« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
“ Idle superstition!” exclaimed the youth, in displeasure. “For this you must deny yourself all the joys of life!”
“ Has he then sinned so terribly?” demanded Leah, as her friend interrupted himself in the midst of the sentence. “How shall I atone for it? Such strange words make me unhappy; it seems to me as if some calamity hung over my brother, and that what he did was not all right. No one has said this to me, but I cannot comprehend the words of Sarah, who, when I inquired at her as to this, avoided an answer, or called him mysteriously the avenger of our people."
“She is not prudent," answered the young man, with embarrassment; " your brother, as it is reported everywhere, has a powerful party against him; several of his transactions in the finance department will be censured. But you may be at rest about himself,” added he, smiling bitterly, “ for the duke this day sent him a grant of privilege, which assures him of safety and irresponsibility.”
“Oh, how grateful am I to the good duke for this!" said she, overjoyed, while she pushed aside the dark locks from her fair forehead. “Then he need fear no one: the Christians cannot persecute him. You do not answer, Gustavus; you dislike my poor brother!”
“Your poor brother! If he were poor, I might perhaps respect his intelligence. But what is your brother to us?” continued Lanbek, smiling darkly. "I love you, though you had every bad angel for a brother. But one thing promise me, Leah; give me your hand upon it."
She looked at him innocently, yet full of anxiety, while she laid her hind in his.
"Never ask your brother again for leave to enter his society. He may have what reasons he likes for this, but it is right that you should never be there. Thus much I can assure you," added he, with kindling eyes—“if I knew that you had been there but once, I would never speak to you again!"
Embarrassed and with tears in her eyes, she would have questioned him further about this fresh advice, when a loud altercation in the next room disturbed the lovers. Several men appeared to be struggling with the police; the door of the closet had been forced open, and thus intruding, they came hastily into the very midst of the carnival, and were contending with fury.
“Heavens! that's my father's voice !” exclaimed young Lanbek. Step back again with Sarah into the rooms; take the key of this door with you: perhaps we may see each other again at a later hour.”
He hastily imprinted a kiss upon the brow of the amazed Leah, put on his mask, and before she could recollect herself, the actuary had already rushed through the door. In the corridor which he now entered, there stood a dense crowd gathered around the open door of the adjoining room. He easily distinguished the deep and powerful voice of his father; he pushed his way through like a madman, and at length gained the apartment. Five old men, who were well known to him as esteemed friends of his parent, stood round the old
provincial consul, Lanbek : some disputed; others tried to tranquillise. It was at this period a dangerous affair to come into collision with the police; the latter were under the especial protection of the Jewish minister, and several reports were in circulation of honest and quiet citizens who perhaps had spoken against
a servant of this secret police, or who might have resisted their power, having for several weeks been imprisoned, and afterwards set at liberty with the poor excuse, that it was a mistake. But the elder Lanbek seemed to know no fear of these men; he insisted that the police were obliged to leave the room, and it might perhaps have led to a serious affray, as well as an altercation, had not at this moment another matter taken off the attention of the leaders of the police wholly from him. Young Lanbek had pressed himself through, and now stood by the side of his father, ready, should the matter come to force, to support the old man with all his power. He had fastened on his mask more firmly, that it might not be lost in the scuffle, when an officer of police looked at him, and with a loud voice, while he pointed to him, cried“ In the name of the duke, seize this man, the Turk there—he is the right one."
The surprise and six arms which were suddenly upon him, made him powerless. So near to his father, who might have saved him, still he ventured not to make his presence known by any exclamation, because he more feared the anger of his father than the power of the Jew.
The old men were struck dumb with amazement at this event; the leader of the police, since he had attained his object, now became more polite, and excused himself, whereon the others thanked him coldly. Unwillingly the youth allowed himself to be led away. The crowd who had assembled before the door, divided; many looked at him inquisitively, in order to guess who it was that was thus torn off in the midst of a public diversion. As Gustavus was borne away, he heard a stifled cry; he looked round, and by the faint light of the lamp he thought he observed the turban of the fair Oriental. Much affected, he went on; and as the cold and snowy winter night-wind blew around him, he, for the first time, roused himself from his stupor, and tried to reflect upon the consequences likely to occur from his imprisonment.
CHAPTER v. The assistants of police had brought the Saracen, apparently from a survey of his handsome dress, into the officer's room in the chief guardhouse. The officer of the night watch, with a surly nod, assigned to him a bench which stood in a corner of the room as his place of sleeping; and, wearied with his long attendance at the ball, the youth did not find this bed so hard as to prevent him soon falling asleep.
The beat of drums awoke him next morning. Still half-asleep, he looked around on the naked walls, at his hard bed, then at his dress; and it was only after a while that he could recollect where he was, and how he came there. He stepped towards the window; all was yet still in the square before the guardhouse, and the exchange of guards before his window alone broke the silence of a misty morning in February. Meanwhile, the noise of the drums in the streets ceased; he heard the clock of the cathedral strike eight, and the sound of this clock sent him back again full of uneasiness and anxiety to his bed. “ He will soon ask after me,” thought he," and how disagreeably surprised will he be when he hears that I have not returned home during the night!"
In the house of the elder Lanbek, all went on in such regular order
that this occurrence must very much disturb everything there. At this hour the old man had been accustomed for many years to take his breakfast; with the first stroke of the clock his son appeared as regularly as the servant with the coffee; they conversed upon the news of the day, upon the progress of affairs; and at these periods the all-powerful minister failed not to furnish materials for such conversations. The conversation usually concluded with the breakfast; the actuary kissed the hand of the old man, and went every day at a quarter before nine to the office in the Chancery. These, the habits of his home for many years, recurred to Gustavus at this moment. “Now John will be bringing in the coffee,” said he to himself; “ now he will be anxiously looking towards the door for me, surprised that I do not enter; now he will be calling for me why must I cause such vexation to my good old parent?” He angrily threw away his turban, leant his brow upon his hand, and resolved to ask the officer, when he next made his appearance, as to the cause of his arrest.
The drums beat again, the exchanged guard drew off; he heard the arms collected together, and then an officer entered the ill-lighted apartment. He cast a hasty glance upon his prisoner in the corner, laid his hat and sword upon the table, and sat down. Lanbek, who could not be the first to speak, moved, however, as if to indicate that he no longer slept.
* Good day, sir," said the officer, while he looked at him; “ you will perhaps share my breakfast with me?"
The voice seemed to Gustavus to be known to him; he arose, approached nearer, and saluted him courteously, and, with an exclamation of surprise, the two young men stood opposite to each other. “On my honour, brother!” cried Captain von Reelzingen, “I would not have sought you here! How comes it that you are under arrest? Heaven knows, Blankenberg was not in the wrong, as he pretended; you have risked something contra rationem?”
"I may ask you, captain,” replied Lanbeck, “why I sit here? No one has assigned any reasons why I should be imprisoned. You are on guard, Reelzingen; I beg of you, since you must know-----"
"Heaven defend me! Il" exclaimed the captain, laughing. “Do think he has honoured me with his peculiar esteem, and taken me into his confidence? No, brother. When I was relieved, the lieutenant in command last night said to me, "There is one above, whom we have brought here from the carnival by express orders. He commonly goes on thus.”
“Who is accustomed to go on thus?” asked Lanbek, turning pale.
“Who," answered the other, in a low tone of voice. “Your brotherin-law in the Jew."
“What?” exclaimed the other, reddening, "you think it is he? I thought until now this would turn out to be a mistake. You will have heard of the occurrence which took place with the Jew soon after I left you : some one cried out about becoming a Catholic, and at this the director of fianance rose up
" What do you say?" interrupted the captain, with a serious air, while he drew nearer his friend, and grasped his hand. “ It was thus? We were told otherwise. How it went it? what was said ?"
The actuary was not a little surprised at the seriousness which overspread the features of his usually gay and careless friend. He related the incident to which he had been a witness, and observed that his friend's curiosity increased, and his eyes kindled more and more; and when he described how Süss became furious at the mysterious sentence, and had leaped up in wrath, he felt the captain's hand move in a strange way within his. " What affects you so much ?” asked Gustavus, in surprise. “Why do you sympathise so much with a mere carnival freak like this, which in the end runs a chance of turning out a mere piece of foolery? If I did not know that you were evangelical, I should think that my information had offended you.”
“ Brother,” replied the captain, while he endeavoured to conceal his seriousness beneath a smile of indifference, you know this much of me, that every thing interests me, and I am curious in the highest degree; but, besides this, many are more serious than they are believed to be, and there is frequently a signification in a jest.”
" What do you mean?” said the actuary, astonished. “What makes you so thoughtful? Are you again in debt? Perhaps I may be able to assist you?”
“ Brother of my heart," answered the soldier, “ you must have been much enamoured for some weeks, or that would not have escaped your quick observation, which has not escaped even my lighter head. Tell Ine, what says your father of the times? Do you never see Colonel von Röder with him? Were not the prelates at your house on Friday evening ?”
“You speak in riddles, captain," answered the young man, in amazement. “What has my father to do with a colonel of the life guards, or with the prelates ?"
“ Friend, let us cut this matter short,” said Reelzingen. “Do not in these affairs look on me as mad. I will not intrude upon your confidence, but I may tell you that I already know a good deal; and on my honour,” he added, “I think thereon as becomes one of the nobles and my sword belt!"
“What is your old patent of nobility or your new sword-belt to me?" replied the actuary, in displeasure. “How comes it that you boast in this way! I tell you I do not understand a syllable about the affairs of which you talk so mysteriously ; I give you my word on this, and that is enough, Herr von Reelzingen."
"Bless me! brother,” exclaimed the other laughing, “ we are no longer in Leipsic, nor is this room the divine town cellar, but only a guardroom; we are no longer muses, you are now a ducal actuary, and I-a soldier ; but, friend, we are in trouble and in death-so be rational, and storm no more. I will believe your word that you know nothing; but it had been well for your father to have apprised you. Your amour with the Jewess is not suited to the times; we all intreat you to take leave of your charmer, with whom, trust me, you never can effect any prudent or honourable connection."
" What know you of this ?” interrupted the other, gloomily and bitterly; " I thought that as I had not asked for your advice, you might use greater moderation in your exhortations to me.”
The fiery soldier, who really wished to be of service to his friend, was
about to reply in suitable words, when some person knocked at the door. The captain opened it, and one of his serjeants beckoned to him to come out. Gustavus heard some words exchanged, and directly saw his friend return with a troubled countenance.
“ You receive a singular visit,” he whispered to him; “ he will quickly enter, and I must not be present.”
“Who? My father ?" asked Gustavus, anxiously.
“He comes," said the captain (while he hastily took up his hat and sword from the table)—" the Jew Süss !”
Woman's FRIENDSHIP: a Story of Domestic Life. By GRACE AGUILAR.
London: Groombridge & Sons. This is a handsome volume; just such a book as we would expect to find among the volumes composing a lady's library. Its interior corresponds with its exterior; it is a most fascinating tale. There is no silly descriptive introduction occupying nearly half the volume, and exhausting one's patience ere we commence the tale. We open the book—the first page attracts our attention; nay, the first sentence introduces us to the heroine of the story. We read on, and feel deeply interested, and that interest is never permitted to tag; it is most ably sustained throughout. We think it almost a fault, the brevity with which our authoress treats of some of those sacred and hallowed scenes to which she introduces us, and which she so eloquently and truthfully describes. It is evident that she does not try to spin out her book to an unnecessary length, but rather wishes to please and benefit her readers. We have read the work with so much pleasure, that we are in no mood for pointing out its faults: these, indeed, are neither numerous nor important. We would especially invite the attention of our lady readers to this interesting tale. It is full of noble and just sentiments; it contains many eloquent and beautiful thoughts. There are characters delineated worthy of the highest admiration; there are some, too, whose faults it would be well to ponder, and beware of imitating.
HOME INFLUENCE: a Tale for Mothers and Daughters. By GRACE
AGUILAR. London: Groombridge & Sons. It is very pleasant, after reading a book, to be able to speak of it in terms of high commendation. This we can do in the present case without hesitation. The tale before us is an admirable one, and is executed with taste and ability. The language is beautiful and appropriate; the analyses of character is skilful and varied. We have brought before us, in a very interesting and striking manner, the value of proper early training, and the happy results of it. This mode of treatment is ably contrasted with the opposite; and how melancholy, how dreadful are the