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FROM THE PAPERS OF G. G., SOMETIME SENIOR ASSESSOR OF THE PROVINCIAL COURT OF CIVIL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN ZELL.
ABOUT half a mile from Zell, in a solitary house which is now uninhabited, lived, some twelve years ago, on his half-pay, and the interest of a reasonable amount of prize-money, a retired naval officer, named (or who shall here be named) Sturmgang. He was an austere and rugged-tempered man, despotic, it was said, in his house as he had been on the deck of his ship, and therefore instinctively averse to coming into contact with general society. In fact, he visited nobody, and the only visits he was known to receive were those of the Pastor Walding, sub-rector of the high-school in Zell, the brother of his deceased second wife, and a man whose severe character and chilling manners were the perfect counterpart of his own. Captain Sturmgang's domestic establishinent consisted of two females-a youngish housekeeper and an oldish maid; in addition to whom his house possessed one other inmate, in the person of Christian Schein, the son of his second wife by a former marriage. The old officer had himself had no children by the mother of this young man ; but his first wife had borne him a son, who, singular to tell, was now a shopkeeper in Zell, and supported himself, with his young wife and two children, in a struggling way, by the meagre profits of a retail busi
It was generally known that the two Sturmgangs, the elder and the younger, lived on a footing of great mutual exasperation, and the ground of this was believed to be a lawsuit in which they had been engaged some years beVOL. XXVIII.-No. 163.
fore, and in which the son had cast his father, with costs. Since that time, they had neither seen nor communicated with each other; more than one attempt, on the part of common friends, to bring about a reconciliation, had been repulsed by both parties with a degree of violence that seemed greatly disproportioned to the supposed cause of the quarrel; and the elder Sturmgang had at length peremptorily forbid all mention of his son's name in his presence, which, of course, had precluded any further attempt of the kind.
Matters were in this state when an application was made, on the part of Captain Sturmgang, to the Provincial Court, praying that a commission might be appointed, to visit him at his house of Dornfeld, to take cognizance of his testamentary dispositions, as his health did not permit him to come to Zell, for the purpose. This business was placed in my hands, and I went out to Dornfeld the following day, accompanied by a junior assessor and the clerk of the
I found the old man (he was in his sixty-eighth year) sitting in an armchair, his feet and legs enveloped in flannel wrappers, sick in body, yet not in a state to give immediate apprehensions for his life. His stepson and his brother-in-law were with him.
We proceeded at once to business: the preamble of the testament was drawn up in the usual form, and I called on Captain Sturmgang to dictate his will.
66 Well," said he, " write, in the first place, I disinherit my son, Ludwig