Rousseau's “Sucial Conas, one dusky night, having extended trat,” and an old Road Guide through our walk in a direction unknown, we Germany-all which, being either were not displeased at the excitement familiar or obsolete, promised but of having lost our way upon the wild weary entertainment. After a brief down above alluiled to, and the dark- examination we threw them aside, ness of nightfall having been increased and proceeded to investigate an old by a sea-fog which completely smother- press, which occupied a deep nook in ed the liglits along the ramparts, and a dark offset of the room. Being in even of the lighthouse itself-that search of literary works, the few never-failing guide to the town from broken cups which embellished the either direction, land or sea---stumb- lower shelves were little calculated to ling over the sandy mounds, and afford the instruction or amusement now plunging through a patch of we desiderated ; and feeling as lonely marshi land, a ruddy glare presently amid the watery elements which surmet our eyes, and advancing toward rounded us as the Rabbi who was it, we found it proceed from a hut, locked up in the Pharos of Alexandria like a capsized boat, in which some to translate the Scriptures, we were men were drinking round a wood fire. again, in the despair of ennui, about On our appearance one of them ad- to recur to the works above-mentioned, dressed us in Flemish, a tongue of when, the press-door remaining open, which we were innocent, and which we dimly perceived an upper shelf has always appeared to us like bad which had not been investigated. German spoken by party whose Having therefore lit a bougie, and mouth was full of porridge. Then ascended ourselves” on a chair, we another who possessed French, rose brought the light to bear on the dark and addressed us, and finding our ob- upper cavity. Here the dust lay inch ject, volunteered to guide us to a road · thick, and we were about descending, which, as it happened, was not more when a mouldy roll of paper, protrudthan a hundred yards distant. ing from the furthest corner, met Such fogs,'
,” said he, “are frequent our gaze. To seize it and shake the on the coast at this season, and you dust from its leaves was the work of are not the first who have lost their a moment; thenext, we discerned that way on this down. The west wind it was a roll of manuscript in the always brings them, and afterwards French language, written in a cramp heavy rain. We will have a pouring but distinct hand, and which, from day to-morrow, or I'm mistaken." its stained condition, with its yellow
In a little, reaching the road, we pages and faded ink, had undoubtedly thanked him, with a couple of cigars been transcribed many years before. for his trouble, and setting out again Forthwith, moving the sofa to the by ourselves through the fog, soon window, and lighting a cigar, we bearrived at the Rue St. Joseph, where gan clearly to decipher the document, we lodged.
which ran as follows: Next morning I found my friend's In October, 1718, I accompanied the prediction had turned out true; never expedition of the King of Sweden was there a more resolutely wet day. against Frederickshall, in Norway; The rain, which poured incessantly The winter had set in with unusual from the dense gray cloudy sky, in- severity, and the prospect of taking creased occasionally to adeluge; andas so strong a place at such a season was the wind from the sea forced it in heavy looked on as little less than madness by
almost all except his Majesty himself, the Norwegians' fire. The Swedes, who entertained the fullest confidence however, who, seasoned to the pracof reducing the town in a few weeks, tice of war, held their enemies in conand making himself master of the tempt, feared nothing but the horkingdom of which it was the key in rors of the climate-of a sky which six months at furthest.
seemed filled with the presence of a The town, which is a small place- universal death, approaching nearer looking like a cluster of molehills in and nearer. The Prince of Hesec, the lonely valley where it stands--and who was making the campaign with strongly fortified, is situated some his Majesty, had his camp, which mile or so up the river Tisendel, which was well provisioned, at Bahus, about flows into a deep reach which serrates three miles from the trenches; but the shore of the Baltic. From the day the King was seldom of his company, of our arrival, on which they were passing his entire time with the men commenced, the siege-works were engaged in the works, and in surveypushed forward with great energy, ing the surrounding country. despite the immense difficulties pre On the 11th of December, about sented by the frozen soil ; but the half-past eight, I was making my way King said he would teach his soldiers toward my tent, through the trenches, how to conquer winteritself; and truly, when a sentinel stationed at one of if all were gifted with the iron frame the angles, as I was about to which the hero possessed, the rigours cross an open space exposed to the of the season wouid have mattered fire, motioned me not to advance. little ; for he seemed as indifferent to In an instant I had retreated into cold as to fear, worked frequently in the shelter of the parallel, which the trenches with the men, and while was very high at that place, and the even the hardiest of them coveted a next a discharge of grape came tearfew hours of shelter and sleep in tent ing, and whizzing past. The trench or by camp fire, invariably stretched and parallel at this point was very himself, when wearied, at night, on high, and the darkness completethe hard ground under the icy sky, so dark that the nearest object was wrapped only in his cloak. But was invisible. I was just about to hurry not his entire career an attempt to across to the next line, when I heard conquer nature and circumstance, and two men, whose figures I could not to contend, but too frequently, with see, and whose voices I did not rethe impossible?
cognise, conversing in a low tone toThe engineering department of the gether. army of course occupied the point "He ought to be near hand by this from which the works were carried time,” said the first; "he left Bahus on, while the lines extended on either half an hour since on horseback." side over an area of nearly five miles, “What say you,” inquired the the right and left wing occupying the other--" are our friends yonder to be villages of Bahus and Anslo, which relied on ??? stand on the river on either side of “This affair is one of general inFrederickshall.
terest,” returned the first; this wild From October to the first week in expedition is regarded in the same December, the army, working in re- light in Stockholm as in Copenhagen lays, were engaged day and night in or Christiana. How bitter cold the throwing up the siege-works, which night is ! Providence should have by that time were advanced within made man a hibernating animal in 800 yards of the enemy's bastions. this climate.' As the winter deepened the cold ra At this moment, anxious to reach pidly intensified ; every day from six- my tent, I thought nothing of those teen to twenty men perished from its fragmentary remarks of my invisible effects, dropping dead at their posts; comrades, but recollected them afterand the obstructions offered by the wards from the event which presently ground, which was frozen hard as iron, occurred. the scarcity of provisions, and other I had proceeded some fifty yards difficulties, would have paralyzed the on my way up the trench, and had energies of any other army than that reached an angle where another comfortified by the example of the King. munication with the outwork diDaily many were struck down from verged, when I saw a tall figure
hastily approaching, which I quickly I dimly recognised the King striding recognised as that of the King. He hastilyaway from Siquier and Megret, stopped an instant and recognised me, who followed him at a distance ; and and as I uncovered, said—“Comé as a sudden discharge thundered from with me, Abedhyl ; I am going to in- the enemy's batteries, saw him, illuspect the advanced lines, which are minated in its red light, advancing to proceeding more slowly than I ex- the most advanced outwork fronting pected; I want to give you some the town, mount the slope, and rest instructions on our return."
on the parapet, looking toward I followed his Majesty, who mean- Frederickshall. The scene is still while remained silent, till we came present to my imagination as it up to the advanced parapet, beneath then was to my eyes-the little town which Siquier and Megret, masters of huddled under the dark hills in the the engineer corps, were conversing. wild valley; the red gusts of flame When the King went up to them, I from its line of batteries throwing heard him address Megret in a tone long glares momentarily across the of dissatisfaction and anger, reproach- gloomy intervening ground; the dising him for the slow progress of the tant roar of the guns ; the rattle of trenches.
the shot against the earthworks, and Sire,” said Megret, "you forget their hurtling hiss through the air ;it is December in Norway, the earth and the figure of the King, leaning on is iron; we are not-I wish heartily his elbow on the parapet, dimly defined, we were-besieging a town in Pome- as he gazed underneath where the rania and in summer.
men were working by starlight. The Put a hundred men additional on cannonade from Frederickshall was this parallel to-night,” said the King; then so briskly maintained that the
there is no time to be lost.” He roar hardly ceased for a minute. I paused a moment, and then said was still watching his Majesty's "Tell me, Megret, how soon do you figure, expecting him to descend every calculate this place will fall ?" instant, when I was surprised by the
"In eight days, your Majesty, I sharp report, as of a musket close by, promise you we shall be inside the which rung almost simultaneously bastions yonder."
with a shower of shot from the enemy “We shall see," returned the King, which came rattling overhead ; and and proceeded with the two officers thought I saw a figure like a shadow to inspect the works at a little dis- flit from the place where I fancied I tance off, where he remained some heard the report of the small-arm time giving directions.
along the trench and suddenly disapIt was then about nine o'clock, and pear. The next moment I saw the although the Norwegian night was King rise, look round, his frame agibright overhead with stars, so deep tated by a quick, convulsive movewas the gloom which pervaded the ment-then fall, and Siquier and deep trenches in which we stood, Megret hurrying toward him, followed that it was impossible to recognise by Swerin, who carried a lantern ;any one except by their voices. There I then ran forward. had been a lull in the cannonade from . . As Siquier raised the King, he the town, whose intermitting flame heaved a deep sigh, and we saw he occasionally shed a red glare over the was dead. Blood streamed from his summit of the trenches, and complete right temple and covered his face, and darkness prevailed.
in his right hand he clutched his I was walking to and fro at the sword, with the air of one suddenly place where his Majesty had or- attacked. When lifted into the trench dered me to await him, trying below we examined the wound in the to keep myself warm under the dark temple, where the fractured bone sky, whose benumbing cold weighed presented an aperture some two inches like lead on every nerve and fibre, wide, while that made by the ball, when once, as I turned, I thought I which had passed through the head saw two figures stealthily approach- and escaped at the back, was of much ing in the deep shadow of a converg- smaller size. Never shall I forget ing parapet, but took no heed of them, the last look I obtained of the hero believing them to be soldiers descend- whose fame had filled the world—the ing to their labour below. Presently iron frame rigid in death ; the blood
flowing from the great high fore- smiling grimly, exclaimed—“Well, head, fringed with light brown hair gentlemen, the siege is raised, the sprinkled with gray; the calm, stern farce is ended, and we may now go face, slightly bronzed by weather and home to supper!" the sun of Turkey; the last gesture, It was necessary to disguise the fixed by fate, fierce and implacable, King's death from the army until the with which he had suddenly con- Prince of Hesse was acquainted with fronted death. Siquier examined the the circumstance; so, Siquier, taking two fractures caused by the ball. off his wig, placed it on the head of “Yes,” said he, "a grape-shot from his Majesty, who being then wrapped the enemy's batteries.” At this in a cloak, was carried through the Megret smiled curiously, as he held men, working forward, under thename the lantern and surveyed the wound. of an officer. Intelligence was imme“If so," said he, “the wound at the diately conveyed to the Prince of back, where the ball escaped, should Hesse, who was then at supper ; and be larger than where it entered in it was rumoured that as the news front." Siquier appeared much hor- passed round the company in a whisrified at an event so unforeseen and per, it affected them rather as an terrible ; but Megret, who was noted expected than a sudden and unforeseen in the army for his coolness and sar- calamity--for the King always exdonic humour, folding his arms and posed himself recklessly to fire.
YAXLEY AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
THE JOURNEY TO LONDON,
MR. PILMERwas less fidgetty than any new person had a home and friends man or woman in the kingdom ; he and interests of his own, and that never hurried himself or his friends all had lived in the world long before upon any occasion, in the least degree, that bright June day which first refor which reason he was frequently vealed them to her eyes. Everyone late for coaches, trains, and steam- appeared busy, bustling, careful of boats ; nevertheless, Lizette and he self. Mr. Pilmer, however, was an contrived to arrive at Yaxley in time exception; he took things easily, for the starting of the “Swift Hawk,” snoring away on the opposite seat; so with actually a minute to spare, on she had plenty of time to make obthe morning appointed for their jour- servations, no one being inside the ney to London ; and our young friend coach but herself and her companion. found herself, for the first time since Very little conversation had been exshe was a very little child indeed, changed between her and Mr. Pilmer travelling in a public conveyance. since his coming to the Rest. She She did not dislike the movement of had not dared to talk to him on terms the vehicle ; it was pleasant to gallop of equality-she had scarcely sumby all the strange places passed on moned courage to ask about his the way ; and she did not mind the daughter Bessie-no longer “Bessie" jolting, nor the occasional leaning to to her she feared, but Miss Pilmer, one side of the heavily-laden vehicle, cold and stately and forgetful of the which stopped ever and anon to pick pašt. Oh, how dreadful to have to up a passenger or a band-box in wait- meet either her or her mother! ing for it on some lonely country road. These thoughts occasionally floated She wondered at all the strange faces through her mind, as, with head turnshe saw-wondered at their different ed towards the open coach window, expressions--some sad, some merry, she watched passengers getting up some stamped with a look of grave, and down, playing out the day's drama, hard thought, but all lighted up by and ostlers bringing out horses when the living soul within. It almost the coach stopped at wayside inns, to seemed to her that these strange exchange the tired, yaunt animals, people had only now started into ex- that were exhausted and panting after istence for her peculiar benefit. She bearing the weighty coach-load, mile could scarcely comprehend that each after mile, at a quick pace, for others