You are on page 1of 329

This is a reproduction of a library book that was digitized

by Google as part of an ongoing effort to preserve the


information in books and make it universally accessible.

https://books.google.com
1';
-7 L._ Q 5 1:

E E
o
Y .4_
<5. A __<
Q L?. 5
//SE13/\lN[H\\ /Va01|1v3.40.*\\

.
[OS.ANGEIEJ, ,\\*or.cA1|r0%
- J_ g.\

I?/1%
__AUFO B Y0mva |1.a\
~\ ~ w
\\E.UN|\/E.R .
H01
'! v,e
_nf."
Q .

\fJmNv.$01
V U

, \ 1//$211/\mn.;|&\\ $3Z; <2 uh4/

BRARYOA <\HIBRARYO/. <\v\E.UNl\/ERS//}


INN_im ARYO lgia
INH_\\ ANCH1;.
14" Iv__6
5
=6
oh
@
$5
=0
55
3
<_ _
3
<7 <J u.-1 Q ,%
|1v3-409 V80JlW).J09 \rJ110~v.S01$
Aurosw .I.rr.cAL1r0R/V I ~ _\%E.UNl\/ERS.//),
E.UNI\/ERS/ \ ~ 0an\/3.m
f
u:mv.s01\ mNv.01*\ x

vaam\\'"H /Y0.\avas|1.a\\\Lw
'; A
~ 1IJu:>~v.s01.<\*=c1
W

1vs"" 5 \>;\0S.ANGELfJ?n A $ A\\\&..1|BRARY0/Q


56511 _= iwgcl 2
.. =0 ? Q" Q" - ~_1r>'. Q
~v.s01=*\\ "4//$113/\mn.3&\\\ , .5 _ '3'
Wm/GE $\0_s.AN(;u
AUFOR
FE
-
f\\1\fENl\E%S/,.
=or.c/\1|r01?,_

'.0.. <z1\.1";1I||

_\& 1|s|%iiR\?J.
.c@111:1.~'~s01*
' 14

\
A./aomv;.Jo

|\.
Lad-

9//a(ia|iv310
no.
,:%\\_1'"""

rs . VI)._
I
6 ?/v A %
\\\%. \~%_<__.? I
..
.
M.
. .
9
. 1
.

. \

\
.
\
..%<.
>
ll
.1 .

.0
\ \
,
-
.
I.
A
I


.\
. 10 . ,A\U
1..|A . . -- . .I i.
. . . . .J i 5
I, Ia. I Illv
.
. I . 1 I \ fI. .4
\.
.). \ I11 . ,...
1
.1 Q .. v
5
=32

JJ
2,"T"

1 ( 4' . - P. .... .
u JVA
1 2~=Z<m_~.
I

3
_ .,
' saa/\|~n.1\\XX

,J2_>z_@. -$_g-

1 ms M0r15?/1
..I....v

~QF.C/\l|FOP,'17
'1/sazmlwIIF2\r\\
\;l0S./\N[]HfJ',

"V/v1&A1~Fu\\
0_AHV%lilH.3\\
*5/vezomv|10
Q), L\l\J r\du1.|.|,,

0. . , 1 Mm
'<//
_5
6

$2: 2__<:3 <. \._>z=%./\. A


H

*-.
J
, 1
?
.
1. am . 2.52%Q.
I/}_

2.9=
\\%vNl\/ERS//._
@Z2_._n. .

CAL IFOI?47

/0|avaa|n\X\
35%. W/2.__z

%I|0a|wJ40
F51imsow

. BRARY
% rw

2
>*
_ H7
E.'._1.'I \ r >0 6 .
. Y . 1-
,_ 2I XI.II1.11 \:-_<
1 .v
.
.1.M
A... ..
ABDIAS THE JEW;

A TALE OF HUNGARY.

AND

HOCHWALD;

A STORY OF THE THIRTY YEARS WAR.

BY ADALBERT STIFTER.

LONDON :
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET
1 8 5 1.
LONDON:
Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street
PT ,
"4. :1 J kl

A' Cr ." .

ABDIAS THE JEW.

CHAPTER I.

ESTHER.

THERE are men upon whom such an endless


succession of calamities showers down from the
bright heavens above, that at last they stand mo
tionless and unresisting while the dark hailing
tempest passes over them ;whilc, on the contrary,
there are others whom Fortune so perversely sin
gles out as her favourites, that it would appear, in
some cases, as though the laws of Nature were
inverted, simply that all things might turn t0 their
advantage.
It was in order to meet this difculty that the
ancients conceived their idea of Fate, an idea
B

539732 ,
- mama!//1 ENGLISH ./1
2 ABDIAS rm: JEW.

which we have softened into the milder notion of


Destiny.
And, undoubtedly, there is something very awful
in the tranquil simplicity with which the laws of
Nature generally operate, so that it seems to us
as though an invisible arm were stretched forth
from the clouds, conducting the incomprehensible
drama before our eyes. For to-day there comes
blessing, and to-morrow aliction, and both with the
same smiling semblance. And when the visitation
is passed, Nature is still as calm, as unconscious
of our happiness or misery as before.
Yonder, for example, a stream rolls forward its
silver, mirror-like wavelets; a child falls into it,
the waters ripple pleasantly around his ringlets,
he sinksa few minutes are past, and the silvery
waves roll onwards as before. And yonder rides
the Bedouin, the dark clouds of his sky above,
and the yellow sands of his desert beneath ; a light
glistening spark darts upon his head, he feels a
strange shiver thrill through his nerves, the thunder
resounds dreamily in his ears, and thenno more,
his senses are closed in death.
This was what the old heathens called Fate,
that terrible, xed, impassable barrier to all that
is, or shall be, beyond which nothing can be seen,
beyond which nothing is, and to which all, even
ABDIAS THE JEW. 3

gods, are subjected. With us it is Destiny; that


is, the portion, whether of weal or woe, allotted
to us by a higher Power. The strong submit
unrepiningly, the weak with fretful complaining,
while the vulgar are either paralysed by the un
wonted dispensation, or else rendered frantic and
desperate.
And yet it may be that there is neither fate
nor individual destiny allotted to each of us sepa
rately; it may be that an imperceptible chain ex
tends through the innity of the universe--the
chain of cause and effect. And could we but count
its links aright, could we survey the whole course
of events in human existence, we might then per
ceive that what are called chances are really conse
quences, that what we name misfortune is, in truth,
expiation. 'I'o this task, however, no human powers
have ever yet been found equal ;--still does the past
ow by us like a sacred mystery, still does sorrow
dart through and pierce the heart of man,and
who shall say whether this too, even this, may not
be a necessary link in the chain ? Who shall say,
indeed ?We will not inquire further into these
things, but relate the history of one who had more
than ordinary experience in the vicissitudes of
human life, and of whom it were hard to decide
whether his destiny or his heart were the more
n 2
4 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

strange. At all events a career like his cannot but


excite the question, Why should all this be?
and we are thus allured into a dark reverie on
Providence, Destiny, and the nal reason of all
things.
It is the Jew Abdias, of whom I would speak.
If any one of the readers of this book have already
heard of him, or even, perchance, have seen that
aged form, bent under its weight of ninety years,
sitting in front of his solitary white house, let him
not recall his image with any feeling of bitterness,
neither with curse nor blessing,-he has reaped
both richly during his life,_but let him keep that
image constantly before his eyes while reading these
pages. And thou who hast never heard of this
man, follow, if it so please thee, to the end, this
feeble attempt to describe his career, and then
pronounce judgment on Abdias, the Jew, as thine
heart shall dictate.
Buried in one of the remotest deserts beyond
the Atlas mountains stands an old, long-forgotten
Roman town. It has gradually fallen into decay;
for centuries it has had no name, how long it has
had also no inhabitants is not known ; the European
did not mark it upon his maps, because, indeed,
he knew nothing of it; and the Berber, when on
his swift-footed steed he eeted past its mouldering
ABDIAS THE JEW. 5

walls, thought neither of them nor their object,


or soothed the uncomfortable feelings that stole
over him with some superstitious form of words or
observance, till the last fragments of those walls
had glided past his sight, and the last yell of the
jackals which housed within them was hushed to
his ears; and then he rode briskly on, and nothing
surrounded him save the silent, beautiful, long
loved, and long familiar images of the desert.
Yet other inhabitants were there beside the
jackals, dwelling unknown to the world in these
ruins. They were children of that race, ever the
most exclusive in the world, and continually looking
back with unmoved obstinacy upon one single point
in it, although dispersed among all the countries of
men. And a few drops from the vast ocean had
been sprinkled even over this wilderness. Black,
swarthy, foully-clad Jews glided like shadows about
the ruins, walked to and fro within them, and dwelled
there together with the jackals, whom, indeed, they
often fed. No one knew of their existence, except
their brethren in the faith who abode in other
parts. They traded in gold and silver, and other
precious things brought from the land of Egypt, as
also in rags and woollen cloths, many of which were
unclean and infected, and often caused pestilence
among them, or a wasting diseasebut then the son
6 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

would, patiently and resignedly, take up his fathers


staff, and wander away, and do as his ancestors had
done, ready to encounter whatever Destiny might
have in store for him. And if one of their number
were slain and robbed by an African, the whole race,
scattered as it was throughout the wide desert land,
would set up howl and lamentationand then all
was over and forgotten, until, some time afterwards,
the murderer himself was also found slain.
Such were this people, and from them descended
Abdias.
Passing through a Roman triumphal arch, and
then between two trunks of withered palm-trees,
the traveller might make his way to a cluster of
walls the original intention of which could no
longer be divinedthey now formed the abode of
Aaron, the father of Abdias. Above were seen
the remains of an aqueduct, below lay a multitude
of fragments, from what building no mortal could
tell, and over these one had to climb before reach
ing the gap in the wall which formed the sole en
trance into Aarons dwelling. Within the gap
were steps, formerly the cornices of a Doric colon
nade, built and destroyed at an equally unknown
period. They led down into a habitation larger
than could have been imagined from the appear
ance of the walls and rubbish-heaps outside. This
. ~ ABDIAS THE JEW. 7

habitation consisted of one apartment surrounded


by several of those smaller chambers, such as the
Romans loved, but the ooring was merely the bare
earth without any covering either of wood or stone,
or mosaic-work, and the walls could boast of no
paintings or decorations, the Roman bricks alone
were to be seen, and a multitude of bales and
packages were scattered about everywhere, showing
with what various and miserable commodities Aaron
the Jew was accustomed to trade. There they hung,
clothes and tattered rags of all. colours and all ages,
and withthe dust of almost all the countries of
Africa clinging to them. Heaps of old stuffs served
the inhabitants for sitting or reclining. Stones which
had been collected from different parts of the old town,
furnished them with a table, and other necessary ar
ticles. Behind a pendent bush of yellow and grey
caftans was a hole in the wall, much smaller than that
which supplied the place of a door. It could hardly
be supposed that any one would be able to pass
through this hole ; however, after stooping very low,
creeping through, and then groping carefully along
the crooked passage into which it led, you would nd
yourself in a second apartment, surrounded likewise
by several smaller chambers. On the oor of every
one of these lay a Persian carpet, and in recesses,
and against the walls were placed cushions with
/

8 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

curtains hanging above them, there were also tables


of beautiful marble, a variety of shells, and a bath.
Here dwelt Esther, Aarons wife. Her limbs
rested upon the silken tissue of Damascus, and her
face and shoulders were shaded by the softest and
most ethereal of all textures, the fairy-like web of
Cashmere, such as the sultaness wears in Stamboul,
Her handmaidens were gathered round her, with
pearls on their bosoms and gay-tinted kerchiefs
twined round their high and beautiful foreheads.
For hither Aaron conveyed everything that to
us poor mortals can seem good and desirable,
and pleasant to the senses. The ornaments or pre
cious stones brought from afar were laid upon tables,
or strewed round the walls; the light streamed in
through upper windows, which were latticed and
half-covered with myrrh-plants, and through which
the yellow sand of the desert was sometimes driven
in by a sudden gust,-and when evening came, and
the lamps were lighted, then all the treasures around
glistened and sparkled, and the whole room seemed
in a blaze of light.
But the greatest treasure that Aaron possessed
next to his wife Esther, was their son, a boy who
played on the carpet of his harem, a boy with black
rolling eye-balls, and gifted with all the majestic
oriental beauty of his race. This boy was Abdias,
ABDIAS THE JEW. 9

the Jew, whose history I am about to relate, at that


time a soft ower blossoming upon Esthers bosom.
Now Aaron was the richest man throughout the
whole Roman town. This its other inhabitants
knew excellently well, for they had often shared his
pleasures, and were as thoroughly acquainted with
his affairs as he was with theirs ; but never yet had
such knowledge reached the ears of the wild Be
douin who hunted through the desert, or of the
indolent Bey, buried in the luxuries of his harem.
A gloomy mystery seemed brooding in heavy si
lence over that City of the Dead, as though no
sound were ever heard within its perishing walls,
save the shrill whistle of the wind, which ever and
anon ung columns of sand into it, or the short,
hoarse cry of the beasts of prey, when the glowing
disk of the full moon stood high in heaven, and
shone down upon them. The Jews traded with the
nations round about, and this they were readily
suffered to do, few cared to know or ask their place
of abode, and if one of their fellow-denizens, the
jackals, ventured out, he was killed and ung into a
ditch.
Upon his two chiefest treasures Aaron lavished
everything which he deemed good and pleasant for
them. And when he returned from his frequent
expeditions into neighbouring countries where he
' B 5
10 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

was often beaten and driven from place to place, and


Q on reaching home enjoyed without restraint all that
the ancient kings of his nation, especially Solomon
the Wise, held to be the pleasures of life, he gloried
and revelled in them beyond measure. Or if he
felt sometimes that there were other and higher
pleasures than these, pleasures which have their seat
in the soul, this feeling was to him so painful, that
he endeavoured to stie it. But at such times he
often thought he would some day set the boy Abdias
upon a camel and take him to a physician at Kahira,
that he might become wise like the prophets and
leaders of his raga these thoughts, however, passed
away, and no result ever came of them. And the
boy Abdias knew nothing of all this,--yet he often
stood alone on the summit of the crumbling build
ings, and raising his eyes to the immeasurable
heaven around him, fancied that it must be the skirt
of His mantle who had once come down to this
earth to create it, and to choose for Himself a
people, whom He would love and lead from one
country into another. But then Esther would
break in upon his reverie, calling him down to dress
him, and putting on him rst a little brown gar
ment, then a yellow, and then another brown one.
A.nd she would also load him with ornaments; she
would make the soft radiance of the pearl to dawn
ABDIAS THE JEW. Il

upon his dark but delicate skin, and the re of


the diamond to sparkle beside itshe would bind
a circlet round his brow, smooth his hair, or rub
his limbs and face with soft ne woollen rags.
And frequently he was dressed as a girl, and his
mother would anoint his eyebrows till they were
drawn like delicate black lines over his ashing eyes
-after which she would hold the silver-framed mirror
before him, that he might admire his own beauty.
Years passed on, till at last one day Aaron, the
father, led him out into the front room, put on him
a tattered caftan, and said, Son Abdias, thou
must now go out into the world, and as man
cannot be said to have anything but what he gains
or is able to gain, and as nothing can make us
secure but this capacity of gaininggo hence and
acquire it. I give thee here a camel and a piece of
gold, and, till thou hast won enough for one man's \.
subsistence, I will give thee no more; and shouldest
thou grow up an idle and unprotable man, I will
give thee nothing more even after my death. If,
however, thou wilt do as I have told thee, and art
not too far from us,_thou mayest visit thy mother
and me from.time to time,and when thou hast
riches enough for thyself, then come back and live
with us, I will give thee more, so that thou mayest
get thee a wife, and we will try to make a new
I2 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

room in our caverns, that ye may both dwell therein


and enjoy what the Lord shall send you. And
now, my blessing rest upon thee, son Abdias; go
hence, and betray not one word of the nest wherein
thou hast been edged.
Thus spoke Aaron, and led his son out to the
palm-trees where the camel was lying. Then he
blessed him, and his hands pressed the luxuriant
locks that clustered round the youths head. Mean
while, Esther lay on her carpet within, and beat
the oor with her hands in agony. But Abdias,
when he had received his fathers blessing, seated
himself on the prostrate camel, which, as soon as
he felt the burden, arose and raised the youth high
in the air. And as Abdias felt the breeze from
the wide plains in the distance fanning his cheek,
he looked once more at his father, and then rode
obediently away.
Henceforward Abdias had to endure the beating
of the rain and hail in his face ;he went forth,
journeying from land to land, over waters and
deserts, unweariedly, undauntedly ;--he went forth,
knowing not one of the languages spoken among
the nations, and quickly learned them all ;-he went
forth, having no money, and quickly gained it,
gained it to hide it deep in clefts of the rocks
sought out by none but himself ;he went forth,
ABDIAS THE JEW. 13

unskilled in knowledge either of himself or of na


ture, and apparently unreecting, although as he sat
alone on his lean camel, he would x his ery eyes
on the wide immensity of space before him, and
brood over the fancies it suggested ;he went forth,
living so sparely that .he often had nothing to
eat but a handful of dry dates, and yet he was
beautiful as one of those celestial messengers which
in old time had been so often revealed to his
people. Thus, too, was it with Mohammed, when
for days and weeks he lived in the sandy desert, with
no companions save his herds, and in that solitude
conceived the thoughts which afterwards became like
a consuming re, and swept triumphantly over the
earth. But Abdias was a creature whom the
meanest Turk believed he had a right to kick and
trample upon,and trampled upon he Was. Where
ever his prot was concerned, he was stern and
inexorable; he had a mocking tongue towards
Moslems and Christiansand yet, when at night
he stretched his limbs upon the yellow sand in the
midst of the caravan, he would lay his head gently
upon his camels neck, and listen to its snorting in
sleep as though it had been music, and if it had
been hurt he would salve the sore with balsam,
and deny himself the precious draught of water, in
order to wash his camels wound with it.
l4 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

He had wandered over the spots where the feet


of the ancient Tyrian Queen of Carthage had trod;
he had seen the Nile-he had crossed the Euphrates
and Tigris-he had slaked his thirst at the Ganges
he had starved and taken usury, saved and scraped
together-he had not once visited his parents, having
always been at a wide distance from their home
and fteen years had passed away when he re
turned for the rst time to the unknown Roman
town. He came at night-time, and on foot, for
he had been robbed of his camel; he was clad in
tattered garments, and carried pieces of horse-esh
in his hand, which he threw to the jackals as he
passed to keep them from fastening upon his body.
In this wise he reached the Roman triumphal arch
and the two withered palm-trunks, still standing there
as in days of yore, and pointing their straight black
forms into the nightly sky. He knocked at the door,
which consisted of a threefold wicket of reeds woven
together outside the gap in the wall which formed the
entrance ; he shouted his own name, his fathers name
-but he had waited a long time before some one
heard him and roused up the old Jew. All the house
was astir immediately, and Aaron, after rst speaking
with him through the door, opened it and let him in.
Abdias begged his father to go with him into the
cellar, and there, when he had closed the wicket
ABDIAS THE JEW. I5

behind him, he counted out to him the golden coins


which he had gained in various countries, and which
formed indeed a much larger sum than could have
been expected. Aaron looked silently at him till
he had nished counting, then he collected the gold
pieces into a heap upon the stone, put them back
by handfuls into the leathern bag in which Abdias
had brought them, and secreted the bag in an
aperture between the carvings of some marble
frieze-work. Then, as if the ice had suddenly
broken, or as if his paternal feeling must wait till
business were over, he rushed towards his son, em
braced him, pressed him close to his breast, howled,
muttered, blessed him, and bathed his face with
tears. .
And Abdias, when this was over, again went up
into the outer apartment, threw himself upon a heap
.of mats that lay there, and suffered the long-pent
stream to gush from his eyes.Very necessary and
soothing was that relief, for his frame was wearied
almost unto death.
Meantime his father had his rags taken off
him, he was laid in a warm and purifying bath,
his limbs were rubbed with precious healing oint
ments, and then he was arrayed in a festive gar
ment. And after all this, he was led into the
inner chamber where Esther was reclining on her
16 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

cushions, patiently waiting till his father should


bring her son in to her. She rose as her expected
visitor drew back the curtains of her chamber and
entered_but it was, alas! no longer the delicate,
beautiful boy whom she had loved so ardently, and
whose cheeks had been like soft pillows to her lips;
he had grown very swarthy, his features were
sharper and sterner, and his eyes much more ery.
And he, too, gazed at his mother, for she was
altered not less than he, and years had left their
unhallowed imprint upon her face. When he ap
proached nearer, she folded him in her arms, drew
him to the cushion on which she reclined, and
pressed her lips upon his cheeks, his brow, his head,
his eyes, and ears.
Old Aaron stood outside the while, with his
head bowed down, and Esthers handmaidens sat in
the adjoining chamber, behind the yellow silk cur
tains, whispering one to another.
But the rest of the household went out and
busied themselves in executing the orders they had
received. For although the night was already far
spent, and those familiar constellations which had
travelled from Egypt that evening were already
passed over their heads and drawing down towards
the desert, the return of the rst-born must be cele
brated after the accustomed manner. A lamb was
anmas THE JEW. 17

slaughtered by the light of wax tapers, it was roasted


in the kitchen, and set upon the table. They all
ate thereof, and gave also to the servants. After
this they went to rest and slumbered so long that
when they awoke, the sun of the desert was already
shining down upon the ruins, like a large round
diamond which daily sparkled alone amidst the wide,
empty heavens.
There was feasting and jubilee for three days.
The neighbours were called in to take part in the re
joicings; the camel, the ass, and the house-dog
were not forgotten, and even rthe wild creatures of
the desert had their portion, pieces of meat being
placed for them in the remotest parts of the ruins,
for the denying walls extended far out into the
plain, and the wild beasts often came to seek shelter
in the places where man had left traces of his hand.
When these rejoicings were over, and some time
had passed away, Abdias again took leave of his
parents, and journeyed to Baalbec, to fetch the
gazelle-eyed Deborah whom he had seen there, and
marked for his own; and who, with all her family,
belonged to his race. He left home clad as a beg
gar, and returned in two months in the guise of a
Turkish Emir travelling in the midst of a vast
caravan, for the treasure he now bore with him he
could not bury in clefts of the rock, and should it be
18 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

lost, he could not win it back again. At that time


there was talk in every caravanserai of the wonderful
beauty of the travelling Moslem, and still more of
the surpassing loveliness of his fair slave; but this
talk, like a prattling stream rushing towards the
wilderness, was gradually calmed and hushed into
stillness, and after a while no one any longer trou
bled himself to guess whither the travellers had
gone, and not a word more was spoken on the sub
ject. And they, the unknown, were secure in old
Aarons dwelling; rooms had been arranged for
them in the vaults under the rubbish-heaps, cur
tains had been hung across, carpets and cushions laid
down for Deborah.
Aaron shared his property with his son, according
to his promise, and Abdias again went abroad into
the neighbouring countries to trade and barter with
their inhabitants.
Obedient as he had ever been, he now collected
from all quarters everything that he fancied might
please his parents' tastes ; he humbled himself to the
selsh caprices of his father, and patiently endured
the passionate chiding of his mother. By the time
that Aaron become old and imbecile, Abdias wore
magnicent vestments, with bright sharp weapons,
and had entered into extensive commercial specula
tions, like the great merchants in Europe. His
ABDIAS THE JEW. .19

parents at last sank into second childhood, and died,


one after the other, and Abdias buried them under
the stones of an ancient Roman column.
Henceforth he and Deborah were alone in the
vaults under the high, towering pile of ruins near
the triumphal arch and the two stems of withered
palm-trees.
And now he journeyed farther and farther. De- I,
Q

borah sat at home with her maidens, awaiting his


return; he became well known among the nations /
without, and drew the glittering lines of commerce /
and riches nearer and nearer the wilderness. /i.1
20 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

CHAPTER II.

DEBORAH .

SEVERAL years had passed away since the death


of Aaron and Esther, and, insensibly, everything
began to wear a different aspect in the dwelling
near the palm-trees. Riches and prosperity in
creased more and more. Abdias was zealous in
every work that he undertook, and strove to do
all possible good to his neighbours, his slaves,
and cattle. But he received only hatred in re
turn. Upon the wife of his bosom, whom he had
chosen for himself, he lavished all that he could
procure of the good things of this world, bringing
home to her, although she was childless, the most
costly jewels and rarities from the several lands he
visited. Yet, having fallen sick at Odessa of a
loathsome disease, which deformed his shape and
disgured his countenance, Deborah, on his return,
abhorred him, and ever after turned away from him
in disgust. He had brought home only the voice
ABDIAS THE JEW. 21

which she had loved, not the form; and, often as


she would start and look up on hearing the old
familiar tones, so often would she instantly tum
away and leave the h0usefor she had eyes only to
discern physical beauty, spiritual beauty was hidden
from her. Abdias had never thought of that. He
too, when he rst met Deborah at Baalbec, saw
nothing but the exceeding loveliness of her outwa_rd
form, and when he was away he bore with him its
constant remembrance. And thus all was lost now
to Deborah. Abdias, when he perceived how it was,
went into his private chamber, and there wrote a
letter of divorcement, that it might be ready in case
she should now wish to leave him,- the husband
with whom she had spent so many years. But this
she did not wish : she continued to live with him,
and was submissive as before, though sad at heart
when the sun rose, and sad when he set. The
neighbours, however, openly scoffed at the scarred
face of Abdias, and said, the Almighty had sent to
him the Angel of Leprosy, whose scourge had struck
him and left its mark stamped upon his features.
Abdias held his peace, and time went on.
He travelled, as he had done heretofore, returned
home for a while, and then travelled again. He
sought riches in every possible way, sometimes
heaping them together with restless, insatiable
22 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

avarice, sometimes squandering them away, and


whilst abroad revelling in every species of luxury.
Then again, he would come home, and sit whole
afternoons behind the high towering rubbish-pile
that formed his house, under the withered aloe that
he loved, supporting his head--which was already
growing grey with his two hands. He thought
he felt a yearning for that cold, damp continent,
Europe; that it would be well with him if he could
know what there the sages knew, and live as there
the heroes lived. And then he would x his eyes
upon the sand that glittered before him in the
scorching sunbeams, and cast a side-long glance at
the shadow of his sad-hearted Deborah as she
passed round the corner of a tottering wall, neither
asking nor caring for what he was thinking. But
these were merely eeting fancies, like the snow
akes which fall upon the travellers face as he
crosses Mount Atlas, melting away when he vainly
str'ves to grasp them.
FAnd when Abdias sat once again high on his
camel, in the centre of a long train, ruling and
ordering everything at his will, then was he another
man, and the scars that seamed his countenance
sparkled with excitement, and his eyes, clear and
.4\'.5_ piercing as ever, ashed and kindled with their
former heauty,nay, at such times, when the whole
ABDIAS THE JEW. 23

burden of men and beasts and merchandise seemed


laid upon him alone when the full extent and risk
of the enterprize was thoroughly apprehended by
him, and he passed on, sitting in the midst of the
procession, like a king f caravans, they were
more beautiful than CV51? For abroad he found
that which was denied him at home honour,
esteem, authority. He often repeated this to him
self, and exercised his power despotically for the
mere pleasure of feeling that it was indeed his ;
and, in truth, the more he commanded and required,
the more readily others obeyed, as though he had
really a right to their allegiance. He half-suspected
that it was his gold which gave him all this power,
yet did he not the less exult in its possession; and
when the Bey had sent Melek Ben Amar, one of
his sleek, softly-clad favourites, to him in the city of
Bona, to require a loan, and he had made the courtly
ambassador wait a long time, and compelled him,
instead of commanding, to implore and entreat, and
that right humbly, before he would comply with his
wishes, his proud spirit was well-nigh satised.
Once too, while making a journey through Libya,
he tasted the joy of battle. There were merchants,
pilgrims, warriors, menials, and people of all ranks,
who had formed themselves into a vast caravan to
cross the desert. Abdias was among them, arrayed
24 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

in his silken vestments and glittering weapon,for


since he had been disgured by disease he loved
pomp and splendour more than ever. On the seventh
day of their wanderings, when black rocks were
around them, and the foot-soles of their camels were
frequently entangled in the hillocks of soft sand, a
cloud of Bedouins suddenly ew upon them. Be
fore the travellers in the centre of the caravan
where the heavier commodities were placedcould
ask what had happened, blades were ashing, and
pistols ring away in their front. A general cry of
terror arose: some knew not what to do, some dis
mounted and threw themselves on their knees to
pray. Then did the haggard Jew, who was also
riding in the centre among the larger bales of goods,
raise his meagre form erect upon his beast, and
shout aloud all the directions for defence and battle
that occurred to him. He drew forth his crooked
blade and rode towards the spot where the white
gures, with their muled heads, were engaged in
contest with several of the caravan. One of the
assailants immediately turned towards him, aiming a
blow with his sabre over the camels neck at his
head, but Abdias knew instantly how to avoid it:
he stooped, dived on one side of his camels
shoulder, urged his beast closer up to his opponent
and stabbed him so that he fell lifeless from the
ABDIAS THE JEW. 25

saddle, a stream of blood gushing over his white


raiment. At the two nearest Bedouins he now
red his pistols. Then he again issued orders to
those around him, and they listened and obeyed;
and when the others saw how the day was going,
and that a second and third of their enemies had
fallen, their courage began to rise, they were seized
with a wild joy, the demon of murder exulted, and
the whole caravan thronged eagerly forwards. Ab
dias himself was borne away by the tumult, his
swarthy countenance thrown back high in the air,
his scars glowing like ames of re, his eyes spark
ling like white stars from amid his dark features, his
open mouth vociferating the deep, rapid accents of
the Arabic tongue, his breast heaving amid the
ashing swords ! Thus rode he on farther and far
ther, and extended his dark and shrivelled arm from
out his wide sleeve with the air of a general at the
head of his troops. And as they pressed on still
farther through the thin cloud of smokewhich,
however, dispersed very soon, there being no time
for reloading the pistols, under the furious rays of
the terrible sun of the desert, which rode like a
king above their heads, the order of the ght was
reversed, those who had at rst been the assailants
being now the assailed. They looked round for
deliverance. One of them rst pressed his long
. , C
26 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

weapon gently against his person, bent down over it,


and shot swiftly from the circle in rapid ight;
another threw away his arms, ung his bridle aside,
and entrusted his safety to his own good steed,
which ew with him like the wind through the
desert. Others again, taking no thought of ight,
writhed on the ground, imploring mercybut in
vain : Abdias had given the rst command and had
been obeyed ; he could do no more. The very
men who had before prayed to Heaven for help,
now furiously thrust their poniards into the hearts of
those who lay at their feet. When all was over,
and the victors were plundering the slain and wound
ed, and taking the saddle-bags from their beasts,
Abdias suddenly halted, and threw the blood
stained sabre from him with loathing. A Turk, who
was crouching in the neighbourhood, misunderstood
the action, and wiping the blade with his own caf
tan, humbly presented it to the valiant Emir.
After the battle, as they journeyed onwards, and
day after day nought but the silent, unchanging
scenes of the desert surrounded them, new thoughts
came to AbdiasFWhat if he should kill the Bey,
become Bey himself, or even Sultan ; should con
quer and subject to his sway the whole earth ? What
th%1_?/ There were strange unfamiliar forms seen in
sha owy outline on the dark, distant future beckoning
ABDIAS THE JEW. 27

to b.im. Yut he did not follow their call, he did


not make himself Bey, for throughout that whole
journey, which led him yet a long way farther, a
dim foreboding of evil haunted his mind; a dark
angel of impending misfortune seemed hovering
over him.g He was again among the busy habitations
of men, e travelled in various directions, joining
now one, now another caravan, yet wherever he
might be, still,as often happens to othersthe
thought continually recurred What if some mis
fortune have befallen my house ? He wrestled
with the thought, and again and again repeated to
himself, I/Vhat can have happened to my house?
There is no misfortune likely to have happened.
And he journeyed on from place to place, transacted
his various affairs, arranging them all to his own
advantage, traversed many different countries and
cities, and thus many months passed away before he
again beheld gleaming on the farthest horizon the blue
of the Atlas mountains, behind which lay his home.
He drew homewards. He left his costly clothes
in a village where there was a synagogue formed in
a grotto, and on a clear, star-light night, he with
drew from the last caravan he had accompanied, and
wandered alone over the plain extending towards
the mountains, beyond which lay the ancient Ro
man town. And now the warning angel ung his
c 2
28 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

dark pinions from o' his head, for whatever was to


happen must now have taken place, and nothing
could avert it. And as Abdias, a meanly-clad and
apparently beggared man, rode on his solitary camel
over the sand, and approached nearer the end of his
wanderings, he observed a faint blueish vapour enve
loping the City of the Dead like a veil of clouds, such
as often throw their phantom forms over the wilder
ness : however, he did not give much heed to this,
especially as the rest of the sky was now beginning
to assume a milky hue, and the hot sun peered
down from above like a dark-red eye, symptoms
which in these latitudes usually betoken the ap
proach of the rainy season. But when he at last
reached those well-known ruins, and rode into the
inhabited quarter, he saw plainly that the Destroyed
City must have sustained a fresh destruction ; for the
few miserable beams of wood, which had been drag
ged thither from distant parts, were lying scattered
around, and smelled strongly of burning, whilst the
ashes of palm-leaves, which had formed the roofs to
the huts, lay in heaps among the blackened stones.
He rode on faster, and as he reached the triumphal
arch and the two withered palm-trunks, he saw
strange men carrying things out of his own dwelling
their mules were already heavily laden, and from
the shabby and worthless commodities they had
ABDIAS THE JEW. 29

in their hands, he perceived that they must be


conveying away the last remaining articles of his
furniture. At the palm-trees, he beheld Melek
Ben Amar mounted on his horse, with several men
gathered around him. And when Abdias quickly
compelled his camel to kneel, and, leaping down, ran
forward as though to rescue his property, Melek at
once recognised him and looked at him with a grin
ning smile and a countenance all radiant with malice.
Abdias scowled at him in return, and gnashed his
teeth with indescribable rage and hatred. But he
could not stay now to vent his fury, he sprang past
him into the foremost room where the tattered gar
ments were wont to hang; there he found a few of his
neighbours who had run to the spot either from a
innate love of mischief or some miserable hope of
gain, and the instant they perceived Abdias, thus
unexpectedly returned, they set up a loud shout,
seized him, beat him, and spat in his face, crying out,
So ! so ! thou art come back, come back at last, art
thou? Thou hast betrayed thine own nest-thou
hast betrayed thine own nest,and shown it to the
vultures. It is all because thou hast gone about in
their ne feathers that they have suspected thee;
the wrath of the Lord has found thee out and
7
crushed thee, and us with thee. Thou must
supply what has been taken from us; thou must
30 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

supply it all ; thou must supply it tenfold and


more.
Abdias, impotent against so many, suffered them
to do as they listed, and uttered not a word. They
thrust him against the door, and would have ill
treated him again, still shrieking out their shrill dis
cordant abuse. But now the Beys ambassador,
followed by several of his soldiers, entered, and
shouted out to the Jews, Let the merchant go, or
I will have every one of you thrust through with a
spear, every one of you! What matters it to you
if he is a dog? ye are all the same yourselves.
Will you let him go, I tell you ?"
At this they drew back. Meleks soldiers now
searched Abdiass clothes, and took from them what
soever pleased themhe suffered it very patiently.
Then Melek addressed him, Thou hast done
very ill, Abdias Ben Aaron, in concealing so much
treasure and jewellery in this place; we might justly
punish thee, but we will not do so. Farewell, noble
merchant ; whenever thou comest into our town,
thou must pay us a visit, and we will show thee the
securities for thy loan, and pay thee the interest.
Now let him go free, that he may again grow fat,
swell out, and bear rich fruit !
And with laughter and mockery they let him go ;
he had suffered it very patiently; he had not moved,
ABDIAS THE JEW. 31

save that on hearing the voice of scorn he rolled


his eyes askance, like a wounded tiger when goaded
by its triumphant hunters. But after all had gone
out of the dwelling, had mounted, and were about
to ride away over the hillocks of sand, Abdias sprang
with one leap after them, tore out from the holster
of his camel the pistols which, though the other
packages had been cut down from the poor, lean,
despised creatures back, had been left by accident
or oversight, and red them upon Melek. Both
the shots failed their mark; but some of Meleks
soldier"s turned back, beat him on the back and
loins with their spears, and left him stretched on the
ground apparently dead. And then the train moved
on again through the ruins towards that side of the
plain which is covered with short thin grass, and which
is the nearest approach to the habitable world.
Abdias remained lying on the sand without stir
ring a limb. But when every trace of the noisy.
train had disappeared, and not an echo of their foot
steps and loud voices could be heard, he dragged
himself up from the ground. Again he went up to
the camel, which was still on its knees, took out of
the deeper recesses of the elaborately-worked holster
two small pistols concealed therein, and then went
into his dwelling. There were standing near the
palm-trees, as well as in the room, several of his
32 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

race, curious to see what would be done next. He


passed stealthily through the entrance, placed his
back close against the wall, and cried with a hoarse
voice, Whichever of you tarries here an instant
longer, nay, whichever lingers as though he would
be the last to go, him will I shoot dead with this
pistol, and his nearest neighbour with the other!
and then let him approach me who choosespraised
be the Lord !
Y.-With these words he had glided backwards into
the interior of the room, his star-like eyes riveted
\ upon them. His repulsive countenance glowed with
undaunted resolution, his eyes sparkled, and it was
afterwards asserted by several who were present that
they had in that moment seen quite distinctly a
_.- . a-. , _ supernatural halo surrounding his head, while his
hairs stood up singly and erect, like slender speafi
They hesitated yet a little while longer, and then
went, one by one, out at the door. He looked after
them and gnashed his teeth, like a wild hyaena of
the mountains; and when the last of the intruders
had withdrawn his foot from the threshold, and dis
appeared, he muttered, There they go, there they
go,wait, wait, the time will come, Melek, when I
may close my reckoning with thee likewise.
Meanwhile he heard them deliberating outside,
and taking counsel of each other, Since Abdias
ABDIAS THE JEW. 33

was the man who had occasioned their disaster, he


might set it right again; he must make them com
pensation; they would spare him now and press him
hard at some future time. And he heard their
words, and listened attentively to every one. Gra
dually the murmur of voices grew fainter and less
continuous, and at last entirely ceased, a sure sign
that they must have all gone away.
Abdias stood still, and drew a long deep breath.
Then he determined to go and seek Deborah. He
put the pistols into his caftan, strode over the heap
of garments which were wont to hang in front of the
entrance to the inner-chamber, but which now lay
on the ground, crept through the passagethe lamp
in it had been thrown downand entered theinner
apartments. The light streamed through the foliage
of the myrrh-plants festooning the high windows
upon the mosaic of the oor: there were no longer
any carpets or mats spread over it, and the heaps of
fresh-turned earth, where it had been dug up in
search of hidden treasures, and the naked stones of
the walls, a ofthousand
appearance a robbersyears
cave.ol dH_e
avefound
the place the
Deborah

in the larger room, where she was accustomed to be,


and behold!_how strange are the fortunes and
vicissitudes of human life !she had borne him in
that very night a childterror had hastened the l
c 5
34' LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

hour of its birth, and she now held it towards


him from the heap of loose, bare earth whereon she
lay. But he stood in that moment like one who
has been transxed by a thunder-bpgtk The only
words he said were, Shall I not r1 e after them,
and hurl the child at the soldiers spears ?
After a momentary hesitation, however, he went
nearer, took the child up and looked at it. Then,
still holding it in his arms, he went into the adjoin
ing room, looked long and closely upon the stones
which formed one corner, and returning said, I
thought so, I thought so ;ye fools, I have left you
enough and more than enough above ground, I
thought sooh, ye sevenfold fools !
And he fell upon his knees and worshipped, ex
claiming, Jehovah, praise, glory, and honour, be
unto Thee to all eternity !
He then returned to Deborah, and gave her back
the child. He dipped his nger in a vessel of
water which stood near her, and moistened her lips,
for there was no midwife, no handmaid near, to
render her this slight service. And when he had
done this, he gazed yet more xedly upon her, and,
bending down over her head, stroked her features,
now altered by sickness and even by premature age
to him they were more beautiful than ever, for
that dark, sad countenance smiled upon him for
ABDIAS THE JEW. 35

the rst time since ve long years, as though the


former love had returned anew. At that moment
the ugly head of a neighbour, the one who was least
able to restrain his curiosity, peeped in through the
half-broken door, butheeded
ately, and Abdias it drew
it back
not. algThick
ain immedi
scales

seemed to have fallen from his eyes,in the very


midst of ruin and desolation he felt as though the
greatest bliss which earth could afford had been
granted him,and as he sat on the bare ground be
side the mother, and touched the little trembling
creature with his hands, he felt springing up within
\
\*---.

his heart that well-spring of consolation which he had


so long thirsted for, unknowing where to seek it
it was now his, and innitely sweeter and more deli
cious than he could ever have imagin Deborah
held his hand, pressed and caressed it e ooked ten
derly at her, and she said to him, Abdias, thou art
no longer ill-favoured,thou art beautiful as eve1~'._:_x
And his heart trembled within him.
Deborah, said he, has no one brought thee
anything, art thou not hungry?
No, I am not hungry, she replied, but
faint.
Wait, he said, I will bring thee something
that will strengthen thee, and then I will prepare
thee some food, and smooth thy couch.
36 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

With this he arose, but found he had some


diiculty in using his limbs, for during the few
minutes of repose his pains had become much
more acute. He went out and fetched an armful
of the ragged clothes that lay without, and with
these he arranged her a couch, and laid her upon
it, covering her with his own mantle warm from
his body, for he thought it must be cold that made
her so deadly pale. He next went to the place
where lay the requisites for making a re; they had
been left untouched, being of no value. He lighted
a taper, set it in the horn-lantern, and then went
out and descended the subterranean staircase, leading
to the place where his wine was kept. But it had
all been either taken away or suffered to run out
upon the ground, excepting one small ask which
had been accidentally left behind, and the contents
of which he poured into a vessel. He then fetched
fresh water from the cisterns, for that which was in
the room was quite warm and offensive, and with
this mixture of wine and fresh water he moistened
Deborahs lips, bidding her swallow a little from
time to time. When she had done this repeatedly,
he laid the vessel of wine and water aside, and said
he would now prepare her some food. From among
his travelling accoutrements, which were scattered
about, he hunted out a jar containing some good,
ABDIAS THE JEW. 37

strong pottage. He then went back to the kitchen


to search for a vessel that might serve his purpose;
and, on nding one, returned to Deboralfs rooms,
poured water and some of the pottage into the vessel,
and setting light to some spirits of wine, placed it
upon a stand above the ame. He stood by, watch
ing the stiff jelly dissolve in the water. Deborah
must now be much better and calmer, for when he
glanced at her, he saw that she often suffered the
lids to droop over her eyes, as though she wished to
sleep. There was perfect stillness around them, for
all the servants and handmaidens had taken ight:
and when his thick pottage was quite ready he
removed the vessel, to let it cool a little. He then
knelt down beside Deborahs face, and sat back in
the Oriental fashion between his feet.
Deborah, art thou sleepy? said he.
Yes, very sleepy, was her reply.
He held the vessel a little while longer in his
hands, and when he was sure it was cool enough, he
gave her some of the pottage, and bade her drink it.
She did so. It must have done her good, for she
raised her heavy eyelids once more to look on his
face, as he sat beside her, and then let them fall, and
slumbered sweetly and healthily. For some time
he sat still, gazing at her. The little infant,
covered with the wide sleeves of the caftan,
38 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

slept also. He rose up, and laid the vessel on


one side.
He determined to employ himself whilst they
were asleep in searching about his dwelling for what
ever was likely to he wanted, and in endeavouring to
restore something like order; but rst he must look
for some one of his domestics to watch over Deborah,
and provide for her all that was necessary during his
absence. He went through all the rooms, came
back again into Deborah's, and was still searching
and thinking how he should nd some means of
fastening the door when he left her--for the fasten
ings were broken, and the locks were hanging loose
_ when Uram, his Abyssinian slave, glided in.
The boy crept along, cowering almost to the earth,
his eyes riveted all the time upon Abdias, from
whom he feared he would receive severe chastisement
for having run away when the plunderers came.
But Abdias was more inclined to reward than punish
him, since he was the rst to return.
Uram, said he, where are the others ?
I do not know, answered the slave, immedi
ately standing still.
Did you not all run away together, then ?"'
Yes, but all were dispersed afterwards. And
when I was told that thou hadst returned, I
came back, and I thought the others would be
ABDIAS THE JEW. 39

here also, since thou wert at home to protect


us.
No, they are not here, said Abdias, not one
of them is here. Boy Uram, he added in a
milder tone, come nearer, and hear what I have
to say to thee.
The youth sprang forward, and stared in Abdias
face. His master then said, I will give thee a
beautiful red turban with a white plume of herons
feathers, I will make thee overseer over all the rest
in my house, if thou wilt faithfully execute the task
I set thee now. Thou must, whilst I am awayfor
I am going out for a little whilekeep guard over
thy sick mistress and this child. Sit down upon
this heap of earthsohere is a pistolthis is the
way to hold it.
I know that already, said the boy.
It is well, continued Abdias. And now if
any one should come in and attempt to disturb thy
slumbering mistress or her child, tell him he must go,
or thou wilt kill him. If he will rmt go, point the
muzzle towards him, press the iron trigger, and shoot
him dead. Understandest thou this
Uram assented, and seated himself in the desired
position upon the ground _
Abdias gazed steadily at him again, and then
holding the other pistol under his caftan, he went
40 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

through the passage into the outer room. Every


thing was strewed about as he had left it, and not a
creature was to be seen throughout the wide vaults.
He searched around, and when satised that no one
could be hiding anywhere, though the violent pains in
his loins made it diicult for him to walk, he strode
over the threshold of the door, and reached the palm
trunks. Here without, all was desolate as within,
the neighbours having, as he had conjectured, be
taken themselves to their dwellings or whithersoever
else it pleased them. On reaching the heap of sand
where he had been beaten by Meleks soldiery, the
camel was no longer to be foundit had been taken
by some one of his neighbours. He made his way
round the triumphal arch, and several detached
masses of ruin, and then ascending the high rubbish
pile that rose above his house, he climbed up on the
yet higher pile that towered behind it, and which
was strewn with sand and scattered blocks of stone,
and afforded a wide survey over the city and the
wide at circle of desert land beneath. He raised
one of the stones, and drew forth a gold ring which
had been buried underneath. Then he stood still
and gazed around him. The sun, which a little
earlier had been like a dark red globe of re, was
now invisible, a hot, misty, grey sky, was canopied
above the landscape. In our countries we should
annms ma JEW. 41

call such an atmosphere very sultry, but here it was


absolutely cool when compared with the past days,
during which the sun had shone uninterruptedly.
Abdias breathed more freely, and stroked his
wounded sides several times with the palm of his
hand. He gazed at the silent ruins beneath him,
and then descended. Just as he had gained the
withered aloe, ne drops began to fall, and a
soft, drizzling shower gradually moistened the
whole tranquil plain. It very rarely happens
in these regions that the rainy season sets in
so quietly, it is generally heralded by violent
tempests.
Abdias descended on the opposite side to that
over which he had clambered, and wandered through
divers well-known crooked turns and passages in the
ruins. He went some distance before he reached
the place to which he was directing his steps,
namely, the habitation of the richest of his neigh
bours, at whose house he thought it likely that many
others would have met. He was right, there was
already a goodly company of busy newsmongers
assembled, and as soon as the report spread that he
had passed over Gaals threshold, several more
hastened into the house.
He addressed them thus : If, by the rich clothes
I have worn, and the extensive commerce I have
42 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

carried on, I have betrayed our abode, enticed hither


the plunderers, and occasioned injury to you, I am
ready to make compensation so far as lies in my
power. You cannot have lost everything, for you
are wise, and have no doubt concealed your treasures.
Bring me here a paper or parchment and some ink.
I have several debts which will soon be due to me
from my friends abroad; I will register them here,
and empower you to receive the sums as your own
property.
Who can say whether it is true that he has any
thing owing to him? suggested one of the bye
standers.
If it be not true, replied Abdias, then you
will still have me here, and can stone me, or do
whatever else may please you.
To be sure, let him write ! cried others, and
accordingly parchment and ink were brought.
He is as wise as Solomon, said they, who, a
few hours ago had been the foremost to scoff at and
maltreat him.
And when he had written a long row of gures on
the parchment, had given it to them, and told them
all that they must be patient awhile till he had
recovered his losses, and could restore the remainder,
he drew forth the ring from his caftan, and said,
Thou hast a milchass, Gaal; if thou wilt sell her
ABDIAS THE JEW. 43

to me, I am willing to give this ring, which is of


great value, in exchange.
That ring is owing to us, as a reparation for the
damage we have sustained; we shall take it from
thee, cried several voices at once.
If you take this ring from me, answered he,
I will close my mouth and never again tell you
where I have money, what debts are owing to me,
or where I have traded, and you will never again
receive anything from me in amends for your
losses.
That is true, said one; leave him his ring,
and, Gaal, give him the milch-ass for it.
Meanwhile, they had all examined the ring, and
as it was evidently of much greater value than the
ass, Gaal said he would give her to him on condition
of his adding a piece of money to the ring.
I can offer you nothing more, answered
Abdias, for they have taken everything from me,
you saw it yourselves. Give me back my ring, I
will go without the ass.
Leave the ring, said Gaal, I will send thee
the ass.
No, returned Abdias, thou shalt not send
her to me, thou must give me a thong, and I will
take her away myself; or else, give me back the
ring.
M LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

I will give thee the thong and the ass, said


Gaal.
Immediately, insisted Abdias.
Immediately, repeated Gaal. Go out,
Ephraim, and drive her up from the ditch where she
is standing.
Whilst the boy was gone to fetch the ass, Abdias
asked the neighbours whether they had seen any one
of his servants or his wifes maidens ; for, he
added, they are all gone away.
Are all thy servants gone ? was the rejoinder;
no, we have not seen them.
Perchance one of them has taken refuge at thy
house, Gaal? or at thine, Simon? or with some
of you ?
No, no, we all ran away ourselves, and have
seen nothing of them.
In the meantime Ephraim had returned with the
ass, Abdias re-crossed the threshold of Gaals ca
vern, the thong was delivered into his hands, and he
led the ass over the rubbish. Heads were peering
forth from the windows, looking after him.
He passed through the ruins, and determined
to search for his servants in a place at some distance
which he knew had often served as an asylum from
threatening danger. The rain, though still very
ne, had meanwhile increased; the sand was soaked
ABDIAS THE JEW. 45

into a soft, yielding pulp, and the long climbing


plants which hung down from several ssures in the
mouldering walls and trailed over the fragments of
masonry scattered around, were dripping with water.
He passed on, nodding aloe-blossoms and myrtles
showering glistening drops of water upon him at
every step. Not a single human being met him on
his way, not a single human being was to be seen.
On reaching the spot, he passed through the low
gates, half-buried in sand, drawing the ass after him.
He wandered through all the different recesses of
this secret hiding-place, all were alike empty. He
again went out, and climbed up an old crumbling
wall, to obtain a wider survey aroundeven thence
could nothing be seen but the same still forms of
decayed and decaying ruins, over which the same
small ne drops of water, here so precious, trickled
busily and unremittingly, so that the walls glittered
as though covered by a dark varnish ; he saw not a
creature, he heard not a sound beside the gentle
drizzling of the descending shower. He would not
raise his voice and call,_ for if one of the servants
were really near enough to hear and answer, he could
just as well nd his way homewards and there await
his masters orders. They must have concealed
themselves with some one of the neighbours, who
did not choose to betray them. Possibly,
46 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

thought Abdias, they may now consider me a


ruined _man, and shun me accordingly, and he felt
that such conduct would be only natural. He slid
down from the wall, took the thong of the ass from
the stone round which he had wound it, and retraced
his steps to the triumphal arch. He was wet
through, having left his outer garment as a coverlet
for Deborah, but of that he took no heed. He
entered the outer apartment of his dwelling, led the
ass into it, and tied her up. No one was there.
And as he groped through the narrow passage to the
inner room, he remembered that if no one were
there either, he must himself be Deborah's attend
ant, and nurse her as well and carefully as was pos
sible for him in his present condition.
But she no longer required any nursing, for while
he was away she had not been sleepingshe was
dead. The poor woman in her inexperience had
bled to death like a helpless animal. She was per
fectly unaware that she was dying, and when Abdias
gave her the pottage, she seemed like one who is
very faint and falls into a gentle slumber. And
she did fall into a slumber, but she never woke
again.
When Abdias entered, the chamber was as still
as when he left it. Uram sat watching by Debo
rahs couch, motionless as a dark brazen statue, his
ABDIAS THE JEW. 47

eyes and pistols turned towards the door; but she


lay stretched behind him, fair and pale and cold as
a waxen image,and the child lay slumbering by
her side, its tiny lips gently moving as though they
were drawing the sweet nourishment from the mo
thers breast. Abdias cast a glance of terror at the
picture, and stealthily crept nearer,the imminent
danger of Deborah instantly ashed upon his mind,
a low cry escaped himhe had hitherto forgotten
the help she required, and she herself had not known
her peril. He tore a shred from her garment, slight
and delicate as a downy feather, and held it before
her lips; but it did not move. He laid his hand
upon her heart; he could not feel the pulsation.
He seized her bare arms; they were already grow
ing cold. He had frequently seen both men and
women die, in caravans, in deserts, and in hospitals,
-too well did he know the face of death.
He arose, his soaked clothes cleaving to his body,
and walked restlessly round the room. Meantime
the boy Uram remained sitting on the ground in the
very same posture, his eyes following the movements
of his master. Abdias went at last into the adjoin
ing chamber, tore off his wet clothes, and threw
them into a heap, and hastily dressed himself from
the things that were scattered about. Then he
went out into the front room, took some milk from
48 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the ass in a bowl, returned to the inner apartment,


twisted up a soft rag, dipped it in the milk till it
was soaked through like a sponge, and put it in the
childs mouth. And the child sucked it, as it
would have done its mothers breast. And when
the movement of the lips became slower and at
last ceased, and the child slept again, he took it
away from its mothers side, and laid it in a bed
which he had made up with clothes in a recess in
the wall. He then sat down upon a stone bench
that was 1near, and as he sat, the tears streamed like
molten iron from his eyes; for Deborahs image
stood before him, as he had seen her rst in Baalbeo
when he chanced to pass her fathers dwelling, and
when the golden tints of evening were reected not
only on the pinnacles of the house, but on all the
scene around. And a bird of Paradise had own up
from a white fragment of wall, and dipped its wings
in the yellow glory. And thenhe remembered
how he had borne her away, how she had been
accompanied by her kindred along the tenace, had
received their fervent blessing, and how he had
taken her away from all she had known or loved,
and had lifted her on his owIi camel. And now
she must have joined her dead father, and might,
perhaps, be describing to him the life she had lived
with Abdias.
ABDIAS THE JEW. 49

Long did he sit thus musing on the stone bench ;


no one else with him in that still chamber except
Uram, who gazed at him incessantly.
And when at last the day was declining, and gra
dually the vaults became so dark that scarcely any
thing could be seen therein, he arose, saying,
Uram, dear boy, lay aside this weapon, there is
no one to be guarded now, but kindle a light in
the horn-lantern, go to the neighbours and the
mourning-women, tell them that thy mistress is
dead, and that they must come to wash her and
dress her in fresh clothes. Tell them that I have
still two pieces of gold left me which I will give to
them.
The boy laid his pistols on the ground, arose,
sought in the old, well-known places for all he
wanted, struck a light, and taking the lantern with
him, went out. The pale gleam thrown by the
lantern itted along through the passage, and the
inner chamber seemed darker than before. Then
Abdias felt in the darkness for his wifes cheek,
knelt down, and kissed her in token of farewell.
She was already quite cold. Then he went to the
spot where the wax-tapers lay, lighted one piece,
and brought the ame up to the motionless gure.
The countenance was .the very same as that with
which she had looked at him when he had brought
n
50 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

her nourishment, and with which she had fallen


asleep. He fancied that if he looked closer he must
see something moving, must see the breast still
heaving with life. But it did not heave, and the
dead limbs were perfectly xed and rigid.
And the child, too, was motionless, as though it
were dead also. Abdias went up to it to observe it
more closely. It lay in a deep, tranquil slumber,
and a host of little heat~drops stood on its brow:
for, in his over-care, Abdias had covered it with
too many clothes. He now took some of these
away to make the weight less oppressive. Whilst
he was doing this, his long shadow fell over the
corpse of his dead wife. Perhaps he was examining
the little tiny countenance, in hopes of discover
ing some trace of a likeness to the departed in
its miniature features. But this he could not
have discovered,tl1e child was as yet much too
young.
The slave Uram did not return for a long time,
it seemed as though he were afraid and would not
come back at all, but just as the piece of wax taper
was burnt to an end, and Abdias was lighting
another, a confused murmur of voices approached
the door, and Uram entered the room at the head of
a whole troop of people. They were mostly women.
Some were come to howl and mourn after their
ABDIAS THE JEW. 5l.

vocation, others to excite themselves by the sight of


this misery, others again to indulge their curiosity.
Among the crowd was Myrta, one of Deborahs
handmaidens, whom she had always loved more
than all the rest, upon whom indeed she had la
vished the whole store of her alfections after she
had withdrawn them from her husband. Myrta had
run away in terror, like the others, when the plun
derers broke in, and in her hatred to Abdias she
had not cared to return. But when the news
reached her on this evening that her mistress had
borne a child, and was dead, she joined the troop
of people who were passing with their lanterns
along the rain-soaked passages which led through
the ruins towards the dwelling of Abdias. She
wished to ascertain whether these reports were true.
When she had entered the room, and saw the
widowed lord of her mistress standing there, she
rushed shrieking and weeping through the crowd,
ung herself upon the ground, embraced his feet,
and entreated him to chastise her. But his only
reply was, Stand up, and take care of Deborahs
child, and protect it; yonder it lies with no one to
be its nurse.
And when she had exhausted the vehemence of
her grief over her mistresss couch, and was a little
calmer, he took her by the hand, and led her to the
D 2
52 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

child. And then, with her eyes still riveted upon


him, she sat down beside the infants couch, as its
guardian, and veiled its little face with a handker
chief, that no malignant or envious eye might glance
blightingly upon it.
The other people who had come with her,
shrieked in chorus, Alas ! what woe_alas ! what
wretchednessalas ! what misery !
But Abdias exclaimed, Let her rest in peace,
what have you to do with her ?_you, whose
business it is, mourn for her if you will, bathe her,
anoint her, and dress her in her ornaments. But
she has no ornaments left now--take the best
clothes that ye can nd lying here, and dress her
decently for her burial.
Those who had bent over her, trying to touch
her in every part, retreated at thiswhilst the
professional mourners began to full the melancholy
ofce for which they had been summoned. Abdias
sat down in the shadow cast by the crowd over
the projecting stone bench; the rest of the apart
ment was illuminated by two old lamps which they
had lighted to assist them in their employment.
That is an obdurate man!- The hard
hearted fellow that he is! was muttered from
one to another.
The mourning-women now took off the outer
ABDIAS THE JEW. 53

garments from the corpse, lifted it up, and bore it into


the adjoining room, to complete the undressing.
They next fetched water from the cisterns, which
were already lled with the fast-falling rain, made a
re in the kitchen, warmed the water, and then
bathed and washed the lifeless body. The limbs
were not yet quite stiff, and were evidently relaxing
in the warmth of the water. And when the body
was perfectly clean, they laid it on a cloth, and
anointed it all over with sweet ointment which they
had brought expressly for the purpose. Then they
took out from the open chests, or gathered up from
the oor, some linen or woollen cloths and dressed
the corpse completely. All that remained after
this was done, they tied up together and carried
home with them.
The corpse had been again borne into the larger
chamber, and deposited upon the cold ground.
There lay Deborah, clad like the wife of a poor
man. The neighbours formed into groups to watch
through the night, a multitude of people streamed
to and fro amid the darkness along the ruined
passages leading to Abdias dwelling, while in the
ante-chamber, the room next the outer door, .the
mourning-women howled and lamented after their
accustomed fashion.
The next day Abdias buried his wife in the
54 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

stone sepulchre, and paid the two gold pieces, as


he had stipulated.
Deborah had had but little happiness in her
marriage, and now, just when it seemed beginning,
she must die.
The neighbours blessed her as her grave was
closed in with the very same stones under which
slept Aaron and Esther, and said, No doubt, it
was Abdias who killed her.
ABDIAS THE JEW. 55

CHAPTER III.

DITI.IA.

WHEN Deborah had been laid in the ground, and


the last stone which covered her burial-place had been
so tted to the others, that they appeared as though
laid there accidentally, and not for the purpose
of concealing anything so precious as the remains
of dead relatives, and yet were so heavy and so
rmly pressed together, that no hungry hyaena wan
dering by could have power to scrape up the human
limbs beneath; when all this was rightly done,
Abdias returned home and sought his little child.
Myrta had found in the wall of another room
a deeper recess to lay it in, one which had for
merly been furnished with silk cushions and hang
ings. How gladly would Esther have laid the lovely
child of Abdias upon these cushions, and watched
the bright smile overspreading its infant face as it
beheld and felt the soft, beautiful, dark green silk
around it ! But now nothing of the sort was left;
56 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the cushions and coverlets had been torn away and


carried off upon sumpter-mules; those left lying
in their place were so tattered that the delicate
grass of the desert, with which they had been
stuffed, was falling out of them. Myrta drew the
slender hairs entirely out with her ngers, and
covered with them the sharp naked stones which
formed the recess. She next sought among the
fragments of dress lying about for something to
spread over this slight mattress. There was a
scarcity of linen in the desert, and whatever of
the sort Abdias might have possessed had been taken
by the plunderers, so she collected some woollen
stuffs and silken rags, so faded that their original
colour could scarcely be distinguished, and laid
them in a heap upon the oor of the recess. And
it was whilst the little new-born maiden was sleep
ing on this bed, that Abdias returned from the
burial, and approached to look at her.
It is well, Myrta, said he, but there is still
more to be done.
He went out, and brought in the ass which he
had purchased, and left bound in the outer chamber.
He led her into the arched room, which had once
been Esthers state apartment, and into which the
light streamed from the trellised windows above.
In this room he carefully tied her up, and repaired
ABDIAS THE JEW. 57

the wooden bolt with which the door was provided,


so that the place might be secured in case of need.
Fortunately, enough of his store of the parched
hay of the desert, with which he was accustomed to
feed his camels, had been left; it had never been
kept in his house, where it would certainly have
been set on re by the soldiers, but in a dry, dark
cavern among the ruins at some distance. The
plunderers had indeed found it, and had also at
tempted to burn it, but nding that as it was thickly
packed, and in a place where there was no current
of air, it would not catch re, they had impatiently
torn out a quantity of it, and having taken as
much as they wanted, or could carry away on their
beasts, had left the rest strewn about.
When Abdias was satised as to the safety of
his hay, he returned to his dwelling, and there
sought long for the softest and cleanest of the tat
tered garments which were strewn about, and when
he had collected suicient, he laid them altogether
upon a stone in the inner room that they might
be ready for the use of his child when she was to be
fed with the fresh warm milk of the ass. He then
went to look at the cisterns. A long time ago he
had had two cisterns dug behind the high rubbish
heap towering above his dwelling, in the spot where
an immense mass of frieze and several fragments of
n 5
58 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

projecting rock lent their unvarying shade. Both


of these cisterns, thanks to yesterdays rain, Abdias
found quite full.
The meagre old camel on which he had ridden
homewards yesterday, and which he had left on the
sand in front of his house, he had entirely forgotten.
He now went to seek it. However, it was not in
the spot where it had knelt when Abdias tore out
the pistols from the holsters, it was in the stable.
The boy Uram had taken it from the old Jew who
had so quietly appropriated it to himself the day
before; the boy Uram had led it back through the
ruinshad brought it into the stable and taken off
its trappings. And in the stable Abdias found
this poor camel, the only beast remaining out of
so many better and nobler, accustomed to stand
there. It was eating eagerly of the half-singed hay
that the plunderers had left strewn about. Abdias
ordered that some maize and fresher hay should be
brought it from the store-chamber, and when Uram
had complied with this direction, he said, Uram,
go to-day, whilst'the sun shines, over the ridge
of sand, and seek the herd,it must be somewhere
near,and when thou hast found it, show thyself
to the chief herdsman, and tell him that he must give
thee a ram marked with the name of Abdias. Thou
must bring the ram home with the rope this very even
ABDIAS THE JEW. 59

ing that we may slaughter it, roast some of the esh,


and preserve the rest with sea-salt, that it may last
us till the return of the caravan which sets out
to-morrow, and which will bring back with it enough
to enable us to begin life afresh. But if thou canst
not nd the herd, do not stay long seeking; be sure
to come back to-day, so that we may provide for
ourselves in some other way. Dost thou hear?
Hast thou well understood me ?
Yes, said the boy, I shall be sure to nd
the herd.
But hast thou had anything to eat ? inquired
Abdias.
Yes, I have taken a few handfuls of wheat in
the upper town, answered the boy.
Good, rejoined Abdias.
And Uram reached down a rope from a hook
in the stable, furnished himself with a thick, long
staff of wood, and sped away over the rubbish-heaps
that lay piled and scattered around Abdias stable
towards the desert.
Abdias gazed at him till the young courier was
out of sight; he then turned round and again re
paired to his dwelling. He took a few handfuls of
maize for his mid-day meal, and drank from the
warm water of the upper cistern. He bade Myrta
take a bowl full of milk from the ass, and also gave
60 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

her some of the dry bread still left in the house;


the most part of it had been taken away or had been
crumbled and ung about, and there had been no
large store kept, because the hot atmosphere of the
desert always made the bread very dry soon after it
was baked.
The whole afternoon Abdias spent in arranging
his house in such a manner as would enable it to
withstand any assault not very violent. He dragged
the greater part of the scattered garments into the two
chambers which were destined to serve as his present
abode, the rest he bound up tightly with ropes and
made them serve to block up the entrances to these
two rooms. He also made new bolts. And when
all this was done, he sat down on the stone bench
and rested awhile.
The pains occasioned by the ill-treatment he had
suffered from the soldiers were now much more
acute than they had been during yesterdays ex
citement: his whole frame was stiffened and para
lysed. He went down several times into the
cellar, lled a bowl with the precious cold water
there, dipped a cloth in it, and applied it to his
loins and other aching parts of his body.
Towards evening arrived a messenger sent by
Abdias runaway servants. Uram and Myrta were
the only two who had not entirely deserted their
ABDIAS THE JEW. 61

master in his adversity. The messenger came in


the name of the people whose tokens he brought, to
demand the wages which were due to them, and
which they required insolently, imagining that he
was now a beggar. Abdias examined their demand,
and then took some very small coins out of the
folds of the tattered caftan that he wore, and
counted out the required sum into the 1nessengers
hand. He also bade him greet the neighbours from
him, and tell them that he had a few old silk stuffs
remaining which he was willing to exchange at a
fair price, if they chose to come to-morrow morning
and purchase some of them.
The messenger took the money, left a receipt on
the part of the servants in Abdias hand, and went
his way.
The twilight, which in these regions is very
short, was already gathering around, and Abdias,
who knew right well how quickly it would be suc
ceeded by a dark night, had looked out several
times over the ruins for Uram, who, he feared,
might have lost his way in the trackless wilderness;
however, just as the last faint beams of light were
fading away, the boy appeared in sight, striding
along resolutely between the dark masses of wall,
rendered yet darker by the foliage clinging to them,
and dragging rather than leading the obstinate ram.
62 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

Abdias quickly perceived him, went to meet him,


and they entered the outer chamber of the ruined
habitation together. Here the ram was tied up,
and Uram, after receiving due praise for his dili
gence, was farther commissioned to take the horn
lantern and go out to fetch some one, the butcher
Asher, if he could be found, who for hire would be
willing to come and slaughter and cut up the ram;
for Abdias was now almost totally disabled by the
violent pains in different parts of his body, and
every time he attempted to move, the muscles called
into exercise seemed to swell and clash painfully one
against the other.
The boy lighted the lantern and hastened away.
He returned very shortly, bringing Asher, the
butcher, with him. After a brief parley with Ab
dias concerning payment, Asher declared that he
was ready to slaughter the ram, skin it, and divide
it in the manner prescribed by the law. Abdias
took the lantern and threw its light upon the room,
that he might see whose mark it bore, and be sure
that it was his own. This point being ascertained,
the butcher slaughtered the animal in the customary
manner, the boy lighting him the while with a wax
taper; and when all was done, and the butcher,
according to agreement, had taken the entrails for
himself and received payment, Uram took the horn
ABDIAS THE JEW. 63

lantern and guided him back to his dwelling. On


the boys return, he and Abdias made a re with
camels-dung and a few bundles of myrtle-boughs,
and having poured water into a saucepan, and put a
piece of esh into it with rice, salt, and herbs,
boiled the whole over the re. When this dish was
prepared, Abdias and Uram ate of it, and gave a
share to Myrta, who had been sitting with the child
in the inner room all the time. Abdias now went
to the outer entrance of his house and secured
it withinside, and then, after having with Urams
assistance salted part of the meat, and laid the other
part of it aside for the morrows use in a hole which
was dug deep in the earth for that very purpose, he
fastened all the other doors within the house, that
its few remaining inmates might rest in peace and
security; for whereas formerly a throng of servants
and people had lived there, none now slept within
its walls but these four, Abdias, the boy Uram,
the maid Myrta, and the little child Ditha.
The child had been named Judith, after Esthers
mother; Myrta, however, had called it the whole
day by the diminutive of Ditha. Abdias reposed
on the ground of the chamber where his child
was, Myrta slept close beside the recess which
formed Ditha's bed, a lamp burned in the mom,
and in the adjoining one the ass was kept. Uram
64 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

lay stretched on a couch of dry palm-leaves in the


antechamber.
When the sun had risen the next day, several of
the neighbours came to buy the remnants of silk to
which Abdias had referred on the preceding evening.
Abdias was unable to stir; he lay half-reclining on
a heap of desert straw. Uram had brought in to
him all the things he specied, and piled them one
upon another. Some of them were old pieces of
cloth which had been taken from garments still
older, others were remnants of stuffs with which he
had been trading, others, again, were fragments of
his own mats and furniture, which had been torn by
the plunderers and then thrown aside on account of
their worthlessness. The neighbours haggled and
bargained about all these things, shabby as they
were, and at last bought every rag that Abdias laid
before them. After a vast deal of parleying, all the
things were sold, the stipulated price was paid, the
buyers gathered up their purchases and went their
way.
The rest of that day passed like the preceding
one, in making arrangements for defence and setting
things straight. Abdias arose at mid-day and went
to the strip of land near his dwelling where grew his
vegetables. Many of these were dead through
neglect. He determined that he would himself
ABDIAS THE JEW. 65

attend to the plants which could best endure the


climate, and leave the rest uncared for. He fetched
a little water from the upper cistern and watered
those which most needed it. The ass he fed with
hay taken from that part of the store which was
least injured by the late conagration, and Uram
led her out into the open air in the evening that she
might regale herself with the various grasses,
thistles, and herbs which grew among the sand and
rubbish surrounding the ruins. The poor lean camel,
which stood alone in the stable, was tended by
Uram. Among the herd which was kept out in
the wilderness there were some few animals belong
ing to Abdias; those which were kept in the ruins
had been driven away by the plunderers.
After a few days a part of the caravan came back,
bringing such things as were necessary for daily use,
and thus enabling the inhabitants of the dwelling
near the triumphal arch to return gradually to their
former mode of life. Abdias bought from time to
time the articles he wanted, and it was not long ere
his little household was again arranged with that
due regard to order and regularity which is essential
to all who live in a community, whether their re
sources be many or few. The neighbours were not
surprised at nding that Abdias had more money at
his command than could have been gained by the
66 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

sale of his wares, for they also had a store of coin


lying buried in the sand.
Thus time went on. Abdias lived in close
retirement, each day passing like the last. His
neighbours believed that he was biding his time,
waiting for some favourable opportunity when he
might revenge himself for all the affronts he had
received. He, however, stayed quietly in his dwell
ing, contemplating his little child. Its tiny ngers
had not yet learnt to move; its little, inexpressive
features had scarcely begun to develop themselves;
its lovely, clear blue eyes were wide open but never
moved, because as yet they did not understand the
gift of sight, and the whole outward world was out
spread before them as unmarked as though it were
not. The colour of Dithals eyes was remarkable,

since both Abdias and Deborah had deep black


eyes, such as are usual among their race, and espe
cially in the country in which they lived. Never
before had Abdias given much attention to children,
but to this child he devoted his whole being. He
did not travel abroad in pursuit of wealth and mer
chandise as formerly, but always remained at home.
He frequently offered thanksgivings to Jehovah for
having called forth such a well-spring of tenderness
in the heart of His servant. At night-time he often
sat, as had been his wont of old, on the towering
ABDIAS THE JEW. 67

heap of rubbish by the side of the broken aloe


gazing on the stars, those glistening, ery eyes of
the south, which in this climate look down night
after night in countless multitudes. Abdias knew
from the experience he had gained in his travels that
as the year passed on, other and, again, other stars
would in rapid succession adorn the rmament; and,
indeed, this change in the reigning constellations is
to the inhabitants of a desert, where there is no per
ceptible change of seasons, almost the only sign
which can render them sensible of the ight of
years. .
At last arrived the remainder of the caravan
which had been sent out into the world soon after
the day of tribulation. The ragged and sunburnt
people accompanying it, brought those things
which were still needed; as also wares and jewels to
trade withal, and, moreover, those sums of money to
which Abdias had referred as being due to him.
The neighbours were now satised, and began to
treat Abdias with more respect, considering that if
he now went out and traded again, he would soon
be rich enough to compensate them fully for the
losses which they had incurred through his impru
dent and daring courses. Accordingly they pre
sently tted out another caravan, and supplied it
with everything necessary for that lucrative and ex
68 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

tensive commerce which they had been accustomed


to carry on before they had been robbed. But
Abdias took no interest in their enterprise. It
seemed as though his only care, his only object in
life now, was to protect the little helpless creature
who was as yet scarcely a human being, and appa
rently had less intelligence than one of the inferior
animals.
Meantime the rainy season had set in, and, as was
yearly their custom, every creature who was not
driven forth by necessity crept into house or hole for
shelter. For this season, although highly bene
cial to the few vegetables, the bushes, and isolated
green spots of pasturage in the desert, is most inju
rious to man, and engenders many grievous diseases.
And therefore Abdias and his little household kept
themselves shut in as much as possible.
The cisterns were lled and running over, and the
only spring in the town, to which all the people in
times of drought turned for life, gurgled up and
nearly overowed the deep well which it supplied;
bushes, grasses, and palm-trees, reared their heads in
gladness; the vegetables, rejoicing in the hot, burn
ing glances cast upon them by the sun, shot up mar
vellously in one night, shuddered and quivered as it
were in innite transport, when the heaven rolled its
awful thunder above them, and grew daily and
ABDIAS THn JEW. 69

hourly stronger and healthier. The rubbish of the


ruins became like a jelly, the rocky walls were washed
down, or so covered with green weed as to be hardly
distinguishable, and even the barren hillocks of sand
were clothed with verdure.
After a time these appearances gradually ceased.
The change took place all the sooner in these ruined
places through their being situated in the sandy
desert, over which broods almost constantly such an
excessive solar heat as sufces to absorb and disperse
into an invisible mist every cloud not extraordinarily
dense or full of moisture. The impending thick
grey masses, from which at intervals gleamed those
white watery spots, whence burst the terrible forked
lightning of that clime, now ascended slowly into the
higher regions of the atmosphere, parted asunder into
dark greyish fragments fringed with glistening white,
and becoming ever darker and bluer, gradually
dispersed. At last a bright clear sky was canopied
over the ruins and surrounding wilderness, and
although thick tempest clouds still hovered over the
utmost verge of the horizon a few weeks longer,
these also dispersed by degrees, leaving an unclouded
sky and an unclouded sun to shine down upon the
glistening surface of the rain-soaked earth.
The glowing sun and the eternal stars now suc
ceeded each other day by day and night by night,
70 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

and all traces of the late heavy showers were


quickly effaced from the ground, till it became so
dry and dusty that the inhabitants began to think of
the rainy season as of a tale of the times of old; and
only the wells, and a few deeply-rooted shrubs con
tinued to feel the benet of the innite treasure of
cooling waters which the season had brought them.
Even with them the benet was of no long con
tinuance; the hillocks, which for a short space had
been green and verdant, assumed a reddish tint, here
and there varied by patches of white, which served
to make the .unchangingly bright heavens appear
more deeply blue, and the burning sun more erce
and ery.
Abdias lived on within the ruined walls as here
tofore. The moment for revenge apparently had
not yet arrived.
But when a long time had passed away, and the
at hillocks of sand were no longer red but white;
when the suns heat lay dazzlingly over the desert,
and a dull reddish light bordered the horizon ; when
the ruins, the myrtles, and palm-trees, were grey, the
air clear day after day, as though it would continue
so for ever, and the earth dry, as though water were
unknown in this country-the little maiden Ditha,
being perfectly healthy and strong-Abdias one
morning went behind his house, round the dry old
'. ABDIAS THE JEW. 71

palm-trunks and the triumphal arch, to a spot


closed in by black and seemingly scorched stones
which were skreened from observation by rocks.
He here turned up the sand and earth with a
trowel, and, labouring vigorously, soon brought
to light a quantity of gold coins. He counted
them. Then he dug again, and found still
more. Then leaning back and sitting between
his feet,. he counted them again, and apparently
nding the sum correct, he ceased digging, and
again threw the dry sand over the scattered at
stones under which the gold had been hidden. He
walked to and fro several times over the spot to
make it appear that some one had been there acci
dentally, and stirred the sand with his feet whilst
turning round to survey the country from various
points. He next repaired to a place at some dis
tance where he again dug up the ground and took
the same precautions as before. At mid-day he
went home to refresh himself, then went out again,
sought for several other places, and there acted in
like manner. And though the sand had frequently
been driven up by the wind in high hillocks above
his treasure, and though it cost much time and
labour to clear it away, he was never weary, he
heaped mountains of rubbish beside him, sinking
deep amidst them while he searched,-and still did
72 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the bright, pure, unsullied gold greet his eyes, as


though he had intrusted it to a friends keeping.
Towards the evening he came homewards, passing
the high-towering pile of which we have so often
spoken. His labours seemed to be now ended.
He climbed up to the top of the ruins and loolied
around him,he gazed a long while upon the in
nite space of barren sand, gazed on it as though it
were a Paradise, to which he was bidding adieu for
ever, and then descended, went back into his dwell
ing, and betook himself to his nightly rest.
Next morning at day-break he said to Uram,
Dear boy, go out into the desert and seek for the
herd, count the rams and other cattle that belong
to me, and then come back and tell me how many I
have left me.
The boy arose and departed accordingly.
VVhen\he was out of sight, Abdias repaired to
thechamber where Deborah died, and in which little
Ditha was born. There he locked himself in, lest
Myrta, or one of his neighbours should perchance
enter the room, and having thus secured himself
against intruders, he went into the adjoining cavern,
drew out of his bosom some small, sharp, iron
tools, approached an angle of the wall, and there
began to loosen one of the stones. When this was
done, there appeared behind the stone which had
ABDIAS THE JEW. 73

been displaced a cavity in which stood a small at


chest of copper, entirely covered with verdigris.
He removed the chest and raised the lid. Within
lay some papers wrapped up in silk and wool.
These papers he took out, and seating himself,
counted them one by one upon his caftan. Then
laying them aside he drew out from his pocket a
wooden box containing the dust of a certain smooth,
round-shaped stone, with which he rubbed the
papers till they rustled no longer, and putting each
into a bag made of thin, delicate, water-proof silk,
he sewed up these bags in different parts of his
caftan, which being spotted and stained all over,
effectually concealed them. This business being
completed, he put the empty chest, the tools, and
the box from which he had taken the ne dust into
the cavity in the wall and replaced the stone,
cementing it with a peculiar sort of mortar which
dried very quickly, and was of the same colour as
the wall, so that the spot which had been thus
disturbed could not be distinguished from the rest
of the wall. .
He opened the doors and left the room. It was
already nearly mid-day. He took some food and
bade Myrta do the same. He repaired to the
room where the ass was kept, and harnessed her
completely. He then explained to Myrta that
-. I E
7-ls LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

he intended seeking another place of abode, and


that she must prepare for the journey. On
being told imperatively that it must be so, the
maiden acquiesced, and forthwith began to provide
all that was necessary for herself and the child.
Abdias had sold his old lean camel a few days
before, in order that his neighbours might suppose
him to be in want of money. And in about an
hours time he brought out the ass, lifted Myrta
upon it, gave her the child, and led them forth.
They wound their way through various uninhabited
quarters of the ruined town, passed many a high,
formless mass of mouldering decay, from whose
summits nodding herbs and dry barren stalks
looked down upon them, till at last they reached
the termination of the walls. And now Abdias
led them on over the grey turf and steppes, and
now in a straight line over the wide, at plain
where no grass could grow, and where the soil
was strewn with an innite multitude of little
pebbles., On they went, and soon were lost in
the red, golden atmosphere of the sandy desert
no eye could reach them from the City of
Ruins, neither could they discern a line of its grey
walls.
Abdias had bound sandals on his. feet, and led
the ass along by the leathern thong. He carried the
ABDIAS THE JEW. 75

jar containing the thick broth for himself and Myrta,


also spirits of wine, and culinary vessels; the ass
was laden with its own fodder, and a skin containing
water. His Arab mantle, originally white, but now
completely yellow with dirt, was slung over his
shoulders, likewise a bundle of some dried fruits tied
up in a bag, that the ass might not be overladen.
On the opposite side to that on which Myrta rode,
by way of balance, a basket was attached to the
saddle with a bed arranged inside it, wherein the
child might be laid when Myrta found it weary her
arms. A handkerchief was spread over the basket
to shelter it.
The ass went on patiently and obediently over
the sands that heated her hoofs. Abdias gave her
water several times; once, too, they were compelled
to stop and milk her, the milk which had been
brought for Ditha having been soured by the heat.
Thus they pursued their journey. The sun de
clined gradually towards the verge of the horizon.
Myrta spoke never a word, for she hated her master
Abdias, believing that he had killed his wife. He,
to-o, walked on in silence, the skin hanging loose
from his wounded feet. At times he threw a
glance at the basket in which the child was sleep
ing, to assure himself that the protecting shade
was still spread over its little face.
E2
76 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

\Vhen it was evening, and the sun hung like an


immense blood-red shield upon the edge of the
earth, and the earth showed like a large at circle
cut o from the sky, they halted to enjoy their
nightly repose. Abdias unfolded a wide cloth which
had been thrown over the ass, under the saddle,
bade Myrta sit down thereon, placed the basket
with the child in it beside her, and gave her the
white mantle to serve as a coverlet for both herself
and Ditha when night should come on. Then he
gave the ass some water and laid some hay before
her, reserving a few handfuls of rice to give her
afterwards. He then unpacked his culinary ves
sels, viz., a lamp for spirits of wine, a caldron, and
the jar of broth. When he had lighted the lamp,
heated the water, and prepared the soup, he and
Myrta took their meal, and drank from the impure,
lukewarm water in the skin. Some of the dried
fruits were taken out of the sack for their dessert ;
then Myrta laid down to rest, and having soothed
the child, who now, for the rst time throughout
the day, had begun to cry, both were very soon in
a sound sleep. \/Vhen Abdias had nished his
meal, he employed the few remaining minutes of
daylight in sewing up some of the gold pieces which
he had dug out of the sand into his pistol-holsters
and saddle, which had several small cavities in them
ABDIAS THE JaW. 77

for that purpose. He so placed these coins that


they could not move or rattle, either covering them
with pieces of leather, or else cutting the saddle
here and there, pushing the gold through the open
ing and stitching it up again. And when night
came, bringing the profound darkness which in that
climate steals so suddenly over the earth, he laid
everything aside, and prepared for rest. First, he
spread the mantle carefully over Myrta and Ditha,
lest they should receive injury from the poisonous
vapours of the desert, and then stretched his own
limbs upon the bare sand, drawing his caftan close
over his face. Round one hand he had wound the
thong fastened to the ass, who, as wearied as her
master, had also lain down on the sand; in his
other, his right, were clasped two pistols which had
been concealed in the holster during the day ; there
was, however, little chance of his requiring them,
for in this wide desert he was not likely to be dis
turbed either by wild beasts or men.
The night passed quietly away, and at day-break
they pursued their journey. Just as the uttermost
border of the empty heavens was tinged in the east
with gold, Abdias collected together the hay and
the rags which he had thrown over the harness to
prevent it from getting damp and afterwards incur
ring damage from the heat, saddled Kola the ass,
78 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

and put everything in its place. As soon as he


and Myrta had taken their meal, and Ditha had
been fed, they started afresh.
They had not journeyed long, on this the second
day of their wanderings, when the vast blue Atlas
mountains were seen rising clearly and distinctly
upon the utmost verge of the desert, and for hours
and hours were they seen thus, without appearing in
the least degree nearer. Abdias had intentionally
chosen a route longer, indeed, than any other, but
possessing this advantage, that it in some measure
avoided the desert, cutting across it to those same
blue mountains. He had done this in order to save
Myrta and Ditha from inhaling so much of the de
sert air, which they had never breathed before. It
was not, however, for a few hours only that those
wondrous blue mountains stood upright on the verge
of the plain before them, as it were within their
reach ; thus stood they during all that day, changing
neither in colour nor in size, although the travel
lers were steadily progressing towards them. Nor
was it until the short twilight of that climate had
already drawn over the earth, that they reached,
not the mountains, but a green oasis, a sort of fore
land, on which was found fresh pasturage such as
Kola, the ass, loved, with such a clear spring as
was a welcome sight to all the party. After they
ABDIAS THE JEW. 79

had been on the oasis, and enjoyed the blessing it


o'ered themthe cool waterAbdias led his compa
nions out into the wilderness again, and made them
halt for the night on a spot where there was sand,
with thistles and cactuses scattered around at wide
intervals. He did this on account of the dew which
always falls most abundantly upon the oases of the
desert, and is most unhealthy for those who sleep
under the open sky. He took exactly the same
precautions as on the preceding night, hiding the
remainder of the gold coins in those parts of the
saddle, the girth, and other pieces of harness which
had not already been used for the like purpose.
Some of the gold he had secreted in the various
folds of his dress, so that if robbers should attack
him they might nd a part of his store and imagin
ing it to he the whole, not take the trouble to
seek any farther. Then, as before, he lay down
on the bare sand and slept.
He slept this night better than on the preceding
one, but was aroused at dawn by strange, unwonted
sounds. It seemed as though his dreams had carried
him back to the time when, thirty years ago, he lay
with his head close by his camels neck in the
midst of the slumbering caravan, and listened to the
snorting of his faithful creature. He rubbed his
eyes, which were smarting with the ne desert sand,
80 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

and on opening them he actually saw a camel stand


ing before him, its small head raised high in the
morning air, and snorting most vigorously. He
also saw a man, who must evidently have been his
companion through the night, lying on the ground
in a profound sleep, and with the thong of the
camel wound round his arm, just after his own
fashion. Abdias sprang up, and approached the
group, which was a few paces distant from him,he
drew nearer, and could scarce believe his eyesit
was his slave Uram who lay sleeping beside the
camel. He was in a fearful heat ; he was stretched
on his back with his face thrown up towards the
sky. And that face, formerly so fresh, so bright,
and youthful, was now disgured to such a degree
that the boy seemed to have grown ten years older
during these last two days.
When Abdias had awakened him, and Myrta,
who had been roused also, came up to the spot,
Uram quickly told his story. After having found
the herd, and counted over the animals belonging
to Abdias, and in his fear of committing an error,
counted them over a second time, he had returned
home, eating, on his way, the bread and dates which
he had taken with him, and repeating the number
again and again, lest he should forget it. He
reached home in the afternoon, and sought for his
ABDIAS THE JEW. 81

master Abdiassought him in all thevaults, in the


stable, at the place where the hay was kept, at the
cisterns, at the aloenowhere could he nd him;
and not till he remarked that Myrta and Ditha were
also missing, and that the ass, too, was gone, did it
occur to him that Abdias must have left the place.
So he immediately stole a camel from the Jew Gad,
and set off in pursuit. First, however, he sought
out the tracks of the ass, and found them in the
valleys, winding in and out among the ruins; then
he took the camel, mounted it, and followed the
tracks with all speed out into the desert. But the
small hoof-prints which he could so plainly distin
guish among the rubbish of the ruined town, and
still more plainly upon turfy ground, could not
be traced amid the loose sands of the wilderness.
He could discern nothing like a track, nothing but
the unvarying surface of the drifted sand, and he
was, therefore, obliged to pursue the course he
thought most probable, darting backwards and for
wards, and straining his sight to discover among the
barren ats that lay glistening before him, some one
black point which might betoken the travellers pre
sence, or some one sign that they had passed that
way. At last he became so thirsty and heated
that he could see nothing more, and the ground
seemed to whirl round before his eyes. So he
a5
82 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

clung fast with both his hands to the camel, know


ing it to be stronger than himself, and its instinct
far surer than his own,--and the camel had run
straight to that spot during the night. It must have
scented either the travellers or the spring, most
probably the latter, for it drank an immense quan
tity of water before lying down.
Abdias stroked the youths hair and face, and
told him he should now always stay with him.
Then he prepared the pottage, and gave him some
of it ; also a share of the fruit, warning him not to
eat much lest it should injure him, as, by his own
account, the boy could have tasted nothing for fty
hours. Abdias was also careful that the two beasts,
the camel and the ass, should feed only sparingly
on the fresh pasturage of the island, they being
both accustomed to dry fodder. Of this dry fodder
he gave them also a little, but only a little; for it
was to last as long as possible, Uram not having
brought any provender with him, and the country
beyond the mountains, where more could be pro
cured, being still far distant.
And didst thou not fear that the camel would
be wearied and unable to carry thee farther before
thou couldst nd us ? asked Abdias.
Of course I thought of that, replied the boy,
and therefore I let it drink as long as it liked
ABDIAS THE JEW. 83

before I rode away; besides, I gave it some of the


grains which lay scattered about our habitation.
Hast thou told none of our neighbours that it
was thy opinion that I had gone away? inquired
Abdias again.
No; I have said not a word to any one, lest
they should pursue, and perchance nd us, said the
boy.
Good l returned Abdias, as he busied himself
in re-harnessing the ass.
Uram had, meantime, ananged the shabby equip
ments of the camel in the best order possible. It
was agreed that Abdias and the boy should ride
alternately as each became wearied. Myrta and
Ditha were lifted upon the ass as usual: and they
started afresh.
And thus the little company journeyed on ; and
as the rst two days were passed, so were those
which followed. Not until they were full three days
journey from the oasis, did they reach a more fer
tile land, and the mountains which had so long stood
before them. Here Abdias turned into a solitary
and wretched-looking hamlet, in order to provide
himself with various necessaries. Then he again
directed his course through wildernesses which,
though widely different from the desert they had
already crossed, were not less beautiful, terrible, and
84 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

sublime. On they went, avoiding villages, huts,


and men; traversing either deep ravines, or lonely
mountain-passes, or gently-rising ascents, covered
with fragrant grass. It was now necessary to take
many more precautions, especially during their
nightly rest, than had been their custom while in
the desert. Abdias had fortunately brought arms
concealed in the equipments of the ass ; besides the
two pistols he had been wont to keep by his side at
night, he now carried four pistols in his girdle, even
by day, also keeping the dagger hidden in the
folds of his garment. To the boy he gave three
pistols and a dagger. Every morning the pistols
were examined and fresh loaded : at night they were
laid beside the sleepers, and a re was lighted to
keep o lions and other beasts of prey, the com
bustibles required for the purpose being laboriously
collected during the day, and carried by the camel.
Besides this, Abdias and Uram kept alternate watch
the whole night, sitting upright by the re, and
guarding against every possible danger.
But none of the perils they so much dreaded
came nigh them. The nights stole away silently,
and without a sound, the ery stars gazing keenly
down upon them from the dark-blue heavens of that
clime; the days were bright and cheerful, every one
as clear and cloudless, or, apparently, even clearer
ABDIAS THE JEW. 85

than the last. Each member of the party was in


perfect health; little Ditha grew stronger, and the
open air which she breathed under the handker
chief spread over her basket, imparted a soft rosy
hue to her cheeks. During their long journey they
had not seen a creature, excepting a few solitary eagles,
which at times hung as it were suspended in the
empty air high above them. A happy fortune
seemed to have attended them on their way-a
blessed angel to have guided their steps.
Early in the morning of the nine-and-twentieth
day of their wanderings, just as they were ascending
l
a barren, gently-sloping at, the dim outline of the
country which had now for many weeks greeted
their sight, was suddenly broken, and an unknown
marvel lay beneath the clear morning sky. Uram
rubbed his eyes in amazement. There was a dark
blue, almost black, streak, cutting itself out from
the air in a long straight line, not like that bound
ing the desert, scarcely to be distinguished from the
sky, and often melting into dim, rose-tinted twilight;
but like a broad stream, and looking as though it
must every moment break in upon the mountains.
That is the Mediterranean Sea, said Abdias;
beyond it lie the lands of Europe, whither we are
going.
His two companions gazed in fresh wonder upon
86 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

this unfamiliar object; and the farther they went


the more fully did the water, at rst sight so nar
row, widen and extend before them; bright, ever
changing colours and shifting lights were seen dan
cing upon its surface; and at mid-day, when they
had reached the verge of the table-land, they beheld
the rm earth sinking perpendicularly beneath them,
and in the depths below, the smooth, undulating
expanse of the sea. A dark wooded streak of the
African coast ran along its moist borders; a white
town peered up amid this streak, and innumerable
white points of country-houses, looking like sails,
were scattered here and there amid the green,
whilst other white sails, itting to and fro, beamed
upon the fearful dark-blue of the sea.
Oh, beautiful it is, the parting greeting sent by
the mournful Land of the Desert to her son, as he
forsakes her for the damp coasts of Europe.
Abdias led his party through the town; there he
would not tarry, but passed some distance beyond,
to where a white pier jutted out into the blue waves,
a number of ships crowding round it, their masts
pointing up into the sky, like the stems of a
withered forest. Here he hired a small house, and
here he stayed until a ship was ready to go to Eu
rope, and could take him with it. He hardly ever
went out, except to the harbour to gain intelligence,
ABDIAS THE JEW. 87

and Uram remained with him. The camel had


been sold, as henceforth useless, but the ass was
taken with them into their new abode. Thus
secluded from the world, they lived for three weeks,
by which time a ship was tted out and destined to
sail for Europe, and for that very part whither
Abdias wished to direct his course. He made his
agreement with the master of the vessel, and entered
it soon after, together with his child, Uram, and the
ass. Abdias had now no female attendant, for Myrta
had left him on account of a lover she had picked up
in the white town ; and, although he made offers of
large sums of money, which he promised should be
paid as soon as they reached Europe, no nurse could
be prevailed upon to go with him. Not even when
he promised to pay the money on ship-board, would
any one trust herself with him even so far; and to
make any display of riches whilst he was still on land
he held to be unwise, as he knew right well that
the nurse, in such a case, would immediately seize
the opportunity of betraying him, or, at the last
moment, refuse to follow him. He had long known
the character of these people, and how they attach
themselves so exclusively to their place of abode,
however miserable it may be, that they will never
leave it unless absolutely compelled, least of all
for that hated and suspected Europe, where the
88 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

unbelievers dwell. So he and Uram embarked


alone.
The moment for departure had at last arrived,
and they both stood on the deck of the oat
ing house; the great iron anchors were raised out
of the water, and the wooded shores began, as it
were, to rock to and fro, and sink behind them.
As they sailed farther out into the sea, one strip
of land came out to view, upon which glittered
Melek's white house. Abdias glanced at it; but as
the streak of coast receded farther and farther, the
land at last fading from them like a fabulous legend,
while round the whole ship all seemed motionless,
save the waves with their countless, glittering, silver
scales, he sat down and was soon wholly absorbed
in gazing on the features of his child.
The ship sailed on and on, and still he sat, hold
ing the child. As often as others of the crew
turned their eyes that way, they saw the same
gure sitting motionless, with the child in his arms.
He sometimes arose and took it aside in order to
give it food, or wash it, or to alter the disposition
of the rags in which it was wrapped so as to make
the pressure lighter. Meanwhile, Uram reclined
amidst a thick heap of cordage.
There are men in whom the emotion of love is
developed in various ways, whose affections are at
ABDIAS THE JEW. 89

tracted by many different objects; others have only


one, and their feeling towards this one cannot but
grow the more intense inasmuch as they have been
unaccustomed to wind around them those thousand
other precious silken threads of happiness where
with the hearts of their fellow-mortals are gently
drawn together. .
Abdias and Uram were always upon deck. The
voyage was favourable, the sky always clear, and a
gentle breeze swelled the sails. Whenever a cloud
appeared in the heavens, the travellers looked up,
half dreading a storm; but none came, the cloud
invariably vanished, and each day was as tranquil
as the last; the light waves rippling quietly over
the smooth surface of the ocean, as if only to give
animation to the picture. . And thus one afternoon,
there arose from out the blue waters the bright,
friendly shores of Europethat Europe for which
Abdias had so often longed in his earlier years.
The sea rolled its waves caressingly around, and
whilst the sun sank gradually westward, bore the
ship nearer and nearer to the northern landsone
bright point after another emerged from the dark
surface of the waters, and by the time that the
sun had disappeared beyond the western horizon,
a whole girdle of palaces encircled the black
bay.
90 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

The ship must now rest upon its anchors, and


keep its freight of men and goods within it, until
all should be examined and proved to be untainted
by disease.
When this time of probation was past, and the
crew and their wares were landed, some of the bye
standers stared with wonder, and others laughed,
at seeing a haggard, ill-favoured Jew stepping over
the edge of the boat, carrying, not bales of goods,
but a little child in his bosom, and followed by a
boy, whose slightly-built, and almost naked form,
seemed not unlike a beautiful bronze statue, and
who dragged after him a half-famished ass. In
truth, they presented a singular group to European
eyes, for the greyish hue of the desert, such as
may be observed in the wild animals brought
therefrom, clung to all three, and for a moment
the curious glances of the throng of specta
tors were attracted by these strange gures,
they were, however, almost instantly lost in the
waves of that human stream, and borne away
by the current. And besides this group, the
scene presented nothing more than what was of
every-day occurrence a restless multitude, ever
thronging to and fro, running hither and thither,
some for prot, some for pleasure, or countless
other objects, surrounded and hemmed in by
ABDIAS THE JEW. 91

large, splendid, immoveable, and, in some parts,


palace-like edices.
But we will precede the foreigners awhile, and
describe the spot where we shall next meet them.
In a remote part of our beautiful fatherland there
lies a _very secluded valley. To many, this valley
is perfectly unknown, since it has, in reality, no
name, and, as we have said, is so very secluded.
No road leads through it by which waggons and
travellers may pass; it has no river to bring vessels
of any kind within its bounds; it possesses no
peculiar treasures or beauties such as might attract
the covetous or romantic ; and thus years and years
often elapse during which not a single stray wan
derer may have trodden its turf. And yet a soft
charm, the charm of perfect tranquillity and solitude,
is shed over this valley; and the sun-beams spin their
radiant web over its green. surfaces, as though they
shone with especial love upon this lonely spot, which
being protected on the north by a steep, broad as
cent, is thus thrown more open to the warm rays.
There now stands upon the rich pasture-ground a
neat, white house with a few huts around it, else
where the place is almost as solitary as at the time
of our narrative, when the soft, turf-covered soil,
almost entirely devoid of trees, was only varied
here and there by blocks of grey stone. The valley
92 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

with its soft, turfy covering, forms a sort of cradle;


it is, as we have said before, shut in towards the
north by a rising ground, on the summit of which
a pine-forest draws a line against the sky, like a
faded riband; while to the south the prospect is
bounded by the rugged outline of distant blue
mountains. And, excepting these remote objects,
this cradle-like valley offers nothing to view save
the green of its soil and the grey of its stones;
for the narrow winding stream which ows through
the very heart of the ravine is not seen until the
traveller approaches it.
On the northern side, however, beyond the pine
forest, there are elds planted in wide streaks with
the blue ax-ower; and again are found regions
inhabited by man. Also, towards the south, and
at no great distance, there are cultivated pastures.
The Cradle-Valley, as it is commonly designated
by the country-people, alone had the character of
being wholly unfruitful, and not altogether without
reason, since it certainly oered some serious obstacles
to the husbandmans progress. No attempt was ever
made to ascertain whether these obstacles might be
overcome. The report of the valley's unfruitful
ness was assumed to be true, and thus it had been
left uncultivated for centuries. A very narrow path,
distinguishable in many places only by the trodden
ABDIAS THE JEW. 93

grass, ran through it; and by this path a few vil


lagers from a distant mountain-hamlet, regularly
passed every spring and autumn on their pilgrimage
to a highly-favoured shrine far beyond, to which
this path offered the readiest access.
Whilst Abdias was traversing many countries of
Europe, in search of a spot where he should settle,
he accidentally passed through this place we have
just described, and immediately determined to make
it his home. Those very peculiarities which kept
others aloof from the Cradle-Valley, its deep solitude
and unfruitfulness, were attractions to him, because
they reminded him of the desert; and especially did
it recall to his memory a grassy hollow in the neigh
bourhood of Mosul, near that place where, if tradi
tion is to be believed, the ancient city of Nineveh
stood in olden time. Like our Cradle-Valley, the
valley of Mosul was entirely barren of trees; more
over, it was not even diversied by scattered grey
stones peering here and there amid its grass; nor
was the monotony of the one prevailing hue re
lieved by the lovely blue of distant mountains:
and so far it was unlike the destined resting-place
of our wanderers.
Abdias had procured letters from several princes
and nobles, empowering him to travel or take up
his abode within their domains, if it so pleased him.
94 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

He had also a friend among the merchants who


had hitherto been known to him only through his
letters, having never seen him. He now sought
out this friend, and concerted with him a plan which
was ultimately carried into effect. The plan was
as follows : that when Abdias had selected a piece
of land where he might wish to establish his future
abode, this friend should purchase it for him in
his own name; so that it might appear that he
was the real owner, not merely of the estate, but
of the house built upon it, and that the Jew was
merely a tenant. On rst entering the desolate
Cradle-Valley, Abdias had resolved to settle there;
accordingly he now loosened the remainder of the
gold pieces from the trappings of the ass, and
cut out from his caftanthose English papers which
were concealed therein, determining to set all his
affairs in perfect order, so that when he journeyed
back to Africa to run his poniard into Meleks
heart, his little Ditha might be provided for, in
case he was apprehended and killed. Meantime he
must stay with her till she was old enough to take
care of herself.
Great was the wonderment of the inhabitants of
I
the distant mountain-hamlet, when one of them,
on returning from a pilgrimage to the holy shrine
through the Unfruitful Valley, brought back with
ABDIAS THE JEW. 95

him the news that the ground had been broken up


in one part, that beams, rafters, and stones had been
dragged to the spot, and that preparations were
making for building a house. And the next pil
grim who went to the shrine found the walls already
rising, and work-people busily employed. News
were soon brought of the further progress of the
work, and many of the people made their pilgrim
age several months earlier than they would other
wise have done, on purpose that they might see
this new marvel with their own eyes. There was
much talk and discussion upon this subject, till at
last a fair white house of moderate size shone amid
the green of the turf, and a garden was enclosed
around it. To the manifold questions asked by
the curious there was but one unvarying answer,
viz.: that a foreigner, a most singular-looking man,
had bought the ground and was now building
upon it. .
When the white house had stood there some
time, and the garden had been enclosed within high,
wooden palings, the casual passers-by gradually be
came accustomed to the novelty, and as the pro
prietor never came out to speak with them, they
had, naturally enough, no occasion to speak of him;
and they looked at the very things that at rst
appeared so strange, just as they looked at the
96 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

stones projecting out from the grass, or the objects


accidentally lying in their way.
As soon as the exterior walls of his house were
completed and declared to be quite dryhe had
waited till then, in compliance with his architects ad
viceAbdias proceeded to arrange the interior. He
had double bolts made to each door, the windows
secured by a strong iron grating, and the garden sur
rounded by a high thick wall, instead of the wooden
palings which had fenced it in hitherto. The rooms
were furnished as is usual in Europe, but this fur
niture he arranged much after African fashion ; for
instance, he spread carpets not only upon the oors
of the rooms, but also upon articles of furniture
never intended to be so covered, spreading soft skins
and rugs over them, so as to form places of repose
in all the coolest parts of the house.. In order to
produce this coolness, he adopted such contrivances
as he had seen used in Africa; he provided the
rooms with very thick walls, and caused the windows
to be made very narrow and placed far apart,
shading them with double lattices so arranged that
they could be laid one over the other, or placed
horizontally in order to admit more light. He had
observed these lattices in Europe, and now made
use of them to supply the place of the myrrh-plants
which had screened his upper windows in the Desert
ABDIAS rna JEw. 97

Town from the burning rays of the African sun.


The little windows of his European home did not,
however, look immediately into the open air, but
into a sort of ante-chamber, likewise guarded from
the sunbeams and the sultry atmosphere outside, by
double windows. That which gave him most plea
sure was a well, which the workmen he had em
ployed had dug in a shaded part of his court, and
had so contrived, that on a certain metal knob being
pressed, the pure water, clear as crystal and cold as
ice, would spring up into a stone basin. At rst
Abdias would not suffer this well to be frequently
used for fear it should be exhausted; but when,
after two years, he found the water ll the basin as
freely as at rst, obeying readily as ever the motion
of the metal spring, he perceived that he possessed
an inexhaustible treasure which the people here
could not estimate suiciently, but which in the
City of the Desert would have been thought be
yond all price. In truth, he and Uram had, during
the rst year of their European travels, often been
transported with delight at seeing so many pure,
crystalline springs; and both had wondered that
the nations who possessed such luxuries should set
so little store by them. Many a time, especially
whilst wandering among the mountains, when a
brigvhf glassy fountain sprang up from the stones
.. F
98 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

at their feet, had they drunk of the water with plea


sure and delight, whether they were thirsty or not.
They prized the waters of mountains above those
of the plain, though in other respects the moun
tains did not please them, because they narrowed
the view, and dispelled that feeling of vastness and
innity to which they had been accustomed. The
garden, which Abdias had enclosed with a high
wall, was entirely covered with grassno herbs or
owers were sown there ; but, intent upon securing
future shade, he had some trees planted, and made
it his care to foster them himself, that they might
grow quickly, and in a few years throw an ample
shadow over the turf and the white walls of the
house. As for vegetables, and other useful herbs,
there would be time enough hereafter, he thought,
to hedge in an enclosure for them; he must rst
provide and bring to perfection what he deemed
most necessary.
The inner apartments were now all arranged and
furnished, and the house protected against any unex
pected assault from without. The servants he had
hired were of his own race.
At the end of three years, by which time the
whole building was in habitable condition, he took
Ditha from the little hut with double wooden walls,
which had served as their temporary residence, and
ABDIAS THE JEW. 99

had her carried into the stone dwelling,into the


chamber tted up for her especial use. He fol
lowed her, bearing the few articles of furniture
which were in the wooden hut with him. The hut
was then pulled down.
One object which had lain very near his heart
was now attaineda dwelling-place in Europe.
And in this dwelling-place he now sat alone with
Ditha; for Uram had died in the very rst year of
their European travels, had pined away of home
sickness in the foreign climate, although he had
observed and examined every novelty that met his
eye with all the ardour and curiosity of youth, nay,
sometimes with genuine delight.
So Abdias sat alone with Ditha. Henceforth he
would devote his whole attention to her, would, as
he had long determined, educate and develope her
mind. Hitherto, whilst engrossed with the care of
building her a house, he had been obliged to entrust
her to servants, who had merely fed and dressed
and guarded her, leaving her for most part of the day
lying in her bed, which seemed to please her best.
Apparently, she was a healthy and blooming child.
And thus she now lay before him, a mystery worthy
of all reverence, a mystery which had sprung from
the mystery of his own being, and had yet to be
unfolded.
r 2
100 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

Abdias now began, with the earnestness which


characterized his every undertaking, to occupy him
self with Ditha, although he scarcely knew what
he should do, or how he should develope her latent
consciousness. He stayed almost constantly in her
room. He fondled her, he talked to her, he laid
her in her bed, he seated her on the carpet of the
oor, he placed her on her feet, he endeavoured to
induce her to walk a little way by holding out some
thing to her. And these and other similar experi
ments soon proved to him that all was not as it
should be with the little maiden. He laid the
blame upon the two nurses whom he had engaged
in Europe and appointed to attend solely upon
Ditha, and who, it seemed, had taken care to keep
her body in health and safety, but had done nothing
to awaken her dormant faculties.
The child was now about four years old, but she
had none of the ways of an ordinary child of that
age. Her little face was unspeakably gentle and
pretty, and a likeness to her father, such as he was
in the days of his youth and beauty, became more
apparent every day, albeit the energy expressed in
his features was in hers tempered by soft traces of
the feminine loveliness of her mother. Her limbs
were nearly the usual size of those of a child four
years old, only much slighter and less vigorous in
ABDIAS THE JEW. 101

their motions. Whether this were occasioned by


neglect on the part of her nurses or by some inhe
rent defect, her father was unable to decide. She
could not yet walk, and, unlike other children,
never showed any inclination thereto. Not even
did she crawl, but when seated on the ground,
remained motionless, in spite of all the gay play
things or sweetmeats, of which she was very fond,
that Were placed within her reach. She could
stand, but whenever she was set on her feet she
either clung to the hand that supported her, or,
when this was withdrawn, stood without attempting
to move, her little feet trembling, her gestures
expressive of anxious fear and supplication for help.
When a hand was extended to her, or only so much
as touched one of her ngers, she would immedi-.
ately grasp it with both her hands and betray some
inclination to sit down; but, if this were refused her,
she would remain standing, holding fast by the
outstretched hand, without attempting anything far
ther. She seemed happiest when lying in her little
bed. There she felt most support, and was, as
indeed ordinarily, very quiet, hardly ever crying,
or appearing to want anything, but with her hands
clasped one in the other, touching and playing with
her own ngers. Neither did her countenance
betray any of that irritability usual with children
102 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

when excited by those earliest, and, through the


weakness of their frame, impetuous desires implanted
by Nature. Not even when her father, whom she
knew perfectly well, talked to her, and caressed her,
did she show that animation which other, even the
very youngest children, manifest at such times.
The features of that indescribably sweet counte
nance were in constant repose; those eyes of love
liest blue, so often gazed on with delight by Ab
dias, would remain wide open, neither moving nor
changing their expression, but ever vacant, and, as
it were, lifeless. It seemed as though no soul had
as yet entered that beautiful body. She had not
yet learnt to speak, but when unusually tranquil
and happy, she lisped forth strange low tones, re
sembling no human language, and the meaning of
which no one could divine.
Abdias knew not how to help himself, he could
not but fear that Ditha was an idiot.
And now he was indeed alone in his house, for
Ditha was as no one, and Uram was dead. He had
brought his child to Europe only to bury her there.
She was as one living, and yet dead, with that same
eternally immoveable countenance, those eternally
tranquil eyes. The thought often recurred to him,
Here shall I sit by her side for many, many
years, and when I die, her features will be still un
ABDIAS THE JEW. 103

moved as ever, for she will not know that I am


dead~and when my face has become xed and
rigid, then rst will the old, dead father become
like his young and beautiful daughter, just as she is
now like her mother, when years ago that mother's
gentle face was xed in death.
He determined at least to develope her physical
powers as far as might be. He thought that if he
could only make the body really strong and healthy,
if he could excite it to greater activity, perhaps
he might at last succeed in drawing forth some
degree of mental consciousness, though as yet she
appeared to possess none.
He removed Ditha into other rooms, for she had
hitherto been kept in one of those cool apartments
which we have already described. Her new abode
was airy and light; it consisted of two chambers,
their windows looking out into the valley, the doors
opening upon passages also containing several win
dows. He frequently opened all the windows at
once, so that a free current of air might circulate
through the rooms, and that every part of Dithas
body might feel this refreshing inuence. He gave
her her food himself, and always at certain xed
times, allowing her only what was light and nourish
ing. He even examined all the clothes that she
was to wear, and had them arranged so as not to
104 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

press upon any_part of her frame; taking care that


she should be clad neither too heavily nor too
lightly, and that free access should be given to the
warm rays of the sun, and the light breezes of the
valley. She was continually carried out of doors,
and frequently, whenever the variations of the cli
mate permitted, spent whole days in the open air.
He took her and led her about till he perceived by
the languid pressure of her hand clasped in his that
she was very tired and could with diiculty drag
her limbs along. When the noon-day rays were
falling, not indeed perpendicularly, as in Abdias
native land, but still warmly upon the green turf of
the garden, she was laid, very lightly clad, in the hot
sunshine, and left there until large heat-drops stood
upon her face, brow, and neck, and the delicate
linen of her dress began to cleave to her body.
Then she was taken in-doors, her clothes were
changed, and Abdias would walk with her again,
leading her through the rooms, and up and down
the long passage. He soon perceived that her tiny
feet were gradually acquiring strength. She was
daily put into a large marble basin into which owed
the cool waters drawn from the well scarcely a
ininute before; the pure ood overowed her bare
limbs, her body was rubbed with wet cloths, whilst
her hair, bright and clear as golden ax, having been
ABDIAS THE JEW . 1 05

bound up over her head, glistened with the bright


drops as with diamonds. It often happened that
the water was too cold for her, or that the servants
rubbed her delicate frame too roughly, and then, on
being taken out, her limbs would tremble, and her
tiny lips quiver, and utter a low, gentle sob.
Thus time passed on: Abdias was unceasingly
with her, and observed every change.
The utmost, almost the only, emotion he had
observed in her was, he thought, a love of sound;
for he talked to her incessantly. He had a de
licate-toned silver bellhe brought this out and
rang it gently in her ears. It was evident that
she listened to it. And every time the sound was
repeated during the day, she smiled-and the
sweeter and brighter became the smile, the oftener
the pleasant tinkling was repeated. Indeed, she
soon began even to ask for it, for she seemed uneasy
and lisped her own strange, incomprehensible words
till Abdias rang it again: and on hearing it, she
was soothed immediately, and something like plea
sure, or intelligence, beamed on her face.
On making this discovery, a new idea ashed
like lightning across Abdias mind; he thought,
My poor, little, tormented child may, perhaps,
have been born blind.
And no sooner had this idea been presented
r 5
106 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

to him, than he began to make experiments in order


to ascertain whether it were so or not. He had
his little maid put into bed. He then fetched
a long, pointed needle, and pricked her hand with
it. The hand shrank back. He pricked it again,
and again it shrank back. Then he just touched
the hand with the needle's point, and still the hand
shrank back. The child must now know the needle
if she saw it-must know that it was its sharp point
that caused the pain. So he brought the point
near to the beautiful large blue eyenearer and
neareralmost near enough to touch it; yet no
emotion, no shrinking was manifest, the eye was
open as before in perfect, fearless condence. He
then fetched a lighted coal from the kitchen, held
it between the tongs, and brought it near her--no
curiosity seemed excited; he swung it round and
round, right in front of her face, but no change
could be seen in that facethe child appeared to
take no notice of the ery circles. Those clear bright
eyes, stood open in the same inexpressive repose.
He tried one thing more; he waved his ngers
quickly, but noiselessly, through the air, close above
her eye-lashes, an operation which will make almost
all people, certainly all children, wink; but Ditha
was perfectly unaware of these motions close over
her eye-lids.
ABDIAS THE JEW. 107

Now all the mystery was cleared up. His child


was blind. This young, unapprehended spirit was
like a captive bound by chains in never-ending night,
ignorant of the vast world of being around her, igno
rant of the inestimable blessing which was denied her.
N0 sooner had Abdias made this discovery
than he sent to the distant town for a physician.
The physician arrived next day, and his science
conrmed Abdias conjecture. Henceforth an en
tirely different system must be pursued with the
child. She was again conned to one room, a little
chair was made for her, on the back of which she
could lean her head, so that her eyesthose beau
tiful but useless eyesmight be thrown upwards
for her father and the physician to examine. Often
and often did Abdias examine them, yet nothing
could be discovered in which they differed from
other and ordinary human eyes, except that they
were more beautiful, more soft and clear.
And now began, although the physician said
that he could give very little hope, a variety of
experiments, and these were continued for a long
time. Abdias had everything that the physician
prescribed punctually accomplished, and Ditha, on
her part, suffered it all very patiently, although
the poor little child had no idea of what was being
done with her, or what jewels they were intent
108 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

upon giving her. When at last the physician


declared that his skill was exhausted, and that he
must repeat, what he had said from the rst, namely,
that in all probability the child would remain blind
all her life, Abdias rewarded him for his services,
and sent for another physician. He, too, after a
time, made a similar announcementand then
came a third, a fourth, and many more. When
all were 'agreed that it was not in the power of
human science to give Ditha her sight,when the
various counsels of different people who heard of
the case, and pressed forward with their advice,
had been all followed, one after the other, all alike
in vain,when Abdias felt his hopes grow weaker
and weaker at every fresh and unsuccessful attempt
he at last renounced those hopes altogether. In
fact, there were no physicians left whom he could
consult, it was very rarely that any one came to
propose to him a new experiment, and, indeed,
every such proposal that was made, carried absurdity
on the face of it too plainly: so by degrees he
submitted, and accustomed himself to the idea that
his child had been born blind, and that blind she
must remain.
VH1} instead of beginning her education and
developing her mental faculties as much as was
possible, Abdias now became engrossed with a
ABDIAS THE JEW. 109

very different idea; he resolved to amass riches


for his child, so that when he should die, she
might thereby be enabled to purchase hands to
guard her, and hearts to love her. Vast riches
he resolved to heap upon his child, so that if she
must be debarred the enjoyments of one sense, she
might at least be surrounded with all that could
gggtify the otherilw
I In accordance ith this resolution, Abdias be
came more avaricious than he had ever been before. t
He dismissed all his servants, except one man val
guard his house, one maid-servant to keep it in
order, and one attendant for Ditha. He denied
himself every comfort, he went about in shabby
garments, took but scanty nourishment, nay, he,
with his grey hairs, now studied how he could
win money and goods, as he had done at fteen,)
during his boyish apprenticeship to Mammon. He
began to count and calculate, and to take tithe
and toll of everythinghe began to practise usury
and all this with the restless eagerness of a beast
of prey, spurred on as he was ever more and more
with the thought of his old age and his approach
ing death. Therefore it was that he gave himself
no rest; the traic to which he had been accus
tomed, and which had brought him riches in Africa,
he now pursued anew; he practised it as he had
110 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY

practised it in Africa, and on many a stormy night \


when the winds and clouds were in conict, and
the elemental war paged so ercely that the dog
crept into his kennel in terror, and the polecat into
her den, and no human creature ventured abroad,
the dark, time-bowed, shadowy gure of the Jew
glided over the elds; or sometimes, when he had
lost his way, might be seen knocking at some lowly
window, and entreating a lodging for the night,
which lodging was often given him grudgingly, still
oftener denied him ; for now that he went amongst
men he was well-known and had become an object
of hate and aversion. Eis child's misfortune was
commonly ascribed to the just judgment of God,
who had chosen in this manner to punish the fathers
griping avarice: and his servants, whom he had
taken from his own people, held it a very little sin to
impose upon him, and doubtless would have done
so to a muph greater extent, had he not been so
clear-sighte<_l.\JI
When he was at home, and had done with his
calculations and various matters of business, he
always sat in Dithas room. The little chair with
the cushioned ledge behind for her fair head to
rest upon, had become her favourite seatshe still
liked to sit in it, although it was now too narrow
for her growing limbs. And the Jew would crouch
ABDIAS THE JEW. 11]

down upon a little stool beside her, and talk with


her incessantly. He taught her to say words for
which she had no meaningske repeated them after
him, and invented others, taken from her own in
ward life, which he could not understand, but which
he learned in his turn. Thus they could converse
together for hours, and by degrees each learned
what the other meant. She often stretched out her
delicate hands, and after some seeking and beating
in the air, stroked with them his rough cheeks,
his thinning hairs. Sometimes he laid a present
in her hands, such as a piece of stuff for her dress,
of such soft delicate texture as delighted her acute
sense of touch. Linen was her favourite material,
its smoothness, evenness, and purity, were exactly
what she could appreciate, and as she never went
among her fellows, and consequently did not re
quire any ornament, not only her under clothing,
but almost all her apparel, was made of it. And
when she put her upper garment over the under,
she laid its folds so neatly, and fastened the clasp
at her waist so readily, that any one might have
imagined she had dressed herself in front of the
looking-glass. And then she would pass her hand
down over the stuff, and take it up between thumb
and forenger, saying, Father, this is softer even
than the other.
l12 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

The little feet, which now wore shoes, she would


place together on a cushion, delighting in the velvet
of the covering. Her gure gradually heightened,
and when shc was walking upon the soft grass which
carpeted the garden, or her shadow glided along the
white wall surrounding it, she appeared a healthy
and well-formed girl.
Of all creatures blessed with sight, Asu, the dog,
was most beloved by Abdias. He had found him, a
little blind puppy, lying by the side of his mother,
who had been killed by some passer-by, and had
taken him up and fostered him out of compassion.
This dog, when he was full-grown, followed his
master everywhere, and when Abdias sat for half
the day in Dithas room, or by her side in the
garden, the dog always lay at his feet, never turning
his eyes oil from the father and daughter, as though
he understood what they said, and loved them both;
and at night, when Abdias went into his chamber to
rest, he spread a carpet for the dog under the table,
arranging it so as to cover him warmly.
wt this very dog, Asu, became a source of grief
t Abdias, as though with this man it must ever be,
that what seemed intended for his happiness should
by some strange fate be turned into bitterness._
It was at a time when several cases of1Iydro

phobia had occurred in various parts of the neigh


ABDIAS THE JEW. I I3

bourhood, that Abdias was journeying homewards,


riding on a mule, and accompanied as usual by Asu.
In a wood, distant only a few miles from his house,
and stretching towards that pine-forest of which we
have already spoken, he observed in his faithful
companion, of whom he had not lately taken much
heed, a strange restlessness. The dog barked re
peatedly and angrily, ran in the way of the mule,
leaped upon his master, and, when Abdias stopped,
turned suddenly round and darted back the same
way by which they had come; then, as Abdias
rode on farther, the animal returned in a few seconds
and again behaved as before, his eyes sparkling in
such a manner as Abdias had never before remarked
in him. He began to feel serious apprehensions.
After a while they came to a narrow, shallow stream
through which they must necessarily pass, but the
dog would not plunge into it. There was foam on
his lips, he darted forward, and, with a sort of hoarse
sob, snapped at the feet of the mule just as she was
entering the water. Abdias took one of his Berber
pistols from the holster, pulled the mule back for a
moment, and pointed his weapon at the dog. He
saw through the smoke the creature fall bleeding
upon the earth, and before the vapour had dispersed
he rode on through the water.
But half an hour afterwards he perceived that the
114 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

girdle which he always wore, and which was lined


with silver coins, was missing. His error with
respect to the dog instantly ashed upon him. He
remembered to have taken off his girdle at a spot in
the forest where he had sat down to rest, and it
seemed probable that he had left it there. He rode
back with all speed. He soon reached the stream,
but Asu was not lying in the place where he had
been shot, only the traces of his blood were seen.
Abdias rode back farther, and still there was blood
all the way. At last he gained the spot where he
had rested,there he found his girdle,and there
lay the dying dog beside it. The poor creature
made some awkward attempts to move, and raised
his glassy eyes towards his master; and when
Abdias knelt down over him, caressed him, and
examined the wound, the dog would have licked
his hand with his languid tonguebut he could
not, and in a few minutes he was dead. Abdias
sprang up and would have torn his grey hairs,
he howledhe uttered frantic imprecationshe
ran up to the mule, tore the second pistol from
the holster, and grasped it convulsively,next
moment he ung it into the grass of the forest.
Ten times did he take up the girdleten times
did he ing it down and trample upon it with
his feet. At last, when night was already drawing
ABDIAS THE JEW. 1] 5

in,it was afternoon when he had shot the dog,


he again took up the girdle with the money
Dithas moneyin it, and fastened it round his
waist ; he sought in the grass for the pistol, and put
it back into the holster; then, mounting his mule,
he made his way homewards. The morning dawn
was already breaking around the Desolate Valley
when he reached his house, his clothes all stained
with the blood of the murdered animal, for he had
laid it in his lap when he examined the wound.
He had had from the rst moment very little hope
of its proving otherwise than mortal, as he knew
how well he had learnt in the desert to take his aim.
When he arrived at home he gave himself some
rest; but on the next day he hired two men, led
them to the open spot in the forest, and made them
bury the dog before his eyes.
He returned and pursued his traic as he had
been wont to do.
Some little time afterwards he fell ill. It could
scarcely be determined whether it was the excite
ment occasioned by this incident, or the effects of
the foreign climate that so entirely prostrated him;
enough, his illness was a dangerous one, and it was
long before he recovered from the attack.
But even during his illness, when it might have
been expected that all would go on as usual, the life
116 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

of this man was marked by one of those turning


points such as we have already had occasion to
notice. A mysterious event came to pass-an
event which must ever remain mysterious, so long
as those inexhaustible powers of Nature prevailing
around us still remain unfathomed, and so long as
the bond of union which knits these powers with
our own being is still undiscovered; till then these
powers must needs remain a mystery, their very ex
istence scarcely known to us except in conjecture.
Ditha was almost full-growna slenderly-formed
maiden, whose gure and countenance gave promise
of extraordinary beauty. During his illness, Abdias
had never once entered her room ; she too had been
unwellan unaccountable trembling came over her
at times, especially when the weather was hot and
misty. The physician could not quite understand
the cause of her indisposition, but supposed it must
be weakness, brought on by her having grown beyond
her strength. Abdias was now in a convalescent
state, able to walk about the house, but not to leave
it, or to resume his ordinary avocations. One day
whilst sitting in his room, busied with calculating
the expenses of an enterprise which he had decided
must be commenced as soon as possible, to recover
the time lost whilst he had been ill, a tempest sud
denly burst forth over head. He paid no particular
ABDIAS THE JEW. 117

attention to it, for the tempests which he had yet


seen in this country could not for a moment be
compared in violence with those which he had wit
nessed in the Desert Town, and other parts of Africa.
All at once, whilst he was still busy with his reckon
ing, and the rain was trickling down from the ledge
of the roof, a fearful clap of thunder was heard, and
the whole building seemed in a blaze of light.
Abdias immediately saw that the lightning must
have struck his house. His rst thought was for
Ditha.
Although his limbs were still weak, he hurried
immediately into her apartment. The lightning
had penetrated through ceiling and oor, and lled
the room with a thick vapour; it had melted the
iron bars of the cage in which was kept the red
start, in whose song Ditha so much delighted; and
yet the bird itself was unhurt, and sat on its perch
in perfect safety. And Ditha, too, was unhurt,
sitting upright on her couch, where she had laid
herself on account of the unusually violent trembling
she had felt in her limbs that day.
Abdias, accustomed as he was to tempests and
their effects, saw all this with one glance; he
quickly opened a window to let out the strong phos
phoric smell that lled the room ;. he then glanced
towards Ditha, and, as he looked more closely, he
118 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

saw with alarm that a fearful excitement,a sort of


mortal terror,was expressed on her face. On coming
nearer to her, she shrieked as though in apprehen
sion of some horrible danger, and waved her hand
towards him as though to avert it: it was the rst
time that he had ever seen her extend her hands in
a straight direction towards anything. A half-mad
dening hope, a frantic conjecture, darted across his
mind; he ran towards the hearth, where there had
been a re burning, snatched up from it one of the
glowing embers, ran back to Ditha, and swang it
backwards and forwards before her eyes. And she
shrieked again, a convulsive working was seen to
agitate her features, she seemed trying to do some
thing to which she was unaccustomed; at last
the secret was discovered, and both her eyes
moved to and fro, following the aming circles de
scribed by the re brand. The physician was not
present. Abdias ran to his only man-servant, and
promised to give him a hundred pieces of gold if
he would ride as fast as a horse could carry him,
and fetch the physician. The man took a horse
out of the stable, saddled it with all speed, and
rode off. Abdias watched him set out from a
window.
Whilst the man had been saddling the horse,
Abdias had had the precaution to close all the
ABDIAS THE JEW. 119

shutters in Dithas room, and even to draw the


curtains, so that her eyes might remain for a time in
the darkness that was familiar to them, and not be
injured by the light breaking in upon them too
suddenly. When he had done this, and Ditha
was calmer, he had, as I have said, gone out and
opened one of the windows in the passage to see
his messenger ride off, and then returning to the
young girl, sat down by her side, and began gently
to talk with her. His voice gradually exercised
its accustomed inuence. The terried child was
soothed, and in her wonted darkness soon recovered
from the terrible shock which she had received.
In a few minutes she began to talk herself, and
told him of distant, piercing sounds that she had
heard, of cutting, dumb, upright tones which had
been in the room. He answered her with words
of fondness. But ever and anon, when there was
a short pause in their conversation, he stood up and
wrung his hands in the darkness above his head, or
clasped them convulsively one in the other, just
as people gnaw iron or wood, by way of nding a
vent to the storm of emotion within. Then he
would again sit down by her bed side, and remain
sitting there a long time, studying to tranquillize
himself, while Ditha, who had always felt a yearning
for some more tangible token of his presence than
120 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the voice, sought for his hands, and when she had
found them, stroked them again and again, as
though to convince herself that she actually had him
there. He stayed with her, and she by degrees
began to speak of ordinary things, such as they
appeared to her. On his asking her about the
trembling in her limbs, she replied that it had
entirely ceased. But after a while she seemed
weary, her words grew disconnected, she leaned her
little head on one side upon the cushion, and the
lids closed in sleep over those newly-acquired and
still unconscious jewels.
When she was fast asleep, Abdias gently loosened
his hand from hers, and went out into the garden to
see what turn the weather had taken. It was even
ing. The very same tempest which had given
Ditha her sight, had shattered the roof of his house,
and destroyed his neighbours harvest with its hail ;
but of all that he took no account. The country
was perfectly still; the sun was setting in the far
west; and in the east, whither the tempest had dis
persed, a brilliant rainbow spanned its wide arch
over the dark ground.
The physician, so eagerly waited for, did not
arrive till past midnight. He considered it would
not be well to waken the maiden out of her healthy
slumber, and declared that the investigation must
ABDIAS THE JEW. I 21

not be made before daylight. For the rest, he


approved of what Abdias had done.
Next morning, when the sun had risen, Dithas
room was lighted only so far as was necessary to
discover whether she could really see or not; for
to have given her a strong light at once would have
been perilous. The examination was soon made,
and the physician declared that she had indeed re
ceived her sight. It was then decided that she
must be conned to her room, and that the light
must be let in upon her only by degrees, so that
she might grow accustomed to the objects she now
would see rising around her, and that her eyes might
not be dazzled by too sudden and entire a revelation
of the glories of the day. She was told that she
was unwell, and must keep her room, but that her
indisposition would soon be over, and that then she
would see. She did not understand what that
meant, but she sat very contentedly in her little
chair, and leaned her head back, sometimes hand
ling with surprise the green shade placed over
her eyes. One covering after another was removed
from the windows, more and more objects were pre
sented to her view, the windows were gradually
lightened, nally, the last curtain was raised, and
the wide earth and the immeasurable heavens were
unfolded before those little weak orbs. She, how
v G
122 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

ever, could not know that all this was exterior to


herself, that it was another world; a world which
she had hitherto been able to apprehend only
partially.
. Abdias now began to teach Ditha to see. He
took her by the hand that she might feel it was
the very same hand which had so often before led
her round the room or about the garden. He
raised her from her little chairthe physician and
the three servants standing by the whileand made
her take hold rst of the back on which she had
leaned her head,--then the arms, the legs, and so
on, explaining that all these composed the chair
where she had been wont to sit. Then he took
up the stool, and made her handle that likewise,
telling her that it was on this that she had rested
her feet. He next made her look at and feel her
own hands, her arms, her feethe gave her the
staff which had frequently helped her to feel her
wayhe let her take hold of it and observe her own
ngers as they clasped it round,-he made her
handle his dress, gave her a piece of linen, guided
her hand over it, and told her that was the linen
which she had always liked so much to feel. After
this, he seated her again in her chair, crouched
down in front of her, pointed with his two fore
ngers at his eyes, and told her those were the
ABDIAS THE JEW. 123

organs with which she now saw all things around,


although a hundred arms joined together would be
too short to reach some of them. He made her
close her eye-lids, and pass her ngers over the pre
cious jewels thus concealed. She understood this
but quickly took her nger away and again opened
the lids. He then pointed out to her, as she sat
there, all the several articles of furniture in the
room, which she knew well, and told her how she
had used them. By way of explaining to her what
space was, he led his child through the room from
one piece of furniture to another, and showed how
it required time to reach them, although they were
all seen without effort in a single moment. She
followed him, at rst, very reluctantly, and evi
dently afraid of stumbling against the various ob
jects crowding upon her vision. Thus he spent
the whole day with her in that room. The garden
and meadows he would not show her yet, for fear of
fatiguing and perplexing her too much. At meal
times he showed her the food, the spoon; knife
and fork she had never yet used, and she still con
veyed her food to her mouth quite as awkwardly
as she had done whilst she was blind.
On the evening of this day the child was seized
with a violent fever. She was carried into bed.
As it grew dark and night came on, Ditha ima
' G 2
l24- LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

gined she must have become blind again, and ex


pressed this fear to her father. But he told her in
reply that it was now night when, as she must
know, all people went to bed to sleep, because the
day-light, which enabled the eyes to see, was gone,
and would not return for some time; that she was
not blind he could show her immediately. And
then he lighted a lamp, and placed it on the table,
whereupon all objects in the room re-appeared, not
indeed as in the day-time, but with sharper out
lines and more glaring colours, broken by deep,
broad shadows. The ame of the lamp reminded
Ditha of the lightning, and she said that such a
breath had been with her at the time when there
was that crashing sound, and her father had rushed
up to her bed-side. Abdias extinguished the light,
sat down by her again, took her by the hand, as in
the days of her blindness, and talked to her till
she fell asleep.
When she awoke next day, more healthy and
composed, and had gazed more calmly at the ob
jects in, the room, he had her dressed, and at
noonday, when the dew on the grass had all melted
away, he led her out, rst into the garden and after
wards into the valley beyond. He showed her the
heavens, those innite blue depths, wherein oated
the silver countries, the clouds, and told her the
ABDIAS THE JEW. I25

sky was called blue, the clouds white. Then he


pointed to the earth, and showed how the soft
Cradle-Valley slanted beneath them, telling her that
this was the ground on which they walked, that the
soft carpet beneath their feet was the green grass,
and the dazzling light, which her eyes shrank from,
and which gave them still more pain than the
lamp did yesternight, was the sun, the lamp of
day, and that it always returned after night, turning
darkness into light, and restoring the power of sight
to the eyes. Then he led her into the court, up
to the well, touched the metal-spring, and bade her
watch the pure stream of water dart upwards, dipped
a glass into the fresh crystalline ood, and gave it
her to drink. He showed her the trees and owers,
and named to her their various colours. This was
indeed something quite new, and she could not
rightly understand it, but ever afterwards applied
the words incorrectly, colours and sounds appearing
to be confused in her mind. He pointed out to
her the various living creatures among the grass, and
when a bird ew through the air he tried to guide
her eyes to follow its course. Besides all this he
had to accustom her to walking, for as they now
wandered beyond the garden over the green sward of
the Desolate Valley, she set her foot hesitatingly
and fearfully on the grass, because she did not know
126 LII;E IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.
how wide or how narrow the space was between the
last step and the next, and consequently walked
with much less security than during her blindness.
Formerly she had trodden the rm ground with
condence, knowing nothing of the countless multi
tude of objects lying between her and the next step.
Ditha had pleasure in everything that she saw, looked
around her continually, and gazed with especial ad
miration on the house where they dwelt, which was
indeed the only building she could see worthy of
notice varying the barren surface of the grass. She
was extremely unwilling to return into her room,
because then she would lose the blue sky, which
delighted her above all things, and the far-stretching
green of the valley. She gazed incessantly, unable
to conceive how it was that a tree, a piece of the
garden-wall, or a fold of her fathers dress, could
ll up so large a space, and yet how she could cover
everything, positively everything, with her little
hand, when she laid it under her brow.
The evening brought the same exhaustion as she
had experienced the day before, and the father
again lulled the daughter to sleep, that on the
morrow they might continue the newly-begun
lesson.
Abdias now gave up the commerce which he had
lately pursued so vigorously, and occupied himself
ABDIAS THE JEW. 127

solely with Ditha, guiding her carefully into the


new realms of sight.
The task which other parents perform uncon
sciously and gradually, year by year, day by day,
he seemed called upon to full all at once. Eleven
years had Ditha's eyes been veiled in darkness,
eleven years had she been in the world without
beholding anything that it contained, knowing it
only through the one obscure sense of touch. As
is related of that fabulous plant which requires
many years to grow up into a grey barren weed, and
then in a few days shoots up a slender stem which
with a loud report breaks forth into a magnicent
tower of owers-so seemed it to be with Ditha:
since the two owers of her head had opened, a
never-ending spring appeared to have dawned upon
the winter of her lifeall was bloom around her,
sudden and rapid as the lightning"s ash. And not
only had the outer world been expanded before her,
her inmost soul too began to awake into conscious
ness. Just as the light wings of the buttery grow
and grow, wave and utter, till the new creature
springs in glorious freedom out of the chrysalis
where it has so long been imprisoned-even so did
Dithas youthful spirit exultingly expand the wings
now rst given her, and the precious moments ew
by laden with new acquisitions, every minute bur
128 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

dened with some new portion of the outer world,


and every day enriching her mind and heart with
an increase of knowledge and love. So wonderful a
thing is light, that her body also now in a very
short time altered considerably; her cheeks and
lips became more blooming, her limbs fuller and
stronger. On the other hand, Abdias hair was now
completely white, his face dark and furrowed by
'deep scars, while decay was visibly imprinted on
his features. And thus walked he beside his grace
ful daughter, who now trod with perfect security,
and they were almost always in the open air, which
he loved no less than Ditha.
But not only did the maidens countenance be
come lovelier, it also began to live, to express more
and more that which is most beautiful in a human
face, intelligence and goodness.
As to Abdias, it is not known whether he was
still as c0ve t_ous as he had been during the last
few years. He was ever with his child; and of
all who hated the Jew, none could look without
pleasure into the innocent countenance of his
daughter.
Also her eyes, those once inexpressive and mo
tionless eyes, now beamed with love and condence;
they began to speak as human eyes can speak, and
joy, or curiosity, or surprise were seen painted on
ABDIAS THE JEW. 129

them,but more especially love,and that love,


how beautifully was it expressed when they were
xed caressingly or beseechingly upon Abdias fea
tures, which to her alone did not appear unsightly !
For what the outward world was to her eyes, that
was he to her heartnay, he was far more to her
than the whole outward world could ever be, for
she rmly believed that it was he who had given it
to her.
Thus passed away the summer, thus the winter
a dismal time for that young girland again
another summer and another winter. Ditha grew
and strengthened more and more, and became love
lier than ever
There were two peculiarities which distinguished \
her from ordinary human being
' s.
The rst was a physical peculiarity, and one
which has been sometimes, though rarely, observed
in other persons. Abdias had experienced it him
self in his early life, although he had gradually lost
it as years crept over him. Ever since the day on
which the lightning ashed into Dithas room,
and had so powerfully affected her nerves, it was
observed that in tempestuous weather, or even
when storms were gathering threateningly over the
far distant horizon, she was unusually lively and
happy. Unlike other young girls and women, who
o 5
130 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

are generally afraid of tempests, she delighted in


them, and whenever there were any signs of a
coming
go out storm to be
to watch itstraced in e heavens,
approacliij Once, in she
thewould
twi

light of a very sultry night,_-as she was standing


at an open window, gazing at the distant ashes,
Abdias, who was sitting in a chair behind her,
observed that a faint, pale ame was hovering over
her head, and that the ends of the silk riband which
was bound round her hair were standing upright.
He was not alarmed, for this very same phenomenon
had been observed in him several times even during
his manhood in moments of strong excitement, and
he remembered that his mother had described it as
having repeatedly occurred during his childhood
without any apparent cause. He had usually, his
mother said, been in very high spirits at such times,
or had grown very.fast. But he knew that it
had never occasioned any injurious consequences.
So Abdias remained calmly in his seat, and said
not a word to Ditha of what he had seen. Before
this, immediately after the day on which the light
ning had struck Dithas room, he had removed her
bedstead into another apartment, but now that his
attention was drawn to this singular appearance, he
hastened to have lightning-conductors, such as he had
observed in various parts of Europe, xed upon the
ABDIAS THE JEW. 131

roof of the house. He now also called to mind a


legend he had heard in the East respecting certain
owers, the loveliest of their kind, which at night,
when there is lightning in the sky and the tempest
cannot break forth, emit from time to time, a pale
ame from their calices, or over which hovers a calm,
steady light, which, however, never burns either the
delicate petals or the stamina of the blossom.
Abdias now watched Ditha more closely, and
observed this phenomenon twice again in the course
of the summer. In the winter nothing of the sort
could be remarked.
Dithas second peculiarity was no more than the
natural result of her singular mode of life, her early
privations, and the slow, solitary expansion of her
faculties ; for whereas with the generality of. human
beings, their day and dream-life, their actual exist
ence, and the ideal world in which most indulge
more or less, are separate and distinct, with her,
both were mingled confusedly togetherdlm With

others the dayis the rule, the night the exception ;


with her the day was rather the exception. The
long night of her past life still broke in upon her
day, and those images of her inner world which she
had created formerly, now mingled with the outer
forms which greeted her sight, and thus she became
a dreaming, musing creature, her reveries disturbed
132 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

by none but Abdias, whose active, passionate cha


racter was strikingly in contrast with that of his
\child. And thus a habit of thought and expression
became natural to Ditha, which appeared to those
who did not know her as strange as though they
rad seen a speaking ower before them. She had
hitherto sat alone in the solitude of her night, and
alone she loved to be still, unless with her father,
who could understand her perfectly. And it might,
perhaps, be another e'ect of her long darkness that
she loved cold, dim colours, especially blue, in pre
ference to those which are more ardent and bright.
Once, when they had been walking some distance
from home through the pine-forest before men
tioned, and came out upon a wide eld of ax in
full blossom, she exclaimed, Father, only see how
the whole heavens are ringing on the tips of these
upright green threads !
She then requested that a piece of the blue should
be taken home ; but Abdias led her nearer, plucked
a few stalks, and showed her the delicate little
owers, thus making it clear to her that he could
not take a whole piece of this blue away. He pro
mised, however, that she should soon have a blue
eld like this of her own.
Then she talked of violet sounds, and said that
they were dearer to her than those which stood
ABDIAS THE JEW. 133

upright and were repulsive, like burning staffs. Her


voice, which in the later period of her blindness she
had oftener raised to singing than to speaking, had
early become a soft, clear alto. Thus she lived
half in the world of sight and half in blindness, and
the blue of her eyes, like that of our sky, was
blended of mingled darkness and light.
When, on Dithas recovery, Abdias had, as has
been already remarked, ceased to devote his time to
commerce and travel, he engaged in a new occupa
tion. Besides the place whereon stood his house
and garden, he had likewise purchased a tolerably
large piece of land in the Unfruitful Valley. He
had suffered this ground hitherto to lie uncultivated
and never given any heed to it, except when he trod
the sward with his feet, and the thought arose, This
belongs to me. Now he began to cultivate this
land and convert it by degrees into elds. Even in
the Desert Town he had had a eld behind the
palm-trunks, where he grew vegetables and thin
dwarsh maize. He hired servants, bought the
requisite implements, and set to work. For the
rst turning-up and clearing of the ground necessary
to prepare it for sowing, he had engaged a number
of day-labourers from distant hamlets. At the same
time he began to raise barns and other buildings
destined to receive the harvest. When all was in
134: LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

good training, he dismissed the foreign labourers


and employed only his own servants. Trees had
been planted in the garden at his rst arrival for the
sake of shade, but now he had various shrubs
brought there also, and having broken up a part of
the ground which had been hitherto covered with
grass, laid it out in ower-beds. On another side
of the house vegetables were planted.
In the very rst spring after Dithas recovery
from blindness, a beautiful sea of green corn waved
on the spot where formerly had been nothing but
short, pale grass with. grey stones projecting out
from the ground. By the time the blades of corn
had become yellow, the blue cyana was growing
among it, as though on purpose for Ditha. Abdias
walked to and fro to inspect all the labours of his
men, and often, when the light afternoon breeze blew
the ripening ears into silvery waves, his gure was
seen to stand on the margin of the eld, his white
turban bound round his swarthy brow, his dark
caftan uttering in the wind, and his long beard,
whiter still than the turban, hanging down from his
face.
And in the ensuing summer a piece of land was
prepared and sown with ax. When it was in
blossom, Ditha was brought out to see it, and Ab
dias told her that the wide blue sky which she now
ABDIAS THE JEW. 135

saw ringing upon the tips of these green upright


threads belonged to her. Often and often did
Ditha stand in the blue eld gazing on it, and on
her way home she would gather a bouquet of the
cyanas that were growing among the corn. _
Towards the end of this summer a waggon laden
heavily with Abdias yellow corn was driven into
the new-built barn, thus effectually silerging the
report current in the neighbourhood respecting the
unfruitfulness of the Cradle-Valley. This waggon
was followed by a second, a third, and many more,
till the whole full harvest was brought in. And in
other places the soil was already being turned up to
prepare it for bearing fruit next year. '
Thus Abdias now lived in a sphere of action
completely new to him, and which he extended
continually more and more. Many years had not
passed away before he had dug up and cultivated all
the land belonging to him, and had already purposed
writing to his friend, the merchant, to request him
to procure a fresh piece. He had enlarged his gar
den and extended his wall around it. The buildings
necessary to his agricultural pursuits were now too
small, and he had to enlarge them.
He had again engaged a number of men-servants
and maid-servants. The interior of the house he
arranged almost as the desert-mansion in Africa had
136 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

been in Esthers lifetime. He laid down soft car


pets, he made recesses, placed couches in them, and
had yellow silk curtains hung in front, which could
be closed or drawn asunder at pleasure. He depo
sited many of his treasures in drawers, and so dis
posed them that when he was dead, and Ditha had
the keys, she might nd them for the rst time, and
take delight in them. In the court and the valley
beyond he planted trees which were to give her
shade when she should be grown up into a matron.
And often, when the old man, with the usual in
rmity of age could not sleep, or when the long
European twilight wearied him, he would arise and
go up to her bed where she was slumbering sweetly,
and with the healthful colour of the rose blooming on
her youthful cheeks. And then he would be seen
to go down into the garden and walk to and fro,
propping up a drooping bough or watching the
opening buds.
To teach Ditha to read, or to learn anything
had never occurred to him. No strangers ever
entered the house of Abdias, and if one stray wan
derer were occasionally seen to pass through the
Cradle-Valley, he would at most stop only to drink
from the hollow of his hand at the brook and then
walk on farther. The out-door servants of Abdias
tilled his elds, acted according to his directions,

\
ABDIAS THE JEW. 137

took the corn to the market, and brought home the


money, the full amount of which Abdias, thoroughly
acquainted with the market-prices, always knew
beforehand. At other times these men lived toge
ther in the house built for them at the end of the
garden ; for although they had been taken from the
people of his own faith, they felt a sort of dread of
their singular master; and his domestics felt the
same. Dithas attendant sat almost always in her
room, either reading or making clothes for her mis
tress : she had hitherto been accustomed to live in a
town, and had no love for the free air and sunshine.
When he planted trees to give his child shade,
Abdias must have forgotten that the climate of
Europe was unlike that of his native land, for they,
with their African blood, seldom required shelter
here. When the sun shone hotly down, and every
other creature, faint with heat, sought some cool
place of refuge, Ditha liked to sit upon the sandy
paths of the garden, among the fallen bean-blossoms,
suffering the mid-day rays to stream down upon her,
and singing a low, sweet strain which she had her
self composed. Abdias sat meantime in his wide
owing robe on the bench placed against the house
wall, his ashing eyes, his white head and beard
glistening in the glare of the noonday. Thus Ditha
grew up, like the slender stem of a desert-aloe
138 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

among alders, junipers, and other European bushes :


thus they lived alone, and the sun of the African
desert seemed to have risen over the Cradle-Valley.
Abdias had longed for Europe ; he was now
there. In Europe he was no longer beaten and
driven from place to place, nor was his property
taken away from him ; but he had brought his
African nature and his love of solitude into Europe
with him.
Often did Ditha seat herself close by the sloping
elds,for her father had now extended his domain
as far as the pine-forest--gazing at the blades of corn,
at the several kinds of grasses growing among them,
or at the clouds oating over the sky, Abdias dressed
her very richly, and except when she wore her favourite
linen garment, she was always clad in silk, dark
coloured silk, either blue, or grey, or violet, some
times even light brown, but never black. Her clothes,
which were made by her attendant, were cut mostly
after European fashions, but always so as to hang in
wide folds around her, and to be loose in every.part,
for from her birth she had never been accustomed to
any pressure and could not endure it even now.
And often, after she had sat for a long time watch
ing the corn, she would rise and wander alone along
the plantation, and her gure was seen gliding far
down the valley, arrayed sometimes in the glistening
ABDIAS THE JEW. 139

drapery of thin white linen, sometimes in the dim,


undened folds of coloured silk. Abdias would
then generally go and join her, and they walked
home together.
He thought he must now accustom her to speak
intelligibly, like other human beings, else how would
she be understood, or how would she continue to
live when he was dead ? So as they thus walked to
gether he talked to her incessantly ; he related to her
Arabian legends of the desert, described southern
scenery, and his Bedouin ideas darted like a vulture
from the Atlas into her innocent and child-like
mind. In these conversations he mostly made use
of the Arabic tongue, which had been the language
spoken by his father. He had, as had been his
wont during the wanderings of his youth, quickly
learned the language of our country, had spoken
it in his late commercial dealings with its inha
bitants, and still spoke it with those engaged in
his service ; but with Ditha he preferred conversing
in Arabic. And as he occasionally used another
Eastern tongue in conversation with her, and as
she constantly heard him give his orders to the
servants in their own dialect, she learned to express
herself in a language compounded of all these three,
and had a peculiar mode of thought adapted to this
mode of expression.
140 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

\Vhen Abdias thought of her future, and of the


bridegroom whom he ought to nd for her, he
recalled with sorrow the dark, comely, kindly,
countenance of his Abyssinian Uram, to whom he
would gladly have given herbut as Uram was
dead, he could only imagine that Ditha would
always continue to live with him, and would grow
lovelier and healthier every year.
And, indeed, it seemed as though this his wish
were likely to be fullled. She had altered con
siderably of late. Her physical powers were more
vigorous, her eye grew darker, her glance more
ardent, her lips fuller, and her whole being seemed
to be uniting the ery earnestness of her father with
the dream-like gentleness of her mother. She loved
that father unspeakably, and often when she felt
oppressed by the vehemence of her wild and pas
sionate love, she would take his old withered hand,
and press its ngers against her eyes, her brow,
her heart ;she did not know how to kiss, for
she had never known a mother, and Abdias never
kissed her, because he knew himself to be un
sightly.
Having, during her blindness, spent by far the
greater part of her time in bed, or in a sitting
posture,her development had been slower than
is usual, and although mind and body began to
ABDIAS THE JEW. 141

progress rapidly after she had received the light


of her eyes, she was sixteen years of age before
she reached her maturity. Her form became less
active and more languid, the glance of her eye
grew soft and timid, her limbs slender and buoyant,
as with every perfect creature on this earth. She
was as joyous and gay-spirited, and almost as ad
venturous as before, and yet there was something
like an expression of quiet suffering to be traced in
her features.
It was summer, and harvest-time.
One afternoon, when to other people the weather
seemed very sultry, Ditha ascended a rising ground
covered with corn, which her father had had reaped
on the day previous. She walked on till she had
reached the summit of the hill, where she had a
eld of ax which had been sown late, and which
had been promising every day to burst out into
blossom. Hitherto, while the corn was growing,
she had been compelled to take a circuitous path
in order to reach her eld, but now she walked on
alone through the stubble, and her tall gure stood
still and erect on the ridge of the hill, not unlike
the pine-trees of the forest extending beyond, whose
crests seemed to point still higher up into the sky.
The reapers had seen Ditha walking up there,
just as they were returning home over the very
142 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

same corn-elds; they were earlier than usual, be


cause they apprehended a storm. They looked at
her as she passed, but troubled themselves no farther.
One of them, however, on meeting Abdias some
what later, apparently seeking Ditha, told him that
if he wanted his daughter, he would nd her on
the hill. Abdias was seeking her, for the delicate
veil of clouds now spreading over the sky, was
evidently becoming darker and thicker, although
in most parts the pure ethereal blue still reigned
undisturbed, and the sun shone down hotter than
ever. So, on hearing where she was, he ascended
the corn-eld already mentioned, and seeing Ditha
standing beside the ax, went straight up to her.
The eld was covered with blue owers, and to
the little tremulous petalstremulous even now,
though stirred by not the slightest breath of air,
clung a countless host of tiny insects.
What dost thou here, Ditha? inquired
Abdias.
I am looking at my ax, replied the maiden ;
see, yesterday there was not a single ower in
blossom, and to~day every one has opened. I
believe the stillness and warmth must have brought
them on.
Seest thou not the clouds in the sky F said
Abdias, they will pour down upon us, and we
ABDIAS THE JEW. 143

must go home, else thou wilt get wet, and perhaps


ill.
I see the clouds, answered Ditha, but they
will not come near us yet, we shall have time to walk
down the hill rst ; or even if they come earlier than
they promise, I shall not be wet, I shall go into a
little house which has been made of sheaves, I
will sit down there, and watch the silvery balls
of rain dash among the blades of corn,there is
only a little stumped piece left of each blade;
and it will be quite warm and dry inside that
little house with me.
Abdias glanced towards the western sky, and,
indeed, his childs conjecture, that the clouds would
descend sooner than they promised, seemed likely
to prove true; for the regular, pale-tinted mass of
clouds, bounding the western sky like a wall a short
time ago, had now dispersed, and severed into
fragments with white edges, changing their colour
every minute. Lower down, over the horizon,
the sky was tinged with a reddish-grey.
Abdias perceived that they would hardly. reach
the house before the rain began, and that, perhaps,
Dithas proposal was the best. As, however, he
could not believe that the slight hut of sheaves
would be able to withstand a sudden gust of wind,
he began to carry some more sheaves to the spot to
144 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

support it. When Ditha understood his purpose,


she helped him, and soon they had between them
collected such a store as was suicient to form a thick
wall of sheaves fronting the tempestuous side of the
heavens, and to make the whole so rm and strong
that it was not likely to be blown down by the wind.
He left a free opening towards the east, that they
might watch the rain and know when the storm was
abating. The covering, too, was at last ready, and
as yet not a breeze was stirring, not a drop had fallen.
The yellow stubble-eld lay stretched before them,
the blades of grass, now deprived of the shelter
afforded by the corn-stalks, never once moved aside,
and high in the air, far above the blue ax-eld,
they could hear the song of a lark, interrupted at
times by the deep growl of the distant thunder.
Ditha enjoyed the feeling of the approaching
tempest as was her wont; she turned towards the
west, saying, How glorious this is, how unspeak
ably glorious! And now that thou art with me,
father, it delights me the more.
They stood in front of their sheaf-built domicile,
gazed at the clouds, and were ready at the very
moment the rain should begin to take refuge in their
little hut. The wind must be already astir in the
upper regions of the atmosphere, for the grey veils
which are wont to precede a storm were seen rapidly
ABDIAS THE JEW. 145

fleeting past, they had already reached the sun,


already stood over the heads of the spectators, and
were gliding on eastwards.
Inside their place of shelter, Abdias had laid several
sheaves to form a seat, and he now entered and sat
down thereon. Ditha, with a childs peculiar love
of a quiet corner, seated herself close by his side in
the little yellow house. The space left open towards
the east was just wide enough to allow them a view
of a strip of stubble-eld, a strip of ax, and then
the grey aerial clouds above. And they could still
hear the lark singing in the sky above the ax. The
thunder was still at some distance, but the clouds
had now darkened the whole heavens, and had spread
not merely over their heads, but far out towards the
east.
It seems to me, said Ditha, that the clouds
are not very thick, and that they will not fall in very
large, heavy drops. What sayest thou? Ishould be
sosorry if they were to strike down those pretty deli
cate linen-owers, which have only just burst forth.
I think that even heavy drops will not strike
down the blue petals, as they have only opened to
day, and still cleave rmly to the stalk, replied
Abdias. A
I love the ax-plants dearly, began Ditha
again, after a pause.A long time ago, when the
. H
I46 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

gloomy black cloth was still over my head, Sara told


me, in answer to my questions, a great deal about
the ax, but I could not understand it then. Now
I can understand it perfectly, for I have observed it
all myself. It is a good friend to man, this plant,
Sara told me, it loves man. I know now that it is
so. First, there is the beautiful blossom on the
little green pillar; then, when that is dead, and has
been prepared by air and water, it gives us the soft,
silver-grey bres, out of which men make the web,
which, as Sara says, is their proper covering from the
cradle to the grave. Seest thou, that is true, too;
how wonderful it is, this plant, that it can be
bleached to look as white as the soft white snow. !
then they lay children in it when they are very little,
as I was once, and cover their limbs with it. And
Sara gave a quantity of linen to her daughter when
she went away to marry the stranger man who loved
her; she was a bride, and the higher the mountains
of this snow that the parents can give away with a
bride, the richer she is ;-and our servants wear
the white linen sleeves over their bare arms,and
when we are dead, they wrap the white cloths around
us, thou knowest
She was suddenly silent. It appeared to him
that he had seen a soft light ame hovering over
one side of the sheaves. He supposed it must
ABDIAS THE JEW. 147

be the phenomenon which he had before observed,


for he had already noticed Ditha"s hair and the ends
of her silk ribands standing erect. But it was not so.
When he turned to look at her, all was over. The
light he had seen was followed by a hoarse crashing
sound, and Ditha leant back against a sheafshe
was dead.
Not a single drop of rain had fallen, only the thin
clouds swept rustling across the sky, like curtains
quickly drawn. .
The old man uttered no cry-he stared vacantly
at the form before him, and could not believe that
this was his daughter. Her eyes were closed, and
the speaking mouth was still.
He shook her, he spoke to herbut she fell from
his hand, she was dead.
Abdias himself had not experienced the slightest
shock; and from the signs without, it seemed as
though the threatening tempest had never reached
the spot. The still-rolling thunder was distant as
before, no breeze had arisen, and at intervals still
sang the sky-lark.
Then Abdias arose, mechanically laid the life
less maiden upon his shoulder, and carried her
home.
Two herdsmen met him, and started with horror
on seeing him thus striding through the wind, which
H 2
I48 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

was now just rising, the head and arm of his child
hanging down behind his shoulder.
The report of the new miracle, the new judgment
of God, as it was called, ew speedily through the
country. On the third day after the event came
some brothers of his race and laid the lily in the
earth.
The thunder-storm, which had, with its soft ame,
kissed away the childs life, showered that same day
its rich blessings upon all creatures, and, like the
former tempest which had given the maiden the light
of her eyes, closed with a wide beautiful rainbow
arching far over the east.
After this event, Abdias used to sit on the bench
in front of his house, moving not and speaking not,
but gazing intently on the sun. There he sat for
very many years, his labourers tilled the elds under
the directions of the friend whom we have already
mentioned,~owers and grass sprouted from out of
Dithais gravesummer followed summer, winter
followed winterand Abdias seemed not to know
how long he had been sitting there alone, for,--so
it was generally reported,-he was crazed.
All at once he aroused himself, intending to travel
to Africa, and thrust a dagger into Meleks heart.
But he awoke too late ; he was powerless; his servants
were now obliged to carry him every morning into
ABDIAS THE JEW. 1-t9

the open air, and every mid-day and evening back to


his apartment.
Thirty years after Dithas death Abdias was still
living. How much longer he lived is not known.
In his extreme old age he lost the black scars which
had disgured his countenance, and his complexion
again became clear as it was in his youth. Many
persons have seen him sitting on the bench before
his house.
One day he sat there no longer, the sun shone on
the empty space, and on the fresh earth of his grave,
from which blades of grass were already springing.
How old he was when he died is unknown. It
was said by many that he must have long passed
his hundredth year.
The desolate Cradle-Valley is now fertile, the
white house is still standing, but has been enlarged
and improved, and the whole is the property of the
sons of Abdias merchant-friend.
Thus ended the life and career of Abdias, the
Jew.
1

I
THE HOOHWALD.
A TALE or THE THIRTY YEARS WAR.

CHAPTER I.

THE FOREST CASTLE

ON the north side of the province of Austria,


stretches a forest for the length of thirty miles
westward, beginning at the source of the river Thaia,
and extending as far as the point where Bohemia,
Austria, and Bavaria meet. Here, like needles
in crystal formations, a multitude of tall peaks and
mountain ridges shoot upwards one against another,
all crowned with the same hardy species of Alpine
r, the blue crests waving far above the three
countries whose undulating extent of hill and dale,
watered by rapid streams, lies at their feet. The
forest, as is not unusual, bends and rises with the
mountain-chain, which nally branches off to the
north for the distance of several days journey
farther.
152 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

And it was in the depths of this spot where the


forest diverges into another direction, that the
incidents occurred which we now make it our task
to relate. First, we will endeavour to bring before
the eyes of our kind readers the two points of that
gloomy but beautiful region, where the persons
described in this story lived and acted ; the persons
themselves we can introduce to their notice after
wards. Would that we were able to picture truly
only the thousandth part of the beauties of that
lone woodland valley, as they have been engraven
upon our own hearts ever since it was our privilege
to wander among them, there to dream away a part
of those two delicious dreams which Heaven grants
to every human being once in his life, and generally
both at the same timethe dream of youth, and
the dream of rst love! And their unutterable
bliss it is that concentrates in one day the happiness
of a thousand other days, rendering it the one,
single, memorable point in the dreary desert of
past, or future life, and marking the regions where
it was spent, as a fragrant, indestructible hanging
garden in the enchanted realms of glowing fancy!
When the wanderer turns his steps westwards
from the antique town and castle of Krumau, the
grey old widow of the departed Rosenberg, he will
see tiny streaks of dusky blue peeping here and
THE HOCHWALD. 153

there between insignicant hills, as greetings from


the mountain district he is approaching, till at
length, after ascending the last height, the whole
extent of blue wall stretching from north to south,
dreary and desolate, suddenly opens upon him.
Like a broad straight ribbon, it cuts with monoto
nous regularity through the western sky, enclosing
a valley where the waters of the Moldau, from
which he had parted at Krumau, again sparkle before
him,here fresher and younger, because nearer to
the fountain of their birth. The valley is wide and
fertile, with villages scattered about it, and amongst
them is seen the little market-town of Oberplan.
Thick masses of r-trees darken the path of the
traveller, for hours together, when he leaves the
valley of the Moldau, and attempts to pierce his
way through the density of the forest; at last,
following the upward course of a stream, he comes
to a wild, open space, where the dark, black surface
is broken into large, irregular mounds, apparently
the gloomy cemetery of the vegetation of a thousand
years back, and scattered with huge blocks of
granite, which rear themselves up like pale skulls
from their bed of death, having been laid bare and
fashioned into a round shape by the rain. Farther
on lies here and there the white skeleton of a fallen
tree. The waters of the stream are tinted with
H 5
I54 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

brown by the mineral with which they are impreg


nated; but so clear are they that the white sand
beneath glistens in the sunshine like grains of gold.
No trace of human hand is visible. Silence reigns
all around.
A thicket of growing underwood, still rs,
receives the wanderer after an hours ramble farther;
and on emerging from the black velvet of the soft
ground, he nds himself close beside the yet blacker
surface of a lake.
A feeling of deep awe would always take
irresistible hold of me, so often as I drew nigh to
the solitude of that fabulous lake. Like a cloth
stretched so tight that not a single fold is to be
seen, it lies softly between the hard rocks, skirted
by a thick border of dark, gloomy rs, among which
many an old branchless trunk rears itself into the
sky, like a solitary antique column. Opposite the
rs, rises perpendicularly a rocky steep, like a grey
wall, its uniform grave colour extending in every
direction, and only varied by occasional tufts of
delicate green moss and clumps of black rs
which, growing here and there at so great a height,
appear scarcely taller than bushes of rosemary.
The soil, too, not being of suicient depth for
them, they frequently lose their hold and fall into
the lake beneath ; so thaton a distant survey the
THE HOCHWALD. 155

old bark-stripped stems are seen lying below the


wall, along the shore of the lake, and hridling the
dark waters with a hedge of ghastly white. On
the right, the rocky wall rises up into a huge granite
peak, which is called the Blockenstein; on the
left it turns round, preserving the same height,
still crested by the tall pine-forest, and veiled by
a soft green covering of moss.
As in this lake the wind is literally never known
to stir the waters, they are perfectly motionless,
and the sky, the forest, and the grey rocks are
reected in its depths, as in a vast dark-coloured
glass mirror. Here you may tarry for whole days,
and indulge your fancies; not a sound will disturb
you, save, perhaps, the fall of a pine-cone, or the
brief cry of a vulture.
Whilst sitting on the shores of this lake, again
and again did the same idea haunt me: the fancy
that the s]_:_>_irit_ of Nature was_l1ere gazing into
1nyvr_y_s_9_r,il -hmerrmiiiscrutable iiiysterious eye, deep

black, shaded by the dark brows of the overhang


ing rocks, and softened by the eyelashes of gloomy
r-trees, whilst the water within was motionless,
like a petried t\ear. _
Around this lake, especially in the direction
towards Bavaria, lie deep forests, with many an
untrodden ravine, its thread-like stream hollowed
I56 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

out between the broad forest ridges; many a rocky


steep projecting up towards the sky, the thousand
spangles of its granite glistening in the sun-beams ;
many a wide tract of forest-land spreading out its
glories to the daylight, and harbouring an innite
number of wildfowl, and deer of various species.
This lake is one of the two points to which we
must call the attention of the reader; let us now
pass on to the other.
There is water here also, but of a more lively
character; it is the bright, owing_s_tream of the
Moldau, as seen from a height inthe same range of
forest-land, about ten hours journey farther towards
the east. Rendered yet brighter by the contrast of
the dusky blue of the forest-ridges, it lies hemmed
in among the curving valleys, and when viewed
from afar, might seem rst a thread of light ; then,
on a nearer approach, a uttering riband; and,
lastly, a broad silver girdle encircling the dark,
luxuriant forests, till, emerging from the black
pines and rs, the roots of which it has hither
to moistened, it suddenly gurgles up into a bright
fertile valley that smiles upon the gloomy wilder
ness surrounding it. In this valley the vagrant
stream is greeted by cultured elds and green
meadows; and amidst one of these last, standing
as it were upon a velvet cushion, is a little place
I

THE HOCHWALD. 157

bearing the pleasant name of Friedberg. Thence,


after a short interval of sparkling freedom, the
silvery waves dart onwards again rst into the shades
of the Jesuiter woods, thence into those of the
Kienberg, and, nally, are lost in the abyss of the
Teufelsmauer.
The point whence the course of this forest-stream
can be overlooked almost as far as we have described,
is a ruined baronial castle, which, seen from the
valley, bears some resemblance to a light grey cube
hovering on the uppermost ridge of a broad forest
border. The windows of Friedberg look out from
the south-west upon the ruin, and the inhabitants
call it the Thomas Peak, or Thomas Tower,
or, more frequently, St. Thoma ;" and there is a
tradition current among them that it was formerly
the lordly habitation of a race of cruel and god
less knights; moreover, that it is spell-bound, and
cannot fall to the ground; no, not even though a
thousand years should pass away, and sun and storm
labour diligently at its destruction.
Often have I sat in bygone days among those
ancient walls reading some favourite book, or listen
ing to the joyous voices within me which,prophe
sied of my y ouths futurelooking through the
blank windows into the blue heavens, or watching
the tiny golden insects which frolicked among the
158 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

blades of grass beside me; or, instead of all this,


yielding myself up in luxuriant idleness to the en
joyment of the soft, silent sunshine, as it streamed
down over walls and stonesoften and gladly have
I lingered here, even before I knew the history of
those who last inhabited this sad, deserted spot.
A grey angular tower stands upon green pasture
land, surrounded by silently-decaying outer walls;
a thousand different species of tall grass, and lovely
forest-owers grow luxuriantly among the white
stones of the court, and the smooth turf beyond
the walls are strewn in every direction with clods
of earth, plinths and blocks of granite broken into
divers fantastic shapes. No single apartment is
in habitable condition; the bare walls alone stand
up towards the clear heavens, here and there sup
porting a solitary door, or with an impassable thresh
old still clinging to them, or a row of windows
now no longer glistening in the tints of evening,
but shaded with a perfect wilderness of weeds
overhanging their cornices. No arms hang upon
the arches of the walls, save the hundred golden
arrows of the slanting sunbeams; no jewels sparkle
in the recess where costly ornaments were once
kept, save the black, kindly eyes of a red-breast
bending over her young brood; and instead of high
beams rising at the angles of the wall, many a
-
THE HOCHWALD- 109

young r-tree now raises its living green high into


the deep blue of the sky. Cellars, passages, rooms,
all are now piles of rubbish, sought out and loved
by many a dark-eyed flower. One of the rubbish
heaps reaches windows of the second oor.
He who is adventurous enough to clamber up this
pile will be rewarded by a wide prospect, which,
though in striking contrast to the scene of desola
tion immediately surrounding him, will scarcely
disturb the feeling it may have excited; for this
prospect is, indeed, boundless; it spreads in every
direction, well nigh overpowering the beholder with
its extent. His astounded and dazzled glance will
pass over peak after peak, crowned with dark rs,
and thence across a misty blue streakthat is the
blessed region beyond the Danube, with its corn
slopes and orchardstill it rests upon that vast
crescent encircling the horizon, the Norischen Alps.
The huge Briel glistens in clear weather like a
light eece suspended from the blue heavens; the
Traunstein draws a pale cloud-like outline along the
crystal of the rmament ; in ne, the whole Alpine
chain seems to surround the sky with an aerial
magic girdle, melting in the farthest distance into
veils of light, so thin as scarcely to be visible, only
a few white points glistening here and there, probably
the snow-capped peaks of the remotest range.
160 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

But let us turn northwards. There rise the


calm broad forest-ridges, their dim blue, or black,
contrasting
Towards thewith the waves
west, silveryforest
threadafter
of the Moldau.
_m1-es?-with

their cool, pleasant tints, a thin grey column of


smoke rising here and there into the clear sky
akbove. There is something inexpressibly sweet, yet
melancholy, in this landscape.
And now, dear wanderer, when thou hast looked
and looked again, let it please thee to go with me
two centuries back. Fancy these walls free from
bluebells, maple-shrubs, dandelions, and a thousand
other weeds; strew white sand around them instead ;
place a gate of good solid beech wood at the
entrance, and a protecting roof upon the tower; ll
up the empty spaces in the walls with windows;
partition out the rooms, and decorate them with all
the goodly furniture and ornaments necessary to
domestic comfort and elegance; then, when every
thing looks as in the day of prosperity, bright as
though fresh from the hands of the manufacturer
and artizan, then ascend with me the middle stair
case leading to the rst-oorbehold, the doors
y open! Well now, say, do they please thee,
yon gentle pair?
They are the daughters of Heinrich der Witting
hauser, into whose dwelling thou art now intro
THE HOCHWALD. 161

duced. Wittinghausen was the name of the castle


in olden time; since then it has been called St.
Thoma, on account of a church bearing that name
having been built in the vicinity: that church also
is now in ruins. . '
_The_.yT>h.nger sister is sitting at the window,
busied with her embroidery; and, although it is
still very early in the morning, she is already com
pletely dressed. She wears a pale blue robe of that
picturesque fashion which we see occasionally in
portraits of the period of the Thirty Years War.
Everything about it is very neat ; sleeves and bodice
are made to t closely; every fold of the skirt,
everyloop, is in its right place ; and, above the whole
dress rises a graceful little head shaded with an
abundance of axen ringlets, its maidenly youth
fulness contrasting charmingly with the antique
fashion of the full cloudlike robe beneath. It is evi
dent that the young girl takes pleasure in her dress,
and that she would not neglect the most minute
part of it. Her blonde locks, and her dark-brown
eyes form another striking contrast ; those eyes are,
indeed, almost black, especially when they suddenly
glance upwards with a startled or inquiring expres
sion, as though the youthful spirit, as yet a stranger
to sorrow or passion, still looked out of its windows
in artless surprise to nd the world so great and
162 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

glorious. Judging by her hair, she is past her


eighteenth year: by her eyes, she has scarcely
attained her fourteenthperhaps her age is between
the two.
The elder sister is not yet dressed; she is seated
in her white night-robe on a species of couch, search
ing among a heap of papers and parchment-rolls,
which she has spread over it. A profusion of jet
black hair is hanging dishevelled in one broad
stream over the snowy folds of her night-dress. The
features are regular and full of animated expression,
though somewhat pale ; her eyes, like her hair, are
black, large, lustrous, and with something of melan
choly to be traced in them.
This chamber serves the sisters both as a sleeping
and sitting-room ; for in a recess in the back-ground
stand two bedsteads, carved of oaken wood, each
one with a silken canopy, and with bright carpets
laid around it. Chairs and stools are seen here and
there, some of them covered with white articles of
dress. The praying-chairs stand, each in a window
recess, so that the sisters cannot see one an
other when praying; for true devotion, like love,
ever shuns the eye of man. On the dressing-table
is a high narrow looking-glass, with a few articles of
jewellery scattered in front. It is still very early
in the morning, as is plainly shown by the long
THE HOCHWALD. 163

shadows without, and the silvery glistening of the


pine-leaves wet with heavy dew. But the day is
bright and fair, the distant Alpine chain is seen from
the two windows, which seem to inclose the view as
in a frame, and a clear sky is spanned above.
The young girl at the window works on most
diligently, every now and then looking round at her
sister. The latter has, apparently, given up her
search, and has seized her harp, her ngers passing
dreamily over the keys, so as to call forth a succes
sion of low incoherenttones, like the few remaining
bars of a melody long forgotten; or like the rocky
points still jutting up to view from an island that
has sunk beneath the waves.
Suddenly the younger exclaimed, There now,
Qlarissa, you are trying to conceal the melody, but
for all that I know the song you would fain sing.
The other made no reply, but sang in a low voice
these two lines :
And on the stones lie whitened bones,
Beside the crown of gold.

She then ceased playing, yet without putting aside


her harp, and looked through the strings into the
innocent countenance of her sister.
The large round eyes of the latter returned the gaze
as she said almost timidly,- I do not know why
that song is so displeasing to me ; it always makes me

f
I64: LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

expect something unfortunatebesides, the words are


not at all pretty; and you know that our father does
not like to hear you sing this song so often
And yet it was written by one who was really
very kind and good, interrupted the elder sister.
Then he might as well have written a better
and a prettier song, returned the younger, hastily.
Clarissa looked up at her sister as she spoke, with
the tender pride of a mother; but the other went
on with vehemence,
A song to please me must be clear and bright as
daylight; like a day such as this, when there are no
clouds as far as you can see, but all blue,the purest
and softest blue ! Now, your favourite melodies are
all like mists and clouds, or like moonlight, which is
very beautiful, certainly, but has an awful kind of
beauty.
Oh those beloved, hovering, oating clouds !
exclaimed Clarissa, see how they spring up from
the barren wastes of the heavens! how they gleam
dreamily around the mountains, form fairy palaces,
bask in the sunny rays of noon-day, and glow at
even with soft rosy hues like slumbering children !
Oh, oanna, thou art like thine own sky, pure
and cold, and beautiful! but the time will come
when mists and vapours shall arise !man miscalls
them passionsthey will appear lovely and glorious
THE HOCHWALD. 165

to thee as they hover to and fro amid the blue ;


but from them will come the hot ashes, and the
warm rain, thy tears,and yet again of those tears
shall be blended the rainbow of promise, which
beams so gloriously, and which we never can reach ;
and then moonlight will be soothing, and melodies
such as mine will please thee. Dear child, there
are joys in this world so transporting that our hearts
could well nigh burst with the intensity of their
delight; and there are also sufferings so deepoh!
thou canst not tell how deep !
Joanna sprang up, went to her sister, and ing
ing her arms round her neck, kissed her again and
again, sa_ving,
I know it, dearest sister: thou hast had some
great sorrow: but remember how my father loves
thee, my brother, and I, and every one, --only do
not speak thus; sing rather,sing anything, even
that about the king : I know you have been thinking
of it ever since waking.
Clarissa kissed her lovely, child-like face, and
replied with a smile,
Have no fear, dearest; I will come and work
with thee now; and the beautiful owers that our
father loves so well shall grow up under our
ngers.
With this she seated herself on the other side
I66 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

of the embroidery frame, and began to ll upthe


ground-work, whilst Joanna worked on at _the
owers. One while they talked, then were silent,
but constantly was it evident that the most perfect
condence and affection existed between the two
sisters, although the elder one seemed accustomed
to exercise some kind of authority over the younger.
Joannas mind was apparently troubled with some
thing to which she was continually endeavouring
to lead the conversation; at last, with a sudden
resolution, she began to speak of a certain bold out
law, of whom she had heard that he had chosen for
his abode the westerly forests, which were, at that
time, much more extensive than they are now. The
strangest reports were current concerning him. She
declared that she had heard yesterday, that none but
a consecrated ball could have power to wound him ;
and that not
he held intercourse during
eshtheand
night with
creatures clothed with human blood. i

To all this Clarissa objected, saying that they


were mere superstitious rumours invented by the
peasantry, who always delight in horrors, and that
most probably there was no such man.
But why should there not be such a man ?
eagerly rejoined Joanna.
And if there is, replied Clarissa, depend
upon it, he is not what they describe him.
THE HOCHWALD. 167

Oh, but perhaps he is far worse. You know


that unfortunate miller of Spitzenberg; he was shot
dead by him. '
How can you speak in that way of things so
imperfectly known? The miller acted as a spy
to the Swedish armythat is why he was shot.
Yes, so it was conjectured, but no one can
prove it, and-now I must own it to youI over
heard some talk concerning this man in the ser
vants hall, yesterday evening, when the hnntsmans
boy brought my father the letter from the Knight.
This outlaw, they say, is tall, and strong as a giant
he wears a long, shaggy beard, and walks through
the wide forests for whole days together with his
rie in his hand. Of the people who live here, in
the low country, very few have as yet seen him;
but the huntsman was as near to him as I am to you,
and the outlaw it was, and no other, who committed
the murder. They found the miller in the Park
frieder woods, close to the image of the Virgin,
which stands just where the roads meet. There
was not a single wound in his body, only the holes
made through his temples by the little balls; and
no other man uses such little balls as this outlaw.
And he said something else; but that is too wicked
to be true. \
Well, what was it ?
I68 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

That this man has but to discharge his gun,


and it is sure to strike whomsoever he may be
thinking of.
How can you listen to such talk as this ? said
Clarissa, gravely, it is all sheer nonsense. How
could the all-wise and merciful Ruler of the uni
verse allow any one to possess such a mischievous
power as this would be? Is it not our duty, as
well as our happiness, to trust implicitly in His
good providence ?
Oh! do not think that I believed it, said
Joanna, condently, but when I heard all this,
and saw our maids turn pale, I felt frightened
in spite of myself, and though I wanted to go
away all the while, I could not help staying to listen
to what was said. And the huntsman described it all
so vividly; and he spoke of the forests up there,
how that they are immeasurable, impenetrable, so that
our forests are like gardens compared with them.
A strange, black, enchanted lake, surrounded with
wondrously-formed rocks and trees, is said to rest
in the very heart of the Hochwald (Htghrei),
where no axe has ever sounded since the creation.
The huntsman owned that he had never hitherto
ventured so far as the lake, but he intends to visit
it, and, moreover, always carries with him a conse
crated silver button that he may shoot the outlaw
THE HOCHWALD. 169

with it, as soon as ever he comes in sight, for he


is proof against lead.
And pray why has he not done the deed al
ready, said Clarissa, since, by your account, he
has' frequently seen him? Dont you see what a
little simpleton you are ?and as for the hunts
man, he is a chattering rogue who takes delight in
frightening people, and thus making himself appear
the greater hero. If I had been in your place, I
would not have listened to a word of all this non
sense. This gentleman of the forest is, no doubt,
a harmless sort of creature enough-or, perhaps,
indeed, an entirely imaginary personage; for all
who have ever penetrated into the Hochwald have
described it as a beautiful wilderness of owers,
herbs, and stately trees, the habitation of strange
birds, and beasts innumerable, but containing no
traces of any single human being having ever taken
up his abode there.
But kin the (_i_l\i_5ckel mountains the brook has
lately washed ashore the skeleton-head of a boar,
and the little balls were found in it.
Come, come, enough of all this, said Cla
rissa, with a smile, see what a colour you have
given to this poor rose, all through your confused
fancies about forests, lakes, bones, and huntsmen.
Joanna, who had just attained the age when tales
.., N I
170 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

of robbers and enchanters have great hold upon


the imagination, would not so readily have given up
the contest, but seeing that Clarissa would say no
more on the subject, she had recourse to the un
fortunate rose which her sister had attacked, de
fending it most zealously, and thus their conversa
tion soon turned upon embroidery in general, and
continued with such logical sequence as to pass from
work to balls, from balls to mortal accidents, and
thence to the preparations for war, comets, and silk
scarfs. Freely as the warm current of blood gur
gles up from the heart, springs up the host of bright
thoughts, and the guileless, child-like tongue gives
fearless utterance to them, the clear, full eye resting
upon ours with its bright and fearless gazeand
we cannot but love that open gaze, that child-like
talk, better than all the lore of sages. So, beyond
measure precious is that pure work of the Creator,
F the human soul, while still unconscious of the
evil surrounding it, so innitely more precious than

1
l at a later period, when, through the exercise of a
strong will, it has won its way to virtue, for then
it cannot free itself entirely from some traces of the
ery ordeal it has passed through, from the stains
that have been contracted, and, however much we
may admire the resistive power which has been ex
ercised to overcome evil, our love is drawn instinc
THE noonWarn. 171

tively to that soul to which evil is unknown. And,


therefore, was it said nearly two thousand years ago
by Him, the All-holy, Woe unto that man
who shall offend one of these little ones! And
as we now gaze on these two fair faces, and hear \\.

their words, each one as it were a pure transparent


diamond, that simple chamber, although scattered
with the common articles of daily use, may well
seem to us pure and hallowed as a church.
The sun was already high above the forests, the
bright rays of the forenoon were glittering and
sparkling among the silent trees, and a pale sun
beam was gradually spreading over the embroidery,
when a low tapping was heard at their door, and
a voice requesting admittance. Joanna sprang up
and quickly removed the bolt, whereupon there
entered one who brought a hearty welcome with
him,the father of the young damsels, who now
came into their morning-room with as much reserve
and reverence as a stranger could have done.
Although far advanced in years, his was such a
gure as might have stepped out of the frame of
some picture by Vandyke. Clad in black velvet,
tall and stately, withwhite hair, and a long beard
waving glitteringly down upon his full broad chest;
an eye strongly arched and very expressive, beam
ing from under a rock-like furrowed forehead, his
1 2
l72 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

appearance reminded one of the prophets and seers


of olden time: it was as it were agruin of manly
strength and beautya ruin still lighted up by the
mild evening rays of Goodness; it was like a late
summer succeeding heavy tempests, or the pale full
moon, faintly beaming upon the sheaves of a harvest
eld. His was one of the few forms still occa
sionally to be met with in those days, recalling the
past chivalric period to which they properly belonged,
and apparently as much out of date among their
contemporaries as a late-blossoming p_ver which
rears its head above the smooth-shorn meadow long
after all its kindred have been borne away with
the long grass into the barn.
The eyes of both his children were xed on his ;
he bade them work on, and, as they worked, his
glance rested unperceivcd upon them with earnest
ness and love.
The mother of the young girls had been dead
for ten years; and thus it was the more affecting
to see that old man with his daughters : there was
a shy tenderness in his manner towards them, as
though he were striving to make good the loss they
had sustained: and this was the more apparent
in his attention to the younger, as though she
needed it the most.
After he had inquired whether their little house
THE HOCHWALD. 173

hold lacked anything; whether any colour was


wanting for their embroidery; whether their dresses
were all in good condition; whether any of their
attendants had failed in their duty, &c.; and when
all the queries were answered satisfactorily, he
announced, with a smile, that he had ordered a
whole store of the richest and rarest articles of
apparel to be sent from the city of Augsburg, that
they might examine and choose from them whatever
they liked, and that he expected this cargo to
arrive within eight days. Meanwhile, they had
only to ascertain the state of their wardrobe that
they might know what they would be likely to
require. He then, as though anxious to banish
some painful thoughts, entered minutely, yet with
apparent interest, into all the trivial incidents of
their daily life; talked to Joanna of her pet fawn,
her red-breast, her owers; to Clarissa, of her
music and drawing-books; inquired whether she
had lately received letters from certain young
friends who lived at a distance, and what news the
letters contained. Then, turning again to his
axen-haired maiden, he asked her whether she
ever now fell asleep over her evening prayers, as
had been the case a few years ago, when she had
often been found leaning her head on the window
seat, fast asleep, her little face glowing with the
I74 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

rays of the setting sun. But, as he suddenly


lowered his tone, and asked them both whether
they were mindful always to remember their dead
mother in their prayers, they could not but feel
that there was something on his mind which he
feared to disclose to them; and their eyes were
xed anxiously on his face, though without either
of them venturing to inquire what was amiss.
Indeed, their veneration for their father knew
no bounds; and he, the aged man, as is often the
case with strong and manly natures, fostered a
sort of reverential feeling towards his daughters,
like that of a lover towards his mistress; for love,
in every form, is as shy as virtue, and reverence
more timid even than fear. But he understood
them as well as they understood him.
Carefully, so as not to disarrange it, he removed
a piece of white linen from one of the chairs; and
then, moving the chair nearer to the window and
embroidery-frame, he sat down opposite the young
maidens. But his effort to appear at ease and
unembarrassed deceived himself rather than them.
I think, he began, you know that the
Knight did not return yesterday from his hunting
excursion, but sent a messenger, with a letter. His
party has had capital sport, and a whole freight of
venison is on its way hither; moreover, he is never
THE HOCHWALD. 1 75

weary, it seems, of expatiating on the quiet,


beauty of those untrodden, woodland regions where
he has been enjoying the pleasures of the chase for
more than four weeks. It is quite touching to read
his sad farewell to these solitudes. He says: No
rude breath, no harsh sound from the noisy world,
can ever penetrate here; and when, during whole
days journeys, we see how closely and lovingly
boughs and leaves intertwine, and how perfect a
repose reigns everywhere, so that not the ten
derest blade of grass is disturbed, we can scarcely
imagine that elsewhere war and destruction have
been raging for so many years; and that, in the
world of men without, human life, that most pre:-i

cious and costly of Gods gifts, should be so wan .


tonly and carelessly destroyed, whilst here, in the 1
1
forest, the very least and most insignicant of its
vegetables are cherished and fostered with such
tender care. Only think, my children, they have
found a beautiful rocky mountain, rising above the
forest, and overlooking our castle; they fancy that
we must be able to see it from our red corner-cham
ber. We will set up the telescope there to-day, and
see if we can really discover this rock; it is called
the Blockenstein. Or, what say you, would it not be
still pleasanter, before the winter comes on, to rain
ble together through those charming wildernesses ?
I76 . LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

\
N A5.glance of deadly terror shot from .Ioannas

eyes as her father spoke. He saw it, his own eye


had been xed tenderly and inquiringly upon her.
He arose and took several turns up and down the
room, then standing still in front of hershe had
watched anxiously his every movementhe said
gravely and kindlyz Joanna, my sweet, timid
fawn !and yet it must be so, we will visit these
forests together. Do not answer me yet, my
children. I must explain to you now what we have
been doing this summer. Here is a letter from
Rosenberg; this is from Goldenkron; this from
Prague; this from Meiszen; and this last from
Bavaria. I have always spared you reports con
cerning the campaign; I would not willingly dis
turb you by recitals it would pain you to hear; I
have, however, been careful to keep up constant
communication with people in every part where the
war prevails, so that I might have exact knowledge
of all that may be impending, and make my arrange
ments accordingly. This I did as much for your
safety as for the advantage of my fatherland; and
I have thus learned that an enterprize has been
formed to march upon the lands above the Danube,
even before the winter sets in, the right wing of the
army to dele across our mountains. Now, these
Swedes know my name too well; or, even did they
THE HOC HWALD. 177

not know it, there is every reason to apprehend that


they will sweep over our domain, and that the
earliest snow-akes of the approaching winter will
probably fall upon the blackened ruins of this
house. It matters not, we can soon build the house
up again; and I have provided for your safety in
the way that seemed to me best. What I have
done to secure my property and estates I will
explain another time. Now let us speak of
that which is of most importanceyourselves.
There is a spot in the Hochwald-I have long
known it-_so lonely, so remote from human tratc,
that not a path, not a footstep, can be traced in its
vicinity ; it is inaccessible on every side save one,
and that side will be guarded, and is so marvellously,
so enchantingly beautiful, that it might well be
called the smile of the wilderness,a nest of un
earthly peace and repose. In this place stands a
house which I have had built for you this summer,
and wherein you must dwell till danger is over, and
order restored here. Not a single human creature
knows of the existence of this habitation save those
who have built it, and they are thrice bound to my
interest; rst, through the solemn oath of secresy
I obliged them to take; secondly, as my vassals,
and devoted to me through long years of service;
and, lastly, because I chose for my purpose only
1 5
I78 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

such persons as had some time ago placed the whole


of their property in my hands to be taken care of
with my ownetill the war should be ended. These
people were all conducted to the spot I have been
describing by a very steep and dangerous path across
the rocks, which has since been rendered inacces
sible by huge stones being scattered in the way.
For ourselves, we shall take a longer route, through
the hitherto untrodden forest, where the ground is
level, and where the Knight thinks that the wood
Inust be so thin as to allow even of our riding
through it. In that part where our progress might
be impeded, we shall be met by a guide, who will
have arrived thither by another way from his home,
and who will bring with him a litter to be in readi
ness for you. The Hochwald, though wilder than
those forests in our immediate neighbourhood, where
you have been accustomed to ramble, is quite as plea
sant; and, during your abode in it, you will see no
one but those who are bound to your service. This
is my plan for you, and I believe that it is a good
one. And now, my children, what say you to it .9"
But they both looked at him in silence.
Well, Joanna, he resumed with a smile, will
it grieve thee so unspeakably to leave this pretty
room ? Thou wilt nd the new one built and fur
nished exactly like this. Well ?
THE HOCHWALD. 179

Timidly she opened her lips, and the words


escaped her, as against her will, But an outlaw
and murderer is there !
Her father started angrily at this; but quickly
recovering himself, he said, calmly and rmly:
There is no such person. I am, however, very
sorry, it is extremely displeasing to me, that this
absurd report should have found its way even into
your room. No such person is there, believe me;
for during the whole three months that the Knight
has been absent, he and Felix have hunted far and
wide throughout the forest, and not content with
that, have made the minutest inquiries of all the
dwellers in the neighbourhood, in the huts of char
coal-burners, wood-cutters and foresters, concerning
the reason or unreason of this rumourit was un
necessary, except to quiet every, the very slightest,
apprehensionand nothing was known of any such
man; there was not even a tradition of him: it is
only the gossip of our own district. But it is very
displeasing to me that you should feed your fancies
with such idle stories. What! can you imagine,
Joanna, you silly girl, that your father would de
liver you into the hands of robbers and murderers ?
As for the outlaw, if you mean by that name a man
who shoots the wild creatures of the forest for his
livelihood, I grant you there is such a person: he
l80 LIFE IN .AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

is a kind old man who will be in your service, and


whom you will soon love as though he were your
father. Be content, my children, you will grieve
to leave your new abode when the time comes, and
when we shall announce to you that this castle has
risen from the ground anew, fairer and more stately
than ever it was before, a tear will gush unbidden
from your bright eyes at the thought of the sweet
home you must quit. Remember, that in a month
hence these walls will probably reek with smoke,
and this peaceful chamber resound no longer with
the sweet notes of the harp, but with the clang of
arms, and rude shouts of the Swedish soldiery: so
be of good cheer, and get ye ready. Eight days
hence we shall start on our way: or have you de
vised some other objection to my proposal ?
They had certainly no farther objection to make ;
and, though by no means reconciled to the con
templated change of abode, expressed themselves as
grateful to their father for his care, and promised to
be ready for the removal in a few days. Over that
fair and bright apartment, lighted up by the soft
rays of the morning-sun, consecrated by the pre
sence of two pure-minded girls, and surrounded by
a tranquil and richly-wooded landscape, a (l3.1l{(:If1'1lSlZ
seemed to have suddenly spread; all three.felt
some uneasiness, the father on account of his daugh
THE HOCHWALD. I81

ters, the latter on account of their fathers proposal ;


and though all endeavoured to appear unembar
rassed, not one of them could succeed.
The Baron turned to the window by way of
giving the young girls time to recover their surprise,
holding his hands before his eyes as though to count
the light eecy clouds now scattered like a ock of
sheep over the southern sky. The young maidens,
meanwhile, looked at each other-it is wonderful the
magic that sometimes seems to lie in a glanceone
warm, loving glance was interchanged between them,
and Joannas fears, but a short time ago almost over
powering, had all taken ight. Their father came
smilingly from the window, and said that if they
wished to see to-day the forest-rock and the forest
wall stretching beside it, near which stood, as in
a niche, their forest-home, it must be soon, and he
would immediately set up the telescope in the red
chamber, for, according to appearances, there would
certainly be a thunder-storm before night. And
he threw a sly glance at Joanna, whose lips, already
restored to their usual rosy hue, were just curled
into a half-suppressed smile. For it was one of
the Barons weaknesses to be continually prophesy
ing a storm, and if, once in ten times, his prophecy
were veried by the event, he professed to be rmly
convinced of the infallibility of his judgment.
I82 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

Whether he really detected premonitory symptoms


in the mirror-like sky of this day, or whether he
had only pretended to do so by way of changing
the current of their ideas, can scarcely be decided,
nor does it much signify. Undoubtedly he was
well pleased in seeing the painful excitement ex
pressed in those two beloved countenances now
fast subsiding, and thus he turned laughingly from
them towards the door. Clarissa, exclaimed he,
pausing, with his hand on the latch, do not hurry
thyself; it will be an age, I know, ere thy toi
lette is completed; but never mind, I have some
business to see to, and when you are ready you can
go into the red-room, and send word to me; but
do not hurry.
The door closed behind him.
Probably, in alluding to the length of time their
toilette would occupy, their father had only meant
to give them an excuse for lingering to talk over
the unexpected tidings; the sisters, however, were
too innocent to understand his hint, and hastened
to nish their dressing, lest they should keep him
waiting.
Once only did they pause to embrace, and thus
assure each other of mutual protection in the hour
of difculty and danger whenever it should arrive.
So wonderful is the power of love that its ray,
THE HOCHWALD. 1 83

sparkling in the eye even of the most timid maiden,


herself requiring protection, seems to build an iron
wall of condence around the heart.
Cheerfulness, trust, nay, even mirth and joyous
curiosity, were now restored to the young girls, and
they laughed merrily every time that in their haste
they made some blunder or put their things on
awry.
\Vhen they were ready they repaired to the red
chamber, and there found the Baron in the act of
administering a severe lecture to the young hunts
man for his yesterdays bragging and idle stories.
And now away with you, he concluded, on see
ing his daughters enter, away, and begone !nay,
stop one minute Sebastian, said he, in a milder
tone, as the young lad was making his escape,
am I such a terrible personage that you must
run off in such desperate haste? Make them give
thee a cup of wine down belowtwo, if you like.
Now you may go.
The huntsman left the room, and the Baron
turned to his children. Ah! so you are soon
ready, and quite gay, too,-now we will set up
the telescope, and see what we shall see."
184 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

CHAPTER II.

FOREST rmmnms.

THERE are even to this day, spreading round


the district amid which the Moldau has its source,
woods and forests where bears and even lynxes are
not unfrequently met with, but at the period of our
tale, these forests still extended over all those
mountainous tracts which are now cultivated, and
scattered over with villages, small enclosures, White
churches, red crosses, and little gardens planted
with thriving forest-shrubs. At that time the thick
woodland covered eight or ten hours journey in
breadth, in length it extends, even at the present
day, over the space of several days journey.
A fresh forest-streamlet, gushing forth clear and
bright as liquid glass, from a thicket of moist, green
alder bushes, hollows out its channel along a wind
ing valley, and through this valley there now leads
a trodden path towards the village of Hirschbergen,
whose picturesque wooden houses are seen here and
THE HOCHWALD. I85

there on the declivities on either side of the brook.


These declivities are clothed with meadows of the
loveliest mountain-green, affording rich pasture to
many a herd of cattle, whose bells are heard at
intervals, their soft, melodious chime breaking plea
santly upon the deep stillness of the forests above.
At that time, however, neither village nor path was
in existence, and valley and brook were far love
lier, far fresher, than now, and the whole length and
breadth of the ravine were overgrown with tall trees
of the most different species. On one side of the
brook they grew so thinly that the green turf spread
itself like a delicate coverlet between the stems,
forming a carpet soft enough for the foot of a kings
daughter. But no foot at all, it seemed, had ever
touched this ground, unless it were that of a roe, as
she came to drink at the water, or wandered for her
pastime among the trees and the sunshine. The
day, however, was now come when the host of
grasses and wild owrets springing from this turf
should, unlike their thousands of ancestors who had
ourished and died in unbroken solitude, behold
something different from the bowery foliage, and
blue heavens, and hear other sounds than the rip
pling murmur of the wavelets.
For clear, silvery, human voicesmaidens voices-
suddenly penetrated through the stems, accompanied
I86 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

by the occasional tinkle of a delicate bell. As though


listening intently to the new marvel, the wilderness
held its breath, not a bough, not a leaf, not a blade
would stirthe sunbeams streamed down silently
upon the grass, imprinting upon it hues of blended
green and gold,the air was motionless, empty,
deep-bluethe brook alone, obedient to the law of
its Creator, prattled unceasingly, rippling over the
enamel of its pebbles, as over a kaleidoscope of
many-coloured glass.
Nearer and nearer approached the voices and the
bell. Suddenly a form, fary-like as Libussas
mother of olden time, sprang forward clad in snow
white raiment and mounted on a snow-white palfrey,
which eeted over the turf, and passed through the
trees with the shy, airy tread of a roe. Two eyes,
bright as diamonds,Joanna's eyeswere sparkling
with pleasure at the beauty of the scene, and with
eager expectation of all that remained to be re
vealed of the glories of the forest. And her pal
frey, revelling in the fresh air, bounded forwards,
now prancing with delight, now coyly bowing his
head and neck, as though to make the silver bell,
fastened by a sky-blue riband to his neck, tinkle
again and again for his own pleasure.
Behind Joanna now appeared Clarissa, also ha
bited in white, but mounted on a dark-brown
THE HOCHWALD. 187

steed, which had not the childish decoration of


a bell.
The stately old Baron presently came in sight,
and by his side a fair, axen-haired youth, scarcely
more than a boy-this was Felix, the brother of the
young girls. Both were on horseback, and the
party was nally augmented by a fth personage, a
tall man with a very animated expression of counte
nance, who leisurely guided his horse between the
slender forest-pillars which hemmed them in on all
sideshis dark eyes, so it seemed, bent thought
fully on the two graceful forms hovering in front.
The wild-owers looked up and listened, the
squirrel sat still upon his beechen bough, the but
teries uttered aside as they advanced, and the
branches, arching above them, east their glistening
emerald lights and waving shadows upon the white
robes as they passed along; the woodpecker darted
back into the thicket, stem after stem receded till
gradually only little white spots were seen itting
among the green trellis-work,and these too va
nished at last. The horseman who was hindermost
of the party, plunged into the depth of the forest
and disappeared,and again were the bright green
turf, the sun-lighted stems, left alone, stillness and
solitude, broken only by the ever-prattling brook,
reigned as of old,-all was as before, save that the
188 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

trampled herblets were striving to raise themselves


anew, and that the turf betrayed a few slight
woundsthe party was goneour pleasant wood
land nook had seen human beings for the rst
time.
Still following the brook, not, however, along its
course, but contrariwise up towards its source, the
procession passed on, often making sundry cir
cuitous windings to avoid places where boughs hung
low, or trees grew thick. And great pleasure they
had in observing the various forms, and modes of
growth of these different trees. There was the
many-branched alder, growing close to the water
the light beech, with its bright-tinted stemthe
strong oak~the pliant rs, standing sociably in a
cluster, and, as it might seem, conversing together
every time a gust of wind swept across them
the aspen, with all its leaves quivering and shaking,
forming a tremulous fan of green and silverthe
venerable maple, standing solitary and stretching its
long arms into the airthe pines, apparently ambi
tious of forming stately colonnadeswhile bushes
and brambles, the children of the forest, were pressed
together, or shoved aside to make way for the dis
tinguished guests. These guests are now arrived.
Unconstrained and happy they move swiftly along
the valley.
. THE HOCHWALD. 189

Whoever now beheld the maidens faces, as they


beamed from out their white uttering veils, would
scarcely have imagined that but a little while ago
they felt so much dread of this same forest-wilder
ness. Jqanna was almost always the foremost of the
party, it was her nature to be at one time inordi
nately timorous, at another as inordinately adven
turous, and no trace could now be discerned of the
tears which had dimmed her eyes at leaving home.
The splendour and glory of the forest were now
surrounding her, and every step afforded fresh food
for her imagination. Whether it were a strange
bush covered with bright red berriesor a mighty
tree of unwonted sizeor the many-coloured mush
rooms that sprang up here and thereor a glowing
sunbeam suddenly darting upon some hidden nook,
setting the bushes in front of her alight, as it
seemed, with a strange green re, and drawing forth
silvery sparks from the scarcely visible forest-stream
or were it one of those liquid tones, the out
pouring of love, joy, complaint, or warning, from
the throat of some forest-bird hidden far within the
depths of the woodlandall these sights or sounds
were rapturously received into a mind open to enjoy
their beauty. And Clarissas ne countenance was
raised towards the blue sky that peered in here and
there between the overhanging boughs, the fresh air
190 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

had imparted a faint colour to her cheek, usually so


pale, the wild majesty of the forest had sunk deep
into her soul, and silently and unconsciously she
surrendered herself to its inuences. Even the old
Baron felt his limbs invigorated by the breeze which
played round his brow, and rode on with something
of the joyous sprightliness of youth.
Thus they continued their way, and although
trees and bushes at times clustered closely together
as though to forbid their progress, some bye.way
could always be found through which they could
penetrate deeper and deeper into the valley, which
formed a cradle for the brook springing forth to meet
them.
VVherever the nature of the ground permitted,
the Baron rode by the side of his daughters. Felix
was alternately the companion of his sisters, or fall
ing back to join the silent horseman in the rear.
At last the ground rose so steeply, and the trees
grew so thickly, as to make their progress diicult ;
still they pressed on till they reached a rock which
appeared to shut out the prospect entirely. And
here, just where the rock glistened in the after
noons rays, sat an old man, his head supported
between his hands, as though he were asleep, or in
a deep reverie, a gun and a long staff lying by
his side. At the young girls approach he rose up
THE HOCHWALD. 191

and uncovered his head; he had worn a broad hat ;


and now that he raised it, snow-white hair was seen
falling back from a high, arched forehead, bronzed
by the sun, and furrowed with the lines of age. A
pair of large, honest, black eyes, contrasting
strikingly with the white eye-brows above them,
looked up into the maidens faces. His rough, sun
burnt cheeks testied to a healthy old age.
Joanna was startled and almost frightened for one
moment, then, quickly remembering that they were
to meet a guide at this rock, she returned his greet
ing graciously. And at a second glance she could
not but be well pleased with her new acquaintance,
such an iron simplicity and goodness were expressed
in his countenance, as he stood there gazing at the
party.
One after another they all dismounted, and the
old. Baron quickly stepped up to the guide and
shook the hand which he had unhesitatingly offered,
saying, God greet thee, Gregory ! God greet thee !
thus again we meet each other: but, my boy, we
have grown old, very old, since the last time we
hunted together in the .Iungwaldyes, very old.
Undoubtedly they were grown old, as was sul
ciently manifest to their young companions. Yet
it was a pleasant thing to see them stand together,
those two venerable old men, so alike, and yet
I92 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

so different. The Baron, as usual, habited in a


black velvet mantle; the other in the coarsest grey
cloth; the Barons countenance, though embrowned
and furrowed, almost white as a virgins in com
parison with the swarthy hue of the other,a very
carpet.-knight when contrasted with this son of
the rock, this companion of the noon-day glare, and
nightly storm; the one exhibiting all the grace
that camp and court can teach, the other the\gun
taught graces of nature. Seventy years long had
rain and sunshine visited them both; they are
somewhat weather-beaten, yet beautiful and vene
rable are both, and their silvery hair lies upon
their heads with all the child-like simplicity of old
age.
Yes, was Gregorys reply, we must have
weathered a handful of years since then; I am very
glad to see you again, Sir Baron; you were a plea
sant and kind gentleman always.
And you a merry, jovial huntsman. Look you,
I have never forgotten past times, and when the
boy yonder told me how he had met with you in
the forest, and how friendly you had been to him,
my old heart rejoiced over the tidings, and I thought
he has not forgotten the boys father, and there
fore, Gregory, I conde my children to thy careGod
gave me the thought to choose thee for this charge,
run noon WALD. 193

my own old friend and comrade. See, these two


young girls are mine, they will like thee well, and
honour the hand and head that watch over them.
The old man's eyes glistened as with a beam of
melancghgly_pleasure on hearing this, and xing his
eagle glance upon the maidens, he said, They are
two lovely forest-owers, it were a pity any harm
should befal them.
Come nearer, Joanna, said the Baron, give
thy hand to this man; he will now live with you
both for a long time.
Joanna came forward instantly. The old man
stretched out his hand with a sort of blushing hesi
tation, and her little soft hand fell like a dove into
the rock of his ngers. Clarissa, too, extended hers
unbidden, and Felix and the stranger-horseman
bade him heartily welcome.
The old huntsman was evidently much pleased
with the fair young creatures who were to be en
trusted to his care. He now turned to the Baron
and explained the arrangements he had made. The
horses were to be sent back as soon as the Barons
people should arrive to take charge of them. The
party was then to proceed over the Hirsch-fels; be
yond the rock a litter would be found waiting for the
ladies, and the rest would accompany them on
foot. .
K
I94 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

Whilst he yet spoke, three men came over the


rock, and respectfully greeted the Baron. They
were those whose services he had engaged. The
horses were given over to them forthwith, with
the charge to take them back as far as Perneck,
and there await farther orders. Joanna half em
braced her favourite white palfrey, and he, as
though troubled at parting from his fair mistress,
followed his conductor with a saddened eye, and
sunken head.
Some refreshment was taken at the rock, and
then their wanderings were begun again. The Baron
and the stranger-horseman, whom the rest were
wont to address by the appellation of Knight,
were no longer the guides of the party, their au
thority was now transmitted to the old huntsman.
The Baron laughed heartily as he told him how
that his foolish daughter Joanna had taken him
to be an outlaw, practising all kinds of mischief
and wickedness in this horrible dark forest, and
how at rst sight she had changed her mind, and
was pressing onward as eagerly as though she were
in fary-land. There was now only one shorocky
path to be clambered up, and they were all again
on the green sward, where two men were waiting
with a litter. The young girls were lifted into
it, and with the old huntsman at their head, struck
THE HOCHWALD. 195

out upon a path which wound round the valley of


the Hirsch Mountains.
The afternoon-sun was already fast sinking into
rest, spinning many a golden thread among the
dark pointed leaves of the pine-branches, and throw
ing many a ray of glowing light upon the extended
boughs, and glittering fruit of raspberry and black
berry bushes; the distant mountain-peaks basked
tranquilly in the sunshine, and the linnet still
warbled his song as he itted from bough to bough ;
the different morning voices of the forest were,
however, now hushed, most of the birds were either
seeking their food, or silently ying to and fro
among the branches. Ever and anon the wan
derers reached an -open space, affording a wide
prospect over the forest-ridges, which with valleys
hollowed between them extended on every side, all
oating in that dim soft blue afternoon mist, the
herald of bright days to come, and varied here
and there by the bright sunny green of a group
of beech-trees, or. of an open spot carpeted with
turf. So far as the eye could reach, nothing could
be discerned but this same forest-mantle spread
over hill and dale, and stretching as far as the
delicate line of the horizon. Even when they had
ascended a hillock entirely free from trees, and old
Gregory had stopped the litter that they all might
K 2
I96 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

pause to enjoy the prospecteven then, though a


wider extent of land was unfolded to their view,
not one sign of human habitation was visible,
everywhere was the forest, the wild, untrodden,
virgin forest.
A solemn spell seemed to have been cast over
these tranquil dim-blue massesthe travellers gazed
for one minute in silence, their hearts were open
to receive the repose and solemnity of the scene.
For there is a calm majesty, I might almost say,
an inuence as of virtue and moral power, in the
face of Nature, whilst unpolluted by the touch of
man, to which the soul must bow, as to some
thing pure and divineand yet, after all, it is
that very soul which imparts her own inward great
ness to the outward scene. I
We receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does Nature live.
The young girls, as they gazed from out their
narrow litter, like two angel-faces looking out
of a frame, could not but feel deeply impressed.
Old Gregory at last pointed out to them a dark,
sloping forest-ridge to the right, streaked with
grey rocks, which were, however, scarcely per
ceptible through the darkening hues of the evening
sky. See, said he, that is the end of our
journey, and we must to-day traverse nearly two
THE HOCHWALD. 197

thirds of the forest-lands as far as that distant line.


This is a wonderfully pleasant spot, and I knew
that it would please you, but the sun is sinking,
and we must get on.
Yes, he continued, when the litter had again
been lifted up, and was being borne down the other
side of the hill, yes, fair ladies, the forest is very
beautiful, oftentimes I think it is much more beau
tiful than the choice gardens and elds which men
makefor themselves. And, indeed, the forest itself
igtigarden, a garden belonging to a great and rich
Master who has a thousand servitors to tend it,
and there are no weeds in it, because the Master
loves and prizes every single little herbbesides,
He needs them every one for His many thousand
guests, some of whom are dainty and will have
especial food provided for them. Look you, I had,
some twenty or thirty years agoit is many hours
journey from herea few cows, a good many goats,
also elds of oats and barley,now all these belong
to my grandson,but when I still kept house, I
used on a Sunday to wander far, far into the depths
of the forest musing on various matters, sometimes
so intently, that I paid no heed to the wild creatures
around me, and that day was happier, pleasanter to
me than all the other days in the week, and ofttimes
it seemed as though I had been present at a more
198 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.
"
Iv glorious vesper-service than that which was cele
I41"
brated in church, for, look you, I always brought a
good and tranquil conscience home with me from
the forest, and that more and more every time.
And it could not be otherwisefor as gradually I
took more pleasure in my wanderings, and went
farther and farther, and when I gave up the house

.I
J I began to
keeping to my sontoLambrecht,
listen andofhad
all the voices themore leisure,
forest, niy
v

ears were gradually opened to hear them, and my


_ /
1
mind to understand their language, and that lan
guage spoke to me incessantly of the glory and
mysterious love of the great Gardener. And often
have I fancied as though I must behold Him walk
ing in the distance among the treesyou look at
me strangely with your bright eyes, lady, but when
you have lived here long you will learn as I have
learned. In everything here there is sense and
feeling, the very stone clings to its sister-stone,
and holds it fast; everything presses forward, every
thing speaks, everything listens, it is only man who
is startled and shrinks back when only so much as
one word of the language of Nature becomes intel
ligible to him. But he need only wait in patience,
and then he will nd that every voice speaks words
of love and goodness.
Joanna looked with unconcealed amazement into
THE HOCHWALD. 199

the face of this genuine son of the forest, and it


began to acquire fresh dignity and beauty in her
eyes. They had meantime reached the valley with -
its gushing brooklet, and Gregory was compelled to
break o' his discourse and make some arrangements
necessary for the continuance of their journey.
Father, said Joanna, in a low voice, what a
singular man is this to whom you have given us in
charge !
My child, replied her father, this is a rough
diamond, a jewel of the wilderness. No one can
be so unconscious of his own worth as he is: thou
wilt often listen to his talk as to the chime of silver
bells, thou wilt learn many things from him, and
whilst thyself and sister abide in solitude, far from
home, he will be to you both, as an interpreter of
the mysteries of the wilderness. Years ago we
spent whole days together; he was then younger
and of a more ardent temperament than now, yet
even at that time his mind seemed to live in an
atmosphere of its own, as in a luxuriant tropical
clime; and often when on long afternoons we went
forth alone on some distant hunting expedition, and
he took courage and became familiar with me, his
strange, superstitious fancies, about owers, trees,
clouds, and sunshine, lled me with such plea
sant, confused thoughts, that it seemed as though
200 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

some one were reading to me out of a beautiful


book of ancient poetry and legends. There were
those who laughed at him, and to them the fountain
of his thoughts was closed up as with rocks; but I
loved him, and he loved me. He it was who rst
showed me the beautiful solitude whither we are
now wending our way, and he it is who has con
sented, no t_ for the sake of lucre, but for his love to me,
to dwell with you in your forest-abode, and protect
you with the rich treasure of his experience.
The subject of this conversation now re-approached
the litter. The brook which they were following
upwards to its source was no longer the bright,
forest stream of the valley of the Hirschberge, but a
wild, foaming mountain torrent, its clear, transpa
rent waters now revealing the brown rock beneath,
now glowing with golden re caught from the de
clining sunbeams. On they passed along its shores,
and the men carrying the litter strode hastily from
stone to stone, the huge, white fragments washed
clean by the torrent lying scattered here and there
upon the black, marshy ground. The land rose
gently towards the blue wall which Gregory had
pointed out. The wander.ers began to hasten their
steps, for the edge of the wall, which ever as they
approached it, rose higher and bolder before them,
was already bright with the beams of the setting
THE HOCHWALD. 201

sun, falling in broad streams of light upon it, and


casting a pale, golden hue over the wide forest
tracts opposite. But the crescent moon had already
risen in the cool, grey, eastern horizon, as though
waiting the time when her clear, calm light should
be needed. The ground now rose more steeply,
and the scene grew wilder and wilder. Many a
withered trunk, many a huge decaying bough, en
tangled\with long tendrils and climbing-plants, ob
structed their way; ferns, rising to the height of
human stature, clustered around them, and rasp
berry-bushes so thickly covered with fruit that, at
a distance, it seemed as though a crimson cloth had
been thrown over them.
As they passed an aspen-tree, the leaves of which,
although not a breath of wind was astir throughout
the forest, were in a continual quiver, Clarissa turned
to the old huntsman, who had resumed his place at
the side of the litter, and observed, that as he had
learned to understand the language of the forest,
perhaps he could explain to her why it was that the
leaies of this tree could never rest, but must be
always trembling and agitated.
There are two opinions on this subject, he
replied. I will repeat both. My grandmother
told me in the days of my childhood, that when
our Lord was walking on this earth. all the trees
K 5
202 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

bowed down before Him excepting the aspen, and


that therefore it was condemned, like the Wandering
Jew, to eternal unrest, and must tremble and shiver
at every breath; and that thus the grandsons and
great-grandsons of that arrogant tree remain all over
the world a timorous race, ever quivering and whis
pering amid the calm repose of the forest or neigh
bouring trees. And, therefore, in my boyhood, I
never looked upon that condemned tree without a
half-shudder, and its ceaseless unrest was a torment
to me. But onceit was on an afternoon in Whit
suntide, and there was a storm gatheringI saw-
I was a _full-grown man thenan unusually large
tree of this kind standing on an open, sunny spot,
and all its leaves were still; they hung suspended
in the air as utterly, awfully motionless as though
they had been petried; and not a breeze was felt
throughout the wide forest, not a note was heard
from a single bird, no sound was there save the
drowsy hum of the insects as they itted round the
trees. So I looked xedly at the stem of the aspen,
and as it stretched out towards me its smooth, po
lished, heart-shaped leaves on their long, slender
stalks, a new thought came intomy mind. I said
to myself, If all the trees bowed before our Lord,
certainly this tree must have done so too ; for all are
equally his creatures, and there is no pride or wicked
THE I-IOCHWALD. 203

ness in the vegetables of the earth, as in men ; they


follow the Lord's bidding in simplicity, they
thrive, their owers blossom, their fruit ripensand
therefore has their Master neither chastisement nor
reward for them, He loves them all alike. As to
the trembling of the aspen, it must certainly be
occasioned by the very long, thin stalks on which
its leaves are set, atly, like tiny tablets, so that
they are stirred and fanned by the least breath of
air, and then turn round and move about in order to
regain their former position. And thus it must be ;
for since then I have frequently, on very calm days,
seen aspens in perfect rest; and on other days when
they trembled I have listened with pleasure to their
rustling whisper, and have sought to love them the
more, and thus to make amends for having formerly
thought so ill of them. And it is to me a very
solemn moment, when even these light-footed leaves
are still,it happens mostly before a storm, when
the trees of the forest are waiting to hear the voice
of the Almighty, who is about to come and shower
down nourishment upon them. Look, lady dear,
see how slight is the foot-like joint that unites the
stalk to the wood, and the leaf to the stalkand
the leaf,
leaf l too, how pliant and
l thinit is a beautiful

With these last words he had torn down a twig


204: LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

from one of the aspens and given it to Cla


rissa.
It is a sign that we shall have a ne night, he
added, when these twigs are so much alive; they
generally become quieter before a night-rain.
Shall we have to journey in the night, then ?
inquired Joanna.
If it were so, replied the huntsman, it
would not matter. The moon, you see, is already
rising yonder, and it gives light enough for good
and wakeful eyes : but I think we shall hardly need
its light.
The foliage became less thick, and the dark rs
and pines seemed to draw back towards the moun
tains, the red glance of departing day faded slowly
from the opposite ridge, and grey, evening mists
rose from the valley, while the crescent-moon shone
forth more and more brightly in the cold-blue
eastern sky.
The Baron had to push his way through ferns
and climbing-plants in order to keep his place by
the side of the litter. Felix and the Knight had
fallen far in the rear, engrossed by some very inter
esting conversation, Ever and anon the brook dis
appeared, owing on under huge blocks of stone:
even its rippling seemed hushed.
And thus for another half-hour they continued
THE HOCHWALD. 205

their way, and thick darkness already loomed out


from the depths of the r-boughs, which pressed
round so closely as continually to brush against the
litter. Suddenly a ash as of glittering silver
darted through the trees, they descended a slight
declivity, and found themselves on the brink of the
smooth surface.of a sheet of water in which oated,
like a pale cloud, the dimmed reex of the moon.
An exclamation of surprise escaped the lips of the
young girls at the unexpected sight of this beautiful
lake, on such high ground, and a momentary shud
der thrilled through Joanna, as she immediately
knew it to be the Enchanted Lake of which she
had heard so much. The tall pines which stood
along the shore seemed to grow taller as the dull
coloured mantle of twilight, in which they had
hitherto been shrouded, fell slowly, almost so
lemnly, from off their heads, and their forms rose
massive and giant-like before her. The opposite
wall of rock in its hue of silver-grey melted into
the air, scarcely distinguishable from it, as though
of air itself, and the waters swelled and owed in a
gentle, soothing measure. I
The Baron bade the young maidens get out of
their litter, and very willingly did they leave their
narrow prison. A boat lay close to the shore pro
vided with an awning and seats. They all got into
206 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

it, and the two men who had carried the litter,
together with two others who had been standing
beside the boat, guided the little vessel out into the
lake straight up towards the rock. The forest
masses receded and gradually narrowed into the
form of a high, thick, dark-green wall embracing the
waters, the rock approached nearer, and rose so per
pendicularly, so absolutely, as it were, out of the lake,
that it seemed difcult to imagine where the party
could possibly land, not so much as a stone the size
of ones hand could be seen to offer rm footing.
So thought the maidens, when a new wonder took
place in this land of wonders. Just as they reached
the rock, it retreated, and left a pleasant turf
covered plot of ground between itself and the lake,
and on this fair lawn stood a spacioiis cottage built
after the fashion of mountaineers houses, all its
windows glistening with silvery brightness beneath
the pale light of the moon.
Their journey was at an end. The female at
tendants of the sisters rushed out of the house
towards their gentle mistresses, full of joy that they
had at last arrived; for all the servants required
here, viz. two maids and three men, had been a
few days previously conveyed hither by the dan
gerous path across the rocks, the easier though
more circuitous route through the forest being a
THE HOCHWALD. 207

secret which Gregory had imparted only to the


Baron.
With a few gracious words the young girls thanked
the men who had borne their litter and rowed them
ashore, and then, the Baron giving his arm to Jo
anna, the Knight conducting Clarissa, they were
led up the steps of the cottage into a sort of dining
hall, where the whole party, including the servants,
partook of an evening-meal prepared for them.
This being concluded, the Baron led his daughters
into the rooms destined for their private use. A
second exclamation escaped them, for these rooms
had been made and furnished exactly like the
rooms they had occupied at Wittinghausen. Their
father kissed each on the forehead, wished them
good night in their new dwelling, and quitted the
room; the maids also were immediately dismissed ;
and then, when the door was bolted, the ood of
feeling bursting forth as though it had hitherto been
restrained by force, the young girls rushed into each
others arms, heart to heart, face to face.
Their home is gone, is lost! their childhood"s
life is cut o from the future, themselves are trans
planted, as it were, into an enchanted land where
all is new, all is strange, and even ominous.
But before going to rest they went out upon the
wooden balcony outside their windows, and gazed for
208 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

a long time into the cool, calm night. The lake


lay beneath them, black shadows and a bright sky
oating within it, the trees of the forest seemed
wrapped in slumber, the pale moonbeams lay upon
the mountains; and over the valley, through which
the wanderers had come, was spread a quiet mist.
Good night, ye loving hearts ! good night !
THE HOCHWALD. 209

CHAPTER III.

THE FOREST HOME.

ON the morning of the next day the Baron,


Felix, and the Knight took leave. The Baron
declared that he held it his duty to return to his
castle, in order to defend it against foraging parties,
or, in case it should be attacked by a large force, to
surrender it upon honourable, perhaps advantageous
terms, and thus, by trusting to the military honour
of the Swedes, and yielding himself up as prisoner, to
prevent all inquiry respecting the other inhabitants
of the castle, no one being likely to trouble himself
about women, when the lord of the fortress himself
was in their hands. Felix, in spite of the entreaties
of his father and sisters, could not be prevailed upon to
stay with the latter. As to moveable goods, money,
&c., the Baron now explained that he had entrusted
them to the bosom of the earth, and that if his daugh
ters went to the image of the Virgin set up under
the large beech-tree in Wittinghausen forest, and
210 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

raised the stone of the ninth step, they would find


under it a tin-box containing full information on
this point. He told them this in case any accident
should befall himself: only Felix and the Knight
had hitherto been admitted into the secret.
And, therefore, he concluded, they must not give
way to any feelings of discomfort ; their safety was
secured by their utter loneliness. He left behind
him three men who were to procure necessary pro
visions, Gregorys youngest grandson, too, would he
sent from time to time on errands between their
new home and Wittinghausen, so that nothing sus
picious might take place on the borders of the forest
without its coming to the knowledge of Gregory,
who was to be absolute ruler and director of their
little household. In further assurance of their
safety, the Baron described to them the position of
their habitation; the inaccessible wall of rock behind
it, the Blockenstein rising perpendicularly to the left,
and the passage to the right cut off by an articial
creek lled with water from the lake, and shut in
by a thicket of tall pines, so that there could be no
access to the spot but by crossing the lake. And
even should a party of soldiers make their way to
this solitude, Gregory knew of a cavern in the high
rocks at some distance, where he could conceal them
till the danger was past. Two boats, one large and
THE HOCHWALD. 211

one smaller, were at their disposal, but not for an


instant must either of them be left on the opposite
shore, nor must they ever extend their walks beyond
the lawn between lake and rock unless Gregory
accompanied them. These precautions might be
excessive, but, at least, it would be a satisfaction to
him to know that he had not omitted any. They
need be in no fear of wild beasts; it was a pecu
liarity of these forests that a wolf had never been
met in them, lynxes were seen but seldom, and only
in the thickets, and if a bear ventured within sight,
it was a harmless, well-mannered creature, who
would scamper off again at full speedhe knew
this from experience; besides, Gregorys gun would
always be at hand. Thus, he thought, they must
be secure from harm unless anything miraculous
happened, and for the rest they were in the Al
m ightys hands,--He was present everywhere.
The Baron then cautioned his daughters to be
ware how they carried lights about the house, as it
was built of wood, for which reason he had had a
little stone outhouse constructed for the kitchen.
In the chest standing in the eating-room they would
nd a store of silk, linen, and woollen stuffs, also
an abundance of implements as well as materials for
work, books, paper, ink, and colours. The harp
was in the three-cornered chest; he hoped it had
2I2 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

suffered no injury from having been let down from


the rock with ropeswhen they returned he would
have it brought by way of the Hirschenthal. Last
of all, he told them that the Knight would leave
them his telescope, so that they might occasionally
mount the Blockenstein and look towards Witting
hausen, see if the castle were still in its old place,
and send their father a greeting.
The tears came into his eyes as he spoke, he
kissed his daughters and gave them his blessing,
and Felix threw his arms around them with an
almost convulsive expression in his features. Their
mysterious companion, thqlgnight, stood aside the
while, gazing xedly at Clarissa. She, however, as
she disengaged herself from her brother's embrace,
and her dark eyes met his, held out her hand to
him, thanking him warmly and repeatedly for having
lavished so much strength and time in order to
ensure her own and her sisters protection. She
wished, she said, most ardently wished, she could
prove her gratitude otherwise than by wordsif
it were but in her power, she added, lowering her
voice.
Joannas eyes were xed eagerly upon the Knight
as he replied, calmly, All that I have done was
for you and Joanna; I have had pleasure in doing
it, and it grieves me that you think of compensa
THE HOCHWALD. 213

tion. Do whatever you will; it will always be


right.
There was silence for a few moments: then Jo
anna turned to the Knight as in sympathy, saying,
as she offered her hand, Farewell; and mind you
come to us again very soon.
I thank you, fair cousin, he replied, with a
smile; but when that soon may be, depends
upon a higher Power, not my own will, since I am
now bound for the Imperial army, and cannot return
until the campaign be ended.
One more embrace, one more pressure of hands
the three men quitted the roomin another minute
they were on the shore, and the young girls stood
for a long time at the window, watching them as
they stood in the boat, and slowly drifted down
the water; at last they disappeared in the pine
forest beyond, and the two servants rowed back
with the empty boat. .
Strange and startling must it have been to the
sisters when, on the rst days of their abode in the
wilderness, they awoke and beheld the morning sun
stream its earliest rays of light over forest and forest,
nothing but forest,when the atmosphere around
them was lled with the wild music of the morning,
not such sounds as were familiar to them from their
childhood, such sounds as are heard among the
2l.4 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

habitations of men, but a wild uttering, a calling,


screaming, and rejoicing, with now and then a tone
issuing from the nearest pine-branch so like a word
spoken by a human voice that they started, and
looking out from their window, a strange-looking
bird would hop forward upon his bough, and fami
liarly nod his head to them as though they had
been old acquaintances. Meantime, from the dells
and valleys beneath arose the morning mists like
clouds of incense, the earths daily offering to the
bright heavens.
On the rst morning of their arrival Joanna woke
very early, and, curious to see how the lake looked
by day, crept lightly by her sisters couch and
went out on the little wooden balcony. Greatly to
her surprise she saw a stag standing in the water,
close to the thick hedge of rs directly opposite,
and a large and very beautiful stag it was. With
mingled pleasure and admiration she gazed at the
noble animal, who, on his part, stared with his
calm wondering eyes upon this new inhabitant of
the wilderness, the white gure hovering above
him in the morning air: the house, too, seemed
somewhat to puzzle him. This little scene lasted
only a few minutes, for, upon Joanna moving, the
stag threw back his head, as though with sudden
fear, slowly turned away, and strode back into the
THE HOCHWALD. 215

bushes, shaking the dewdrops clinging to them into


the lake.
Their garden, so they called the large plot of
turf around the house, they soon wandered over
and thoroughly surveyed. It was a bright green
natural meadow, shaped like a crescent, lying be
tween the lake and the rock, open to the morning
and noonday sun, and shaded only late in the after
noon by the rock-wall, when the r-thicket beyond
the lake glistened in the gloom of twilight. This
meadow sloped gently up towards the huge rocks
which rose suddenly and perpendicularly above it,
several rapid torrents gushing out from the crevices,
and washing heaps of pebbles down upon the soft
green carpet of the turf. Very near the house
stood a group of beech-trees and gigantic maples,
their brilliant green contrasting pleasantly with the
dusky hues of the pines and rs. Tables and
benches had been placed under the shade of these
trees. Nor must be forgotten an icy-cold foun
tain gurgling up from a natural basin of rock, and
so transparent that, but for the damp stones, it
would have been diicult to distinguish the water
from the surrounding air.
Certainly it was not without reason that their
father had described this spot as wondrously
lovely; it was, indeed, a warm peaceful oasis, pro
216 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

tected from human intrusion, as from the elements,


rocks and lake, and guarded by the holy stillness
of the wilderness around.
The house was of wood, and at-roofed; it con
sisted of a ground-oor, and one upper story, with
a balcony running round it. Close to the entrance
was Gregoryls room, then the servants rooms, and
beyond them the store-chambers. In the upper
story there was an eating-room, and two apartments
for the young girls, also an ante-chamber for the
maids. The house was, though built much after
the same plan as the cottages now forming the
forest-hamlets in the neighbourhood, much more
spacious, and it was tted up with more taste and
care than could have been expected in a merely tem
porary residence, for the Baron had neglected
nothing which could add to the comfort and enjoy
ment of his daughters.
Their rst excursion beyond the limits of their
little domain, was to the Blockenstein, in order to
try the telescope. Gregory and the three men, all
armed, accompanied the sisters across the lake, and
on landing, still went on with them, except one man
who was left with the boat at about twenty yards
from the shore. These extreme precautions were
proposed by the young girls ; Gregory smiled good
humouredly at their insisting upon his carrying arms.
THE HOCHWALD. 217

He led them round the creek, and then turning


back, up the Blockenstein, so that when, after an
hours walk, they reached the summit, the cottage
seemed to lie directly under their feet, and any loose
pebble might, as it appeared, roll down upon its
roof. '
The telescope was unpacked, and xed against
the stump of a crippled birch-tree. All eyes were
strained to look into the far distance; like a wide,
sparkling desert the blight sky was spread over the
forests which lay beneath them, their gigantic, dark
blue waves bordered on the uttermost horizon by a
pale streak which marked the ripening corn-elds,
and nally enclosed by a still fainter streak of mist
which melted into the rmament.
And lo! yon beloved bluish point hovering on
the skirt of the forestit is their home ! Clarissa,
meanwhile, was kneeling down before the telescope,
moving it now this way, now that; she perceived
that the instrument was a far better one than her
fathers, yet she could not nd what she wanted.
The pictures presented to her view were marvel
lously clear, and brought so nigh that it seemed
almost magical, but all were unfamiliar. Grotesque
peaks, lines, and projections passed like dreams
across the glass--then blue, blue, blue,she turned
the screw to lengthen the telescope, she then guided
V \ L .
218 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

it past the edge of a dark streak; suddenly a low


cry escaped her, for, trembling within the magic
circle, stood her home, minute as though it had been
painted, but walls, turrets, roofs, all astonishingly
clearnay, she could almost see through the win
dows. Joanna looked in her turn--yes, there it
stood with its glittering roof, shining in the.midst of
the calm repose of the heavens.
Old Gregory, too, looked through this enchanted
and, to him, incomprehensible glass, and his surprise,
his endeavours to understand the matter, were seen
most amusingly struggling in his features. The
servants were then permitted to share the pleasure
of their mistresses, and their wonder, and almost
terror, proved a fresh source of entertainment. They
did not dare to move the instrument for fear of
losing the beloved picture ; but Clarissa soon showed
them how it was managed. It seemed as though
they could never weary of this one point of view ; it
was almost like being at home, so near, so tranquil,
and so perfect it stood before them. At last, how
ever, Clarissa began to look for other places. The
pale streak next the horizon was rst sought for;
in the glass it showed like cultivated land, with
harvest-elds ; next came the forest mountains, then
the lake, and lastly their new home.
After a long stay upon the rock, they agreed to
THE HOCHWALD. 219

return to the cottage, resolving to visit the Blocken


stein on every ne day. The telescope was packed
up in its leathern case and carried off by Gregory
with the greatest care and reverence. Nothi ng_
remarkable occurred, on their way, back; they found
---.__ . .
their boat waiting, rowed homewards, and the
day concluded like its predecessor, with a glowing
evening-red reected on the forests directly oppo
site, while the lake remained like a huge black
table spread in front of their windows, a red ash
occasionally darting across it.
This rst excursion was followed by many others
farther into the forest. Then there was a violent
tempest which was succeeded by several dull, long,
rainy days. These days they were obliged to
spend entirely in their rooms, but, as in the mean
time they twice received very satisfactory messages
from their father the time passed away more agree
ably than could have been expected. And when
the weather was again fair, and they went to the
Blockenstein, and saw their home, looking so plea
sant and peaceful, and the scene around so fair as
though no such thing as war were in the world, or
at least would ever come nigh their own beloved
Wittinghausen, their spirits rose anew, and they
could fully enjoy and delight in the novelty of their
present abode.
L 2
220 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

While conned to the house they occupied them


selves very zealously in needlework, altering their
dresses, or cutting out new ones. One day Joanna
persuaded her sister to suffer herself to be adorned
with her richest and costliest jewels, and then,
after decking herself in_ like manner, they stood to
gether before the mirror, Joannas eyes sparkling
with pleasure, while a faint ush lighted up the
noble but delicate features of Clarissa, who was half
ashamed of the girlish weakness.
In their long rambles through the forest, Gre
gory was their constant companion. The old man
delighted in witnessing their courage; he felt no
shyness with them, and freely communicated his
own wild, poetic fancies. His mind was, as the
Baron had said, like a tropical wilderness, uncul
tured, unknown, unconscious of its own luxuriant
beauty. His imagination, his whole soul, had
been so deeply impressed with the forest and its
imagery that his companions could scarcely fancy
him in any other sphere. And he described their
solitude to his fair pupils_ in such glowing colours
that this wild nature seemed to them also full of
life and speech, and they lived in it as in a fary
land of enchantment and mystery.
But rather were they a mystery to the wilder
ness around them. For often, as they sat by the
. THE HOCHWALD. 221

lake, the long, white folds of their dress uttering


down almost to the waters brink, and the water, as
it were, pressing upward to reect their image-they
resembled two of those delicate, ethereal beings
whereof the northern Runic legends fabled, rather
than creatures of earthly mould. Or when, on
many a sultry afternoon, they wandered among the
lofty trees, the tall-stemmed shade-loving owers of
the forest looking up into their faces, strange ies
and insects humming and sporting in the still
atmosphere, fragrant with the odour of resin wafted
down from the r-trees, and as they paused, now
to gather wild fruit, now to listen to the distant note
of some bird, now to admire some bright-winged
buttery basking on a sunny bank beside thema
stranger, could any such have beheld them, might
have taken them for the guardian-spirits of the wil
derness, especially had he listened to the wild
{$}iE's of spirits and enchantments which Gregory
was in the habit of connecting with divers spots in
the Hochwald-stories which made the whole neigh
bourhood seem to himself and his young companions
like realms of romance. Or when, as autumn ap
proached, and the sunbeams grew milder, they sat
together on one of the blocks of grey stone lying
on their meadow, Joannas child-like head with its
luxuriant locks laid in her sisters bosom, and that
222 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

sisters clear, loving eye bent down upon hers with


all the expressive tenderness of a mothersand
when they were weary of talking, and sat silent,
their fair hands clasped in each others, resting in
the full and blessed assurance of mutual love and
truth, when Joanna thought nothing on earth could
be so beautiful as Clarissa, and Clarissa could ima
gine no creature so pure and innocent as Joannaat
such moments the wide wilderness around seemed
wrapped in deeper silence as though in reverence,
and the thousand tiny sparkles of the granite-rock
glittered above them as though to arch a starry bow
over the beloved heads of the sisters.
But still more magical was the e'ect at night
when a clear full moon had arisen above the dark
forest, her white, dream-like radiance streaming
down so quietly, as though she feared to awake the
slumberers below, and the deep stillness was broken
by the tones of Clarissa"s harpwhence the music
proceeded could not have been divined, for the
grey cottage at such times showed like a silvery
point among the black masses of wood, rock, and
water. And when these tones were borne by the
calm midnight air through the dark tracts of the
wilderness, it was as though a new pulse of feeling
had thrilled through the whole forestthe deer
came forth from their covert, the slumbering birds
THE HOCHWALD. 223

nodded their heads as they sat at roost on their


branches, and dreamed of new, heavenly melodies
which on the morrow they would not be able to
sing, which they would then have forgottenand
Echo tried immediately to mock the golden mys
tery. And when the harp had long been silent,
the night still listened, the full moon shot its
long beams down into the r-branches, and fringed
the water with its silvery light. Meantime the
teeming earth, unconsciously to its inhabitants,
moved onwards; the moon and the eternal stars
were left behind in the westerly sky, new planets
rose in the east,-and thus the hours ew by till
at last a pale, milky streak dawned on the edge of
the forest, a fresh gale stirred the r-crests, and the
new-born day was heralded by a shrill startling cry
from the throat of some forest-bird !
224 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

CHAPTER IV.

THE roansr LAKE.

Days and weeks had passed away. As often as


the sisters sought the Blockenstein, so often was the
home of their fathers pictured in the glass of the
telescope, and in the same unbroken peace their
native regions lay around it, although they knew full
well that the country beyond, whither their eyes
could not reach, was visited by the desolating
scourge of war, and that any hour might bring re
and sword within the range of their view.
Their garden, the forest, undisturbed by the
knowledge of what was going on without, had mean
while completed its summer task, and the mild
autumnal sun shed its melancholy light on the red
and yellow streaks of foliage which now varied the
soft, bluish shades of the evergreens.
One day the two young maidens were sitting with
Gregory on the shore of the lake, opposite their
cottage. They had strolled to some distance, and
THE HOCHWALD. 225

from the spot where they now sat they could see
the Blockenstein rising from the lake, and sepa
rating their meadow from the neighbouring land.
The men-servants had been out three days to fetch
provisions, and were not expected home before the
evening; the maids were gone up the mountains to
gather blackberries, and our little party, allured by
the warm inviting rays of the sun, had, after oating
across the lake, roamed so far and so long, that now,
wearied out, they sat enjoying the balmy air on a
large stone, the red-tinted leaves and cranberries
growing thickly around them, glittering in the sun
shine. They looked upon their deserted house, and
the rock-wall behind it, whilst Gregory went on
talking in his usual rambling manner.
Joanna asked him how he came to discover this
lake, which certainly no one could ever expect to
meet with on such high ground, and of which, as he
had told them, so few persons knew the existence.
True, there are few that know of it, replied
the old man; nor do even those few seek it out,
because they have no reason for so doing, and be
cause they have an idea that some spell is cast upon
it, that God has marked it with the black hue of
hell, and placed it thus in a wild desert. Now, as
for its blackness, that may be occasioned by the
dark pines and mountain-crests which are mirrored
L 5
226 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

in it; may be, if it were in the level countries be


yond, it would be as blue as the pools there, on
which nothing but the empty blue sky ever looks ;
and, as for its being in a desert place, I do not
know how the Almighty could have laid it in a
lovelier spot than this is. I have known it for more
than forty years, and during all that time I have
shown it only to two personsone was your father,
that was when we were both young ; and in my old
age I have shown it to a young man whom I loved
well, and with whom I have shot many a wild deer.
But I will tell you how I came to nd it out, dear
lady. See, when I was a boy of twelve or thirteen
years old, or more, there were much wider and more
beautiful forests than there are now. There were
none of those melancholy spots to be seen where
wood has been felled, looking like tree-cemeteries;
there were but few cottages near the forest-lands,
and when their inhabitants wanted wood for burning,
they cut down a tree, now here, now there, and so
it was not missed. At that time the deer used
often to come in herds to our meadows, and there
was no need to seek them out in the forests when
venison was needed.
Here he interrupted himself, and suddenly turn
ing to Clarissa, he said, If you would like to have
one of the gay, yellow~striped feathers, lady, I will
THE HOCHWALD. 227

shoot the creature down for you; I think I can


reach it. He pointed into the air, and the young
girls saw a magnicent vulture hovering with out
stretched wings high above the lake. The creature
seemed to have no object in view, to be calmly sur
rendering itself to the enjoyment of the clear, cool,
autumnal sunshine, for, resting upon its wings, its
fork-like tail spread out like a fan, it suffered itself
to glide softly along on the bosom of its native
element, slowly describing circles and different
gures, its outstretched feathers often gracefully
playing in the sunshine, whilst its pinions struck the
air only at intervals, and then very gently. The
sisters admired the majestic sweep of its movements ;
they had never before seen this mighty bird of prey
within so short a distance, and with one accord
begged that Gregory would do the glorious creature
no harm.
You say right, he is a glorious creature, re 5
plied the huntsman, and though people call hini
a bird of prey, he is really as innocent as the
lamb; he eats esh certainly, and so do we; he eats
it for his nourishment, just as the lamb plucks
up the herbs and owers: for so it is ordained
throughout the world that one creature must live
upon another. Just look at him, how gracefully he
sweeps and wheels about, and how proudly! He
228 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

will be in no haste to leave this water ;. I have often


observed that vultures love to hover above such
places as this, as though for the pleasure of gazing
at themselves in a mirror. But the truth is, that
he is watching for the different birds and animals
who come to the water to drink.
For some time they looked at the bird in silence,
as he slowly swept along, describing a wide arch
over the lake, and becoming smaller and smaller, till
the tall pine-trees half hid him from their view, and as
he then again oated in the darkening air ust over
their heads. At last his circles and lines were lost
in the distance, and by the time he reached the
rock-wall opposite, their interest in him lessened,
and Joanna repeated her question relating to the
discovery of the lake.
You shall hear how it was, resumed Gregory.
I told you once before, that far from here there is
a house and a eld where my grandsons live, and
where my father and grandfather have lived; and I
also told you that the woods were then far more ex
tensive than they are now. At that time no one
ever came up here, for people were afraid of this
wilderness, and shrank from the language of wild
nature; besides, a tradition was aoat that somewhere
in the forest there was a black enchanted lake, wherein
swam unnatural shes, and around which stood a
THE HOCHWALD. 229

mysterious wall of grey stone, inclosing long wind


ing passages, all sparkling with gold and silver,
costly vessels, and red carbuncles as large as a mans
head. For they said, that hundreds and hundreds
of years ago, a heathen King of Saxony ying from
the good Emperor Charles, had buried himself and
his treasures in these rocks, and at his death had
cast a spell over them, so that no one can see either
door or entrance, excepting during Passion-week, so
long as the lioly gospel is being read in any church
in Christendom; then the rocks open, and he who
chooses may go in and bring thence whatever he
will; but as soon as the time is expired, the rocks
close of themselves, and keep within them any one
who tarries there.
Joanna looked at the wall, and the rocks seemed
to her moving even now.
Well; and is it said that any one ever ventured
in ? inquired Clarissa.
I should think so, returned the huntsman.
My own grandmother assured me for a truth,
that there was such a lake as legends told of, lying
not far from the mountain where the Three Chairs
are seen, and that, many hundred years ago, a man
who had lived at the Schlestauer House at Salnau,
but whose labourshe being a godless and violent
manthe Lord would not prosper, went to the spot
230 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

one Good Friday, when all Christians are worship


ping at the foot of the Cross, taking his little son
with him to help carry the treasure away. But just
as they reached the rock, a horror took possession of
the innocent child, and he cried out, Father,
father! see the burning, red coals! come out!
His fathers eyes had, however, been blinded by the
Evil One; he lingered, choosing and digging up the
precious stones until the time had expired, and the
boy, who had run back with the speed of a whirl
wind, having gained the shore of the lake, looked
back, and saw the rock close in with a heavy crash,
thus burying his miserable father alive within it.
The poor boy was more terried than ever; he ran
down the mountain as though all the trees behind
were in pursuit of him, and the Holy Virgin guided
his steps and brought him safely home; and he
grew up to be a man, was honest and pious,
fasted on every Good Friday till the stars were
bright in the heavens, and was blessed in all that
he undertook. Since then it has not been known
that any one has attempted to enter the rock.
They all looked at the grey wall opposite in
silence, and even Clarissa could now almost fancy
that she saw it opening, whilst the green pines
stood by like sentinels, whispering one to another.
The vulture was still seen slowly cruising through
THE HOCHWALD. 231

the air, ever and anon pausing for a second and


remaining perfectly motionless, like a winged lamp
suspended in the aerial dome of heaven.
.Gregory went on: I was then a boy, and my
grandmother knew many stories like these. Three
hours journey from here stands a mountain. In
the old, heathen times three kings once sat there to
x the boundaries of _t h ree. countries,Bohemia,
_Iavaria, and and
inwthe rock, Austria. Three
each king sat seats
in hishad
ownbeen hewn
territory.

Each had a numerous train of people with him, and


these people amused themselves with hunting, and
so it happened that three men came to the lake, and
in their presumption tried to catch the sh in it,
and behold! a. multitude of trouts, red about the
mouth, and spotted, as it were, with ery sparks,
pressed forward into their hands, so that they threw
a great number on the shore. And when twilight
drew on, they lighted res, put the sh into two
saucepans full of water, and placed them above the
res. And as the men stood round, and the moon
arose, and a beautiful night darkened over them, the
water in the saucepans grew hotter and hotter, and
bubbled and seethed, and the shes within were not
dead, but merrier and livelier than ever; and all at
once there arose such a groaning and moaning among
the trees, as though the whole forest were about to
232 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

fall in pieces, and there was a rushing sound from


the lake, as though a tempest were gathering, and
yet not a bough, not a wavelet had stirred, not a
cloud could be seen in the sky. And from beneath
the waters of the lake came murmuring voices,
They are not all at home, at home, they are not
all at home !Then great fear came upon the
men, and they threw the shes back into the water;
and in a moment all was still, and the moon shone
in her calm beauty amid the heavens. But the three
men remained sitting on a stone the whole night,
not venturing so much as to speak, for they were
sore afraid, and when it was daylight they hurried
away from the spot, and went and told all to the
kings, who, when they had heard it, immediately
departed, leaving their curse upon the forest, that it
should remain a wilderness for ever.
He was silent, and so were the young girls.
Look you, fair ladies, he continued after a
while, all these stories thrilled me with horror and
wonder, and a sort of wild delight, and I never
afterwards gazed at this mysterious blue forest
skirting the bright clear heavens without some
feeling of longing to reach it. I resolved that, as
soon as I became a man, I would seek out the
beautiful Enchanted Lake and the Heathen Kings
Stone-wall. My father and other folks laughed at
4

THE HOCHWALD. 233

me, and thought all about this lake was mere fable
and nonsense, but I, when I came to know the
neighbouring forests more intimately, and perceived
how wonderful they really were, how little need
t.I1o.1_ Was for man to mix up fables with them,-and
when so many clear brooklets met me in my wan
derings, all, it seemed, owing down from one and
the same point among the heights, and telling me
so distinctly with their child-like rippling and prat
tling of their parent source,then I ascended, and
thus on the place where we are sitting even now,
I came out from the thicket and discovered the
beautiful water.
And did you not feel afraid ? asked Joanna.
Afraid! repeated the old man, afraid !
I rejoiced in it, I was delighted with this lovely
spot, for Ilmew full well that Nature works no
such absurd and terrible miracles as ill-natured and
mischief-loving man would gladly perform if he had
the power. Natures miracles are invisible and quiet,
and yet much more glorious than men can conceive,
and therefore they ascribe to her, works as clumsy and
useless as their own. Her miracles are wrought
with a little water, and earth, and air, and sunshine :
these are the mysteries of the forest; there are none
other, nor ever have been, believe me.And I have
been up on the mountain of the Three Chairs,no
234 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

kings have ever sat thereon any more than people


have shed in this lake. Certainly there are three
stone seats, but they are not cut smooth and even
like the wooden chairs in your house ; they are of a
gigantic size, deeply furrowed, and fashioned in a
rude, unshapely manner; the light touch of the rain
and the gentle but unwearied labour of the sun and
air have carved them. I sat down on these seats
and gazed for hours long into the countries of men,
and the oftener I went there, the more I was
convinced that all was the work of God, not of men,
as the legend would have us believe. i_\AMen can

admire nothing unless it is their own workmanship,


and they will look at nothing but with the idea that
it was made for them; but if the Lord God have
given greater gifts to man, He also requires more
from him in return--and not the less love has He
for his other creatures, the animals and vegetables.
He has given them dwellings which are denied to
man,the high peaks of the mountains, the depths
of the forest, the measureless sea, and the wide
desert; He has hung His stars up above them,
yonder, higher than eye can reach; He gives them
glorious apparel; He covers their table; He adorns
them with various, precious gifts; and lives and
dwells among them just as among men, whom He
loves too; although, as I have often thought, they
THE HOCHVVALD. 235

l'I\llSl1S6 I-Iis plants and animals, because, in their pride


and haughtiness, they imagine themselves the only
beings of importance, and, in their simplicity and
folly, they care not to learn the language and ways
of Gods other creatures.
While he yet spoke, a light ash darted across
the wall of the Heathen King, and the vulture
sank, straight as an arrow, into the waterin a
moment a report rolled along the rocky wall and
resounded from forest to forest.
The young maidens started up in affright, and
Gregory looked at the hard stone wall as though
his eyes could pierce through it.
Bursting upon them amid the mortal stillness
of the forest, this sudden report had a startling
and almost appalling effectand now again all
was silent and motionless as before, even the
corpse of the vulture lay tranquilly upon one
and the same spot of water. A few minutes
of anxious suspense followed ;who could have
done it ?
Do you see any one? whispered Joanna,
tremblingly. '
No, answered the huntsman; the shot was
red from the trunks which are broken down from
the rock-wall, and are lying on the shore, but I
cannot see any one.
236 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

Let us go home as quickly as possible, said


Clarissa, the house is quite empty, not a soul
is within.
Nay, my child, said the old huntsman, if
there were actual danger, we should be but a
sorry garrison for the house. Get into the boat, I
will row it a little way into the lake, and there we
will pause. I will lie down in the vessel, and take
a survey through the trees and fence, and we can
wait till the intruder comes to fetch his victim out
of the water.
But they waited in vain. Minute after minute
passed away. Motionless, with his heavy cloak of
feathers soaked with wet, lay the vulture in the
waterthe smoke from the shot had long ago dis
persed, and the deserted cottage was seen gleaming
in the calm afternoon-light. No sound was heard,
and although they strained their eyes in gazing upon
the Blockenstein mountain, nothing there could be
discerned save the tangled confusion of the bleached
and fallen trees, their boughs lying one upon
another in white layers across the dark watery
mirror.
Presently Gregory began to lift the oars, and
row nearer the bird.
Perhaps the servants are already returned,
suggested Clarissa.
res nocnwaro. 237

That report did not come from any of our


ries, replied Gregory.
Just in that moment the two maids, who had
been out gathering blackberries, appeared on the
threshold of the cottage. They fancied that the
shot must have been Gregorys, and kept pointing
and beckoning to the place where the bird lay,
probably under the idea that it could not be seen
from the vessel.
Meantime, the lake and the forest remained per
fectly tranquil, as they had been the whole day.
The sun was now suspended like a ball of dazzling
white light just above the verge of the rock-wall,
broad shadows were thrown over the house and
lawn towards the lake, while the waters themselves
were smooth and black, the faint afternoon-light
lying only upon the vessel and the dead bird,
which shone like a solitary white point. The
trees, too, which formed the fence with their foliage
of varied green and red, were softly illuminated.
Continuing to row towards the bird, they had
already advanced so near the marshy shore, where
lay the host of fallen trunks, that every, the very
least, twig could be distinguished, and if it hap
pened that a frog leaped down from one of the
boughs where he had been basking in the sun, into
the water, the circles formed therein nearly reached
238 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the boat, and the faint splash sounded in their ears.


But no sign of the presence of any human being
could be traced, and they began to quiet their
apprehensions with the idea that some sportsman
having accidentally penetrated thus far into the
forest, and tested his skill upon the vulture, might
have suddenly perceived the house and boat, and in
a superstitious panic have immediately taken ight,
especially as to him the vessel must have seemed
urged on by magic power, as he could not have seen
any person within it, the young girls being concealed
by the awning, and Gregory by his recumbent
posture.
A few more languid strokes of the oar, and they
are so near to the dead vulture that Gregory is
able to lift it out of the water with his hook. It
was strange to see the long pinions hanging apart,
and dripping with wet, the cleaving feathers dis
playing the whole sinewy form, and the wound in
the middle of its breast. Gregory examined this
wound, and, with an instrument from his hunting
pouch, extracted a very small bullet. Joanna
started back with terror--even Clarissa looked at
the huntsman with eager eye and beating heart
but he, without moving a muscle of his face, com
posedly deposited the bullet along with several
others in his leathern purse, and then standing
THE HOCHWALD. 239

upright in the boat rowed it back to the landing


place near the house.
It was evening by the time they reached it.
After they had all got out of the boat, Clarissa
candidly asked the old man what he thought of this
matter.
I know the marksman, certainly, was the re
ply; there are a vast number of fools in this
world and he may be one of themyou need fear
no danger from himI was not mistaken, I know
the ballbut it is the utmost folly, his being here
the sun shines upon a world of folly and vanity.
I have lived many long years and such is man,
always the same; he tries to grasp the rainbow,
and ,chases the will-o-the-wisp.
Oh l cried Joanna, in an agony of terror,
you know more than you will tell us !"
I have told you, maiden, that you need have
no fearcertainly I do know the man, though
how he should be here passes my comprehension
he is ever doing things without use or object, and
striving after what is unattainable. Often would
he fain have gathered the sunbeams upon his hat,
and embraced the glorious sky of eveningmany a
season must rain its drops upon a man before he
gains experience, many a year must pass away ere he
grow wise. Ask me no more questions, children,
240 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

there is no dangerand if there were and I knew


of it, and wished to conceal it from you, I would
keep my teeth as rmly closed as the stone doors
of the Heathen Kings treasure-chamber, which no
iron could have power to break open. Rest in
peace, every hair of my head shall be sentinel for
you-I love you, you are innocent and good, and
almost as beautiful as Martha.
At this remembrance his thin, roughly-formed
lips _evidently quivered, but he immediately reco
vered himself and went on, I love your father,
and I shall love this place more than ever for the
future, even when the cottage is gone, the war
ended, and you again in your castle. Be in no fear,
my dear daughters, and sleep sweetly and soundly,
as in your cradles long ago.
The young girls gazed earnestly upon him, it
might be that it struck them as strange that he,
standing as it were on the utmost verge of human
life, should yet be talking of the future, and times
of peace, apparently so far distant. Joanna vainly
endeavoured to overcome the rising thoughts of fear
which she did not venture to utter.
See, there is the blood-red full-moon rising,
he began again; look at that fair, melancholy
light gleaming on the edge of the wall, and the long
shadows cast upon the lake. I have seen it hundreds
THE HOCHWALD. 24-l

and hundreds of timesbut it always pleases me


I have always had my own thoughts about the moon
ligl1tit is very wonderful.
It is a painfully beautiful light, said Clarissa.
And nowhere can you see it to such advantage
as in the forest, continued Gregory. Many a
night have I beheld it slumbering above the trees
when I have gone up on the heights, and every
thing glistened and glittered so peacefully. And I
have thought much of the ordering of this bright
patin which moves round the sky at nightthere is
no doubt of its use, for see, now as it stands above
the forests, its light rippling down in wide streams
upon the branches, how they seem to rejoice in the
soft radiance, and stretch out their leaves and needles
like ngers--and on Christmas Eve, the night before
our Lord was born, they talk to one another. But
now go to sleep, children, go and sleepno danger
threatens you; I must wait here for the servants ; I
shall row across the lake to fetch them as soon as
I hear their signal. And you, he added, turning
to the maids, take this feathered thing indoors
and dry it carefully ; perhaps the beauty of its
plumage may yet be restored.
Good night, father, said Clarissa.
Good night, my daughters, replied the old
man.
\. M
242 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

And the sisters ascended the stairs leading to


their chamber, and after they had taken their even
ing meal, and dismissed their maid, they locked and
bolted the doors with more than ordinary care, and
sat down together upon one of the beds, talking
over the afternoon"s adventure and resolving, not
only to go to the Blockenstein and look out to
wards Wittinghausen next morning, but also never
in future to ramble in any direction without taking
the telescope with them. They sat talking so long
that the red disk of the moon, hovering high above
the earth, had gradually become golden, and Joanna
had fallen asleep like a child on her sisters bosom.
Clarissa laid her gently down upon her couch,
and then sought her own resting-place. The shout
of the men-servants from the opposite shore of the
lake, and the splash of Gregorys oars as he rowed
them over, mingled with her dream.
At last a deep, sound sleep sealed her beautiful
eyelids.
THE HOCHWALD. 243

CHAPTER V.

THE FOREST MEADOW.

NEXT day the sun was already bright in the


heavens when Clarissa awoke and went up to
J oannas bedside. Her sister was still slumbering,
the glow of health and morning on her innocent
cheeks, so she stepped lightly to the window, gazed
for several minutes on the forest, which was, covered
with hoar-frost, and knelt down to repeat her morn
ing prayer. When she rose up she saw Joanna
also kneeling, so she waited quietly till her sister
had risen, and then, the fervour of devotion still
beaming in their eyes, they greeted one another
heartily and cheerfully, almost laughing over the
fears of yesterday.
The maid was now heard knocking at the door;
she brought word that the men-servants reported
that troops were already marching without the
forest, and that they could frequently be distin
guished passing along the rivers side like proces
M 2
244 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

sions of ants, all apparently moving in the direc


tion of the provinces above the Danube. But the
forest-ridges were as lonely and quiet as ever. No
news had been received from Wittinghausen. The
sisters resolved to request Gregory to accompany
them to the Blockenstein as soon as the grass was
suiciently free from moisture.
When they had dressed, the sun having dried up
the hoar and dew on the meadow, they determined
to walk a little way by themselves; but on descend
ing the stairs they found Gregory busy nailing planks
together; they were also surprised to see the outer
gate, which was almost always left open, not only
shut, but bolted and barred. Gregory immediately
left off his work, and showed them the vulture with
its feathers now in order, asking them to choose out
the nest and keep them as memorials of their forest
life; meanwhile, he said, he would prepare to ac
company them.
He went in accordingly. But instead of choosing
their feathers, the maidens stood and looked at each
other in surprise, for until this morning he had
always suffered them to walk alone over their
meadow as far as the heap of stones. Furthermore,
Susanna, the maid, who was standing by, told them
that she had heard that this vulture had not been
shot by Gregory, but by a stranger sportsman, no
THE HOCHWALD. 245

body knew who ; and that she had not been able to
sleep all night she was so frightened; that long
after midnight, when the men had returned and
were fast asleep, she had heard a strange noise like
the rattling of a lock, and that on getting out of
bed she had also heard quite plainly the outer-gate
being unfastened, and had seen a gure which she
supposed to be Gregory's, gliding out towards the
alder thicket. Almost an hour had elapsed before
the gure returned, unlocked the gate, and carefully
fastened it behind him as he entered ; it was then
clear to her that it was Gregory.
This account was not exactly calculated to allay
the anxiety of the young girls ; but when they saw
Gregory come out at the door, and they looked at
the old mans honest brow, and dark, earnest eyes,
their condence returned, and they readily followed
him through the gate, which again he locked behind
them. As though by tacit agreement, neither of the
sisters referred to the recent preparations for defence,
nor did Gregory say a word on the subject.
At mid-day they ascended the Blockenstein.
Two armed men accompanied them, a third being
left to guard the boat. The telescope was xed,
and, clearly as ever, the little picture of their fathers
house was seen within it. Perhaps, with a fore
boding that they now beheld it thus for the last
246 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

time, the young girls felt as though they could not


tear themselves away, they gazed again and again,
more eagerly every time, in some faint hope of being
able to distinguish their father or Felix. At last,
after a thousand loving greetings had been sent, some
aloud, some in secret, to their beloved home, the
glass was removed, and they returned to the cottage.
They then selected some of the vultures feathers,
and betook themselves to their apartments.
Nothing unusual occurred during this and the few
following days, except that Gregory was once again
observed to leave the house at night-time; and yet
a certain ominous fear and dread seemed hanging
over the valley, and over their minds, as though
some heavy afiiiction were close at hand. Strange .'
can it be that Wl18Il.QII).J.3.Y.I1i.II1 9$_l1Iagitatirlgp to
oIIr.hearts
beforehand isapproaching, invisible coupiersM are been
sent
_nighl?Y5'__the
to prepafeor warn us ? vulture had

shot--the waning moon still reigned in the blue of


the nightly heavens, painting the latticcd window
frame upon the chairs and curtainswlIen Joanna
glided to her sisters bed-side and gently tapping
her on the shoulder to wake her, whispered in a
low, frightened tone, Do not you hear some
thing ?
I have heard it a longtime, replied Clarissa,
THE HOCHWALD. 247

but I would not awake you, lest you should be


alarmed.
She raised herself, her long hair falling loosely
around her, and leaning one arm on Joanna, the
other on the edge of the bedstead, sat upright,
motionless as a faultless, marble statue, chiselled by
some master-hand, and lighted by the pale beams of
the harvest-moon.
A voice was heard in the far distance, half shout
ing, half singing a sort of chaunt, the voice belonged
neither to Gregory nor any of their servitors.
They listened breathlessly but could not distin
guish the words. All at once were wafted to them,
with perfect distinctness, the tones of a mans voice
singing wildly, and with an air of deance, the fol
lowing verses :
There was a king of ancient blood,
VVith golden crown arrayed ;
Within the wood, iii furious mood,
H_e slew his own lov'd maid.

Thus spoke a huntsman clad in green,


Seekst thou a grave, sir king ?
Yon rock is steep, go hence and leap,
The waves thy dirge shall sing.

The sea-bird shricks, the wild wind moans,


The waves are onward rolled,
And on the stones lie whitened bones
Beside the crown of gold."
248 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

The voice ceased, and a death-like silence ensued


yet for a long time the sisters dared not stir, as
though the scene were not ended, as though some
thing more must follow.
But not a sound, not a breath was heard disturb
ing the still night. And at last Joanna, after long
waiting, gently disengaged herself from her sister's
arms and looked Clarissa full in the face.
That face was pale and wan as the moon on the
window-pane.
Not a syllable was uttered by either.
Joanna instinctively averted her eyes, and hid her
face in her sisters night-dress, and thus for several
minutes they held closely by each other,so closely
that Joanna could feel the quick pulsation of Cla
rissas heart, and Clarissa how J oannas arm trem
bled as it clasped her neck. At last the younger
one timidly whispered, Clarissa, are you afraid?
Afraid ! repeated the elder, disengaging her
self from her sisters embrace, afraid! no Joanna,
the mystery, which has troubled us of late, is
cleared upI am no longer afraid.
And yet her voice faltered as she spoke, and
Joanna could see, even by the faint moonlight, how
her pallid cheeks gradually ushed crimson. Some
unwonted and powerful feeling must have arisen in
her soul, causing alternate pleasure and pain; for
THE HOCHWALD. 249

those features, usually so tranquil, seemed animated


by a new impulse, as though the inward soul were
glowing and working with strong passion.
Joanna, she said, it is wonderful, most won
derful, how deep and inscrutable are the ways of
Providence! Who could have thought that what
I said to you a little while ago, at the rock-wall,
would so soon be accomplished! The Lord has
found me out in this fair wildernessall that must
be, will be fullled. Fear not, dear child-the
Lord is above us even here, amid the wild forest.
Thou knowest the song well, thou mayest guess,
too, who it is that sung ithe did well to choose it,
--and he shall see me,yes, but not in this house,
it is holy. Gregory and you shall accompany me,
nay, do not look so terried,even if the little
bullet were his, whatever he may have to do in this
forest, danger of that sort does not threaten us.
Yes, yes, Gregory was right; often has he longed
to draw down the sunshine upon his cap, and to
embrace the red clouds of eveningyes, such is his
way, his nature; just as he has now challenged my
attention through that song-it was well chosen ;
but he mistakes me; he has not now to deal with
a mere child, giving herself up helplessly to the
violence of her own feelings, the child has become a
woman, strong and self-possessedshe will come to
M 5
250 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

him with the sword of the Lord in her right hand


instead of the lilyyes, she will come !
Her countenance glowedso strange and com
manding a beauty overspread her features, that
Joanna looked up to her almost in awe. Her dark
eye ashed re; pride and triumph, so it seemed,
were enthroned upon her brow : thus she sat, look
ing upward, her face bathed as it were by the pale
moonlight, till at last, bursting into a ood of hot,
scalding tears, she clung like a child to her sister for
support.
Any one who had seen her that night, would ever
after have well understood how it was that this ap
parently calm and gentle creature should have such
deep black, burning eyes.
Joanna wound both her arms around her sister,
and although she could not comprehend the cause
of this violent emotion, she was herself infected by
it, and sobbed vehementlythus the burden lying
on both hearts was relieved.
Morning found Joanna still clinging to her sister,
her eyes, heavy with weeping, sealed in a sound
sleep. Clarissa had long been awake, but as her
sister-s head lay nestling in her bosom, she would
not stir for fear of disturbing the healthy morning
sleep she needed. At last the gentle eyes opened
slowly and glanced in surprise rst upon Clarissa,
THE HOCHWALD. 251

then upon the bed, and her sister softly stroked the
axen-locks clustering round her head, saying,
Good morning, dear, dear child.
With something like shame at the situation in
which she found herself, Joanna sprang up and
began to dress, the consciousness of what had oc
curred during the past night gradually returning to
her recollection.
Clarissa, too, dressed in silence, and then sent her
maid to summon old Gregory. He came imme
diately.
You heard some one singing during the night F
she said.
Yes. I
You know the man who sung, you know him
very well ?
I know him very well.
He urgently desires to speak with us.
The huntsman looked at her with astonishment.
I know it, he said ; but that you should know
it--"
We do know it, and, on our part, wish to
speak with him, and, if possible, this very day; but
not here,no stranger shall enter this house,--at
the rock-wall among the last alders he may wait for
us. Joanna and I will go thither, and you, I am
sure, will be so kind as to accompany us. When
252 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the shadow of the pine-trees is no longer thrown


across the lake you may come for us, if this can be
done.
It can be donebut remember it is your own
act.
Only contrive this, Gregory,--I, too, know the
man, and we mean to ask him why he comes here to
disturb our peace.
Gregory departed.
The forenoon was past, the shadow of the pines
was no longer seen upon the lake, when Gregory,
with his gun upon his shoulder, conducted the young
girls to the alder-copse. Joanna was, as usual, lclad

in white; but Clarissa had arrayed herself in her


richest dress and costliest jewels, so that she looked
not unlike a noble lady attired for a court-festival.
There is something in the dress of women, when
composed of rich materials and set off with corre
sponding ornaments, which inspires a degree of reve
rence; and even the ancient son of the forest, who had
never before seen any other gems than those which
sparkled among the pines in the morning, felt him
self oppressed and almost humbled by Clarissas
grave and majestic beauty. "
.Toannas heart beat violently, and, although she
was ashamed to confess it, the young huntsmans
description of the erce outlaw, continually haunted
THE HOCHWALD. 253

her imagination, and the slry seemed to grow dark


around her, as though something very dreadful must
be impending.
They had reached the last alders of the copse.
A man, habited in coarse, unbleached linen, with a
broad hat upon his head, and a rie in his hand, was
discovered seated upon one of the grey stones. On
their approach he rose, and, respectfully uncovering
his head, suddenly turned his face round towards
them. Joanna had well nigh given vent'to a cry of
surpriseso beautiful was that face. Clarissa, too, for
amoment seemed to hesitate. In taking off his hat,
a profusion of long hair fell like a golden stream
upon his shoulders, displaying features fair in com
plexion, and of an almost boyish freshness and
delicacy of form, whilst his large deep-blue eyes
glanced eagerly upon Clarissa. And she, on her
part, for one minute forgot herself and her resolve,
her dark eyes resting involuntarily upon those
features, so well remembered, so well beloved; it
was but for a minute, then, with ushed cheeks
and brow, she stepped aside so quickly that the
movement was almost awkward--towards the bench
that stood near as though to sit down. Joanna
hastened to support her, and seated herself by her
sisters side. And the stranger, still without utter
ing a word, involuntarily followed their every
25-1' LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

movement with his eyes, as though surprised or


embarrassed at meeting with a reception and manner
to him totally new and unexpected. At last he
laid aside his rie, and sat down opposite the
young maidens, on the same grey stone where he
had sat before.
The lofty trees, the grey wall of rock, and the
white oating clouds, looked down upon this strange
meeting--this silent group.
Gregory remained apart from the rest, apparently
engaged in observing the gradual yellowing of the
leaves of the alders.
At last Clarissa spoke :
You\have summoned us, she said; I mean,
you wished to speak to us: we are here-speak.
Yes, replied the stranger, I entreated you
to grant me an interview; but only you. I do
not know your companion. _
It is my sister, Joanna.
He glanced at Joanna in surprise, and then
continued, with a melancholy smile :
She has become a beautiful girl. Oh, Clarissa !
we have not met for very long; at that time she was
a child, and I saw her so seldom that I had quite
forgotten her. Do you know me, Joanna ?
She shook her head.
Now, Clarissa, he resumed, forgive me that
Ur
THE HOCHWALD. I0 U!

I have come here, and forgive the manner of my


intrusion. I would not suddenly appear before you
whilst you were walking: I could have done so
several times. I wished rst to speak to your
guardian, whom I have known a long time; but
he was always by your side, and never left the
house except with you. At last I sent him,
through the vulture, my bullet, which he knows
well, and he immediately sought me out. But no
power of persuasion could prevail upon him to
convey a message to you from me: nay, he barred
up and guarded the house still more cautiously than
ever, greatly to my surprise, for I had always
imagined that he loved me. My only way, then,
although it exposed me to the danger of being
shot by your servants, was to announce my presence
to you myself, in the hope that you would willingly
grant me that hearing I could not obtain through
him; and, therefore it was that I sang the song
which methought you must remember.
I did remember it, said Clarissa; and,
though I may have done wrong in coming to meet
you, I would not refuse to see you, since you
seemed so earnestly to desire it. And now say,
why are you here to trouble the peace and security
of two defenceless girls, who are in their helpless
ness so childish that even the sudden rustling of
256 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the wind among the leaves is often suicient to


terrify them : say, why are you here ?"
Clarissa! can you ask me that ?"' he said,
a slight ush eeting across his face; must you
not know why?
No, I do not know, she replied, vainly
endeavouring to steady her voice.
You do not know? he repeated; you do
not know ? and, as in a transport of acute pain,
he threw back his head so that the rays of the
declining sun fell for a moment full upon his
features, lighting up their enthusiastic beauty
you do not know! Hear me. I have been in
France; I have been in the New World, beyond
the vast glittering ocean. I came back; I sought
out your castleit was threatened with danger;
I was told you had ed, no one knew whither.
I sought intelligence respecting the different roads:
one led towards the forestthither I thought you
might have betaken yourselves. I went to Gregorys
cottage; he was not there. Through forests and
ravines I wandered for days and weeks together,
living on whatever my rie could procure me, till
it was a bright, a happy thoughttill the recollection
of this lake darted like a ash of lightning across
my mind. Gregory had shown it to me long ago,
Qaying, In this meadow, this lake, beats the heart
. THE HOCHWALD. 257

of the forest; I oftimes fancy I can hear its


throbbings, so gentle and so true, and yet stronger
than a king's fortress. I came here; and, while
climbing over yon wall of rock, I descried your
wooden cottage. I descended by a mountain-path ;
Gregory knows it well; to you it were fatal.
Yonder, where the sand-reefs begin, under the
shadow of the rock, I rested, and wiped the blood
from my wounded hands: and then looking up,
scarcely a hundred yards from me, on the verge of
the land-slip, I saw you sitting with Joanna, both
clad in white, and talking familiarly with one
another. I was so startled, that the lake and the
trees seemed whirling round me. I calmed my
beating heart ; nay, in my folly, I held my breath,
lest I should disturb you, though you were so far
off that I could not hear your words: but sweet
and loving words they must have been, for you sat
talking there a long while, and then at last clasped
each others hands, and .gazed silently into the sky,
methought through excess of emotion, love, and
condence. When evening came, you went away;
these trees robbed me of the last faint white fold
of your dress. I remained sitting in the same
posture, and stilled my hunger with a handful of
blackberries. Again I saw you wandering through
the forest, treading the shores of the lake, resting

I
258 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

upon this or that stone. I was often so near that


I might have touched you. I heard your harp at
night. Look up yonder, where a dry track of sand
winds round two rocky peaks,there stands a
withered tree, the trunk of a r, which has been
blighted by lightning; at day it has a pale greyish
hue, but at night it shines with blue, and green,
and white,whole hours long have I leaned against
the rock, and gazed on that quiet nightly glimmer
Clarissa! and do you ask why I have come ?
Oh ! use it not again, she faltered in a tone of
earnest entreaty, use not again that magic power
you know so well, and formerly exercised over a
vain, foolish maidenuse it not again, it is not
honest.
And it was a strange sight to see that young girl
in her queenly beauty lose her resolute bearing, and
become shy and timid in the presence of a man
whose countenance was open and simple as achild's ;
but on a second glance at him, as at her words he
looked silently into the empty space, the spirit be
fore which she had bowed her own might be dis
cerned and felt; there was a wild dignity, a sort of
poetic enthusiasm expressed in those features, and
the eye spoke at once entreaty and command.
There was in its glance, tenderness, deep tender
ness, such as inspires unbounded love in the
THE HOCHWALD. 259

heart of the beloved one, and at the same time a


yearning after action and fame, after the perform
ance of deeds of high emprize. And this enthu
siasm it was which had won the maidens heart, and
while it continually threatened to overcome his
love for her, had, as it were, enchained her with a
magic power.
1,; .
Yes, yes, he resumed in a lower tone, yes, _.

Clarissa, it is honest. I am not a fool, I have not


come here without intent; know, that ever since
the day I left you, partly because I was compelled,
partly because my own restlessness called me forth,
there was still one thought which I cherished, which
followed me everywhere. At that time he yet lived
who had a right to my obedience, and he bade me
give such a phantom to the winds ;" and 1 would
have obeyed, I tried to banish the phantom that
haunted me, and for months and months I roamed
through these forests indulging my own wild fan
ciesit was then that I met with Gregory. I loved
the old man as though I had been his son, although
in extravagance and thirst for adventure he was as a
child compared to me-but that phantom I still
bore secretly within my heart of heart everywhere
when I visited the stately capital, when I traversed
the vast savannahs of the New \Vorld. He, whom
I may not name, was dead when I returned, but
260 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the phantom, as he had called it, I had brought


back with me. Clarissa, now all is rightone
whole year, one weary year, I have laboured to
overcome every obstacleall is rightf;I am free)
As a mother seeks her child, I have sought out
thee, my own one, my beloved, my forsaken, to
share all with theeoh, Clarissa, I implore thee,
look into thine own heart, think of past days, and
ask not again, why I have come !
And before she could prevent it, he arose, and l
i

falling on the hard stones at her feet, he took her


hand and pressed it in his own, xing his large blue
eyes passionately upon her face, which was pale as
death.
Oh, stand up ! she said, faintly, her eyes wan
dering in space as she spoke, stand up, I pray!
I came here armed against you, the power of your
words shall not rob me of those armsno, it shall
not be so. Remember, I am not now the child
you knew of yore, when you came to our castle,
when my father loved you: you were so beautiful,
my eye was never weary of gazing upon yours ; an
innitude of deep and passionate feeling did you
pour into my unconscious heart, my helpless, child
like spirit you won to hang upon your words. I
never asked whence you came, who you wereI
clung to youin the delirium of ecstasy I clung to
THE HOCHWALD. 261

you, sinfully forgetting my father, my mother, my


Godthen, you went awaynow all is past. I
saw that I had sinned, and God gave me the grace
to repent and forget my weakness. My soul re
turned to its purer love. This innocent maiden
you see here, my sister, my father, and my brother
Felix, these are now my beloved onesand the
Lord in Heaven, He is my Godthe rest is past
and gone.
Tears burst from her eyes, glistening like the
diamonds of her circlet.
No, Clarissa, it is not past, he replied, look
ing up at her; no, it is not past-for if I poured
an innitude of passion into thy child-like heart, I
also poured it into my own. It is true that at rst
it was merely the bright ashes of imagination and
energy which charmed me in that child, and made
me strive to win her, to attract her wholly to myself
but when I discovered a soul, deep, and wild, and
poetic as my own, I was spell-bound in my turn ; I
was compelled to return passion for passion, heart
for heart. Maiden! thou wert then a child, but
thou wert more precious to me than all I have since
met with in the world. A kingdom would I have
thrown away for that child; not years, not absence
could efface her from my memoryand now I am
here, apart from the abodes of men, desiring nothing
pa

262 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

on this wide earth but that child's deep love


again.
He remained kneeling, his beloved countenance
still gazing upwards into hers, wholly absorbed in
her, he seemed to forget himself and all around
him. And she too felt her self-consciousness leav
ing hersomething like transport could be traced
on her brow. For one moment she seemed strug
gling with her own heart, with her failing resolution
then her eye clouded again, and it was with a
look of inexpressible, melancholy tenderness that
she said, in a trembling and almost inaudible tone,
A\n d ye t, Ronald, yet you. w6I112 away !
Yes, he exclaimed, his features lighted up
with a sudden expression of joy; yes, I went
away because I was commanded so to do by one
who commanded me as my father and my king;
yet not because he commanded it did I leave
you, but because he entreated, because he pro
mised it should be for your happiness as well as
my own; and also, Clarissa, because my own wild
nature drew me away, restlessly craving for new
scenes, and prophesying of a thousand nameless
deeds that must be performed; but it matters not,
I have returned, and never, never will I leave thee
again. Thou art the very pulse and breath of my
life; without thee all is cold, and barren as the
THE HOCHWALD. 263

sandy desert; worlds were worthless compared with


thy warm heart, thy goodness, thy love. e_e ,_he
would fain have made me great, like one of his
heroes, like himself; he loved me idolatrously, be
cause I was the image of my mother. To our
beautiful, our distant home, so was hewont to say,
we should return, and there would he raise me to
the highest rank; I shouldgstand next to himself,
and thus he would make amends for the wrong he
had done my poor mother. He, the strong man,
the hero to the world, was weak towards me; he
gave full liberty to my youthful fancies; he suffered
me to roam the wide world overeven in the enemys
territory he suffered me to wander; in your castle
I lived for months and months together. And
when I vehemently besought him for thee, he re
plied, Thou art still a boy, go hence, go far into
the world, across the ocean if thou wilt, and when
thou art returned, if thou still desire her for thy
wife, thou shalt have her, and take her back into
our own country; but now go and get rid of this
fancy if thou canst. But, oh Clarissa! when I
returned, he had long been dead: of all who have
mourned for him, no one has wept such bitter tears
as I have, except perhaps my mother in her distant
home. But I saw him once againI made them
unlock the vault and open his coin. He had
26% LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

entrusted to the Chancellor his plans on my behalf;


with the Chancellor and the Swedish Generals I was
obliged to remain for one year, one long, tedious
yearand then when I had earned liberty to do as
I listed, my rst thought was to y to theeto ask
thee if thou hatest meif thou canst forgiveif
thou lovest me still. To thee came I rst, next
must I seek my mother. I

His eyes were swimming with tears, he wiped


them away with his hand, and in a tone of excessive
gentleness, went on: Clarissa, thou hast greatly
changed, thou art taller and more stately, and, if
possible, more beautiful than ever, so that I almost
lost courage on seeing thee to-day. Clarissa, remove
those cold sparkling stones that encircle thy dear
head ; be again the child whom I loved so unspeak
ably, for thou lovest me still, Clarissa? Speak,
thou lovest me still, my shy, passionate child ?
I-Iow weak, and yet how strong isman when some
all-powerful feeling stirs his soul, lending it greater
and more resistless energy than could be found in
the whole of the dead, cold universe around I The
wide forest, the listening alders, the sparkling granite
wall, even Joanna and Gregory, seemed to fade from
Clarissas eyes like an unreal vision ; completely
absorbed with one feeling, she bent down her glow
ing face, her dark streaming eyes, nearer towards
THE HOCHWALD. 265

him, and in tones which thrilled Joanna with sur


prise and terror, she said.
Oh, Ronald! yes, I love thee, I cannot help
myself; and hadst thou a thousand faults I must
love thee stillI love thee innitely, more than
father, brother, or sister, more than myself and all
else, more than I can conceive "'
And I, interrupted he, drop by drop I
will shed my blood for thee,I will be calm and
gentle as the lamb of the eld, that I may only
merit thee. Go with me into my fatherland, or
stay here, I will stay here too.
He drew her towards himself,--she made no re
sistance,and trembling with emotion they clung
to each other, so closely that his axen locks fell
upon the velvet which robed her shoulders.
The two witnesses of this scene gazed at each
other in consternation. At last Joanna, who had
hitherto listened with increasing anxiety, suddenly
sprang up, exclaiming, while hot tears of indigna
tion swelled to her eyes,
Clarissa, what are you doing ? "'
Clarissa quickly started up, turned round, and as
she saw standing before her the child whose in
structress and guide she had been,no, not the
child, but the maiden, with the purple glow of
offended modesty on her cheeks,she threw herself
.', N
266 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

meekly, and yet buoyant with happiness, upon her


bosom.
There was a pause, no sound was heard save a
stied sob and the gentle rustling of the trees.
As at last Clarissa raised her head from her
sisters embrace, relieved and re-assured, her large,
beaming eyes looking affectionately at Joanna, W110
was still struggling with her tears, Gregory came up
to them, saying,
Be easy, sweet lady, there is no wrong in
the matter; for such is the will of God, that man
should leave father and mother to cleave to his
wife; it is all in the way of nature: be calm, and
look lovingly again at her who has always had a
mothers love for you. But I have a word to say
to you, Ronald. You know well enough how you
met me in the forest, how we have hunted together,
climbed up the rocks, sought out owers and herbs,
and laughed over the tale which went abroad of the
terrible outlaw and his little balls. I then merely
asked your name, that I might know what to call
you,you never told me of all this, how you were
devoted to her, nor, indeed, was there any reason
why you should: every man has his heart, as every
herb has its ower; he may keep his heart secret,
although the ower does not so. It matters not.
Then you left me: I often thought of you, and
THE HOCHWALD. - 267

felt that I missed you. Years passed away. Now


all at once you come back to this lake, and try to
tempt me to let you speak with these noble ladies:
even then I do not ask the reason; I imagine you
fascinated by their beauty. But now, look you,
the father of these maidens is a great man, a man of
good heart and excellent gifts; he has white hair,
such as I have; he is my friend, and a much older
one than you are; he has given me these children
that I might be, their father so long as they live in
the forest, till his castle is out of danger: and thus,
methinks, I must now ask thee, who art thou, that
thou shouldst woo this noble lady? what is thy
nation, thy parentage, that I may announce it to
him ? and where stands thy cottage ?
My cottage, old man, as you call it, has a thou
sand windows, and its roof might cover as much land
as yonder lake covers; but it stands far, very far
from here, and he who gave it 1ne, who gave me
everything, has won himself a grave in your country
this is now my fatherland! Oh, Clarissa! this
unhallowed war will end, must end soon,'and then
there will be no distinction between German and
Swede; your brethren of the north will love you,
and you them, for all are alike children of the same
race. Look at me; have I not the lineaments of
a German, of as unmixed blood, perhaps, as the
. N 2
268 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

race described by the old Roman historian? Thy


fatherland shall henceforth be mine. And look at
these beautiful, solemn woods around us, oh, how I
love them !the very rst time I entered these
shades, they recalled to me the faint, half-forgotten
image of that distant r-grove where my earliest
childhood was spent with my motherand now I
have found blooming within its solitude the sweet,
magical ower of my fortune.
He had again seated himself opposite to her,
while she, who had sat down close to Joanna, turned
rather towards her than to him, saying, with an
accent half of tenderness, half of bashfulness,
Ronald, spare Joanna.
Only for one moment, Clarissa, let me look at
thee, he replied, only for one moment, that I
may feel my happiness. I know not whether the
enchantment proceeds from thee, or forest,
but it seems as though I were another man, as
though there were no storm and devastation without,
but only warm, peaceful sunshine, as here. See
how the rock-wall looks down upon us with festive
glitter, how the alders ever and anon drop their
leaves, how joyfully chirps the grasshopper, and
how the warmth of the afternoon is shed tranquilly
upon the grey stones. To me it seems as though
there were no world beyond this spot, no human
THE HOCHWALD. . 269

beings save those who are here, who love one


another, and learn innocence from the innocence of
the forest,--let me cherish the illusion but one
rninute longer, for who can tell whether such mo
ments of blessedness may ever be again? Human
life is transitory as the leaves on the trees, nay, even
more so; for nothing can shake off these leaves but
the autumnal blast, whilst our existence may be cut
short by the will of Providence at any moment and
in a thousand different ways.
At this even Joanna looked at the speaker with
friendly interest, not unmixed with curiosity, as
though she would divine what it was in him that
had won from her the treasure she prized so highly,
Clarissas heart.
Let this meadow, he resumed, this fair mea
dow where we are now sitting, encompassed by these
wide forests, fresh from the hand of their Creator,
wherein is no distinction of rank and station,-let
this fair meadow be the hall of our betrothal, and
our witnesses, all that surrounds us. Give me thy
hand, Clarissa. As I hope for God's mercy towards
me, I am thine for ever, in joy and in sorrow; and
do thou, if this eye be unexpectedly clouded by the
mist of death, shed a tear for me as my widow.
A slight shudder thrilled through Clarissa as in
great agitation she arose, and, unable to utter a
270 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

syllable, laid her hand in his, with as much solem


nity as though they had been standing before the
holy altar. Joanna breathed heavily, and the wit
nesses Ronald had invoked stood around silent as
death, save that the r-groves wafted their perfume
like incense through the air, and the grasshoppers
chirped and dgetted about with their accustomed
restless levity.
The old huntsman stood leaning on his gun,
erect and motionless as a statue, not a muscle of his
countenance betraying any appearance of sympathy
or emotion. Ronald felt about with his left hand,
seeking for J oannas, and she gave it to him, pressing
it long and closely within his, as though to ex
press a mute but fervent supplication for Clarissas
happiness.
After a few seconds, the beautiful Swede ap
proached still nearer to Clarissa and, bending over
her, gravely kissed her forehead, which she bowed
meekly towards him. And then she took Joanna
fondly by the hand, as in the days of their past
sisterly communion, for she felt how the innocent
girl must now feel her rights invaded. Then again
turning to Ronald, she said, in some confusion,
Ronald, is it right what we have done ?alas !
I thought not of my father,say, can it be right?
what must we do next ?
rnE HOCHWALD. 271

Hear me, my beloved, he replied; hear


what I have long resolved upon. I must go away
this very minute. I have justied myself to thee,
now for thy father. Your castle is in danger. The
division under Torstensons command has been di
rected to take possession of Wittinghausen as it
passes. Torstenson and I are old friends and com
rades, and I shall know how to contrive that your
home may be left unassailed, and that not a hair
shall be harmed of that venerable head, which is
now holy to me as it is to you. I know that the
division must be passing even now, and should the
place be besieged, I will be there to protect those
whom thou lovest. Unless all appearances are
deceitful, this war is quickly approaching its termi
nation; when the right time comes, I will reveal to
your father all that he may wish to know regarding
myself, and then, when the hostile nations have laid
down arms, and the loud cry of jubilee is raised by
all throughout these provinces, then, Clarissa, amid
the universal rejoicing, shall be our own little festival.
I shall seek out my mother and bring her into your
country, and here, Clarissa, here on this spot, on
this lovely green meadow will I build our forest
home; and even if we do not take up our abode
here at once, at least we will frequently visit this
enchanted spot, and be again, as now, the free, soli
272 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

tary children of the forest. And now the time


presses,--this is why I so urgently asked for an
interview,I must be gone. Wish me God speed,
Clarissamay the Lord indeed speed my errand
and grant us a happy re-union. Yet one more
look !alas ! how shall I force myself away l
Sorrowfully he extended his hand to the young
girls, Farewell, Clarissa, my bride. Farewell to
you, Joanna, and to you, Gregory. God protect
you ! Watch these two as the apple of thine eye.
And here he was on the.point of turning away,
when Gregory held him back, saying,
Ronald, there is reason in much that thou hast
said, and I praise thee for it; only one thing was
mere folly, such as thy thoughts often are,thou
must build no house upon this spot: it would be
doing the forest a mortal injury, it would be de
stroying its very life. Nay, when these children
shall have returned to their castle, rather set light
to this wooden cottage, and scatter herb-seeds over
the place, that it may again be lovely and lonely
as of yore, as it has been ever since its creation, and
that the forest may not mourn and sigh because you
have lived therein. And now go; keep to the right
along the beech-copse, then thou wilt come to the
path and canst clamber up the rocky ladder. I
would row thee over the lake, but our people must
THE HOCHWALD. 273

not know of thy being here. So away with thee,


boy l
Ronald looked up as if in a dream. There was
one more pressure of handsone seconds delay
then he took up his rie, and strode resolutely
towards the rock-wall.
The sisters watched his form receding through
the grey stones till it grew less and less, and at
last vanished from their sight, and nothing was
distinguished save the hard, calm wall.
Each looked at the other. Was it a dream?
Could it be that any other voice,than their own
had so lately been heard in this wilderness? The
sun shone as before, the birds twittered, and the
blue heavens looked down from above. And
Gregory's voice scarcely seemed to break in upon
their reverie, as suddenly he said, in a very low
tone : The man must love you exceedingly.
Clarissas eyes were raised, in grateful pleasure,
to those of her protector; but Joanna sighed, and
said: May all end right l
And not a word more was spoken by any of the
party in reference to the singular betrothal which
had just taken place: the scene had passed away
like a vision, leaving no trace behind on the fair
smooth meadow whereon they stood, and over
which all three had so often walked in affection
N 5
274 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

and condence. And, to-day, they walked on past


their bench, past the alders, and followed the course
of the brook as usual, but with thoughts not as
usual.
Those who had been le; at home, when, towards
evening, they saw the huntsman and the two sisters
returning from their walk amid the alders, wondered
at the old mans precautions, apparently so un
necessary, in having barred them all up within
wooden stakes.
They entered their cottage. Clarissa felt no
longer atpeace ; Joanna no longer happy.
THE HOCHWALD. 275

CHAPTER VI.

THE FOREST ROCK.

'Arm the forest was wrapped in its ancient repose.


\A's, oft-times when a silvery cloud sails in solitary
grandeur across the blue sky, a shadow passes over
.\.\'
the forest beneath, for one minute only, and then
the same clear light is again spread over the wide
space; or, when the whole wide canopy of heaven is .1_
\,.

wrapped in the dull grey tint of autumn, a sunbeam yr!

darts forth, imprinting its golden kiss on the distant


,__,c
beech-thicket, and then, absorbed by the atmo
sphere, as quickly vanishes, leaving the same un
varied grey as before--thus was it with the sisters.
The sun had set, the sun had risen day after day,
but its light was less brilliant; its power became
daily more and more brief. Gregorys t of caution
had passed away. The wooden lattice-gate was again
left wide open; no one took the trouble of shutting,
far less of bolting it, and the young girls were allowed
to walk freely and alone over their meadow. One
276 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

heap after another of rewood was piled up close


to the house, all collected from the free gifts of
the forest, for Gregory would on no account suffer
a fresh living tree to be felled for any such pur
pose. The servants were also engaged in cover
ing the walls of the cottage with a thick coating
of moss, its winter dress; for that gloomy son
of autumn, the mist, had already begun to show
himself: and often, when the sisters were sitting
enjoyingathe last bright smiles of daylight, by the
rock-wall, which was still warm with the sunbeams,
he was busied, sometimes in weaving his watery
webs across the lake, and along the ravines
sometimes in oating light silvery islands among
the foliage, so that white and grey were confusedly
mingled with the red mellow tints of autumn.
And when the sun, too, joined the sport, darting
forth his hot pale rays upon the cold blue shades
of the forest, the play of lights and hues produced
was softer and even more beautiful than all the
warm fresh glories of spring and summer. And,
ever and anon, while the maidens were thus looking
on, a slight rustle would be heard close beside
them, and one or two of the lal\ood-red leaves of the
wild cherry-tree would fall at their feet. And thus
they sat watching every change, now inclined to
mourn over the years decay, now to anticipate the
THE HOCHWALD. 277

winter which here would reign in so much majesty,


since their wilderness prepared for its arrival with
such silent and impressive solemnity. Meantime,
sledges, hoes, shovels, and other like implements
for clearing the forest-paths, had been stored up
within the cottage in order to enable them to go
abroad during the severity of the approaching
season, and prevent their being blocked up by
heavy masses of snow.
A strange, incomprehensible thing is the human
heart. How monotonously had their days passed
away before Ronalds arrival! There were the
same scenes, the same voices, the lake was wrapped
in the same unruled tranquillity, insomuch that
the days and hours were often tedious; and now an
almost painful intensity of feeling, an indescribable
transport, lled Clarissas heart. Yet she did not
feel satised; she felt as though those former days
of monotony had been happier than the present,
as though she had then more respect for herself,
more unselsh love for others. She looked back
almost with sadness upon the time when she had
rambled through the forest with Gregory and
Joanna, with almost the same careless innocence
as her young sister, and that guileless old man;
and to those evenings when she had laughed and
talked with Joanna, whose simple heart had been to
278 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

her the richest treasure on earth, till both fell


asleep. And Joanna, too, notwithstanding her
sister.s frequent caresses and loving words, felt
ill at ease. She had not lost her sister's love, for
that was tenderer, warmer than ever; nor her
former intimate communion with herthat was
as before. What then? She did not know;
but it was there -- that strange, uncomfortable
burden upon her heart. She loved Clarissa more
fervently than ever, for it seemed to her as though
her sister had now more need of her love: still, a
sort of home-sickness, a sad recollection of the past,
often came over her, and could be awakened by the
most trivial circumstances whenever they reminded
her in any way of the time which had been so
happy and peaceful.
Thus, for instance, they one day crossed the
lake, and walked on to a grassy nook shaded by
birch-trees, a spot which they had avoided during
the summer on account of its intense heat, for it
lay in a creek of the rock from which the sunbeams
were glowingly reected. But now a cool misty
atmosphere oated around the white stems and
their few scattered, yellow leaves, the spot was
warmer and pleasanter than any other, and as they
walked they observedcertainly an unusual sight so
late in the seasona whole company of those large
THE HOCHWALD. 279

and beautiful butteries which from their dark,


almost black wings with yellow borders have re
ceived the name of Trauer-mantel, mourning-cloalcs,
some poised on the white trunks, gently apping
their wings to and fro in the pale sunbeams, some
hovering around borne up by their slight pinions.
The young girls stood still to look at the bright,
sportive insects, and admire the soft velvet of their
delicate mantles, fringed with such fresh dark yel
low, and Joanna exclaimed as she watched them,
Ch! ye poor deluded creatures, ye are all chil
dren still; ye were all assembled together in your
childhoods home until the warm autumn sun of this
nook enticed you out, and now ye are here like a
company of aliens, wearily beating your wings in
this brief sunshine, and assuredly very hungry
for where are the honied owers, and the warm air,
and the buzzing companions which your caterpillar
instinct promised you, of which you dreamed in
your chrysalis slumber? Truly all will come at
last, but not till after ye have long been frozen .
There you are mistaken, lady, rejoined the old
huntsman; it all depends upon whether they
marry or not. These insects all die soon after their
marriage, and often have I found a dead mother
clinging to the same bough on which she has laid
her eggs. But if they do not marry they fall into
280 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

a torpor; and look you, bedded in a rocky crevice


like this, or even under ice and snow, these little
frail creatures will slumber through
g t he incl
' ement
winter, and then awake to enjoy t_lEir pro_E\i:_d.
spring. Have you never, on the rst warni day of
the new year, when scarcely a single blade of grass
has yet sprouted forth afresh, seen a buttery with
pale, tattered wings, like one of the last year's
leaves ? That is one who has survived the winter.
But Joanna made no reply ; the old mans words
fell like a stone upon her heart, and she glanced
anxiously at her sister, who was walking on in
silence, her thoughts already very far away from
the autumnal butteries.
Those we have seen in our garden at home,
said Joanna at last, are much prettier and mer
rier, else Clarissa would have cared more for these,
and our talk about them.
A tear rose to her eye as she spoke. Gregory
shook his head in silence.
Even before then, and without her being aware
of it, he had observed Joanna's growing sadness.
Two sparrows had been the occasion. For one day
when Joanna went after dinner to throw some
crumbs out to the fowls, she perceived among them
two of those sociable little birds eagerly gathering
up the grains that lay scattered around. The
THE HOCHWALD. 281

sudden thought struck her, what if these sparrows


were come from her father's house?
Gregory, do not frighten them away! she
said hastily; let them eat a good dinner before
they set out again on their long journey.
They are not going on a journey, he re
plied, they have been here three days already.
These birds love the company of human beings,
and seek them out even in the wilderness, that they
may dwell with them. If we stay here over the
winter they will most assuredly stay also.
Joanna looked down sadly, and let crumbs and
tears fall on the ground--she could not understand
why she felt so heavy at heart,then, collecting
herself, she went in to call Clarissa to come and look
at the sparrows.
Gregory led his children, as he called them,
through the forests as before, showing them how
all was preparing for winter, how the long-bearded
moss clung to the birch and pine-boughs, and the
forest-seeds were sheltered under the dry covering
of the grasses and leaves, how the last raspberries
were falling off their stalks and those unripened
were mouldering away; he pointed out to them
the germs of future buds encased in their brown
coats of mail, and made them observe how the an
cient race of the rs stood as before still enveloped
Z82 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

in their unalterable dusky green mantles awaiting


the ice and snow, and the sturdy oak held its rust
ling foliage tightly clasped within its thousand
tough ngers. And he also described to them the
beauty of the coming winter, the sparkling glitter
which would surround them on bright sunny days
when the whole wide forest would be like a transpa
rent palace of ice, each tiny twig bent down by a
clinging weight of icicles, forming a more delicate
fret-work than the rich lace bordering their dress.
And he spoke also of the early spring when the
new-born brooks gush down from the heights at
night, and break in upon the repose of the sleeper
with a joyous noise. For there was no season of
the year in which Gregory had not beheld the glory
and splendour of the forest.
During these wanderings he talked to them
unceasingly, and with the same untutored and exu
berant eloquence as ever, but his poetic fancies
now fell upon ears no longer tuned to appreciate
them, although he, in his simplicity, did not
notice that Clarissa was thinking of Ronald, and
Joanna of home, oftener than of him and his
conversation.
They had received no communication from their
father for a long time,neither had they seen Gregorys
grandson, and, to add to their discomfort, the sky
THE HOCHWALD. 283

had been so clouded over during the last fortnight that


it was useless to look out towards Wittinghausen.
The cry of the coal-mouse was heard no longer;
the eldfare was gone; and almost every day the
dark grey line drawn across the sky by the migrating
wild-fowl was seen towards the south.
Often, when the night mists were spread over the
lake, when gigantic shadows and shapeless black
forms were cast upon the waters, and the moons pale
disk shed its yellow light over the whole scene,
the sisters sat in their comfortable warm room,
the golden thread of their lamp-light cast from the
window across the mist, and Clarissa poured forth
all her love and hope in the rich tones of her
harp ; while Joanna looked at her in loving silence,
though with something of secret compassion in her
heart, thinking: Surely this is not quite right;
I fear it may not be right.
How beautiful he is; and how pleasantly he
speaks our language ! said Clarissa, suddenly, one
evening.
But, replied Joanna, some time or other
he will go away and become a hero, as they call
it: that is to say, he will shed human blood like
the rest of them, only because there is danger and
adventure in it, and then he will consider himself
great and glorious. And though, as you say, not
284 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

one drop of human blood has yet stained his hands,


we do not know how long that may be the case,
it may not be so even at this very moment when
we are speaking, or to-morrow, o_r the day after,
they are such a hard, cruel set: oh, how I hate
them, those men !
Clarissa smiled at this, and gently shook her
head.
At last one evening came, so unlike the preceding
ones, so clear and cold that the moon shone like
a bright gold cupola above the forest, and as night
advanced, the sky was crowded with such a multi
tude of stars that the spectator might have imagined
them pressed for room, and in danger of clashing
one against the other. .
The night was exceedingly cold, and when the
sun rose next morning, the whole forest stood
covered with white hoar-frost and glittered with
such countless white sparks, that it seemed as
though the starry host of heaven had fallen down
upon them.
Gregory would not hear of starting early amidst
the frost and morning damp; but towards mid..day,
when this unusually cold night had been succeeded
by an unusually hot sunshine, they set out on their
way to the Blockenfels.
It was a long time since they had been there.
THE noon WALD. 285

How changed were now the forests! The pale


red and yellow tints of autumn streaked faintly the
dim, sad blue of the pines, until the eye rested
upon the far distance where the blue alone could be
seen, and all was, as it were, tranquilly awaiting
winter. Yet, clear as was the autumnal atmosphere,
Joanna, although she strained her sight to the
utmost, could not discern, as formerly, the little
blue cube hovering on the skirt of the forest-ridge.
Clarissa xed the telescope, as usual, but neither
could she discover any trace of the castle, although
she shifted the glass backwards and forwards again
and again, and distinguished many well-known
windings and lines of forest near which the castle
ought to be. 'At last the mystery was unravelled;
it was ascertained that, despite the clearness of the
sky above them, a slight vapour was drawn over
the distant skirt of the forest, exactly in the spot
where they had been wont to see their fathers
house. Gregory advised them to wait a little while,
as probably the mist would soon disperse, unless,
indeed, as often happens in autumn, it would begin
from this little point to enlarge, and gradually over
spread the whole forest-district. If that were the
case, there would assuredly be bad weather on the
morrow, and then they would wait in vain.
They waited.
286 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

But the vapour did not disperse, neither did it


spread farther, and at last the old man insisted
that they must return, for the afternoons were short,
and it was a full two hours walk home. To all
appearance the morrow would be a still ner day than
this, and they should start earlier. Three or four
times more did they look through the glass, but all
was of no avail, and with hearts sad and ill at ease
they turned away.
They reached their cottage. The same beautiful
golden cupola as yesterday was that evening arched
above the dark fresh woodland heights, and the
same glittering stars shone at night, though, perhaps,
in a yet greater multitude, as though the whole
heavens were about to fall down in a bright noiseless
shower of snow. The old man prophesied, from
the aspect of the sky, a continuance of fair weather.
The whole of the little household went to rest.
Gregory spent a night of anxiety and sleeplessness.
At last came morning. A sun, bright as yester
days, rose and lighted up the hoar-frost, now
sparkling upon each decaying leaf and blade of grass.
The young girls tried to prevail upon Gregory to
accompany them to the Blockenstein immediately,
but he persisted in waiting for the clear mid-day
air.
The time arrived, and they set out. While

0
THn HOCHWALD. 287

ascending the rock, they observed the devastating


effects of the frost; only a few leaves, some of a
rusty brown, some crimson, some pale yellow, clung
languidly to the brushwood and the ferns, and fresh
shoots hung down as it were sodden and sapless.
Joanna reached the summit rst, and raised a
loud cry of joy, for, in the atmosphere, clear as
glass, that beloved little cube-shaped speck was
once again seen, hidden by no envious cloud, and
so clearly and plainly that she almost fancied she
could distinguish its several parts,and the sky
above was of so soft and entire a splendour that it
might have been imagined cut out from one single
precious stone.
Clarissa had, meanwhile, xed the telescope. All
at once she was seen to step hack, and x her eyes
with a strange expression upon Gregory. Joanna
looked hastily through the glass: the castle was
in the accustomed place; but, alas! it had no
roof, and the walls were stained with strange black
specks. She, too, started back; then, as though
it had been a delusive phantom, which must have
quickly vanished, she again stooped her face before
the instrumentbut the same picture, horribly
distinct, and illuminated by the bright sun, again
met her eyes; and the same bright, cheerful day
light surrounded her, save that there was a slight
288 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

trembling in the airias she continued gazing, but


this was because her heart throbbed, and her
straining eye grew unsteady.
As she leaned back, half-fainting, she heard Cla
rissa, whose face was pale as the snow, say to
Gregory, It is done.
It is done, repeated Gregory. I foreboded
this from yesterdays xed, cloudlike vapourbut
let me look.
He looked through the telescope, but although
his eye was from long practice much keener than
the young girls', he could but see as they did, a
strong, rooess tower rising into the air, with the
black stains of re clinging to it. A faint, blueish
vapour still hovered, at least so he fancied, over the
ruin. It was a fearful thought that in this very
moment, perhaps, the loud tumult of war might be
raging around that spot, and deeds being done such
as must rend the heart with horror and pity. How
ever, this tower, what was it but a point in this vast
world ?even in the forest it was no more than a
point,and whatever tumult and turmoil there
might be, no sign of it could reach them here, and
the same smiling repose reigned in the heavens and
in the wide wilderness.
The old manis anguish was such, that he ground
his teeth in the attempt to suppress his emotion;
THE HOCHWALD. 289

then turning away from the telescope, he said, very


composedly,
No matter; suppose they have burnt down
the old roof, it must have been taken away for
a new one sooner or later. What a veteran old
warrior your father is! he told us beforehand
exactly how it would be. But be comforted, my
childrenClarissa, do not look so fearfully at that
one little speck !
Yes, she replied, slowly, the roof has been
burnt, that we can see, but what else has been done
this telescope cannot show us. Gregory, say, why
does not your grandson, Raymond, come to us?
why have we received no tidings for several weeks
past ?
Because nothing has happened, returned the old
man : the conagration took place, perhaps, only
yesterday or the day before, and if so, we shall eer
tainly receive tidings to-morrownay, who knows but
that they may not even now be awaiting us in the
cottage ? Comethis is nothing more than we had
anticipated. That a house should be set on re by
a troop of soldiers marching past is nothing at all
uncommon; it has happened before, and will often
happen again before this war is ended.
But there were two men in this house-"'
And one of the two, interrupted he, was an
. . . 0
29) LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

experienced soldier, who would most assuredly have


made some arrangement with the enemy for leaving
the castle unmolested, or for an honourable sur
render.
And another was near, continued Clarissa,
who had pledged himself that not a hair of that
venerable head should be harmed.
And assuredly not a hair of his head has been
harmed, if Ronald were present, unless
Unless P
Unless his own head has also been levelled with
the slain.
Both the young girls gazed at him in inexpres
sible consternation.
Don't be making a fool of me, he exclaimed,
half-angrily; dont ll me with your childish fears.
I tell you nothing of the sort has happened, it
would be too absurd. So leave your cares and your
hearts in Gods hands, and wait patiently till your
father shall send you tidings. Come, take away the
glass, and let us home.
But instead of removing the telescope, Clarissa
threw herself down before it and gazed long and
earnestly-it was in vain: the same sad picture
still presented itself, rendered doubly painful through
its silent uniformity and clearness. Joanna, too,
looked again, as though to assure herself of the
THE HOCHWALD. 291

unwelcome truth; for as often as she turned her


eyes from the glass, and saw the cheerful sky, the
fair, pleasant forests, and the dearly-loved cube all
as usual, she could not believe but that all was
unreal which she saw in the glass; and, indeed,
when she looked again, the bright rmament even
grew dark and threatening, and the distant forests
assumed the appearance of an enormous black
shroud.
Clarissa was the rst to calm herself, and reject
ing the idea which had occurred to her in her rst
feverish eagerness,viz. to set out forthwith and,
at whatever cost, seek her fathers house,she pro
posed returning to the cottage without delay, and
immediately sending forth one of the servants to
obtain intelligence, guarding all the entrances of the
cottage with every possible precaution till he should
return, or a messenger arrive from her father.
Accordingly she took down the telescope, stcrnly
denying both herself and Joanna a single glance
more, as only prolonging their useless and, perhaps,
causeless pain.
Joanna gave way, though with reluctance, yet
with something of admiration for Clarissa, who was
now once again the calm, self-possessed, strong
minded sister, to whom she had been accustomed so
lovingly and willingly to submit herself.
0 2

I
292 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

But Gregory would not agree to the proposal of


sending out one of the servants.
Your father, he said, knows that you have
this telescope, and must consequently be informed
of what has happened; he will therefore be sure
not to delay for one minute sending you intel
ligence. The man might fall into the enemys
hands, and in his fear reveal your place of retreat.
To this reasoning the maidens submitted.
One more sad glance over the wide prospect of
the autumnal wilderness surrounding them, and then
they descended the beloved rock with feelings far
different from those with which they had ascended
it-with gloomy forebodings which the one sister
cherished in secret horror, and the other courage
ously repressed. .
On the shore of the lake stood the two, dark,
motionless gures of the men who were waiting to
row them across, they got into the boat, and reached
their meadow. After they had passed through the
wicket-gate, Gregory had it secured with bolts.
The servants kept an alternate watch all the night.
To-morrow came and passed away, but no mes
senger.
Nor on the day following.
Eleven days had thus passed, and still no tidings
had arrived. Then Gregory, yielding to their ear
THE HOCHWALD. 293

nest entreaties, accompanied them again to the rock.


On the verge of the forest, there stood the ruined
castle, as on the day they rst saw it in its gloomy
desolationno change had taken place.
A dreary time succeeded; the rst white snow
akes of winter fell into the dark lake,a man had
now been sent forth,
But he, too, never returned.
294 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

CHAPTER VII.

THE FOREST RUINS.

UPON a green pasture-land, surrounded by de


cayed and decaying outworks, stood years ago, as
now, a strong, four-angled tower, the Tower of St.
Thomas. It had no roof, and the court.yard had
no gate even then, but its walls were not bare and
weather-beaten into a dull grey hue, as now; they
were then still clothed with plaster and white-wash,
though their cleanliness was stained with hideous
traces of re which, beginning at the windows,
pointed upwards like the tail of acomet. Many
a deep wound might likewise be perceived in the
outer walls. The green turf in front had become
like a thrashing-oor, furrowed with deep tracks of
wheels and hoofs, and covered here and there with
a burnt or blackened tree, or with the fragments of
certain unknown articles of furniture and domestic
utensils. All was stillness around, and a clear sky
with its mild November sun looked down upon this

11
THE HOCHWALD. 295

scene of death and desolation. No trace of the


enemy whose hand had caused the desolation might
be discerned, not a single human being was to be
seen as far as the eye could reach, the huts in the
neighbourhood were burnt, and the hamlet of Fried
berg lay in ruins. And yet a thin blue column
of smoke rose up from the desolate tower towards
the heavens above, as though its precincts were
still inhabited by man.
And, indeed, a horseman was now seen riding
hastily over the hard, frozen soil of the pasture
land towards the tower. He compelled his horse
to leap over the scattered fragments of stone that
blocked up the wide gateway, dismounted, and tied
up his horse to the bar of the iron grating of one
of the windows, from the ledge of which hung the
broken glass, like dirty ice. Then quickly turning
round, he pressed on through the halfshattered
door into the interior of the building. Here
various corridors and apartments greeted him, all
wearing an aspect of painful vacuity, and an inhos
pitable breeze swept by him through the empty
spaces left by the burnt doors and windows. Soon,
however, he discovered a wooden staircase, covered
in with fresh-hewn planks, and which appeared to
have been but recently made. He ascended this
staircase, and it led him up into a corridor, and
296 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

thence into an ante-room, the ceiling of which had


not fallen in. As he strode through the dark pas
sage, he saw an old man standing there, but he took
no heed of him and tapped at the chamber-wall.
A female gure was visible through the half opened
door.
Susanna, said the stranger, in a low voice,
may I come in? The maid immediately
opened the door, conducted him through the cham
ber, and opened another door immediately opposite
the rst, and leading into a larger apartment. He
entered.
Two gures, dressed in deep mourning, were sit
ting in the room; at his entrance one of them
rose and came to meet him, saying
You are most heartily welcome to us, Knight.
Sadly he raised his dark eyes to her pallid
features. Yes, it was indeed Clarissa who stood
before him, her black mourning-dress falling in
graceful folds over her queenly form. By her side
sat Joanna-a face white as alabaster looked up to
the Knight, and the tear-drops chased one another
fast down her cheeks, as she vainly essayed to
speak. And he, too, stood silent for a few mi
nutes, his eyes resting on the windows, which were
patched up with shabby paper ; he felt incapable of
uttering a single word, especially as Clarissa now
THE HOCHWALD. 297

stood motionless before him, her lips and eyelashes


quivering painfully in the vain endeavour to restrain
her tears.
Presently she moved a chair towards him; but
he then went up to Joanna, and, seizing her hand,
pressed it fondly and fervently between his own.
Since you are here said Joanna at last,
since you, you at least are come
Do not blame me, he said, I have only been
at liberty these last ve days, and during that
time I have ridden almost day and night to seek
you.
Then you were a prisoner?
I was a prisoner, else you should not have
been left thus so long without help; but now I am
here, and I beseech you most earnestly to accept
all I have, my life and all my substance are hence
forth at your service. My castle on the Danube
has been burnt too, it is even more dilapidated
than this: no matter, I do not want it, and shall
not attempt to rebuild it till peace is rmly estab
lished in the land. But I have some hidden store,
and the rst use we will make of it shall be to
restore your house to somewhat of a more habitable
condition. The enemy is the less likely to come
here again, inasmuch as the march through this
part of the country was found very diicult and
o 5
298 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

withal unprotable. They are now all in their


winter-quarters.
With something of melancholy pleasure beaming
in her eyes, Clarissa now offered him her hand, saying,
So you are again, as always, the rst to come
to our assistance, you towards whom I have always
shown myself so ungrateful.
No more of that, Clarissa, he replied, his dark
eyes glistening as he spoke; no more of that, it is
past, and I am now only your cousin and brother.
I might have guessed it. But had you been more
candid towards us all, I should never have tor
mented you with my addresses, and, perhaps, this
last would not have happened .
Then you know?
I know, Clarissa, I know
Then he, is it so ?he too ?
He too.
Clarissas face was almost convulsed with anguish,
and she panted for breath; there was something
besides grief; there was a sort of bitter anger in the
expression of her eye as she turned towards the
window, as if to reproach the blind, unfeeling
heavens. For a few seconds she paused, struggling
with herself.
And that convulsive bitterness had not passed
away from her features when she turned round, and
THE HOCHWALD. 299

said, with a voice fearfully calm : Knight, if you


know anything more, speak; tell us all; we have
heard only one thing. Speak, Knight: do you
know it for certain?
I was present.
You were present? Bruno! cried Joanna,
starting up; you were present! she repeated
in the most heart-rending tone; then, Bruno,
in pity tell us how it was; tell us: take this
dreadful weight from off my heart. I feel it would
be easier to bear if I knew all.
As he still hesitated, Clarissa said: Be merci
ful, Knight, and tell us.
Yon forest, he began, was the sole cause of
the misfortune. Your house,not a hand would
have been raised against it: the Swedes were to
have passed far off to the left; but Gallas had sent
out some people,I was, at my own request, among
themto throw up entrenchments in yonder forest
it stretches to the right towards the valley of the
Moldau and annoy the enemy. F1-iedbergs
hapless inhabitants, who must now dig for their
livelihood, will remember that Schanzwald to the
end of their days, and teach their children and
grandchildren to execrate the name, for it was theirs
and our bane. I saw at once how it would be,
and begged your father, the day before, to abandon
300 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

the castle, and take refuge with you; but he in


dignantly rejected the proposal, because an imperial
troop then occupied the fortress under his command.
Harmless as a band of pilgrims, the Swedes, singing
loudly their merry songs, entered that fair forest.
But it was honible to see how, amid the wall of
smoke from our muskets, their broken lines receded,
their men fell mangled and bleeding one over the
other. No second attack was ventured upon: the
short-sighted among us triumphed; but that very
night we saw Friedberg in ames, and the next day,
when the enemy was reinforced, our entrenchments
were stormed, and a fearful carnage ensued. Our
troops were dispersed like shivered glass. Some
threw themselves back upon Wittinghausen. I was
among these. Oh, Clarissa! all might have gone
well yet. The assault, dared in the rst ush of
victory, was repulsed. One week passed away, and
then another: the enemy, his ardour already cooled,
and seeing how little advantage the siege would
afford him, made but a show of hostility for the
sake of appearances, and voluntarily offered terms of
accommodation. Then, one ne morning, we saw
a young man, richly clad, apparently a new com
mander, riding through the ranks of the besiegers, as
if issuing orders to them.-Clarissa listened breath
lessly, her lips half opened, her thirsting eyes
'1HE HOCHWALD. 301

strained to the utmost.- We could not conceive


who he was: all the olcers, even Sture himself,
treated him with such marked deference. That day
there was a truce. The next morning, this same
man rode unusually near the wall, as we believed,
to reconnoitre, and, as chance would have it, his
helmet fell off: a profusion of long axen hair
waved down over his neck.
Whether it was through our own folly, or that
destiny must be fullled, we could not understand
the signals made by the youth as he rode thus
condently towards us. But your father gazed long
and xedly at him, as though struck with the utmost
surprise. Then I remarked a ush overspreading
his cheeks till they burned with the dark crimson
glow of indignation. Suddenly, without uttering
a.syllable, he hurled his lance at the horseman,
forgetting that he was too far o' for it to reach
him. Ah! it could not reach him, that poor,
weak, harmless lance, but it was the signal for
others: that very minute a shower of lances was
poured down by our troops, and we heard the reports
of our musketry. And we saw how the Swedes
sprang forward to the rescue of their captain; how
they took him in their centre; how he fell: and
then, almost before we could recollect ourselves,
there was a storm, here, there, everywhere. Never
302 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

have I seen the Swedes so furious, and the smoke


was such that not a face could be distinguished
at three paces distance. Clarissa, do you hear me ?
Go on, said she, bending forward.
There is no more to tellthe castle was set on
re, we were forced to sally out. I was wounded,
lost consciousness, and was taken prisoner
And-
Clarissa ! Joanna !-Sture himself ordered both
him and the boy to be interred with all due mili
tary honour under the stone pavement in front of
the altar of St. Thomas/s Church, which had indeed
also been set on re. I, wounded and unarmed,
obtained permission to be present at the ceremony.
\ Then it is I, exclaimed Clarissa, shuddering,
it is I who have slain both my father and brother,
and, pressing both her hands over her eyes, she gave
vent to such a wild, violent cry that her whole
frame quivered. Joanna immediately arose, and
throwing her arms round her sister, Clarissas head
sank down upon her neck, the hot tears falling
fast.
The Knight stood by meanwhile, the sole specta
tor of the poignant anguish he had occasioned ; still he
did not repent having excited it by his narration, for
he well knew that, however heart-rending those tears
might be, the exhaustion that would follow would
rns nocnWann. 303

have a relief in it innitely sweeter and more


wholesome than their former stupor of resignation.
And, indeed, the rst agony of grief was soon
spent, a low, scarcely audible cry was alone heard
in the still and darkened chamber, and at last this
too ceased. Clarissa still clung to J oanna,and
bitter as the rst tears had been, they now owed
freely and abundantly.
At last, after a long pause, Clarissa again raised
her head towards the Knight and said, in a low voice,
Bruno, tell us now, where is the other grave,
and how ? Her voice was again stied.
Do not ask, Clarissa; who could tell amid the
confusion of that moment? He had a bullet in
his breast, probably from our musketry; his body
was conveyed away, whither I do not know. It
was while a prisoner among the Swedes that I
learned that he had come as a mediator, that he
had proposed and arranged that the imperial garri
son should be suffered to evacuate, and your father
left in the undisturbed possession of his house,
His death was the signal for the assault. Sture and
all of them loved him exceedingly.
All loved him exceedingly, repeated she, again
trembling with emotion, all loved him exceed
ingly! Oh! thou fair, ill-starred Orphan of the
Forest! She again hid her face in Joannas
3041 LIFE IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

bosom, saying with an almost childlike timidity,


Joanna, be not displeased,-Joanna, I love thee
only now,only theemy sister, love me again as
formerly!
Joanna, in her intensity of sorrow and tender
ness, scarcely knew what she should do ; she pressed
her sister closely to her, and soothed her just as
though she were a child in distress. Thus she, the
weaker, and herself in sorrow, now, through her
guileless affection, received strength to calm and
soften the more acute sorrow of her sister,
formerly her guide and superior. Then turn
ing to the Knight, she whispered, Tell us
no more.
He bowed his head in acquiescence, but his eyes
were still riveted on the fair creature before him,
whom he had loved so long and passionately, and
who now seemed totally weighed down by excess
of grief. The oor of the chamber seemed trem
bling under his feet. He would have left the sis
ters alone with their sorrow, but though he tried
to tread stealthily away, Clarissa heard his step,
and suddenly looked up.
Bruno, said she, do not go away; it is so
dark and gloomy here, and we have no one with
us, except an old man and his grandson.
Everything shall be made right, Clarissa. I
THE HOCHWALD. 305

will ride away to fetch some workpeople this very


day; we will have a roof suicient to last the
winter put on some of the rooms, and windows,
doors, staircases, all shall be set straightyour
harp I will have fetched from the cottage in the
forest,your books too,so that you may look
forward with a good courage to the winter.
VVe will look forward with a good courage to
everything, replied Clarissa, again laying her face
upon J oannas shoulder.
Silently the Knight left the room. He spoke
with Gregory, Raymond, and the maids, and a little
while later he was seen riding again over the barren,
frozen ground.
Roof, gates, staircases, and rooms were restored
as well as might be, but still the castle looked like
a ruin. Years passed away, and the castle remained
a ruin. Ronald"s impressions as to the speedy ter
mination of the war proved deceptive; for, instead
of coming to an end, it continued for years and
years. Never again, however, did any hostile troop
appear before Wittinghausen: some knew how
Ronald had lost his life there, and how he had
loved the fortress; some knew nothing either of
Ronald or of Wittinghausen.
Meanwhile, the sisters continued to live there
until their death, both of them unmarried. Joanna
ii

306 LIF>\IN AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

had grown up\ into a noble and beautiful woman,


tall and stately, pale and serious, and Ever know
ing an y earthly passion save onelove for her sister.
Clarissa ceased not to love and cherish the memory
of Ronald: even when she was approaching her
eightieth year, when she had long ago recovered
her peace of mind and cheerfulness, she could not
imagine him otherwiseeven when she dreamt of
his being yet alive and coming to herthan as the
beautiful, fair-haired youth whom she had loved so
well.
Few visitors ever reached that strange, weather
beaten castle, but one solitary horseman was often
seen to ride towards it, and return by the way he
came.
At last even he came no morehe was dead.
It is well known that the sisters lived to an ad
vanced age, and not long ago the herdsman used to
point out the apartments they had occupied. But
no one knows their grave; it may have been in the
ruined Church of St. Thomas, or, perchance, under
one of the grey stones in the castle, over which the
goats may now be seen clambering. They were the
last inhabitants of the castle.
Extending far away to the west, lie the silent,
impenetrable forests, as wild and as lovely as of old.
Gregory had set re to the cottage on the shore of
THE HOCHWALD. 307

the Enchanted Lake, and scattered seeds over the


spot where it had stood: the alders, beeches, rs,
I and other trees that shaded the forest-meadow had a
numerous posterity, which overgrew the whole place,
so that the silent, untrodden wilderness became
again as deep, trackless, and impenetrable as it was
of yore; and such does it remain to this day.
An old man was often seen to pass like a
shadow to and from the Hochwald, but it is not
known how long he wandered thus, or when his
wanderings ceased.

THE END.

LONDON:
Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.
-mg-ltgl- j;

University of Califomia Library


Los Angeles
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below.
-A

.9 NON-Pr" . MLE
- . IE!
llll

\J amMAR 0 41996
LB-t.
DUE Z Vino I'(\UIVl
pt I

\PR \ 0 Q
A F T . 4. n
E
' z hid

44145? Z h Us

l
r

l
\
I
I

Um. J

"1 w 111 i\\\


I
\\\L ma as/,,
l\llU
it
\lll
I

'.\lll
/<"u%|
I/W1-\ \lH\
.1I

P
M
if!HIl l l l l l l l l hl l l l l l l l l l l l l.l
..J.|I

3+

|RYI0/Q I _5\e\||IBRARgjr;:/24 v K3,,


5
_7.;f\;i,.
.Q,

f ' '0\r

I.1.Q ll_
_ _ .1-I-in-ua-smgaxgg;
my
University of California Library
Los Angeles
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below.
h~

R ~Q~_pr:ssr;isgp\Q_E
10
Will
5* 1 MAR 04196
\J
J
DUE 2 vv-N I[\Ul(_ijCliJ./E{$E.p

sect LB-URI.
\PR 1 0%
IF"-\._'a
..r .. Q2
Miihfu
I

.
w
\

ii)
URL J

Form L9Ser ~
=2 /
~\.\)F'CAl F()l?/1%

.//SHE]/\|N
Q
l0S~ANGEl~<\E-UBRAR
J,\

Related Interests