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- I have thought of marriage,” I answered, “but in vain. I have seen so much of those insipid damsels who flaunt in white tarlatan, and flirt in pretty nothings behind French fans, that I assure you, madame, 'till to-day I had lost all faith in the worth of womankind. I believed tbat those of whom one reads in novels-women of character-meet companions for a man who is not wholly a fool, and beings that one can admire as well as love, were all fictions of authors' brains. I have at least discovered one exception, but I know not if I shall ever find a second."
“I think you will," she replied, " and many more, if you seek them where you should. The world spoils us all ; and you must confess that our weaker characters assimilate more easily with it. But dinner,” she added, “ is on the table—will you try the effect of a change of diet? You will find ours simple enough, and, if you can dine at so early an hour, you will at least run no risk of that demon that haunts the blaze-the gout."
And I did dine with them, on roast mutton and potatoes, and, will you believe it, I never enjoyed a dinner better. A little Norman “ bonne" waited on us, and proved a pleasant variety after bustling waiters or pompous Mercuries. Mrs. Sherwood's fair bands had helped to cook the roast, and Sherwood's merry hospitality was a sauce that made venison of the " jigot."
We did not stay to sip our wine in the dining-room. The children were kissed and kissed again, and sent to bed. Beatrix slipped from the room, and returned, bearing in triumph a
well-crusted bottle, followed by the little maid with glasses and dessert.
“ This is a jovial moment, A- ," said Sherwood; “ an old school-fellow is dear as a prodigal son returning, and we must kill the fatted calf to celebrate the occasion. You have had but a meagre dinner, but you shall now be regaled by a bottle of a rare wine, of which you have never perhaps heard. My cellar is not large, for I live like an Arab, mostly on water ; but I have three dozen of this nectar, a bottle of which I produce on every choice occasion. It is grown and made on a little strip of land where, eight years ago, I first saw Beatrix; and whether that association deludes me or not, I know not, but certes, I believe there is no bottle that could hold a candle to this.”
We drew round the fire, the bottle was uncorked, the wine proved excellent, with or without its associations, and as the generous juice warmed our hearts the past flew back to us all,
" In vino veritas," I cried, after some talk ; " this vintage is so good that I would fain know where it lies?"
“In the happiest corner of the earth to me,” said Charles.
« The happiest, but yet once the saddest," said Beatrix.
My curiosity was excited, and I did not rest till I had drawn Sherwood out to tell me the story of his courtship.
“On one condition," he answered, “that you, Beatrix, leave us."
“Let me stay,” she said, clinging to him, and looking imploringly into his face. “I, too, have never heard it. I long to hear it, Charles.”
“You must promise, then, never to check me, dearest.”
I REMEMBER it was about this time on a long summer evening, that I was floating down the Lahn in a little boat. You know the Rhine. You remember that the Lahn runs past Ems into its blue waters a few miles above Cob. lentz. At the other end of the boat was sitting my bosom friend Dornheim, who, like myself, was a student at Bonn, and with whom I was now wandering away the vacation. There I see him gazing at the blue skies and the vine-covered hills, as we glided past them with the stream; I see his
honest face, and his long locks of fair hair hanging over his shoulders, crowned with a little purple cap-for he was one of the Pfälzers-as he hummed a joyous student's air.
It was that still hour when the day still lingers on, loth to take leave of earth, and all seems hushed around its death-bed. We were both in a musing humour. I was lying at the bottom of the punt, watching a few stray clouds which, as they sailed down to the west, made the blue sky more deeply blue. They were first black, then, as they
neared the sun, they grew purple, and but feel my heart warm with enlastly golden.
thusiasm. « They are like the accidents of our Suddenly there appeared on the top life," I exclaimed to Konrad, who had of one of its turrets a white robe, and caught the direction of my eyes from I called to Dornheim to look at the the end of the boat. “How often a adventurous maiden who clambered broken leg is the introduction to a intrepidly so high. Even at that discharming acquaintance, which, per tance we could see her fair face, and haps, ends in a happy marriage.”
her bright hair floating away on the * Nature,” said Konrad, dreamily, breeze, and we puzzled ourselves to blowing a long cloud from his meer account for her presence there. As the schaum pipe, “is the very mother of boat glided on, we turned and strained types. In all there would seem to be our eyes after her, one law, under a thousand varieties, “ She is the nymph of the castle," and man's life, perfect as it is in its said Konrad; "some local Lorlei who development and completion, is but still haunts its legendary walls." the highest form of each thing's du- “She is looking at us," I cried, ration. Look at this river, beginning of and I can swear she is --" in a little spring, and ending in this Before I could add the epithet, I was whirling, rushing, noisy mass of hurled from my seat with a sudden waters, till it joins its existence to jerk, and pitched head-foremost into that of the stronger Rhine. Look at the river. "My eyes closed instincits rapids and whirlpools, with the tively, the water rushed down my long intervals of calm, and its little throat and into my ears, and I was shallow waters finally lost in the great rolled over and over like a porpoise. eternal ocean. Is that no type of My first idea was to bid adieu to life, many a life? And, oh! what a huge and give way to what seemed an irremind is that Creator's who can design sistible current; my next to strike out, these laws, which we, with all our phi and, as I rose to the surface, to keep sopy, can scarcely detect!”
myself there with all my might. In a "And he blew another cloud, and we few minutes I was swimming gallantly both fell to musing again.
to shore, which luckily was close at “ Talking of rapids," said he, sud- hand, for I was fearfully encumbered denly, " we must not forget there is a with my clothes, and the current was brave one a little lower down, which desperate. I soon perceived that we we shall have to shoot.”
had shot the rapid a little too easily, I scarcely heard him. I was ab. and, as I had been standing in the sorbed in contemplating the beauty of stern of the boat, I was naturally the scene before me. The dark banks jerked out, while Dornheim, who was of the river rose at last to a final hill, sitting in the prow, kept his seat, and ere they gave way to the plain and the was now, after recovering from the Rhine beyond. On this hill stood the surprise of the shock, pulling with all strong old castle of Lahneck, whose his strength towards me. I reached black walls were now purple beneath the bank quite exhausted by the force the evening sun. It was a huge feudal of the stream, and I shall never forget fortress, where once the mailed knight with what agony I held on by a few caroused on the produce of those stunt weeds, quite unable to climb up, and ed vines that clambered and hung on felt their roots give way beneath my rocky shelves beneath it (the very wine hands, till Konrad came up and re. we are sipping, old fellow), and where lieved me. now come none but the owl and the The upshot of it all was, that we re. artist. There were great streaks that solved to give up all idea of returning the lichen had yellowed, and great to Coblentz that evening, to turn into patches that the rain had washed white the little inn of the village of Niederon its thick dark walls, where the moss lahnstein, which was close by on and the anemone grew plentifully, and the banks of the Rhine, to pass a through which a dwarf fir or ash jovial evening with the few thalers thrust its careless roots. As I gazed chance left in our pockets, and to visit on the beauty of the whole scene, with the old castle the next morning, and the Rhine hills beyond, and the con- discover, if possible, its interesting trast of the modernised Stolzenfels nymph. half-way up their sides, I could not « Who knows," said Konrad, “but this accident may be like one of your “ Have you never heard of Von clouds ?"
Ritter ?” he asked. The evening was beautifully warm, « Of course you don't mean the and thus, when I arrived at the hum man who wrote that extraordinary ble inn, with the loyal sign, “ Zur book?” Krone,” I found no difficulty in sup “ The man who wrote · Eutopia,'" ping with the slight covering of a said Konrad, drawing himself up with blanket, while my dripping garments mock gravity, “the first philosopher were being dried at the large kitchen of Germany, sir." fire of our worthy host. He was a " But what of him?" quiet, unassuming Nassauer, whose " He is here." bright days had closed with the in - Well, but I can't marry him," troduction of steam on the Rhine; said I, more and more puzzled. adversity had come upon him, and • You would, if you could," said actual poverty had followed in her Dornheim, enthusiastically. “You wake. His was a quiet and a broken shall know him and love him, as I spirit, and he was so unlike the rubi. loved him once, and still do." cund hosts whom we students were ac “That's all serene," I replied. customed to see, that my heart warmed • Provided he takes no snuff and towards him. Still, when our meal was smokes only five-and-twenty pipes aover, I proposed to Dornheim that we day, and changes his shirt at least should have a bowl in our bedroom, once in three weeks, I am prepared to and I should fly to the more decent regard him with any amount of philo. and certainly more comfortable refuge sophic affection, for he will be an of “my couch."
exception to the general rule of your Konrad shook his head. "Wait a professors, my good friend; but I can't moment,” said he; and, thrusting his see how this is to end in a happy mararm under that of mine host, he drew riage." him apart, and commenced a solemn Konrad laid his hand on mine, and conference in an undertone, while im- looked as if about to read me a severe portant communications and signs of sermon. surprise and pleasure evidently passed " You don't know," he said slowly, between them.
" that Professor Von Ritter was once “ You must not go to bed, Karl," he the greatest dandy in Munich-a ca. said, when the interview was over; “I pital famous for its cooks, its coats, and bave a treat in store for you when your -- You don't know that the Elecclothes are dry. You won't blame me tress of Bavaria -_". now for neglecting the rapid; your ac “What did she do to him?" I asked, cident will turn out like one of your finding that he hesitated. “ Did she clouds." And he rubbed his bands admire the pattern of his waistcoats, or with the anticipated enjoyment. have a cast taken of his leg ?”
“And end in a happy marriage?" I “She did," he replied, dreamily. asked.
Then brightening up, he added." We " Cela dépend. That depends on were great friends at Munich, as far yourself, my dear fellow."
as a boy of eighteen could be the friend " And who's the nymph ?” said I, of a man of eight-and-forty; and I beginning to be interested; “ some think his acquaintance would be a real Liebes mädchen, known to you and source of pleasure to you. I, at least, mine host? or, perhaps the owner of must see him to-night. It is two years the white dress we saw fluttering flag. since I saw him, and I did not know like on the turrets of Lahneck."
he was here till I heard mine host "Donnerwetter!"exclaimed Konrad mention his name. You may as well in reply, “that's a good idea. I dare- come with me." say it will turn out as you say. It " If the alternative be to sip my never struck me before.”
liebfrauenmilch alone, or, at best, in I was quite mystified-a thing to the company of our sombre host and which I was accustomed in Dornheim's his sombre reminiscences, I had better dreamy society—and I asked for ex. go with you. So here goes." planations.
And I began to don the now dry “This is Niederlahnstein,” he began, garments, which had been steaming in reply.
for a couple of hours under the nose of " Well-but what of that?"
the melancholy innkeeper, as if un
feelingly to annoy him with the remembrance of that steam which had ruined him,
“I am not much in trim for paying visits," said I, as I arranged my cravat before one of those old-fashioned oval glasses which give such an undue proportion to the prominent feature of the face, as to make a man endowed with anything but the very flattest pug' feel horrified at his likeness to the vignettes of the Charivari; “but, then, an old pbilosopher is sure not to be particular even if he be not as blind as Homer."
Konrad smiled mysteriously, in a manner which I conld not comprehend, as it seemed to say, “You don't know whom you're going to see ;” and we at length sallied forth.
Niederlahnstein is one of those quaint old villages along the Rhine which belong entirely to the middle ages one of those little communities which sprang up beneath the protecting shade of some feudal castle, and flourished on the trade of that great watery tho roughfare. Its picturesque old houses are built of a dark stone, interspersed with carved rafters of a yet darker wood, and roofed, to all appearance, with a complete thatch of moss and wallflower. It has but a single street, running parallel to the river ; but, though simple, it is very picturesque. There is a pleasantness about its very simplicity which is materially enhanced by the honest faces of its rustic denizens peering beneath the low-arched doorways.
We followed the directions given by our host, and turned a little from the street to a small garden, enclosed by a low wall. An old-fashioned house of two stories, completely hidden by the creeping roses that clung in bunches to its walls, stood back, and we now saw a light in one of the windows. The shadow of a coming event was upon me, and I felt a sensation of pleasure which I could not understand as I watched for a moment the yellow light from the window falling on the white roses without. We passed through the little garden, found the house-door open, and, without any an. nouncement of our presence, proceeded quietly to mount a dark, low stone staircase. Dornheim went first, and I soon caught sight of the light stream. ing through an open door, and managed by means of it to follow him along a narrow passage. Though our steps
made some noise, we were evidently unheard, for we caught the sound of an old man's voice reading the beautiful saying of Him whose words shall never pass away -"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect." The next moment we stood at the door unperceived. The room was poorly furnished, and surrounded with bookshelves, while the floor, the table, and even the chairs, were covered with huge dusty volumes. On the table was a large lamp, and almost behind it, on an old chair with a high, pointed, and carved back, sat a man, whose handsome face might have been modelled for a bust of Antinous. The high brow asserted command, the large temples were broad with thought, the chiselled nostrils spoke of taste, and the large, soft, brown eyes were fraught with feeling, warmth, enthusiasm, and heart. There was but one defect, and that was a grave one-the mouth, though the lips were beautifully bowed, was spoiled by a projecting chin. This, while it destroyed the beauty, added greatly to the character of the face, and threw light on that of its owner. In that one defect lay all of grossness, all of earthliness and sensuality, all, too, of weakness, that deformed the spiritual perfection of his face and his nature. Without it, he might have been a god, with it he was a man, and even a little lower than a map. As to the rest, sorrow bad left its footprints on bis cheeks, and laid its silver on his head. There was a slight, a very slight, sinking of the lower lids of his eyes, which gave him the appearance of a man consumed by his sorrows, and yet there was a serenity about his mouth which destroyed that impression. He certainly looked nearer sixty than fifty.
His face had struck me so much, that I had time to study it before I perceived that there was another near it more pleasing, if scarcely as interesting. Bebind the chair, leaning her face on her hand, and reading over her father's shoulder, stood a girl of fifteen or sixteen, though tall, and somehow with an expression too advanced for her years. The face struck me as pretty, but, as I then saw it, certainly not as beautiful. The abundant masses of almost golden hair, so fine and silky by nature that it seemed as if the brush of civilisation had scarcely touched it,
struck me chiefly ; beneath these was polite but stiff note, ending with those a fresh face of rather irregular features, often repeated words, After duly with a very lovely complexion and considering the matter, it would seem large blue eyes. The inouth had bor- more advisable that our acquaintance rowed in the slightest degree possible should cease.' Yes, the word friend. the turning of her father's. The lips ship, abused so often before, can there were thick and pouting, and, though be no longer employed, and your faith. the chin was quite en régle, the underful Acbates discovers, at the right lip projected just enough to give a momen, that you have never been strange expression to an otherwise con terms of intimacy. I have known pleasing face.
what it is to have friends, and I asIt took me scarce three minutes to sure you the experience has made me examine these two faces, though it has very Christian, for I can safely say I taken long to describe them; and before love my enemies a great deal better.” theinvestigation was completed Konrad There was a tone of deep bitterness had knocked at the open door, and the about these words which I could not two heads raised their eyes in astonish then understand, but which lent a ment. I could perceive that the colour deep interest to him. He had all the left the cheek of the man, and, on the manner, the tone, and even the dress, other hand, came into that of the mai. though without its freshness, of a man deri, whose careless youth was not yet of the world, and, after expecting to the slave of nervous fears.
find a great deal of beard and philosoThe next minute, the recognition phy, I was both agreeably and disahad taken place, and, with ejaculations greeably disappointed -- sorry for the of astonishment, the old man had em. loss of the philosophic aspect, and rebraced Konrad, more Germanico. joiced at the sight of a clean shirt. I
“My best friend," said Konrad, could not understand how this man, placing my hand in that of Von Rita whose face bore more traces of deep ter.
feeling than of profound thought, " He would be mine," said the other, could bave been the author of a work " even if he were your worst. Yet which had originated a new school how," he continued, still holding my throughout Germany, and had found hands, « how much is that sacred readers throughout the world. name abused. How much is expected Meanwhile, it had not escaped me of a friend, and how little is accom- that a more than common greeting was plished. If you are an honest man, going forward between Konrad and and take unto you some apparently the philosopher's daughter; and the devoted Pylades, who is all eager to whole matter was decided in my mind serve you to the last drop of his blood, before her father had finished his ser how soon you find the tables are turned. mon on the old adage of a “friend in It is first a little affair of a duel, where need.” It was clear that Konrad bad the friend whose humanity you re- here a deeper interest than the mere spected, aims at his adversary's heart affection for an old friend; his anxiety and kills him. You are merely obliged to come was now explained, and he to seek an honourable exile, and your had brought me, partly out of good. * friend' scarcely thanks you. Then nature, and partly to keep the papa it is to put your name to a little bill, engaged while he flirted with the
quite secure,' he tells you, and when damsel. I saw it all, and was too the day comes, you are there and he is fond of my old Pylades to thwart his oft, and you are ruined for your plans. • friend.' Or it is security for ap. When, therefore, the old man led pearance, and your good-hearted me up, and joining our hands with
friend” prefers his own security to the old-fashioned courtesy of the South yours, and your purse is emptied for of Germany, said, “ My daughter, him. You may say that a well-chosen Beatrix, has two good reasons for friend will generally do as much for liking you, even before she knows you, as you for him ; but how many you — Firstly, because you are the times it is the honester man who suf friend of her " he hesitated a fers, duped by the abuse of that sacred moment, “her- very old companion ; epithet. How natural for the less and, secondly, because you are an scrupulous to get out of your scrapes, Englishman. She admires your coun. when you have real need of him, by a try and yourselves far more than Ger