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with infinite and eternal interests and resolute honesty and frankness, we are which is accustomed to look on them at least spared the degradation of as all-important, and magnify them to stooping to the crooked policy of doan extent which obliterates every ceit and meanness. I saw that the other consideration, really rise to the world might be made better, if man contemplation of the Divine wisdom. could be induced to think more of Again, the good must be accompanied God and less of earth; to remember by the beautiful. Nature-God's ma infinity, and contrast our tiny planet sonry, is so far more beautiful than with it; to love Nature, and to see man's mightiest efforts, that the latter God's hand in everything. are literally ugly to the real lover of In the nineteenth century men's Nature, and every lover of God must ideas are directed by two things-inbe a lover of his fair handiwork. tercourse and literature. But the
When the world disappoints and latter has a great influence over the rejects us, how eagerly do we seek the former. How few there are who do consolation of Heaven! When man not read some newspaper or other refuses us his love, how much more every day, and have often no other precious does that of the only true literature to refer to. The influence of Friend become to us! When we are dis journalism becomes enormous, and yet gusted at a sordid humanity, how easily who can deny that that influence is do we recognise, how passionately diametrically opposed to Christianity? pant for the mercy of a fond and ever- To say nothing of the animosity of forgiving Father-the Father of us all. party-spirit in politics or creed, by
I wandered in the fields around which the heart is taught to hate, Munich in undisturbed solitude, and where it was before indifferent, there took a joy in realising the real presence is often an undue and untrue inof the Eternal One around me, and in portance attached to the most trivial striving to please Him and show my events: interest and not principle is gratitude for his mercies by a constant admitted as the legitimate motive to purification of my heart. There nestled all action; respect of persons is carried Hope and Faith, and thence I endea- to excess; and sin and crime are talked voured diligently to thrust out every of with the same utilitariar indifthought or feeling not akin to charity. ference as the state of the funds. It is Thus I gained strength, till when called by this constant association with wrong on to mingle with my fellow-men, I ideas that men are gradually tutored felt how much better I had become. to look on right as a romantic imposIt was now so difficult to be selfish or sibility, and the commands of Heaven uncharitable when one had no real in are regarded as Oriental indignities, terest in the things of the world. It which civilization and common sense was so easy to love one's fellow-men have the right to modify. Our Saviour when one saw how much the common says, “Consider the lilies, and trust, Father loved them all in the mercies like them, in Providence.” Commonhe dispensed, but which they blindly sense, in the nineteenth century, puts claimed as their rights. It was such in the amendment, “ Consider the a happy feeling, that we were all, high prices in the market, and trust to and low, good and bad, rich and pau- nothing but your own power of driving per, the helpless children of the same the hardest possible bargain, and filling kind, watchful Parent.
your own pockets with anything that Now I looked from afar upon the your neighbour is fool enough to let corrupt and faithless world, and while you get out of him." The old law was, I loved could not but pity and blame “Bless them that spitefully entreat mankind. I saw that we have sinned, you.” The new one says, “Go to law because our whole lives are without even with your own father, if he robs God; because even our religious ob you of a sixpence." The Bible says, servances are as far from real commu "A man shall leave father and mother nion with, or real honour to, our and cleave unto his wife, and they Creator and Preserver as the long twain shall be one flesh.” Society prayers of the Pharisees.
says, “It is wrong to marry without I was not only a better, but a your parents' consent and plenty of happier and a more sensible man. The money; and if your tempers disagree highest view of all matters is always separate from your wife." Ah! but the wisest, and if we are duped from a there I strike home.
ing intimacy. Thus I gradually lapsed back into the old world, and found my wornout interests revive. His introductions, and my other letters, opened the doors of the Munich salons to me; and when the new year came with the season, I was as different from my summer self, as the bare brown branches were from their “green
As the last days of autumn began to close in, I found that pature was no longer the enjoyable companion she bad been. The cold increasing, forced me into a pace which was the death of contemplation; and physical exercise was a poor substitute for the eagle flights which my mind had hitherto indulged in. I could not flap my wings in upper æther when I was confined to four papered walls and a solitary hearth. I began to feel the necessity for the sympathy of my fellow creatures, now that the birds and flowers had fled, and the leaves rudely fluttered, brown and dreary, round my ears. I bethought me of my letters of introduction, and at length, having examined and reformed my toilette, made my way, one cold afternoon, to the British Legation. I found the minister suf ficiently affable ; but how strange did his stiff politeness, how unnatural did the reserve of his conversation appear to me. I had been so long living in a boundless world of thought, that I was quite at a loss to conceive the deep interest he expressed in the narrow topics of the day. When we spoke of the state of Europe, his judgment on the different acts of different governments, struck me as utterly devoid of real principle. He seemed almost afraid to sound any one of them to the bottom; the motives were canvassed with a partiality, and a party spirit, that were to me incomprehensible. He deprecated the indignant wrath of an oppressed race, while he praised the unflinching severity of some military governor. Again, all seemed, to his mind, to be justly subservient to the interests of commerce; and when I hinted that the only men who suffered by a law of tolerance were the millionaires of trade, who could afford to suffer, he opened his eyes in amazement, and said, “the measure would ruin the country." The topics for which I could expend but three words, would occupy him an hour, and I felt that our modes of thought were utterly at variance.
Yet, for all this, I warmed both to wards himself and his wife, and when his hospitality had drawn us closely together, we got on admirably. I discovered that there were scarcely any English in Munich, and that he was therefore more pleased at our increas
Yet it was long before my interest in society returned in full force. I found that of Munich in a terrible condition. The court-circle followed the flagrant example of the Electress Dowager and her sons. The nobility in general emulated the court, and the bourgeoisie could not be behind. Even art, which had already begun to circle round its royal patron, was far from pure from this taint, and intrigue only vied with luxury, in patronising vice in Bavaria's capital.
I was at first thoroughly disgusted with all that was told me of this state of things, but curiosity led me to judge for myself. The more I mingled with these gay epicureans, the more I found my long-loved solitude wearisome. It I were alone for an hour, my thoughts ran on the vices which surrounded me; and while I grew disgusted with the rottenness of mankind, I found it now difficult to throw off the remembrance of them, and rise to better things. I was sinking gradually in the slough of worldliness, and had no power to raise myself out of it.
I heard much that grieved me about Von Ritter. All spoke of him as a man of wonderful abilities, and a master-mind; but all remembered the life he had led among themselves. His superior nature, his powers of conversation, his wit, his sarcasm, his very contempt for the vices he indulged in, had made him dreaded, admired, and get popular with all alike. He had, at one time, had great influence with royalty, and many confessed that he had used it conscientiously. Again, the men had known him as the brightest ornament of their club, their most reckless gambler,(he had ruined himself at their tables), and their most brilliant wit. Among the women, he had been the constant centre of attraction, and the difficulty of subduing him, only made him a more continual object for their fascinations. His choice, too, had always been most eccentric. At one time his favours had been lavished on some insignificant nonentity, while refused to a duchess of unsurpassed beauty. At another, he revived the fashion of some passée favourite, whose star had long begun to set. The supposition that profound political interest were hidden beneath the guise of simple intrigue, only added zest to the interest, and none were astonished when his liaison with a certain Dowager Highness, whose conduct was the amusement of the whole country, was publicly avowed. All this, however, had taken place some fifteen or twenty years back, and a new generation filled the lists where the Philosopher had once been the champion.
Among the few who had renounced this mode of life, was the Countess Von Dornheim. I found her fair and forty, but neither fat nor a widow; on the contrary, she still looked very young, still very interesting. The rose was not quite withered, and I could see at once how lovely it had been in its freshness. But what age had spared, grief had rudely attacked. There was a settled melancholy, a gentle sadness, that made her more attaching and far more interesting than her gayer acquaintance. Her husband was a stout puffy Bavarian, who got up in the morning round as a beerbarrel, and retired at night a barrel of beer.
After half an hour's conversation, in which I was able to discover alurking genius not wholly to be despised, I ventured to speak of Konrad. I saw her colour go and come suddenly, and yet she replied in a tone of indifference, “I think it must be my nephew you have met. How long have you known him ?”
I told her the time and place, and she continued a string of interrogatories, which proved that she was more interested in her kin than the generality of married aunts. But when I came to our arrival at Niederlahnstein, and mentioned the name of Von Ritter, she stopped me short, and eagerly enquired what our host was like. When I had fully described him, she said, “Thank you, thank you !" with much warmth. “He is a very old friend of mine, of whom I have not heard for years. Come, you must tell me all about him."
She drew her chair nearer to mine, and we seemed to be on intimate
terms immediately. I entered into those details, which it was such pleasure to me to recall, and which it seemed no less so to her to listen to. Every now and then she interrupted me with “Yes, yes, that is just like him, that is just he!” I praised the beauty and the goodness of Beatrix with more than sincerity, but she only shook her head.
I know not how the Countess Von Dornheim managed to worm out my secret from me. She did it, as every woman can, by attacking my weakest points, and recalling my sweetest recollections. Somehow or other, towards the end of the Carnaval, she fathomed my heart in a single conversation, and swore a constant secrecy afterwards.
“You are going to the ball tonight?" she asked, as at length I rose to go.
“What, to the mask? I don't know. I suppose I must do so; but, as I have nothing important to discover, I shall go en bourgeois, and leave the domino to more zealous intriguers. What are you going to wear ?"
"A mask, of course, and a domino."
“Of what colour ? if I may dare to ask, Comtesse."
“What, wretch! have you not been bribing my maid for the last fortnight to tell you of what colour my domino was to be ? No? Well, I forgive you. You had more interesting thoughts to occupy you-adieu !"
A masked ball at Munich, the very head-quarters of intrigue, political and erotic, possessed a more important character than it would do elsewhere. Held in the theatre, on the last day of the Carnaval-Shrove Tuesday-it was sought by everybody of every rank and every disposition. The gay were there, to take one deep draught of reckless pleasure, ere they settled down to the austere regime of Lent's forty days; the grave were there, either to spy on the gay, or to take advantage of the mask to sound some long hidden secret. Every species of liberty, short of actual license, was there allowed. Ambitious statesmen, foolish princes, disappointed Phillides, jealous husbands, and desperate lovers, took refuge beneath a domino and a falsetto voice, to satisfy and clear up mysteries, or entrap and torment a victim.
As I did not come under any of
these categories, I went in simple and seemed to whisper to her. There evening dress.
were but a few paces between me and I had not been long in the crowded my long hunted quarry, but the space theatre, talking to an old friend, when was thickly crowded. I managed my adventures began.
gradually to glide between the stout "Is the Court here to-night?” I was figures of the maskers, and was within asking of him.
an arm's length of my object, when I “I think not, though some of the was suddenly lifted off my legs, and princes may be indulging in a little carried along some way by the refreedom. The Electress, for one, you treating crowd. At the same momay be sure, is playing some strange ment the orchestra, one of the finest tricks to-night.”
in Germany, struck up a most lovely At this moment I received a light mazurka, one of those airs of Poland's rap on the head from a wand, and happy days, which seem to have been a voice by my side said
composed for fairies to dance to on "Never mind the Electress, but some broad moonlit lawn. I discofollow me.” Good God! it was the vered that the masters of the ceremonies voice of Beatrix. I turned to see a were opening as large a space as posstout figure in a pink-silk domino sible for this graceful dance, and that rushing away through the dense crowd. already a number of couples were
There was no clue to her identity entering the ring. The figure seemed to be a little shorter A Polish mazurka danced in domitban Beatrix, and was certainly much no is a strange and lively scene. It stouter. Yet there could be no mis. is then that the long black cloaks, take as to the voice. Sharp as had carelessly fastened, fly back in the been the manner, it was still so whirl of the spirited measure, and disexactly like Beatrix's, that the few close the light ball dresses of the lawords thrilled through me like an dies and the slim proportions of their electric shock.
partners, not, alas, always so slim as I did not stop to reflect, but bounded might be desired. after the stranger, in the hopeless I was looking on at the commenceendeavour to catch her. But she ment of this exciting dance, when I seemed to glide like a cat, between felt a small hand placed in my own the thickly-packed masses, and when and that same magical voice close to I had made my way with great dif my ear : “Let us take a turn in this ficulty to where I had last seen her, mazurka; this music is irresistible.” her wand would appear in a distant “In the name of Heaven !" I repart of the theatre.
plied, " tell me first who you are ; are Yet I was determined to catch her you really Beatrix ?” and discover who and what she was. “Hold your tongue 'till the dance It was impossible Beatrix should be is over," was the sharp answer, in a at Municb, yet it was very strange her tone of authority which I had never voice should be so exactly imitated. heard from the lips of Beatrix. Just as I was giving up the attempt, She drew me into the circle, and the same voice behind me whispered away we went hand in hand, gliding
Sherwood, Beatrix von Ritter is first to this side, and then to that, waiting for you; she has forgiven your stamping our feet to keep time to the desertion of her at Niederlahnstein." measure. Away we went, the pace Before I could turn the pink domino quickening every moment and the was already gone.
dance growing more and more exIt was now in vain that I pushed citing, while at every corner, I flung after my tormentress. Like a wild my arm round my partner's waist and will-o'-the-wisp, she waved her wand whirled her round. Then at last from time to time to lure me on, only came a respite, while the leader of the to find her gone-darted, perhaps, to dance led out the couples in turn to the other end of the enormous salle, perform a figure in the centre. Once I thought I sbould succeed at “I would give a thousand pounds," last. I saw her talking to a remark- I said, taking advantage of the moably tall personage in a thick black domino, closely drawn round. She sweetest memories of my life, to know was evidently deeply interested in who it is that is thus befooling me." what he was saying, as he bent down “And what," returned my partner,
“if I were Beatrix Von Ritter? Would it matter the least to you?you, who could leave her suddenly and without a better cause than a father's wish."
“Beatrix,” I said passionately, "if you be really here in this guise, this is a vile reproach that you make against me. You cannot know the depth of all the reasons which induced me to leave Niederlahnstein; you cannot tell how far I was right in breaking an intimacy which might have been misery to both.”
“Yet you pretend to love Beatrix, you still seem to have some interest in her; you fancy, nay, you may be sure, that she is not utterly indifferent to you."
May I be sure of that ?" I cried. “ Tell me, you, whoever you are, Beatrix or a sorceress, could I te certain that she-she cared for me?"
“How do I know? Still a girl alone in a remote village, you a handsome-yes, a tolerably handsome stranger, wandering about with her alone; ber father's best friend; is that not enough presumptive evidence ?"
“But I was not her only companion,” I replied.
“Ah! yes, the other; but then I know the other, and take the word of -of a sorceress, if you will, that it is impossible Beatrix should love Von Dornheim.”
“How so?” I asked eagerly.
“No matter, there is an insurmountable barrier. But to return. You appear to love this girl. Is that love sincere ? Is it unaltered by absence ?"
The more I heard the unknown one speak, the more I was convinced that it could not really be Beatrix. The voice, indeed, was her own, though less sweet and round perhaps, but the manner was quite alien to her gentle ness. Still, when I remembered the license granted to her disguise and the peculiarity of the position, I could not reply to this question without the warmest asseveration.
“ The absence of a hundred years would not alter what I feel."
" And that is love ?"
“Love, the purest, the highest, the noblest !''
“Which could surmount all prejudice, all shame?" she asked.
" Which would almost follow her to Hell, if it were possible she could go there," I replied,
“Friend,” said the unknown one, “there is a ban upon this poor girl a ban of the harsh world's judgment: could you love her in spite of the world ?"
“Could you marry her in spite or the world ?"
Oh! that voice, how it worked me to frenzy as I answered
"I could, in spite of all!"
Before she could finish, one of the couples making the round, tripped over my unwary foot and fell heavily on the ground before me, the lady seizing my coat for support, and dragging me down with her. I was not long in extricating myself, but as I was stooping over the fallen pair, the well-known voice whispered in my ear, " Beatrix is a bastard-a child of sin !"
I broke fiercely away and turned hotly upon my partner, but she was already gone-disappeared amid the dense crowd of spectators. I looked wildly round, but could see nothing of the pink wand, and recklessly dashed through the crowd in the direction I supposed her to have taken.
For a full half-hour I sought her in every direction, excited by all that had passed, and more than all by the last incomprehensible words, and determined to sound the mystery to the bottom.
Wearied at last by the vain search, I sat down to think over it all. That the pink domino was not Beatrix seemed almost positive. It was impossible she should have spoken in that manner of herself and especially to me. Who, then, could it be? The only person in Munich who knew any thing of my feelings towards Von Ritter's daughter was Madame Von Dornheim. It was possible for her to have imitated a voice which she knew well enough; it was possible for her to make herself appear stouter and taller; and it was very probable that she should play me the trick just after our conversation in the afternoon. I arrived at this conclusion just as a pretty little blue domino tripped up to me.
" Come state, Signor," said an illdisguised voice, which did not puzzle me long to discover.
“A merveille, and you Comtesse ?
“ Couci-couci," was the reply. “I was a little shaken by my fall, for