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Title: Weird Tales. Vol. I
Author: Hoffmann, E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus), 1776-1822
Language: English
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                             WEIRD TALES



                                  BY
                          E. T. W. HOFFMANN



                  A NEW TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN



                      WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR



                        By J. T. BEALBY, B.A.
        FORMERLY SCHOLAR OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE



                            IN TWO VOLUMES
                                VOL. I.



                               NEW YORK
                       CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
                                 1885



                         CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.


                                                             PAGE

THE CREMONA VIOLIN,                                              1

THE FERMATA,                                                    32

SIGNOR FORMICA,                                                 59

THE SAND-MAN,                                                  168

THE ENTAIL,                                                    216

ARTHUR'S HALL,                                                 322



                            THE CREMONA VIOLIN.


Councillor Krespel was one of the strangest, oddest men I ever met with
in my life. When I went to live in H---- for a time the whole town was
full of talk about him, as he happened to be just then in the midst of
one of the very craziest of his schemes. Krespel had the reputation
of being both a clever, learn lawyer and a skilful diplomatist. One of
the reigning princes of Germany--not, however, one of the most
powerful--had appealed to him for assistance in drawing up a memorial,
which he was desirous of presenting at the Imperial Court with the view
of furthering his legitimate claims upon a certain strip of territory.
The project was crowned with the happiest success; and as Krespel had
once complained that he could never find a dwelling sufficiently
comfortable to suit him, the prince, to reward him for the memorial,
undertook to defray the cost of building a house which Krespel might
erect just as he pleased. Moreover, the prince was willing to purchase
any site that he should fancy. This offer, however, the Councillor
would not accept; he insisted that the house should be built in his
garden, situated in a very beautiful neighbourhood outside the
town-walls. So he bought all kinds of materials and had them carted
out. Then he might have been seen day after day, attired in his curious
garments (which he had made himself according to certain fixed rules of
his own), slacking the lime, riddling the sand, packing up the bricks
and stones in regular heaps, and so on. All this he did without once
consulting an architect or thinking about a plan. One fine day,
however, he went to an experienced builder of the town and requested
him to be in his garden at daybreak the next morning, with all his
journeymen and apprentices, and a large body of labourers, &c., to
build him his house. Naturally the builder asked for the architect's
plan, and was not a little astonished when Krespel replied that none
was needed, and that things would turn out all right in the end, just
as he wanted them. Next morning, when the builder and his men came to
the place, they found a trench drawn out in the shape of an exact
square; and Krespel said, "Here's where you must lay the foundations;
then carry up the walls until I say they are high enough." "Without
windows and doors, and without partition walls?" broke in the builder,
as if alarmed at Krespel's mad folly. "Do what I tell you, my dear
sir," replied the Councillor quite calmly; "leave the rest to me; it
will be all right." It was only the promise of high pay that could
induce the builder to proceed with the ridiculous building; but none
has ever been erected under merrier circumstances. As there was an
abundant supply of food and drink, the workmen never left their work;
and amidst their continuous laughter the four walls were run up with
incredible quickness, until one day Krespel cried, "Stop!" Then the
workmen, laying down trowel and hammer, came down from the scaffoldings
and gathered round Krespel in a circle, whilst every laughing face was
asking, "Well, and what now?" "Make way!" cried Krespel; and then
running to one end of the garden, he strode slowly towards the square
of brick-work. When he came close to the wall he shook his head in a
dissatisfied manner, ran to the other end of the garden, again strode
slowly towards the brick-work square, and proceeded to act as before.
These tactics he pursued several times, until at length, running his
sharp nose hard against the wall, he cried, "Come here, come here, men!
break me a door in here! Here's where I want a door made!" He gave the
exact dimensions in feet and inches, and they did as he bid them. Then
he stepped inside the structure, and smiled with satisfaction as the
builder remarked that the walls were just the height of a good
two-storeyed house. Krespel walked thoughtfully backwards and forwards
across the space within, the bricklayers behind him with hammers and
picks, and wherever he cried, "Make a window here, six feet high by
four feet broad!" "There a little window, three feet by two!" a hole
was made in a trice.

It was at this stage of the proceedings that I came to H----; and it
was highly amusing to see how hundreds of people stood round about the
garden and raised a loud shout whenever the stones flew out and a new
window appeared where nobody had for a moment expected it. And in the
same manner Krespel proceeded with the buildings and fittings of the
rest of the house, and with all the work necessary to that end;
everything had to be done on the spot in accordance with the
instructions which the Councillor gave from time to time. However, the
absurdity of the whole business, the growing conviction that things
would in the end turn out better than might have been expected, but
above all, Krespel's generosity--which indeed cost him nothing--kept
them all in good-humour. Thus were the difficulties overcome which
necessarily arose out of this eccentric way of building, and in a short
time there was a completely finished house, its outside, indeed,
presenting a most extraordinary appearance, no two windows, &c., being
alike, but on the other hand the interior arrangements suggested a
peculiar feeling of comfort. All who entered the house bore witness to
the truth of this; and I too experienced it myself when I was taken in
by Krespel after I had become more intimate with him. For hitherto I
had not exchanged a word with this eccentric man; his building had
occupied him so much that he had not even once been to Professor
M----'s to dinner, as he was in the habit of going on Tuesdays. Indeed,
in reply to a special invitation, he sent word that he should not set
foot over the threshold before the house-warming of his new building
took place. All his friends and acquaintances, therefore, confidently
looked forward to a great banquet; but Krespel invited nobody except
the masters, journeymen, apprentices, and labourers who had built the
house. He entertained them with the choicest viands: bricklayer's
apprentices devoured partridge pies regardless of consequences; young
joiners polished off roast pheasants with the greatest success; whilst
hungry labourers helped themselves for once to the choicest morsels of
_truffes fricassées_. In the evening their wives and daughters came,
and there was a great ball. After waltzing a short while with the wives
of the masters, Krespel sat down amongst the town-musicians, took a
violin in his hand, and directed the orchestra until daylight.

On the Tuesday after this festival, which exhibited Councillor Krespel
in the character of a friend of the people, I at length saw him appear,
to my no little joy, at Professor M----'s. Anything more strange and
fantastic than Krespel's behaviour it would be impossible to find. He
was so stiff and awkward in his movements, that he looked every moment
as if he would run up against something or do some damage. But he did
not; and the lady of the house seemed to be well aware that he would
not, for she did not grow a shade paler when he rushed with heavy steps
round a table crowded with beautiful cups, or when he man[oe]uvred near
a large mirror that reached down to the floor, or even when he seized a
flower-pot of beautifully painted porcelain and swung it round in the
air as if desirous of making its colours play. Moreover, before dinner
he subjected everything in the Professor's room to a most minute
examination; he also took down a picture from the wall and hung it up
again, standing on one of the cushioned chairs to do so. At the same
time he talked a good deal and vehemently; at one time his thoughts
kept leaping, as it were, from one subject to another (this was most
conspicuous during dinner); at another, he was unable to have done with
an idea; seizing upon it again and again, he gave it all sorts of
wonderful twists and turns, and couldn't get back into the ordinary
track until something else took hold of his fancy. Sometimes his voice
was rough and harsh and screeching, and sometimes it was low and
drawling and singing; but at no time did it harmonize with what he was
talking about. Music was the subject of conversation; the praises of a
new composer were being sung, when Krespel, smiling, said in his low
singing tones, "I wish the devil with his pitchfork would hurl that
atrocious garbler of music millions of fathoms down to the bottomless
pit of hell!" Then he burst out passionately and wildly, "She is an
angel of heaven, nothing but pure God-given music!--the paragon and
queen of song!"--and tears stood in his eyes. To understand this, we
had to go back to a celebrated _artiste_, who had been the subject of
conversation an hour before.

Just at this time a roast hare was on the table; I noticed that Krespel
carefully removed every particle of meat from the bones on his plate,
and was most particular in his inquiries after the hare's feet; these
the Professor's little five-year-old daughter now brought to him with a
very pretty smile. Besides, the children had cast many friendly glances
towards Krespel during dinner; now they rose and drew nearer to him,
but not without signs of timorous awe. What's the meaning of that?
thought I to myself. Dessert was brought in; then the Councillor took a
little box from his pocket, in which he had a miniature lathe of steel.
This he immediately screwed fast to the table, and turning the bones
with incredible skill and rapidity, he made all sorts of little fancy
boxes and balls, which the children received with cries of delight.
Just as we were rising from table, the Professor's niece asked, "And
what is our Antonia doing?" Krespel's face was like that of one who has
bitten of a sour orange and wants to look as if it were a sweet one;
but this expression soon changed into the likeness of a hideous mask,
whilst he laughed behind it with downright bitter, fierce, and as it
seemed to me, satanic scorn. "Our Antonia? our dear Antonia?" he asked
in his drawling, disagreeable singing way. The Professor hastened to
intervene; in the reproving glance which he gave his niece I read that
she had touched a point likely to stir up unpleasant memories in
Krespel's heart. "How are you getting on with your violins?" interposed
the Professor in a jovial manner, taking the Councillor by both hands.
Then Krespel's countenance cleared up, and with a firm voice he
replied, "Capitally, Professor; you recollect my telling you of the
lucky chance which threw that splendid Amati[1] into my hands. Well,
I've only cut it open to-day--not before to-day. I hope Antonia has
carefully taken the rest of it to pieces." "Antonia is a good child,"
remarked the Professor. "Yes, indeed, that she is," cried the
Councillor, whisking himself round; then, seizing his hat and stick, he
hastily rushed out of the room. I saw in the mirror how that tears were
standing in his eyes.

As soon as the Councillor was gone, I at once urged the Professor to
explain to me what Krespel had to do with violins, and particularly
with Antonia. "Well," replied the Professor, "not only is the
Councillor a remarkably eccentric fellow altogether, but he practises
violin-making in his own crack-brained way." "Violin-making!" I
exclaimed, perfectly astonished. "Yes," continued the Professor,
"according to the judgment of men who understand the thing, Krespel
makes the very best violins that can be found nowadays; formerly he
would frequently let other people play on those in which he had been
especially successful, but that's been all over and done with now for a
long time. As soon as he has finished a violin he plays on it himself
for one or two hours, with very remarkable power and with the most
exquisite expression, then he hangs it up beside the rest, and never
touches it again or suffers anybody else to touch it. If a violin by
any of the eminent old masters is hunted up anywhere, the Councillor
buys it immediately, no matter what the price put upon it. But he plays
it as he does his own violins, only once; then he takes it to pieces in
order to examine closely its inner structure, and should he fancy he
hasn't found exactly what he sought for, he in a pet throws the pieces
into a big chest, which is already full of the remains of broken
violins." "But who and what is Antonia?" I inquired, hastily and
impetuously. "Well, now, that," continued the Professor, "that is a
thing which might very well make me conceive an unconquerable aversion
to the Councillor, were I not convinced that there is some peculiar
secret behind it, for he is such a good-natured fellow at bottom as to
be sometimes guilty of weakness. When he came to H---- several years
ago, he led the life of an anchorite, along with an old housekeeper, in
---- Street. Soon, by his oddities, he excited the curiosity of his
neighbours; and immediately he became aware of this, he sought and made
acquaintances. Not only in my house but everywhere we became so
accustomed to him that he grew to be indispensable. In spite of his
rude exterior, even the children liked him, without ever proving a
nuisance to him; for notwithstanding all their friendly passages
together, they always retained a certain timorous awe of him, which
secured him against all over-familiarity. You have to-day had an
example of the way in which he wins their hearts by his ready skill in
various things. We all took him at first for a crusty old bachelor, and
he never contradicted us. After he had been living here some time, he
went away, nobody knew where, and returned at the end of some months.
The evening following his return his windows were lit up to an unusual
extent! this alone was sufficient to arouse his neighbours' attention,
and they soon heard the surpassingly beautiful voice of a female
singing to the accompaniment of a piano. Then the music of a violin was
heard chiming in and entering upon a keen ardent contest with the
voice. They knew at once that the player was the Councillor. I myself
mixed in the large crowd which had gathered in front of his house to
listen to this extraordinary concert; and I must confess that, beside
this voice and the peculiar, deep, soul-stirring impression which the
execution made upon me, the singing of the most celebrated _artistes_
whom I had ever heard seemed to me feeble and void of expression. Until
then I had had no conception of such long-sustained notes, of such
nightingale trills, of such undulations of musical sound, of such
swelling up to the strength of organ-notes, of such dying away to the
faintest whisper. There was not one whom the sweet witchery did not
enthral; and when the singer ceased, nothing but soft sighs broke the
impressive silence. Somewhere about midnight the Councillor was heard
talking violently, and another male voice seemed, to judge from the
tones, to be reproaching him, whilst at intervals the broken words of a
sobbing girl could be detected. The Councillor continued to shout with
increasing violence, until he fell into that drawling, singing way that
you know. He was interrupted by a loud scream from the girl, and then
all was as still as death. Suddenly a loud racket was heard on the
stairs; a young man rushed out sobbing, threw himself into a
post-chaise which stood below, and drove rapidly away. The next day the
Councillor was very cheerful, and nobody had the courage to question
him about the events of the previous night. But on inquiring of the
housekeeper, we gathered that the Councillor had brought home with him
an extraordinarily pretty young lady whom he called Antonia, and she it
was who had sung so beautifully. A young man also had come along with
them; he had treated Antonia very tenderly, and must evidently have
been her betrothed. But he, since the Councillor peremptorily insisted
on it, had had to go away again in a hurry. What the relations between
Antonia and the Councillor are has remained until now a secret, but
this much is certain, that he tyrannises over the poor girl in the most
hateful fashion. He watches her as Doctor Bartholo watches his ward in
the _Barber of Seville_; she hardly dare show herself at the window;
and if, yielding now and again to her earnest entreaties, he takes her
into society, he follows her with Argus' eyes, and will on no account
suffer a musical note to be sounded, far less let Antonia sing--indeed,
she is not permitted to sing in his own house. Antonia's singing on
that memorable night, has, therefore, come to be regarded by the
townspeople in the light of a tradition of some marvellous wonder that
suffices to stir the heart and the fancy; and even those who did not
hear it often exclaim, whenever any other singer attempts to display
her powers in the place, 'What sort of a wretched squeaking do you call
that? Nobody but Antonia knows how to sing.'"

Having a singular weakness for such like fantastic histories, I found
it necessary, as may easily be imagined, to make Antonia's
acquaintance. I had myself often enough heard the popular sayings about
her singing, but had never imagined that that exquisite _artiste_ was
living in the place, held a captive in the bonds of this eccentric
Krespel like the victim of a tyrannous sorcerer. Naturally enough I
heard in my dreams on the following night Antonia's marvellous voice,
and as she besought me in the most touching manner in a glorious
_adagio_ movement (very ridiculously it seemed to me, as if I had
composed it myself) to save her, I soon resolved, like a second
Astolpho,[2] to penetrate into Krespel's house, as if into another
Alcina's magic castle, and deliver the queen of song from her
ignominious fetters.

It all came about in a different way from what I had expected; I had
seen the Councillor scarcely more than two or three times, and eagerly
discussed with him the best method of constructing violins, when he
invited me to call and see him. I did so; and he showed me his
treasures of violins. There were fully thirty of them hanging up in a
closet; one amongst them bore conspicuously all the marks of great
antiquity (a carved lion's head, &c.), and, hung up higher than the
rest and surmounted by a crown of flowers, it seemed to exercise a
queenly supremacy over them. "This violin," said Krespel, on my making
some inquiry relative to it, "this violin is a very remarkable and
curious specimen of the work of some unknown master, probably of
Tartini's[3] age. I am perfectly convinced that there is something
especially exceptional in its inner construction, and that, if I took
it to pieces, a secret would be revealed to me which I have long been
seeking to discover, but--laugh at me if you like--this senseless thing
which only gives signs of life and sound as I make it, often speaks to
me in a strange way of itself. The first time I played upon it I
somehow fancied that I was only the magnetiser who has the power of
moving his subject to reveal of his own accord in words the visions of
his inner nature. Don't go away with the belief that I am such a fool
as to attach even the slightest importance to such fantastic notions,
and yet it's certainly strange that I could never prevail upon myself
to cut open that dumb lifeless thing there. I am very pleased now that
I have not cut it open, for since Antonia has been with me I sometimes
play to her upon this violin. For Antonia is fond of it--very fond of
it." As the Councillor uttered these words with visible signs of
emotion, I felt encouraged to hazard the question, "Will you not play
it to me, Councillor." Krespel made a wry face, and falling into his
drawling, singing way, said, "No, my good sir!" and that was an end of
the matter. Then I had to look at all sorts of rare curiosities, the
greater part of them childish trifles; at last thrusting his arm into a
chest, he brought out a folded piece of paper, which he pressed into my
hand, adding solemnly, "You are a lover of art; take this present as a
priceless memento, which you must value at all times above everything
else." Therewith he took me by the shoulders and gently pushed me
towards the door, embracing me on the threshold. That is to say, I was
in a symbolical manner virtually kicked out of doors. Unfolding the
paper, I found a piece of a first string of a violin about an eighth of
an inch in length, with the words, "A piece of the treble string with
which the deceased Staraitz[4] strung his violin for the last concert
at which he ever played."

This summary dismissal at mention of Antonia's name led me to infer
that I should never see her; but I was mistaken, for on my second visit
to the Councillor's I found her in his room, assisting him to put a
violin together. At first sight Antonia did not make a strong
impression; but soon I found it impossible to tear myself away from her
blue eyes, her sweet rosy lips, her uncommonly graceful, lovely form.
She was very pale; but a shrewd remark or a merry sally would call up a
winning smile on her face and suffuse her cheeks with a deep burning
flush, which, however, soon faded away to a faint rosy glow. My
conversation with her was quite unconstrained, and yet I saw nothing
whatever of the Argus-like watchings on Krespel's part which the
Professor had imputed to him; on the contrary, his behaviour moved
along the customary lines, nay, he even seemed to approve of my
conversation with Antonia. So I often stepped in to see the Councillor;
and as we became accustomed to each other's society, a singular feeling
of homeliness, taking possession of our little circle of three, filled
our hearts with inward happiness. I still continued to derive exquisite
enjoyment from the Councillor's strange crotchets and oddities; but it
was of course Antonia's irresistible charms alone which attracted me,
and led me to put up with a good deal which I should otherwise, in the
frame of mind in which I then was, have impatiently shunned. For it
only too often happened that in the Councillor's characteristic
extravagance there was mingled much that was dull and tiresome; and it
was in a special degree irritating to me that, as often as I turned the
conversation upon music, and particularly upon singing, he was sure to
interrupt me, with that sardonic smile upon his face and those
repulsive singing tones of his, by some remark of a quite opposite
tendency, very often of a commonplace character. From the great
distress which at such times Antonia's glances betrayed, I perceived
that he only did it to deprive me of a pretext for calling upon her for
a song. But I didn't relinquish my design. The hindrances which the
Councillor threw in my way only strengthened my resolution to overcome
them; I must hear Antonia sing if I was not to pine away in reveries
and dim aspirations for want of hearing her.

One evening Krespel was in an uncommonly good humour; he had been
taking an old Cremona violin to pieces, and had discovered that the
sound-post was fixed half a line more obliquely than usual--an
important discovery! one of incalculable advantage in the practical
work of making violins! I succeeded in setting him off at full speed on
his hobby of the true art of violin-playing. Mention of the way in
which the old masters picked up their dexterity in execution from
really great singers (which was what Krespel happened just then to be
expatiating upon), naturally paved the way for the remark that now the
practice was the exact opposite of this, the vocal score erroneously
following the affected and abrupt transitions and rapid scaling of the
instrumentalists. "What is more nonsensical," I cried, leaping from my
chair, running to the piano, and opening it quickly, "what is more
nonsensical than such an execrable style as this, which, far from being
music, is much more like the noise of peas rolling across the floor?"
At the same time I sang several of the modern _fermatas_, which rush up
and down and hum like a well-spun peg-top, striking a few villanous
chords by way of accompaniment Krespel laughed outrageously and
screamed, "Ha! ha! methinks I hear our German-Italians or our
Italian-Germans struggling with an aria from Pucitta,[5] or
Portogallo,[6] or some other _Maestro di capella_, or rather _schiavo
d'un primo uomo_."[7] Now, thought I, now's the time; so turning to
Antonia, I remarked, "Antonia knows nothing of such singing as that, I
believe?" At the same time I struck up one of old Leonardo Leo's[8]
beautiful soul-stirring songs. Then Antonia's cheeks glowed; heavenly
radiance sparkled in her eyes, which grew full of reawakened
inspiration; she hastened to the piano; she opened her lips; but at
that very moment Krespel pushed her away, grasped me by the shoulders,
and with a shriek that rose up to a tenor pitch, cried, "My son--my
son--my son!" And then he immediately went on, singing very softly, and
grasping my hand with a bow that was the pink of politeness, "In very
truth, my esteemed and honourable student-friend, in very truth it
would be a violation of the codes of social intercourse, as well as of
all good manners, were I to express aloud and in a stirring way my wish
that here, on this very spot, the devil from hell would softly break
your neck with his burning claws, and so in a sense make short work of
you; but, setting that aside, you must acknowledge, my dearest friend,
that it is rapidly growing dark, and there are no lamps burning
to-night so that, even though I did not kick you downstairs at once,
your darling limbs might still run a risk of suffering damage. Go home
by all means; and cherish a kind remembrance of your faithful friend,
if it should happen that you never,--pray, understand me,--if you
should never see him in his own house again." Therewith he embraced
me, and, still keeping fast hold of me, turned with me slowly towards
the door, so that I could not get another single look at Antonia. Of
course it is plain enough that in my position I couldn't thrash the
Councillor, though that is what he really deserved. The Professor
enjoyed a good laugh at my expense, and assured me that I had ruined
for ever all hopes of retaining the Councillor's friendship. Antonia
was too dear to me, I might say too holy, for me to go and play the
part of the languishing lover and stand gazing up at her window, or to
fill the _rôle_ of the lovesick adventurer. Completely upset, I went
away from H----; but, as is usual in such cases, the brilliant colours
of the picture of my fancy faded, and the recollection of Antonia, as
well as of Antonia's singing (which I had never heard), often fell upon
my heart like a soft faint trembling light, comforting me.

Two years afterwards I received an appointment in B----, and set out on
a journey to the south of Germany. The towers of M---- rose before me
in the red vaporous glow of the evening; the nearer I came the more was
I oppressed by an indescribable feeling of the most agonising distress;
it lay upon me like a heavy burden; I could not breathe; I was obliged
to get out of my carriage into the open air. But my anguish continued
to increase until it became actual physical pain. Soon I seemed to hear
the strains of a solemn chorale floating in the air; the sounds
continued to grow more distinct; I realised the fact that they were
men's voices chanting a church chorale. "What's that? what's that?" I
cried, a burning stab darting as it were through my breast "Don't you
see?" replied the coachman, who was driving along beside me, "why,
don't you see? they're burying somebody up yonder in yon churchyard."
And indeed we were near the churchyard; I saw a circle of men clothed
in black standing round a grave, which was on the point of being
closed. Tears started to my eyes; I somehow fancied they were burying
there all the joy and all the happiness of life. Moving on rapidly down
the hill, I was no longer able to see into the churchyard; the chorale
came to an end, and I perceived not far distant from the gate some of
the mourners returning from the funeral. The Professor, with his niece
on his arm, both in deep mourning, went close past me without noticing
me. The young lady had her handkerchief pressed close to her eyes, and
was weeping bitterly. In the frame of mind in which I then was I could
not possibly go into the town, so I sent on my servant with the
carriage to the hotel where I usually put up, whilst I took a turn in
the familiar neighbourhood, to get rid of a mood that was possibly only
due to physical causes, such as heating on the journey, &c. On arriving
at a well-known avenue, which leads to a pleasure resort, I came upon a
most extraordinary spectacle. Councillor Krespel was being conducted by
two mourners, from whom he appeared to be endeavouring to make his
escape by all sorts of strange twists and turns. As usual, he was
dressed in his own curious home-made grey coat; but from his little
cocked-hat, which he wore perched over one ear in military fashion, a
long narrow ribbon of black crape fluttered backwards and forwards in
the wind. Around his waist he had buckled a black sword-belt; but
instead of a sword he had stuck a long fiddle-bow into it. A creepy
shudder ran through my limbs: "He's insane," thought I, as I slowly
followed them. The Councillor's companions led him as far as his house,
where he embraced them, laughing loudly. They left him; and then
his glance fell upon me, for I now stood near him. He stared at me
fixedly for some time; then he cried in a hollow voice, "Welcome, my
student-friend! you also understand it!" Therewith he took me by the
arm and pulled me into the house, up the steps, into the room where the
violins hung. They were all draped in black crape; the violin of the
old master was missing; in its place was a cypress wreath. I knew what
had happened. "Antonia! Antonia!" I cried in inconsolable grief. The
Councillor, with his arms crossed on his breast, stood beside me, as if
turned into stone. I pointed to the cypress wreath. "When she died,"
said he in a very hoarse solemn voice, "when she died, the soundpost of
that violin broke into pieces with a ringing crack, and the sound-board
was split from end to end. The faithful instrument could only live with
her and in her; it lies beside her in the coffin, it has been buried
with her." Deeply agitated, I sank down upon a chair, whilst the
Councillor began to sing a gay song in a husky voice; it was truly
horrible to see him hopping about on one foot, and the crape strings
(he still had his hat on) flying about the room and up to the violins
hanging on the walls. Indeed, I could not repress a loud cry that rose
to my lips when, on the Councillor making an abrupt turn, the crape
came all over me; I fancied he wanted to envelop me in it and drag me
down into the horrible dark depths of insanity. Suddenly he stood still
and addressed me in his singing way, "My son! my son! why do you call
out? Have you espied the angel of death? That always precedes the
ceremony." Stepping into the middle of the room, he took the violin-bow
out of his sword-belt and, holding it over his head with both hands,
broke it into a thousand pieces. Then, with a loud laugh, he cried,
"Now you imagine my sentence is pronounced, don't you, my son? but it's
nothing of the kind--not at all! not at all! Now I'm free--free--free--
hurrah! I'm free! Now I shall make no more violins--no more
violins--Hurrah! no more violins!" This he sang to a horrible mirthful
tune, again spinning round on one foot. Perfectly aghast, I was making
the best of my way to the door, when he held me fast, saying quite
calmly, "Stay, my student friend, pray don't think from this outbreak
of grief, which is torturing me as if with the agonies of death, that
I am insane; I only do it because a short time ago I made myself a
dressing-gown in which I wanted to look like Fate or like God!" The
Councillor then went on with a medley of silly and awful rubbish, until
he fell down utterly exhausted; I called up the old housekeeper, and
was very pleased to find myself in the open air again.

I never doubted for a moment that Krespel had become insane; the
Professor, however, asserted the contrary. "There are men," he
remarked, "from whom nature or a special destiny has taken away the
cover behind which the mad folly of the rest of us runs its course
unobserved. They are like thin-skinned insects, which, as we watch the
restless play of their muscles, seem to be misshapen, while
nevertheless everything soon comes back into its proper form again. All
that with us remains thought, passes over with Krespel into action.
That bitter scorn which the spirit that is wrapped up in the doings and
dealings of the earth often has at hand, Krespel gives vent to in
outrageous gestures and agile caprioles. But these are his lightning
conductor. What comes up out of the earth he gives again to the earth,
but what is divine, that he keeps; and so I believe that his inner
consciousness, in spite of the apparent madness which springs from it
to the surface, is as right as a trivet. To be sure, Antonia's sudden
death grieves him sore, but I warrant that tomorrow will see him going
along in his old jog-trot way as usual." And the Professor's prediction
was almost literally filled. Next day the Councillor appeared to be
just as he formerly was, only he averred that he would never make
another violin, nor yet ever play on another. And, as I learned later,
he kept his word.

Hints which the Professor let fall confirmed my own private conviction
that the so carefully guarded secret of the Councillor's relations to
Antonia, nay, that even her death, was a crime which must weigh heavily
upon him, a crime that could not be atoned for. I determined that I
would not leave H---- without taxing him with the offence which I
conceived him to be guilty of; I determined to shake his heart down to
its very roots, and so compel him to make open confession of the
terrible deed. The more I reflected upon the matter the clearer it grew
in my own mind that Krespel must be a villain, and in the same
proportion did my intended reproach, which assumed of itself the form
of a real rhetorical masterpiece, wax more fiery and more impressive.
Thus equipped and mightily incensed, I hurried to his house. I found
him with a calm smiling countenance making playthings. "How can peace,"
I burst out, "how can peace find lodgment even for a single moment in
your breast, so long as the memory of your horrible deed preys like a
serpent upon you?" He gazed at me in amazement, and laid his chisel
aside. "What do you mean, my dear sir?" he asked; "pray take a seat."
But my indignation chafing me more and more, I went on to accuse him
directly of having murdered Antonia, and to threaten him with the
vengeance of the Eternal.

Further, as a newly full-fledged lawyer, full of my profession, I went
so far as to give him to understand that I would leave no stone
unturned to get a clue to the business, and so deliver him here in this
world into the hands of an earthly judge. I must confess that I was
considerably disconcerted when, at the conclusion of my violent and
pompous harangue, the Councillor, without answering so much as a
single word, calmly fixed his eyes upon me as though expecting me
to go on again. And this I did indeed attempt to do, but it sounded so
ill-founded and so stupid as well that I soon grew silent again.
Krespel gloated over my embarrassment, whilst a malicious ironical
smile flitted across his face. Then he grew very grave, and addressed
me in solemn tones. "Young man, no doubt you think I am foolish,
insane; that I can pardon you, since we are both confined in the same
madhouse; and you only blame me for deluding myself with the idea that
I am God the Father because you imagine yourself to be God the Son. But
how do you dare desire to insinuate yourself into the secrets and lay
bare the hidden motives of a life that is strange to you and that must
continue so? She has gone and the mystery is solved." He ceased
speaking, rose, and traversed the room backwards and forwards several
times. I ventured to ask for an explanation; he fixed his eyes upon me,
grasped me by the hand, and led me to the window, which he threw wide
open. Propping himself upon his arms, he leaned out, and, looking down
into the garden, told me the history of his life. When he finished I
left him, touched and ashamed.

In a few words, his relations with Antonia rose in the following way.
Twenty years before, the Councillor had been led into Italy by his
favourite engrossing passion of hunting up and buying the best violins
of the old masters. At that time he had not yet begun to make them
himself, and so of course he had not begun to take to pieces those
which he bought. In Venice he heard the celebrated singer Angela ----i,
who at that time was playing with splendid success as _prima donna_ at
St. Benedict's Theatre. His enthusiasm was awakened, not only in her
art--which Signora Angela had indeed brought to a high pitch of
perfection--but in her angelic beauty as well. He sought her
acquaintance; and in spite of all his rugged manners he succeeded in
winning her heart, principally through his bold and yet at the same
time masterly violin-playing. Close intimacy led in a few weeks to
marriage, which, however, was kept a secret, because Angela was
unwilling to sever her connection with the theatre, neither did she
wish to part with her professional name, that by which she was
celebrated, nor to add to it the cacophonous "Krespel." With the most
extravagant irony he described to me what a strange life of worry and
torture Angela led him as soon as she became his wife. Krespel was of
opinion that more capriciousness and waywardness were concentrated in
Angela's little person than in all the rest of the _prima donnas_ in
the world put together. If he now and again presumed to stand up in his
own defence, she let loose a whole army of abbots, musical composers,
and students upon him, who, ignorant of his true connection with
Angela, soundly rated him as a most intolerable, ungallant lover for
not submitting to all the Signora's caprices. It was just after one of
these stormy scenes that Krespel fled to Angela's country seat to try
and forget in playing fantasias on his Cremona, violin the annoyances
of the day. But he had not been there long before the Signora, who had
followed hard after him, stepped into the room. She was in an
affectionate humour; she embraced her husband, overwhelmed him with
sweet and languishing glances, and rested her pretty head on his
shoulder. But Krespel, carried away into the world of music, continued
to play on until the walls echoed again; thus he chanced to touch the
Signora somewhat ungently with his arm and the fiddle-bow. She leapt
back full of fury, shrieking that he was a "German brute," snatched the
violin from his hands, and dashed it on the marble table into a
thousand pieces. Krespel stood like a statue of stone before her; but
then, as if awakening out of a dream, he seized her with the strength
of a giant and threw her out of the window of her own house, and,
without troubling himself about anything more, fled back to Venice--to
Germany. It was not, however, until some time had elapsed that he had a
clear recollection of what he had done; although he knew that the
window was scarcely five feet from the ground, and although he was
fully cognisant of the necessity, under the above-mentioned
circumstances, of throwing the Signora out of the window, he yet felt
troubled by a sense of painful uneasiness, and the more so since she
had imparted to him in no ambiguous terms an interesting secret as to
her condition. He hardly dared to make inquiries; and he was not a
little surprised about eight months afterwards at receiving a tender
letter from his beloved wife, in which she made not the slightest
allusion to what had taken place in her country house, only adding to
the intelligence that she had been safely delivered of a sweet little
daughter the heartfelt prayer that her dear husband and now a happy
father would come at once to Venice. That however Krespel did not do;
rather he appealed to a confidential friend for a more circumstantial
account of the details, and learned that the Signora had alighted upon
the soft grass as lightly as a bird, and that the sole consequences of
the fall or shock had been psychic. That is to say, after Krespel's
heroic deed she had become completely altered; she never showed a trace
of caprice, of her former freaks, or of her teasing habits; and the
composer who wrote for the next carnival was the happiest fellow under
the sun, since the Signora was willing to sing his music without the
scores and hundreds of changes which she at other times had insisted
upon. "To be sure," added his friend, "there was every reason for
preserving the secret of Angela's cure, else every day would see lady
singers flying through windows." The Councillor was not a little
excited at this news; he engaged horses; he took his seat in the
carriage. "Stop!" he cried suddenly. "Why, there's not a shadow of
doubt," he murmured to himself, "that as soon as Angela sets eyes upon
me again the evil spirit will recover his power and once more take
possession of her. And since I have already thrown her out of the
window, what could I do if a similar case were to occur again? What
would there be left for me to do?" He got out of the carriage, and
wrote an affectionate letter to his wife, making graceful allusion to
her tenderness in especially dwelling upon the fact that his tiny
daughter had like him a little mole behind the ear, and--remained in
Germany. Now ensued an active correspondence between them. Assurances
of unchanged affection--invitations--laments over the absence of the
beloved one--thwarted wishes--hopes, &c.--flew backwards and forwards
from Venice to H----, from H---- to Venice. At length Angela came to
Germany, and, as is well known, sang with brilliant success as _prima
donna_ at the great theatre in F----. Despite the fact that she was no
longer young, she won all hearts by the irresistible charm of her
wonderfully splendid singing. At that time she had not lost her voice
in the least degree. Meanwhile, Antonia had been growing up; and her
mother never tired of writing to tell her father how that a singer of
the first rank was developing in her. Krespel's friends in F---- also
confirmed this intelligence, and urged him to come for once to F---- to
see and admire this uncommon sight of two such glorious singers. They
had not the slightest suspicion of the close relations in which Krespel
stood to the pair. Willingly would he have seen with his own eyes the
daughter who occupied so large a place in his heart, and who moreover
often appeared to him in his dreams; but as often as he thought upon
his wife he felt very uncomfortable, and so he remained at home amongst
his broken violins. There was a certain promising young composer,
B---- of F----, who was found to have suddenly disappeared, nobody knew
where. This young man fell so deeply in love with Antonia that, as she
returned his love, he earnestly besought her mother to consent to an
immediate union, sanctified as it would further be by art. Angela had
nothing to urge against his suit; and the Councillor the more readily
gave his consent that the young composer's productions had found
favour before his rigorous critical judgment. Krespel was expecting
to hear of the consummation of the marriage, when he received
instead a black-sealed envelope addressed in a strange hand. Doctor
R---- conveyed to the Councillor the sad intelligence that Angela had
fallen seriously ill in consequence of a cold caught at the theatre,
and that during the night immediately preceding what was to have been
Antonia's wedding-day, she had died. To him, the Doctor, Angela had
disclosed the fact that she was Krespel's wife, and that Antonia was
his daughter; he, Krespel, had better hasten therefore to take charge
of the orphan. Notwithstanding that the Councillor was a good deal
upset by this news of Angela's death, he soon began to feel that an
antipathetic, disturbing influence had departed out of his life, and
that now for the first time he could begin to breathe freely. The very
same day he set out for F----. You could not credit how heartrending
was the Councillor's description of the moment when he first saw
Antonia. Even in the fantastic oddities of his expression there was
such a marvellous power of description that I am unable to give even so
much as a faint indication of it. Antonia inherited all her mother's
amiability and all her mother's charms, but not the repellent reverse
of the medal. There was no chronic moral ulcer, which might break out
from time to time. Antonia's betrothed put in an appearance, whilst
Antonia herself, fathoming with happy instinct the deeper-lying
character of her wonderful father, sang one of old Padre Martini's[9]
motets, which, she knew, Krespel in the heyday of his courtship had
never grown tired of hearing her mother sing. The tears ran in streams
down Krespel's cheeks; even Angela he had never heard sing like that.
Antonia's voice was of a very remarkable and altogether peculiar
timbre, at one time it was like the sighing of an Æolian harp, at
another like the warbled gush of the nightingale. It seemed as if there
was not room for such notes in the human breast. Antonia, blushing with
joy and happiness, sang on and on--all her most beautiful songs,
B---- playing between whiles as only enthusiasm that is intoxicated
with delight can play. Krespel was at first transported with rapture,
then he grew thoughtful--still--absorbed in reflection. At length
he leapt to his feet, pressed Antonia to his heart, and begged
her in a low husky voice, "Sing no more if you love me--my heart
is bursting--I fear--I fear--don't sing again."

"No!" remarked the Councillor next day to Doctor R----, "when, as she
sang, her blushes gathered into two dark red spots on her pale cheeks,
I knew it had nothing to do with your nonsensical family likenesses, I
knew it was what I dreaded." The Doctor, whose countenance had shown
signs of deep distress from the very beginning of the conversation,
replied, "Whether it arises from a too early taxing of her powers of
song, or whether the fault is Nature's--enough, Antonia labours under
an organic failure in the chest, while it is from it too that her voice
derives its wonderful power and its singular timbre, which I might
almost say transcend the limits of human capabilities of song. But it
bears the announcement of her early death; for, if she continues to
sing, I wouldn't give her at the most more than six months longer to
live." Krespel's heart was lacerated as if by the stabs of hundreds of
stinging knives. It was as though his life had been for the first time
overshadowed by a beautiful tree full of the most magnificent blossoms,
and now it was to be sawn to pieces at the roots, so that it could not
grow green and blossom any more. His resolution was taken. He told
Antonia all; he put the alternatives before her--whether she would
follow her betrothed and yield to his and the world's seductions, but
with the certainty of dying early, or whether she would spread round
her father in his old days that joy and peace which had hitherto been
unknown to him, and so secure a long life. She threw herself sobbing
into his arms, and he, knowing the heartrending trial that was before
her, did not press for a more explicit declaration. He talked the
matter over with her betrothed; but, notwithstanding that the latter
averred that no note should ever cross Antonia's lips, the Councillor
was only too well aware that even B---- could not resist the temptation
of hearing her sing, at any rate arias of his own composition. And the
world, the musical public, even though acquainted with the nature of
the singer's affliction, would certainly not relinquish its claims to
hear her, for in cases where pleasure is concerned people of this class
are very selfish and cruel. The Councillor disappeared from F---- along
with Antonia, and came to H----. B---- was in despair when he learnt
that they had gone. He set out on their track, overtook them, and
arrived at H---- at the same time that they did. "Let me see him only
once, and then die!" entreated Antonia "Die! die!" cried Krespel, wild
with anger, an icy shudder running through him. His daughter, the only
creature in the wide world who had awakened in him the springs of
unknown joy, who alone had reconciled him to life, tore herself away
from his heart, and he--he suffered the terrible trial to take place.
B---- sat down to the piano; Antonia sang; Krespel fiddled away
merrily, until the two red spots showed themselves on Antonia's cheeks.
Then he bade her stop; and as B was taking leave of his betrothed, she
suddenly fell to the floor with a loud scream. "I thought," continued
Krespel in his narration, "I thought that she was, as I had
anticipated, really dead; but as I had prepared myself for the worst,
my calmness did not leave me, nor my self-command desert me. I grasped
B----, who stood like a silly sheep in his dismay, by the shoulders,
and said (here the Councillor fell into his singing tone), 'Now that
you, my estimable pianoforte-player, have, as you wished and desired,
really murdered your betrothed, you may quietly take your departure; at
least have the goodness to make yourself scarce before I run my bright
hanger through your heart. My daughter, who, as you see, is rather
pale, could very well do with some colour from your precious blood.
Make haste and run, for I might also hurl a nimble knife or two after
you.' I must, I suppose, have looked rather formidable as I uttered
these words, for, with a cry of the greatest terror, B---- tore himself
loose from my grasp, rushed out of the room, and down the steps."
Directly after B---- was gone, when the Councillor tried to lift up his
daughter, who lay unconscious on the floor, she opened her eyes with a
deep sigh, but soon closed them again as if about to die. Then
Krespel's grief found vent aloud, and would not be comforted. The
Doctor, whom the old housekeeper had called in, pronounced Antonia's
case a somewhat serious but by no means dangerous attack; and she did
indeed recover more quickly than her father had dared to hope. She now
clung to him with the most confiding childlike affection; she entered
into his favourite hobbies--into his mad schemes and whims. She helped
him take old violins to pieces and glue new ones together. "I won't
sing again any more, but live for you," she often said, sweetly smiling
upon him, after she had been asked to sing and had refused. Such
appeals however the Councillor was anxious to spare her as much as
possible; therefore it was that he was unwilling to take her into
society, and solicitously shunned all music. He well understood how
painful it must be for her to forego altogether the exercise of that
art which she had brought to such a pitch of perfection. When the
Councillor bought the wonderful violin that he had buried with Antonia,
and was about to take it to pieces, she met him with such sadness in
her face and softly breathed the petition, "What! this as well?" By
some power, which he could not explain, he felt impelled to leave this
particular instrument unbroken, and to play upon it. Scarcely had he
drawn the first few notes from it than Antonia cried aloud with joy,
"Why, that's me!--now I shall sing again." And, in truth, there was
something remarkably striking about the clear, silvery, bell-like tones
of the violin; they seemed to have been engendered in the human soul.
Krespel's heart was deeply moved; he played, too, better than ever. As
he ran up and down the scale, playing bold passages with consummate
power and expression, she clapped her hands together and cried with
delight, "I did that well! I did that well!"

From this time onwards her life was filled with peace and cheerfulness.
She often said to the Councillor, "I should like to sing something,
father." Then Krespel would take his violin down from the wall and play
her most beautiful songs, and her heart was right glad and happy.
Shortly before my arrival in H----, the Councillor fancied one night
that he heard somebody playing the piano in the adjoining room, and he
soon made out distinctly that B---- was flourishing on the instrument
in his usual style. He wished to get up, but felt himself held down as
if by a dead weight, and lying as if fettered in iron bonds; he was
utterly unable to move an inch. Then Antonia's voice was heard singing
low and soft; soon, however, it began to rise and rise in volume until
it became an ear-splitting fortissimo; and at length she passed over
into a powerfully impressive song which B---- had once composed for her
in the devotional style of the old masters. Krespel described his
condition as being incomprehensible, for terrible anguish was mingled
with a delight he had never experienced before. All at once he was
surrounded by a dazzling brightness, in which he beheld B---- and
Antonia locked in a close embrace, and gazing at each other in a
rapture of ecstasy. The music of the song and of the pianoforte
accompanying it went on without any visible signs that Antonia sang or
that B---- touched the instrument. Then the Councillor fell into a sort
of dead faint, whilst the images vanished away. On awakening he still
felt the terrible anguish of his dream. He rushed into Antonia's room.
She lay on the sofa, her eyes closed, a sweet angelic smile on her
face, her hands devoutly folded, and looking as if asleep and dreaming
of the joys and raptures of heaven. But she was--dead.

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FOOTNOTES TO "THE CREMONA VIOLIN":

[Footnote 1: The Amati were a celebrated family of violin-makers of
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, belonging to Cremona in Italy.
They form the connecting-link between the Brescian school of makers and
the greatest of all makers, Straduarius and Guanerius.]

[Footnote 2: A reference to Ariosto's _Orlando Furioso_. Astolpho, an
English cousin of Orlando, was a great boaster, but generous,
courteous, gay, and remarkably handsome; he was carried to Alcina's
island on the back of a whale.]

[Footnote 3: Giuseppe Tartini, born in 1692, died in 1770; was one of
the most celebrated violinists of the eighteenth century, and the
discoverer (in 1714) of "resultant tones," or "Tartini's tones" as they
are frequently called. Most of his life was spent at Padua. He did much
to advance the art of the violinist, both by his compositions for that
instrument as well as by his treatise on its capabilities.]

[Footnote 4: This was the name of a well-known musical family from
Bohemia. Karl Stamitz is the one here possibly meant, since he died
about eighteen or twenty years previous to the publication of this
tale.]

[Footnote 5: Vincenzo Pucitta (1778-1861) was an Italian opera
composer, whose music "shows great facility, but no invention." He also
wrote several songs.]

[Footnote 6: Il Portogallo was the Italian sobriquet of a Portuguese
musician named Mark Anthony Simâo (1763-1829). He lived alternately in
Italy and Portugal, and wrote several operas.]

[Footnote 7: Literally, "The slave of a _primo uomo_," _primo uomo_
being the masculine form corresponding to _prima donna_, that is, a
singer of hero's parts in operatic music. At one time also female parts
were sung and acted by men or boys.]

[Footnote 8: Leonardo Leo, the chief Neapolitan representative of
Italian music in the first part of the eighteenth century, and author
of more than forty operas and nearly one hundred compositions for the
Church.]

[Footnote 9: Giambattista Martini, more commonly called Padre Martini,
of Bologna, formed an influential school of music there in the latter
half of the eighteenth century. He wrote vocal and instrumental pieces
both for the church and for the theatre. He was also a learned
historian of music. He has the merit of having discerned and encouraged
the genius of Mozart when, a boy of fourteen, he visited Bologna in
1770.]



                              THE FERMATA.


Hummel's[1] amusing, vivacious picture, "Company in an Italian Inn,"
became known by the Art Exhibition at Berlin in the autumn of 1814,
where it appeared, to the delight of all who saw and studied it An
arbour almost hidden in foliage--a table covered with wine-flasks and
fruits--two Italian ladies sitting at it opposite each other, one
singing, the other playing a guitar; between them, more in the
background, stands an abbot, acting as music-director. With his baton
raised, he is awaiting the moment when the Signora shall end, in a long
trill, the cadence which, with her eyes directed heavenwards, she is
just in the midst of; then down will come his hand, whilst the
guitarist gaily dashes off the dominant chord. The abbot is filled with
admiration--with exquisite delight--and at the same time his attention
is painfully on the stretch. He wouldn't miss the proper downward beat
for the world. He hardly dare breathe. He would like to stop the mouth
and wings of every buzzing bee and midge. So much the more therefore is
he annoyed at the bustling host who must needs come and bring the wine
just at this supreme, delicious moment. An outlook upon an avenue,
patterned by brilliant strips of light! There a horseman has pulled up,
and a glass of something refreshing to drink is being handed up to him
on horseback.

Before this picture stood the two friends Edward and Theodore. "The
more I look at this singer," said Edward, "in her gay attire, who,
though rather oldish, is yet full of the true inspiration of her art,
and the more I am delighted with the grave but genuine Roman profile
and lovely form of the guitarist, and the more my estimable friend the
abbot amuses me, the more does the whole picture seem to me instinct
with free, strong, vital power. It is plainly a caricature in the
higher sense of the term, but rich in grace and vivacity. I should just
like to step into that arbour and open one of those dainty little
flasks which are ogling me from the table. I tell you what, I fancy I
can already smell something of the sweet fragrance of the noble wine.
Come, it were a sin for this solicitation to be wasted on the cold
senseless atmosphere that is about us here. Let us go and drain a flask
of Italian wine in honour of this fine picture, of art, and of merry
Italy, where life is exhilarating and given for pleasure."

Whilst Edward was running on thus in disconnected sentences, Theodore
stood silent and deeply absorbed in reflection. "Ay, that we will, come
along," he said, starting up as if awakening out of a dream; but
nevertheless he had some difficulty in tearing himself away from the
picture, and as he mechanically followed his friend, he had to stop at
the door to cast another longing lingering look back upon the singer
and guitarist and abbot. Edward's proposal easily admitted of being
carried into execution. They crossed the street diagonally, and very
soon a flask exactly like those in the picture stood before them in
Sala Tarone's[2] little blue room. "It seems to me," said Edward, as
Theodore still continued very silent and thoughtful, even after several
glasses had been drunk, "it seems to me that the picture has made a
deeper impression upon you than upon me, and not such an agreeable
impression either." "I assure you," replied Theodore, "that I lost
nothing of the brightness and grace of that animated composition; yet
it is very singular,--it is a faithful representation of a scene out of
my own life, reproducing the portraits of the parties concerned in it
in a manner startlingly lifelike. You will, however, agree with me that
diverting memories also have the power of strangely moving the mind
when they suddenly spring up in this extraordinary and unexpected way,
as if awakened by the wave of a magician's wand. That's the case with
me just now." "What! a scene out of your own life!" exclaimed Edward,
quite astonished. "Do you mean to say the picture represents an episode
in your own life? I saw at once that the two ladies and the priest were
eminently successful portraits, but I never for a moment dreamed that
you had ever come across them in the course of your life. Come now,
tell me all about it, how it all came about; we are quite alone, nobody
else will come at this time o' day." "Willingly," answered Theodore,
"but unfortunately I must go a long way back--to my early youth in
fact." "Never mind; fire away," rejoined Edward; "I don't know over
much about your early days. If it lasts a good while, nothing worse
will happen than that we shall have to empty a bottle more than we at
first bargained for; and to that nobody will have any objection,
neither we, nor Mr. Tarone."

"That, throwing everything else aside, I at length devoted myself
entirely to the noble art of music," began Theodore, "need excite
nobody's astonishment, for whilst still a boy I would hardly do
anything else but play, and spent hours and hours strumming on my
uncle's old creaking, jarring piano. The little town was very badly
provided for music; there was nobody who could give me instruction
except an old opinionated organist; he, however, was merely a dry
arithmetician, and plagued me to death with obscure, unmelodious
toccatas and fugues. But I held on bravely, without letting myself be
daunted. The old fellow was crabby, and often found a good deal of
fault, but he had only to play a good piece in his own powerful style,
and I was at once reconciled both with him and with his art. I was then
often in a curious state of mind; many pieces particularly of old
Sebastian Bach were almost like a fearful ghost-story, and I yielded
myself up to that feeling of pleasurable awe to which we are so prone
in the days of our fantastic youth. But I entered into a veritable Eden
when, as sometimes happened in winter, the bandmaster of the town and
his colleagues, supported by a few other moderate dilettante players,
gave a concert, and I, owing to the strict time I always kept, was
permitted to play the kettledrum in the symphony. It was not until
later that I perceived how ridiculous and extravagant these concerts
were. My teacher generally played two concertos on the piano by Wolff
or Emanuel Bach,[3] a member of the town band struggled with
Stamitz,[4] while the receiver of excise duties worked away hard at the
flute, and took in such an immense supply of breath that he blew out
both lights on his music-stand, and always had to have them relighted
again. Singing wasn't thought about; my uncle, a great friend and
patron of music, always disparaged the local talent in this line. He
still dwelt with exuberant delight upon the days gone by, when the four
choristers of the four churches of the town agreed together to give
_Lottchen am Hofe_.[5] Above all, he was wont to extol the toleration
which united the singers in the production of this work of art, for not
only the Catholic and the Evangelical but also the Reformed community
was split into two bodies--those speaking German and those speaking
French. The French chorister was not daunted by the _Lottchen_, but, as
my uncle maintained, sang his part, spectacles on nose, in the finest
falsetto that ever proceeded forth from a human breast. Now there was
amongst us (I mean in the town) a spinster named Meibel, aged about
fifty-five, who subsisted upon the scanty pension which she received as
a retired court singer of the metropolis, and my uncle was rightly of
opinion that Miss Meibel might still do something for her money in the
concert hall. She assumed airs of importance, required a good deal of
coaxing, but at last consented, so that we came to have _bravuras_ in
our concerts. She was a singular creature this Miss Meibel. I still
retain a lively recollection of her lean little figure. Dressed in a
many-coloured gown, she was wont to step forward with her roll of music
in her hand, looking very grave and solemn, and to acknowledge the
audience with a slight inclination of the upper part of her body. Her
head-dress was a most remarkable head-dress. In front was fastened a
nosegay of Italian flowers of porcelain, which kept up a strange
trembling and tottering as she sang. At the end, after the audience had
greeted her with no stinted measure of applause, she proudly handed the
music-roll to my uncle, and permitted him to dip his thumb and finger
into a little porcelain snuff-box, fashioned in the shape of a pug dog,
out of which she took a pinch herself with evident relish. She had a
horrible squeaky voice, indulged in all sorts of ludicrous flourishes
and roulades, and so you may imagine what an effect all this, combined
with her ridiculous manners and style of dress, could not fail to have
upon me. My uncle overflowed with panegyrics; that I could not
understand, and so turned the more readily to my organist, who, looking
with contempt upon vocal efforts in general, delighted me down to the
ground as in his hypochondriac malicious way he parodied the ludicrous
old spinster.

"The more decidedly I came to share with my master his contempt for
singing, the higher did he rate my musical genius. He took a great and
zealous interest in instructing me in counterpoint, so that I soon came
to write the most ingenious toccatas and fugues. I was once playing one
of these ingenious specimens of my skill to my uncle on my birthday (I
was nineteen years old), when the waiter of our first hotel stepped
into the room to announce the visit of two foreign ladies who
had just arrived in the town. Before my uncle could throw off his
dressing-gown--it was of a large flower pattern--and don his coat and
vest, his visitors were already in the room. You know what an electric
effect every strange event has upon those who are brought up in the
narrow seclusion of a small country town; this in particular, which
crossed my path so unexpectedly, was pre-eminently fitted to work a
complete revolution within me. Picture to yourself two tall, slender
Italian ladies, dressed fantastically and in bright colours, quite up
to the latest fashion, meeting my uncle with the freedom of
professional _artistes_, and yet with considerable charms of manner,
and addressing him in firm and sonorous voices. What the deuce of a
strange tongue they speak! Only now and then does it sound at all like
German. My uncle doesn't understand a word; embarrassed, mute as a
maggot, he steps back and points to the sofa. They sit down, talk
together--it sounds like music itself. At length they succeed in making
my good uncle comprehend that they are singers on a tour; they would
like to give a concert in the place, and have come to him, as he is the
man to conduct such musical negotiations.

"Whilst they were talking together I picked up their Christian names,
and I fancied that I could now more easily and more distinctly
distinguish the one from the other, for their both making their
appearance together had at first confused me. Lauretta, apparently the
elder of the two, looked about her with sparkling eyes, and talked away
at my embarrassed old uncle with gushing vivacity and with
demonstrative gestures. She was not too tall, and of a voluptuous
build, so that my eyes wandered amid many charms that hitherto had been
strangers to them. Teresina, taller, more slender, with a long grave
face, spoke but seldom, but what she did say was more intelligible. Now
and then a peculiar smile flitted across her features; it almost seemed
as if she were highly amused at my good uncle, who had withdrawn into
his silken dressing-gown like a snail into its shell, and was vainly
endeavouring to push out of sight a treacherous yellow string, with
which he fastened his night-jacket together, and which would keep
tumbling out of his bosom yards and yards long. At length they rose to
depart; my uncle promised to arrange everything for the concert for the
third day following; then the sisters gave him and me, whom he
introduced to them as a young musician, a most polite invitation to
take chocolate with them in the afternoon.

"We mounted the steps with a solemn air and awkward gait; we both felt
very peculiar, as if we were going to meet some adventure to which we
were not equal. In consequence of due previous preparation my uncle had
a good many fine things to say about art, which nobody understood,
neither he himself nor any of the rest of us. This done, and after I
had thrice burned my tongue with the scalding hot chocolate, but with
the stoical fortitude of a Scævola had smiled under the fiery
infliction, Lauretta at length said that she would sing to us. Teresina
took her guitar, tuned it, and struck a few full chords. It was the
first time I had heard the instrument, and the characteristic
mysterious sounds of the trembling strings made a deep and wonderful
impression upon me. Lauretta began very softly and held on, the note
rising to _fortissimo_, and then quickly broke into a crisp complicated
run through an octave and a half. I can still remember the words of the
beginning, '_Sento l'amica speme_.' My heart was oppressed; I had never
had an idea of anything of the kind. But as Lauretta continued to soar
in bolder and higher flights, and as the musical notes poured upon me
like sparkling rays, thicker and thicker, then was the music that had
so long lain mute and lifeless within me enkindled, rising up in
strong, grand flames. Ah! I had never heard what music was in my life
before! Then the sisters sang one of those grand impressive duets of
Abbot Steffani[6] which confine themselves to notes of a low register.
My soul was stirred at the sound of Teresina's alto, it was so
sonorous, and as pure as silver bells. I couldn't for the life of me
restrain my emotion; tears started to my eyes. My uncle coughed
warningly, and cast angry glances upon me; it was all of no use, I was
really quite beside myself. This seemed to please the sisters; they
began to inquire into the nature and extent of my musical studies; I
was ashamed of my performances in that line, and with the hardihood
born of enthusiastic admiration, I bluntly declared that that day was
the first time I had ever heard music. 'The dear good boy!' lisped
Lauretta, so sweetly and bewitchingly.

"On reaching home again, I was seized with a sort of fury: I pounced
upon all the toccatas and fugues that I had hammered out, as well as a
beautiful copy of forty-five variations of a canonical theme that the
organist had written and done me the honour of presenting to me,--all
these I threw into the fire, and laughed with spiteful glee as the
double counterpoint smoked and crackled. Then I sat down at the piano
and tried first to imitate the tones of the guitar, then to play the
sisters' melodies, and finished by attempting to sing them. At length
about midnight my uncle emerged from his bedroom and greeted me with,
'My boy, you'd better just stop that screeching and troop off to bed;'
and he put out both candles and went back to his own room. I had no
other alternative but to obey. The mysterious power of song came to me
in my dreams--at least I thought so--for I sang '_Sento l'amica speme_'
in excellent style.

"The next morning my uncle had hunted up everybody who could fiddle
and blow for the rehearsal. He was proud to show what good musicians
the town possessed; but everything seemed to go perversely wrong.
Lauretta set to work at a fine scene; but very soon in the recitative
the orchestra was all at sixes and sevens, not one of them had any idea
of accompaniment Lauretta screamed--raved--wept with impatience and
anger. The organist was presiding at the piano; she attacked him with
the bitterest reproaches. He got up and in silent obduracy marched out
of the hall. The bandmaster of the town, whom Lauretta had dubbed a
'German ass!' took his violin under his arm, and, banging his hat on
his head with an air of defiance, likewise made for the door. The
members of his company, sticking their bows under the strings of their
violins, and unscrewing the mouthpieces of their brass instruments,
followed him. There was nobody but the dilettanti left, and they gazed
about them with disconsolate looks, whilst the receiver of excise
duties exclaimed, with a tragic air, 'O heaven! how mortified I feel!'
All my diffidence was gone,--I threw myself in the bandmaster's way, I
begged, I prayed, in my distress I promised him six new minuets with
double trios for the annual ball. I succeeded in appeasing him. He went
back to his place, his companions followed suit, and soon the orchestra
was reconstituted, except that the organist was wanting. He was slowly
making his way across the market-place, no shouting or beckoning could
make him turn back. Teresina had looked on at the whole scene with
smothered laughter, while Lauretta was now as full of glee as before
she had been of anger. She was unstinted in her praise of my efforts;
she asked me if I played the piano, and ere I knew what I was about, I
sat in the organist's place with the music before me. Never before had
I accompanied a singer, still less directed an orchestra. Teresina sat
down beside me at the piano and gave me every time; Lauretta encouraged
me with repeated 'Bravos!' the orchestra proved manageable, and things
continued to improve. Everything was worked out successfully at the
second rehearsal; and the effect of the sisters' singing at the concert
is not to be described.

"The sovereign's return to his capital was to be celebrated there with
several festive demonstrations; the sisters were summoned to sing in
the theatre and at concerts. Until the time that their presence was
required they resolved to remain in our little town, and thus it came
to pass that they gave us a few more concerts. The admiration of the
public rose to a kind of madness. Old Miss Meibel, however, took with a
deliberate air a pinch of snuff out of her porcelain pug and gave her
opinion that 'such impudent caterwauling was not singing; singing
should be low and melodious.' My friend, the organist, never showed
himself again, and, in truth, I did not miss him in the least I was
the happiest fellow in the world. The whole day long I spent with
the sisters, copying out the vocal scores of what they were to
sing in the capital. Lauretta was my ideal; her vile caprices, her
terribly passionate violence, the torments she inflicted upon me at the
piano--all these I bore with patience. She alone had unsealed for me
the springs of true music. I began to study Italian, and try my hand at
a few canzonets. In what heavenly rapture was I plunged when Lauretta
sang my compositions, or even praised them. Often it seemed to me as if
it was not I who had thought out and set what she sang, but that the
thought first shone forth in her singing of it. With Teresina I could
not somehow get on familiar terms; she sang but seldom, and didn't seem
to make much account of all that I was doing, and sometimes I even
fancied that she was laughing at me behind my back. At length the time
came for them to leave the town. And now I felt for the first time how
dear Lauretta had become to me, and how impossible it would be for me
to separate from her. Often, when she was in a tender, playful mood,
she had caressed me, although always in a perfectly artless fashion;
nevertheless, my blood was excited, and it was nothing but the strange
coolness with which she was more usually wont to treat me that
restrained me from giving reins to my ardour and clasping her in my
arms in a delirium of passion. I possessed a tolerably good tenor
voice, which, however, I had never practised, but now I began to
cultivate it assiduously. I frequently sang with Lauretta one of those
tender Italian duets of which there exists such an endless number. We
were just singing one of these pieces, the hour of departure was close
at hand--'_Senza di te ben mio, vivere non poss' io_' ('Without thee,
my own, I cannot live!') Who could resist that? I threw myself at her
feet--I was in despair. She raised me up--'But, my friend, need we then
part?' I pricked up my ears with amazement. She proposed that I should
accompany her and Teresina to the capital, for if I intended to devote
myself wholly to music I must leave this wretched little town some time
or other. Picture to yourself one struggling in the dark depths of
boundless despair, who has given up all hopes of life, and who, in the
moment in which he expects to receive the blow that is to crush him for
ever, suddenly finds himself sitting in a glorious bright arbour of
roses, where hundreds of unseen but loving voices whisper, 'You are
still alive, dear,--still alive'--and you will know how I felt then.
Along with them to the capital! that had seized upon my heart as an
ineradicable resolution. But I won't tire you with the details of how I
set to work to convince my uncle that I ought now by all means to go to
the capital, which, moreover, was not very far away. He at length gave
his consent, and announced his intention of going with me. Here was a
tricksy stroke of fortune! I dare not give utterance to my purpose of
travelling in company with the sisters. A violent cold, which my uncle
caught, proved my saviour.

"I left the town by the stage-coach, but only went as far as the first
stopping-station, where I awaited my divinity. A well-lined purse
enabled me to make all due and fitting preparations. I was seized with
the romantic idea of accompanying the ladies in the character of a
protecting paladin--on horseback; I secured a horse, which, though not
particularly handsome, was, its owner assured me, quiet, and I rode
back at the appointed time to meet the two fair singers. I soon saw the
little carriage, which had two seats, coming towards me. Lauretta and
Teresina sat on the principal seat, whilst on the other, with her back
to the driver, sat their maid, the fat little Gianna, a brown-cheeked
Neapolitan. Besides this living freight, the carriage was packed full
of boxes, satchels, and baskets of all sizes and shapes, such as
invariably accompany ladies when they travel. Two little pug-dogs which
Gianna was nursing in her lap began to bark when I gaily saluted the
company.

"All was going on very nicely; we were traversing the last stage of the
journey, when my steed all at once conceived the idea that it was high
time to be returning homewards. Being aware that stern measures were
not always blessed with a remarkable degree of success in such cases, I
felt advised to have recourse to milder means of persuasion; but the
obstinate brute remained insensible to all my well-meant exhortations.
I wanted to go forwards, he backwards, and all the advantage that my
efforts gave me over him was that instead of taking to his heels for
home, he continued to run round in circles. Teresina leaned forward out
of the carriage and had a hearty laugh; Lauretta, holding her hands
before her face, screamed out as if I were in imminent danger. This
gave me the courage of despair, I drove the spurs into the brute's
ribs, but that very same moment I was roughly hurled off and found
myself sprawling on the ground. The horse stood perfectly still, and,
stretching out his long neck, regarded me with what I took to be
nothing else than derision. I was not able to rise to my feet; the
driver had to come and help me; Lauretta had jumped out and was weeping
and lamenting; Teresina did nothing but laugh without ceasing. I had
sprained my foot, and couldn't possibly mount again. How was I to get
on? My steed was fastened to the carriage, whilst I crept into it. Just
picture us all--two rather robust females, a fat servant-girl, two
pug-dogs, a dozen boxes, satchels, and baskets, and me as well, all
packed into a little carriage. Picture Lauretta's complaints at the
uncomfortableness of her seat, the howling of the pups, the chattering
of the Neapolitan, Teresina's sulks, the unspeakable pain I felt in my
foot, and you will have some idea of my enviable situation! Teresina
averred that she could not endure it any longer. We stopped; in a trice
she was out of the carriage, had untied my horse, and was up in the
saddle, prancing and curvetting around us. I must indeed admit that she
cut a fine figure. The dignity and elegance which marked her carriage
and bearing were still more prominent on horseback. She asked for her
guitar, then dropping the reins on her arm, she began to sing proud
Spanish ballads with a full-toned accompaniment. Her light silk dress
fluttered in the wind, its folds and creases giving rise to a sheeny
play of light, whilst the white feathers of her hat quivered and shook,
like the prattling spirits of the air which we heard in her voice.
Altogether she made such a romantic figure that I could not keep my
eyes off her, notwithstanding that Lauretta reproached her for making
herself such a fantastic simpleton, and predicted that she would suffer
for her audacity. But no accident happened; either the horse had lost
all his stubbornness or he liked the fair singer better than the
paladin; at any rate, Teresina did not creep back into the carriage
again until we had almost reached the gates of the town.

"If you had seen me then at concerts and operas, if you had seen me
revelling in all sorts of music, and as a diligent accompanist studying
arias, duets, and I don't know what besides at the piano, you would
have perceived, by the complete change in my behaviour, that I was
filled with a new and wonderful spirit. I had cast off all my rustic
shyness, and sat at the pianoforte with my score before me like an
experienced professional, directing the performances of my _prima
donna_. All my mind--all my thoughts--were sweet melodies. Utterly
regardless of all the rules of counterpoint, I composed all sorts of
canzonets and arias, which Lauretta sang, though only in her own room.
Why would she never sing any of my pieces at a concert? I could not
understand it. Teresina also arose before my imagination curvetting on
her proud steed with the lute in her hands, like Art herself disguised
in romance. Without thinking of it consciously, I wrote several songs
of a high and serious nature. Lauretta, it is true, played with her
notes like a capricious fairy queen. There was nothing upon which she
ventured in which she had not success. But never did a roulade cross
Teresina's lips; nothing more than a simple interpolated note, at most
a _mordent_; but her long-sustained tones gleamed like meteors through
the darkness of night, awakening strange spirits, who came and gazed
with earnest eyes into the depths of my heart. I know not how I
remained ignorant of them so long!

"The sisters were granted a benefit concert; I sang with Lauretta a
long scena from Anfossi.[7] As usual I presided at the piano. We came
to the last _fermata_. Lauretta exerted all her skill and art; she
warbled trill after trill like a nightingale, executed sustained notes,
then long elaborate roulades--a whole _solfeggio_. In fact, I thought
she was almost carrying the thing too far this time; I felt a soft
breath on my cheek; Teresina stood behind me. At this moment Lauretta
took a good start with the intention of swelling up to a 'harmonic
shake,' and so passing back into _a tempo_. The devil entered into me;
I jammed down the keys with both hands; the orchestra followed suit;
and it was all over with Lauretta's trill, just at the supreme moment
when she was to excite everybody's astonishment. Almost annihilating me
with a look of fury, she crushed her roll of music together, tore it
up, and hurled it at my head, so that the pieces flew all over me. Then
she rushed like a madwoman through the orchestra into the adjoining
room; as soon as we had concluded the piece, I followed her. She wept;
she raved. 'Out of my sight, villain,' she screamed as soon as she saw
me. 'You devil, you've completely ruined me--my fame, my honour--and
oh! my trill. Out of my sight, you devil's own!' She made a rush
at me; I escaped through the door. Whilst some one else was performing,
Teresina and the music-director at length succeeded in so far pacifying
her rage, that she resolved to appear again; but I was not to be
allowed to touch the piano. In the last duet that the sisters sang,
Lauretta did contrive to introduce the swelling 'harmonic shake,' was
rewarded with a storm of applause, and settled down into the best of
humours.

"But I could not get over the vile treatment which I had received at
her hands in the presence of so many people, and I was firmly resolved
to set off home next morning for my native town. I was actually engaged
in packing my things together when Teresina came into my room.
Observing what I was about, she exclaimed, astonished, 'Are you going
to leave us?' I gave her to understand that after the affront which had
been put upon me by Lauretta I could not think of remaining any longer
in her society. 'And so,' replied Teresina, 'you're going to let
yourself be driven away by the extravagant conduct of a little fool,
who is now heartily sorry for what she has done and said. Where else
can you better live in your art than with us? Let me tell you, it only
depends upon yourself and your own behaviour to keep her from such
pranks as this. You are too compliant, too tender, too gentle. Besides,
you rate her powers too highly. Her voice is indeed not bad, and it has
a wide compass; but what else are all these fantastic warblings and
flourishes, these preposterous runs, these never-ending shakes, but
delusive artifices of style, which people admire in the same way that
they admire the foolhardy agility of a rope-dancer? Do you imagine that
such things can make any deep impression upon us and stir the heart?
The 'harmonic shake' which you spoilt I cannot tolerate; I always feel
anxious and pained when she attempts it. And then this scaling up into
the region of the third line above the stave, what is it but a violent
straining of the natural voice, which after all is the only thing that
really moves the heart? I like the middle notes and the low notes. A
sound that penetrates to the heart, a real quiet, easy transition from
note to note, are what I love above all things. No useless
ornamentation--a firm, clear, strong note--a definite expression, which
carries away the mind and soul--that's real true singing, and that's
how I sing. If you can't be reconciled to Lauretta again, then think of
Teresina, who indeed likes you so much that you shall in your own way
be her musical composer. Don't be cross--but all your elegant canzonets
and arias can't be matched with this single ----,' she sang in her
sonorous way a simple devotional sort of canzona which I had set a few
days before. I had never dreamed that it could sound like that I felt
the power of the music going through and through me; tears of joy and
rapture stood in my eyes; I seized Teresina's hand, and pressing it to
my lips a thousand times, swore I would never leave her.

"Lauretta looked upon my intimacy with her sister with envious but
suppressed vexation, and she could not do without me, for, in spite of
her skill, she was unable to study a new piece without help; she read
badly, and was rather uncertain in her time. Teresina, on the contrary,
sang everything at sight, and her ear for time was unparalleled. Never
did Lauretta give such free rein to her caprice and violence as when
her accompaniments were being practised. They were never right for her;
she looked upon them as a necessary evil; the piano ought not to be
heard at all, it should always be _pianissimo_; so there was nothing
but giving way to her again and again, and altering the time just as
the whim happened to come into her head at the moment But now I took a
firm stand against her; I combated her impertinences; I taught her that
an accompaniment devoid of energy was not conceivable, and that there
was a marked difference between supporting and carrying along the song
and letting it run to riot, without form and without time. Teresina
faithfully lent me her assistance. I composed nothing but pieces for
the Church, writing all the solos for a voice of low register.
Teresina, too, tyrannised over me not a little, to which I submitted
with a good grace, since she had more knowledge of, and (so at least I
thought) more appreciation for, German seriousness than her sister.

"We were touring in South Germany. In a little town we met an Italian
tenor who was making his way from Milan to Berlin. My fair companions
went in ecstasies over their countryman; he stuck close to them,
cultivating in particular Teresina's acquaintance, so that to my great
vexation I soon came to play rather a secondary part. Once, just as I
was about to enter the room with a roll of music under my arm, the
voices of my companions and the tenor, engaged in an animated
conversation, fell upon my ear. My name was mentioned; I pricked up my
ears; I listened. I now understood Italian so well that not a word
escaped me. Lauretta was describing the tragical occurrence of the
concert when I cut short her trill by prematurely striking down the
concluding notes of the bar. 'A German ass!' exclaimed the tenor. I
felt as if I must rush in and hurl the flighty hero of the boards out
of the window, but I restrained myself. She then went on to say that
she had been minded to send me about my business at once, but, moved by
my clamorous entreaties, she had so far had compassion upon me as to
tolerate me some time longer, since I was studying singing under her.
This, to my utter amazement, Teresina confirmed. 'Yes, he's a good
child,' she added; 'he's in love with me now and sets everything for
the alto. He is not without talent, but he must rub off that stiffness
and awkwardness which is so characteristic of the Germans. I hope to
make a good composer out of him; then he shall write me some good
things--for there's very little written as yet for the alto voice--and
afterwards I shall let him go his own way. He's very tiresome with his
billing and cooing and love-sick sighing, and he worries me too much
with his wearisome compositions, which have been but poor stuff up to
the present.' 'I at least have now got rid of him,' interrupted
Lauretta; 'and Teresina, how the fellow pestered me with his arias and
duets you know very well.' And now she began to sing a duet of my
composing, which formerly she had praised very highly. The other sister
took up the second voice, and they parodied me both in voice and in
execution in the most shameful manner. The tenor laughed till the walls
rang again. My limbs froze; at once I formed an irrevocable resolve. I
quietly slipped away from the door back into my own room, the windows
of which looked upon a side street. Opposite was the post-office; the
post-coach for Bamberg had just driven up to take in the mails and
passengers. The latter were all standing ready waiting in the gateway,
but I had still an hour to spare. Hastily packing up my things, I
generously paid the whole of the bill at the hotel, and hurried across
to the post-office. As I crossed the broad street I saw the fair
sisters and the Italian still standing at the window, and looking out
to catch the sound of the post-horn. I leaned back in the corner, and
dwelt with a good deal of satisfaction upon the crushing effect of the
bitter scathing letter that I had left behind for them in the hotel."

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

With evident gratification Theodore tossed off the rest of the fiery
Aleatico[8] that Edward had poured into his glass. The latter, opening
a new flask and skilfully shaking off the drops of oil[9] which swam at
the top, remarked, "I should not have deemed Teresina capable of such
falseness and artfulness. I cannot banish from my mind the recollection
of what a charming figure she made as she sat on horseback singing
Spanish ballads, whilst the horse pranced along in graceful curvets."
"That was her culminating point," interrupted Theodore; "I still
remember the strange impression which the scene made upon me. I forgot
my pain; she seemed to me like a creature of a higher race. It is
indeed very true that such moments are turning-points in one's life,
and that in them many images arise which time does not avail to dim.
Whenever I have succeeded with any fine _romance_, it has always been
when Teresina's image has stepped forth from the treasure-house of my
mind in clear bright colours at the moment of writing it."

"But," said Edward, "but let us not forget the artistic Lauretta; and,
scattering all rancour to the winds, let us drink to the health of the
two sisters." They did so. "Oh," exclaimed Theodore, "how the fragrant
breezes of Italy arise out of this wine and fan my cheeks,--my blood
rolls with quickened energy in my veins. Oh! why must I so soon leave
that glorious land again!" "As yet," interrupted Edward, "as yet in all
that you have told me I can see no connection with the beautiful
picture, and so I believe that you still have something more to tell me
about the sisters. Of course I perceive plainly that the ladies in the
picture are none other than Lauretta and Teresina themselves." "You are
right, they are," replied Theodore; "and my ejaculations and sighs, and
my longings after the glorious land of Italy, will form a fitting
introduction to what I still have to say. A short time ago, perhaps
about two years since, just before leaving Rome, I made a little
excursion on horseback. Before an inn stood a charming girl; the idea
struck me how nice it would be to receive a cup of wine at the hands of
the pretty child. I pulled up before the door, in a walk so thickly
planted on each side with shrubs that the sunlight could only make its
way through in patches. In the distance I heard sounds of singing and
the tinkling of a guitar. I pricked up my ears and listened, for the
two female voices affected me somehow in a singular fashion; strangely
enough dim recollections began to stir within my mind, but they refused
to take definite shape. I dismounted and slowly drew near to the
vine-clad arbour whence the music seemed to proceed, eagerly catching
up every sound in the meantime. The second voice had ceased to sing.
The first sang a canzonet alone. As I came nearer and nearer that which
had at first seemed familiar to me, and which had at first attracted my
attention, gradually faded away. The singer was now in the midst of a
florid, elaborate _fermata_. Up and down she warbled, up and down; at
length she stopped, holding a note on for some time. But all at once a
female voice began to let off a torrent of abuse, maledictions, curses,
vituperations! A man protested; a second laughed. The other female
voice took part in the altercation. The quarrel continued to wax louder
and more violent, with true Italian fury. At length I stood immediately
in front of the arbour; an abbot rushes out and almost runs over me; he
turns his head to look at me; I recognise my good friend Signor
Lodovico, my musical news-monger from Rome. 'What in the name of
wonder'--I exclaim. 'Oh, sir! sir!' he screams, 'save me, protect me
from this mad fury, from this crocodile, this tiger, this hyæna, this
devil of a woman. Yes, I did, I did; I was beating time to Anfossi's
canzonet, and brought down my baton too soon whilst she was in the
midst of the _fermata_; I cut short her trill; but why did I meet her
eyes, the devilish divinity! The deuce take all _fermatas_, I say!' In
a most curious state of mind I hastened into the arbour along with the
priest, and recognised at the first glance the sisters Lauretta and
Teresina. The former was still shrieking and raging, and her sister
still seriously remonstrating with her. Mine host, his bare arms
crossed over his chest, was looking on laughing, whilst a girl was
placing fresh flasks on the table. No sooner did the sisters catch
sight of me than they threw themselves upon me exclaiming, 'Ah! Signor
Teodoro!' and covered me with caresses. The quarrel was forgotten.
'Here you have a composer,' said Lauretta to the abbot, 'as charming as
an Italian and as strong as a German.' Both sisters, continually
interrupting each other, began to recount the happy days we had spent
together, to speak of my musical abilities whilst still a youth, of our
practisings together, of the excellence of my compositions; never did
they like singing anything else but what I had set. Teresina at length
informed me that a manager had engaged her as his first singer in
tragic casts for the next carnival; but she would give him to
understand that she would only sing on condition that the composition
of at least one tragic opera was intrusted to me. The tragic was above
all others my special department, and so on, and so on. Lauretta on her
part maintained that it would be a pity if I did not follow my bent for
the light and the graceful, in a word, for _opera buffa_. She had been
engaged as first lady singer for this species of composition; and that
nobody but I should write the piece in which she was to appear was
simply a matter of course. You may fancy what my feelings were as I
stood between the two. In a word, you perceive that the company which I
had joined was the same as that which Hummel painted, and that just at
the moment when the priest is on the point of cutting short Lauretta's
_fermata_." "But did they not make any allusion," asked Edward, "to
your departure from them, or to the scathing letter?" "Not with a
single syllable," answered Theodore, "and you may be sure I didn't, for
I had long before banished all animosity from my heart, and come to
look back upon my adventure with the sisters as a merry prank. I did,
however, so far revert to the subject that I related to the priest how
that, several years before, exactly the same sort of mischance befell
me in one of Anfossi's arias as had just befallen him. I painted the
period of my connection with the sisters in tragi-comical colours, and,
distributing many a keen side-blow, I let them feel the superiority,
which the ripe experiences, both of life and of art, of the years that
had elapsed in the interval had given me over them. 'And a good thing
it was,' I concluded, 'that I did cut short that _fermata_, for it was
evidently meant to last through eternity, and I am firmly of opinion
that if I had left the singer alone, I should be sitting at the piano
now.' 'But, signor,' replied the priest, 'what director is there who
would dare to prescribe laws to the _prima donna_? Your offence was
much more heinous than mine, you in the concert hall, and I here in the
leafy arbour. Besides, I was only director in imagination; nobody need
attach any importance to that, and if the sweet fiery glances of these
heavenly eyes had not fascinated me, I should not have made an ass of
myself.' The priest's last words proved tranquillising, for, although
Lauretta's eyes had begun to flash with anger as the priest spoke,
before he had finished she was quite appeased.

"We spent the evening together. Many changes take place in fourteen
years, which was the interval that had passed since I had seen my fair
friends. Lauretta, although looking somewhat older, was still not
devoid of charms. Teresina had worn better, without losing her graceful
form. Both were dressed in rather gay colours, and their manners were
just the same as before, that is, fourteen years younger than the
ladies themselves. At my request Teresina sang some of the serious
songs that had once so deeply affected me, but I fancied that they
sounded differently from what they did when I first heard them; and
Lauretta's singing too, although her voice had not appreciably lost
anything, either in power or in compass, seemed to me to be quite
different from my recollection of it of former times The sisters'
behaviour towards me, their feigned ecstasies, their rude admiration,
which, however, took the shape of gracious patronage, had done much to
put me in a bad humour, and now the obtrusiveness of this comparison
between the images in my mind and the not over and above pleasing
reality, tended to put me in a still worse. The droll priest, who in
all the sweetest words you can imagine was playing the _amoroso_ to
both sisters at once, as well as frequent applications to the good
wine, at length restored me to good humour, so that we spent a very
pleasant evening in perfect concord and gaiety. The sisters were most
pressing in their invitations to me to go home with them, that we might
at once talk over the parts which I was to set for them and so concert
measures accordingly. I left Rome without taking any further steps to
find out their place of abode."

"And yet, after all," said Edward, "it is to them that you owe the
awakening of your genius for music." "That I admit," replied Theodore,
"I owed them that and a host of good melodies besides, and that is just
the reason why I did not want to see them again. Every composer can
recall certain impressions which time does not obliterate. The spirit
of music spake, and his voice was the creative word which suddenly
awakened the kindred spirit slumbering in the breast of the artist;
then the latter rose like a sun which can nevermore set. Thus it is
unquestionably true that all melodies which, stirred up in this way,
proceed from the depths of the composer's being, seem to us to belong
to the singer alone who fanned the first spark within us. We hear her
voice and record only what she has sung. It is, however, the
inheritance of us weak mortals that, clinging to the clods, we are only
too fain to draw down what is above the earth into the miserable
narrowness characteristic of things of the earth. Thus it comes to pass
that the singer becomes our lover--or even our wife. The spell is
broken, and the melody of her nature, which formerly revealed glorious
things, is now prostituted to complaints about broken soup-plates or
ink-stains in new linen. Happy is the composer who never again so long
as he lives sets eyes upon the woman who by virtue of some mysterious
power enkindled in him the flame of music. Even though the young
artist's heart may be rent by pain and despair when the moment comes
for parting from his lovely enchantress, nevertheless her form will
continue to exist as a divinely beautiful strain which lives on and on
in the pride of youth and beauty, engendering melodies in which time
after time he perceives the lady of his love. But what is she else if
not the Highest Ideal which, working its way from within outwards, is
at length reflected in the external independent form?"

"A strange theory, but yet plausible," was Edward's comment, as the two
friends, arm in arm, passed out from Sala Tarone's into the street.

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FOOTNOTES TO "THE FERMATA":

[Footnote 1: Johann Erdmann Hummel, born 1769, died 1852, a German
painter, studied in Italy, painted various kinds of pieces, and also
wrote treatises on perspective and kindred subjects. The picture here
referred to became perhaps almost as much celebrated from the fact of
its having suggested this amusing sketch to Hoffmann as for its
intrinsic merits as a work of art.]

[Footnote 2: The keeper of a well-known tavern in Berlin, at about the
time when this tale was written, 1817 to 1820.]

[Footnote 3: The third son of the Sebastian Bach--_the_ Bach--just
mentioned above. He was sometimes called "the Berlin Bach," or "the
Hamburg Bach."]

[Footnote 4: See note, p. 12 above.]

[Footnote 5: This was one of a species of musical composition called
_Singspiele_, a development of the simple song or _Lied_, by Johann
Adam Hiller, (properly Hüller), born 1728, died 1804.]

[Footnote 6: Agostino Steffani, an Italian by birth (1655), spent
nearly all his life in Germany at the courts of Munich and Hanover. He
wrote several operas, and was renowned for his duets, motets, &c.]

[Footnote 7: Pasquale Anfossi, an Italian operatic composer of the
eighteenth century. He was for a time the fashion of the day at Rome,
but occupies now only a subordinate rank amongst musicians.]

[Footnote 8: A red, aromatic, sweet Italian wine, made chiefly at
Florence.]

[Footnote 9: The wine was presumably in flasks of the usual Italian
kind, bottles encased in straw or reed, &c., with oil on the top of the
wine instead of a cork in the neck of the bottle.]



                           SIGNOR FORMICA.[1.1]

                                   I.

_The celebrated painter Salvator Rosa comes to Rome, and is attacked by
a dangerous illness. What befalls him in this illness._

Celebrated people commonly have many ill things said of them, whether
well-founded or not And no exception was made in the case of that
admirable painter Salvator Rosa, whose living pictures cannot fail to
impart a keen and characteristic delight to those who look upon them.

At the time that Salvator's fame was ringing through Naples, Rome, and
Tuscany--nay, through all Italy, and painters who were desirous of
gaining applause were striving to imitate his peculiar and unique
style, his malicious and envious rivals were laboring to spread abroad
all sorts of evil reports intended to sully with ugly black stains the
glorious splendor of his artistic fame. They affirmed that he had at a
former period of his life belonged to a company of banditti,[1.2] and
that it was to his experiences during this lawless time that he owed
all the wild, fierce, fantastically-attired figures which he introduced
into his pictures, just as the gloomy fearful wildernesses of his
landscapes--the _selve selvagge_ (savage woods)--to use Dante's
expression, were faithful representations of the haunts where they lay
hidden. What was worse still, they openly charged him with having been
concerned in the atrocious and bloody revolt which had been set on foot
by the notorious Masaniello[1.3] in Naples. They even described the
share he had taken in it, down to the minutest details.

The rumor ran that Aniello Falcone,[1.4] the painter of battle-pieces,
one of the best of Salvator's masters, had been stung into fury and
filled with bloodthirsty vengeance because the Spanish soldiers had
slain one of his relatives in a hand-to-hand encounter. Without delay
he leagued together a band of daring spirits, mostly young painters,
put arms into their hands, and gave them the name of the "Company of
Death." And in truth this band inspired all the fear and consternation
suggested by its terrible name. At all hours of the day they traversed
the streets of Naples in little companies, and cut down without mercy
every Spaniard whom they met. They did more--they forced their way into
the holy sanctuaries, and relentlessly murdered their unfortunate foes
whom terror had driven to seek refuge there. At night they gathered
round their chief, the bloody-minded madman Masaniello,[1.5] and
painted him by torchlight, so that in a short time there were hundreds
of these little pictures[1.6] circulating in Naples and the
neighbourhood.

This is the ferocious band of which Salvator Rosa was alleged to have
been a member, working hard at butchering his fellow-men by day, and by
night working just as hard at painting. The truth about him has however
been stated by a celebrated art-critic, Taillasson,[1.7] I believe. His
works are characterised by defiant originality, and by fantastic energy
both of conception and of execution. He delighted to study Nature, not
in the lovely attractiveness of green meadows, flourishing fields,
sweet-smelling groves, murmuring springs, but in the sublime as seen in
towering masses of rock, in the wild sea-shore, in savage inhospitable
forests; and the voices that he loved to hear were not the whisperings
of the evening breeze or the musical rustle of leaves, but the roaring
of the hurricane and the thunder of the cataract. To one viewing his
desolate landscapes, with the strange savage figures stealthily moving
about in them, here singly, there in troops, the uncomfortable thoughts
arise unbidden, "Here's where a fearful murder took place, there's
where the bloody corpse was hurled into the ravine," etc.

Admitting all this, and even that Taillasson is further right when he
maintains that Salvator's "Plato," nay, that even his "Holy St. John
proclaiming the Advent of the Saviour in the Wilderness," look just a
little like highway robbers--admitting this, I say, it is nevertheless
unjust to argue from the character of the works to the character of the
artist himself, and to assume that he, who represents with lifelike
fidelity what is savage and terrible, must himself have been a savage,
terrible man. He who prates most about the sword is often he who wields
it the worst; he who feels in the depths of his soul all the horrors of
a bloody deed, so that, taking the palette or the pencil or the pen in
his hand, he is able to give living form to his feelings, is often the
one least capable of practising similar deeds. Enough! I don't believe
a single word of all those evil reports, by which men sought to brand
the excellent Salvator an abandoned murderer and robber, and I hope
that you, kindly reader, will share my opinion. Otherwise, I see
grounds for fearing that you might perhaps entertain some doubts
respecting what I am about to tell you of this artist; the Salvator I
wish to put before you in this tale--that is, according to my
conception of him--is a man bubbling over with the exuberance of life
and fiery energy, but at the same time a man endowed with the noblest
and most loyal character--a character, which, like that of all men who
think and feel deeply, is able even to control that bitter irony which
arises from a clear view of the significance of life. I need scarcely
add that Salvator was no less renowned as a poet and musician than as a
painter. His genius was revealed in magnificent refractions. I repeat
again, I do not believe that Salvator had any share in Masaniello's
bloody deeds; on the contrary, I think it was the horrors of that
fearful time which drove him from Naples to Rome, where he arrived a
poor poverty-stricken fugitive, just at the time that Masaniello fell.

Not over well dressed, and with a scanty purse containing not more than
a few bright sequins[1.8] in his pocket, he crept through the gate just
after nightfall. Somehow or other, he didn't exactly know how, he
wandered as far as the Piazza Navona. In better times he had once lived
there in a large house near the Pamfili Palace. With an ill-tempered
growl, he gazed up at the large plate-glass windows glistening and
glimmering in the moonlight "Hm!" he exclaimed peevishly, "it'll cost
me dozens of yards of coloured canvas before I can open my studio up
there again." But all at once he felt as if paralysed in every limb,
and at the same moment more weak and feeble than he had ever felt in
his life before. "But shall I," he murmured between his teeth as he
sank down upon the stone steps leading up to the house door, "shall I
really be able to finish canvas enough in the way the fools want it
done? Hm! I have a notion that that will be the end of it!"

A cold cutting night wind blew down the street. Salvator recognised
the necessity of seeking a shelter. Rising with difficulty, he
staggered on into the Corso,[1.9] and then turned into the Via
Bergognona. At length he stopped before a little house with only a
couple of windows, inhabited by a poor widow and her two daughters.
This women had taken him in for little pay the first time he came to
Rome, an unknown stranger noticed of nobody; and so he hoped again to
find a lodging with her, such as would be best suited to the sad
condition in which he then was.

He knocked confidently at the door, and several times called out his
name aloud. At last he heard the old woman slowly and reluctantly
wakening up out of her sleep. She shuffled to the window in her
slippers, and began to rain down a shower of abuse upon the knave who
was come to worry her in this way in the middle of the night; her
house was not a wine-shop, &c., &c. Then there ensued a good deal of
cross-questioning before she recognised her former lodger's voice; but
on Salvator's complaining that he had fled from Naples and was unable
to find a shelter in Rome, the old dame cried, "By all the blessed
saints of Heaven! Is that you, Signor Salvator? Well now, your little
room up above, that looks on to the court, is still standing empty, and
the old fig-tree has pushed its branches right through the window and
into the room, so that you can sit and work like as if you was in a
beautiful cool arbour. Ay, and how pleased my girls will be that you
have come back again, Signor Salvator. But, d'ye know, my Margarita's
grown a big girl and fine-looking? You won't give her any more rides on
your knee now. And--and your little pussy, just fancy, three months ago
she choked herself with a fish-bone. Ah well, we all shall come to the
grave at last. But, d'ye know, my fat neighbour, who you so often
laughed at and so often painted in such funny ways--d'ye know, she
_did_ marry that young fellow, Signor Luigi, after all. Ah well! _nozze
e magistrati sono da dio destinati_ (marriages and magistrates are made
in heaven) they say."

"But," cried Salvator, interrupting the old woman, "but, Signora
Caterina, I entreat you by the blessed saints, do, pray, let me in, and
then tell me all about your fig-tree and your daughters, your cat and
your fat neighbour--I am perishing of weariness and cold."

"Bless me, how impatient we are," rejoined the old dame; "_Chi va piano
va sano, chi va presto more lesto_ (more haste less speed, take things
cool and live longer), I tell you. But you are tired, you are cold;
where are the keys? quick with the keys!"

But the old woman still had to wake up her daughters and kindle a
fire--but oh! she was such a long time about it--such a long, long
time. At last she opened the door and let poor Salvator in; but
scarcely had he crossed the threshold than, overcome by fatigue and
illness, he dropped on the floor as if dead. Happily the widow's son,
who generally lived at Tivoli, chanced to be at his mother's that night
He was at once turned out of his bed to make room for the sick guest,
which he willingly submitted to.

The old woman was very fond of Salvator, putting him, as far as his
artistic powers went, above all the painters in the world; and in
everything that he did she also took the greatest pleasure. She was
therefore quite beside herself to see him in this lamentable condition,
and wanted to run off to the neighbouring monastery to fetch her father
confessor, that he might come and fight against the adverse power of
the disease with consecrated candles or some powerful amulet or other.
On the other hand, her son thought it would be almost better to see
about getting an experienced physician at once, and off he ran there
and then to the Spanish Square, where he knew the distinguished Doctor
Splendiano Accoramboni dwelt. No sooner did the doctor learn that the
painter Salvator Rosa lay ill in the Via Bergognona than he at once
declared himself ready to call early and see the patient.

Salvator lay unconscious, struck down by a most severe attack of fever.
The old dame had hung up two or three pictures of saints above his bed,
and was praying fervently. The girls, though bathed in tears, exerted
themselves from time to time to get the sick man to swallow a few drops
of the cooling lemonade which they had made, whilst their brother, who
had taken his place at the head of the bed, wiped the cold sweat from
his brow. And so morning found them, when with a loud creak the door
opened, and the distinguished Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni entered the
room.

If Salvator had not been so seriously ill that the two girls' hearts
were melted in grief, they would, I think, for they were in general
frolicsome and saucy, have enjoyed a hearty laugh at the Doctor's
extraordinary appearance, instead of retiring shyly, as they did, into
the corner, greatly alarmed. It will indeed be worth while to describe
the outward appearance of the little man who presented himself at Dame
Caterina's in the Via Bergognona in the grey of the morning. In spite
of all his excellent capabilities for growth, Doctor Splendiano
Accoramboni had not been able to advance beyond the respectable stature
of four feet Moreover, in the days of his youth, he had been
distinguished for his elegant figure, so that, before his head, always
indeed somewhat ill-shaped, and his big cheeks, and his stately double
chin had put on too much fat, before his nose had grown bulky and
spread owing to overmuch indulgence in Spanish snuff, and before his
little belly had assumed the shape of a wine-tub from too much
fattening on macaroni, the priestly cut of garments, which he at that
time had affected, had suited him down to the ground. He was then in
truth a pretty little man, and accordingly the Roman ladies had styled
him their _caro puppazetto_ (sweet little pet).

That however was now a thing of the past. A German painter, seeing
Doctor Splendiano walking across the Spanish Square, said--and he was
perhaps not far wrong--that it looked as if some strapping fellow of
six feet or so had walked away from his own head, which had fallen
on the shoulders of a little marionette clown, who now had to
carry it about as his own. This curious little figure walked about in
patchwork--an immense quantity of pieces of Venetian damask of a large
flower pattern that had been cut up in making a dressing-gown; high up
round his waist he had buckled a broad leather belt, from which an
excessively long rapier hung; whilst his snow-white wig was surmounted
by a high conical cap, not unlike the obelisk in St. Peter's Square.
Since the said wig, like a piece of texture all tumbled and tangled,
spread out thick and wide all over his back, it might very well be
taken for the cocoon out of which the fine silkworm had crept.

The worthy Splendiano Accoramboni stared through his big, bright
spectacles, with his eyes wide open, first at his patient, then at Dame
Caterina. Calling her aside, he croaked with bated breath, "There lies
our talented painter Salvator Rosa, and he's lost if my skill doesn't
save him, Dame Caterina. Pray tell me when he came to lodge with you?
Did he bring many beautiful large pictures with him?"

"Ah! my dear Doctor," replied Dame Caterina, "the poor fellow only came
last night. And as for pictures--why, I don't know nothing about them;
but there's a big box below, and Salvator begged me to take very good
care of it, before he became senseless like what he now is. I daresay
there's a fine picture packed in it, as he painted in Naples."

What Dame Caterina said was, however, a falsehood; but we shall soon
see that she had good reasons for imposing upon the Doctor in this way.

"Good! Very good!" said the Doctor, simpering and stroking his beard;
then, with as much solemnity as his long rapier, which kept catching in
all the chairs and tables he came near, would allow, he approached the
sick man and felt his pulse, snorting and wheezing, so that it had a
most curious effect in the midst of the reverential silence which had
fallen upon all the rest. Then he ran over in Greek and Latin the names
of a hundred and twenty diseases that Salvator had not, then almost as
many which he might have had, and concluded by saying that on the spur
of the moment he didn't recollect the name of his disease, but that he
would within a short time find a suitable one for it, and along
therewith, the proper remedies as well. Then he took his departure with
the same solemnity with which he had entered, leaving them all full of
trouble and anxiety.

At the bottom of the steps the Doctor requested to see Salvator's box;
Dame Caterina showed him one--in which were two or three of her
deceased husband's cloaks now laid aside, and some old worn-out shoes.
The Doctor smilingly tapped the box, on this side and on that, and
remarked in a tone of satisfaction "We shall see! we shall see!" Some
hours later he returned with a very beautiful name for his patient's
disease, and brought with him some big bottles of an evil-smelling
potion, which he directed to be given to the patient constantly. This
was a work of no little trouble, for Salvator showed the greatest
aversion for--utter loathing of the stuff, which looked, and smelt, and
tasted, as if it had been concocted from Acheron itself. Whether it was
that the disease, since it had now received a name, and in consequence
really signified something, had only just begun to put forth its
virulence, or whether it was that Splendiano's potion made too much of
a disturbance inside the patient--it is at any rate certain that the
poor painter grew weaker and weaker from day to day, from hour to hour.
And notwithstanding Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni's assurance that,
after the vital process had reached a state of perfect equilibrium, he
would give it a new start like the pendulum of a clock, they were all
very doubtful as to Salvator's recovery, and thought that the Doctor
had perhaps already given the pendulum such a violent start that the
mechanism was quite impaired.

Now it happened one day that when Salvator seemed scarcely able to move
a finger he was suddenly seized with the paroxysm of fever; in a
momentary accession of fictitious strength he leapt out of bed, seized
the full medicine bottles, and hurled them fiercely out of the window.
Just at this moment Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni was entering the
house, when two or three bottles came bang upon his head, smashing all
to pieces, whilst the brown liquid ran in streams all down his face,
and wig, and ruff. Hastily rushing into the house, he screamed like a
madman, "Signer Salvator has gone out of his mind, he's become insane;
no skill can save him now, he'll be dead in ten minutes. Give me the
picture, Dame Caterina, give me the picture--it's mine, the scanty
reward of all my trouble. Give me the picture, I say."

But when Dame Caterina opened the box, and Doctor Splendiano saw
nothing but the old cloaks and torn shoes, his eyes spun round in his
head like a pair of fire-wheels; he gnashed his teeth; he stamped; he
consigned poor Salvator, the widow, and all the family to the devil;
then he rushed out of the house like an arrow from a bow, or as if he
had been shot from a cannon.

After the violence of the paroxysm had spent itself, Salvator again
relapsed into a death-like condition. Dame Caterina was fully persuaded
that his end was really come, and away she sped as fast as she could to
the monastery, to fetch Father Boniface, that he might come and
administer the sacrament to the dying man. Father Boniface came and
looked at the sick man; he said he was well acquainted with the
peculiar signs which approaching death is wont to stamp upon the human
countenance, but that for the present there were no indications of them
on the face of the insensible Salvator. Something might still be done,
and he would procure help at once, only Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni
with his Greek names and infernal medicines was not to be allowed to
cross the threshold again. The good Father set out at once, and we
shall see later that he kept his word about sending the promised help.

Salvator recovered consciousness again; he fancied he was lying in a
beautiful flower-scented arbour, for green boughs and leaves were
interlacing above his head. He felt a salutary warmth glowing in his
veins, but it seemed to him as if somehow his left arm was bound fast
"Where am I?" he asked in a faint voice. Then a handsome young man, who
had stood at his bedside, but whom he had not noticed until just now,
threw himself upon his knees, and grasping Salvator's right hand,
kissed it and bathed it with tears, as he cried again and again, "Oh!
my dear sir! my noble master! now it's all right; you are saved, you'll
get better."

"But do tell me"--began Salvator, when the young man begged him not to
exert himself, for he was too weak to talk; he would tell him all that
had happened. "You see, my esteemed and excellent sir," began the young
man, "you see, you were very ill when you came from Naples, but your
condition was not, I warrant, by any means so dangerous but that a few
simple remedies would soon have set you, with your strong constitution,
on your legs again, had you not through Carlos's well-intentioned
blunder in running off for the nearest physician fallen into the hands
of the redoubtable Pyramid Doctor, who was making all preparations for
bringing you to your grave."

"What do you say?" exclaimed Salvator, laughing heartily,
notwithstanding the feeble state he was in. "What do you say?--the
Pyramid Doctor? Ay, ay, although I was very ill, I saw that the little
knave in damask patchwork, who condemned me to drink his horrid,
loathsome devil's brew, wore on his head the obelisk from St. Peter's
Square--and so that's why you call him the Pyramid Doctor?"

"Why, good heavens!" said the young man, likewise laughing, "why,
Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni must have come to see you in his ominous
conical nightcap; and, do you know, you may see it flashing every
morning from his window in the Spanish Square like a portentous meteor.
But it's not by any means owing to this cap that he's called the
Pyramid Doctor; for that there's quite another reason. Doctor
Splendiano is a great lover of pictures, and possesses in truth quite a
choice collection, which he has gained by a practice of a peculiar
nature. With eager cunning he lies in wait for painters and their
illnesses. More especially he loves to get foreign artists into his
toils; let them but eat an ounce or two of macaroni too much, or drink
a glass more Syracuse than is altogether good for them, he will afflict
them with first one and then the other disease, designating it by a
formidable name, and proceeding at once to cure them of it. He
generally bargains for a picture as the price of his attendance; and as
it is only specially obstinate constitutions which are able to
withstand his powerful remedies, it generally happens that he gets his
picture out of the chattels left by the poor foreigner, who meanwhile
has been carried to the Pyramid of Cestius, and buried there. It need
hardly be said that Signor Splendiano always picks out the best of the
pictures the painter has finished, and also does not forget to bid the
men take several others along with it. The cemetery near the Pyramid of
Cestius is Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni's corn-field, which he
diligently cultivates, and for that reason he is called the Pyramid
Doctor. Dame Caterina had taken great pains, of course with the best
intentions, to make the Doctor believe that you had brought a fine
picture with you; you may imagine therefore with what eagerness he
concocted his potions for you. It was a fortunate thing that in the
paroxysm of fever you threw the Doctor's bottles at his head, it was
also a fortunate thing that he left you in anger, and no less fortunate
was it that Dame Caterina, who believed you were in the agonies of
death, fetched Father Boniface to come and administer to you the
sacrament. Father Boniface understands something of the art of healing;
he formed a correct diagnosis of your condition and fetched me"----

"Then you also are a doctor?" asked Salvator in a faint whining tone.

"No," replied the young man, a deep blush mantling his cheeks, "no, my
estimable and worthy sir, I am not in the least a doctor like Signor
Splendiano Accoramboni; I am however a chirurgeon. I felt as if I
should sink into the earth with fear--with joy--when Father Boniface
came and told me that Salvator Rosa lay sick unto death in the Via
Bergognona, and required my help. I hastened here, opened a vein in
your left arm, and you were saved. Then we brought you up into this
cool airy room that you formerly occupied. Look, there's the easel
which you left behind you; yonder are a few sketches which Dame
Caterina has treasured up as if they were relics. The virulence of your
disease is subdued; simple remedies such as Father Boniface can prepare
is all that you want, except good nursing, to bring back your strength
again. And now permit me once more to kiss this hand--this creative
hand that charms from Nature her deepest secrets and clothes them in
living form. Permit poor Antonio Scacciati to pour out all the
gratitude and immeasurable joy of his heart that Heaven has granted him
to save the life of our great and noble painter, Salvator Rosa."
Therewith the young surgeon threw himself on his knees again, and,
seizing Salvator's hand, kissed it and bathed it in tears as before.

"I don't understand," said the artist, raising himself up a little,
though with considerable difficulty, "I don't understand, my dear
Antonio, what it is that is so especially urging you to show me all
this respect. You are, you say, a chirurgeon, and we don't in a general
way find this trade going hand in hand with art----"

"As soon," replied the young man, casting down his eyes, "as soon as
you have picked up your strength again, my dear sir, I have a good deal
to tell you that now lies heavy on my heart."

"Do so," said Salvator; "you may have every confidence in me--that you
may, for I don't know that any man's face has made a more direct appeal
to my heart than yours. The more I look at you the more plainly I seem
to trace in your features a resemblance to that incomparable young
painter--I mean Sanzio."[1.10] Antonio's eyes were lit up with a proud,
radiant light--he vainly struggled for words with which to express his
feelings.

At this moment Dame Caterina appeared, followed by Father Boniface,
who brought Salvator a medicine which he had mixed scientifically
according to prescription, and which the patient swallowed with more
relish and felt to have a more beneficial effect upon him than the
Acheronian waters of the Pyramid Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni.



                                  II.

_By Salvator Rosa's intervention Antonio Scacciati attains to a high
honour. Antonio discloses the cause of his persistent trouble to
Salvator, who consoles him and promises to help him._

And Antonio's words proved true. The simple but salutary remedies of
Father Boniface, the careful nursing of good Dame Caterina and her
daughters, the warmer weather which now came--all co-operated so well
together with Salvator's naturally robust constitution that he soon
felt sufficiently well to think about work again; first of all he
designed a few sketches which he thought of working out afterwards.

Antonio scarcely ever left Salvator's room; he was all eyes when the
painter drew out his sketches; whilst his judgment in respect to many
points showed that he must have been initiated into the secrets of art.

"See here," said Salvator to him one day, "see here, Antonio, you
understand art matters so well that I believe you have not merely
cultivated your excellent judgment as a critic, but must have wielded
the brush as well."

"You will remember," rejoined Antonio, "how I told you, my dear sir,
when you were just about coming to yourself again after your long
unconsciousness, that I had several things to tell you which lay heavy
on my mind. Now is the time for me to unfold all my heart to you. You
must know then, that though I am called Antonio Scacciati, the
chirurgeon, who opened the vein in your arm for you, I belong also
entirely to art--to the art which, after bidding eternal farewell to my
hateful trade, I intend to devote myself for once and for all."

"Ho! ho!" exclaimed Salvator, "Ho! ho! Antonio, weigh well what you are
about to do. You are a clever chirurgeon, and perhaps will never be
anything more than a bungling painter all your life long; for, with
your permission, as young as you are, you are decidedly too old to
begin to use the charcoal now. Believe me, a man's whole lifetime is
scarce long enough to acquire a knowledge of the True--still less the
practical ability to represent it."

"Ah! but, my dear sir," replied Antonio, smiling blandly, "don't
imagine that I should now have come to entertain the foolish idea of
taking up the difficult art of painting had I not practised it already
on every possible occasion from my very childhood. In spite of the fact
that my father obstinately kept me away from everything connected with
art, yet Heaven was graciously pleased to throw me in the way of some
celebrated artists. I must tell you that the great Annibal[2.1]
interested himself in the orphan boy, and also that I may with justice
call myself Guido Reni's[2.2] pupil."

"Well then," said Salvator somewhat sharply, a way of speaking he
sometimes had, "well then, my good Antonio, you have indeed had great
masters, and so it cannot fail but that, without detriment to your
surgical practice, you must have been a great pupil. Only I don't
understand how you, a faithful disciple of the gentle, elegant Guido,
whom you perhaps outdo in elegance in your own pictures--for pupils do
do those sort of things in their enthusiasm--how you can find any
pleasure in my productions, and can really regard me as a master in the
Art."

At these words, which indeed sounded a good deal like derisive mockery,
the hot blood rushed into the young man's face.

"Oh, let me lay aside all the diffidence which generally keeps my lips
closed," he said, "and let me frankly lay bare the thoughts I have in
my mind. I tell you, Salvator, I have never honoured any master from
the depths of my soul as I do you. What I am amazed at in your works is
the sublime greatness of conception which is often revealed You grasp
the deepest secrets of Nature: you comprehend the mysterious
hieroglyphics of her rocks, of her trees, and of her waterfalls, you
hear her sacred voice, you understand her language, and possess the
power to write down what she has said to you. Verily I can call your
bold free style of painting nothing else than writing down. Man alone
and his doings does not suffice you; you behold him only in the midst
of Nature, and in so far as his essential character is conditioned by
natural phenomena; and in these facts I see the reason why you are only
truly great in landscapes, Salvator, with their wonderful figures.
Historical painting confines you within limits which clog your
imagination to the detriment of your genius for reproducing your higher
intuitions of Nature."

"That's talk you've picked up from envious historical painters," said
Salvator, interrupting his young companion; "like them, Antonio, you
throw me the choice bone of landscape-painting that I may gnaw away at
it, and so spare their own good flesh. Perhaps I do understand the
human figure and all that is dependent upon it. But this senseless
repetition of others' words"----

"Don't be angry," continued Antonio, "don't be angry, my good sir; I am
not blindly repeating anybody's words, and I should not for a moment
think of trusting to the judgment of our painters here in Rome at any
rate. Who can help greatly admiring the bold draughtsmanship, the
powerful expression, but above all the living movement of your fingers?
It's plain to see that you don't work from a stiff, inflexible model,
or even from a dead skeleton form; it is evident that you yourself are
your own breathing, living model, and that when you sketch or paint,
you have the figure you want to put on your canvas reflected in a great
mirror opposite to you."

"The devil! Antonio," exclaimed Salvator, laughing, "I believe you must
often have had a peep into my studio when I was not aware of it, since
you have such an accurate knowledge of what goes on within."

"Perhaps I may," replied Antonio; "but let me go on. I am not by a long
way so anxious to classify, the pictures which your powerful mind
suggests to you as are those pedantic critics who take such great pains
in this line. In fact, I think that the word 'landscape,' as generally
employed, has but an indifferent application to your productions; I
should prefer to call them historical representations in the highest
sense of the word. If we fancy that this or the other rock or this or
the other tree is gazing at us like a gigantic being with thoughtful
earnest eyes, so again, on the other hand, this or the other group of
fantastically attired men resembles some remarkable stone which has
been endowed with life; all Nature, breathing and moving in harmonious
unity, lends accents to the sublime thought which leapt into existence
in your mind. This is the spirit in which I have studied your pictures,
and so in this way it is, my grand and noble master, that I owe to you
my truer perceptions in matters of art. But pray don't imagine that I
have fallen into childish imitation. However much I would like to
possess the free bold pencil that you possess, I do not attempt to
conceal the fact that Nature's colours appear to me different from what
I see them in your pictures. Although it is useful, I think, for the
sake of acquiring technique, for the pupil to imitate the style of this
or that master, yet, so soon as he comes to stand in any sense on his
own feet, he ought to aim at representing Nature as he himself sees
her. Nothing but this true method of perception, this unity with
oneself, can give rise to character and truth. Guido shared these
sentiments; and that fiery man Preti,[2.3] who, as you are aware, is
called _Il Calabrese_--a painter who certainly, more than any other
man, has reflected upon his art--also warned me against all imitation.
Now you know, Salvator, why I so much respect you, without imitating
you."

Whilst the young man had been speaking, Salvator had kept his eyes
fixed unchangeably upon him; he now clasped him tumultuously to his
heart.

"Antonio," he then said, "what you have just now said are wise and
thoughtful words. Young as you are, you are nevertheless, so far as the
true perception of art is concerned, a long way ahead of many of our
old and much vaunted masters, who have a good deal of stupid foolish
twaddle about their painting, but never get at the true root of the
matter. Body alive, man! When you were talking about my pictures, I
then began to understand myself for the first time, I believe; and
because you do not imitate my style,--do not, like a good many others,
take a tube of black paint in your hand, or dab on a few glaring
colours, or even make two or three crippled figures with repulsive
faces look up from the midst of filth and dirt, and then say, 'There's
a Salvator for you!'--just for these very reasons I think a good deal
of you. I tell you, my lad, you'll not find a more faithful friend than
I am--that I can promise you with all my heart and soul."

Antonio was beside himself with joy at the kind way in which the great
painter thus testified to his interest in him. Salvator expressed an
earnest desire to see his pictures. Antonio took him there and then to
his studio.

Salvator had in truth expected to find something fairly good from the
young man who spoke so intelligently about art, and who, it appeared,
had a good deal in him; but nevertheless he was greatly surprised at
the sight of Antonio's fine pictures. Everywhere he found boldness in
conception, and correctness in drawing; and the freshness of the
colouring, the good taste in the arrangement of the drapery, the
uncommon delicacy of the extremities, the exquisite grace of the heads,
were all so many evidences that he was no unworthy pupil of the great
Reni. But Antonio had avoided this master's besetting sin of an
endeavour, only too conspicuous, to sacrifice expression to beauty. It
was plain that Antonio was aiming to reach Annibal's strength, without
having as yet succeeded.

Salvator spent some considerable time of thoughtful silence in the
examination of each of the pictures. Then he said, "Listen, Antonio: it
is indeed undeniable that you were born to follow the noble art of
painting. For not only has Nature endowed you with the creative spirit
from which the finest thoughts pour forth in an inexhaustible stream,
but she has also granted you the rare ability to surmount in a short
space of time the difficulties of technique. It would only be false
flattery if I were to tell you that you had yet advanced to the level
of your masters, that you are yet equal to Guido's exquisite grace or
to Annibal's strength; but certain I am that you excel by a long way
all the painters who hold up their heads so proudly in the Academy of
St. Luke[2.4] here--Tiarini,[2.5] Gessi,[2.6] Sementa,[2.7] and all
the rest of them, not even excepting Lanfranco[2.8] himself, for he
only understands fresco-painting. And yet, Antonio, and yet, if I were
in your place, I should deliberate awhile before throwing away the
lancet altogether, and confining myself entirely to the pencil That
sounds rather strange, but listen to me. Art seems to be having a bad
time of it just now, or rather the devil seems to be very busy amongst
our painters now-a-days, bravely setting them together by the ears. If
you cannot make up your mind to put up with all sorts of annoyances, to
endure more and more scorn and contumely in proportion as you advance
in art, and as your fame spreads to meet with malicious scoundrels
everywhere, who with a friendly face will force themselves upon you in
order to ruin you the more surely afterwards,--if you cannot, I say,
make up your mind to endure all this--let painting alone. Think of the
fate of your teacher, the great Annibal, whom a rascally band of rivals
malignantly persecuted in Naples, so that he did not receive one single
commission for a great work, being everywhere rejected with contempt;
and this is said to have been instrumental in bringing about his early
death. Think of what happened to Domenichino[2.9] when he was painting
the dome of the chapel of St. Januarius. Didn't the villains of
painters--I won't mention a single name, not even the rascals
Belisario[2.10] and Ribera[2.11]--didn't they bribe Domenichino's
servant to strew ashes in the lime? So the plaster wouldn't stick fast
on the walls, and the painting had no stability. Think of all that, and
examine yourself well whether your spirit is strong enough to endure
things like that, for if not, your artistic power will be broken, and
along with the resolute courage for work you will also lose your
ability."

"But, Salvator," replied Antonio, "it would hardly be possible for me
to have more scorn and contumely to endure, supposing I took up
painting entirely and exclusively, then I have already endured whilst
merely a chirurgeon. You have been pleased with my pictures, you have
indeed! and at the same time declared from inner conviction that I am
capable of doing better things than several of our painters of the
Academy. But these are just the men who turn up their noses at all that
I have industriously produced, and say contemptuously, 'Do look, here's
our chirurgeon wants to be a painter!' And for this very reason my
resolve is only the more unshaken; I will sever myself from a trade
that grows with every day more hateful. Upon you, my honoured master, I
now stake all my hopes. Your word is powerful; if you would speak a
good word for me, you might overthrow my envious persecutors at a
single blow, and put me in the place where I ought to be."

"You repose great confidence in me," rejoined Salvator. "But now that
we thoroughly understand each other's views on painting, and I have
seen your works, I don't really know that there is anybody for whom I
would rather take up the cudgels than for you."

Salvator once more inspected Antonio's pictures, and stopped before one
representing a "Magdalene at the Saviour's feet," which he especially
praised.

"In this Magdalene," he said, "you have deviated from the usual mode of
representation. Your Magdalene is not a thoughtful virgin, but a lovely
artless child rather, and yet she is such a marvellous child that
hardly anybody else but Guido could have painted her. There is a unique
charm in her dainty figure; you must have painted with inspiration;
and, if I mistake not, the original of this Magdalene is alive and to
be found in Rome. Come, confess, Antonio, you are in love!"

Antonio's eyes sought the ground, whilst he said in a low shy voice,
"Nothing escapes your penetration, my dear sir; perhaps it is as you
say, but do not blame me for it. That picture I set the highest store
by, and hitherto I have guarded it as a holy secret from all men's
eyes."

"What do you say?" interrupted Salvator. "None of the painters here
have seen your picture?"

"No, not one," was Antonio's reply.

"All right then, Antonio," continued Salvator, his eyes sparkling with
delight "Very well then, you may rely upon it, I will overwhelm your
envious overweening persecutors, and get you the honour you deserve.
Intrust your picture to me; bring it to my studio secretly by night,
and then leave all the rest to me. Will you do so?"

"Gladly, with all my heart," replied Antonio. "And now I should very
much like to talk to you about my love-troubles as well; but I feel as
if I ought not to do so to-day, after we have opened our minds to each
other on the subject of art. I also entreat you to grant me your
assistance both in word and deed later on in this matter of my love."

"I am at your service," said Salvator, "for both, both when and where
you require me." Then as he was going away, he once more turned round
and said, smiling, "See here, Antonio, when you disclosed to me the
fact that you were a painter, I was very sorry that I had spoken about
your resemblance to Sanzio. I took it for granted that you were as
silly as most of our young folk, who, if they bear but the slightest
resemblance in the face to any great master, at once trim their beard
or hair as he does, and from this cause fancy it is their business to
imitate the style of the master in their art achievements, even though
it is a manifest violation of their natural talents to do so. Neither
of us has mentioned Raphael's name, but I assure you that I have
discerned in your pictures clear indications that you have grasped the
full significance of the inimitable thoughts which are reflected in the
works of this the greatest of the painters of the age. You understand
Raphael, and would give me a different answer from what Velasquez[2.12]
did when I asked him not long ago what he thought of Sanzio. 'Titian,'
he replied, 'is the greatest painter; Raphael knows nothing about
carnation.' This Spaniard, methinks, understands flesh but not
criticism; and yet these men in St. Luke elevate him to the clouds
because he once painted cherries which the sparrows picked at."[2.13]

It happened not many days afterwards that the Academicians of St. Luke
met together in their church to prove the works which had been
announced for exhibition. There too Salvator had sent Scacciati's fine
picture. In spite of themselves the painters were greatly struck with
its grace and power; and from all lips there was heard nothing but the
most extravagant praise when Salvator informed them that he had brought
the picture with him from Naples, as the legacy of a young painter who
had been cut off in the pride of his days.

It was not long before all Rome was crowding to see and admire the
picture of the young unknown painter who had died so young; it was
unanimously agreed that no such work had been done since Guido Reni's
time; some even went so far in their just enthusiasm as to place this
exquisitely lovely Magdalene before Guido's creations of a similar
kind. Amongst the crowd of people who were always gathered round
Scacciati's picture, Salvator one day observed a man who, besides
presenting a most extraordinary appearance, behaved as if he were
crazy. Well advanced in years, he was tall, thin as a spindle, with a
pale face, a long sharp nose, a chin equally as long, ending moreover
in a little pointed beard, and with grey, gleaming eyes. On the top of
his light sand-coloured wig he had set a high hat with a magnificent
feather; he wore a short dark red mantle or cape with many bright
buttons, a sky-blue doublet slashed in the Spanish style, immense
leather gauntlets with silver fringes, a long rapier at his side, light
grey stockings drawn up above his bony knees and gartered with yellow
ribbons, whilst he had bows of the same sort of yellow ribbon on his
shoes.

This remarkable figure was standing before the picture like one
enraptured: he raised himself on tiptoe; he stooped down till he became
quite small; then he jumped up with both feet at once, heaved deep
sighs, groaned, nipped his eyes so close together that the tears began
to trickle down his cheeks, opened them wide again, fixed his gaze
immovably upon the charming Magdalene, sighed again, lisped in a thin,
querulous, mutilated voice, "_Ah! carissima--benedettissima! Ah!
Marianna--Mariannina--bellissima_," &c. ("Oh! dearest--most adored! Ah!
Marianna--sweet Marianna! my most beautiful!") Salvator, who had a mad
fancy for such oddities, drew near to the old fellow, intending to
engage him in conversation about Scacciati's work, which seemed to
afford him so much exquisite delight Without paying any particular heed
to Salvator, the old gentleman stood cursing his poverty, because he
could not give a million sequins for the picture, and place it under
lock and key where nobody could set their infernal eyes upon it. Then,
hopping up and down again, he blessed the Virgin and all the holy
saints that the reprobate artist who had painted the heavenly picture
which was driving him to despair and madness was dead.

Salvator concluded that the man either was out of his mind, or was an
Academician of St. Luke with whom he was unacquainted.

All Rome was full of Scacciati's wonderful picture; people could
scarcely talk about anything else, and this of course was convincing
proof of the excellence of the work. And when the painters were again
assembled in the church of St. Luke, to decide about the admission of
certain other pictures which had been announced for exhibition,
Salvator Rosa all at once asked, whether the painter of the "Magdalene
at the Saviour's Feet" was not worthy of being admitted a member of the
Academy. They all with one accord, including even that hairsplitter in
criticism, Baron Josépin,[2.14] declared that such a great artist would
have been an ornament to the Academy, and expressed their sorrow at his
death in the choicest phrases, although, like the crazy old man, they
were praising Heaven in their hearts that he was dead. Still more, they
were so far carried away by their enthusiasm that they passed a
resolution to the effect that the admirable young painter whom death
had snatched away from art so early should be nominated a member of the
Academy in his grave, and that masses should be read for the benefit of
his soul in the church of St. Luke. They therefore begged Salvator to
inform them what was the full name of the deceased, the date of his
birth, the place where he was born, &c.

Then Salvator rose and said in a loud voice, "Signors, the honour you
are anxious to render to a dead man you can more easily bestow upon a
living man who walks in your midst. Learn that the 'Magdalene at the
Saviour's Feet'--the picture which you so justly exalt above all other
artistic productions that the last few years have given us, is not the
work of a dead Neapolitan painter as I pretended (this I did simply to
get an unbiassed judgment from you); that painting, that masterpiece,
which all Rome is admiring, is from the hand of Signor Antonio
Scacciati, the chirurgeon."

The painters sat staring at Salvator as if suddenly thunderstruck,
incapable of either moving or uttering a single sound. He, however,
after quietly exulting over their embarrassment for some minutes,
continued, "Well now, signors, you would not tolerate the worthy
Antonio amongst you because he is a chirurgeon; but I think that the
illustrious Academy of St. Luke has great need of a surgeon to set the
limbs of the many crippled figures which emerge from the studios of a
good many amongst your number. But of course you will no longer scruple
to do what you ought to have done long ago, namely, elect that
excellent painter Antonio Scacciati a member of the Academy."

The Academicians, swallowing Salvator's bitter pill, feigned to be
highly delighted that Antonio had in this way given such incontestable
proofs of his talent, and with all due ceremony nominated him a member
of the Academy.

As soon as it became known in Rome that Antonio was the author of the
wonderful picture he was overwhelmed with congratulations, and even
with commissions for great works, which poured in upon him from all
sides. Thus by Salvator's shrewd and cunning stratagem the young man
emerged all at once out of his obscurity, and with the first real step
he took on his artistic career rose to great honour.

Antonio revelled in ecstasies of delight. So much the more therefore
did Salvator wonder to see him, some days later, appear with his face
pale and distorted, utterly miserable and woebegone. "Ah! Salvator!"
said Antonio, "what advantage has it been to me that you have helped me
to rise to a level far beyond my expectations, that I am now
overwhelmed with praise and honour, that the prospect of a most
successful artistic career is opening out before me? Oh! I am utterly
miserable, for the picture to which, next to you, my dear sir, I owe my
great triumph, has proved the source of my lasting misfortune."

"Stop!" replied Salvator, "don't sin against either your art or your
picture. I don't believe a word about the terrible misfortune which,
you say, has befallen you. You are in love, and I presume you can't get
all your wishes gratified at once, on the spur of the moment; that's
all it is. Lovers are like children; they scream and cry if anybody
only just touches their doll. Have done, I pray you, with that
lamentation, for I tell you I can't do with it. Come now, sit yourself
down there and quietly tell me all about your fair Magdalene, and give
me the history of your love affair, and let me know what are the stones
of offence that we have to remove, for I promise you my help
beforehand. The more adventurous the schemes are which we shall have to
undertake, the more I shall like them. In fact, my blood is coursing
hotly in my veins again, and my regimen requires that I engage in a few
wild pranks. But go on with your story, Antonio, and as I said, let's
have it quietly without any sighs and lamentations, without any Ohs!
and Ahs!"

Antonio took his seat on the stool which Salvator had pushed up to the
easel at which he was working, and began as follows:--

"There is a high house in the Via Ripetta,[2.15] with a balcony which
projects far over the street so as at once to strike the eye of any one
entering through the Porta del Popolo, and there dwells perhaps the
most whimsical oddity in all Rome,--an old bachelor with every fault
that belongs to that class of persons--avaricious, vain, anxious to
appear young, amorous, foppish. He is tall, as thin as a switch, wears
a gay Spanish costume, a sandy wig, a conical hat, leather gauntlets, a
rapier at his side"----

"Stop, stop!" cried Salvator, interrupting him, "excuse me a minute or
two, Antonio." Then, turning about the picture at which he was
painting, he seized his charcoal and in a few free bold strokes
sketched on the back side of the canvas the eccentric old gentleman
whom he had seen behaving like a crazed man in front of Antonio's
picture.

"By all the saints!" cried Antonio, as he leapt to his feet, and,
forgetful of his unhappiness, burst out into a loud laugh, "by all the
saints! that's he! That's Signor Pasquale Capuzzi, whom I was just
describing, that's he to the very T."

"So you see," said Salvator calmly, "that I am already acquainted with
the worthy gentleman who most probably is your bitter enemy. But go
on."

"Signor Pasquale Capuzzi," continued Antonio, "is as rich as Cr[oe]sus,
but at the same time, as I just told you, a sordid miser and an
incurable coxcomb. The best thing about him is that he loves art,
particularly music and painting; but he mixes up so much folly with it
all that even in these things there's no getting on with him. He
considers himself the greatest musical composer in the world, and that
there's not a singer in the Papal choir who can at all approach him.
Accordingly he looks down upon our old Frescobaldi[2.16] with contempt;
and when the Romans talk about the wonderful charm of Ceccarelli's
voice, he informs them that Ceccarelli knows as much about singing as a
pair of top-boots, and that he, Capuzzi, knows which is the right way
to fascinate the public. But as the first singer of the Pope bears the
proud name of Signor Odoardo Ceccarelli di Merania, so our Capuzzi is
greatly delighted when anybody calls him Signor Pasquale Capuzzi di
Senigaglia; for it was in Senigaglia[2.17] that he was born, and the
popular rumour goes that his mother, being startled at sight of a
sea-dog (seal) suddenly rising to the surface, gave birth to him in a
fisherman's boat, and that accounts, it is said, for a good deal of the
sea-cur in his nature. Several years ago he brought out an opera on the
stage, which was fearfully hissed; but that hasn't cured him of his
mania for writing execrable music. Indeed, when he heard Francesco
Cavalli's[2.18] opera _Le Nozze di Feti e di Peleo_, he swore that the
composer had filched the sublimest of the thoughts from his own
immortal works, for which he was near being thrashed and even stabbed.
He still has a craze for singing arias, and accompanies his hideous
squalling on a wretched jarring, jangling guitar, all out of tune. His
faithful Pylades is an ill-bred dwarfish eunuch, whom the Romans call
Pitichinaccio. There is a third member of the company--guess who it
is?--Why, none other than the Pyramid Doctor, who kicks up a noise like
a melancholy ass and yet fancies he's singing an excellent bass, quite
as good as Martinelli of the Papal choir. Now these three estimable
people are in the habit of meeting in the evening on the balcony of
Capuzzi's house, where they sing Carissimi's[2.19] motets, until all
the dogs and cats in the neighbourhood round break out into dirges of
miawing and howling, and all their neighbours heartily wish the devil
would run away with all the blessed three.

"With this whimsical old fellow, Signor Pasquale Capuzzi, of whom my
description will have enabled you to form a tolerably adequate idea, my
father lived on terms of intimacy, since he trimmed his wig and beard.
When my father died, I undertook this business; and Capuzzi was in the
highest degree satisfied with me, because, as he once affirmed, I knew
better than anybody else how to give his moustaches a bold upward
twirl; but the real reason was because I was satisfied with the few
pence with which he rewarded me for my pains. But he firmly believed
that he more than richly indemnified me, since, whilst I was trimming
his beard, he always closed his eyes and croaked through an aria from
his own compositions, which, however, almost split my ears; and yet the
old fellow's crazy gestures afforded me a good deal of amusement, so
that I continued to attend him. One day when I went, I quietly ascended
the stairs, knocked at the door, and opened it, when lo, there was a
girl--an angel of light, who came to meet me. You know my Magdalene; it
was she. I stood stock still, rooted to the spot. No, Salvator, you
shall have no Ohs! and Ahs! Well, the first sight of this, the most
lovely maiden of her sex, enkindled in me the most ardent passionate
love. The old man informed me with a smirk that the young lady was the
daughter of his brother Pietro, who had died at Senigaglia, that her
name was Marianna, and that she was quite an orphan; being her uncle
and guardian, he had taken her into his house. You can easily imagine
that henceforward Capuzzi's house was my Paradise. But no matter
what devices I had recourse to, I could never succeed in getting a
_téte-à-téte_ with Marianna, even for a single moment. Her glances,
however, and many a stolen sigh, and many a soft pressure of the hand,
resolved all doubts as to my good fortune. The old man divined what I
was after,--which was not a very difficult thing for him to do. He
informed me that my behaviour towards his niece was not such as to
please him altogether, and he asked me what was the real purport of my
attentions. Then I frankly confessed that I loved Marianna with all my
heart, and that the greatest earthly happiness I could conceive was a
union with her. Whereupon Capuzzi, after measuring me from top to toe,
burst out in a guffaw of contempt, and declared that he never had any
idea that such lofty thoughts could haunt the brain of a paltry barber.
I was almost boiling with rage; I said he knew very well that I was no
paltry barber but rather a good surgeon, and, moreover, in so far as
concerned the noble art of painting, a faithful pupil of the great
Annibal Caracci and of the unrivalled Guido Reni. But the infamous
Capuzzi only replied by a still louder guffaw of laughter, and in his
horrible falsetto squeaked, 'See here, my sweet Signor barber, my
excellent Signor surgeon, my honoured Annibal Caracci, my beloved Guido
Reni, be off to the devil, and don't ever show yourself here again, if
you don't want your legs broken.' Therewith the cranky, knock-kneed old
fool laid hold of me with no less an intention than to kick me out of
the room, and hurl me down the stairs. But that, you know, was past
everything. With ungovernable fury I seized the old fellow and tripped
him up, so that his legs stuck uppermost in the air; and there I left
him screaming aloud, whilst I ran down the stairs and out of the
house-door; which, I need hardly say, has been closed to me ever since.

"And that's how matters stood when you came to Rome and when Heaven
inspired Father Boniface with the happy idea of bringing me to you.
Then so soon as your clever trick had brought me the success for which
I had so long been vainly striving, that is, when I was accepted by the
Academy of St. Luke, and all Rome was heaping up praise and honour upon
me to a lavish extent, I went straightway to the old gentleman and
suddenly presented myself before him in his own room, like a
threatening apparition. Such at least he must have thought me, for he
grew as pale as a corpse, and retreated behind a great table, trembling
in every limb. And in a firm and earnest way I represented to him that
it was not now a paltry barber or a surgeon, but a celebrated painter
and Academician of St. Luke, Antonio Scacciati, to whom he would not, T
hoped, refuse the hand of his niece Marianna. You should have seen into
what a passion the old fellow flew. He screamed; he flourished his arms
about like one possessed of devils; he yelled that I, a ruffianly
murderer, was seeking his life, that I had stolen his Marianna from him
since I had portrayed her in my picture, and it was driving him mad,
driving him to despair, for all the world, all the world, were fixing
their covetous, lustful eyes upon his Marianna, his life, his hope, his
all; but I had better take care, he would burn my house over my head,
and me and my picture in it. And therewith he kicked up such a din,
shouting, 'Fire! Murder! Thieves! Help!' that I was perfectly
confounded, and only thought of making the best of my way out of the
house.

"The crackbrained old fool is over head and ears in love with his
niece; he keeps her under lock and key; and as soon as he succeeds in
getting dispensation from the Pope, he will compel her to a shameful
alliance with himself. All hope for me is lost!"

"Nay, nay, not quite," said Salvator, laughing, "I am of opinion that
things could not be in a better form for you, Marianna loves you, of
that you are convinced; and all we have to do is to get her out of the
power of that fantastic old gentleman, Signor Pasquale Capuzzi. I
should like to know what there is to hinder a couple of stout
enterprising fellows like you and me from accomplishing this. Pluck up
your courage, Antonio. Instead of bewailing, and sighing, and fainting
like a lovesick swain, it would be better to set to work to think out
some plan for rescuing your Marianna. You just wait and see, Antonio,
how finely we'll circumvent the old dotard; in such like emprises, the
wildest extravagance hardly seems to me wild enough. I'll set about it
at once, and learn what I can about the old man, and about his usual
habits of life. But you must not be seen in this affair, Antonio. Go
away quietly home, and come back to me early to-morrow morning, then
we'll consider our first plan of attack."

Herewith Salvator shook the paint out of his brush, threw on his
mantle, and hurried to the Corso, whilst Antonio betook himself home as
Salvator had bidden him--his heart comforted and full of lusty hope
again.

                        *   *   *   *   *   *

                                  III.

_Signor Pasquale Capuzzi turns up at Salvator Rosa's studio. What takes
place there. The cunning scheme which Rosa and Scacciati carry out, and
the consequences of the same._

Next morning Salvator, having in the meantime inquired into Capuzzi's
habits of life, very greatly surprised Antonio by a description of
them, even down to the minutest details.

"Poor Marianna," said Salvator, "leads a sad life of it with the crazy
old fellow. There he sits sighing and ogling the whole day long, and,
what is worse still, in order to soften her heart towards him, he sings
her all and sundry love ditties that he has ever composed or intends to
compose. At the same time he is so monstrously jealous that he will not
even permit the poor young girl to have the usual female attendance,
for fear of intrigues and amours, which the maid might be induced to
engage in. Instead, a hideous little apparition with hollow eyes and
pale flabby cheeks appears every morning and evening to perform for
sweet Marianna the services of a tiring-maid. And this little
apparition is nobody else but that tiny Tomb Thumb of a Pitichinaccio,
who has to don female attire. Capuzzi, whenever he leaves home,
carefully locks and bolts every door; besides which there is always a
confounded fellow keeping watch below, who was formerly a bravo, and
then a gendarme, and now lives under Capuzzi's rooms. It seems,
therefore, a matter almost impossible to effect an entrance into his
house, but nevertheless I promise you, Antonio, that this very night
you shall be in Capuzzi's own room and shall see your Marianna, though
this time it will only be in Capuzzi's presence."

"What do you say?" cried Antonio, quite excited; "what do you say? We
shall manage it to-night? I thought it was impossible."

"There, there," continued Salvator, "keep still, Antonio, and let us
quietly consider how we may with safety carry out the plan which I have
conceived. But in the first place I must tell you that I have already
scraped an acquaintance with Signor Pasquale Capuzzi without knowing
it. That wretched spinet, which stands in the comer there, belongs to
the old fellow, and he wants me to pay him the preposterous sum of ten
ducats[3.1] for it. When I was convalescent I longed for some music,
which always comforts me and does me a deal of good, so I begged my
landlady to get me some such an instrument as that Dame Caterina soon
ascertained that there was an old gentleman living in the Via Ripetta
who had a fine spinet to sell I got the instrument brought here. I did
not trouble myself either about the price or about the owner. It was
only yesterday evening that I learned quite by chance that the
gentleman who intended to cheat me with this rickety old thing was
Signor Pasquale Capuzzi. Dame Caterina had enlisted the services of an
acquaintance living in the same house, and indeed on the same floor as
Capuzzi,--and now you can easily guess whence I have got all my budget
of news."

"Yes," replied Antonio, "then the way to get in is found; your
landlady"----

"I know very well, Antonio," said Salvator, cutting him short, "I know
what you're going to say. You think you can find a way to your Marianna
through Dame Caterina. But you'll find that we can't do anything of
that sort; the good dame is far too talkative; she can't keep the least
secret, and so we can't for a single moment think of employing her in
this business. Now just quietly listen to me. Every evening when it's
dark Signor Pasquale, although it's very hard work for him owing to his
being knock-kneed, carries his little friend the eunuch home in his
arms, as soon as he has finished his duties as maid. Nothing in the
world could induce the timid Pitichinaccio to set foot on the pavement
at that time of night. So that when"----

At this moment somebody knocked at Salvator's door, and to the
consternation of both, Signor Pasquale stepped in in all the splendour
of his gala attire. On catching sight of Scacciati he stood stock still
as if paralysed, and then, opening his eyes wide, he gasped for air as
though he had some difficulty in breathing. But Salvator hastily ran to
meet him, and took him by both hands, saying, "My dear Signor Pasquale,
your presence in my humble dwelling is, I feel, a very great honour.
May I presume that it is your love for art which brings you to me? You
wish to see the newest things I have done, perchance to give me a
commission for some work. Pray in what, my dear Signor Pasquale, can I
serve you?"

"I have a word or two to say to you, my dear Signor Salvator,"
stammered Capuzzi painfully, "but--alone--when you are alone. With your
leave I will withdraw and come again at a more seasonable time."

"By no means," said Salvator, holding the old gentleman fast, "by no
means, my dear sir. You need not stir a step; you could not have come
at a more seasonable time, for, since you are a great admirer of the
noble art of painting, and the patron of all good painters, I am sure
you will be greatly pleased for me to introduce to you Antonio
Scacciati here, the first painter of our time, whose glorious work--the
wonderful 'Magdalene at the Saviour's Feet'--has excited throughout all
Rome the most enthusiastic admiration. _You_ too, I need hardly say,
have also formed a high opinion of the work, and must be very anxious
to know the great artist himself."

The old man was seized with a violent trembling; he shook as if he had
a shivering fit of the ague, and shot fiery wrathful looks at poor
Antonio. He however approached the old gentleman, and, bowing with
polished courtesy, assured him that he esteemed himself happy at
meeting in such an unexpected way with Signor Pasquale Capuzzi, whose
great learning in music as well as in painting was a theme for wonder
not only in Rome but throughout all Italy, and he concluded by
requesting the honour of his patronage.

This behaviour of Antonio, in pretending to meet the old gentleman for
the first time in his life, and in addressing him in such flattering
phrases, soon brought him round again. He forced his features into a
simpering smile, and, as Salvator now let his hands loose, gave his
moustache an elegant upward curl, at the same time stammering out a few
unintelligible words. Then, turning to Salvator, he requested payment
of the ten ducats for the spinet he had sold him.

"Oh! that trifling little matter we can settle afterwards, my good
sir," was Salvator's answer. "First have the goodness to look at this
sketch of a picture which I have drawn, and drink a glass of good
Syracuse whilst you do so." Salvator meanwhile placed his sketch on the
easel and moved up a chair for the old gentleman, and then, when he had
taken his seat, he presented him with a large and handsome wine-cup
full of good Syracuse--the little pearl-like bubbles rising gaily to
the top.

Signor Pasquale was very fond of a glass of good wine--when he had
nothing to pay for it; and now he ought to have been in an especially
happy frame of mind, for, besides nourishing his heart with the hope of
getting ten ducats for a rotten, worn-out spinet, he was sitting before
a splendid, boldly-designed picture, the rare beauty of which he was
quite capable of estimating at its full worth. And that he was in this
happy frame of mind he evidenced in divers way; he simpered most
charmingly; he half closed his little eyes; he assiduously stroked his
chin and moustache; and lisped time after time, "Splendid! delicious!"
but they did not know to which he was referring, the picture or the
wine.

When he had thus worked himself round into a quiet cheerful humour,
Salvator suddenly began--"They tell me, my dear sir, that you have a
most beautiful and amiable niece, named Marianna--is it so? All the
young men of the city are so smitten with love that they stupidly do
nothing but run up and down the Via Ripetta, almost dislocating their
necks in their efforts to look up at your balcony for a sight of your
sweet Marianna, to snatch a single glance from her heavenly eyes."

Suddenly all the charming simpers, all the good humour which had been
called up into the old gentleman's face by the good wine, were gone.
Looking gloomily before him, he said sharply, "Ah! that's an instance
of the corruption of our abandoned young men. They fix their infernal
eyes, there probate seducers, upon mere children. For I tell you, my
good sir, that my niece Marianna is quite a child, quite a child, only
just outgrown her nurse's care."

Salvator turned the conversation upon something else; the old gentleman
recovered himself. But just as he, his face again radiant with
sunshine, was on the point of putting the full wine-cup to his lips,
Salvator began anew. "But pray tell me, my dear sir, if it is indeed
true that your niece, with her sixteen summers, really has such
beautiful auburn hair, and eyes so full of heaven's own loveliness and
joy, as has Antonio's 'Magdalene?' It is generally maintained that she
has."

"I don't know," replied the old gentleman, still more sharply than
before, "I don't know. But let us leave my niece in peace; rather let
us exchange a few instructive words on the noble subject of art, as
your fine picture here of itself invites me to do."

Always when Capuzzi raised the wine-cup to his lips to take a good
draught, Salvator began anew to talk about the beautiful Marianna, so
that at last the old gentleman leapt from his chair in a perfect
passion, banged the cup down upon the table and almost broke it,
screaming in a high shrill voice, "By the infernal pit of Pluto! by all
the furies! you will turn my wine into poison--into poison I tell you.
But I see through you, you and your fine friend Signor Antonio, you
think to make sport of me. But you'll find yourselves deceived Pay me
the ten ducats you owe me immediately, and then I will leave you and
your associate, that barber-fellow Antonio, to make your way to the
devil."

Salvator shouted, as if mastered by the most violent rage, "What! you
have the audacity to treat me in this way in my own house! Do you think
I'm going to pay you ten ducats for that rotten box; the woodworms
have long ago eaten all the goodness and all the music out of it? Not
ten--not five--not three--not one ducat shall you have for it, it's
scarcely worth a farthing. Away with the tumbledown thing!" and he
kicked over the little instrument again and again, till the strings
were all jarring and jangling together.

"Ha!" screeched Capuzzi, "justice is still to be had in Rome; I will
have you arrested, sir,--arrested and cast into the deepest dungeon
there is," and off he was rushing out of the room, blustering like a
hailstorm. But Salvator took fast hold of him with both hands, and drew
him down into the chair again, softly murmuring in his ear, "My dear
Signor Pasquale, don't you perceive that I was only jesting with you?
You shall have for your spinet, not ten, but _thirty_ ducats cash
down." And he went on repeating, "thirty bright ducats in ready money,"
until Capuzzi said in a faint and feeble voice, "What do you say, my
dear sir? Thirty ducats for the spinet without its being repaired?"
Then Salvator released his hold of the old gentleman, and asserted
on his honour that within an hour the instrument should be worth
thirty--nay, forty ducats, and that Signor Pasquale should receive as
much for it.

Taking in a fresh supply of breath, and sighing deeply, the old
gentleman murmured, "Thirty--forty ducats!" Then he began, "But you
have greatly offended me, Signor Salvator"---- "Thirty ducats,"
repeated Salvator. Capuzzi simpered, but then began again, "But you
have grossly wounded my feelings, Signor Salvator"---- "Thirty ducats,"
exclaimed Salvator, cutting him short; and he continued to repeat,
"Thirty ducats! thirty ducats!" as long as the old gentleman continued
to sulk--till at length Capuzzi said, radiant with delight, "If you
will give me thirty,--I mean forty ducats for the spinet, all shall be
forgiven and forgotten, my dear sir."

"But," began Salvator, "before I can fulfil my promise, I still have
one little condition to make, which you, my honoured Signor Pasquale
Capuzzi di Senigaglia, can easily grant. You are the first musical
composer in all Italy, besides being the foremost singer of the day.
When I heard in the opera _Le Nozze di Teti e Peleo_ the great scene
which that shameless Francesco Cavalli has thievishly taken from your
works, I was enraptured. If you would only sing me that aria whilst I
put the spinet to rights you would confer upon me a pleasure than which
I can conceive of none more enjoyable."

Puckering up his mouth into the most winning of smiles, and blinking
his little grey eyes, the old gentleman replied, "I perceive, my good
sir, that you are yourself a clever musician, for you possess taste and
know how to value the deserving better than these ungrateful Romans.
Listen--listen--to the aria of all arias."

Therewith he rose to his feet, and, stretching himself up to his full
height, spread out his arms and closed both eyes, so that he looked
like a cock preparing to crow; and he at once began to screech in such
a way that the walls rang again, and Dame Caterina and her two
daughters soon came running in, fully under the impression that such
lamentable sounds must betoken some accident or other. At sight of the
crowing old gentleman they stopped on the threshold utterly astonished;
and thus they formed the audience of the incomparable musician Capuzzi.

Meanwhile Salvator, having picked up the spinet and thrown back the
lid, had taken his palette in hand, and in bold firm strokes had begun
on the lid of the instrument the most remarkable piece of painting that
ever was seen. The central idea was a scene from Cavalli's opera _Le
Nozze di Teti_, but there was a multitude of other personages mixed up
with it in the most fantastic way. Amongst them were the recognisable
features of Capuzzi, Antonio, Marianna (faithfully reproduced from
Antonio's picture), Salvator himself, Dame Caterina and her two
daughters,--and even the Pyramid Doctor was not wanting,--and all
grouped so intelligently, judiciously, and ingeniously, that Antonio
could not conceal his astonishment, both at the artist's intellectual
power as well as at his technique.

Meanwhile old Capuzzi had not been content with the aria which Salvator
had requested him to give, but, carried away by his musical madness, he
went on singing or rather screeching without intermission, working his
way through the most awful recitatives from one execrable scene to
another. He must have been going on for nearly two hours when he sank
back in his chair, breathless, and with his face as red as a cherry.
And just at this same time also Salvator had so far worked out his
sketch that the figures began to wear a look of vitality, and the
whole, viewed at a little distance, had the appearance of a finished
work.

"I have kept my word with respect to the spinet, my dear Signer
Pasquale," breathed Salvator in the old man's ear. He started up as if
awakening out of a deep sleep. Immediately his glance fell upon the
painted instrument, which stood directly opposite him. Then, opening
his eyes wide as if he saw a miracle, and jauntily throwing his conical
hat on the top of his wig, he took his crutch-stick under his arm, made
one bound to the spinet, tore the lid off the hinges, and holding it
above his head, ran like a madman out of the room, down the stairs, and
away, away out of the house altogether, followed by the hearty laughter
of Dame Caterina and both her daughters.

"The old miser," said Salvator, "knows very well that he has only to
take yon painted lid to Count Colonna or to my friend Rossi and he will
at once get forty ducats for it, or even more."

Salvator and Antonio then both deliberated how they should carry out
the plan of attack which was to be made when night came. We shall soon
see what the two adventurers resolved upon, and what success they had
in their adventure.

As soon as it was dark, Signer Pasquale, after locking and bolting the
door of his house, carried the little monster of an eunuch home as
usual. The whole way the little wretch was whining and growling,
complaining that not only did he sing Capuzzi's arias till he got
catarrh in the throat and burn his fingers cooking the macaroni, but he
had now to lend himself to duties which brought him nothing but sharp
boxes of the ear and rough kicks, which Marianna lavishly distributed
to him as soon as ever he came near her. Old Capuzzi consoled him as
well as he could, promising to provide him an ampler supply of
sweetmeats than he had hitherto done; indeed, as the little man would
nohow cease his growling and querulous complaining, Pasquale even laid
himself under the obligation to get a natty abbot's coat made for the
little torment out of an old black plush waistcoat which he (the dwarf)
had often set covetous eyes upon. He demanded a wig and a sword as
well. Parleying upon these points they arrived at the Via Bergognona,
for that was where Pitichinaccio dwelt, only four doors from Salvator.

The old man set the dwarf cautiously down and opened the street door;
and then, the dwarf on in front, they both began to climb up the narrow
stairs, which were more like a rickety ladder for hens and chickens
than steps for respectable people. But they had hardly mounted half way
up when a terrible racket began up above, and the coarse voice of some
wild drunken fellow was heard cursing and swearing, and demanding to be
shown the way out of the damned house. Pitichinaccio squeezed himself
close to the wall, and entreated Capuzzi, in the name of all the
saints, to go on first. But before Capuzzi had ascended two steps, the
fellow who was up above came tumbling headlong downstairs, caught hold
of the old man, and whisked him away like a whirlwind out through
the open door below into the middle of the street. There they both
lay,--Capuzzi at bottom and the drunken brute like a heavy sack on top
of him. The old gentleman screamed piteously for help; two men came up
at once and with considerable difficulty freed him from the heavy
weight lying upon him; the other fellow, as soon as he was lifted up,
reeled away cursing.

"Good God! what's happened to you, Signor Pasquale? What are you doing
here at this time of night? What big quarrel have you been getting
mixed up in in that house there?" thus asked Salvator and Antonio, for
that is who the two men were.

"Oh, I shall die!" groaned Capuzzi; "that son of the devil has crushed
all my limbs; I can't move."

"Let me look," said Antonio, feeling all over the old gentleman's body,
and suddenly he pinched his right leg so sharply that Capuzzi screamed
out aloud.

"By all the saints!" cried Antonio in consternation, "by all the
saints! my dear Signer Pasquale, you've broken your right leg in the
most dangerous place. If you don't get speedy help you will within a
short time be a dead man, or at any rate be lame all your life long."

A terrible scream escaped the old man's breast. "Calm yourself, my dear
sir," continued Antonio, "although I'm now a painter, I haven't
altogether forgotten my surgical practice. We will carry you to
Salvator's house and I will at once bind up"----

"My dear Signor Antonio," whined Capuzzi, "you nourish hostile feelings
towards me, I know." "But," broke in Salvator, "this is now no longer
the time to talk about enmity; you are in danger, and that is enough
for honest Antonio to exert all his skill on your behalf. Lay hold,
friend Antonio."

Gently and cautiously they lifted up the old man between them, him
screaming with the unspeakable pain caused by his broken leg, and
carried him to Salvator's dwelling.

Dame Caterina said that she had had a foreboding that something was
going to happen, and so she had not gone to bed. As soon as she caught
sight of the old gentleman and heard what had befallen him, she began
to heap reproaches upon him for his bad conduct. "I know," she said, "I
know very well, Signor Pasquale, who you've been taking home again. Now
that you've got your beautiful niece Marianna in the house with you,
you think you've no further call to have women-folk about you, and you
treat that poor Pitichinaccio most shameful and infamous, putting him
in petticoats. But look to it. _Ogni carne ha il suo osso_ (Every house
has its skeleton). Why if you have a girl about you, don't you need
women-folk? _Fate il passo secondo la gamba_ (Cut your clothes
according to your cloth), and don't you require anything either more or
less from your Marianna than what is right. Don't lock her up as if she
were a prisoner, nor make your house a dungeon. _Asino punto convien
che trotti_ (If you are in the stream, you had better swim with it);
you have a beautiful niece and you must alter your ways to suit her,
that is, you must only do what she wants you to do. But you are an
ungallant and hard-hearted man, ay, and even in love, and jealous as
well, they say, which I hope at your years is not true. Your pardon for
telling you it all straight out, but _chi ha nel petto fiele non puo
sputar miele_ (when there's bile in the heart there can't be honey in
the mouth). So now, if you don't die of your broken leg, which at your
great age is not at all unlikely, let this be a warning to you; and
leave your niece free to do what she likes, and let her marry the fine
young gentleman as I know very well."

And so the stream went on uninterruptedly, whilst Salvator and Antonio
cautiously undressed the old gentleman and put him to bed. Dame
Caterina's words were like knives cutting deeply into his breast; but
whenever he attempted to intervene, Antonio signed to him that all
speaking was dangerous, and so he had to swallow his bitter gall. At
length Salvator sent Dame Caterina away, to fetch some ice-cold water
that Antonio wanted.

Salvator and Antonio satisfied themselves that the fellow who had been
sent to Pitichinaccio's house had done his duty well. Notwithstanding
the apparently terrible fall, Capuzzi had not received the slightest
damage beyond a slight bruise or two. Antonio put the old gentleman's
right foot in splints and bandaged it up so tight that he could not
move. Then they wrapped him up in cloths that had been soaked in
ice-cold water, as a precaution, they alleged, against inflammation, so
that the old gentleman shook as if with the ague.

"My good Signor Antonio," he groaned feebly, "tell me if it is all over
with me. Must I die?"

"Compose yourself," replied Antonio. "If you will only compose
yourself, Signor Pasquale! As you have come through the first dressing
with so much nerve and without fainting, I think we may say that the
danger is past; but you will require the most attentive nursing. At
present we mustn't let you out of the doctor's sight."

"Oh! Antonio," whined the old gentleman, "you know how I like you,
how highly I esteem your talents. Don't leave me. Give me your dear
hand--so! You won't leave me, will you, my dear good Antonio?"

"Although I am now no longer a surgeon," said Antonio, "although I've
quite given up that hated trade, yet I will in your case, Signor
Pasquale, make an exception, and will undertake to attend you, for
which I shall ask nothing except that you give me your friendship, your
confidence again. You were a little hard upon me"----

"Say no more," lisped the old gentleman, "not another word, my dear
Antonio"----

"Your niece will be half dead with anxiety," said Antonio again, "at
your not returning home. You are, considering your condition, brisk and
strong enough, and so as soon as day dawns we'll carry you home to your
own house. There I will again look at your bandage, and arrange your
bed as it ought to be, and give your niece her instructions, so that
you may soon get well again."

The old gentleman heaved a deep sigh and closed his eyes, remaining
some minutes without speaking. Then, stretching out his hand towards
Antonio, he drew him down close beside him, and whispered, "It was only
a jest that you had with Marianna, was it not, my dear sir?--one of
those merry conceits that young folks have"----

"Think no more about that, Signor Pasquale," replied Antonio. "Your
niece did, it is true, strike my fancy; but I have now quite different
things in my head, and--to confess honestly to it--I am very pleased
that you did return a sharp answer to my foolish suit. I thought I was
in love with your Marianna, but what I really saw in her was only a
fine model for my 'Magdalene.' And this probably explains how it is
that, now that my picture is finished, I feel quite indifferent towards
her."

"Antonio," cried the old man, in a strong voice, "Antonio, you glorious
fellow! What comfort you give me--what help--what consolation! Now that
you don't love Marianna I feel as if all my pain had gone."

"Why, I declare, Signor Pasquale," said Salvator, "if we didn't know
you to be a grave and sensible man, with a true perception of what is
becoming to your years, we might easily believe that you were yourself
by some infatuation in love with your niece of sixteen summers."

Again the old gentleman closed his eyes, and groaned and moaned at the
horrible pain, which now returned with redoubled violence.

The first red streaks of morning came shining in through the window.
Antonio announced to the old gentleman that it was now time to take him
to his own house in the Via Ripetta. Signor Pasquale's reply was a deep
and piteous sigh. Salvator and Antonio lifted him out of bed and
wrapped him in a wide mantle which had belonged to Dame Caterina's
husband, and which she lent them for this purpose. The old gentleman
implored them by all the saints to take off the villainous cold
bandages in which his bald head was swathed, and to give him his wig
and plumed hat. And also, if it were possible, Antonio was to put his
moustache a little in order, that Marianna might not be too much
frightened at sight of him.

Two porters with a litter were standing all ready before the door. Dame
Caterina, still storming at the old man, and mixing a great many
proverbs in her abuse, carried down the bed, in which they then
carefully packed him; and so, accompanied by Salvator and Antonio, he
was taken home to his own house.

No sooner did Marianna see her uncle in this wretched plight than she
began to scream, whilst a torrent of tears gushed from her eyes;
without noticing her lover, who had come along with him, she grasped
the old man's hands and pressed them to her lips, bewailing the
terrible accident that had befallen him--so much pity had the good
child for the old man who plagued and tormented her with his amorous
folly. Yet at this same moment the inherent nature of woman asserted
itself in her; for it only required a few significant glances from
Salvator to put her in full possession of all the facts of the case.
Now, for the first time, she stole a glance at the happy Antonio,
blushing hotly as she did so; and a pretty sight it was to see how a
roguish smile gradually routed and broke through her tears. Salvator,
at any rate, despite the "Magdalene," had not expected to find the
little maiden half so charming, or so sweetly pretty as he now really
discovered her to be; and, whilst almost feeling inclined to envy
Antonio his good fortune, he felt that it was all the more necessary to
get poor Marianna away from her hateful uncle, let the cost be what it
might.

Signor Pasquale forgot his trouble in being received so affectionately
by his lovely niece, which was indeed more than he deserved. He
simpered and pursed up his lips so that his moustache was all of a
totter, and groaned and whined, not with pain, but simply and solely
with amorous longing.

Antonio arranged his bed professionally, and, after Capuzzi had been
laid on it, tightened the bandage still more, at the same time so
muffling up his left leg as well that he had to lay there motionless
like a log of wood. Salvator withdrew and left the lovers alone with
their happiness.

The old gentleman lay buried in cushions; moreover, as an extra
precaution, Antonio had bound a thick piece of cloth well steeped in
water round his head, so that he might not hear the lovers whispering
together. This was the first time they unburdened all their hearts to
each other, swearing eternal fidelity in the midst of tears and
rapturous kisses. The old gentleman could have no idea of what was
going on, for Marianna ceased not, frequently from time to time, to ask
him how he felt, and even permitted him to press her little white hand
to his lips.

When the morning began to be well advanced, Antonio hastened away to
procure, as he said, all the things that the old gentleman required,
but in reality to invent some means for putting him, at any rate for
some hours, in a still more helpless condition, as well as to consult
with Salvator what further steps were then to be taken.



                                  IV.

_Of the new attack made by Salvator Rosa and Antonio Scacciati upon
Signer Pasquale Capuzzi and upon his company, and of what further
happens in consequence._

Next morning Antonio came to Salvator, melancholy and dejected.

"Well, what's the matter?" cried Salvator when he saw him coming, "what
are you hanging your head about? What's happened to you now, you happy
dog? can you not see your mistress every day, and kiss her and press
her to your heart?"

"Oh! Salvator, it's all over with my happiness, it's gone for ever,"
cried Antonio. "The devil is making sport of me. Our stratagem has
failed, and we now stand on a footing of open enmity with that cursed
Capuzzi."

"So much the better," said Salvator; "so much the better. But come,
Antonio, tell me what's happened."

"Just imagine, Salvator," began Antonio, "yesterday when I went back to
the Via Ripetta after an absence of at the most two hours, with all
sorts of medicines, whom should I see but the old gentleman standing in
his own doorway fully dressed. Behind him was the Pyramid Doctor and
the deuced ex-gendarme, whilst a confused something was bobbing about
round their legs. It was, I believe, that little monster Pitichinaccio.
No sooner did the old man get sight of me than he shook his fist at me,
and began to heap the most fearful curses and imprecations upon me,
swearing that if I did but approach his door he would have all my bones
broken. 'Be off to the devil, you infamous barber-fellow,' he shrieked;
'you think to outwit me with your lying and knavery. Like the very
devil himself, you lie in wait for my poor innocent Marianna, and fancy
you are going to get her into your toils--but stop a moment! I will
spend my last ducat to have the vital spark stamped out of you, ere
you're aware of it. And your fine patron, Signor Salvator, the
murderer--bandit--who's escaped the halter--he shall be sent to join
his captain Masaniello in hell--I'll have him out of Rome; that won't
cost me much trouble.'

"Thus the old fellow raged, and as the damned ex-gendarme, incited by
the Pyramid Doctor, was making preparations to bear down upon me, and a
crowd of curious onlookers began to assemble, what could I do but quit
the field with all speed? I didn't like to come to you in my great
trouble, for I know you would only have laughed at me and my
inconsolable complaints. Why, you can hardly keep back your laughter
now."

As Antonio ceased speaking, Salvator did indeed burst out laughing
heartily.

"Now," he cried, "now the thing is beginning to be rather interesting.
And now, my worthy Antonio, I will tell you in detail all that took
place at Capuzzi's after you had gone. You had hardly left the house
when Signor Splendiano Accoramboni, who had learned--God knows in what
way--that his bosom-friend, Capuzzi, had broken his right leg in the
night, drew near in all solemnity, with a surgeon. Your bandage and the
entire method of treatment you have adopted with Signor Pasquale could
not fail to excite suspicion. The surgeon removed the splints and
bandages, and they discovered, what we both very well know, that there
was not even so much as an ossicle of the worthy Capuzzi's right foot
dislocated, still less broken. It didn't require any uncommon sagacity
to understand all the rest."

"But," said Antonio, utterly astonished, "but my dear, good sir, do
tell me how you have learned all that; tell me how you get into
Capuzzi's house and know everything that takes place there."

"I have already told you," replied Salvator, "that an acquaintance of
Dame Caterina lives in the same house, and moreover, on the same floor
as Capuzzi. This acquaintance, the widow of a wine-dealer, has a
daughter whom my little Margaret often goes to see. Now girls have a
special instinct for finding out their fellows, and so it came about
that Rose--that's the name of the wine-dealer's daughter--and Margaret
soon discovered in the living-room a small vent-hole, leading into a
dark closet that adjoins Marianna's apartment. Marianna had been by no
means inattentive to the whispering and murmuring of the two girls, nor
had she failed to notice the vent-hole, and so the way to a mutual
exchange of communications was soon opened and made use of. Whenever
old Capuzzi takes his afternoon nap the girls gossip away to their
heart's content. You will have observed that little Margaret, Dame
Caterina's and my favourite, is not so serious and reserved as her
elder sister, Anna, but is an arch, frolicsome, droll little thing.
Without expressly making mention of your love-affair I have instructed
her to get Marianna to tell her everything that takes place in
Capuzzi's house. She has proved a very apt pupil in the matter; and if
I laughed at your pain and despondency just now it was because I knew
what would comfort you, knew I could prove to you that the affair has
now taken a most favourable turn. I have quite a big budget full of
excellent news for you."

"Salvator!" cried Antonio, his eyes sparkling with joy, "how you cause
my hopes to rise! Heaven be praised for the vent-hole. I will write to
Marianna; Margaret shall take the letter with her"----

"Nay, nay, we can have none of that, Antonio," replied Salvator.
"Margaret can be useful to us without being your love-messenger
exactly. Besides, accident, which often plays many fine tricks, might
carry your amorous confessions into old Capuzzi's hands, and so bring
an endless amount of fresh trouble upon Marianna, just at the very
moment when she is on the point of getting the lovesick old fool under
her thumb. For listen to what then happened. The way in which Marianna
received the old fellow when we took him home has quite reformed him.
He is fully convinced that she no longer loves you, but that she has
given him at least one half of her heart, and that all he has to do is
to win the other half. And Marianna, since she imbibed the poison of
your kisses, has advanced three years in shrewdness, artfulness, and
experience. She has convinced the old man, not only that she had no
share in our trick, but that she hates our goings-on, and will meet
with scorn every device on your part to approach her. In his excessive
delight the old man was too hasty, and swore that if he could do
anything to please his adored Marianna he would do it immediately, she
had only to give utterance to her wish. Whereupon Marianna modestly
asked for nothing except that her _zio carissimo_ (dearest uncle) would
take her to see Signor Formica in the theatre outside the Porta del
Popolo. This rather posed Capuzzi; there were consultations with the
Pyramid Doctor and with Pitichinaccio; at last Signor Pasquale and
Signor Splendiano came to the resolution that they really would take
Marianna to this theatre to-morrow. Pitichinaccio, it was resolved,
should accompany them in the disguise of a handmaiden, to which he only
gave his consent on condition that Signor Pasquale would make him a
present, not only of the plush waistcoat, but also of a wig, and at
night would, alternately with the Pyramid Doctor, carry him home. That
bargain they finally made; and so the curious leash will certainly go
along with pretty Marianna to see Signor Formica to-morrow, in the
theatre outside the Porta del Popolo."

It is now necessary to say who Signor Formica was, and what he had to
do with the theatre outside the Porta del Popolo.

At the time of the Carnival in Rome, nothing is more sad than when the
theatre-managers have been unlucky in their choice of a musical
composer, or when the first tenor at the Argentina theatre has lost
his voice on the way, or when the male prima donna[4.1] of the Valle
theatre is laid up with a cold,--in brief, when the chief source of
recreation which the Romans were hoping to find proves abortive, and
then comes Holy Thursday and all at once cuts off all the hopes which
might perhaps have been realized It was just after one of these unlucky
Carnivals--almost before the strict fast-days were past, when a certain
Nicolo Musso opened a theatre outside the Porta del Popolo, where he
stated his intention of putting nothing but light impromptu comic
sketches on the boards. The advertisement was drawn up in an ingenious
and witty style, and consequently the Romans formed a favourable
preconception of Musso's enterprise; but independently of this they
would in their longing to still their dramatic hunger have greedily
snatched at any the poorest pabulum of this description. The interior
arrangements of the theatre, or rather of the small booth, did not say
much for the pecuniary resources of the enterprising manager. There was
no orchestra, nor were there boxes. Instead, a gallery was put up at
the back, where the arms of the house of Colonna were conspicuous--a
sign that Count Colonna had taken Musso and his theatre under his
especial protection. A platform of slight elevation, covered with
carpets and hung round with curtains, which, according to the
requirements of the piece, had to represent a wood or a room or a
street--this was the stage. Add to this that the spectators had to
content themselves with hard uncomfortable wooden benches, and it was
no wonder that Signor Musso's patrons on first entering were pretty
loud in their grumblings at him for calling a paltry wooden booth a
theatre. But no sooner had the first two actors who appeared exchanged
a few words together than the attention of the audience was arrested;
as the piece proceeded their interest took the form of applause, their
applause grew to admiration, their admiration to the wildest pitch of
enthusiastic excitement, which found vent in loud and continuous
laughter, clapping of hands, and screams of "Bravo! Bravo!"

And indeed it would not have been very easy to find anything more
perfect than these extemporised representations of Nicolo Musso; they
overflowed with wit, humour, and genius, and lashed the follies of the
day with an unsparing scourge. The audience were quite carried away by
the incomparable characterisation which distinguished all the actors,
but particularly by the inimitable mimicry of Pasquarello,[4.2] by his
marvellously natural imitations of the voice, gait, and postures of
well-known personages. By his inexhaustible humour, and the point and
appositeness of his impromptus, he quite carried his audience away. The
man who played the _rôle_ of Pasquarello, and who called himself Signor
Formica, seemed to be animated by a spirit of singular originality;
often there was something so strange in either tone or gesture, that
the audience, even in the midst of the most unrestrained burst of
laughter, felt a cold shiver run through them. He was excellently
supported by Dr. Gratiano,[4.3] who in pantomimic action, in voice, and
in his talent for saying the most delightful things mixed up with
apparently the most extravagant nonsense, had perhaps no equal in the
world. This _rôle_ was played by an old Bolognese named Maria Agli.
Thus in a short time all educated Rome was seen hastening in a
continuous stream to Nicolo Musso's little theatre outside the Porta
del Popolo, whilst Formica's name was on everybody's lips, and people
shouted with wild enthusiasm, "_Oh! Formica! Formica benedetto! Oh!
Formicissimo!_"--not only in the theatre but also in the streets. They
regarded him as a supernatural visitant, and many an old lady who had
split her sides with laughing in the theatre, would suddenly look grave
and say solemnly, "_Scherza coi fanti e lascia star santi_" (Jest with
children but let the saints alone), if anybody ventured to say the
least thing in disparagement of Formica's acting. This arose from the
fact that outside the theatre Signor Formica was an inscrutable
mystery. Never was he seen anywhere, and all efforts to discover traces
of him were vain, whilst Nicolo Musso on his part maintained an
inexorable silence respecting his retreat.

And this was the theatre that Marianna was anxious to go to.

"Let us make a decisive onslaught upon our foes," said Salvator; "we
couldn't have a finer opportunity than when they're returning home from
the theatre." Then he imparted to Antonio the details of a plan, which,
though appearing adventurous and daring, Antonio nevertheless embraced
with joy, since it held out to him a prospect that he should be able to
carry off his Marianna from the hated old Capuzzi. He also heard with
approbation that Salvator was especially concerned to chastise the
Pyramid Doctor.

When night came, Salvator and Antonio each took a guitar and went to
the Via Ripetta, where, with the express view of causing old Capuzzi
annoyance, they complimented lovely Marianna with the finest serenade
that ever was heard. For Salvator played and sang in masterly style,
whilst Antonio, as far as the capabilities of his fine tenor would
allow him, almost rivalled Odoardo Ceccarelli. Although Signor Pasquale
appeared on the balcony and tried to silence the singers with abuse,
his neighbours, attracted to their windows by the good singing, shouted
to him that he and his companions howled and screamed like so many cats
and dogs, and yet he wouldn't listen to good music when it did come
into the street; he might just go inside and stop up his ears if he
didn't want to listen to good singing. And so Signor Pasquale had to
bear nearly all night long the torture of hearing Salvator and Antonio
sing songs which at one time were the sweetest of love-songs and at
another mocked at the folly of amorous old fools. They plainly saw
Marianna standing at the window, notwithstanding that Signor Pasquale
besought her in the sweetest phrases and protestations not to expose
herself to the noxious night air.

Next evening the most remarkable company that ever was seen proceeded
down the Via Ripetta towards the Porta del Popolo. All eyes were turned
upon them, and people asked each other if these were maskers left from
the Carnival. Signor Pasquale Capuzzi, spruce and smug, all elegance
and politeness, wearing his gay Spanish suit well brushed, parading a
new yellow feather in his conical hat, and stepping along in shoes too
little for him, as if he were walking amongst eggs, was leading pretty
Marianna on his arm; her slender figure could not be seen, still less
her face, since she was smothered up to an unusual extent in her veil
and wraps. On the other side marched Doctor Splendiano Accoramboni in
his great wig, which covered the whole of his back, so that to look at
him from behind there appeared to be a huge head walking along on
two little legs. Close behind Marianna, and almost clinging to her,
waddled the little monster Pitichinaccio, dressed in fiery red
petticoats, and having his head covered all over in hideous fashion
with bright-coloured flowers.

This evening Signor Formica outdid himself even, and, what he had never
done before, introduced short songs into his performance, burlesquing
the style of certain well-known singers. Old Capuzzi's passion for the
stage, which in his youth had almost amounted to infatuation, was now
stirred up in him anew. In a rapture of delight he kissed Marianna's
hand time after time, and protested that he would not miss an evening
visiting Nicolo Musso's theatre with her. Signor Formica he extolled to
the very skies, and joined hand and foot in the boisterous applause of
the rest of the spectators. Signor Splendiano was less satisfied, and
kept continually admonishing Signor Capuzzi and lovely Marianna not to
laugh so immoderately. In a single breath he ran over the names of
twenty or more diseases which might arise from splitting the sides with
laughing. But neither Marianna nor Capuzzi heeded him in the least. As
for Pitichinaccio, he felt very uncomfortable. He had been obliged to
sit behind the Pyramid Doctor, whose great wig completely overshadowed
him. Not a single thing could he see on the stage, nor any of the
actors, and was, moreover, repeatedly bothered and annoyed by two
forward women who had placed themselves near him. They called him a
dear, comely little lady, and asked him if he was married, though to be
sure, he was very young, and whether he had any children, who they dare
be bound were sweet little creatures, and so forth. The cold sweat
stood in beads on poor Pitichinaccio's brow; he whined and whimpered,
and cursed the day he was born.

After the conclusion of the performance, Signor Pasquale waited until
the spectators had withdrawn from the theatre. The last light was
extinguished just as Signor Splendiano had lit a small piece of a wax
torch at it; and then Capuzzi, with his worthy friends and Marianna,
slowly and circumspectly set out on their return journey.

Pitichinaccio wept and screamed; Capuzzi, greatly to his vexation, had
to take him on his left arm, whilst with the right he led Marianna.
Doctor Splendiano showed the way with his miserable little bit of
torch, which only burned with difficulty, and even then in a feeble
sort of a way, so that the wretched light it cast merely served to
reveal to them the thick darkness of the night.

Whilst they were still a good distance from the Porta del Popolo they
all at once saw themselves surrounded by several tall figures closely
enveloped in mantles. At this moment the torch was knocked out of the
Doctor's hand, and went out on the ground. Capuzzi, as well as the
Doctor, stood still without uttering a sound. Then, without their
knowing where it came from, a pale reddish light fell upon the muffled
figures, and four grisly skulls riveted their hollow ghastly eyes upon
the Pyramid Doctor. "Woe--woe--woe betide thee, Splendiano
Accoramboni!" thus the terrible spectres shrieked in deep, sepulchral
tones. Then one of them wailed, "Do you know me? do you know me,
Splendiano? I am Cordier, the French painter, who was buried last week,
and whom your medicaments brought to his grave." Then the second, "Do
you know me, Splendiano? I am Küfner, the German painter, whom you
poisoned with your infernal electuary." Then the third, "Do you know
me, Splendiano? I am Liers, the Fleming, whom you killed with your
pills, and whose brother you defrauded of a picture." Then the fourth,
"Do you know me, Splendiano? I am Ghigi, the Neapolitan painter,
whom you despatched with your powders." And lastly all four together,
"Woe--woe--woe upon thee, Splendiano Accoramboni, cursed Pyramid
Doctor! We bid you come--come down to us beneath the earth.
Away--away--away with you! Hallo! hallo!" and so saying they threw
themselves upon the unfortunate Doctor, and, raising him in their
arms, whisked him away like a whirlwind.

Now, although Signor Pasquale was a good deal overcome by terror, yet
it is surprising with what remarkable promptitude he recovered courage
so soon as he saw that it was only his friend Accoramboni with whom the
spectres were concerned. Pitichinaccio had stuck his head, with the
flower-bed that was on it, under Capuzzi's mantle, and clung so fast
round his neck that all efforts to shake him off proved futile.

"Pluck up your spirits," Capuzzi exhorted Marianna, when nothing more
was to be seen of the spectres or of the Pyramid Doctor; "pluck up your
spirits, and come to me, my sweet little ducky bird! As for my worthy
friend Splendiano, it's all over with him. May St. Bernard, who also
was an able physician and gave many a man a lift on the road to
happiness, may he help him, if the revengeful painters whom he hastened
to get to his Pyramid break his neck! But who'll sing the bass of my
canzonas now? And this booby, Pitichinaccio, is squeezing my throat so,
that, adding in the fright caused by Splendiano's abduction, I fear I
shall not be able to produce a pure note for perhaps six weeks to come.
Don't be alarmed, my Marianna, my darling! It's all over now."

She assured him that she had quite recovered from her alarm, and begged
him to let her walk alone without support, so that he could free
himself from his troublesome pet. But Signor Pasquale only took faster
hold of her, saying that he wouldn't suffer her to leave his side a
yard in that pitch darkness for anything in the world.

In the very same moment as Signor Pasquale, now at his ease again, was
about to proceed on his road, four frightful fiend-like figures rose up
just in front of him as if out of the earth; they wore short flaring
red mantles and fixed their keen glittering eyes upon him, at the same
time making horrible noises--yelling and whistling. "Ugh! ugh! Pasquale
Capuzzi! You cursed fool! You amorous old devil! We belong to your
fraternity; we are the evil spirits of love, and have come to carry you
off to hell--to hell-fire--you and your crony Pitichinaccio." Thus
screaming, the Satanic figures fell upon the old man. Capuzzi fell
heavily to the ground and Pitichinaccio along with him, both raising a
shrill piercing cry of distress and fear, like that of a whole troop of
cudgelled asses.

Marianna had meanwhile torn herself away from the old man and leapt
aside. Then one of the devils clasped her softly in his arms,
whispering the sweet glad words, "O Marianna! my Marianna! At last
we've managed it! My friends will carry the old man a long, long way
from here, whilst we seek a better place of safety."

"O my Antonio!" whispered Marianna softly.

But suddenly the scene was illuminated by the light of several torches,
and Antonio felt a stab in his shoulder. Quick as lightning he turned
round, drew his sword, and attacked the fellow, who with his stiletto
upraised was just preparing to aim a second blow. He perceived that his
three companions were defending themselves against a superior number of
gendarmes. He managed to beat off the fellow who had attacked him, and
joined his friends. Although they were maintaining their ground
bravely, the contest was yet too unequal; the gendarmes would
infallibly have proved victorious had not two others suddenly ranged
themselves with a shout on the side of the young men, one of them
immediately cutting down the fellow who was pressing Antonio the
hardest.

In a few minutes more the contest was decided against the police.
Several lay stretched on the ground seriously wounded; the rest fled
with loud shouts towards the Porta del Popolo.

Salvator Rosa (for he it was who had hastened to Antonio's assistance
and cut down his opponent) wanted to take Antonio and the young
painters who were disguised in the devils' masks and there and then
pursue the gendarmes into the city.

Maria Agli, however, who had come along with him, and, notwithstanding
his advanced age, had tackled the police as stoutly as any of the rest,
urged that this would be imprudent, for the guard at the Porta del
Popolo would be certain to have intelligence of the affair and would
arrest them. So they all betook themselves to Nicolo Musso, who gladly
received them into his narrow little house not far from the theatre.
The artists took off their devils' masks and laid aside their mantles,
which had been rubbed over with phosphorus, whilst Antonio, who,
beyond the insignificant scratch on his shoulder, was not wounded
at all, exercised his surgical skill in binding up the wounds of the
rest--Salvator, Agli, and his young comrades--for they had none of them
got off without being wounded, though none of them in the least degree
dangerously.

The adventure, notwithstanding its wildness and audacity, would
undoubtedly have been successful, had not Salvator and Antonio
overlooked one person, who upset everything. The _ci-devant_ bravo and
gendarme Michele, who dwelt below in Capuzzi's house, and was in a
certain sort his general servant, had, in accordance with Capuzzi's
directions, followed them to the theatre, but at some distance off, for
the old gentleman was ashamed of the tattered reprobate. In the same
way Michele was following them homewards. And when the spectres
appeared, Michele who, be it remarked, feared neither death nor devil,
suspecting that something was wrong, hurried back as fast as he could
run in the darkness to the Porta del Popolo, raised an alarm, and
returned with all the gendarmes he could find, just at the moment when,
as we know, the devils fell upon Signor Pasquale, and were about to
carry him off as the dead men had the Pyramid Doctor.

In the very hottest moment of the fight, one of the young painters
observed distinctly how one of the fellows, taking Marianna in his arms
(for she had fainted), made off to the gate, whilst Signor Pasquale ran
after him with incredible swiftness, as if he had got quicksilver in
his legs. At the same time, by the light of the torches, he caught a
glimpse of something gleaming, clinging to his mantle and whimpering;
no doubt it was Pitichinaccio.

Next morning Doctor Splendiano was found near the Pyramid of Cestius,
fast asleep, doubled up like a ball and squeezed into his wig, as if
into a warm soft nest. When he was awakened, he rambled in his talk,
and there was some difficulty in convincing him that he was still on
the surface of the earth, and in Rome to boot. And when at length he
reached his own house, he returned thanks to the Virgin and all the
saints for his rescue, threw all his tinctures, essences, electuaries,
and powders out of the window, burnt his prescriptions, and vowed to
heal his patients in the future by no other means than by anointing and
laying on of hands, as some celebrated physician of former ages, who
was at the same time a saint (his name I cannot recall just at this
moment), had with great success done before him. For his patients died
as well as the patients of other people, and then they already saw the
gates of heaven open before them ere they died, and in fact everything
else that the saint wanted them to see.

"I can't tell you," said Antonio next day to Salvator, "how my heart
boils with rage since my blood has been spilled. Death and destruction
overtake that villain Capuzzi! I tell you, Salvator, that I am
determined to _force_ my way into his house. I will cut him down if he
opposes me and carry off Marianna."

"An excellent plan!" replied Salvator, laughing. "An excellent plan!
Splendidly contrived! Of course I presume you have also found some
means for transporting Marianna through the air to the Spanish Square,
so that they shall not seize you and hang you before you can reach that
place of refuge. No, my dear Antonio, violence can do nothing for you
this time. You may lay your life on it too that Signor Pasquale will
now take steps to guard against any open attack. Moreover, our
adventure has made a good deal of noise, and the irrepressible laughter
of the people at the absurd way in which we have read a lesson to
Splendiano and Capuzzi has roused the police out of their light
slumber, and they, you may be sure, will now exert all their feeble
efforts to entrap us. No, Antonio, let us have recourse to craft. _Con
arte e con inganno si vive mezzo l'anno, con inganno e con arte si vive
l'altra parte_ (If cunning and scheming will help us six months
through, scheming and cunning will help us the other six too), says
Dame Caterina, nor is she far wrong. Besides, I can't help laughing to
see how we've gone and acted for all the world like thoughtless boys,
and I shall have to bear most of the blame, for I am a good bit older
than you. Tell me now, Antonio, supposing our scheme had been
successful, and you had actually carried off Marianna from the old man,
where would you have fled to, where would you have hidden her, and how
would you have managed to get united to her by the priest before the
old man could interfere to prevent it? You shall, however, in a few
days, really and truly run away with your Marianna. I have let Nicolo
Musso as well as Signor Formica into all the secret, and in common with
them devised a plan which can scarcely fail. So cheer up, Antonio;
Signor Formica will help you."

"Signor Formica?" replied Antonio in a tone of indifference which
almost amounted to contempt. "Signor Formica! In what way can that
buffoon help me?"

"Ho! ho!" laughed Salvator. "Please to bear in mind, I beg you, that
Signor Formica is worthy of your respect. Don't you know that he is a
sort of magician who in secret is master of the most mysterious arts? I
tell you, Signor Formica will help you. Old Maria Agli, the clever
Bolognese Doctor Gratiano, is also a sharer in the plot, and will,
moreover, have an important part to play in it. You shall abduct your
Marianna, Antonio, from Musso's theatre."

"You are flattering me with false hopes, Salvator," said Antonio. "You
have just now said yourself that Signor Pasquale will take care to
avoid all open attacks. How can you suppose then, after his recent
unpleasant experience, that he can possibly make up his mind to visit
Musso's theatre again?"

"It will not be such a difficult thing as you imagine to entice the old
man there," replied Salvator. "What will be more difficult to effect,
will be, to get him in the theatre without his satellites. But, be that
as it may, what you have now got to do, Antonio, is to have everything
prepared and arranged with Marianna, so as to flee from Rome the moment
the favourable opportunity comes. You must go to Florence; your skill
as a painter will, after your arrival, in itself recommend you there;
and you shall have no lack of acquaintances, nor of honourable
patronage and assistance--that you may leave to me to provide for.
After we have had a few days' rest, we will then see what is to be done
further. Once more, Antonio--live in hope; Formica will help you."



                                  V.

_Of the new mishap which befalls Signor Pasquale Capussi. Antonio
Scacciati successfully carries out his plan in Nicolo Musso's theatre,
and flees to Florence._

Signor Pasquale was only too well aware who had been at the bottom of
the mischief that had happened to him and the poor Pyramid Doctor near
the Porta del Popolo, and so it may be imagined how enraged he was
against Antonio, and against Salvator Rosa, whom he rightly judged to
be the ringleader in it all. He was untiring in his efforts to comfort
poor Marianna, who was quite ill from fear,--so she said; but in
reality she was mortified that the scoundrel Michele with his gendarmes
had come up, and torn her from her Antonio's arms. Meanwhile Margaret
was very active in bringing her tidings of her lover; and she based all
her hopes upon the enterprising mind of Salvator. With impatience she
waited from day to day for something fresh to happen, and by a thousand
petty tormenting ways let the old gentleman feel the effects of this
impatience; but though she thus tamed his amorous folly and made him
humble enough, she failed to reach the evil spirit of love that haunted
his heart. After she had made him experience to the full all the
tricksy humours of the most wayward girl, and then suffered him just
once to press his withered lips upon her tiny hand, he would swear in
his excessive delight that he would never cease fervently kissing the
Pope's toe until he had obtained dispensation to wed his niece, the
paragon of beauty and amiability. Marianna was particularly careful not
to interrupt him in these outbreaks of passion, for by encouraging
these gleams of hope in the old man's breast she fanned the flame of
hope in her own, for the more he could be lulled into the belief that
he held her fast in the indissoluble chains of love, the more easy it
would be for her to escape him.

Some time passed, when one day at noon Michele came stamping upstairs,
and, after he had had to knock a good many times to induce Signor
Pasquale to open the door, announced with considerable prolixity that
there was a gentleman below who urgently requested to see Signor
Pasquale Capuzzi, who he knew lived there.

"By all the blessed saints of Heaven!" cried the old gentleman,
exasperated; "doesn't the knave know that on no account do I receive
strangers in my own house?"

But the gentleman was of very respectable appearance, reported Michele,
rather oldish, talked well, and called himself Nicolo Musso.

"Nicolo Musso," murmured Capuzzi reflectively; "Nicolo Musso, who owns
the theatre beyond the Porta del Popolo; what can he want with me?"
Whereupon, carefully locking and bolting the door, he went downstairs
with Michele, in order to converse with Nicolo in the street before the
house.

"My dear Signor Pasquale," began Nicolo, approaching to meet him, and
bowing with polished ease, "that you deign to honour me with your
acquaintance affords me great pleasure. You lay me under a very great
obligation. Since the Romans saw you in my theatre--you, a man of the
most approved taste, of the soundest knowledge, and a master in art,
not only has my fame increased, but my receipts have doubled. I am
therefore all the more deeply pained to learn that certain wicked
wanton boys made a murderous attack upon you and your friends as you
were returning from my theatre at night. But I pray you, Signor
Pasquale, by all the saints, don't cherish any grudge against me or my
theatre on account of this outrage, which shall be severely punished.
Don't deprive me of the honour of your company at my performances!"

"My dear Signor Nicolo," replied the old man, simpering, "be assured
that I never enjoyed myself more than I did when I visited your
theatre. Your Formica and your Agli--why, they are actors who cannot be
matched anywhere. But the fright almost killed my friend Signor
Splendiano Accoramboni, nay, it almost proved the death of me--no, it
was too great; and though it has not made me averse from your theatre,
it certainly has from the road there. If you will put up your theatre
in the Piazza del Popolo, or in the Via Babuina, or in the Via Ripetta,
I certainly will not fail to visit you a single evening; but there's
no power on earth shall ever get me outside the Porta del Popolo at
night-time again."

Nicolo sighed deeply, as if greatly troubled. "That is very hard upon
me," said he then, "harder perhaps than you will believe, Signor
Pasquale. For unfortunately--I had based all my hopes upon you. I came
to solicit your assistance."

"My assistance?" asked the old gentleman in astonishment "My
assistance, Signor Nicolo? In what way could it profit you?"

"My dear Signor Pasquale," replied Nicolo, drawing his handkerchief
across his eyes, as if brushing away the trickling tears, "my most
excellent Signor Pasquale, you will remember that my actors are in the
habit of interspersing songs through their performances. This practice
I was thinking of extending imperceptibly more and more, then to get
together an orchestra, and, in a word, at last, eluding all
prohibitions to the contrary, to establish an opera-house. You, Signor
Capuzzi, are the first composer in all Italy; and we can attribute it
to nothing but the inconceivable frivolity of the Romans and the
malicious envy of your rivals that we hear anything else but your
pieces exclusively at all the theatres. Signor Pasquale, I came to
request you on my bended knees to allow me to put your immortal works,
as far as circumstances will admit, on my humble stage."

"My dear Signor Nicolo," said the old gentleman, his face all sunshine,
"what are we about to be talking here in the public street? Pray deign
to have the goodness to climb up one or two rather steep flights of
stairs. Come along with me up to my poor dwelling."

Almost before Nicolo got into the room, the old gentleman brought
forward a great pile of dusty music manuscript, opened it, and, taking
his guitar in his hands, began to deliver himself of a series of
frightful high-pitched screams which he denominated singing.

Nicolo behaved like one in raptures. He sighed; he uttered extravagant
expressions of approval; he exclaimed at intervals, "_Bravo!
Bravissimo! Benedettissimo Capuzzi!_" until at last he threw himself at
the old man's feet as if utterly beside himself with ecstatic delight,
and grasped his knees. But he nipped them so hard that the old
gentleman jumped off his seat, calling out with pain, and saying to
Nicolo, "By the saints! Let me go, Signor Nicolo; you'll kill me."

"Nay," replied Nicolo, "nay, Signor Pasquale, I will not rise until
you have promised that Formica may sing in my theatre the day after
to-morrow the divine arias which you have just executed."

"You are a man of taste," groaned Pasquale,--"a man of deep insight. To
whom could I better intrust my compositions than to you? You shall take
all my arias with you. Only let me go. But, good God! I shall not hear
them--my divine masterpieces! Oh! let me go, Signor Nicolo."

"No," cried Nicolo, still on his knees, and tightly pressing the old
gentleman's thin spindle-shanks together, "no, Signor Pasquale, I will
not let you go until you give me your word that you will be present in
my theatre the night after to-morrow. You need not fear any new attack!
Why, don't you think that the Romans, once they have heard your work,
will bring you home in triumph by the light of hundreds of torches? But
in case that does not happen, I myself and my faithful comrades will
take our arms and accompany you home ourselves."

"You yourself will accompany me home, with your comrades?" asked
Pasquale; "and how many may that be?"

"Eight or ten persons will be at your command, Signor Pasquale. Do
yield to my intercession and resolve to come."

"Formica has a fine voice," lisped Pasquale. "How finely he will
execute my arias."

"Do come, oh! do come!" exhorted Nicolo again, giving the old
gentleman's knees an extra grip.

"You will pledge yourself that I shall reach my own house without being
molested?" asked the old gentleman.

"I pledge my honour and my life," was Nicolo's reply, as he gave the
knees a still sharper grip.

"Agreed!" cried the old gentleman; "I will be in your theatre the day
after to-morrow."

Then Nicolo leapt to his feet and pressed Pasquale in so close an
embrace that he gasped and panted quite out of breath.

At this moment Marianna entered the room. Signor Pasquale tried to
frighten her away again by the look of resentment which he hurled at
her; she, however, took not the slightest notice of it, but going
straight up to Musso, addressed him as if in anger,--"It is in vain for
you, Signor Nicolo, to attempt to entice my dear uncle to go to your
theatre. You are forgetting that the infamous trick lately played by
some reprobate seducers, who were lying in wait for me, almost cost the
life of my dearly beloved uncle, and of his worthy friend Splendiano;
nay, that it almost cost my life too. Never will I give my consent to
my uncle's again exposing himself to such danger. Desist from your
entreaties, Nicolo. And you, my dearest uncle, you will stay quietly at
home, will you not, and not venture out beyond the Porta del Popolo
again at night-time, which is a friend to nobody?"

Signor Pasquale was thunderstruck. He opened his eyes wide and stared
at his niece. Then he rewarded her with the sweetest endearments, and
set forth at considerable length how that Signor Nicolo had pledged
himself so to arrange matters as to avoid every danger on the return
home.

"None the less," said Marianna, "I stick to my word, and beg you most
earnestly, my dearest uncle, not to go to the theatre outside the Porta
del Popolo. I ask your pardon, Signor Nicolo, for speaking out frankly
in your presence the dark suspicion that lurks in my mind. You are, I
know, acquainted with Salvator Rosa and also with Antonio Scacciati.
What if you are acting in concert with our enemies? What if you are
only trying with evil intent to entice my dear uncle into your theatre
in order that they may the more safely carry out some fresh villainous
scheme, for I know that my uncle will not go without me?"

"What a suspicion!" cried Nicolo, quite alarmed. "What a terrible
suspicion, Signora! Have you such a bad opinion of me? Have I such an
ill reputation that you conceive I could be guilty of this the basest
treachery? But if you think so unfavourably of me, if you mistrust the
assistance I have promised you, why then let Michele, who I know
rescued you out of the hands of the robbers--let Michele accompany you,
and let him take a large body of gendarmes with him, who can wait for
you outside the theatre, for you cannot of course expect me to fill my
auditorium with police."

Marianna fixed her eyes steadily upon Nicolo's, and then said,
earnestly and gravely, "What do you say? That Michele and gendarmes
shall accompany us? Now I see plainly, Signor Nicolo, that you mean
honestly by us, and that my nasty suspicion is unfounded. Pray forgive
me my thoughtless words. And yet I cannot banish my nervousness and
anxiety about my dear uncle; I must still beg him not to take this
dangerous step."

Signor Pasquale had listened to all this conversation with such curious
looks as plainly served to indicate the nature of the struggle that was
going on within him. But now he could no longer contain himself; he
threw himself on his knees before his beautiful niece, seized her
hands, kissed them, bathed them with the tears which ran down his
cheeks, exclaiming as if beside himself, "My adored, my angelic
Marianna! Fierce and devouring are the flames of the passion which
burns at my heart Oh! this nervousness, this anxiety--it is indeed the
sweetest confession that you love me." And then he besought her not to
give way to fear, but to go and listen in the theatre to the finest
arias which the most divine of composers had ever written.

Nicolo too abated not in his entreaties, plainly showing his
disappointment, until Marianna permitted her scruples to be overcome;
and she promised to lay all fear aside and accompany the best and
dearest of uncles to the theatre outside the Porta del Popolo. Signor
Pasquale was in ectasies, was in the seventh heaven of delight. He was
convinced that Marianna loved him; and he now might hope to hear his
music on the stage, and win the laurel wreath which had so long been
the vain object of his desires; he was on the point of seeing his
dearest dreams fulfilled. Now he would let his light shine in perfect
glory before his true and faithful friends, for he never thought for a
moment but that Signor Splendiano and little Pitichinaccio would go
with him as on the first occasion.

The night that Signor Splendiano had slept in his wig near the Pyramid
of Cestius he had had, besides the spectres who ran away with him, all
sorts of sinister apparitions to visit him. The whole cemetery was
alive, and hundreds of corpses had stretched out their skeleton arms
towards him, moaning and wailing that even in their graves they could
not get over the torture caused by his essences and electuaries.
Accordingly the Pyramid Doctor, although he could not contradict Signor
Pasquale that it was only a wild freakish trick played upon him by a
parcel of godless boys, grew melancholy; and, albeit not ordinarily
superstitiously inclined, he yet now saw spectres everywhere, and was
tormented by forebodings and bad dreams.

As for Pitichinaccio, he could not be convinced that they were not real
devils come straight from the flames of hell who had fallen upon Signor
Pasquale and upon himself, and the bare mention of that dreadful night
was enough to make him scream. All the asseverations of Signor Pasquale
that there had been nobody behind the masks but Antonio Scacciati and
Salvator Rosa were of none effect, for Pitichinaccio wept and swore
that in spite of his terror and apprehension he had clearly recognised
both the voice and the behaviour of the devil Fanfarelli in the one who
had pinched his belly black and blue.

It may therefore be imagined what an almost endless amount of trouble
it cost Signor Pasquale to persuade the two to go with him once more to
Nicolo Musso's theatre. Splendiano was the first to make the resolve to
go,--after he had procured from a monk of St. Bernard's order a small
consecrated bag of musk, the perfume of which neither dead man nor
devil could endure; with this he intended to arm himself against all
assaults. Pitichinaccio could not resist the temptation of a promised
box of candied grapes, but Signor Pasquale had besides expressly to
give his consent that he might wear his new abbot's coat, instead of
his petticoats, which he affirmed had proved an immediate source of
attraction to the devil.

What Salvator feared seemed therefore as if it would really take place;
and yet his plan depended entirely, he continued to repeat, upon Signor
Pasquale's being in Nicolo's theatre alone with Marianna, without his
faithful satellites. Both Antonio and Salvator greatly racked their
brains how they should prevent Splendiano and Pitichinaccio from going
along with Signor Pasquale. Every scheme that occurred to them for the
accomplishment of this desideratum had to be given up owing to want of
time, for the principal plan in Nicolo's theatre had to be carried out
on the evening of the following day.

But Providence, which often employs the most unlikely instruments for
the chastisement of fools, interposed on behalf of the distressed
lovers, and put it into Michele's head to practise some of his
blundering, thus accomplishing what Salvator and Antonio's craft was
unable to accomplish.

That same night there was heard in the Via Ripetta before Signor
Pasquale's house such a chorus of fearful screams and of cursing and
raving and abuse that all the neighbours were startled up out of their
sleep, and a body of gendarmes, who had been pursuing a murderer as far
as the Spanish Square, hastened up with torches, supposing that some
fresh deed of violence was being committed. But when they, and a crowd
of other people whom the noise had attracted, came upon the anticipated
scene of murder, they found poor little Pitichinaccio lying as if dead
on the ground, whilst Michele was thrashing the Pyramid Doctor with a
formidable bludgeon. And they saw the Doctor reel to the floor just at
the moment when Signor Pasquale painfully scrambled to his feet, drew
his rapier, and furiously attacked Michele. Round about were lying
pieces of broken guitars. Had not several people grasped the old man's
arm he would assuredly have run Michele right through the heart. The
ex-bravo, on now becoming aware by the light of the torches whom he had
been molesting, stood as if petrified, his eyes almost starting out of
his heady "a painted desperado, on the balance between will and power,"
as it is said somewhere. Then, uttering a fearful scream, he tore his
hair and begged for pardon and mercy. Neither the Pyramid Doctor nor
Pitichinaccio was seriously injured, but they had been so soundly
cudgelled that they could neither move nor stir, and had to be carried
home.

Signor Pasquale had himself brought this mishap upon his own shoulders.

We know that Salvator and Antonio complimented Marianna with the finest
serenade that could be heard; but I have forgotten to say that to the
old gentleman's very exceeding indignation they repeated it during
several successive nights. At length Signor Pasquale whose rage was
kept in check by his neighbours, was foolish enough to have recourse to
the authorities of the city, urging them to forbid the two painters to
sing in the Via Ripetta. The authorities, however, replied that it
would be a thing unheard of in Rome to prevent anybody from singing and
playing the guitar where he pleased, and it was irrational to ask such
a thing. So Signor Pasquale determined to put an end to the nuisance
himself, and promised Michele a large reward if he seized the first
opportunity to fall upon the singers and give them a good sound
drubbing. Michele at once procured a stout bludgeon, and lay in wait
every night behind the door. But it happened that Salvator and Antonio
judged it prudent to omit their serenading in the Via Ripetta for some
nights preceding the carrying into execution of their plan, so as not
to remind the old gentleman of his adversaries. Marianna remarked quite
innocently that though she hated Antonio and Salvator, yet she liked
their singing, for nothing was so nice as to hear music floating
upwards in the night air.

This Signor Pasquale made a mental note of, and as the essence of
gallantry purposed to surprise his love with a serenade on his part,
which he had himself composed and carefully practised up with his
faithful friends. On the very night preceding that in which he was
hoping to celebrate his greatest triumph in Nicolo Musso's theatre, he
stealthily slipped out of the house and went and fetched his
associates, with whom he had previously arranged matters. But no sooner
had they sounded the first few notes on their guitars than Michele,
whom Signor Pasquale had thoughtlessly forgotten to apprise of his
design, burst forth from behind the door, highly delighted at finding
that the opportunity which was to bring him in the promised reward had
at last come, and began to cudgel the musicians most unmercifully, with
the results of which we are already acquainted. Of course there was no
further mention made of either Splendiano or Pitichinaccio's
accompanying Signor Pasquale to Nicolo's theatre, for they were both
confined to their bed beplastered all over. Signor Pasquale, however,
was unable to stay away, although his back and shoulders were smarting
not a little from the drubbing he had himself received; every note in
his arias was a cord which drew him thither with irresistible power.

"Well now," said Salvator to Antonio, "since the obstacle which we took
to be insurmountable has been removed out of our way of itself, it all
depends now entirely upon your address not to let the favourable moment
slip for carrying off your Marianna from Nicolo's theatre. But I
needn't talk, you'll not fail; I will greet you now as the betrothed of
Capuzzi's lovely niece, who in a few days will be your wife. I wish you
happiness, Antonio, and yet I feel a shiver run through me when I think
upon your marriage."

"What do you mean, Salvator?" asked Antonio, utterly astounded.

"Call it a crotchet, call it a foolish fancy, or what you will,
Antonio," rejoined Salvator,--"at any rate I love the fair sex; but
there is not one, not even she on whom I foolishly dote, for whom I
would gladly die, but what excites in my heart, so soon as I think of a
union with her such as marriage is, a suspicion that makes me tremble
with a most unpleasant feeling of awe. That which is inscrutable in the
nature of woman mocks all the weapons of man. She whom we believe to
have surrendered herself to us entirely, heart and soul, whom we
believe to have unfolded all her character to us, is the first to
deceive us, and along with the sweetest of her kisses we imbibe the
most pernicious of poisons."

"And my Marianna?" asked Antonio, amazed.

"Pardon me, Antonio," continued Salvator, "even your Marianna, who is
loveliness and grace personified, has given me a fresh proof of how
dangerous the mysterious nature of woman is to us. Just call to mind
what was the behavior of that innocent, inexperienced child when we
carried her uncle home, how at a single glance from me she divined
everything--everything, I tell you, and, as you yourself admitted,
proceeded to play her part with the utmost sagacity. But that is not to
be at all compared with what took place on the occasion of Musso's
visit to the old gentleman. The most practised address, the most
impenetrable cunning,--in short, all the inventive arts of the most
experienced woman of the world could not have done more than little
Marianna did, in order to deceive the old gentleman with perfect
success. She could not have acted in any better way to prepare the
road for us for any kind of enterprise. Our feud with the cranky old
fool--any sort of cunning scheme seems justified, but--come, my dear
Antonio, never mind my fanciful crotchets, but be happy with your
Marianna; as happy as you can."

If a monk had taken his place beside Signor Pasquale when he set out
along with his niece to go to Nicolo Musso's theatre, everybody would
have thought that the strange pair were being led to execution. First
went valiant Michele, repulsive in appearance, and armed to the teeth;
then came Signor Pasquale and Marianna, followed by fully twenty
gendarmes.

Nicolo received the old gentleman and his lady with every mark of
respect at the entrance to the theatre, and conducted them to the seats
which had been reserved for them, immediately in front of the stage.
Signor Pasquale felt highly flattered by this mark of honour, and gazed
about him with proud and sparkling eyes, whilst his pleasure, his
joy, was greatly enhanced to find that all the seats near and behind
Marianna were occupied by women alone. A couple of violins and a
bass-fiddle were being tuned behind the curtains of the stage; the old
gentleman's heart beat with expectation; and when all at once the
orchestra struck up the _ritornello_ of his work, he felt an electric
thrill tingling in every nerve.

Formica came forward in the character of Pasquarello, and sang--sang in
Capuzzi's own voice, and with all his characteristic gestures, the most
hopeless aria that ever was heard. The theatre shook with the loud and
boisterous laughter of the audience. They shouted; they screamed
wildly, "O Pasquale Capuzzi! Our most illustrious composer and artist!
Bravo! Bravissimo!" The old gentleman, not perceiving the ridicule and
irony of the laughter, was in raptures of delight. The aria came to an
end, and the people cried "Sh! sh!" for Doctor Gratiano, played on this
occasion by Nicolo Musso himself, appeared on the stage, holding his
hands over his ears and shouting to Pasquarello for goodness' sake to
stop his ridiculous screeching.

Then the Doctor asked Pasquarello how long he had taken to the
confounded habit of singing, and where he had got that execrable piece
from.

Whereupon Pasquarello replied, that he didn't know what the Doctor
would have; he was like the Romans, and had no taste for real music,
since he failed to recognise the most talented of musicians. The aria
had been written by the greatest of living composers, in whose service
he had the good fortune to be, receiving instruction in both music and
singing from the master himself.

Gratiano then began guessing, and mentioned the names of a great number
of well-known composers and musicians, but at every distinguished name
Pasquarello only shook his head contemptuously.

At length Pasquarello said that the Doctor was only exposing gross
ignorance, since he did not know the name of the greatest composer of
the time. It was no other than Signor Pasquale Capuzzi, who had done
him the honour of taking him into his service. Could he not see that he
was the friend and servant of Signor Pasquale?

Then the Doctor broke out into a loud long roar of laughter, and cried.
What! Had he (Pasquarello) after running away from him (the Doctor),
with whom, besides getting his wages and food, he had had his palm
tickled with many a copper, had he gone and taken service with the
biggest and most inveterate old coxcomb who ever stuffed himself with
macaroni, to the patched Carnival fool who strutted about like a
satisfied old hen after a shower of rain, to the snarling skinflint,
the love-sick old poltroon, who infected the air of the Via Ripetta
with the disgusting bleating which he called singing? &c., &c.

To which Pasquarello, quite incensed, made reply that it was nothing
but envy which spoke in the Doctor's words; he (Pasquarello) was of
course speaking with his heart in his mouth (_parla col cuore in
mano_); the Doctor was not at all the man to pass an opinion upon
Signor Pasquale Capuzzi di Senigaglia; he was speaking with his heart
in his mouth. The Doctor himself had a strong tang of all that he
blamed in the excellent Signor Pasquale; but he was speaking with his
heart in his mouth; he (Pasquarello) had himself often heard fully six
hundred people at once laugh most heartily at Doctor Gratiano, and so
forth. Then Pasquarello spoke a long panegyric upon his new master,
Signor Pasquale, attributing to him all the virtues under the sun; and
he concluded with a description of his character, which he portrayed as
being the very essence of amiability and grace.

"Heaven bless you, Formica!" lisped Signor Capuzzi to himself; "Heaven
bless you, Formica! I perceive you have designed to make my triumph
perfect, since you are upbraiding the Romans for all their envious and
ungrateful persecution of me, and are letting them know _who_ I really
am."

"Ha! here comes my master himself," cried Pasquarello at this moment,
and there entered on the stage--Signor Pasquale Capuzzi himself, just
as he breathed and walked, his very clothes, face, gestures, gait,
postures, in fact so perfectly like Signor Capuzzi in the auditorium,
that the latter, quite aghast, let go Marianna's hand, which hitherto
he had held fast in his own, and tapped himself, his nose, his wig, in
order to discover whether he was not dreaming, or seeing double,
whether he was really sitting in Nicolo Musso's theatre and dare credit
the miracle.

Capuzzi on the stage embraced Doctor Gratiano with great kindness, and
asked how he was. The Doctor replied that he had a good appetite,
and slept soundly, at his service (_per servirlo_); and as for his
purse--well, it was suffering from a galloping consumption. Only
yesterday he had spent his last ducat for a pair of rosemary-coloured
stockings for his sweetheart, and was just going to walk round to one
or two bankers to see if he could borrow thirty ducats"----

"But how can you pass over your best friends?" said Capuzzi. "Here, my
dear sir, here are fifty ducats, come take them."

"Pasquale, what are you about?" said the real Capuzzi in an undertone.

Dr. Gratiano began to talk about a bond and about interest; but Signor
Capuzzi declared that he could not think of asking for either from such
a friend as the Doctor was.

"Pasquale, have you gone out of your senses?" exclaimed the real
Capuzzi a little louder.

After many grateful embraces Doctor Gratiano took his leave. Now
Pasquarello drew near with a good many bows, and extolled Signor
Capuzzi to the skies, adding, however, that his purse was suffering
from the same complaint as Gratiano's, and he begged for some of the
same excellent medicine that had cured his. Capuzzi on the stage
laughed, and said he was pleased to find that Pasquarello knew how to
turn his good humour to advantage, and threw him several glittering
ducats.

"Pasquale, you must be mad, possessed of the devil," cried the real
Capuzzi aloud. He was bidden be still.

Pasquarello went still further in his eulogy of Capuzzi, and came at
last to speak, of the aria which he (Capuzzi) had composed, and with
which he (Pasquarello) hoped to enchant everybody. The fictitious
Capuzzi clapped Pasquarello heartily on the back, and went on to say
that he might venture to tell him (Pasquarello), his faithful servant,
in confidence, that in reality he knew nothing whatever of the science
of music, and in respect to the aria of which he had just spoken, as
well as all pieces that he had ever composed, why, he had stolen them
out of Frescobaldi's canzonas and Carissimi's motets.

"I tell you you're lying in your throat, you knave," shouted the
Capuzzi off the stage, rising from his seat. Again he was bidden keep
still, and the woman who sat next him drew him down on the bench.

"It's now time to think about other and more important matters,"
continued Capuzzi on the stage. He was going to give a grand banquet
the next day, and Pasquarello must look alive and have everything that
was necessary prepared. Then he produced and read over a list of all
the rarest and most expensive dishes, making Pasquarello tell him how
much each would cost, and at the same time giving him the money for
them.

"Pasquale! You're insane! You've gone mad! You good-for-nothing scamp!
You spendthrift!" shouted the real Capuzzi at intervals, growing more
and more enraged the higher the cost of this the most nonsensical of
dinners rose.

At length, when the list was finished, Pasquarello asked what had
induced him to give such a splendid banquet.

"To-morrow will be the happiest and most joyous day of my life,"
replied the fictitious Capuzzi. "For know, my good Pasquarello, that I
am going to celebrate to-morrow the auspicious marriage of my dear
niece Marianna. I am going to give her hand to that brave young fellow,
the best of all artists, Scacciati."

Hardly had the words fallen from his lips when the real Capuzzi leapt
to his feet, utterly beside himself, quite out of his mind, his face
all aflame with the most fiendish rage, and doubling his fists and
shaking them at his counterpart on the stage, he yelled at the top of
his voice, "No, you won't, no, you won't, you rascal! you scoundrel,
you,--Pasquale! Do you mean to cheat yourself out of your Marianna, you
hound? Are you going to throw her in the arms of that scoundrel,--sweet
Marianna, thy life, thy hope, thy all? Ah! look to it! Look to it! you
infatuated fool. Just remember what sort of a reception you will meet
with from yourself. You shall beat yourself black and blue with your
own hands, so that you will have no relish to think about banquets and
weddings!"

But the Capuzzi on the stage doubled his fists like the Capuzzi
below, and shouted in exactly the same furious way, and in the same
high-pitched voice, "May all the spirits of hell sit at your heart, you
abominable nonsensical Pasquale, you atrocious skinflint--you love-sick
old fool--you gaudy tricked-out ass with the cap and bells dangling
about your ears. Take care lest I snuff out the candle of your life,
and so at length put an end to the infamous tricks which you try to
foist upon the good, honest, modest Pasquale Capuzzi."

Amidst the most fearful cursing and swearing of the real Capuzzi, the
one on the stage dished up one fine anecdote after the other about him.

"You'd better attempt," shouted at last the fictitious Capuzzi, "you
only dare, Pasquale, you amorous old ape, to interfere with the
happiness of these two young people, whom Heaven has destined for each
other."

At this moment there appeared at the back of the stage Antonio
Scacciati and Marianna locked in each other's arms. Albeit the old
gentleman was at other times somewhat feeble on his legs, yet now fury
gave him strength and agility. With a single bound he was on the stage,
had drawn his sword, and was charging upon the pretended Antonio. He
found, however, that he was held fast behind. An officer of the Papal
guard had stopped him, and said in a serious voice, "Recollect where
you are, Signor Pasquale; you are in Nicolo Musso's theatre. Without
intending it, you have today played a most ridiculous _rôle_. You will
not find either Antonio or Marianna here." The two persons whom Capuzzi
had taken for his niece and her lover now drew near, along with the
rest of the actors. The faces were all completely strange to him. His
rapier escaped from his trembling hand; he took a deep breath as if
awakening out of a bad dream; he grasped his brow with both hands; he
opened his eyes wide. The presentiment of what had happened suddenly
struck him, and he shouted, "Marianna!" in such a stentorian voice that
the walls rang again.

But she was beyond reach of his shouts. Antonio had taken advantage of
the opportunity whilst Pasquale, oblivious of all about him and even of
himself, was quarrelling with his double, to make his way to Marianna,
and back with her through the audience, and out at a side door, where a
carriage stood ready waiting; and away they went as fast as their
horses could gallop towards Florence.

"Marianna!" screamed the old man again, "Marianna! she is gone. She has
fled. That knave Antonio has stolen her from me. Away! after them! Have
pity on me, good people, and take torches and help me to look for my
little darling. Oh! you serpent!"

And he tried to make for the door. But the officer held him fast,
saying, "Do you mean that pretty young lady who sat beside you?
I believe I saw her slip out with a young man--I think Antonio
Scacciati--a long time ago, when you began your idle quarrel with one
of the actors who wore a mask like your face. You needn't make a
trouble of it; every inquiry shall at once be set on foot, and Marianna
shall be brought back to you as soon as she is found. But as for
yourself, Signor Pasquale, your behaviour here and your murderous
attempt upon the life of that actor compel me to arrest you."

Signor Pasquale, his face as pale as death, incapable of uttering a
single word or even a sound, was led away by the very same gendarmes
who were to have protected him against masked devils and spectres. Thus
it came to pass that on the selfsame night on which he had hoped to
celebrate his triumph, he was plunged into the midst of trouble and of
all the frantic despondency which amorous old fools feel when they are
deceived.



                                  VI.

_Salvator Rosa leaves Rome and goes to Florence. Conclusion of the
history._

Everything here below beneath the sun is subject to continual change;
and perhaps there is nothing which can be called more inconstant than
human opinion, which turns round in an everlasting circle like the
wheel of fortune. He who reaps great praise to-day is overwhelmed with
biting censure to-morrow; to-day we trample under foot the man who
to-morrow will be raised far above us.

Of all those who in Rome had ridiculed and mocked at old Pasquale
Capuzzi, with his sordid avarice, his foolish amorousness, his insane
jealousy, who did not wish poor tormented Marianna her liberty? But now
that Antonio had successfully carried off his mistress, all their
ridicule and mockery was suddenly changed into pity for the old fool,
whom they saw wandering about the streets of Rome with his head hanging
on his breast, utterly disconsolate. Misfortunes seldom come singly;
and so it happened that Signor Pasquale, soon after Marianna had been
taken from him, lost his best bosom-friends also. Little Pitichinaccio
choked himself in foolishly trying to swallow an almond-kernel in the
middle of a cadenza; but a sudden stop was put to the life of the
illustrious Pyramid Doctor Signor Splendiano Accoramboni by a slip of
the pen, for which he had only himself to blame. Michele's drubbing
made such work with him that he fell into a fever. He determined to
make use of a remedy which he claimed to have discovered, so, calling
for pen and ink, he wrote down a prescription in which, by employing a
wrong sign, he increased the quantity of a powerful substance to a
dangerous extent. But scarcely had he swallowed the medicine than he
sank back on the pillows and died, establishing, however, by his own
death in the most splendid and satisfactory manner the efficacy of the
last tincture which he ever prescribed.

As already remarked, all those whose laughter had been the loudest, and
who had repeatedly wished Antonio success in his schemes, had now
nothing but pity for the old gentleman; and the bitterest blame was
heaped, not so much upon Antonio, as upon Salvator Rosa, whom, to be
sure, they regarded as the instigator of the whole plan.

Salvator's enemies, of whom he had a goodly number, exerted all their
efforts to fan the flame. "See you," they said, "he was one of
Masaniello's doughty partisans, and is ready to turn his hand to any
deed of mischief, to any disreputable enterprise; we shall be the next
to suffer from his presence in the city; he is a dangerous man."

And the jealous faction who had leagued together against Salvator did
actually succeed in stemming the tide of his prosperous career. He sent
forth from his studio one picture after the other, all bold in
conception, and splendidly executed; but the so-called critics shrugged
their shoulders, now pointing out that the hills were too blue, the
trees too green, the figures now too long, now too broad, finding fault
everywhere where there was no fault to be found, and seeking to detract
from his hard-earned reputation in all the ways they could think of.
Especially bitter in their persecution of him were the Academicians of
St. Luke, who could not forget how he took them in about the surgeon;
they even went beyond the limits of their own profession, and decried
the clever stanzas which Salvator at that time wrote, hinting very
plainly that he did not cultivate his fruit on his own garden soil, but
plundered that of his neighbours. For these reasons, therefore,
Salvator could not manage to surround himself with the splendour which
he had lived amidst formerly in Rome. Instead of being visited by the
most eminent of the Romans in a large studio, he had to remain with
Dame Caterina and his green fig-tree; but amid these poor surroundings
he frequently found both consolation and tranquillity of mind.

Salvator took the malicious machinations of his enemies to heart more
than he ought to have done; he even began to feel that an insidious
disease, resulting from chagrin and dejection, was gnawing at his
vitals. In this unhappy frame of mind he designed and executed two
large pictures which excited quite an uproar in Rome. Of these one
represented the transitoriness of all earthly things, and in the
principal figure, that of a wanton female bearing all the indications
of her degrading calling about her, was recognised the mistress of one
of the cardinals; the other portrayed the Goddess of Fortune dispensing
her rich gifts. But cardinals' hats, bishops' mitres, gold medals,
decorations of orders, were falling upon bleating sheep, braying asses,
and other such like contemptible animals, whilst well-made men in
ragged clothes were vainly straining their eyes upwards to get even the
smallest gift. Salvator had given free rein to his embittered mood, and
the animals' heads bore the closest resemblance to the features of
various eminent persons. It is easy to imagine, therefore, how the tide
of hatred against him rose, and that he was more bitterly persecuted
than ever.

Dame Caterina warned him, with tears in her eyes, that as soon as it
began to be dark she had observed suspicious characters lurking about
the house and apparently dogging his every footstep. Salvator saw that
it was time to leave Rome; and Dame Caterina and her beloved daughters
were the only people whom it caused him pain to part from. In response
to the repeated invitations of the Duke of Tuscany,[6.1] he went to
Florence; and here at length he was richly indemnified for all the
mortification and worry which he had had to struggle against in Rome,
and here all the honour and all the fame which he so truly deserved
were freely conferred upon him. The Duke's presents and the high prices
which he received for his pictures soon enabled him to remove into a
large house and to furnish it in the most magnificent style. There he
was wont to gather round him the most illustrious authors and scholars
of the day, amongst whom it will be sufficient to mention Evangelista
Toricelli,[6.2] Valerio Chimentelli, Battista Ricciardi, Andrea
Cavalcanti, Pietro Salvati, Filippo Apolloni, Volumnio Bandelli,
Francesco Rovai. They formed an association for the prosecution of
artistic and scientific pursuits, whilst Salvator was able to
contribute an element of whimsicality to the meetings, which had a
singular effect in animating and enlivening the mind. The
banqueting-hall was like a beautiful grove with fragrant bushes and
flowers and splashing fountains; and the dishes even, which were served
up by pages in eccentric costumes, were very wonderful to look at, as
if they came from some distant land of magic. These meetings of writers
and savans in Salvator Rosa's house were called at that time the
Accademia de' Percossi.

Though Salvator's mind was in this way devoted to science and art, yet
his real true nature came to life again when he was with his friend
Antonio Scacciati, who, along with his lovely Marianna, led the
pleasant _sans souci_ life of an artist. They often recalled poor old
Signor Pasquale whom they had deceived, and all that had taken place in
Nicolo Musso's theatre. Antonio asked Salvator how he had contrived to
enlist in his cause the active interest not only of Musso but of the
excellent Formica, and of Agli too. Salvator replied that it had been
very easy, for Formica was his most intimate friend in Rome, so that it
had been a work of both pleasure and love to him to arrange everything
on the stage in accordance with the instructions Salvator gave him.
Antonio protested that, though still he could not help laughing over
the scene which had paved the way to his happiness, he yet wished with
all his heart to be reconciled to the old gentleman, even if he should
never touch a penny of Marianna's fortune, which the old gentleman had
confiscated; the practice of his art brought him in a sufficient
income. Marianna too was often unable to restrain her tears when she
thought that her father's brother might go down to his grave without
having forgiven her the trick which she had played upon him; and so
Pasquale's hatred overshadowed like a dark cloud the brightness of
their happiness. Salvator comforted them both--Antonio and Marianna--by
saying that time had adjusted still worse difficulties, and that chance
would perhaps bring the old gentleman near them in some less dangerous
way than if they had remained in Rome, or were to return there now.

We shall see that a prophetic spirit spoke in Salvator.

A considerable time elapsed, when one day Antonio burst into Salvator's
studio breathless and pale as death. "Salvator!" he cried, "Salvator,
my friend, my protector! I am lost if you do not help me. Pasquale
Capuzzi is here; he has procured a warrant for my arrest for the
seduction of his niece."

"But what can Signor Pasquale do against you now?" asked Salvator.
"Have you not been united to Marianna by the Church?"

"Oh!" replied Antonio, giving way completely to despair, "the blessing
of the Church herself cannot save me from ruin. Heaven knows by what
means the old man has been able to approach the Pope's nephew.[6.3] At
any rate the Pope's nephew has taken the old man under his protection,
and has infused into him the hope that the Holy Father will declare my
marriage with Marianna to be null and void; nay, yet further, that he
will grant him (the old man) dispensation to marry his niece."

"Stop!" cried Salvator, "now I see it all; now I see it all. What
threatens to be your ruin, Antonio, is this man's hatred against me.
For I must tell you that this nephew of the Pope's, a proud, coarse,
boorish clown, was amongst the animals in my picture to whom the
Goddess of Fortune is dispensing her gifts. That it was I who helped
you to win your Marianna, though indirectly, is well known, not only to
this man, but to all Rome,--which is quite reason enough to persecute
you since they cannot do anything to me. And so, Antonio, having
brought this misfortune upon you, I must make every effort to assist
you, and all the more that you are my dearest and most intimate friend.
But, by the saints! I don't see in what way I can frustrate your
enemies' little game"----

Therewith Salvator, who had continued to paint at a picture all the
time, laid aside brush, palette, and maulstick, and, rising up from his
easel, began to pace the room backwards and forwards, his arms crossed
over his breast, Antonio meanwhile being quite wrapt up in his own
thoughts, and with his eyes fixed unchangeably upon the floor.

At length Salvator paused before him and said with a smile, "See here,
Antonio, I cannot do anything myself against your powerful enemies, but
I know one who can help you, and who will help you, and that is--Signor
Formica."

"Oh!" said Antonio, "don't jest with an unhappy man, whom nothing can
save."

"What! you are despairing again?" exclaimed Salvator, who was now all
at once in the merriest humour, and he laughed aloud. "I tell you,
Antonio, my friend Formica shall help you in Florence as he helped you
in Rome. Go away quietly home and comfort your Marianna, and calmly
wait and see how things will turn out. I trust you will be ready at the
shortest notice to do what Signor Formica, who is really here in
Florence at the present time, shall require of you." This Antonio
promised most faithfully, and hope revived in him again, and
confidence.

Signor Pasquale Capuzzi was not a little astonished at receiving a
formal invitation from the Accademia de' Percossi. "Ah!" he exclaimed,
"Florence is the place then where a man's merits are recognised, where
Pasquale Capuzzi di Senigaglia, a man gifted with the most excellent
talents, is known and valued." Thus the thought of his knowledge and
his art, and the honour that was shown him on their account, overcame
the repugnance which he would otherwise have felt against a society at
the head of which stood Salvator Rosa. His Spanish gala-dress was more
carefully brushed than ever; his conical hat was equipped with a new
feather; his shoes were provided with new ribbons; and so Signor
Pasquale appeared at Salvator's as brilliant as a rose-chafer,[6.4] and
his face all sunshine. The magnificence which he saw on all sides of
him, even Salvator himself, who had received him dressed in the richest
apparel, inspired him with deep respect, and, after the manner of
little souls, who, though at first proud and puffed up, at once grovel
in the dust whenever they come into contact with what they feel to be
superior to themselves, Pasquale's behaviour towards Salvator, whom he
would gladly have done a mischief to in Rome, was nothing but humility
and submissive deference.

So much attention was paid to Signor Pasquale from all sides, his
judgment was appealed to so unconditionally, and so much was said about
his services to art, that he felt new life infused into his veins; and
an unusual spirit was awakened within him, so that his utterances on
many points were more sensible than might have been expected. If it be
added that never in his life before had he been so splendidly
entertained, and never had he drunk such inspiriting wine, it will
readily be conceived that his pleasure was intensified from moment to
moment, and that he forgot all the wrong which had been done him at
Rome as well as the unpleasant business which had brought him to
Florence. Often after their banquets the Academicians were wont to
amuse themselves with short impromptu dramatic representations, and so
this evening the distinguished playwright and poet Filippo Apolloni
called upon those who generally took part in them to bring the
festivities to a fitting conclusion with one of their usual
performances. Salvator at once withdrew to make all the necessary
preparations.

Not long afterwards the bushes at the farther end of the
banqueting-hall began to move, the branches with their foliage were
parted, and a little theatre provided with seats for the spectators
became visible.

"By the saints!" exclaimed Pasquale Capuzzi, terrified, "where am I?
Surely that's Nicolo Musso's theatre."

Without heeding his exclamation, Evangelista Toricelli and Andrea
Cavalcanti--both of them grave, respectable, venerable men--took him by
the arm and led him to a seat immediately in front of the stage, taking
their places on each side of him.

This was no sooner done than there appeared on the boards--Formica in
the character of Pasquarello.

"You reprobate, Formica!" shouted Pasquale, leaping to his feet and
shaking his doubled fist at the stage. Toricelli and Cavalcanti's
stern, reproving glances bade him sit still and keep quiet.

Pasquarello wept and sobbed, and cursed his destiny, which brought him
nothing but grief and heart-breaking, declared he didn't know how he
should ever set about it if he wanted to laugh again, and concluded by
saying that if he could look upon blood without fainting, he should
certainly cut his throat, or should throw himself in the Tiber if he
could only let that cursed swimming alone when he got into the water.

Doctor Gratiano now joined him, and inquired what was the cause of his
trouble.

Whereupon Pasquarello asked him whether he did not know anything about
what had taken place in the house of his master, Signor Pasquale
Capuzzi di Senigaglia, whether he did not know that an infamous
scoundrel had carried off pretty Marianna, his master's niece?

"Ah!" murmured Capuzzi, "I see you want to make your excuses to me,
Formica; you wish for my pardon--well, we shall see."

Doctor Gratiano expressed his sympathy, and observed that the scoundrel
must have gone to work very cunningly to have eluded all the inquiries
which had been instituted by Capuzzi.

"Ho! ho!" rejoined Pasquarello. "The Doctor need not imagine that the
scoundrel, Antonio Scacciati, had succeeded in escaping the sharpness
of Signor Pasquale Capuzzi, supported as he was, moreover, by powerful
friends. Antonio had been arrested, his marriage with Marianna
annulled, and Marianna herself had again come into Capuzzi's power.

"Has he got her again?" shouted Capuzzi, beside himself; "has he got
her again, good Pasquale? Has he got his little darling, his Marianna?
Is the knave Antonio arrested? Heaven bless you, Formica!"

"You take a too keen interest in the play, Signor Pasquale," said
Cavalcanti, quite seriously. "Pray permit the actors to proceed with
their parts without interrupting them in this disturbing fashion."

Ashamed of himself, Signor Pasquale resumed his seat, for he had again
risen to his feet.

Doctor Gratiano asked what had taken place then.

A wedding, continued Pasquarello, a wedding had taken place. Marianna
had repented of what she had done; Signor Pasquale had obtained the
desired dispensation from the Holy Father, and had married his niece.

"Yes, yes," murmured Pasquale Capuzzi to himself, whilst his eyes
sparkled with delight, "yes, yes, my dear, good Formica; he will marry
his sweet Marianna, the happy Pasquale. He knew that the dear little
darling had always loved him, and that it was only Satan who had led
her astray."

"Why then, everything is all right," said Doctor Gratiano, "and there's
no cause for lamentation."

Pasquarello began, however, to weep and sob more violently than before,
till at length, as if overcome by the terrible nature of his pain, he
fainted away. Doctor Gratiano ran backwards and forwards in great
distress, was so sorry he had no smelling-bottle with him, felt in all
his pockets, and at last produced a roasted chestnut, and put it under
the insensible Pasquarello's nose. He at once recovered, sneezing
violently, and begging him to attribute his faintness to his weak
nerves, he related how that, immediately after the marriage, Marianna
had been afflicted with the saddest melancholy, continually calling
upon Antonio, and treating the old gentleman with contempt and
aversion. But the old fellow, quite infatuated by his passion and
jealousy, had not ceased to torment the poor girl with his folly in the
most abominable way. And here Pasquarello mentioned a host of mad
tricks which Pasquale had done, and which were really current in Rome
about him. Signor Capuzzi sat on thorns; he murmured at intervals,
"Curse you, Formica! You are lying! What evil spirit is in you?" He was
only prevented from bursting out into a violent passion by Toricelli
and Cavalcanti, who sat watching him with an earnest gaze.

Pasquarello concluded his narration by telling that Marianna had at
length succumbed to her unsatisfied longing for her lover, her great
distress of mind, and the innumerable tortures which were inflicted
upon her by the execrable old fellow, and had died in the flower of her
youth.

At this moment was heard a mournful _De profundis_ sung by hollow,
husky voices, and men clad in long black robes appeared on the stage,
bearing an open coffin, within which was seen the corpse of lovely
Marianna wrapped in white shrouds. Behind it came Signor Pasquale
Capuzzi in the deepest mourning, feebly staggering along and wailing
aloud, beating his breast, and crying in a voice of despair, "O
Marianna! Marianna!"

So soon as the real Capuzzi caught sight of his niece's corpse he broke
out into loud lamentations, and both Capuzzis, the one on the stage and
the one off, gave vent to their grief in the most heartrending wails
and groans, "O Marianna! O Marianna! O unhappy me! Alas! Alas for me!"

Let the reader picture to himself the open coffin with the corpse of
the lovely child, surrounded by the hired mourners singing their dismal
_De profundis_ in hoarse voices, and then the comical masks of
Pasquarello and Dr. Gratiano, who were expressing their grief in the
most ridiculous gestures, and lastly the two Capuzzis, wailing and
screeching in despair. Indeed, all who were witnesses of the
extraordinary spectacle could not help feeling, even in the midst of
the unrestrained laughter they had burst out into at sight of the
wonderful old gentleman, that their hearts were chilled by a most
uncomfortable feeling of awe.

Now the stage grew dark, and it thundered and lightened, and there rose
up from below a pale ghostly figure, which bore most unmistakably the
features of Capuzzi's dead brother, Pietro of Senigaglia, Marianna's
father.

"O you infamous brother, Pasquale! what have you done with my daughter?
what have you done with my daughter?" wailed the figure, in a dreadful
and hollow voice. "Despair, you atrocious murderer of my child. You
shall find your reward in hell."

Capuzzi on the stage dropped on the floor as if struck by lightning,
and at the same moment the real Capuzzi reeled from his seat
unconscious. The bushes rustled together again, and the stage was gone,
and also Marianna and Capuzzi and the ghastly spectre Pietro. Signor
Pasquale Capuzzi lay in such a dead faint that it cost a good deal of
trouble to revive him.

At length he came to himself with a deep sigh, and, stretching out both
hands before him as if to ward off the horror that had seized him, he
cried in a husky voice, "Leave me alone, Pietro." Then a torrent of
tears ran down his cheeks, and he sobbed and cried, "Oh! Marianna, my
darling child--my--my Marianna." "But recollect yourself," said now
Cavalcanti, "recollect yourself, Signor Pasquale, it was only on the
stage that you saw your niece dead. She is alive; she is here to crave
pardon for the thoughtless step which love and also your own
inconsiderate conduct drove her to take."

And Marianna, and behind her Antonio Scacciati, now ran forward from
the back part of the hall and threw themselves at the old gentleman's
feet,--for he had meanwhile been placed in an easy chair. Marianna,
looking most charming and beautiful, kissed his hands and bathed them
with scalding tears, beseeching him to pardon both her and Antonio, to
whom she had been united by the blessing of the Church.

Suddenly the hot blood surged into the old man's pallid face, fury
flashed from his eyes, and he cried in a half-choked voice, "Oh! you
abominable scoundrel! You poisonous serpent whom I nourished in my
bosom!" Then old Toricelli, with grave and thoughtful dignity, put
himself in front of Capuzzi, and told him that he (Capuzzi) had seen a
representation of the fate that would inevitably and irremediably
overtake him if he had the hardihood to carry out his wicked purpose
against Antonio and Marianna's peace and happiness. He depicted in
startling colours the folly and madness of amorous old men, who call
down upon their own heads the most ruinous mischief which Heaven can
inflict upon a man, since all the love which might have fallen to their
share is lost, and instead hatred and contempt shoot their fatal darts
at them from every side.

At intervals lovely Marianna cried in a tone that went to everybody's
heart, "O my uncle, I will love and honour you as my own father; you
will kill me by a cruel death if you rob me of my Antonio." And all the
eminent men by whom the old gentleman was surrounded cried with one
accord that it would not be possible for a man like Signor Pasquale
Capuzzi di Senigaglia, a patron of art and himself an artist, not to
forgive the young people, and assume the part of father to the most
lovely of ladies, not possible that he could refuse to accept with joy
as his son-in-law such an artist as Antonio Scacciati, who was highly
esteemed throughout all Italy and richly crowned with fame and honour.

Then it was patent to see that a violent struggle went on within the
old gentleman. He sighed, moaned, clasped his hands before his face,
and, whilst Toricelli was continuing to speak in a most impressive
manner, and Marianna was appealing to him in the most touching accents,
and the rest were extolling Antonio all they knew how, he kept looking
down--now upon his niece, now upon Antonio, whose splendid clothes and
rich chains of honour bore testimony to the truth of what was said
about the artistic fame he had earned.

Gone was all rage out of Capuzzi's countenance; he sprang up with
radiant eyes, and pressed Marianna to his heart, saying, "Yes, I
forgive you, my dear child; I forgive you, Antonio. Far be it from me
to disturb your happiness. You are right, my worthy Signor Toricelli;
Formica has shown me in the tableau on the stage all the mischief and
ruin that would have befallen me had I carried out my insane design. I
am cured, quite cured of my folly. But where is Signor Formica, where
is my good physician? let me thank him a thousand times for my cure; it
is he alone who has accomplished it. The terror that he has caused me
to feel has brought about a complete revolution within me."

Pasquarello stepped forward. Antonio threw himself upon his neck,
crying, "O Signor Formica, you to whom I owe my life, my all--oh! take
off this disfiguring mask, that I may see your face, that Formica may
not be any longer a mystery to me."

Pasquarello took off his cap and his artificial mask, which looked like
a natural face, since it offered not the slightest hindrance to the
play of countenance, and this Formica, this Pasquarello, was
transformed into--Salvator Rosa.[6.5]

"Salvator!" exclaimed Marianna, Antonio, and Capuzzi, utterly
astounded.

"Yes," said that wonderful man, "it is Salvator Rosa, whom the Romans
would not recognise as painter and poet, but who in the character of
Formica drew from them, without their being aware of it, almost every
evening for more than a year, in Nicolo Musso's wretched little
theatre, the most noisy and most demonstrative storms of applause, from
whose mouth they willingly took all the scorn, and all the satiric
mockery of what is bad, which they would on no account listen to and
see in Salvator's poems and pictures. It is Salvator Formica who has
helped you, dear Antonio."

"Salvator," began old Capuzzi, "Salvator Rosa, albeit I have always
regarded you as my worst enemy, yet I have always prized your artistic
skill very highly, and now I love you as the worthiest friend I have,
and beg you to accept my friendship in return."

"Tell me," replied Salvator, "tell me, my worthy Signor Pasquale, what
service I can render you, and accept my assurances beforehand, that I
will leave no stone unturned to accomplish whatever you may ask of me."

And now the genial smile which had not been seen upon Capuzzi's face
since Marianna had been carried off, began to steal back again. Taking
Salvator's hand he lisped in a low voice, "My dear Signor Salvator, you
possess an unlimited influence over good Antonio; beseech him in my
name to permit me to spend the short rest of my days with him, and my
dear daughter Marianna, and to accept at my hands the inheritance left
her by her mother, as well as the good dowry which I was thinking of
adding to it. And he must not look jealous if I occasionally kiss the
dear sweet child's little white hand; and ask him--every Sunday at
least when I go to Mass, to trim up my rough moustache, for there's
nobody in all the wide world understands it so well as he does."

It cost Salvator an effort to repress his laughter at the strange old
man; but before he could make any reply, Antonio and Marianna,
embracing the old gentleman, assured him that they should not believe
he was fully reconciled to them, and should not be really happy, until
he came to live with them as their dear father, never to leave them
again. Antonio added that not only on Sunday, but every other day, he
would trim Capuzzi's moustache as elegantly as he knew how, and
accordingly the old gentleman was perfectly radiant with delight.
Meanwhile a splendid supper had been prepared, to which the entire
company now turned in the best of spirits.

In taking my leave of you, beloved reader, I wish with all my heart
that, whilst you have been reading the story of the wonderful Signor
Formica, you have derived as much pure pleasure from it as Salvator and
all his friends felt on sitting down to their supper.

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FOOTNOTES TO "SIGNOR FORMICA":

                                 PART I.

[Footnote 1.1: This tale was written for the Leipsic _Taschenbuch zum
geselligen Vergnügen_ for the year 1820.]

[Footnote 1.2: Respecting the facts of Salvator Rosa's life there
exists more than one disputed statement; and of these perhaps the most
disputed is his share of complicity (if any) in the evil doings of
Calabrian banditti. Poor, and of a wild and self-willed disposition,
but with a strong and independent character, he was unable to find a
suitable master in Naples, so, at the age of eighteen, he set out to
study the lineaments of nature face to face, and spent some time amidst
the grand and savage scenery of Calabria. Here it is certain that he
came into contact with the banditti who haunted those wild regions. He
is alleged to have been taken prisoner by a band, and to have become a
member of the troop. Accepting this as true, we may perhaps charitably
believe that he was prompted not so much by a regard for his own
safety, as by the wish to secure a rare opportunity for studying his
art unhindered, and also charitably hope that the accusations of his
enemies, that he actively participated in the deeds of his companions,
are unfounded, or, at any rate, exaggerations. It may be remarked that
the "Life and Times of Salvator Rosa" by Lady Morgan (1824) is
admittedly a romance rather than an accurate and faithful biography.]

[Footnote 1.3: Masaniello, a poor fisherman of Naples, was for a week
in July, 1647, absolute king of his native city. At that time Naples
was subject to the crown of Spain. The people, provoked by the
exasperating rapacity and extortion of the Viceroy of the King of
Spain, rose in rebellion, choosing Masaniello as their captain and
leader.]


[Footnote 1.4: Aniello Falcone (1600-65), teacher of Salvator Rosa and
founder of the _Compagnia della Morte_, painted battle-pieces which
bear a high reputation. His works are said to be scarce and much sought
after.]

[Footnote 1.5: At first the young fisherman administered stern but
impartial justice; but afterwards his mind seems to have reeled under
the intense excitement and strain of his position, and he began to act
the part of an arbitrary and cruel tyrant. Several hundreds of persons
are said to have been put to death by his order during the few days he
held power.]

[Footnote 1.6: Amongst them more than one by Salvator himself.]

[Footnote 1.7: A French painter and writer on painting; was born near
Bordeaux in 1746, and died at Paris in 1809. Besides other works he
wrote _Observations sur quelques grands peintres_ (1807).]

[Footnote 1.8: The sequin was a gold coin of Venice and Tuscany, worth
about 9s. 3d. It is sometimes used as equivalent to ducat (see note p.
98).]

[Footnote 1.9: The Corso is a wide thoroughfare running almost north
and south from the Piazza del Popolo, a square on the north side
of Rome, to the centre of the city. It is in the Corso that the
horse-races used to take place during the Carnival.]

[Footnote 1.10: The great painter Sanzio Raphael.]



                                PART II.


[Footnote 2.1: Annabale Caracci, a painter of Bologna of the latter
half of the sixteenth century. His most celebrated work is a series of
frescoes on mythological subjects in the Farnese Palace at Rome. Along
with his cousin Lodovico and his brother Agostino he founded the
so-called Eclectic School of Painting; their maxim was that "accurate
observation of Nature should be combined with judicious imitation of
the best masters." The Caracci enjoyed the highest reputation amongst
their contemporaries as teachers of their art. Annibale died in 1609;
Masaniello's revolt occurred, as already mentioned, in 1647; Antonio
must therefore have been at least fifty years of age. This however is
not the only anachronism that Hoffmann is guilty of.]

[Footnote 2.2: The well-known painter Guido, born in 1575 and died in
1642. He early excited the envy of Annibale Caracci.]

[Footnote 2.3: Mattia Preti, known as _Il Cavaliere Calabrese_, from
his having been born in Calabria. He was a painter of the Neapolitan
school and a pupil of Lanfranco, and lived during the greater part of
the seventeenth century. Owing to his many disputes and quarrels he was
more than once compelled to flee for his life.]

[Footnote 2.4: The Accademia di San Luca, a school of art, founded at
Rome about 1595, Federigo Zuccaro being its first director.]

[Footnote 2.5: Alessandro Tiarini (1577-1668) of Bologna, was a pupil
of the Caracci.]

[Footnote 2.6: Giovanni Francesco Gessi (1588-1649), sometimes called
"The second Guido," was a pupil of Guido.]

[Footnote 2.7: Sementi or Semenza (1580-1638), also a pupil of Guido.]

[Footnote 2.8: Giovanni Lanfranco (1581-1647), studied first under
Agostino Caracci. He was the first to encourage the early genius of
Salvator Rosa.]

[Footnote 2.9: Zampieri Domenichino (1581-1641) was a pupil of the
Caracci. The work here referred to is a series of frescoes, which he
did not live to quite finish, representing the events of the life of
St. Januarius, in the chapel of the Tesoro of the cathedral at Naples,
which he began in 1630.

The malicious spite which the text attributes to the rivals of
Domenichino is not at all exaggerated. There did really exist a
so-called "Cabal of Naples," consisting chiefly of the painters
Corenzio, Ribera, and Caracciolo, who leagued together to shut out all
competition from other artists; and their persecution of the Bolognese
Domenichino is well known. Often on returning to his work in the
morning he found that some one had obliterated what he had done on the
previous day.

Not only have we a faithful picture of the Italian artist's life in the
middle of the seventeenth century depicted in this tale, but the actual
facts of the lives of Salvator Rosa, of Preti, of the Caracci, as well
as the existence of Falcone's _Compagnia della Morte_, furnish ample
materials and illustrations of the wild lives they did lead, of their
jealousies and heartburnings, of their quarrelsomeness and
revengefulness. They seem to have been ready on all occasions to
exchange the brush for the sword. They were filled to overflowing with
restless energy. The atmosphere of the age they lived in was highly
charged with vigour of thought and an irrepressible vitality for
artistic production. Under the conditions which these things suppose
the artists of that age could not well have been otherwise than what
they were.]

[Footnote 2.10: Belisario Corenzio, a Greek (1558-1643). "Envious,
jealous, cunning, treacherous, quarrelsome, he looked upon all other
painters as his enemies."]

[Footnote 2.11: Giuseppe Ribera, called _Il Spagnoletto_, a Spaniard by
birth (1589), was a painter of the Neapolitan school, and delighted in
horrible and gloomy subjects. He died in 1656.]

[Footnote 2.12: Don Diego Velazquez de Silva, the great Spanish
painter, born in 1599, died in 1660. He twice visited Italy and Naples,
in 1629-31 and in 1648-51, and was for a time intimate with Ribera.]

[Footnote 2.13: This suggests the legend of Quentin Massys of Antwerp
and the fly, or the still older, but perhaps not more historical story
of the Greek painters, Zeuxis and the bunch of grapes, which the birds
came to peck at, and Parrhasius, whose curtain deceived even Zeuxis
himself.]

[Footnote 2.14: Giuseppe Cesari, colled Josépin or the Chevalier
d'Arpin, a painter of the Roman school, born in 1560 or 1568, died in
1640. He posed as an artistic critic in Rome during the later years of
his life, and his judgment was claimed by his friends to be
authoritative and final in all matters connected with art.]

[Footnote 2.15: In a previous note it was stated that the Via del Corse
ran from the Piazza del Popolo southwards to the centre of the city of
Rome. Besides this street there are two others which run from the same
square in almost the same direction, the Via di Ripetta and the Via del
Babuino, the former being to the west of the Via del Corso and the
latter to the east, and each gradually gets more distant from the Via
del Corso the farther it recedes from the Square. On the opposite side
of the Piazza del Popolo is the Porta del Popolo.]

[Footnote 2.16: Girolamo Frescobaldi, the most distinguished organist
of the seventeenth century, born about 1587 or 1588. He early won a
reputation both as a singer and as an organist.]

[Footnote 2.17: Senigaglia or Senigallia, a town on the Adriatic, in
the province of Ancona.]

[Footnote 2.18: Pietro Francesco Cavalli, whose real name was
Caletti-Bruni. He was organist at St. Mark's at Venice for about
thirty-six years (1640-1676). He composed both for the Church and for
the stage.]

[Footnote 2.19: Giacomo Carissimi, attached during the greater part of
his life to the church of San Apollinaris at Rome. He died in 1674. He
did much for musical art, perfecting recitative and advancing the
development of the sacred cantata. His accompaniments are generally
distinguished for "lightness and variety."]



                               PART III.


[Footnote 3.1: The first silver ducat is believed to have been struck
in 1140 by Roger II., Norman king of Sicily; and ducats have been
struck constantly since the twelfth century, especially at Venice (see
_Merchant of Venice_). They have varied considerably both in weight and
fineness, and consequently in value, at different times and places.
Ducats have been struck in both gold and silver. The early Venetian
silver ducat was worth about five shillings. The name is said,
according to one account, to have been derived from the last word of
the Latin legend found on the earliest Venetian gold coins:--_Sit tibi,
Christe, datus, quem tu regis, ducatus_ (duchy); according to another
account it is taken from "_il ducato_," the name generally applied to
the duchy of Apulia.]



                                PART IV.


[Footnote 4.1: Female parts continued to be played by boys in England
down to the Restoration (1660). The practice of women playing in female
parts was introduced somewhat earlier in Italy, but only in certain
kinds of performances.]

[Footnote 4.2: This word is undoubtedly connected with _Pasquillo_ (a
satire), or with _Pasquino_, a Roman cobbler of the fifteenth century,
whose shop stood near the Braschi Palace, near the Piazza Navona. He
lashed the follies of his day, particularly the vices of the clergy,
with caustic satire, scathing wit, and bitter stinging irony. After his
death his name was transferred to a mutilated statue, upon which such
satiric effusions continued to be fastened.

Pasquarello would thus combine the characteristics of the English clown
with those of the Roman Pasquino.]

[Footnote 4.3: Doctor Gratiano, a character in the popular Italian
theatre called _Commedia dell' Arte_, was represented as a Bolognese
doctor, and wore a mask with black nose and forehead and red cheeks.
His _rôle_ was that of a "pedantic and tedious poser."]



                                PART VI.

[Footnote 6.1: This was Ferdinand II., a member of the illustrious
Florentine family of the Medici. He upheld the family tradition by his
liberal patronage of science and letters.]

[Footnote 6.2: Evangelista Torricelli, the successor of the great
Galileo in the chair of philosophy and mathematics at Florence, is
inseparably associated with the discovery that water in a suction-pump
will only rise to the height of about thirty-two feet. This paved the
way to his invention of the barometer in 1643.

Other members of the Accademia de' Percossi were Dati, Lippi, Viviani,
Bandinelli, &c.]

[Footnote 6.3: An allusion to the well-known nepotism of the Popes. The
man here mentioned is one of the Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII.]

[Footnote 6.4: _Cetonia aurata_, L., called also the gold-chafer; it is
coloured green and gold.]

[Footnote 6.5: The painter Salvator Rosa did really play at Rome the
_rôle_ of Pasquarello here attributed to him; but it was on the
occasion of his second visit to the Eternal City about 1639. On the
other hand, it was after 1647 (the year of Masaniello's revolt at
Naples) that Salvator again came to Rome (the third visit), where he
stayed until he was obliged to flee farther, namely, to Florence, in
consequence of the two pictures already mentioned. It seems evident
therefore that Hoffmann has not troubled himself about his dates, or
strict historical fidelity, but seems rather to have combined the
incidents of the painter's two visits to Rome--_i.e._, his second and
his third visit.]



                            THE SAND-MAN.[1]


                          NATHANAEL TO LOTHAIR.

I know you are all very uneasy because I have not written for such a
long, long time. Mother, to be sure, is angry, and Clara, I dare say,
believes I am living here in riot and revelry, and quite forgetting my
sweet angel, whose image is so deeply engraved upon my heart and mind.
But that is not so; daily and hourly do I think of you all, and my
lovely Clara's form comes to gladden me in my dreams, and smiles upon
me with her bright eyes, as graciously as she used to do in the days
when I went in and out amongst you. Oh! how could I write to you in the
distracted state of mind in which I have been, and which, until now,
has quite bewildered me! A terrible thing has happened to me. Dark
forebodings of some awful fate threatening me are spreading themselves
out over my head like black clouds, impenetrable to every friendly ray
of sunlight. I must now tell you what has taken place; I must, that I
see well enough, but only to think upon it makes the wild laughter
burst from my lips. Oh! my dear, dear Lothair, what shall I say to make
you feel, if only in an inadequate way, that that which happened to me
a few days ago could thus really exercise such a hostile and disturbing
influence upon my life? Oh that you were here to see for yourself! but
now you will, I suppose, take me for a superstitious ghost-seer. In a
word, the terrible thing which I have experienced, the fatal effect of
which I in vain exert every effort to shake off, is simply that some
days ago, namely, on the 30th October, at twelve o'clock at noon, a
dealer in weather-glasses came into my room and wanted to sell me one
of his wares. I bought nothing, and threatened to kick him downstairs,
whereupon he went away of his own accord.

You will conclude that it can only be very peculiar relations--
relations intimately intertwined with my life--that can give
significance to this event, and that it must be the person of this
unfortunate hawker which has had such a very inimical effect upon me.
And so it really is. I will summon up all my faculties in order to
narrate to you calmly and patiently as much of the early days of my
youth as will suffice to put matters before you in such a way that your
keen sharp intellect may grasp everything clearly and distinctly, in
bright and living pictures. Just as I am beginning, I hear you laugh
and Clara say, "What's all this childish nonsense about!" Well, laugh
at me, laugh heartily at me, pray do. But, good God! my hair is
standing on end, and I seem to be entreating you to laugh at me in the
same sort of frantic despair in which Franz Moor entreated Daniel to
laugh him to scorn.[2] But to my story.

Except at dinner we, _i.e._, I and my brothers and sisters, saw but
little of our father all day long. His business no doubt took up most
of his time. After our evening meal, which, in accordance with an old
custom, was served at seven o'clock, we all went, mother with us, into
father's room, and took our places around a round table. My father
smoked his pipe, drinking a large glass of beer to it. Often he told us
many wonderful stories, and got so excited over them that his pipe
always went out; I used then to light it for him with a spill, and this
formed my chief amusement. Often, again, he would give us picture-books
to look at, whilst he sat silent and motionless in his easy-chair,
puffing out such dense clouds of smoke that we were all as it were
enveloped in mist. On such evenings mother was very sad; and directly
it struck nine she said, "Come, children! off to bed! Come! The
'Sand-man' is come I see." And I always did seem to hear something
trampling upstairs with slow heavy steps; that must be the Sand-man.
Once in particular I was very much frightened at this dull trampling
and knocking; as mother was leading us out of the room I asked her, "O
mamma! but who is this nasty Sand-man who always sends us away from
papa? What does he look like?" "There is no Sand-man, my dear child,"
mother answered; "when I say the Sand-man is come, I only mean that you
are sleepy and can't keep your eyes open, as if somebody had put sand
in them." This answer of mother's did not satisfy me; nay, in my
childish mind the thought clearly unfolded itself that mother denied
there was a Sand-man only to prevent us being afraid,--why, I always
heard him come upstairs. Full of curiosity to learn something more
about this Sand-man and what he had to do with us children, I at length
asked the old woman who acted as my youngest sister's attendant, what
sort of a man he was--the Sand-man? "Why, 'thanael, darling, don't you
know?" she replied. "Oh! he's a wicked man, who comes to little
children when they won't go to bed and throws handfuls of sand in their
eyes, so that they jump out of their heads all bloody; and he puts them
into a bag and takes them to the half-moon as food for his little ones;
and they sit there in the nest and have hooked beaks like owls, and
they pick naughty little boys' and girls' eyes out with them." After
this I formed in my own mind a horrible picture of the cruel Sand-man.
When anything came blundering upstairs at night I trembled with fear
and dismay; and all that my mother could get out of me were the
stammered words "The Sandman! the Sand-man!" whilst the tears coursed
down my cheeks. Then I ran into my bedroom, and the whole night through
tormented myself with the terrible apparition of the Sand-man. I
was quite old enough to perceive that the old woman's tale about the
Sand-man and his little ones' nest in the half-moon couldn't be
altogether true; nevertheless the Sand-man continued to be for me a
fearful incubus, and I was always seized with terror--my blood always
ran cold, not only when I heard anybody come up the stairs, but when I
heard anybody noisily open my father's room door and go in. Often he
stayed away for a long season altogether; then he would come several
times in close succession.

This went on for years, without my being able to accustom myself to
this fearful apparition, without the image of the horrible Sand-man
growing any fainter in my imagination. His intercourse with my father
began to occupy my fancy ever more and more; I was restrained from
asking my father about him by an unconquerable shyness; but as the
years went on the desire waxed stronger and stronger within me to
fathom the mystery myself and to see the fabulous Sand-man. He had been
the means of disclosing to me the path of the wonderful and the
adventurous, which so easily find lodgment in the mind of the child. I
liked nothing better than to hear or read horrible stories of goblins,
witches, Tom Thumbs, and so on; but always at the head of them all
stood the Sand-man, whose picture I scribbled in the most extraordinary
and repulsive forms with both chalk and coal everywhere, on the tables,
and cupboard doors, and walls. When I was ten years old my mother
removed me from the nursery into a little chamber off the corridor not
far from my father's room. We still had to withdraw hastily whenever,
on the stroke of nine, the mysterious unknown was heard in the house.
As I lay in my little chamber I could hear him go into father's room,
and soon afterwards I fancied there was a fine and peculiar smelling
steam spreading itself through the house. As my curiosity waxed
stronger, my resolve to make somehow or other the Sand-man's
acquaintance took deeper root. Often when my mother had gone past, I
slipped quickly out of my room into the corridor, but I could never see
anything, for always before I could reach the place where I could get
sight of him, the Sand-man was well inside the door. At last, unable to
resist the impulse any longer, I determined to conceal myself in
father's room and there wait for the Sand-man.

One evening I perceived from my father's silence and mother's sadness
that the Sand-man would come; accordingly, pleading that I was
excessively tired, I left the room before nine o'clock and concealed
myself in a hiding-place close beside the door. The street door
creaked, and slow, heavy, echoing steps crossed the passage towards
the stairs. Mother hurried past me with my brothers and sisters.
Softly--softly--I opened father's room door. He sat as usual, silent
and motionless, with his back towards it; he did not hear me; and in a
moment I was in and behind a curtain drawn before my father's open
wardrobe, which stood just inside the room. Nearer and nearer and
nearer came the echoing footsteps. There was a strange coughing and
shuffling and mumbling outside. My heart beat with expectation and
fear. A quick step now close, close beside the door, a noisy rattle of
the handle, and the door flies open with a bang. Recovering my courage
with an effort, I take a cautious peep out. In the middle of the room
in front of my father stands the Sand-man, the bright light of the lamp
falling full upon his face. The Sand-man, the terrible Sand-man, is the
old advocate _Coppelius_ who often comes to dine with us.

But the most hideous figure could not have awakened greater trepidation
in my heart than this Coppelius did. Picture to yourself a large
broad-shouldered man, with an immensely big head, a face the colour of
yellow-ochre, grey bushy eyebrows, from beneath which two piercing,
greenish, cat-like eyes glittered, and a prominent Roman nose hanging
over his upper lip. His distorted mouth was often screwed up into a
malicious smile; then two dark-red spots appeared on his cheeks, and a
strange hissing noise proceeded from between his tightly clenched
teeth. He always wore an ash-grey coat of an old-fashioned cut, a
waistcoat of the same, and nether extremities to match, but black
stockings and buckles set with stones on his shoes. His little wig
scarcely extended beyond the crown of his head, his hair was curled
round high up above his big red ears, and plastered to his temples with
cosmetic, and a broad closed hair-bag stood out prominently from his
neck, so that you could see the silver buckle that fastened his folded
neck-cloth. Altogether he was a most disagreeable and horribly ugly
figure; but what we children detested most of all was his big coarse
hairy hands; we could never fancy anything that he had once touched.
This he had noticed; and so, whenever our good mother quietly placed a
piece of cake or sweet fruit on our plates, he delighted to touch it
under some pretext or other, until the bright tears stood in our eyes,
and from disgust and loathing we lost the enjoyment of the tit-bit that
was intended to please us. And he did just the same thing when father
gave us a glass of sweet wine on holidays. Then he would quickly pass
his hand over it, or even sometimes raise the glass to his blue lips,
and he laughed quite sardonically when all we dared do was to express
our vexation in stifled sobs. He habitually called us the "little
brutes;" and when he was present we might not utter a sound; and we
cursed the ugly spiteful man who deliberately and intentionally spoilt
all our little pleasures. Mother seemed to dislike this hateful
Coppelius as much as we did; for as soon as he appeared her
cheerfulness and bright and natural manner were transformed into sad,
gloomy seriousness. Father treated him as if he were a being of some
higher race, whose ill-manners were to be tolerated, whilst no efforts
ought to be spared to keep him in good-humour. He had only to give a
slight hint, and his favourite dishes were cooked for him and rare wine
uncorked.

As soon as I saw this Coppelius, therefore, the fearful and hideous
thought arose in my mind that he, and he alone, must be the Sand-man;
but I no longer conceived of the Sand-man as the bugbear in the
old nurse's fable, who fetched children's eyes and took them to the
half-moon as food for his little ones--no! but as an ugly spectre-like
fiend bringing trouble and misery and ruin, both temporal and
everlasting, everywhere wherever he appeared.

I was spell-bound on the spot. At the risk of being discovered, and, as
I well enough knew, of being severely punished, I remained as I was,
with my head thrust through the curtains listening. My father received
Coppelius in a ceremonious manner. "Come, to work!" cried the latter,
in a hoarse snarling voice, throwing off his coat. Gloomily and
silently my father took off his dressing-gown, and both put on long
black smock-frocks. Where they took them from I forgot to notice.
Father opened the folding-doors of a cupboard in the wall; but I saw
that what I had so long taken to be a cupboard was really a dark
recess, in which was a little hearth. Coppelius approached it, and a
blue flame crackled upwards from it. Round about were all kinds of
strange utensils. Good God! as my old father bent down over the fire
how different he looked! His gentle and venerable features seemed to be
drawn up by some dreadful convulsive pain into an ugly, repulsive
Satanic mask. He looked like Coppelius. Coppelius plied the red-hot
tongs and drew bright glowing masses out of the thick smoke and began
assiduously to hammer them. I fancied that there were men's faces
visible round about, but without eyes, having ghastly deep black holes
where the eyes should have been. "Eyes here! Eyes here!" cried
Coppelius, in a hollow sepulchral voice. My blood ran cold with horror;
I screamed and tumbled out of my hiding-place into the floor. Coppelius
immediately seized upon me. "You little brute! You little brute!" he
bleated, grinding his teeth. Then, snatching me up, he threw me on
the hearth, so that the flames began to singe my hair. "Now we've got
eyes--eyes--a beautiful pair of children's eyes," he whispered, and,
thrusting his hands into the flames he took out some red-hot grains and
was about to strew them into my eyes. Then my father clasped his hands
and entreated him, saying, "Master, master, let my Nathanael keep his
eyes--oh! do let him keep them." Coppelius laughed shrilly and replied,
"Well then, the boy may keep his eyes and whine and pule his way
through the world; but we will now at any rate observe the mechanism of
the hand and the foot." And therewith he roughly laid hold upon me, so
that my joints cracked, and twisted my hands and my feet, pulling them
now this way, and now that, "That's not quite right altogether! It's
better as it was!--the old fellow knew what he was about." Thus lisped
and hissed Coppelius; but all around me grew black and dark; a sudden
convulsive pain shot through all my nerves and bones; I knew nothing
more.

I felt a soft warm breath fanning my cheek; I awakened as if out of the
sleep of death; my mother was bending over me. "Is the Sand-man still
there?" I stammered. "No, my dear child; he's been gone a long, long
time; he'll not hurt you." Thus spoke my mother, as she kissed her
recovered darling and pressed him to her heart. But why should I tire
you, my dear Lothair? why do I dwell at such length on these details,
when there's so much remains to be said? Enough--I was detected in my
eavesdropping, and roughly handled by Coppelius. Fear and terror had
brought on a violent fever, of which I lay ill several weeks. "Is the
Sand-man still there?" these were the first words I uttered on coming
to myself again, the first sign of my recovery, of my safety. Thus, you
see, I have only to relate to you the most terrible moment of my youth
for you to thoroughly understand that it must not be ascribed to the
weakness of my eyesight if all that I see is colourless, but to the
fact that a mysterious destiny has hung a dark veil of clouds about my
life, which I shall perhaps only break through when I die.

Coppelius did not show himself again; it was reported he had left the
town.

It was about a year later when, in pursuance of the old unchanged
custom, we sat around the round table in the evening. Father was in
very good spirits, and was telling us amusing tales about his youthful
travels. As it was striking nine we all at once heard the street door
creak on its hinges, and slow ponderous steps echoed across the passage
and up the stairs. "That is Coppelius," said my mother, turning pale.
"Yes, it is Coppelius," replied my father in a faint broken voice. The
tears started from my mother's eyes. "But, father, father," she cried,
"must it be so?" "This is the last time," he replied; "this is the
last time he will come to me, I promise you. Go now, go and take the
children. Go, go to bed--good-night."

As for me, I felt as if I were converted into cold, heavy stone; I
could not get my breath. As I stood there immovable my mother seized me
by the arm. "Come, Nathanael! do come along!" I suffered myself to be
led away; I went into my room. "Be a good boy and keep quiet," mother
called after me; "get into bed and go to sleep." But, tortured by
indescribable fear and uneasiness, I could not close my eyes. That
hateful, hideous Coppelius stood before me with his glittering eyes,
smiling maliciously down upon me; in vain did I strive to banish the
image. Somewhere about midnight there was a terrific crack, as if a
cannon were being fired off. The whole house shook; something went
rustling and clattering past my door; the house-door was pulled to with
a bang. "That is Coppelius," I cried, terror-struck, and leapt out of
bed. Then I heard a wild heartrending scream; I rushed into my father's
room; the door stood open, and clouds of suffocating smoke came rolling
towards me. The servant-maid shouted, "Oh! my master! my master!" On
the floor in front of the smoking hearth lay my father, dead, his face
burned black and fearfully distorted, my sisters weeping and moaning
around him, and my mother lying near them in a swoon. "Coppelius, you
atrocious fiend, you've killed my father," I shouted. My senses left
me. Two days later, when my father was placed in his coffin, his
features were mild and gentle again as they had been when he was alive.
I found great consolation in the thought that his association with the
diabolical Coppelius could not have ended in his everlasting ruin.

Our neighbours had been awakened by the explosion; the affair got
talked about, and came before the magisterial authorities, who wished
to cite Coppelius to clear himself. But he had disappeared from the
place, leaving no traces behind him.

Now when I tell you, my dear friend, that the weather-glass hawker I
spoke of was the villain Coppelius, you will not blame me for seeing
impending mischief in his inauspicious reappearance. He was differently
dressed; but Coppelius's figure and features are too deeply impressed
upon my mind for me to be capable of making a mistake in the matter.
Moreover, he has not even changed his name. He proclaims himself here,
I learn, to be a Piedmontese mechanician, and styles himself Giuseppe
Coppola.

I am resolved to enter the lists against him and revenge my father's
death, let the consequences be what they may.

Don't say a word to mother about the reappearance of this odious
monster. Give my love to my darling Clara; I will write to her when I
am in a somewhat calmer frame of mind. Adieu, &c.

                         *   *   *   *   *   *

                          CLARA TO NATHANAEL.

You are right, you have not written to me for a very long time, but
nevertheless I believe that I still retain a place in your mind and
thoughts. It is a proof that you were thinking a good deal about me
when you were sending off your last letter to brother Lothair, for
instead of directing it to him you directed it to me. With joy I tore
open the envelope, and did not perceive the mistake until I read the
words, "Oh! my dear, dear Lothair." Now I know I ought not to have read
any more of the letter, but ought to have given it to my brother. But
as you have so often in innocent raillery made it a sort of reproach
against me that I possessed such a calm, and, for a woman, cool-headed
temperament that I should be like the woman we read of--if the house
was threatening to tumble down, I should, before hastily fleeing, stop
to smooth down a crumple in the window-curtains--I need hardly tell you
that the beginning of your letter quite upset me. I could scarcely
breathe; there was a bright mist before my eyes. Oh! my darling
Nathanael! what could this terrible thing be that had happened?
Separation from you--never to see you again, the thought was like a
sharp knife in my heart. I read on and on. Your description of that
horrid Coppelius made my flesh creep. I now learnt for the first time
what a terrible and violent death your good old father died. Brother
Lothair, to whom I handed over his property, sought to comfort me, but
with little success. That horrid weather-glass hawker Giuseppe Coppola
followed me everywhere; and I am almost ashamed to confess it, but he
was able to disturb my sound and in general calm sleep with all sorts
of wonderful dream-shapes. But soon--the next day--I saw everything in
a different light. Oh! do not be angry with me, my best-beloved, if,
despite your strange presentiment that Coppelius will do you some
mischief, Lothair tells you I am in quite as good spirits, and just the
same as ever.

I will frankly confess, it seems to me that all that was fearsome and
terrible of which you speak, existed only in your own self, and that
the real true outer world had but little to do with it. I can quite
admit that old Coppelius may have been highly obnoxious to you
children, but your real detestation of him arose from the fact that he
hated children.

Naturally enough the gruesome Sand-man of the old nurse's story was
associated in your childish mind with old Coppelius, who, even though
you had not believed in the Sand-man, would have been to you a ghostly
bugbear, especially dangerous to children. His mysterious labours along
with your father at night-time were, I daresay, nothing more than
secret experiments in alchemy, with which your mother could not be over
well pleased, owing to the large sums of money that most likely were
thrown away upon them; and besides, your father, his mind full of the
deceptive striving after higher knowledge, may probably have become
rather indifferent to his family, as so often happens in the case of
such experimentalists. So also it is equally probable that your father
brought about his death by his own imprudence, and that Coppelius is
not to blame for it. I must tell you that yesterday I asked our
experienced neighbour, the chemist, whether in experiments of this kind
an explosion could take place which would have a momentarily fatal
effect. He said, "Oh, certainly!" and described to me in his prolix and
circumstantial way how it could be occasioned, mentioning at the same
time so many strange and funny words that I could not remember them at
all. Now I know you will be angry at your Clara, and will say, "Of the
Mysterious which often clasps man in its invisible arms there's not a
ray can find its way into this cold heart. She sees only the varied
surface of the things of the world, and, like the little child, is
pleased with the golden glittering fruit; at the kernel of which lies
the fatal poison."

Oh! my beloved Nathanael, do you believe then that the intuitive
prescience of a dark power working within us to our own ruin cannot
exist also in minds which are cheerful, natural, free from care? But
please forgive me that I, a simple girl, presume in any way to indicate
to you what I really think of such an inward strife. After all, I
should not find the proper words, and you would only laugh at me, not
because my thoughts were stupid, but because I was so foolish as to
attempt to tell them to you.

If there is a dark and hostile power which traitorously fixes a thread
in our hearts in order that, laying hold of it and drawing us by means
of it along a dangerous road to ruin, which otherwise we should not
have trod--if, I say, there is such a power, it must assume within us a
form like ourselves, nay, it must be ourselves; for only in that way
can we believe in it, and only so understood do we yield to it so far
that it is able to accomplish its secret purpose. So long as we have
sufficient firmness, fortified by cheerfulness, to always acknowledge
foreign hostile influences for what they really are, whilst we quietly
pursue the path pointed out to us by both inclination and calling, then
this mysterious power perishes in its futile struggles to attain the
form which is to be the reflected image of ourselves. It is also
certain, Lothair adds, that if we have once voluntarily given ourselves
up to this dark physical power, it often reproduces within us the
strange forms which the outer world throws in our way, so that thus it
is we ourselves who engender within ourselves the spirit which by some
remarkable delusion we imagine to speak in that outer form. It is the
phantom of our own self whose intimate relationship with, and whose
powerful influence upon our soul either plunges us into hell or
elevates us to heaven. Thus you will see, my beloved Nathanael, that I
and brother Lothair have well talked over the subject of dark powers
and forces; and now, after I have with some difficulty written down the
principal results of our discussion, they seem to me to contain many
really profound thoughts. Lothair's last words, however, I don't quite
understand altogether; I only dimly guess what he means; and yet I
cannot help thinking it is all very true, I beg you, dear, strive to
forget the ugly advocate Coppelius as well as the weather-glass hawker
Giuseppe Coppola. Try and convince yourself that these foreign
influences can have no power over you, that it is only the belief in
their hostile power which can in reality make them dangerous to you. If
every line of your letter did not betray the violent excitement of your
mind, and if I did not sympathise with your condition from the bottom
of my heart, I could in truth jest about the advocate Sand-man and
weather-glass hawker Coppelius. Pluck up your spirits! Be cheerful! I
have resolved to appear to you as your guardian-angel if that ugly man
Coppola should dare take it into his head to bother you in your dreams,
and drive him away with a good hearty laugh. I'm not afraid of him and
his nasty hands, not the least little bit; I won't let him either as
advocate spoil any dainty tit-bit I've taken, or as Sand-man rob me of
my eyes.
                               My darling, darling Nathanael,
                                         Eternally your, &c. &c.


                         *   *   *   *   *   *

                         NATHANAEL TO LOTHAIR.

I am very sorry that Clara opened and read my last letter to you; of
course the mistake is to be attributed to my own absence of mind. She
has written me a very deep philosophical letter, proving conclusively
that Coppelius and Coppola only exist in my own mind and are phantoms
of my own self, which will at once be dissipated, as soon as I look
upon them in that light. In very truth one can hardly believe that the
mind which so often sparkles in those bright, beautifully smiling,
childlike eyes of hers like a sweet lovely dream could draw such subtle
and scholastic distinctions. She also mentions your name. You have been
talking about me. I suppose you have been giving her lectures, since
she sifts and refines everything so acutely. But enough of this!
I must now tell you it is most certain that the weather-glass hawker
Giuseppe Coppola is not the advocate Coppelius. I am attending the
lectures of our recently appointed Professor of Physics, who, like the
distinguished naturalist,[3] is called Spalanzani, and is of Italian
origin. He has known Coppola for many years; and it is also easy to
tell from his accent that he really is a Piedmontese. Coppelius was a
German, though no honest German, I fancy. Nevertheless I am not quite
satisfied. You and Clara will perhaps take me for a gloomy dreamer, but
nohow can I get rid of the impression which Coppelius's cursed face
made upon me. I am glad to learn from Spalanzani that he has left the
town. This Professor Spalanzani is a very queer fish. He is a little
fat man, with prominent cheek-bones, thin nose, projecting lips, and
small piercing eyes. You cannot get a better picture of him than by
turning over one of the Berlin pocket-almanacs[4] and looking at
Cagliostro's[5] portrait engraved by Chodowiecki;[6] Spalanzani looks
just like him.

Once lately, as I went up the steps to his house, I perceived that
beside the curtain which generally covered a glass door there was a
small chink. What it was that excited my curiosity I cannot explain;
but I looked through. In the room I saw a female, tall, very slender,
but of perfect proportions, and splendidly dressed, sitting at a little
table, on which she had placed both her arms, her hands being folded
together. She sat opposite the door, so that I could easily see her
angelically beautiful face. She did not appear to notice me, and there
was moreover a strangely fixed look about her eyes, I might almost say
they appeared as if they had no power of vision; I thought she was
sleeping with her eyes open. I felt quite uncomfortable, and so I
slipped away quietly into the Professor's lecture-room, which was close
at hand. Afterwards I learnt that the figure which I had seen was
Spalanzani's daughter, Olimpia, whom he keeps locked in a most wicked
and unaccountable way, and no man is ever allowed to come near her.
Perhaps, however, there is after all, something peculiar about her;
perhaps she's an idiot or something of that sort. But why am I telling
you all this? I could have told you it all better and more in detail
when I see you. For in a fortnight I shall be amongst you. I must
see my dear sweet angel, my Clara, again. Then the little bit of
ill-temper, which, I must confess, took possession of me after her
fearfully sensible letter, will be blown away. And that is the reason
why I am not writing to her as well to-day. With all best wishes, &c.

                         *   *   *   *   *   *

Nothing more strange and extraordinary can be imagined, gracious
reader, than what happened to my poor friend, the young student
Nathanael, and which I have undertaken to relate to you. Have you ever
lived to experience anything that completely took possession of your
heart and mind and thoughts to the utter exclusion of everything else?
All was seething and boiling within you; your blood, heated to fever
pitch, leapt through your veins and inflamed your cheeks. Your gaze was
so peculiar, as if seeking to grasp in empty space forms not seen of
any other eye, and all your words ended in sighs betokening some
mystery. Then your friends asked you, "What is the matter with you, my
dear friend? What do you see?" And, wishing to describe the inner
pictures in all their vivid colours, with their lights and their
shades, you in vain struggled to find words with which to express
yourself. But you felt as if you must gather up all the events that had
happened, wonderful, splendid, terrible, jocose, and awful, in the very
first word, so that the whole might be revealed by a single electric
discharge, so to speak. Yet every word and all that partook of the
nature of communication by intelligible sounds seemed to be
colourless, cold, and dead. Then you try and try again, and stutter and
stammer, whilst your friends' prosy questions strike like icy winds
upon your heart's hot fire until they extinguish it. But if, like a
bold painter, you had first sketched in a few audacious strokes the
outline of the picture you had in your soul, you would then easily have
been able to deepen and intensify the colours one after the other,
until the varied throng of living figures carried your friends away,
and they, like you, saw themselves in the midst of the scene that had
proceeded out of your own soul.

Strictly speaking, indulgent reader, I must indeed confess to you,
nobody has asked me for the history of young Nathanael; but you are
very well aware that I belong to that remarkable class of authors who,
when they are bearing anything about in their minds in the manner I
have just described, feel as if everybody who comes near them, and also
the whole world to boot, were asking, "Oh! what is it? Oh! do tell us,
my good sir?" Hence I was most powerfully impelled to narrate to you
Nathanael's ominous life. My soul was full of the elements of wonder
and extraordinary peculiarity in it; but, for this very reason, and
because it was necessary in the very beginning to dispose you,
indulgent reader, to bear with what is fantastic--and that is not a
little thing--I racked my brain to find a way of commencing the story
in a significant and original manner, calculated to arrest your
attention. To begin with "Once upon a time," the best beginning for a
story, seemed to me too tame; with "In the small country town S----
lived," rather better, at any rate allowing plenty of room to work up
to the climax; or to plunge at once _in medias res_, "'Go to the
devil!' cried the student Nathanael, his eyes blazing wildly with rage
and fear, when the weather-glass hawker Giuseppe Coppola"--well, that
is what I really had written, when I thought I detected something of
the ridiculous in Nathanael's wild glance; and the history is anything
but laughable. I could not find any words which seemed fitted to
reflect in even the feeblest degree the brightness of the colours of my
mental vision. I determined not to begin at all. So I pray you,
gracious reader, accept the three letters which my friend Lothair has
been so kind as to communicate to me as the outline of the picture,
into which I will endeavour to introduce more and more colour as I
proceed with my narrative. Perhaps, like a good portrait-painter, I may
succeed in depicting more than one figure in such wise that you will
recognise it as a good likeness without being acquainted with the
original, and feel as if you had very often seen the original with your
own bodily eyes. Perhaps, too, you will then believe that nothing is
more wonderful, nothing more fantastic than real life, and that all
that a writer can do is to present it as a dark reflection from a dim
cut mirror.

In order to make the very commencement more intelligible, it is
necessary to add to the letters that, soon after the death of
Nathanael's father, Clara and Lothair, the children of a distant
relative, who had likewise died, leaving them orphans, were taken by
Nathanael's mother into her own house. Clara and Nathanael conceived a
warm affection for each other, against which not the slightest
objection in the world could be urged. When therefore Nathanael left
home to prosecute his studies in G----, they were betrothed. It is from
G---- that his last letter is written, where he is attending the
lectures of Spalanzani, the distinguished Professor of Physics.

I might now proceed comfortably with my narration, did not at this
moment Clara's image rise up so vividly before my eyes that I cannot
turn them away from it, just as I never could when she looked upon me
and smiled so sweetly. Nowhere would she have passed for beautiful;
that was the unanimous opinion of all who professed to have any
technical knowledge of beauty. But whilst architects praised the pure
proportions of her figure and form, painters averred that her neck,
shoulders, and bosom were almost too chastely modelled, and yet, on the
other hand, one and all were in love with her glorious Magdalene hair,
and talked a good deal of nonsense about Battoni-like[7] colouring. One
of them, a veritable romanticist, strangely enough likened her eyes to
a lake by Ruisdael,[8] in which is reflected the pure azure of the
cloudless sky, the beauty of woods and flowers, and all the bright and
varied life of a living landscape. Poets and musicians went still
further and said, "What's all this talk about seas and reflections? How
can we look upon the girl without feeling that wonderful heavenly songs
and melodies beam upon us from her eyes, penetrating deep down into our
hearts, till all becomes awake and throbbing with emotion? And if we
cannot sing anything at all passable then, why, we are not worth much;
and this we can also plainly read in the rare smile which flits around
her lips when we have the hardihood to squeak out something in her
presence which we pretend to call singing, in spite of the fact that it
is nothing more than a few single notes confusedly linked together."
And it really was so. Clara had the powerful fancy of a bright,
innocent, unaffected child, a woman's deep and sympathetic heart, and
an understanding clear, sharp, and discriminating. Dreamers and
visionaries had but a bad time of it with her; for without saying very
much--she was not by nature of a talkative disposition--she plainly
asked, by her calm steady look, and rare ironical smile, "How can you
imagine, my dear friends, that I can take these fleeting shadowy images
for true living and breathing forms?" For this reason many found fault
with her as being cold, prosaic, and devoid of feeling; others,
however, who had reached a clearer and deeper conception of life, were
extremely fond of the intelligent, childlike, large-hearted girl But
none had such an affection for her as Nathanael, who was a zealous and
cheerful cultivator of the fields of science and art. Clara clung to
her lover with all her heart; the first clouds she encountered in life
were when he had to separate from her. With what delight did she fly
into his arms when, as he had promised in his last letter to Lothair,
he really came back to his native town and entered his mother's room!
And as Nathanael had foreseen, the moment he saw Clara again he no
longer thought about either the advocate Coppelius or her sensible
letter; his ill-humour had quite disappeared.

Nevertheless Nathanael was right when he told his friend Lothair that
the repulsive vendor of weather-glasses, Coppola, had exercised a fatal
and disturbing influence upon his life. It was quite patent to all; for
even during the first few days he showed that he was completely and
entirely changed. He gave himself up to gloomy reveries, and moreover
acted so strangely; they had never observed anything at all like it in
him before. Everything, even his own life, was to him but dreams and
presentiments. His constant theme was that every man who delusively
imagined himself to be free was merely the plaything of the cruel sport
of mysterious powers, and it was vain for man to resist them; he must
humbly submit to whatever destiny had decreed for him. He went so far
as to maintain that it was foolish to believe that a man could do
anything in art or science of his own accord; for the inspiration in
which alone any true artistic work could be done did not proceed from
the spirit within outwards, but was the result of the operation
directed inwards of some Higher Principle existing without and beyond
ourselves.

This mystic extravagance was in the highest degree repugnant to Clara's
clear intelligent mind, but it seemed vain to enter upon any attempt at
refutation. Yet when Nathanael went on to prove that Coppelius was the
Evil Principle which had entered into him and taken possession of him
at the time he was listening behind the curtain, and that this hateful
demon would in some terrible way ruin their happiness, then Clara grew
grave and said, "Yes, Nathanael. You are right; Coppelius is an Evil
Principle; he can do dreadful things, as bad as could a Satanic power
which should assume a living physical form, but only--only if you do
not banish him from your mind and thoughts. So long as you believe in
him he exists and is at work; your belief in him is his only power."
Whereupon Nathanael, quite angry because Clara would only grant the
existence of the demon in his own mind, began to dilate at large upon
the whole mystic doctrine of devils and awful powers, but Clara
abruptly broke off the theme by making, to Nathanael's very great
disgust, some quite commonplace remark. Such deep mysteries are sealed
books to cold, unsusceptible characters, he thought, without being
clearly conscious to himself that he counted Clara amongst these
inferior natures, and accordingly he did not remit his efforts to
initiate her into these mysteries. In the morning, when she was helping
to prepare breakfast, he would take his stand beside her, and read all
sorts of mystic books to her, until she begged him--"But, my dear
Nathanael, I shall have to scold you as the Evil Principle which
exercises a fatal influence upon my coffee. For if I do as you wish,
and let things go their own way, and look into your eyes whilst you
read, the coffee will all boil over into the fire, and you will none of
you get any breakfast." Then Nathanael hastily banged the book to and
ran away in great displeasure to his own room.

Formerly he had possessed a peculiar talent for writing pleasing,
sparkling tales, which Clara took the greatest delight in listening to;
but now his productions were gloomy, unintelligible, and wanting in
form, so that, although Clara out of forbearance towards him did not
say so, he nevertheless felt how very little interest she took in them.
There was nothing that Clara disliked so much as what was tedious; at
such times her intellectual sleepiness was not to be overcome; it was
betrayed both in her glances and in her words. Nathanael's effusions
were, in truth, exceedingly tedious. His ill-humour at Clara's cold
prosaic temperament continued to increase; Clara could not conceal her
distaste of his dark, gloomy, wearying mysticism; and thus both began
to be more and more estranged from each other without exactly being
aware of it themselves. The image of the ugly Coppelius had, as
Nathanael was obliged to confess to himself, faded considerably in his
fancy, and it often cost him great pains to present him in vivid
colours in his literary efforts, in which he played the part of the
ghoul of Destiny. At length it entered into his head to make his dismal
presentiment that Coppelius would ruin his happiness the subject of a
poem. He made himself and Clara, united by true love, the central
figures, but represented a black hand as being from time to time thrust
into their life and plucking out a joy that had blossomed for them. At
length, as they were standing at the altar, the terrible Coppelius
appeared and touched Clara's lovely eyes, which leapt into Nathanael's
own bosom, burning and hissing like bloody sparks. Then Coppelius laid
hold upon him, and hurled him into a blazing circle of fire, which spun
round with the speed of a whirlwind, and, storming and blustering,
dashed away with him. The fearful noise it made was like a furious
hurricane lashing the foaming sea-waves until they rise up like black,
white-headed giants in the midst of the raging struggle. But through
the midst of the savage fury of the tempest he heard Clara's voice
calling, "Can you not see me, dear? Coppelius has deceived you; they
were not my eyes which burned so in your bosom; they were fiery drops
of your own heart's blood. Look at me, I have got my own eyes still."
Nathanael thought, "Yes, that is Clara, and I am hers for ever." Then
this thought laid a powerful grasp upon the fiery circle so that it
stood still, and the riotous turmoil died away rumbling down a dark
abyss. Nathanael looked into Clara's eyes; but it was death whose gaze
rested so kindly upon him.

Whilst Nathanael was writing this work he was very quiet and
sober-minded; he filed and polished every line, and as he had chosen to
submit himself to the limitations of metre, he did not rest until all
was pure and musical. When, however, he had at length finished it and
read it aloud to himself he was seized with horror and awful dread, and
he screamed, "Whose hideous voice is this?" But he soon came to see in
it again nothing beyond a very successful poem, and he confidently
believed it would enkindle Clara's cold temperament, though to what end
she should be thus aroused was not quite clear to his own mind, nor yet
what would be the real purpose served by tormenting her with these
dreadful pictures, which prophesied a terrible and ruinous end to her
affection.

Nathanael and Clara sat in his mother's little garden. Clara was bright
and cheerful, since for three entire days her lover, who had been busy
writing his poem, had not teased her with his dreams or forebodings.
Nathanael, too, spoke in a gay and vivacious way of things of merry
import, as he formerly used to do, so that Clara said, "Ah! now I have
you again. We have driven away that ugly Coppelius, you see." Then it
suddenly occurred to him that he had got the poem in his pocket which
he wished to read to her. He at once took out the manuscript and began
to read. Clara, anticipating something tedious as usual, prepared to
submit to the infliction, and calmly resumed her knitting. But as the
sombre clouds rose up darker and darker she let her knitting fall on
her lap and sat with her eyes fixed in a set stare upon Nathanael's
face. He was quite carried away by his own work, the fire of enthusiasm
coloured his cheeks a deep red, and tears started from his eyes. At
length he concluded, groaning and showing great lassitude; grasping
Clara's hand, he sighed as if he were being utterly melted in
inconsolable grief, "Oh! Clara! Clara!" She drew him softly to her
heart and said in a low but very grave and impressive tone, "Nathanael,
my darling Nathanael, throw that foolish, senseless, stupid thing into
the fire." Then Nathanael leapt indignantly to his feet, crying, as he
pushed Clara from him, "You damned lifeless automaton!" and rushed
away. Clara was cut to the heart, and wept bitterly. "Oh! he has never
loved me, for he does not understand me," she sobbed.

Lothair entered the arbour. Clara was obliged to tell him all that had
taken place. He was passionately fond of his sister; and every word of
her complaint fell like a spark upon his heart, so that the displeasure
which he had long entertained against his dreamy friend Nathanael was
kindled into furious anger. He hastened to find Nathanael, and
upbraided him in harsh words for his irrational behaviour towards his
beloved sister. The fiery Nathanael answered him in the same style. "A
fantastic, crack-brained fool," was retaliated with, "A miserable,
common, everyday sort of fellow." A meeting was the inevitable
consequence. They agreed to meet on the following morning behind the
garden-wall, and fight, according to the custom of the students of the
place, with sharp rapiers. They went about silent and gloomy; Clara
had both heard and seen the violent quarrel, and also observed the
fencing-master bring the rapiers in the dusk of the evening. She had a
presentiment of what was to happen. They both appeared at the appointed
place wrapped up in the same gloomy silence, and threw off their coats.
Their eyes flaming with the bloodthirsty light of pugnacity, they were
about to begin their contest when Clara burst through the garden door.
Sobbing, she screamed, "You savage, terrible men! Cut me down before
you attack each other; for how can I live when my lover has slain my
brother, or my brother slain my lover?" Lothair let his weapon fall and
gazed silently upon the ground, whilst Nathanael's heart was rent with
sorrow, and all the affection which he had felt for his lovely Clara in
the happiest days of her golden youth was awakened within him. His
murderous weapon, too, fell from his hand; he threw himself at Clara's
feet. "Oh! can you ever forgive me, my only, my dearly loved Clara? Can
you, my dear brother Lothair, also forgive me?" Lothair was touched by
his friend's great distress; the three young people embraced each other
amidst endless tears, and swore never again to break their bond of love
and fidelity.

Nathanael felt as if a heavy burden that had been weighing him down to
the earth was now rolled from off him, nay, as if by offering
resistance to the dark power which had possessed him, he had rescued
his own self from the ruin which had threatened him. Three happy days
he now spent amidst the loved ones, and then returned to G----, where
he had still a year to stay before settling down in his native town for
life.

Everything having reference to Coppelius had been concealed from the
mother, for they knew she could not think of him without horror, since
she as well as Nathanael believed him to be guilty of causing her
husband's death.

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

When Nathanael came to the house where he lived he was greatly
astonished to find it burnt down to the ground, so that nothing but the
bare outer walls were left standing amidst a heap of ruins. Although
the fire had broken out in the laboratory of the chemist who lived on
the ground-floor, and had therefore spread upwards, some of Nathanael's
bold, active friends had succeeded in time in forcing a way into his
room in the upper storey and saving his books and manuscripts and
instruments. They had carried them all uninjured into another house,
where they engaged a room for him; this he now at once took possession
of. That he lived opposite Professor Spalanzani did not strike him
particularly, nor did it occur to him as anything more singular that he
could, as he observed, by looking out of his window, see straight into
the room where Olimpia often sat alone. Her figure he could plainly
distinguish, although her features were uncertain and confused. It did
at length occur to him, however, that she remained for hours together
in the same position in which he had first discovered her through the
glass door, sitting at a little table without any occupation whatever,
and it was evident that she was constantly gazing across in his
direction. He could not but confess to himself that he had never seen a
finer figure. However, with Clara mistress of his heart, he remained
perfectly unaffected by Olimpia's stiffness and apathy; and it was only
occasionally that he sent a fugitive glance over his compendium across
to her--that was all.

He was writing to Clara; a light tap came at the door. At his summons
to "Come in," Coppola's repulsive face appeared peeping in. Nathanael
felt his heart beat with trepidation; but, recollecting what Spalanzani
had told him about his fellow-countryman Coppola, and what he had
himself so faithfully promised his beloved in respect to the Sand-man
Coppelius, he was ashamed at himself for this childish fear of
spectres. Accordingly, he controlled himself with an effort, and said,
as quietly and as calmly as he possibly could, "I don't want to buy any
weather-glasses, my good friend; you had better go elsewhere." Then
Coppola came right into the room, and said in a hoarse voice, screwing
up his wide mouth into a hideous smile, whilst his little eyes flashed
keenly from beneath his long grey eyelashes, "What! Nee weather-gless?
Nee weather-gless? 've got foine oyes as well--foine oyes!" Affrighted,
Nathanael cried, "You stupid man, how can you have eyes?--eyes--eyes?"
But Coppola, laying aside his weather-glasses, thrust his hands into
his big coat-pockets and brought out several spy-glasses and
spectacles, and put them on the table. "Theer! Theer! Spect'cles!
Spect'cles to put 'n nose! Them's my oyes--foine oyes." And he
continued to produce more and more spectacles from his pockets until
the table began to gleam and flash all over. Thousands of eyes were
looking and blinking convulsively, and staring up at Nathanael; he
could not avert his gaze from the table. Coppola went on heaping up his
spectacles, whilst wilder and ever wilder burning flashes crossed
through and through each other and darted their blood-red rays into
Nathanael's breast. Quite overcome, and frantic with terror, he
shouted, "Stop! stop! you terrible man!" and he seized Coppola by the
arm, which he had again thrust into his pocket in order to bring out
still more spectacles, although the whole table was covered all over
with them. With a harsh disagreeable laugh Coppola gently freed
himself; and with the words "So! went none! Well, here foine gless!"
he swept all his spectacles together, and put them back into his
coat-pockets, whilst from a breast-pocket he produced a great number of
larger and smaller perspectives. As soon as the spectacles were gone
Nathanael recovered his equanimity again; and, bending his thoughts
upon Clara, he clearly discerned that the gruesome incubus had
proceeded only from himself, as also that Coppola was a right honest
mechanician and optician, and far from being Coppelius's dreaded double
and ghost And then, besides, none of the glasses which Coppola now
placed on the table had anything at all singular about them, at least
nothing so weird as the spectacles; so, in order to square accounts
with himself, Nathanael now really determined to buy something of the
man. He took up a small, very beautifully cut pocket perspective, and
by way of proving it looked through the window. Never before in his
life had he had a glass in his hands that brought out things so clearly
and sharply and distinctly. Involuntarily he directed the glass upon
Spalanzani's room; Olimpia sat at the little table as usual, her arms
laid upon it and her hands folded. Now he saw for the first time the
regular and exquisite beauty of her features. The eyes, however, seemed
to him to have a singular look of fixity and lifelesness. But as he
continued to look closer and more carefully through the glass he
fancied a light like humid moonbeams came into them. It seemed as if
their power of vision was now being enkindled; their glances shone with
ever-increasing vivacity. Nathanael remained standing at the window as
if glued to the spot by a wizard's spell, his gaze rivetted
unchangeably upon the divinely beautiful Olimpia. A coughing and
shuffling of the feet awakened him out of his enchaining dream, as it
were. Coppola stood behind him, "Tre zechini" (three ducats). Nathanael
had completely forgotten the optician; he hastily paid the sum
demanded. "Ain't 't? Foine gless? foine gless?" asked Coppola in his
harsh unpleasant voice, smiling sardonically. "Yes, yes, yes," rejoined
Nathanael impatiently; "adieu, my good friend." But Coppola did not
leave the room without casting many peculiar side-glances upon
Nathanael; and the young student heard him laughing loudly on the
stairs. "Ah well!" thought he, "he's laughing at me because I've paid
him too much for this little perspective--because I've given him too
much money--that's it" As he softly murmured these words he fancied he
detected a gasping sigh as of a dying man stealing awfully through the
room; his heart stopped beating with fear. But to be sure he had heaved
a deep sigh himself; it was quite plain. "Clara is quite right," said
he to himself, "in holding me to be an incurable ghost-seer; and yet
it's very ridiculous--ay, more than ridiculous, that the stupid thought
of having paid Coppola too much for his glass should cause me this
strange anxiety; I can't see any reason for it."

Now he sat down to finish his letter to Clara; but a glance through the
window showed him Olimpia still in her former posture. Urged by an
irresistible impulse he jumped up and seized Coppola's perspective; nor
could he tear himself away from the fascinating Olimpia until his
friend and brother Siegmund called for him to go to Professor
Spalanzani's lecture. The curtains before the door of the all-important
room were closely drawn, so that he could not see Olimpia. Nor could he
even see her from his own room during the two following days,
notwithstanding that he scarcely ever left his window, and maintained a
scarce interrupted watch through Coppola's perspective upon her room.
On the third day curtains even were drawn across the window. Plunged
into the depths of despair,--goaded by longing and ardent desire, he
hurried outside the walls of the town. Olimpia's image hovered about
his path in the air and stepped forth out of the bushes, and peeped up
at him with large and lustrous eyes from the bright surface of the
brook. Clara's image was completely faded from his mind; he had no
thoughts except for Olimpia. He uttered his love-plaints aloud and in a
lachrymose tone, "Oh! my glorious, noble star of love, have you only
risen to vanish again, and leave me in the darkness and hopelessness of
night?"

Returning home, he became aware that there was a good deal of noisy
bustle going on in Spalanzani's house. All the doors stood wide open;
men were taking in all kinds of gear and furniture; the windows of the
first floor were all lifted off their hinges; busy maid-servants with
immense hair-brooms were driving backwards and forwards dusting and
sweeping, whilst within could be heard the knocking and hammering of
carpenters and upholsterers. Utterly astonished, Nathanael stood still
in the street; then Siegmund joined him, laughing, and said, "Well,
what do you say to our old Spalanzani?" Nathanael assured him that he
could not say anything, since he knew not what it all meant; to his
great astonishment, he could hear, however, that they were turning the
quiet gloomy house almost inside out with their dusting and cleaning
and making of alterations. Then he learned from Siegmund that
Spalanzani intended giving a great concert and ball on the following
day, and that half the university was invited. It was generally
reported that Spalanzani was going to let his daughter Olimpia, whom he
had so long so jealously guarded from every eye, make her first
appearance.

Nathanael received an invitation. At the appointed hour, when the
carriages were rolling up and the lights were gleaming brightly in the
decorated halls, he went across to the Professor's, his heart beating
high with expectation. The company was both numerous and brilliant.
Olimpia was richly and tastefully dressed. One could not but admire her
figure and the regular beauty of her features. The striking inward
curve of her back, as well as the wasp-like smallness of her waist,
appeared to be the result of too-tight lacing. There was something
stiff and measured in her gait and bearing that made an unfavourable
impression upon many; it was ascribed to the constraint imposed upon
her by the company. The concert began. Olimpia played on the piano with
great skill; and sang as skilfully an _aria di bravura_, in a voice
which was, if anything, almost too sharp, but clear as glass bells.
Nathanael was transported with delight; he stood in the background
farthest from her, and owing to the blinding lights could not quite
distinguish her features. So, without being observed, he took Coppola's
glass out of his pocket, and directed it upon the beautiful Olimpia.
Oh! then he perceived how her yearning eyes sought him, how every note
only reached its full purity in the loving glance which penetrated to
and inflamed his heart. Her artificial _roulades_ seemed to him to be
the exultant cry towards heaven of the soul refined by love; and when
at last, after the _cadenza_, the long trill rang shrilly and loudly
through the hall, he felt as if he were suddenly grasped by burning
arms and could no longer control himself,--he could not help shouting
aloud in his mingled pain and delight, "Olimpia!" All eyes were turned
upon him; many people laughed. The face of the cathedral organist wore
a still more gloomy look than it had done before, but all he said was,
"Very well!"

The concert came to an end, and the ball began. Oh! to dance with
her--with her--that was now the aim of all Nathanael's wishes, of all
his desires. But how should he have courage to request her, the queen
of the ball, to grant him the honour of a dance? And yet he couldn't
tell how it came about, just as the dance began, he found himself
standing close beside her, nobody having as yet asked her to be his
partner; so, with some difficulty stammering out a few words, he
grasped her hand. It was cold as ice; he shook with an awful, frosty
shiver. But, fixing his eyes upon her face, he saw that her glance was
beaming upon him with love and longing, and at the same moment he
thought that the pulse began to beat in her cold hand, and the warm
life-blood to course through her veins. And passion burned more
intensely in his own heart also; he threw his arm round her beautiful
waist and whirled her round the hall. He had always thought that he
kept good and accurate time in dancing, but from the perfectly
rhythmical evenness with which Olimpia danced, and which frequently put
him quite out, he perceived how very faulty his own time really was.
Notwithstanding, he would not dance with any other lady; and everybody
else who approached Olimpia to call upon her for a dance, he would have
liked to kill on the spot. This, however, only happened twice; to his
astonishment Olimpia remained after this without a partner, and he
failed not on each occasion to take her out again. If Nathanael had
been able to see anything else except the beautiful Olimpia, there
would inevitably have been a good deal of unpleasant quarrelling and
strife; for it was evident that Olimpia was the object of the smothered
laughter only with difficulty suppressed, which was heard in various
corners amongst the young people; and they followed her with very
curious looks, but nobody knew for what reason. Nathanael, excited by
dancing and the plentiful supply of wine he had consumed, had laid
aside the shyness which at other times characterised him. He sat beside
Olimpia, her hand in his own, and declared his love enthusiastically
and passionately in words which neither of them understood, neither he
nor Olimpia. And yet she perhaps did, for she sat with her eyes fixed
unchangeably upon his, sighing repeatedly, "Ach! Ach! Ach!" Upon this
Nathanael would answer, "Oh, you glorious heavenly lady! You ray from
the promised paradise of love! Oh! what a profound soul you have! my
whole being is mirrored in it!" and a good deal more in the same
strain. But Olimpia only continued to sigh "Ach! Ach!" again and again.

Professor Spalanzani passed by the two happy lovers once or twice, and
smiled with a look of peculiar satisfaction. All at once it seemed to
Nathanael, albeit he was far away in a different world, as if it were
growing perceptibly darker down below at Professor Spalanzani's. He
looked about him, and to his very great alarm became aware that there
were only two lights left burning in the hall, and they were on the
point of going out. The music and dancing had long ago ceased. "We must
part--part!" he cried, wildly and despairingly; he kissed Olimpia's
hand; he bent down to her mouth, but ice-cold lips met his burning
ones. As he touched her cold hand, he felt his heart thrilled with awe;
the legend of "The Dead Bride"[9] shot suddenly through his mind. But
Olimpia had drawn him closer to her, and the kiss appeared to warm her
lips into vitality. Professor Spalanzani strode slowly through the
empty apartment, his footsteps giving a hollow echo; and his figure
had, as the flickering shadows played about him, a ghostly, awful
appearance. "Do you love me? Do you love me, Olimpia? Only one little
word--Do you love me?" whispered Nathanael, but she only sighed, "Ach!
Ach!" as she rose to her feet. "Yes, you are my lovely, glorious star
of love," said Nathanael, "and will shine for ever, purifying and
ennobling my heart" "Ach! Ach!" replied Olimpia, as she moved along.
Nathanael followed her; they stood before the Professor. "You have had
an extraordinarily animated conversation with my daughter," said he,
smiling; "well, well, my dear Mr. Nathanael, if you find pleasure in
talking to the stupid girl, I am sure I shall be glad for you to come
and do so." Nathanael took his leave, his heart singing and leaping in
a perfect delirium of happiness.

During the next few days Spalanzani's ball was the general topic of
conversation. Although the Professor had done everything to make the
thing a splendid success, yet certain gay spirits related more than one
thing that had occurred which was quite irregular and out of order.
They were especially keen in pulling Olimpia to pieces for her
taciturnity and rigid stiffness; in spite of her beautiful form they
alleged that she was hopelessly stupid, and in this fact they discerned
the reason why Spalanzani had so long kept her concealed from
publicity. Nathanael heard all this with inward wrath, but nevertheless
he held his tongue; for, thought he, would it indeed be worth while to
prove to these fellows that it is their own stupidity which prevents
them from appreciating Olimpia's profound and brilliant parts? One day
Siegmund said to him, "Pray, brother, have the kindness to tell me
how you, a sensible fellow, came to lose your head over that Miss
Wax-face--that wooden doll across there?" Nathanael was about to fly
into a rage, but he recollected himself and replied, "Tell me,
Siegmund, how came it that Olimpia's divine charms could escape your
eye, so keenly alive as it always is to beauty, and your acute
perception as well? But Heaven be thanked for it, otherwise I should
have had you for a rival, and then the blood of one of us would have
had to be spilled." Siegmund, perceiving how matters stood with his
friend, skilfully interposed and said, after remarking that all
argument with one in love about the object of his affections was out of
place, "Yet it's very strange that several of us have formed pretty
much the same opinion about Olimpia. We think she is--you won't take it
ill, brother?--that she is singularly statuesque and soulless. Her
figure is regular, and so are her features, that can't be gainsaid; and
if her eyes were not so utterly devoid of life, I may say, of the power
of vision, she might pass for a beauty. She is strangely measured in
her movements, they all seem as if they were dependent upon some
wound-up clock-work. Her playing and singing has the disagreeably
perfect, but insensitive time of a singing machine, and her dancing is
the same. We felt quite afraid of this Olimpia, and did not like to
have anything to do with her; she seemed to us to be only acting _like_
a living creature, and as if there was some secret at the bottom of it
all." Nathanael did not give way to the bitter feelings which
threatened to master him at these words of Siegmund's; he fought down
and got the better of his displeasure, and merely said, very earnestly,
"You cold prosaic fellows may very well be afraid of her. It is only to
its like that the poetically organised spirit unfolds itself. Upon me
alone did her loving glances fall, and through my mind and thoughts
alone did they radiate; and only in her love can I find my own self
again. Perhaps, however, she doesn't do quite right not to jabber a lot
of nonsense and stupid talk like other shallow people. It is true, she
speaks but few words; but the few words she docs speak are genuine
hieroglyphs of the inner world of Love and of the higher cognition of
the intellectual life revealed in the intuition of the Eternal beyond
the grave. But you have no understanding for all these things, and I am
only wasting words." "God be with you, brother," said Siegmund very
gently, almost sadly, "but it seems to me that you are in a very bad
way. You may rely upon me, if all--No, I can't say any more." It all at
once dawned upon Nathanael that his cold prosaic friend Siegmund really
and sincerely wished him well, and so he warmly shook his proffered
hand.

Nathanael had completely forgotten that there was a Clara in the world,
whom he had once loved--and his mother and Lothair. They had all
vanished from his mind; he lived for Olimpia alone. He sat beside her
every day for hours together, rhapsodising about his love and sympathy
enkindled into life, and about psychic elective affinity[10]--all of
which Olimpia listened to with great reverence. He fished up from the
very bottom of his desk all the things that he had ever written--poems,
fancy sketches, visions, romances, tales, and the heap was increased
daily with all kinds of aimless sonnets, stanzas, canzonets. All these
he read to Olimpia hour after hour without growing tired; but then he
had never had such an exemplary listener. She neither embroidered, nor
knitted; she did not look out of the window, or feed a bird, or play
with a little pet dog or a favourite cat, neither did she twist a piece
of paper or anything of that kind round her finger; she did not
forcibly convert a yawn into a low affected cough--in short, she sat
hour after hour with her eyes bent unchangeably upon her lover's face,
without moving or altering her position, and her gaze grew more ardent
and more ardent still. And it was only when at last Nathanael rose
and kissed her lips or her hand that she said, "Ach! Ach!" and then
"Good-night, dear." Arrived in his own room, Nathanael would break out
with, "Oh! what a brilliant--what a profound mind! Only you--you alone
understand me." And his heart trembled with rapture when he reflected
upon the wondrous harmony which daily revealed itself between his own
and his Olimpia's character; for he fancied that she had expressed in
respect to his works and his poetic genius the identical sentiments
which he himself cherished deep down in his own heart in respect to the
same, and even as if it was his own heart's voice speaking to him. And
it must indeed have been so; for Olimpia never uttered any other words
than those already mentioned. And when Nathanael himself in his clear
and sober moments, as, for instance, directly after waking in a
morning, thought about her utter passivity and taciturnity, he only
said, "What are words--but words? The glance of her heavenly eyes says
more than any tongue of earth. And how can, anyway, a child of heaven
accustom herself to the narrow circle which the exigencies of a
wretched mundane life demand?"

Professor Spalanzani appeared to be greatly pleased at the intimacy
that had sprung up between his daughter Olimpia and Nathanael, and
showed the young man many unmistakable proofs of his good feeling
towards him; and when Nathanael ventured at length to hint very
delicately at an alliance with Olimpia, the Professor smiled all over
his face at once, and said he should allow his daughter to make a
perfectly free choice. Encouraged by these words, and with the fire of
desire burning in his heart, Nathanael resolved the very next day to
implore Olimpia to tell him frankly, in plain words, what he had long
read in her sweet loving glances,--that she would be his for ever. He
looked for the ring which his mother had given him at parting; he would
present it to Olimpia as a symbol of his devotion, and of the happy
life he was to lead with her from that time onwards. Whilst looking for
it he came across his letters from Clara and Lothair; he threw them
carelessly aside, found the ring, put it in his pocket, and ran across
to Olimpia. Whilst still on the stairs, in the entrance-passage, he
heard an extraordinary hubbub; the noise seemed to proceed from
Spalanzani's study. There was a stamping--a rattling--pushing--knocking
against the door, with curses and oaths intermingled. "Leave
hold--leave hold--you monster--you rascal--staked your life and honour
upon it?--Ha! ha! ha! ha!--That was not our wager--I, I made the
eyes--I the clock-work.--Go to the devil with your clock-work--you
damned dog of a watch-maker--be off--Satan--stop--you paltry
turner--you infernal beast!--stop--begone--let me go." The voices which
were thus making all this racket and rumpus were those of Spalanzani
and the fearsome Coppelius. Nathanael rushed in, impelled by some
nameless dread. The Professor was grasping a female figure by the
shoulders, the Italian Coppola held her by the feet; and they were
pulling and dragging each other backwards and forwards, fighting
furiously to get possession of her. Nathanael recoiled with horror on
recognising that the figure was Olimpia. Boiling with rage, he was
about to tear his beloved from the grasp of the madmen, when Coppola by
an extraordinary exertion of strength twisted the figure out of the
Professor's hands and gave him such a terrible blow with her, that he
reeled backwards and fell over the table all amongst the phials and
retorts, the bottles and glass cylinders, which covered it: all these
things were smashed into a thousand pieces. But Coppola threw the
figure across his shoulder, and, laughing shrilly and horribly, ran
hastily down the stairs, the figure's ugly feet hanging down and
banging and rattling like wood against the steps. Nathanael was
stupefied;--he had seen only too distinctly that in Olimpia's pallid
waxed face there were no eyes, merely black holes in their stead; she
was an inanimate puppet. Spalanzani was rolling on the floor; the
pieces of glass had cut his head and breast and arm; the blood was
escaping from him in streams. But he gathered his strength together by
an effort.

"After him--after him! What do you stand staring there for?
Coppelius--Coppelius--he's stolen my best automaton--at which I've
worked for twenty years--staked my life upon it--the clock-work--
speech--movement--mine--your eyes--stolen your eyes--damn him--curse
him--after him--fetch me back Olimpia--there are the eyes." And now
Nathanael saw a pair of bloody eyes lying on the floor staring at him;
Spalanzani seized them with his uninjured hand and threw them at him,
so that they hit his breast Then madness dug her burning talons into
him and swept down into his heart, rending his mind and thoughts to
shreds. "Aha! aha! aha! Fire-wheel--fire-wheel! Spin round, fire-wheel!
merrily, merrily! Aha! wooden doll! spin round, pretty wooden doll!"
and he threw himself upon the Professor, clutching him fast by the
throat. He would certainly have strangled him had not several people,
attracted by the noise, rushed in and torn away the madman; and so they
saved the Professor, whose wounds were immediately dressed. Siegmund,
with all his strength, was not able to subdue the frantic lunatic, who
continued to scream in a dreadful way, "Spin round, wooden doll!" and
to strike out right and left with his doubled fists. At length the
united strength of several succeeded in overpowering him by throwing
him on the floor and binding him. His cries passed into a brutish
bellow that was awful to hear; and thus raging with the harrowing
violence of madness, he was taken away to the madhouse.

Before continuing my narration of what happened further to the
unfortunate Nathanael, I will tell you, indulgent reader, in case you
take any interest in that skilful mechanician and fabricator of
automata, Spalanzani, that he recovered completely from his wounds. He
had, however, to leave the university, for Nathanael's fate had created
a great sensation; and the opinion was pretty generally expressed that
it was an imposture altogether unpardonable to have smuggled a wooden
puppet instead of a living person into intelligent tea-circles,--for
Olimpia had been present at several with success. Lawyers called it a
cunning piece of knavery, and all the harder to punish since it was
directed against the public; and it had been so craftily contrived that
it had escaped unobserved by all except a few preternaturally acute
students, although everybody was very wise now and remembered to have
thought of several facts which occurred to them as suspicious. But
these latter could not succeed in making out any sort of a consistent
tale. For was it, for instance, a thing likely to occur to any one as
suspicious that, according to the declaration of an elegant beau of
these tea-parties, Olimpia had, contrary to all good manners, sneezed
oftener than she had yawned? The former must have been, in the opinion
of this elegant gentleman, the winding up of the concealed clock-work;
it had always been accompanied by an observable creaking, and so on.
The Professor of Poetry and Eloquence took a pinch of snuff, and,
slapping the lid to and clearing his throat, said solemnly, "My most
honourable ladies and gentlemen, don't you see then where the rub is?
The whole thing is an allegory, a continuous metaphor. You understand
me? _Sapienti sat._" But several most honourable gentlemen did not rest
satisfied with this explanation; the history of this automaton had sunk
deeply into their souls, and an absurd mistrust of human figures began
to prevail. Several lovers, in order to be fully convinced that they
were not paying court to a wooden puppet, required that their mistress
should sing and dance a little out of time, should embroider or knit or
play with her little pug, &c., when being read to, but above all things
else that she should do something more than merely listen--that she
should frequently speak in such a way as to really show that her words
presupposed as a condition some thinking and feeling. The bonds of love
were in many cases drawn closer in consequence, and so of course became
more engaging; in other instances they gradually relaxed and fell away.
"I cannot really be made responsible for it," was the remark of more
than one young gallant. At the tea-gatherings everybody, in order to
ward off suspicion, yawned to an incredible extent and never sneezed.
Spalanzani was obliged, as has been said, to leave the place in order
to escape a criminal charge of having fraudulently imposed an automaton
upon human society. Coppola, too, had also disappeared.

When Nathanael awoke he felt as if he had been oppressed by a terrible
nightmare; he opened his eyes and experienced an indescribable
sensation of mental comfort, whilst a soft and most beautiful sensation
of warmth pervaded his body. He lay on his own bed in his own room at
home; Clara was bending over him, and at a little distance stood his
mother and Lothair. "At last, at last, O my darling Nathanael; now we
have you again; now you are cured of your grievous illness, now you are
mine again." And Clara's words came from the depths of her heart; and
she clasped him in her arms. The bright scalding tears streamed from
his eyes, he was so overcome with mingled feelings of sorrow and
delight; and he gasped forth, "My Clara, my Clara!" Siegmund, who had
staunchly stood by his friend in his hour of need, now came into the
room. Nathanael gave him his hand--"My faithful brother, you have not
deserted me." Every trace of insanity had left him, and in the tender
hands of his mother and his beloved, and his friends, he quickly
recovered his strength again. Good fortune had in the meantime visited
the house; a niggardly old uncle, from whom they had never expected to
get anything, had died, and left Nathanael's mother not only a
considerable fortune, but also a small estate, pleasantly situated not
far from the town. There they resolved to go and live, Nathanael and
his mother, and Clara, to whom he was now to be married, and Lothair.
Nathanael was become gentler and more childlike than he had ever been
before, and now began really to understand Clara's supremely pure and
noble character. None of them ever reminded him, even in the remotest
degree, of the past. But when Siegmund took leave of him, he said, "By
heaven, brother! I was in a bad way, but an angel came just at the
right moment and led me back upon the path of light. Yes, it was
Clara." Siegmund would not let him speak further, fearing lest the
painful recollections of the past might arise too vividly and too
intensely in his mind.

The time came for the four happy people to move to their little
property. At noon they were going through the streets. After making
several purchases they found that the lofty tower of the town-house was
throwing its giant shadows across the market-place. "Come," said Clara,
"let us go up to the top once more and have a look at the distant
hills." No sooner said than done. Both of them, Nathanael and Clara,
went up the tower; their mother, however, went on with the servant-girl
to her new home, and Lothair, not feeling inclined to climb up all the
many steps, waited below. There the two lovers stood arm-in-arm on the
topmost gallery of the tower, and gazed out into the sweet-scented
wooded landscape, beyond which the blue hills rose up like a giant's
city.

"Oh! do look at that strange little grey bush, it looks as if it were
actually walking towards us," said Clara. Mechanically he put his hand
into his sidepocket; he found Coppola's perspective and looked for the
bush; Clara stood in front of the glass. Then a convulsive thrill shot
through his pulse and veins; pale as a corpse, he fixed his staring
eyes upon her; but soon they began to roll, and a fiery current flashed
and sparkled in them, and he yelled fearfully, like a hunted animal.
Leaping up high in the air and laughing horribly at the same time, he
began to shout, in a piercing voice, "Spin round, wooden doll! Spin
round, wooden doll!" With the strength of a giant he laid hold upon
Clara and tried to hurl her over, but in an agony of despair she
clutched fast hold of the railing that went round the gallery. Lothair
heard the madman raging and Clara's scream of terror: a fearful
presentiment flashed across his mind. He ran up the steps; the door of
the second flight was locked. Clara's scream for help rang out more
loudly. Mad with rage and fear, he threw himself against the door,
which at length gave way. Clara's cries were growing fainter and
fainter,--"Help! save me! save me!" and her voice died away in the air.
"She is killed--murdered by that madman," shouted Lothair. The door to
the gallery was also locked. Despair gave him the strength of a giant;
he burst the door off its hinges. Good God! there was Clara in the
grasp of the madman Nathanael, hanging over the gallery in the air; she
only held to the iron bar with one hand. Quick as lightning, Lothair
seized his sister and pulled her back, at the same time dealing the
madman a blow in the face with his doubled fist, which sent him reeling
backwards, forcing him to let go his victim.

Lothair ran down with his insensible sister in his arms. She was saved.
But Nathanael ran round and round the gallery, leaping up in the air
and shouting, "Spin round, fire-wheel! Spin round, fire-wheel!" The
people heard the wild shouting, and a crowd began to gather. In the
midst of them towered the advocate Coppelius, like a giant; he had only
just arrived in the town, and had gone straight to the market-place.
Some were going up to overpower and take charge of the madman, but
Coppelius laughed and said, "Ha! ha! wait a bit; he'll come down of his
own accord;" and he stood gazing upwards along with the rest. All at
once Nathanael stopped as if spell-bound; he bent down over the
railing, and perceived Coppelius. With a piercing scream, "Ha! foine
oyes! foine oyes!" he leapt over.

When Nathanael lay on the stone pavement with a broken head, Coppelius
had disappeared in the crush and confusion.

Several years afterwards it was reported that, outside the door of a
pretty country house in a remote district, Clara had been seen sitting
hand in hand with a pleasant gentleman, whilst two bright boys were
playing at her feet. From this it may be concluded that she eventually
found that quiet domestic happiness which her cheerful, blithesome
character required, and which Nathanael, with his tempest-tossed soul,
could never have been able to give her.

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FOOTNOTES TO "THE SAND-MAN":


[Footnote 1: "The Sand-man" forms the first of a series of tales
called "The Night-pieces," and was published in 1817.]

[Footnote 2: See Schiller's _Räuber_ Act V., Scene 1. Franz Moor,
seeing that the failure of all his villainous schemes is inevitable,
and that his own ruin is close upon him, is at length overwhelmed with
the madness of despair, and unburdens the terrors of his conscience to
the old servant Daniel, bidding him laugh him to scorn.]

[Footnote 3: Lazaro Spallanzani, a celebrated anatomist and naturalist
(1729-1799), filled for several years the chair of Natural History at
Pavia, and travelled extensively for scientific purposes in Italy,
Turkey, Sicily, Switzerland, &c.]

[Footnote 4: Or Almanacs of the Muses, as they were also sometimes
called, were periodical, mostly yearly publications, containing all
kinds of literary effusions; mostly, however, lyrical. They originated
in the eighteenth century. Schiller, A. W. and F. Schlegel, Tieck, and
Chamisso, amongst others, conducted undertakings of this nature.]

[Footnote 5: Joseph Balsamo, a Sicilian by birth, calling himself Count
Cagliostro, one of the greatest impostors of modern times, lived during
the latter part of the eighteenth century. See Carlyle's "Miscellanies"
for an account of his life and character.]

[Footnote 6: Daniel Nikolas Chodowiecki, painter and engraver, of
Polish descent, was born at Dantzic in 1726. For some years he was so
popular an artist that few books were published in Prussia without
plates or vignettes by him. The catalogue of his works is said to
include 3000 items.]

[Footnote 7: Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, an Italian painter of the
eighteenth century, whose works were at one time greatly
over-estimated.]

[Footnote 8: Jakob Ruysdael (_c._ 1625-1682), a painter of Haarlem, in
Holland. His favourite subjects were remote farms, lonely stagnant
water, deep-shaded woods with marshy paths, the sea-coast--subjects of
a dark melancholy kind. His sea-pieces are greatly admired.]

[Footnote 9: Phlegon, the freedman of Hadrian, relates that a young
maiden, Philemium, the daughter of Philostratus and Charitas, became
deeply enamoured of a young man, named Machates, a guest in the house
of her father. This did not meet with the approbation of her parents,
and they turned Machates away. The young maiden took this so much to
heart that she pined away and died. Some time afterwards Machates
returned to his old lodgings, when he was visited at night by his
beloved, who came from the grave to see him again. The story may be
read in Heywood's (Thos.) "Hierarchie of Blessed Angels," Book vii., p.
479 (London, 1637). Goethe has made this story the foundation of his
beautiful poem _Die Braut von Korinth_, with which form of it Hoffmann
was most likely familiar.]

[Footnote 10: This phrase (_Die Wahlverwandschaft_ in German) has been
made celebrated as the title of one of Goethe's works.]



                              THE ENTAIL.


Not far from the shore of the Baltic Sea is situated the ancestral
castle of the noble family Von R----, called R--sitten. It is a wild
and desolate neighbourhood, hardly anything more than a single blade of
grass shooting up here and there from the bottomless drift-sand; and
instead of the garden that generally ornaments a baronial residence,
the bare walls are approached on the landward side by a thin forest of
firs, that with their never-changing vesture of gloom despise the
bright garniture of Spring, and where, instead of the joyous carolling
of little birds awakened anew to gladness, nothing is heard but the
ominous croak of the raven and the whirring scream of the storm-boding
sea-gull. A quarter of a mile distant Nature suddenly changes. As if by
the wave of a magician's wand you are transported into the midst of
thriving fields, fertile arable land, and meadows. You see, too, the
large and prosperous village, with the land-steward's spacious
dwelling-house; and at the angle of a pleasant thicket of alders you
may observe the foundations of a large castle, which one of the former
proprietors had intended to erect. His successors, however, living on
their property in Courland, left the building in its unfinished state;
nor would Freiherr[1] Roderick von R---- proceed with the structure
when he again took up his residence on the ancestral estate, since the
lonely old castle was more suitable to his temperament, which was
morose and averse to human society. He had its ruinous walls repaired
as well as circumstances would admit, and then shut himself up
within them along with a cross-grained house-steward and a slender
establishment of servants.

He was seldom seen in the village, but on the other hand he often
walked and rode along the sea-beach; and people claimed to have heard
him from a distance, talking to the waves and listening to the rolling
and hissing of the surf, as though he could hear the answering voice of
the spirit of the sea. Upon the topmost summit of the watch-tower he
had a sort of study fitted up and supplied with telescopes--with a
complete set of astronomical apparatus, in fact. Thence during the
daytime he frequently watched the ships sailing past on the distant
horizon like white-winged sea-gulls; and there he spent the starlight
nights engaged in astronomical, or, as some professed to know, with
astrological labours, in which the old house-steward assisted him. At
any rate the rumour was current during his own lifetime that he was
devoted to the occult sciences or the so-called Black Art, and that he
had been driven out of Courland in consequence of the failure of an
experiment by which an august princely house had been most seriously
offended. The slightest allusion to his residence in Courland filled
him with horror; but for all the troubles which had there unhinged the
tenor of his life he held his predecessors entirely to blame, in that
they had wickedly deserted the home of their ancestors. In order to
fetter, for the future, at least the head of the family to the
ancestral castle, he converted it into a property of entail. The
sovereign was the more willing to ratify this arrangement since by its
means he would secure for his country a family distinguished for all
chivalrous virtues, and which had already begun to ramify into foreign
countries.

Neither Roderick's son Hubert, nor the next Roderick, who was so called
after his grandfather, would live in their ancestral castle; both
preferred Courland. It is conceivable, too, that, being more cheerful
and fond of life than the gloomy astrologer, they were repelled by the
grim loneliness of the place. Freiherr Roderick had granted shelter and
subsistence on the property to two old maids, sisters of his father,
who were living in indigence, having been but niggardly provided for.
They, together with an aged serving-woman, occupied the small warm
rooms of one of the wings; besides them and the cook, who had a large
apartment on the ground floor adjoining the kitchen, the only other
person was a worn-out _chasseur_, who tottered about through the lofty
rooms and halls of the main building, and discharged the duties of
castellan. The rest of the servants lived in the village with the
land-steward. The only time at which the desolated and deserted castle
became the scene of life and activity was late in autumn, when the snow
first began to fall and the season for wolf-hunting and boar-hunting
arrived. Then came Freiherr Roderick with his wife, attended by
relatives and friends and a numerous retinue, from Courland. The
neighbouring nobility, and even amateur lovers of the chase who lived
in the town hard by, came down in such numbers that the main building,
together with the wings, barely sufficed to hold the crowd of guests.
Well-served fires roared in all the stoves and fireplaces, while the
spits were creaking from early dawn until late at night, and hundreds
of light-hearted people, masters and servants, were running up and down
stairs; here was heard the jingling and rattling of drinking glasses
and jovial hunting choruses, there the footsteps of those dancing to
the sound of the shrill music,--everywhere loud mirth and jollity;
so that for four or five weeks together the castle was more like a
first-rate hostelry situated on a main highroad than the abode of a
country gentleman. This time Freiherr Roderick devoted, as well as he
was able, to serious business, for, withdrawing from the revelry of his
guests, he discharged the duties attached to his position as lord of
the entail. He not only had a complete statement of the revenues laid
before him, but he listened to every proposal for improvement and to
every the least complaint of his tenants, endeavouring to establish
order in everything, and check all wrongdoing and injustice as far as
lay in his power.

In these matters of business he was honestly assisted by the old
advocate V----, who had been law agent of the R---- family and
Justitiarius[2] of their estates in P---- from father to son for many
years; accordingly, V---- was wont to set out for the estate at least a
week before the day fixed for the arrival of the Freiherr. In the year
179- the time came round again when old V---- was to start on his
journey for R--sitten. However strong and healthy the old man, now
seventy years of age, might feel, he was yet quite assured that a
helping hand would prove beneficial to him in his business. So he said
to me one day as if in jest, "Cousin!" (I was his great-nephew, but he
called me "cousin," owing to the fact that his own Christian name and
mine were both the same)--"Cousin, I was thinking it would not be amiss
if you went along with me to R--sitten and felt the sea-breezes blow
about your ears a bit. Besides giving me good help in my often
laborious work, you may for once in a while see how you like the
rollicking life of a hunter, and how, after drawing up a neatly-written
protocol one morning, you will frame the next when you come to look in
the glaring eyes of such a sturdy brute as a grim shaggy wolf or a wild
boar gnashing his teeth, and whether you know how to bring him down
with a well-aimed shot." Of course I could not have heard such strange
accounts of the merry hunting parties at R--sitten, or entertain such a
true heartfelt affection for my excellent old great-uncle as I did,
without being highly delighted that he wanted to take me with him this
time. As I was already pretty well skilled in the sort of business he
had to transact, I promised to work with unwearied industry, so as to
relieve him of all care and trouble.

Next day we sat in the carriage on our way to R--sitten, well wrapped
up in good fur coats, driving through a thick snowstorm, the first
harbinger of the coming winter. On the journey the old gentleman told
me many remarkable stories about the Freiherr Roderick, who had
established the estate-tail and appointed him (V----), in spite of his
youth, to be his Justitiarius and executor. He spoke of the harsh and
violent character of the old nobleman, which seemed to be inherited by
all the family, since even the present master of the estate, whom he
had known as a mild-tempered and almost effeminate youth, acquired more
and more as the years went by the same disposition. He therefore
recommended me strongly to behave with as much resolute self-reliance
and as little embarrassment as possible, if I desired to possess any
consideration in the Freiherr's eyes; and at length he began to
describe the apartments in the castle which he had selected to be his
own once for all, since they were warm and comfortable, and so
conveniently retired that we could withdraw from the noisy
convivialities of the hilarious company whenever we pleased. The rooms,
namely, which were on every visit reserved for him, were two small
ones, hung with warm tapestry, close beside the large hall of justice,
in the wing opposite that in which the two old maids resided.

At last, after a rapid but wearying journey, we arrived at R--sitten,
late at night. We drove through the village; it was Sunday, and from
the alehouse proceeded the sounds of music, and dancing, and
merrymaking; the steward's house was lit up from basement to garret,
and music and song were there too. All the more striking therefore was
the inhospitable desolation into which we now drove. The sea-wind
howled in sharp cutting dirges as it were about us, whilst the sombre
firs, as if they had been roused by the wind from a deep magic trance,
groaned hoarsely in a responsive chorus. The bare black walls of the
castle towered above the snow-covered ground; we drew up at the gates,
which were fast locked. But no shouting or cracking of whips, no
knocking or hammering, was of any avail; the whole castle seemed to be
dead; not a single light was visible at any of the windows. The old
gentleman shouted in his strong stentorian voice, "Francis, Francis,
where the deuce are you? In the devil's name rouse yourself; we are all
freezing here outside the gates. The snow is cutting our faces till
they bleed. Why the devil don't you stir yourself?" Then the watch-dog
began to whine, and a wandering light was visible on the ground floor.
There was a rattling of keys, and soon the ponderous wings of the gate
creaked back on their hinges. "Ha! a hearty welcome, a hearty welcome,
Herr Justitiarius. Ugh! it's rough weather!" cried old Francis, holding
the lantern above his head, so that the light fell full upon his
withered face, which was drawn up into a curious grimace, that was
meant for a friendly smile. The carriage drove into the court, and we
got out; then I obtained a full view of the old servant's extraordinary
figure, almost hidden in his wide old-fashioned chasseur livery, with
its many extraordinary lace decorations. Whilst there were only a few
grey locks on his broad white forehead, the lower part of his face wore
the ruddy hue of health; and, notwithstanding that the cramped muscles
of his face gave it something of the appearance of a whimsical mask,
yet the rather stupid good-nature which beamed from his eyes and played
about his mouth compensated for all the rest.

"Now, old Francis," began my great-uncle, knocking the snow from his
fur coat in the entrance hall, "now, old man, is everything prepared?
Have you had the hangings in my room well dusted, and the beds carried
in? and have you had a big roaring fire both yesterday and to-day?"
"No," replied Francis, quite calmly, "no, my worshipful Herr
Justitiarius, we've got none of that done." "Good Heavens!" burst out
my great-uncle, "I wrote to you in proper time; you know that I always
come at the time I fix. Here's a fine piece of stupid carelessness! I
shall have to sleep in rooms as cold as ice." "But you see, worshipful
Herr Justitiarius," continued Francis, most carefully clipping a
burning thief from the wick of the candle with the snuffers and
stamping it out with his foot, "but, you see, sir, all that would not
have been of much good, especially the fires, for the wind and the snow
have taken up their quarters too much in the rooms, driving in through
the broken windows, and then"---- "What!" cried my uncle, interrupting
him as he spread out his fur coat and placing his arms akimbo, "do you
mean to tell me the windows are broken, and you, the castellan of the
house, have done nothing to get them mended?" "But, worshipful Herr
Justitiarius," resumed the old servant calmly and composedly, "but we
can't very well get at them owing to the great masses of stones and
rubbish lying all over the room." "Damn it all, how come there to be
stones and rubbish in my room?" cried my uncle. "Your lasting health
and good luck, young gentleman!" said the old man, bowing politely to
me, as I happened to sneeze;[3] but he immediately added, "They are the
stones and plaster of the partition wall which fell in at the great
shock." "Have you had an earthquake?" blazed up my uncle, now fairly in
a rage. "No, not an earthquake, worshipful Herr Justitiarius," replied
the old man, grinning all over his face, "but three days ago the heavy
wainscot ceiling of the justice-hall fell in with a tremendous crash."
"Then may the"---- My uncle was about to rip out a terrific oath in his
violent passionate manner, but jerking up his right arm above his head
and taking off his fox-skin cap with his left, he suddenly checked
himself; and turning to me, he said with a hearty laugh, "By my troth,
cousin, we must hold our tongues; we mustn't ask any more questions, or
else we shall hear of some still worse misfortune, or have the whole
castle tumbling to pieces about our ears." "But," he continued,
wheeling round again to the old servant, "but, bless me, Francis, could
you not have had the common sense to get me another room cleaned and
warmed? Could you not have quickly fitted up a room in the main
building for the court-day?" "All that has been already done," said the
old man, pointing to the staircase with a gesture that invited us to
follow him, and at once beginning to ascend them. "Now there's a most
curious noodle for you!" exclaimed my uncle as we followed old Francis.
The way led through long lofty vaulted corridors, in the dense darkness
of which Francis's flickering light threw a strange reflection. The
pillars, capitals, and vari-coloured arches seemed as if they were
floating before us in the air; our own shadows stalked along beside us
in gigantic shape, and the grotesque paintings on the walls over which
they glided seemed all of a tremble and shake; whilst their voices, we
could imagine, were whispering in the sound of our echoing footsteps,
"Wake us not, oh! wake us not--us whimsical spirits who sleep here in
these old stones." At last, after we had traversed a long suite of cold
and gloomy apartments, Francis opened the door of a hall in which a
fire blazing brightly in the grate offered us as it were a home-like
welcome with its pleasant crackling. I felt quite comfortable the
moment I entered, but my uncle, standing still in the middle of the
hall, looked round him and said in a tone which was so very grave as to
be almost solemn, "And so this is to be the justice-hall!" Francis held
his candle above his head, so that my eye fell upon a light spot in the
wide dark wall about the size of a door; then he said in a pained and
muffled voice, "Justice has been already dealt out here." "What
possesses you, old man?" asked my uncle, quickly throwing aside his fur
coat and drawing near to the fire. "It slipped over my lips, I couldn't
help it," said Francis; then he lit the great candles and opened the
door of the adjoining room, which was very snugly fitted up for our
reception. In a short time a table was spread for us before the fire,
and the old man served us with several well-dressed dishes, which
were followed by a brimming bowl of punch, prepared in true Northern
style,--a very acceptable sight to two weary travellers like my uncle
and myself. My uncle then, tired with his journey, went to bed as soon
as he had finished supper; but my spirits were too much excited by the
novelty and strangeness of the place, as well as by the punch, for me
to think of sleep. Meanwhile, Francis cleared the table, stirred up the
fire, and bowing and scraping politely, left me to myself.

Now I sat alone in the lofty spacious _Rittersaal_ or Knight's Hall.
The snow-flakes had ceased to beat against the lattice, and the storm
had ceased to whistle; the sky was clear, and the bright full moon
shone in through the wide oriel-windows, illuminating with magical
effect all the dark corners of the curious room into which the dim
light of my candles and the fire could not penetrate. As one often
finds in old castles, the walls and ceiling of the hall were ornamented
in a peculiar antique fashion, the former with fantastic paintings and
carvings, gilded and coloured in gorgeous tints, the latter with heavy
wainscoting. Standing out conspicuously from the great pictures, which
represented for the most part wild bloody scenes in bear-hunts and
wolf-hunts, were the heads of men and animals carved in wood and joined
on to the painted bodies, so that the whole, especially in the
flickering light of the fire and the soft beams of the moon, had an
effect as if all were alive and instinct with terrible reality. Between
these pictures reliefs of knights had been inserted, of life size,
walking along in hunting costume; probably they were the ancestors of
the family who had delighted in the chase. Everything, both in the
paintings and in the carved work, bore the dingy hue of extreme old
age; so much the more conspicuous therefore was the bright bare place
on that one of the walls through which were two doors leading into
adjoining apartments. I soon concluded that there too there must have
been a door, that had been bricked up later; and hence it was that this
new part of the wall, which had neither been painted like the rest, nor
yet ornamented with carvings, formed such a striking contrast with the
others. Who does not know with what mysterious power the mind is
enthralled in the midst of unusual and singularly strange
circumstances? Even the dullest imagination is aroused when it comes
into a valley girt around by fantastic rocks, or within the gloomy
walls of a church or an abbey, and it begins to have glimpses of things
it has never yet experienced. When I add that I was twenty years of
age, and had drunk several glasses of strong punch, it will easily be
conceived that as I sat thus in the _Rittersaal_ I was in a more
exceptional frame of mind than I had ever been before. Let the reader
picture to himself the stillness of the night within, and without the
rumbling roar of the sea--the peculiar piping of the wind, which rang
upon my ears like the tones of a mighty organ played upon by spectral
hands--the passing scudding clouds which, shining bright and white,
often seemed to peep in through the rattling oriel-windows like giants
sailings past--in very truth, I felt, from the slight shudder which
shook me, that possibly a new sphere of existences might now be
revealed to me visibly and perceptibly. But this feeling was like the
shivery sensations that one has on hearing a graphically narrated ghost
story, such as we all like. At this moment it occurred to me that I
should never be in a more seasonable mood for reading the book which,
in common with every one who had the least leaning towards the
romantic, I at that time carried about in my pocket,--I mean Schiller's
"Ghost-seer." I read and read, and my imagination grew ever more and
more excited. I came to the marvellously enthralling description of the
wedding feast at Count Von V----'s.

Just as I was reading of the entrance of Jeronimo's bloody figure,[4]
the door leading from the gallery into the antechamber flew open with a
tremendous bang. I started to my feet in terror; the book fell from my
hands. In the very same moment, however, all was still again, and I
began to be ashamed of my childish fears. The door must have been burst
open by a strong gust of wind or in some other natural manner. It is
nothing; my over-strained fancy converts every ordinary occurrence into
the supernatural. Having thus calmed my fears, I picked up my book from
the ground, and again threw myself in the arm-chair; but there came a
sound of soft, slow, measured footsteps moving diagonally across the
hall, whilst there was a sighing and moaning at intervals, and in this
sighing and moaning there was expressed the deepest trouble, the most
hopeless grief, that a human being can know. "Ha! it must be some sick
animal locked up somewhere in the basement storey. Such acoustic
deceptions at night time, making distant sounds appear close at hand,
are well known to everybody. Who will suffer himself to be terrified at
such a thing as that?" Thus I calmed my fears again. But now there was
a scratching at the new portion of the wall, whilst louder and deeper
sighs were audible, as if gasped out by some one in the last throes of
mortal anguish. "Yes, yes; it is some poor animal locked up somewhere;
I will shout as loudly as I can, I will stamp violently on the floor,
then all will be still, or else the animal below will make itself heard
more distinctly, and in its natural cries," I thought. But the blood
ran cold in my veins; the cold sweat, too, stood upon my forehead, and
I remained sitting in my chair as if transfixed, quite unable to rise,
still less to cry out. At length the abominable scratching ceased, and
I again heard the footsteps. Life and motion seemed to be awakened in
me; I leapt to my feet, and went two or three steps forward. But then
there came an ice-cold draught of wind through the hall, whilst at the
same moment the moon cast her bright light upon the statue of a grave
if not almost terrible-looking man; and then, as though his warning
voice rang through the louder thunders of the waves and the shriller
piping of the wind, I heard distinctly, "No further, no further! or you
will sink beneath all the fearful horrors of the world of spectres."
Then the door was slammed too with the same violent bang as before, and
I plainly heard the footsteps in the anteroom, then going down the
stairs. The main door of the castle was opened with a creaking noise,
and afterwards closed again. Then it seemed as if a horse were brought
out of the stable, and after a while taken back again, and finally all
was still.

At that same moment my attention was attracted to my old uncle in the
adjoining room; he was groaning and moaning painfully. This brought me
fully to consciousness again; I seized the candles and hurried into the
room to him. He appeared to be struggling with an ugly, unpleasant
dream. "Wake up, wake up!" I cried loudly, taking him gently by the
hand, and letting the full glare of the light fall upon his face. He
started up with a stifled shout, and then, looking kindly at me, said,
"Ay, you have done quite right--that you have, cousin, to wake me. I
have had a very ugly dream, and it's all solely owing to this room and
that hall, for they made me think of past times and many wonderful
things that have happened here. But now let us turn to and have a
good sound sleep." Therewith the old gentleman rolled himself in the
bed-covering and appeared to fall asleep at once. But when I had
extinguished the candles and likewise crept into bed, I heard him
praying in a low tone to himself.

Next morning we began work in earnest; the land-steward brought his
account-books, and various other people came, some to get a dispute
settled, some to get arrangements made about other matters. At noon my
uncle took me with him to the wing where the two old Baronesses lived,
that we might pay our respects to them with all due form. Francis
having announced us, we had to wait some time before a little old dame,
bent with the weight of her sixty years, and attired in gay-coloured
silks, who styled herself the noble ladies' lady-in-waiting, appeared
and led us into the sanctuary. There we were received with comical
ceremony by the old ladies, whose curious style of dress had gone out
of fashion years and years before. I especially was an object of
astonishment to them when my uncle, with considerable humour,
introduced me as a young lawyer who had come to assist him in his
business. Their countenances plainly indicated their belief that, owing
to my youth, the welfare of the tenants of R--sitten was placed in
jeopardy. Although there was a good deal that was truly ridiculous
during the whole of this interview with the old ladies, I was
nevertheless still shivering from the terror of the preceding night; I
felt as if I had come in contact with an unknown power, or rather as if
I had grazed against the outer edge of a circle, one step across which
would be enough to plunge me irretrievably into destruction, as though
it were only by the exertion of all the power of my will that I should
be able to guard myself against _that_ awful dread which never slackens
its hold upon you until it ends in incurable insanity. Hence it was
that the old Baronesses, with their remarkable towering head-dresses,
and their peculiar stuff gowns, tricked off with gay flowers and
ribbons, instead of striking me as merely ridiculous, had an appearance
that was both ghostly and awe-inspiring. My fancy seemed to glean from
their yellow withered faces and blinking eyes, ocular proof of the fact
that they had succeeded in establishing themselves on at least a good
footing with the ghosts who haunted the castle, as it derived auricular
confirmation of the same fact from the wretched French which they
croaked, partly between their tightly-closed blue lips and partly
through their long thin noses, and also that they themselves possessed
the power of setting trouble and dire mischief at work. My uncle, who
always had a keen eye for a bit of fun, entangled the old dames in his
ironical way in such a mish-mash of nonsensical rubbish that, had I
been in any other mood, I should not have known how to swallow down my
immoderate laughter; but, as I have just said, the Baronesses and their
twaddle were, and continued to be, in my regard, ghostly, so that my
old uncle, who was aiming at affording me an especial diversion,
glanced across at me time after time utterly astonished. So after
dinner, when we were alone together in our room, he burst out, "But in
Heaven's name, cousin, tell me what is the matter with you? You don't
laugh; you don't talk; you don't eat; and you don't drink. Are you ill,
or is anything else the matter with you?" I now hesitated not a moment
to tell him circumstantially all my terrible, awful experiences of the
previous night I did not conceal anything, and above all I did not
conceal that I had drunk a good deal of punch, and had been reading
Schiller's "Ghostseer." "This I must confess to," I add, "for only so
can I credibly explain how it was that my over-strained and active
imagination could create all those ghostly spirits, which only exist
within the sphere of my own brain." I fully expected that my uncle
would now pepper me well with the stinging pellets of his wit for this
my fanciful ghost-seeing; but, on the contrary, he grew very grave, and
his eyes became riveted in a set stare upon the floor, until he jerked
up his head and said, fixing me with his keen fiery eyes, "Your book I
am not acquainted with, cousin; but your ghostly visitants were due
neither to it nor to the fumes of the punch. I must tell you that I
dreamt exactly the same things that you saw and heard. Like you, I sat
in the easy-chair beside the fire (at least I dreamt so); but what was
only revealed to you as slight noises I saw and distinctly comprehended
with the eye of my mind. Yes, I beheld that foul fiend come in,
stealthily and feebly step across to the bricked-up door, and scratch
at the wall in hopeless despair until the blood gushed out from beneath
his torn finger-nails; then he went downstairs, took a horse out of the
stable, and finally put him back again. Did you also hear the cock
crowing in a distant farmyard up at the village? You came and awoke me,
and I soon resisted the baneful ghost of that terrible man, who is
still able to disturb in this fearful way the quiet lives of the
living." The old gentleman stopped; and I did not like to ask him
further questions, being well aware that he would explain everything to
me when he deemed that the proper time was come for doing so. After
sitting for a while, deeply absorbed in his own thoughts, he went on,
"Cousin, do you think you have courage enough to encounter the ghost
again now that you know all that happens,--that is to say, along with
me?" Of course I declared that I now felt quite strong enough, and
ready for what he wished. "Then let us watch together during the coming
night," the old gentleman went on to say. "There is a voice within me
telling me that this evil spirit must fly, not so much before the power
of my will as before my courage, which rests upon a basis of firm
conviction. I feel that it is not at all presumption in me, but rather
a good and pious deed, if I venture life and limb to exorcise this foul
fiend that is banishing the sons from the old castle of their
ancestors. But what am I thinking about? There can be no risk in the
case at all, for with such a firm, honest mind and pious trust that I
feel I possess, I and everybody cannot fail to be, now and always,
victorious over such ghostly antagonists. And yet if, after all, it
should be God's will that this evil power be enabled to work me
mischief, then you must bear witness, cousin, that I fell in honest
Christian fight against the spirit of hell which was here busy about
its fiendish work. As for yourself, keep at a distance; no harm will
happen to you then."

Our attention was busily engaged with divers kinds of business until
evening came. As on the day before, Francis had cleared away the
remains of the supper, and brought us our punch. The full moon shone
brightly through the gleaming clouds, the sea-waves roared, and the
night-wind howled and shook the oriel window till the panes rattled.
Although inwardly excited, we forced ourselves to converse on
indifferent topics. The old gentleman had placed his striking watch on
the table; it struck twelve. Then the door flew open with a terrific
bang, and, just as on the preceding night, soft slow footsteps moved
stealthily across the hall in a diagonal direction, whilst there were
the same sounds of sighing and moaning. My uncle turned pale, but his
eyes shone with an unusual brilliance. He rose from his arm-chair,
stretching his tall figure up to its full height, so that as he stood
there with his left arm propped against his side and with his right
stretched out towards the middle of the hall, he had the appearance of
a hero issuing his commands. But the sighing and moaning were growing
every moment louder and more perceptible, and then the scratching at
the wall began more horribly even than on the previous night. My uncle
strode forwards straight towards the walled-up door, and his steps were
so firm that they echoed along the floor. He stopped immediately in
front of the place, where the scratching noise continued to grow worse
and worse, and said in a strong solemn voice, such as I had never
before heard from his lips, "Daniel, Daniel! what are you doing here at
this hour?" Then there was a horrible unearthly scream, followed by a
dull thud as if a heavy weight had fallen to the ground. "Seek for
pardon and mercy at the throne of the Almighty; that is your place.
Away with you from the scenes of this life, in which you can nevermore
have part." And as the old gentleman uttered these words in a tone
still stronger than before, a feeble wail seemed to pass through the
air and die away in the blustering of the storm, which was just
beginning to rage. Crossing over to the door, the old gentleman slammed
it to, so that the echo rang loudly through the empty anteroom. There
was something so supernatural almost in both his language and his
gestures that I was deeply struck with awe. On resuming his seat in his
arm-chair his face was as if transfigured; he folded his hands and
prayed inwardly. In this way several minutes passed, when he asked me
in that gentle tone which always went right to my heart, and which he
always had so completely at his command, "Well, cousin?" Agitated and
shaken by awe, terror, fear, and pious respect and love, I threw myself
upon my knees and rained down my warm tears upon the hand he offered
me. He clasped me in his arms, and pressing me fervently to his heart
said very tenderly, "Now we will go and have a good quiet sleep, good
cousin;" and we did so. And as nothing of an unusual nature occurred on
the following night, we soon recovered our former cheerfulness, to the
prejudice of the old Baronesses; for though there did still continue to
be something ghostly about them and their odd manners, yet it emanated
from a diverting ghost which the old gentleman knew how to call up in a
droll fashion.

At length, after the lapse of several days, the Baron put in his
appearance, along with his wife and a numerous train of servants for
the hunting; the guests who had been invited also arrived, and the
castle, now suddenly awakened to animation, became the scene of the
noisy life and revelry which have been before described. When the Baron
came into our hall soon after his arrival, he seemed to be disagreeably
surprised at the change in our quarters. Casting an ill-tempered glance
towards the bricked-up door, he turned abruptly round and passed his
hand across his forehead, as if desirous of banishing some disagreeable
recollection. My great-uncle mentioned the damage done to the
justice-hall and the adjoining apartments; but the Baron found fault
with Francis for not accommodating us with better lodgings, and he
good-naturedly requested the old gentleman to order anything he might
want to make his new room comfortable; for it was much less
satisfactory in this respect than that which he had usually occupied.
On the whole, the Baron's bearing towards my old uncle was not merely
cordial, but largely coloured by a certain deferential respect, as if
the relation in which he stood towards him was that of a younger
relative. But this was the sole trait that could in any way reconcile
me to his harsh, imperious character, which was now developed more and
more every day. As for me, he seemed to notice me but little; if he did
notice me at all, he saw in me nothing more than the usual secretary or
clerk. On the occasion of the very first important memorandum that I
drew up, he began to point out mistakes, as he conceived, in the
wording. My blood boiled, and I was about to make a caustic reply, when
my uncle interposed, informing him briefly that I did my work exactly
in the way he wished, and that in legal matters of this kind he alone
was responsible. When we were left alone, I complained bitterly of the
Baron, who would, I said, always inspire me with growing aversion. "I
assure you, cousin," replied the old gentleman, "that the Baron,
notwithstanding his unpleasant manner, is really one of the most
excellent and kind-hearted men in the world. As I have already told
you, he did not assume these manners until the time he became lord of
the entail; previous to then he was a modest, gentle youth. Besides, he
is not, after all, so bad as you make him out to be; and further, I
should like to know why you are so averse to him." As my uncle said
these words he smiled mockingly, and the blood rushed hotly and
furiously into my face. I could not pretend to hide from myself--I saw
it only too clearly, and felt it too unmistakably--that my peculiar
antipathy to the Baron sprang out of the fact that I loved, even to
madness, a being who appeared to me to be the loveliest and most
fascinating of her sex who had ever trod the earth. This lady was none
other than the Baroness herself. Her appearance exercised a powerful
and irresistible charm upon me at the very moment of her arrival, when
I saw her traversing the apartments in her Russian sable cloak, which
fitted close to the exquisite symmetry of her shape, and with a rich
veil wrapped about her head. Moreover, the circumstance that the
two old aunts, with still more extraordinary gowns and be-ribboned
head-dresses than I had yet seen them wear, were sweeping along one on
each side of her and cackling their welcomes in French, whilst the
Baroness was looking about her in a way so gentle as to baffle all
description, nodding graciously first to one and then to another, and
then adding in her flute-like voice a few German words in the pure
sonorous dialect of Courland--all this formed a truly remarkable and
unusual picture, and my imagination involuntarily connected it with the
ghostly midnight visitant,--the Baroness being the angel of light who
was to break the ban of the spectral powers of evil. This wondrously
lovely lady stood forth in startling reality before my mind's eye. At
that time she could hardly be nineteen years of age, and her face, as
delicately beautiful as her form, bore the impression of the most
angelic good-nature; but what I especially noticed was the
indescribable fascination of her dark eyes, for a soft melancholy gleam
of aspiration shone in them like dewy moonshine, whilst a perfect
elysium of rapture and delight was revealed in her sweet and beautiful
smile. She often seemed completely lost in her own thoughts, and at
such moments her lovely face was swept by dark and fleeting shadows.
Many observers would have concluded that she was affected by some
distressing pain; but it rather seemed to me that she was struggling
with gloomy apprehensions of a future pregnant with dark misfortunes;
and with these, strangely enough, I connected the apparition of the
castle, though I could not give the least explanation of why I did so.

On the morning following the Baron's arrival, when the company
assembled to breakfast, my old uncle introduced me to the Baroness;
and, as usually happens with people in the frame of mind in which I
then was, I behaved with indescribable absurdity. In answer to the
beautiful lady's simple inquiries how I liked the castle, &c., I
entangled myself in the most extraordinary and nonsensical phrases, so
that the old aunts ascribed my embarrassment simply and solely to my
profound respect for the noble lady, and thought they were called
upon condescendingly to take my part, which they did by praising
me in French as a very nice and clever young man, as a _garçon très
joli_ (handsome lad). This vexed me; so suddenly recovering my
self-possession, I threw out a _bonmot_ in better French than the old
dames were mistresses of; whereupon they opened their eyes wide in
astonishment, and pampered their long thin noses with a liberal supply
of snuff. From the Baroness's turning from me with a more serious air
to talk to some other lady, I perceived that my _bonmot_ bordered
closely upon folly; this vexed me still more, and I wished the two old
ladies to the devil. My old uncle's irony had long before brought me
through the stage of the languishing love-sick swain, who in childish
infatuation coddles his love-troubles; but I knew very well that the
Baroness had made a deeper and more powerful impression upon my heart
than any other woman had hitherto done. I saw and heard nothing but
her; nevertheless I had a most explicit and unequivocal consciousness
that it would be not only absurd, but even utter madness to dream of an
amour, albeit I perceived no less clearly the impossibility of gazing
and adoring at a distance like a love-lorn boy. Of such conduct I
should have been perfectly ashamed. But what I could do, and what I
resolved to do, was to become more intimate with this beautiful girl
without allowing her to get any glimpse of my real feelings, to drink
the sweet poison of her looks and words, and then, when far away from
her, to bear her image in my heart for many, many days, perhaps for
ever. I was excited by this romantic and chivalric attachment to such a
degree, that, as I pondered over it during sleepless nights, I was
childish enough to address myself in pathetic monologues, and even to
sigh lugubriously, "Seraphina! O Seraphina!" till at last my old uncle
woke up and cried, "Cousin, cousin! I believe you are dreaming aloud.
Do it by daytime, if you can possibly contrive it, but at night have
the goodness to let me sleep." I was very much afraid that the old
gentleman, who had not failed to remark my excitement on the Baroness's
arrival, had heard the name, and would overwhelm me with his sarcastic
wit. But next morning all he said, as we went into the justice-hall,
was, "God grant every man the proper amount of common sense, and
sufficient watchfulness to keep it well under hand. It's a bad look-out
when a man becomes converted into a fantastic coxcomb without so much
as a word of warning." Then he took his seat at the great table and
added, "Write neatly and distinctly, good cousin, that I may be able to
read it without any trouble."

The respect, nay, the almost filial veneration which the Baron
entertained towards my uncle, was manifested on all occasions.
Thus, at the dinner-table he had to occupy the seat--which many envied
him--beside the Baroness; as for me, chance threw me first in one place
and then in another; but for the most part, two or three officers from
the neighbouring capital were wont to attach me to them, in order that
they might empty to their own satisfaction their budget of news and
amusing anecdotes, whilst diligently passing the wine about. Thus it
happened that for several days in succession I sat at the bottom of the
table at a great distance from the Baroness. At length, however, chance
brought me nearer to her. Just as the doors of the dining-hall were
thrown open for the assembled company, I happened to be in the midst of
a conversation with the Baroness's companion and confidante,--a lady no
longer in the bloom of youth, but by no means ill-looking, and not
without intelligence,--and she seemed to take some interest in my
remarks. According to etiquette, it was my duty to offer her my arm,
and I was not a little pleased when she took her place quite close to
the Baroness, who gave her a friendly nod. It may be readily imagined
that all that I now said was intended not only for my fair neighbour,
but also mainly for the Baroness. Whether it was that the inward
tension of my feelings imparted an especial animation to all I said, at
any rate my companion's attention became more riveted with every
succeeding moment; in fact, she was at last entirely absorbed in the
visions of the kaleidoscopic world which I unfolded to her gaze. As
remarked, she was not without intelligence, and it soon came to pass
that our conversation, completely independent of the multitude of words
spoken by the other guests (which rambled about first to this subject
and then to that), maintained its own free course, launching an
effective word now and again whither I wanted it. For I did not fail to
observe that my companion shot a significant glance or two across to
the Baroness, and that the latter took pains to listen to us. And this
was particularly the case when the conversation turned upon music and I
began to speak with enthusiasm of this glorious and sacred art; nor did
I conceal that, despite the fact of my having devoted myself to the dry
tedious study of the law, I possessed tolerable skill on the
harpsichord, could sing, and had even set several songs to music.

The majority of the company had gone into another room to take coffee
and liqueurs; but, unawares, without knowing how it came about, I found
myself near the Baroness, who was talking with her confidante. She at
once addressed me, repeating in a still more cordial manner and in the
tone in which one talks to an acquaintance, her inquiries as to how I
liked living in the castle, &c. I assured her that for the first few
days, not only the dreary desolation of the situation, but the ancient
castle itself had affected me strangely, but even in this mood I had
found much of deep interest, and that now my only wish was to be
excused from the stirring scenes of the hunt, for I had not been
accustomed to them. The Baroness smiled and said, "I can readily
believe that this wild life in our fir forests cannot be very congenial
to you. You are a musician, and, unless I am utterly mistaken, a poet
as well. I am passionately fond of both arts. I can also play the harp
a little, but I have to do without it here in R--sitten, for my husband
does not like me to bring it with me. Its soft strains would harmonize
but ill with the wild shouts of the hunters and the ringing blare of
their bugles, which are the only sounds that ought to be heard here.
And O heaven! how I should like to hear a little music!" I protested
that I would exert all the skill I had at my command to fulfil her
wish, for there must surely without doubt be an instrument of some kind
in the castle, even though it were only an old harpsichord. Then the
Lady Adelheid (the Baroness's confidante) burst out into a silvery
laugh and asked, did I not know that within the memory of man no other
instrument had ever been heard in the castle except cracked trumpets,
and hunting-horns which in the midst of joy would only sound lugubrious
notes, and the twanging fiddles, untuned violoncellos, and braying
oboes of itinerant musicians. The Baroness reiterated her wish that she
should like to have some music, and especially should like to hear me;
and both she and Adelheid racked their brains all to no purpose to
devise some scheme by which they could get a decent pianoforte brought
to the Castle. At this moment old Francis crossed the room. "Here's the
man who always can give the best advice, and can procure everything,
even things before unheard of and unseen." With these words the Lady
Adelheid called him to her, and as she endeavoured to make him
comprehend what it was that was wanted, the Baroness listened with her
hands clasped and her head bent forward, looking upon the old man's
face with a gentle smile. She made a most attractive picture, like some
lovely, winsome child that is all eagerness to have a wished-for toy in
its hands. Francis, after having adduced in his prolix manner several
reasons why it would be downright impossible to procure such a
wonderful instrument in such a big hurry, finally stroked his beard
with an air of self-flattery and said, "But the land-steward's lady up
at the village performs on the manichord, or whatever is the outlandish
name they now call it, with uncommon skill, and sings to it so fine and
mournful-like that it makes your eyes red, just like onions do, and
makes you feel as if you would like to dance with both legs at once."
"And you say she has a pianoforte?" interposed Lady Adelheid. "Aye,
to be sure," continued the old man; "it comed straight from Dresden;
a"--("Oh, that's fine!" interrupted the Baroness)--"a beautiful
instrument," went on the old man, "but a little weakly; for not long
ago, when the organist began to play on it the hymn 'In all Thy
works,'[5] he broke it all to pieces, so that"--("Good gracious!"
exclaimed both the Baroness and Lady Adelheid)--"so that," went on the
old man again, "it had to be taken to R---- to be mended, and cost a
lot of money." "But has it come back again?" asked Lady Adelheid
impatiently. "Aye, to be sure, my lady, and the steward's lady will
reckon it a high honour----" At this moment the Baron chanced to pass.
He looked across at our group rather astonished, and whispered with a
sarcastic smile to the Baroness, "So you have to take counsel of
Francis again, I see?" The Baroness cast down her eyes blushing, whilst
old Francis breaking off terrified, suddenly threw himself into
military posture, his head erect, and his arms close and straight down
his side. The old aunts came sailing down upon us in their stuff gowns
and carried off the Baroness. Lady Adelheid followed her, and I was
left alone as if spell-bound. A struggle began to rage within me
between my rapturous anticipations of now being able to be near her
whom I adored, who completely swayed all my thoughts and feelings, and
my sulky ill-humour and annoyance at the Baron, whom I regarded as a
barbarous tyrant. If he were not, would the grey-haired old servant
have assumed such a slavish attitude?

"Do you hear? Can you see, I say?" cried my great-uncle, tapping me on
the shoulder;--we were going upstairs to our own apartments. "Don't
force yourself so on the Baroness's attention," he said when we reached
the room. "What good can come of it? Leave that to the young fops who
like to pay court to ladies; there are plenty of them to do it." I
related how it had all come about, and challenged him to say if I had
deserved his reproof. His only reply to this, however, was, "Humph!
humph!" as he drew on his dressing-gown. Then, having lit his pipe, he
took his seat in his easy-chair and began to talk about the adventures
of the hunt on the preceding day, bantering me on my bad shots. All was
quiet in the castle; all the visitors, both gentlemen and ladies, were
busy in their own rooms dressing for the evening. For the musicians
with the twanging fiddles, untuned violoncellos, and braying oboes, of
whom Lady Adelheid had spoken, were come, and a merrymaking of no less
importance than a ball, to be given in the best possible style, was in
anticipation. My old uncle, preferring a quiet sleep to such foolish
pastimes, stayed in his chamber. I, however, had just finished dressing
when there came a light tap at our door, and Francis entered. Smiling
in his self-satisfied way, he announced to me that the manichord had
just arrived from the land-steward's lady in a sledge, and had been
carried into the Baroness's apartments. Lady Adelheid sent her
compliments and would I go over at once. It may be conceived how my
pulse beat, and also with what a delicious tremor at heart I opened the
door of the room in which I was to find _her_. Lady Adelheid came to
meet me with a joyful smile. The Baroness, already in full dress for
the ball, was sitting in a meditative attitude beside the mysterious
case or box, in which slumbered the music that I was called upon to
awaken. When she rose, her beauty shone upon me with such glorious
splendour that I stood staring at her unable to utter a word. "Come,
Theodore"--(for, according to the kindly custom of the North, which is
found again farther south, she addressed everybody by his or her
Christian name)--"Come, Theodore," she said pleasantly, "here's the
instrument come. Heaven grant it be not altogether unworthy of your
skill!" As I opened the lid I was greeted by the rattling of a score of
broken strings, and when I attempted to strike a chord, the effect was
hideous and abominable, for all the strings which were not broken were
completely out of tune. "I doubt not our friend the organist has been
putting his delicate little hands upon it again," said Lady Adelheid
laughing; but the Baroness was very much annoyed and said, "Oh, it
really is a slice of bad luck! I am doomed, I see, never to have any
pleasure here." I searched in the case of the instrument, and
fortunately found some coils of strings, but no tuning-key anywhere.
Hence fresh laments. "Any key will do if the ward will fit on the
pegs," I explained; then both Lady Adelheid and the Baroness ran
backwards and forwards in gay spirits, and before long a whole magazine
of bright keys lay before me on the sounding-board.

Then I set to work diligently, and both the ladies assisted me all they
could, trying first one peg and then another. At length one of the
tiresome keys fitted, and they exclaimed joyfully, "This will do! it
will do!" But when I had drawn the first creaking string up to just
proper pitch, it suddenly snapped, and the ladies recoiled in alarm.
The Baroness, handling the brittle wires with her delicate little
fingers, gave me the numbers as I wanted them, and carefully held the
coil whilst I unrolled it. Suddenly one of them coiled itself up again
with a whirr, making the Baroness utter an impatient "Oh!" Lady
Adelheid enjoyed a hearty laugh, whilst I pursued the tangled coil to
the corner of the room. After we had all united our efforts to extract
a perfectly straight string from it, and had tried it again, to our
mortification it again broke; but at last--at last we found some good
coils; the strings began to hold, and gradually the discordant jangling
gave place to pure melodious chords. "Ha! it will go! it will go! The
instrument is getting in tune!" exclaimed the Baroness, looking at me
with her lovely smile. How quickly did this common interest banish all
the strangeness and shyness which the artificial manners of social
intercourse impose. A kind of confidential familiarity arose between
us, which, burning through me like an electric current, consumed the
timorous nervousness and constraint which had lain like ice upon my
heart. That peculiar mood of diffused melting sadness which is
engendered of such love as mine was had quite left me; and accordingly,
when the pianoforte was brought into something like tune, instead of
interpreting my deeper feelings in dreamy improvisations, as I had
intended, I began with those sweet and charming canzonets which have
reached us from the South. During this or the other _Senza di te_
(Without thee), or _Sentimi idol mio_ (Hear me, my darling), or _Almen
se nonpos'io_ (At least if I cannot), with numberless _Morir mi sentos_
(I feel I am dying), and _Addios_ (Farewell), and _O dios!_ (O
Heaven!), a brighter and brighter brilliancy shone in Seraphina's
eyes. She had seated herself close beside me at the instrument; I felt
her breath fanning my cheek; and as she placed her arm behind me
on the chair-back, a white ribbon, getting disengaged from her
beautiful ball-dress, fell across my shoulder, where by my singing and
Seraphina's soft sighs it was kept in a continual flutter backwards and
forwards, like a true love-messenger. It is a wonder how I kept from
losing my head.

As I was running my fingers aimlessly over the keys, thinking of a new
song, Lady Adelheid, who had been sitting in one of the corners of the
room, ran across to us, and, kneeling down before the Baroness, begged
her, as she took both her hands and clasped them to her bosom, "Oh,
dear Baroness! darling Seraphina! now you must sing too." To this she
replied, "Whatever are you thinking about, Adelheid? How could I dream
of letting our virtuoso friend hear such poor singing as mine?" And she
looked so lovely, as, like a shy good child, she cast down her eyes and
blushed, timidly contending with the desire to sing. That I too added
my entreaties can easily be imagined; nor, upon her making mention of
some little Courland _Volkslieder_ or popular songs, did I desist from
my entreaties until she stretched out her left hand towards the
instrument and tried a few notes by way of introduction. I rose to make
way for her at the piano, but she would not permit me to do so,
asserting that she could not play a single chord, and for that reason,
since she would have to sing without accompaniment, her performance
would be poor and uncertain. She began in a sweet voice, pure as a
bell, that came straight from her heart, and sang a song whose simple
melody bore all the characteristics of those _Volkslieder_ which
proceed from the lips with such a lustrous brightness, so to speak,
that we cannot help perceiving in the glad light which surrounds us our
own higher poetic nature. There lies a mysterious charm in the
insignificant words of the text which converts them into a hieroglyphic
scroll representative of the unutterable emotions which throng our
hearts. Who does not know that Spanish canzonet the substance of which
is in words little more than, "With my maiden I embarked on the sea; a
storm came on, and my timid maiden was tossed up and down: nay, I will
never again embark on the sea with my maiden?" And the Baroness's
little song contained nothing more than, "Lately I was dancing with my
sweetheart at a wedding; a flower fell out of my hair; he picked it up
and gave it me, and said, 'When, sweetheart mine, shall we go to a
wedding again?'" When, on her beginning the second verse of the song, I
played an _arpeggio_ accompaniment, and further when, in the
inspiration which now took possession of me, I at once stole from the
Baroness's own lips the melodies of the other songs she sang, I
doubtless appeared in her eyes, and in those of the Lady Adelheid, to
be one of the greatest of masters in the art of music, for they
overwhelmed me with enthusiastic praise. The lights and illuminations
from the ball-room, situated in one of the wings of the castle, now
shone across into the Baroness's chamber, whilst a discordant bleating
of trumpets and French horns announced that it was time to gather for
the ball. "Oh, now I must go," said the Baroness. I started up from the
pianoforte. "You have afforded me a delightful hour; these have been
the pleasantest moments I have ever spent in R--sitten," she added,
offering me her hand; and as in the extreme intoxication of delight I
pressed it to my lips, I felt her fingers close upon my hand with a
sudden convulsive tremor. I do not know how I managed to reach my
uncle's chamber, and still less how I got into the ball-room. There was
a certain Gascon who was afraid to go into battle since he was all
heart, and every wound would be fatal to him. I might be compared to
him; and so might everybody else who is in the same mood that I
was in; every touch was then fatal. The Baroness's hand--her tremulous
fingers--had affected me like a poisoned arrow; my blood was burning in
my veins.

On the following morning my old uncle, without asking any direct
questions, had soon drawn from me a full account of the hour I had
spent in the Baroness's society, and I was not a little abashed when
the smile vanished from his lips and the jocular note from his words,
and he grew serious all at once, saying, "Cousin, I beg you will resist
this folly which is taking such a powerful hold upon you. Let me tell
you that your present conduct, as harmless as it now appears, may lead
to the most terrible consequences. In your thoughtless fatuity you are
standing on a thin crust of ice, which may break under you ere you are
aware of it, and let you in with a plunge. I shall take good care not
to hold you fast by the coat-tails, for I know you will scramble out
again pretty quick, and then, when you are lying sick unto death, you
will say, 'I got this little bit of a cold in a dream.' But I warn you
that a malignant fever will gnaw at your vitals, and years will pass
before you recover yourself, and are a man again. The deuce take your
music if you can put it to no better use than to cozen sentimental
young women out of their quiet peace of mind." "But," I began,
interrupting the old gentleman, "but have I ever thought of insinuating
myself as the Baroness's lover?" "You puppy!" cried the old gentleman,
"if I thought so I would pitch you out of this window." At this
juncture the Baron entered, and put an end to the painful conversation;
and the business to which I now had to turn my attention brought me
back from my love-sick reveries, in which I saw and thought of nothing
but Seraphina.

In general society the Baroness only occasionally interchanged a few
friendly words with me; but hardly an evening passed in which a secret
message was not brought to me from Lady Adelheid, summoning me to
Seraphina. It soon came to pass that our music alternated with
conversations on divers topics. Whenever I and Seraphina began to get
too absorbed in sentimental dreams and vague aspirations, the Lady
Adelheid, though now hardly young enough to be so naïve and droll as
she once was, yet intervened with all sorts of merry and somewhat
chaotic nonsense. From several hints she let fall, I soon discovered
that the Baroness really had something preying upon her mind, even as I
thought I had read in her eyes the very first moment I saw her; and I
clearly discerned the hostile influence of the apparition of the
castle. Something terrible had happened or was to happen. Although I
was often strongly impelled to tell Seraphina in what way I had come in
contact with the invisible enemy, and how my old uncle had banished
him, undoubtedly for ever, I yet felt my tongue fettered by a
hesitation which was inexplicable to myself even, whenever I opened my
mouth to speak.

One day the Baroness failed to appear at the dinner table; it was said
that she was a little unwell, and could not leave her room. Sympathetic
inquiries were addressed to the Baron as to whether her illness was of
a grave nature. He smiled in a very disagreeable way, in fact, it was
almost like bitter irony, and said, "Nothing more than a slight
catarrh, which she has got from our blustering sea-breezes. They can't
tolerate any sweet voices; the only sounds they will endure are the
hoarse 'Halloos' of the chase." At these words the Baron hurled a keen
searching look at me across the table, for I sat obliquely opposite to
him. He had not spoken to his neighbour, but to me. Lady Adelheid, who
sat beside me, blushed a scarlet red. Fixing her eyes upon the plate in
front of her, and scribbling about on it with her fork, she whispered,
"And yet you must see Seraphina to-day; your sweet songs shall to-day
also bring soothing and comfort to her poor heart." Adelheid addressed
these words to me; but at this moment it struck me that I was almost
apparently entangled in a base and forbidden intrigue with the
Baroness, which could only end in some terrible crime. My old uncle's
warning fell heavily upon my heart. What should I do? Not see her
again? That was impossible so long as I remained in the castle; and
even if I might leave the castle and return to K----, I had not the
will to do it Oh! I felt only too deeply that I was not strong enough
to shake myself out of this dream, which was mocking one with delusive
hopes of happiness. Adelheid I almost regarded in the light of a common
go-between; I would despise her, and yet, upon second thoughts, I could
not help being ashamed of my folly. Had anything ever happened during
those blissful evening hours which could in the least degree lead to
any nearer relation with Seraphina than was permissible by propriety
and morality? How dare I let the thought enter my mind that the
Baroness would ever entertain any warm feeling for me? And yet I was
convinced of the danger of my situation.

We broke up from dinner earlier than usual, in order to go again after
some wolves which had been seen in the fir-wood close by the castle. A
little hunting was just the thing I wanted in the excited frame of mind
in which I then was. I expressed to my uncle my resolve to accompany
the party; he gave me an approving smile and said, "That's right; I am
glad you are going out with them for once. I shall stay at home, so you
can take my firelock with you, and buckle my whinger round your waist;
in case of need it is a good and trusty weapon, if you only keep your
presence of mind." That part of the wood in which the wolves were
supposed to lie was surrounded by the huntsmen. It was bitterly cold;
the wind howled through the firs, and drove the light snow-flakes right
in my face, so that when at length it came on to be dusk I could
scarcely see six paces before me. Quite benumbed by the cold, I left
the place that had been assigned to me and sought shelter deeper in the
wood. There, leaning against a tree, with my firelock under my arm, I
forgot the wolf-hunt entirely; my thoughts had travelled back to
Seraphina's cosy room. After a time shots were heard in the far
distance; but at the same moment there was a rustling in the reed-bank,
and I saw not ten paces from me a huge wolf about to run past me. I
took aim, and fired, but missed. The brute sprang towards me with
glaring eyes; I should have been lost had I not had sufficient presence
of mind to draw my hunting-knife, and, just as the brute was flying at
me, to drive it deep into his throat, so that the blood spurted out
over my hand and arm. One of the Baron's keepers, who had stood not far
from me, came running up with a loud shout, and at his repeated
"Halloo!" all the rest soon gathered round us. The Baron hastened up to
me, saying, "For God's sake, you are bleeding--you are bleeding. Are
you wounded?" I assured him that I was not Then he turned to the keeper
who had stood nearest to me, and overwhelmed him with reproaches for
not having shot after me when I missed. And notwithstanding that the
man maintained this to have been perfectly impossible, since in the
very same moment the wolf had rushed upon me, and any shot would have
been at the risk of hitting me, the Baron persisted in saying that he
ought to have taken especial care of me as a less experienced hunter.
Meanwhile the keepers had lifted up the dead animal; it was one of the
largest that had been seen for a long time; and everybody admired my
courage and resolution, although to myself what I had done appeared
quite natural I had not for a moment thought of the danger I had run.
The Baron in particular seemed to take very great interest in the
matter; I thought he would never be done asking me whether, though I
was not wounded by the brute, I did not fear the ill effects that would
follow from the fright As we went back to the castle, the Baron took me
by the arm like a friend, and I had to give my firelock to a keeper to
carry. He still continued to talk about my heroic deed, so that
eventually I came to believe in my own heroism, and lost all my
constraint and embarrassment, and felt that I had established myself
in the Baron's eyes as a man of courage and uncommon resolution. The
schoolboy had passed his examination successfully, was now no longer a
schoolboy, and all the submissive nervousness of the schoolboy had left
him. I now conceived I had earned a right to try and gain Seraphina's
favour. Everybody knows of course what ridiculous combinations the
fancy of a love-sick youth is capable of. In the castle, over the
smoking punchbowl, by the fireside, I was the hero of the hour. Besides
myself the Baron was the only one of the party who had killed a
wolf--also a formidable one; the rest had to be content with ascribing
their bad shots to the weather and the darkness, and with relating
thrilling stories of their former exploits in hunting and the dangers
they had escaped. I thought, too, that I might reap an especial share
of praise and admiration from my old uncle as well; and so, with a view
to this end, I related to him my adventure at pretty considerable
length, nor did I forget to paint the savage brute's wild and
bloodthirsty appearance in very startling colours. The old gentleman,
however, only laughed in my face and said, "God is powerful even in the
weak."

Tired of drinking and of the company, I was going quietly along the
corridor towards the justice-hall when I saw a figure with a light slip
in before me. On entering the hall I saw it was Lady Adelheid. "This is
the way we have to wander about like ghosts or night-walkers in order
to catch you, my brave slayer of wolves," she whispered, taking my arm.
The words "ghosts" and "sleep-walkers," pronounced in the place where
we were, fell like lead upon my heart; they immediately brought to my
recollection the ghostly apparitions of those two awful nights. As
then, so now, the wind came howling in from the sea in deep organ-like
cadences, rattling the oriel windows again and again and whistling
fearfully through them, whilst the moon cast her pale gleams exactly
upon the mysterious part of the wall where the scratching had been
heard. I fancied I discerned stains of blood upon it. Doubtless Lady
Adelheid, who still had hold of my hand, must have felt the cold icy
shiver which ran through me. "What's the matter with you?" she
whispered softly; "what's the matter with you? You are as cold as
marble. Come, I will call you back into life. Do you know how very
impatient the Baroness is to see you? And until she does see you she
will not believe that the ugly wolf has not really bitten you. She is
in a terrible state of anxiety about you. Why, my friend,--oh! how have
you awakened this interest in the little Seraphina? I have never seen
her like this. Ah!--so now the pulse is beginning to prickle; see how
quickly the dead man comes to life! Well, come along--but softly,
still! Come, we must go to the little Baroness." I suffered myself to
be led away in silence. The way in which Adelheid spoke of the Baroness
seemed to me undignified, and the innuendo of an understanding between
us positively shameful. When I entered the room along with Adelheid,
Seraphina, with a low-breathed "Oh!" advanced three or four paces
quickly to meet me; but then, as if recollecting herself, she stood
still in the middle of the room. I ventured to take her hand and press
it to my lips. Allowing it to rest in mine, she asked, "But, for
Heaven's sake! is it your business to meddle with wolves? Don't you
know that the fabulous days of Orpheus and Amphion are long past, and
that wild beasts have quite lost all respect for even the most
admirable of singers?" But this gleeful turn, by which the Baroness at
once effectually guarded against all misinterpretation of her warm
interest in me, I was put immediately into the proper key and the
proper mood. Why I did not take my usual place at the pianoforte I
cannot explain, even to myself, nor why I sat down beside the Baroness
on the sofa. Her question, "And what were you doing then to get into
danger?" was an indication of our tacit agreement that conversation,
not music, was to engage our attention for that evening. After I had
narrated my adventure in the wood, and mentioned the warm interest
which the Baron had taken in it, delicately hinting that I had not
thought him capable of so much feeling, the Baroness began in a tender
and almost melancholy tone, "Oh! how violent and rude you must think
the Baron; but I assure you it is only whilst we are living within
these gloomy, ghostly walls, and during the time there is hunting going
on in the dismal fir-forests, that his character completely changes, at
least his outward behaviour does. What principally disquiets him in
this unpleasant way is the thought, which constantly haunts him, that
something terrible will happen here. And that undoubtedly accounts for
the fact of his being so greatly agitated by your adventure, which
fortunately has had no ill consequences. He won't have the meanest of
his servants exposed to danger, if he knows it, still less a new-won
friend whom he has come to like; and I am perfectly certain that
Gottlieb, whom he blames for having left you in the lurch, will be
punished; even if he escapes being locked up in a dungeon, he will yet
have to suffer the punishment, so mortifying to a hunter, of going out
the next time there is a hunt with only a club in his hand instead of a
rifle. The circumstance that hunts like those which are held here are
always attended with danger, and the fact that the Baron, though always
fearing some sad accident, is yet so fond of hunting that he cannot
desist from provoking the demon of mischief, make his existence here a
kind of conflict, the ill effects of which I also have to feel. Many
queer stories are current about his ancestor who established the
entail; and I know myself that there is some dark family secret locked
within these walls like a horrible ghost which drives away the
owners, and makes it impossible for them to bear with it longer than a
few weeks at a time--and that only amid a tumult of jovial guests. But
I--Oh! how lonely I am in the midst of this noisy, merry company! And
how the ghostly influences which breathe upon me from the walls stir
and excite my very heart! You, my dear friend, have given me, through
your musical skill, the first cheerful moments I have spent here. How
can I thank you sufficiently for your kindness!" I kissed the hand she
offered to me, saying, that even on the very first day, or rather
during the very first night, I had experienced the ghostliness of the
place in all its horrors. The Baroness fixed her staring eyes upon my
face, as I went on to describe the ghostly character of the building,
discernible everywhere throughout the castle, particularly in the
decorations of the justice-hall, and to speak of the roaring of the
wind from the sea, &c. Possibly my voice and my expressions indicated
that I had something more in my mind than what I said; at any rate when
I concluded, the Baroness cried vehemently, "No, no; something dreadful
has happened to you in that hall, which I never enter without
shuddering. I beg you--pray, pray, tell me all."

Seraphina's face had grown deadly pale; and I saw plainly that it would
be more advisable to give her a faithful account of all that I had
experienced than to leave her excited imagination to conjure up some
apparition that might perhaps, in a way I could not foresee, be far
more horrible than what I had actually encountered. As she listened to
me her fear and strained anxiety increased from moment to moment; and
when I mentioned the scratching on the wall she screamed, "It's
horrible! Yes, yes, it's in that wall that the awful secret is
concealed!" But as I went on to describe with what spiritual power and
superiority of will my old uncle had banished the ghost, she sighed
deeply, as though she had shaken off a heavy burden that had weighed
oppressively upon her. She leaned back in the sofa and held her hands
before her face. Now I first noticed that Adelheid had left us. A
considerable pause ensued, and as Seraphina still continued silent, I
softly rose, and going to the pianoforte, endeavoured in swelling
chords to invoke the bright spirits of consolation to come and deliver
Seraphina from the dark influence to which my narration had subjected
her. Then I soon began to sing as softly as I was able one of the Abbé
Steffani's[6] canzonas. The melancholy strains of the _Ochi, perchè
piangete_ (O eyes, why weep you?) roused Seraphina out of her reverie,
and she listened to me with a gentle smile upon her face, and bright
pearl-like tears in her eyes. How am I to account for it that I kneeled
down before her, that she bent over towards me, that I threw my arms
about her, that a long ardent kiss was imprinted on my lips? How am I
to account for it that I did not lose my senses when she drew me softly
towards her, how that I tore myself from her arms, and, quickly rising
to my feet, hurried to the pianoforte? Turning from me, the Baroness
took a few steps towards the window, then she turned round again and
approached me with an air of almost proud dignity, which was not at all
usual with her. Looking me straight in the face, she said, "Your uncle
is the most worthy old man I know; he is the guardian-angel of our
family. May he include me in his pious prayers!" I was unable to utter
a word; the subtle poison that I had imbibed with her kiss burned and
boiled in every pulse and nerve. Lady Adelheid came in. The violence of
my inward conflict burst out at length in a passionate flood of tears,
which I was unable to repress. Adelheid looked at me with wonder and
smiled dubiously;--I could have murdered her. The Baroness gave me her
hand, and said with inexpressible gentleness, "Farewell, my dear
friend. Fare you right well; and remember that nobody perhaps has ever
understood your music better than I have. Oh! these notes! they will
echo long, long in my heart." I forced myself to utter a few stupid,
disconnected words, and hurried up to my uncle's room. The old
gentleman had already gone to bed. I stayed in the hall, and falling
upon my knees, I wept aloud; I called upon my beloved by name, I gave
myself up completely and regardlessly to all the absurd folly of a
love-sick lunatic, until at last the extravagant noise I made awoke my
uncle. But his loud call, "Cousin, I believe you have gone cranky, or
else you're having another tussle with a wolf. Be off to bed with you
if you will be so very kind"--these words compelled me to enter his
room, where I got into bed with the fixed resolve to dream only of
Seraphina.

It would be somewhere past midnight when I thought I heard distant
voices, a running backwards and forwards, and an opening and banging of
doors--for I had not yet fallen asleep. I listened attentively; I heard
footsteps approaching the corridor; the hall door was opened, and soon
there came a knock at our door. "Who is there?" I cried. A voice from
without answered, "Herr Justitiarius, Herr Justitiarius, wake up, wake
up!" I recognised Francis's voice, and as I asked, "Is the castle on
fire?" the old gentleman woke up in his turn and asked, "Where--where
is there a fire? Is it that cursed apparition again? where is it?" "Oh!
please get up, Herr Justitiarius," said Francis, "Please get up; the
Baron wants you." "What does the Baron want me for?" inquired my uncle
further; "what does he want me for at this time of night? does he not
know that all law business goes to bed along with the lawyer, and
sleeps as soundly as he does?" "Oh!" cried Francis, now anxiously;
"please, Herr Justitiarius, good sir, please get up. My lady the
Baroness is dying." I started up with a cry of dismay. "Open the door
for Francis," said the old gentleman to me. I stumbled about the room
almost distracted, and could find neither door nor lock; my uncle had
to come and help me. Francis came in, his face pale and troubled, and
lit the candles. We had scarcely thrown on our clothes when we heard
the Baron calling in the hall, "Can I speak to you, good V----?" "But
what have you dressed for, cousin? the Baron only wanted me," asked the
old gentleman, on the point of going out. "I must go down--I must see
her and then die," I replied tragically, and as if my heart were rent
by hopeless grief. "Ay, just so; you are right, cousin," he said,
banging the door to in my face, so that the hinges creaked, and locking
it on the outside. At the first moment, deeply incensed at this
restraint, I thought of bursting the door open; but quickly reflecting
that this would entail the disagreeable consequences of a piece of
outrageous insanity, I resolved to await the old gentleman's return;
then however, let the cost be what it might, I would escape his
watchfulness. I heard him talking vehemently with the Baron, and
several times distinguished my own name, but could not make out
anything further. Every moment my position grew more intolerable. At
length I heard that some one brought a message to the Baron, who
immediately hurried off. My old uncle entered the room again. "She is
dead!" I cried, running towards him, "And you are a stupid fool," he
interrupted coolly; then he laid hold upon me and forced me into a
chair. "I must go down," I cried, "I must go down and see her, even
though it cost me my life." "Do so, good cousin," said he, locking the
door, taking out the key, and putting it in his pocket. I now flew into
a perfectly frantic rage; stretching out my hand towards the rifle, I
screamed, "If you don't instantly open the door I will send this bullet
through my brains." Then the old gentleman planted himself immediately
in front of me, and fixing his keen piercing eyes upon me said, "Boy,
do you think you can frighten me with your idle threats? Do you think I
should set much value on your life if you can go and throw it away in
childish folly like a broken plaything? What have you to do with the
Baron's wife? who has given you the right to insinuate yourself, like a
tiresome puppy, where you have no claim to be, and where you are not
wanted? do you wish to go and act the love-sick swain at the solemn
hour of death?" I sank back in my chair utterly confounded After a
while the old gentleman went on more gently, "And now let me tell you
that this pretended illness of the Baroness is in all probability
nothing. Lady Adelheid always loses her head at the least little thing.
If a rain-drop falls upon her nose, she screams, 'What fearful weather
it is!' Unfortunately the noise penetrated to the old aunts, and they,
in the midst of unseasonable floods of tears, put in an appearance
armed with an entire arsenal of strengthening drops, elixirs of life,
and the deuce knows what. A sharp fainting-fit"---- The old gentleman
checked himself; doubtless he observed the struggle that was going on
within me. He took a few turns through the room; then again planting
himself in front of me, he had a good hearty laugh and said, "Cousin,
cousin, what nonsensical folly have you now got in your head? Ah well!
I suppose it can't be helped; the devil is to play his pretty games
here in divers sorts of ways. You have tumbled very nicely into his
clutches, and now he's making you dance to a sweet tune," He again took
a few turns up and down, and again went on, "It's no use to think of
sleep now; and it occurred to me that we might have a pipe, and so
spend the few hours that are left of the darkness and the night." With
these words he took a clay pipe from the cupboard, and proceeded to
fill it slowly and carefully, humming a song to himself; then he
rummaged about amongst a heap of papers, until he found a sheet,
which he picked out and rolled into a spill and lighted. Blowing the
tobacco-smoke from him in thick clouds, he said, speaking between his
teeth, "Well, cousin, what was that story about the wolf?"

I know not how it was, but this calm, quiet behaviour of the old
gentleman operated strangely upon me. I seemed to be no longer in
R--sitten, and the Baroness was so far, far distant from me that I
could only reach her on the wings of thought. The old gentleman's last
question, however, annoyed me. "But do you find my hunting exploit so
amusing?" I broke in,--"so well fitted for banter?" "By no means," he
rejoined, "by no means, cousin mine; but you've no idea what a comical
face such a whipper-snapper as you cuts, and how ludicrously he acts as
well, when Providence for once in a while honours him by putting him in
the way to meet with something out of the usual run of things. I once
had a college friend who was a quiet, sober fellow, and always on good
terms with himself. By accident he became entangled in an affair of
honour,--I say by accident, because he himself was never in any way
aggressive; and although most of the fellows looked upon him as a poor
thing, as a poltroon, he yet showed so much firm and resolute courage
in this affair as greatly to excite everybody's admiration. But from
that time onwards he was also completely changed. The sober and
industrious youth became a bragging, insufferable bully. He was always
drinking and rioting, and fighting about all sorts of childish trifles,
until he was run through in a duel by the Senior[7] of an exclusive
corps. I merely tell you the story, cousin; you are at liberty to think
what you please about it But to return to the Baroness and her
illness"---- At this moment light footsteps were heard in the hall; I
fancied, too, there was an unearthly moaning in the air. "She is dead!"
the thought shot through me like a fatal flash of lightning. The old
gentleman quickly rose to his feet and called out, "Francis, Francis!"
"Yes, my good Herr Justitiarius," he replied from without. "Francis,"
went on my uncle, "rake the fire together a bit in the grate, and if
you can manage it, you had better make us a good cup or two of tea."
"It is devilish cold," and he turned to me, "and I think we had better
go and sit round the fire and talk a little." He opened the door, and I
followed him mechanically. "How are things going on below?" he asked.
"Oh!" replied Francis; "there was not much the matter. The Lady
Baroness is all right again, and ascribes her bit of a fainting-fit to
a bad dream." I was going to break out into an extravagant
manifestation of joy and gladness, but a stern glance from my uncle
kept me quiet "And yet, after all, I think it would be better if we lay
down for an hour or two. You need not mind about the tea, Francis." "As
you think well, Herr Justitiarius," replied Francis, and he left the
room with the wish that we might have a good night's rest, albeit the
cocks were already crowing. "See here, cousin," said the old gentleman,
knocking the ashes out of his pipe on the grate, "I think, cousin, that
it's a very good thing no harm has happened to you either from wolves
or from loaded rifles." I now saw things in the right light, and was
ashamed at myself to have thus given the old gentleman good grounds for
treating me like a spoiled child.

Next morning he said to me, "Be so good as to step down, good cousin,
and inquire how the Baroness is. You need only ask for Lady Adelheid;
she will supply you with a full budget, I have no doubt" You may
imagine how eagerly I hastened downstairs. But just as I was about to
give a gentle knock at the door of the Baroness's anteroom, the Baron
came hurriedly out of the same. He stood still in astonishment, and
scrutinised me with a gloomy searching look. "What do you want here?"
burst from his lips. Notwithstanding that my heart beat, I controlled
myself and replied in a firm tone, "To inquire on my uncle's behalf how
my lady, the Baroness, is?" "Oh! it was nothing--one of her usual
nervous attacks. She is now having a quiet sleep, and will, I am sure,
make her appearance at the dinner-table quite well and cheerful. Tell
him that--tell him that." This the Baron said with a certain degree of
passionate vehemence, which seemed to me to imply that he was more
concerned about the Baroness than he was willing to show. I turned to
go back to my uncle, when the Baron suddenly seized my arm and said,
whilst his eyes flashed fire, "I have a word or two to say to you,
young man." Here I saw the deeply injured husband before me, and feared
there would be a scene which would perhaps end ignominiously for me. I
was unarmed; but at that moment I remembered I had in my pocket the
ingeniously-made hunting-knife which my uncle had presented to me after
we got to R--sitten. I now followed the Baron, who led the way rapidly,
with the determination not even to spare his life if I ran any risk of
being treated dishonourably.

We entered the Baron's own room, the door of which he locked behind
him. Now he began to pace restlessly backwards and forwards, with his
arms folded one over the other; then he stopped in front of me and
repeated, "I have a word or two to say to you, young man." I had wound
myself up to a pitch of most daring courage, and I replied, raising my
voice, "I hope they will be words which I may hear without resentment."
He stared hard at me in astonishment, as though he had failed to
understand me. Then, fixing his eyes gloomily upon the floor, he threw
his arms behind his back, and again began to stride up and down the
room. He took down a rifle and put the ramrod down the barrel to see
whether it were loaded or not. My blood boiled in my veins; grasping my
knife, I stepped close up to him, so as to make it impossible for him
to take aim at me. "That's a handsome weapon," he said, replacing the
rifle in the corner. I retired a few paces, the Baron following me.
Slapping me on the shoulder, perhaps a little more violently than was
necessary, he said, "I daresay I seem to you, Theodore, to be excited
and irritable; and I really am so, owing to the anxieties of a
sleepless night. My wife's nervous attack was not in the least
dangerous; that I now see plainly. But here--here in this castle, which
is haunted by an evil spirit, I always dread something terrible
happening; and then it's the first time she has been ill here. And
you--you alone were to blame for it." "How that can possibly be I have
not the slightest conception," I replied calmly. "I wish," continued
the Baron, "I wish that damned piece of mischief, my steward's wife's
instrument, were chopped up into a thousand pieces, and that you--but
no, no; it was to be so, it was inevitably to be so, and I alone am to
blame for all. I ought to have told you, the moment you began to play
music in my wife's room, of the whole state of the case, and to have
informed you of my wife's temper of mind." I was about to speak; "Let
me go on," said the Baron, "I must prevent your forming any rash
judgment. You probably regard me as an uncultivated fellow, averse to
the arts; but I am not so by any means. There is a particular
consideration, however, based upon deep conviction, which constrains me
to forbid the introduction here as far as possible of such music as can
powerfully affect any person's mind, and to this I of course am no
exception. Know that my wife suffers from a morbid excitability, which
will finally destroy all the happiness of her life. Within these
strange walls she is never quit of that strained over-excited
condition, which at other times occurs but temporarily, and then
generally as the forerunner of a serious illness. You will ask me, and
quite reasonably too, why I do not spare my delicate wife the necessity
of coming to live in this weird castle, and mix amongst the wild
confusion of a hunting-party. Well, call it weakness--be it so; in a
word, I cannot bring myself to leave her behind. I should be tortured
by a thousand fears, and quite incapable of any serious business,
for I am perfectly sure that I should be haunted everywhere, in the
justice-hall as well as in the forest, by the most horrid ideas of all
kinds of fatal mischief happening to her. And, on the other hand, I
believe that the sort of life led here cannot fail to operate upon the
weakly woman like strengthening chalybeate waters. By my soul, the
sea-breezes, sweeping keenly after their peculiar fashion through the
fir-trees, and the deep baying of the hounds, and the merry ringing
notes of our hunting-horns _must_ get the better of all your sickly
languishing sentimentalisings at the piano, which no man ought play in
_that way_. I tell you, you are deliberately torturing my wife to
death." These words he uttered with great emphasis, whilst his eyes
flashed with a restless fire. The blood mounted to my head; I made a
violent gesture against the Baron with my hand; I was about to speak,
but he cut me short "I know what you are going to say," he began, "I
know what you are going to say, and I repeat that you are going the
right road to kill my wife. But that you intended this I cannot of
course for a moment maintain; and yet you will understand that I must
put a stop to the thing. In short, by your playing and singing you work
her up to a high pitch of excitement, and then, when she drifts without
anchor and rudder on the boundless sea of dreams and visions and vague
aspirations which your music, like some vile charm, has summoned into
existence, you plunge her down into the depths of horror with a tale
about a fearful apparition which you say came and played pranks with
you up in the justice-hall. Your great-uncle has told me everything;
but, pray, repeat to me all you saw, or did not see, heard, felt,
divined by instinct."

I braced myself up and narrated calmly how everything had happened from
beginning to end, the Baron merely interposing at intervals a few words
expressive of his astonishment. When I came to the part where my old
uncle had met the ghost with trustful courage and had exorcised him
with a few powerful words, the Baron clasped his hands, raised them
folded towards Heaven, and said with deep emotion, "Yes, he is the
guardian-angel of the family. His mortal remains shall rest in the
vault of my ancestors." When I finished my narration, the Baron
murmured to himself, "Daniel, Daniel, what are you doing here at this
hour?" as he folded his arms and strode up and down the room. "And was
that all, Herr Baron?" I asked, making a movement as though I would
retire. Starting up as if out of a dream, the Baron took me kindly by
the hand and said, "Yes, my good friend, my wife, whom you have dealt
so hardly by without intending it--you must cure her again; you alone
can do so." I felt I was blushing, and had I stood opposite a mirror
should undoubtedly have seen in it a very blank and absurd face. The
Baron seemed to exult in my embarrassment; he kept his eyes fixed
intently upon my face, smiling with perfectly galling irony. "How in
the world can I cure her?" I managed to stammer out at length with an
effort "Well," he said, interrupting me, "you have no dangerous patient
to deal with at any rate. I now make an express claim upon your skill.
Since the Baroness has been drawn into the enchanted circle of your
music, it would be both foolish and cruel to drag her out of it all of
a sudden. Go on with your music therefore. You will always be welcome
during the evening hours in my wife's apartments. But gradually select
a more energetic kind of music, and effect a clever alternation of the
cheerful sort with the serious; and above all things, repeat your story
of the fearful ghost very very often. The Baroness will grow familiar
with it; she will forget that a ghost haunts this castle; and the story
will have no stronger effect upon her than any other tale of
enchantment which is put before her in a romance or a ghost-story book.
Pray, do this, my good friend." With these words the Baron left me. I
went away. I felt as if I were annihilated, to be thus humiliated to
the level of a foolish and insignificant child. Fool that I was to
suppose that jealousy was stirring his heart! He himself sends me to
Seraphina; he sees in me only the blind instrument which, after he has
made use of it, he can throw away if he thinks well. A few minutes
previously I had really feared the Baron; deep down within my heart
lurked the consciousness of guilt; but it was a consciousness which
allowed me to feel distinctly the beauty of the higher life for which I
was ripe. Now all had disappeared in the blackness of night; and I saw
only the stupid boy who in childish obstinacy had persisted in taking
the paper crown which he had put on his hot temples for a real golden
one. I hurried away to my uncle, who was waiting for me. "Well, cousin,
why have you been so long? Where have you been staying?" he cried as
soon as he saw me. "I have been having some words with the Baron!" I
quickly replied, carelessly and in a low voice, without being able to
look at the old gentleman. "God damn it all," said he, feigning
astonishment "Good gracious, boy! that's just what I thought. I suppose
the Baron has challenged you, cousin?" The ringing peal of laughter
which the old gentleman immediately afterwards broke out into taught me
that this time too, as always, he had seen me through and through. I
bit my lip, and durst not speak a word, for I knew very well that it
would only be the signal for the old gentleman to overwhelm me beneath
the torrent of teasing which was already hovering on the tip of his
tongue.

The Baroness appeared at the dinner-table in an elegant morning-robe,
the dazzling whiteness of which exceeded that of fresh-fallen snow. She
looked worn and low-spirited; but she began to speak in her soft and
melodious accents, and on raising her dark eyes there shone a sweet and
yearning look full of aspiration in their voluptuous glow, and a
fugitive blush flitted across her lily-white cheeks. She was more
beautiful than ever. But who can fathom the follies of a young man who
has got too hot blood in his head and heart? The bitter pique which the
Baron had stirred up within me I transferred to the Baroness. The
entire business seemed to me like a foul mystification; and I would now
show that I was possessed of alarmingly good common-sense and also of
extraordinary sagacity. Like a petulant child, I shunned the Baroness
and escaped Adelheid when she pursued me, and found a place where I
wished, right at the bottom end of the table between the two officers,
with whom I began to carouse right merrily. We kept our glasses going
gaily during dessert, and I was, as so frequently is the case in moods
like mine, extremely noisy and loud in my joviality. A servant brought
me a plate with some bonbons on it, with the words, "From Lady
Adelheid." I took them; and observed on one of them, scribbled in
pencil, "and Seraphina." My blood coursed tumultuously in my veins. I
sent a glance in Adelheid's direction, which she met with a most sly
and archly cunning look; and taking her glass in her hand, she gave me
a slight nod. Almost mechanically I murmured to myself, "Seraphina!"
then taking up my glass in my turn, I drained it at a single draught.
My glance fell across in _her_ direction; I perceived that she also had
drunk at the very same moment and was setting down her glass. Our eyes
met, and a malignant demon whispered in my ear, "Unhappy wretch, she
does love you!" One of the guests now rose, and, in conformity with the
custom of the North, proposed the health of the lady of the house. Our
glasses rang in the midst of a tumult of joy. My heart was torn with
rapture and despair; the wine burned like fire within me; everything
spun round in circles; I felt as if I must hasten and throw myself at
her feet and there sigh out my life. "What's the matter with you, my
friend?" asked my neighbour, thus recalling me to myself; but Seraphina
had left the hall. We rose from the table. I was making for the door,
but Adelheid held me fast, and began to talk about divers matters; I
neither heard nor understood a single word. She grasped both my hands
and, laughing, shouted something in my ear. I remained dumb and
motionless, as though affected by catalepsy. All I remember is that I
finally took a glass of liqueur out of Adelheid's hand in a mechanical
way and drank it off, and then I recollect being alone in a window, and
after that I rushed out of the hall, down the stairs, and ran out into
the wood. The snow was falling in thick flakes; the fir-trees were
moaning as they waved to and fro in the wind. Like a maniac I ran round
and round in wide circles, laughing and screaming loudly, "Look, look
and see. Aha! Aha! The devil is having a fine dance with the boy who
thought he would taste of strictly forbidden fruit!" Who can tell what
would have been the end of my mad prank if I had not heard my name
called loudly from the outside of the wood? The storm had abated; the
moon shone out brightly through the broken clouds; I heard dogs
barking, and perceived a dark figure approaching me. It was the old man
Francis. "Why, why, my good Herr Theodore," he began, "you have quite
lost your way in the rough snow-storm. The Herr Justitiarius is
awaiting you with much impatience." I followed the old man in silence.
I found my great-uncle working in the justice-hall. "You have done
well," he cried, on seeing me, "you have done a very wise thing to go
out in the open air a little and get cool. But don't drink quite so
much wine; you are far too young, and it's not good for you." I did not
utter a word in reply, and also took my place at the table in silence.
"But now tell me, good cousin, what it was the Baron really wanted you
for?" I told him all, and concluded by stating that I would not lend
myself for the doubtful cure which the Baron had proposed. "And
it would not be practicable," the old gentleman interrupted, "for
to-morrow morning early we set off home, cousin." And so it was that I
never saw Seraphina again.

As soon as we arrived in K---- my old uncle complained that he felt
the effects of the wearying journey this time more than ever. His
moody silence, broken only by violent outbreaks of the worst possible
ill-humour, announced the return of his attacks of gout. One day I was
suddenly called in; I found the old gentleman confined to his bed and
unable to speak, suffering from a paralytic stroke. He held a letter in
his hand, which he had crumpled up tightly in a spasmodic fit. I
recognised the hand-writing of the land-steward of R--sitten; but,
quite upset by my trouble, I did not venture to take the letter out of
the old gentleman's hand. I did not doubt that his end was near. But
his pulse began to beat again, even before the physician arrived; the
old gentleman's remarkably tough constitution resisted the mortal
attack, although he was in his seventieth year. That selfsame day the
doctor pronounced him out of danger.

We had a more severe winter than usual; this was followed by a rough
and stormy spring; and hence it was more the gout--a consequence of the
inclemency of the season--than his previous accident which kept him for
a long time confined to his bed. During this period he made up his mind
to retire altogether from all kinds of business. He transferred his
office of Justitiarius to others; and so I was cut off from all hope of
ever again going to R--sitten. The old gentleman would allow no one to
attend him but me; and it was to me alone that he looked for all
amusement and every cheerful diversion. And though, in the hours when
he was free from pain, his good spirits returned, and he had no lack of
broad jests, even making mention of hunting exploits, so that I fully
expected every minute to hear him make a butt of my heroic deed, when I
had killed the wolf with my whinger, yet never once did he allude to
our visit to R--sitten, and as may well be imagined, I was very
careful, from natural shyness, not to lead him directly up to the
subject. My harassing anxiety and continual attendance upon the old
gentleman had thrust Seraphina's image into the background. But as soon
as his sickness abated somewhat, my thoughts returned with more
liveliness to that moment in the Baroness's room, which I now looked
upon as a star--a bright star--that had set, for me at least, for ever.
An occurrence which now happened, by making me shudder with an ice-cold
thrill as at sight of a visitant from the world of spirits, revived
all the pain I had formerly felt. One evening, as I was opening the
pocket-book which I had carried whilst at R--sitten, there fell out of
the papers I was unfolding a dark curl, wrapped about with a white
ribbon; I immediately recognised it as Seraphina's hair. But, on
examining the ribbon more closely, I distinctly perceived the mark of a
spot of blood on it! Perhaps Adelheid had skilfully contrived to
secrete it about me during the moments of conscious insanity by which I
had been affected during the last days of our visit; but why was the
spot of blood there? It excited forebodings of something terrible in my
mind, and almost converted this too pastoral love-token into an awful
admonition, pointing to a passion which might entail the expenditure of
precious blood. It was the same white ribbon that had fluttered about
me in light wanton sportiveness as it were the first time I sat near
Seraphina, and which Mysterious Night had stamped as an emblem of
mortal injury. Boys ought not to play with weapons with the dangerous
properties of which they are not familiar.

At last the storms of spring had ceased to bluster, and summer asserted
her rights; and if the cold had formerly been unbearable, so now too
was the heat when July came in. The old gentleman visibly gathered
strength, and following his usual custom, went out to a garden in the
suburbs. One still, warm evening, as we sat in the sweet-smelling
jasmine arbour, he was in unusually good spirits, and not, as was
generally the case, overflowing with sarcasm and irony, but in a gentle
and almost soft and melting mood. "Cousin," he began, "I don't know how
it is, but I feel so nice and warm and comfortable all over to-day; I
have not felt like it for many years. I believe it is an augury that I
shall die soon." I exerted myself to drive these gloomy thoughts from
his mind. "Never mind, cousin," he said, "in any case I'm not long for
this world; and so I will now discharge a debt I owe you. Do you still
remember our autumn in R--sitten?" This question thrilled through me
like a lightning-flash, so before I was able to make any reply he
continued, "It was Heaven's will that your entrance into that castle
should be signalised by memorable circumstances, and that you should
become involved against your own will in the deepest secrets of the
house. The time has now come when you must learn all. We have often
enough talked about things which you, cousin, rather dimly guessed at
than really understood. In the alternation of the seasons nature
represents symbolically the cycle of human life. That is a trite
remark; but I interpret it differently from everybody else. The dews of
spring fall, summer's vapours fade away, and it is the pure atmosphere
of autumn which clearly reveals the distant landscape, and then finally
earthly existence is swallowed in the night of winter. I mean that the
government of the Power Inscrutable is more plainly revealed in the
clear-sightedness of old age. It is granted glimpses of the promised
land, the pilgrimage to which begins with the death on earth. How
clearly do I see at this moment the dark destiny of that house, to
which I am knit by firmer ties than blood relationship can weave!
Everything lies disclosed to the eyes of my spirit. And yet the things
which I now see, in the form in which I see them--the essential
substance of them, that is--this I cannot tell you in words; for no
man's tongue is able to do so. But listen, my son, I will tell you
as well as I am able, and do you think it is some remarkable story
that might really happen; and lay up carefully in your soul the
knowledge that the mysterious relations into which you ventured to
enter, not perhaps without being summoned, might have ended in your
destruction--but--that's all over now."

The history of the R---- entail, which my old uncle told me, I retain
so faithfully in my memory even now that I can almost repeat it in his
own words (he spoke of himself in the third person).

One stormy night in the autumn of 1760 the servants of R--sitten were
startled out of the midst of their sleep by a terrific crash, as if the
whole of the spacious castle had tumbled into a thousand pieces. In a
moment everybody was on his legs; lights were lit; the house-steward,
his face deadly pale with fright and terror, came up panting with his
keys; but as they proceeded through the passages and halls and rooms,
suite after suite, and found all safe, and heard in the appalling
silence nothing except the creaking rattle of the locks, which
occasioned some difficulty in opening, and the ghost-like echo of their
own footsteps, they began one and all to be utterly astounded. Nowhere
was there the least trace of damage. The old house-steward was
impressed by an ominous feeling of apprehension. He went up into the
great Knight's Hall, which had a small cabinet adjoining where Freiherr
Roderick von R---- used to sleep when engaged in making his
astronomical observations. Between the door of this cabinet and
that of a second was a postern, leading through a narrow passage
immediately into the astronomical tower. But directly Daniel (that was
the house-steward's name) opened this postern, the storm, blustering
and howling terrifically, drove a heap of rubbish and broken pieces of
stones all over him, which made him recoil in terror; and, dropping
the candles, which went out with a hiss on the floor, he screamed, "O
God! O God! The Baron! he's miserably dashed to pieces!" At the same
moment he heard sounds of lamentation proceeding from the Freiherr's
sleeping-cabinet, and on entering it he saw the servants gathered
around their master's corpse. They had found him fully dressed and more
magnificently than on any previous occasion, and with a calm earnest
look upon his unchanged countenance, sitting in his large and richly
decorated arm-chair as though resting after severe study. But his rest
was the rest of death. When day dawned it was seen that the crowning
turret of the tower had fallen in. The huge square stones had broken
through the ceiling and floor of the observatory-room, and then,
carrying down in front of them a powerful beam that ran across the
tower, they had dashed in with redoubled impetus the lower vaulted
roof, and dragged down a portion of the castle walls and of the narrow
connecting-passage. Not a single step could be taken beyond the postern
threshold without risk of falling at least eighty feet into a deep
chasm.

The old Freiherr had foreseen the very hour of his death, and had sent
intelligence of it to his sons. Hence it happened that the very next
day saw the arrival of Wolfgang, Freiherr von R----, eldest son of the
deceased, and now lord of the entail. Relying confidently upon the
probable truth of the old man's foreboding, he had left Vienna, which
city he chanced to have reached in his travels, immediately he received
the ominous letter, and hastened to R--sitten as fast as he could
travel. The house-steward had draped the great hall in black, and had
had the old Freiherr laid out in the clothes in which he had been
found, on a magnificent state-bed, and this he had surrounded with tall
silver candlesticks with burning wax-candles. Wolfgang ascended the
stairs, entered the hall, and approached close to his father's corpse,
without speaking a word. There he stood with his arms folded on his
chest, gazing with a fixed and gloomy look and with knitted brows, into
his father's pale countenance. He was like a statue; not a tear came
from his eyes. At length, with an almost convulsive movement of the
right arm towards the corpse, he murmured hoarsely, "Did the stars
compel you to make the son whom you loved miserable?" Throwing his
hands behind his back and stepping a short pace backwards, the Baron
raised his eyes upwards and said in a low and well-nigh broken voice,
"Poor, infatuated old man! Your carnival farce with its shallow
delusions is now over. Now you no doubt see that the possessions which
are so niggardly dealt out to us here on earth have nothing in common
with Hereafter beyond the stars. What will--what power can reach over
beyond the grave?" The Baron was silent again for some seconds, then he
cried passionately, "No, your perversity shall not rob me of a grain of
my earthly happiness, which you strove so hard to destroy," and
therewith he took a folded paper out of his pocket and held it up
between two fingers to one of the burning candles that stood close
beside the corpse. The paper was caught by the flame and blazed up
high; and as the reflection flickered and played upon the face of the
corpse, it was as though its muscles moved and as though the old man
uttered toneless words, so that the servants who stood some distance
off were filled with great horror and awe. The Baron calmly finished
what he was doing by carefully stamping out with his foot the last
fragment of paper that fell on the floor blazing. Then, casting yet
another moody glance upon his father, he hurriedly left the hall.

On the following day Daniel reported to the Freiherr the damage that
had been done to the tower, and described at great length all that had
taken place on the night when their dear dead master died; and he
concluded by saying that it would be a very wise thing to have the
tower repaired at once, for, if a further fall were to take place,
there would be some danger of the whole castle--well, if not tumbling
down, at any rate suffering serious damage.

"Repair the tower?" the Freiherr interrupted the old servant curtly,
whilst his eyes flashed with anger, "Repair the tower? Never, never!
Don't you see, old man," he went on more calmly, "don't you see that
the tower could not fall in this way without some special cause? How if
it was my father's own wish that the place where he carried on his
unhallowed astrological labours should be destroyed--how if he had
himself made certain preparations by which he was enabled to bring down
the turret whenever he pleased and so occasion the ruin of the interior
of the tower! But be that as it may. And if the whole castle tumbles
down, I shan't care; I shall be glad. Do you imagine I am going to
dwell in this weird owls' nest? No; my wise ancestor who had the
foundations of a new castle laid in the beautiful valley yonder--he has
begun a work which I intend to finish." Daniel said crestfallen, "Then
will all your faithful old servants have to take up their bundles and
go?" "That I am not going to be waited upon by helpless, weak-kneed old
fellows like you is quite certain; but for all that I shall turn none
away. You may all enjoy the bread of charity without working for it."
"And am I," cried the old man, greatly hurt, "am I, the house-steward,
to be forced to lead such a life of inactivity?" Then the Freiherr, who
had turned his back upon the old man and was about to leave the room,
wheeled suddenly round, his face perfectly ablaze with passion, strode
up to the old man as he stretched out his doubled fist towards him, and
shouted in a thundering voice, "You, you hypocritical old villain, it's
you who helped my old father in his unearthly practices up yonder; you
lay upon his heart like a vampire; and perhaps it was you who basely
took advantage of the old man's mad folly to plant in his mind those
diabolical ideas which brought me to the brink of ruin. I ought, I tell
you, to kick you out like a mangy cur." The old man was so terrified at
these harsh terrible words that he threw himself upon his knees beside
the Freiherr; but the Baron, as he spoke these last words, threw
forward his right foot, perhaps quite unintentionally (as is frequently
the case in anger, when the body mechanically obeys the mind, and what
is in the thought is imitatively realised in action) and hit the old
man so hard on the chest that he rolled over with a stifled scream.
Rising painfully to his feet and uttering a most singular sound, like
the howling whimper of an animal wounded to death, he looked the
Freiherr through and through with a look that glared with mingled rage
and despair. The purse of money which the Freiherr threw down as he
went out of the room, the old man left lying on the floor where it
fell.

Meanwhile all the nearest relatives of the family who lived in the
neighbourhood had arrived, and the old Freiherr was interred with much
pomp in the family vault in the church at R--sitten; and now, after the
invited guests had departed, the new lord of the entail appeared to
shake off his gloomy mood, and to be prepared to duly enjoy the
property that had fallen to him. Along with V----, the old Freiherr's
Justitiarius, who won his full confidence in the very first interview
they had, and who was at once confirmed in his office, the Baron made
an exact calculation of his sources of income, and considered how large
a part he could devote to making improvements and how large a part to
building a new castle. V---- was of opinion that the old Freiherr could
not possibly have spent all his income every year, and that there must
certainly be money concealed somewhere, since he had found nothing
amongst his papers except one or two bank-notes for insignificant
sums, and the ready-money in the iron safe was but very little more
than a thousand thalers, or about £150. Who would be so likely to
know anything about it as Daniel, who in his obstinate self-willed way
was perhaps only waiting to be asked about it? The Baron was now
not a little concerned at the thought that Daniel, whom he had so
grossly insulted, might let large sums moulder somewhere sooner
than discover them to him, not so much, of course, from any motives of
self-interest,--for of what use could even the largest sum of money be
to him, a childless old man, whose only wish was to end his days in the
castle of R--sitten?--as from a desire to take vengeance for the
affront put upon him. He gave V---- a circumstantial account of the
entire scene with Daniel, and concluded by saying that from several
items of information communicated to him he had learned that it was
Daniel alone who had contrived to nourish in the old Freiherr's mind
such an inexplicable aversion to ever seeing his sons in R--sitten. The
Justitiarius declared that this information was perfectly false, since
there was not a human creature on the face of the earth who would have
been able to guide the Freiherr's thoughts in any way, far less
determine them for him; and he undertook finally to draw from Daniel
the secret, if he had one, as to the place in which they would be
likely to find money concealed. His task proved far easier than he had
anticipated, for no sooner did he begin, "But how comes it, Daniel,
that your old master has left so little ready-money?" than Daniel
replied, with a repulsive smile, "Do you mean the few trifling
thalers, Herr Justitiarius, which you found in the little strong box?
Oh! the rest is lying in the vault beside our gracious master's
sleeping-cabinet. But the best," he went on to say, whilst his
smile passed over into an abominable grin, and his eyes flashed
with malicious fire, "but the best of all--several thousand gold
pieces--lies buried at the bottom of the chasm beneath the ruins." The
Justitiarius at once summoned the Freiherr; they proceeded there, and
then into the sleeping-cabinet, where Daniel pushed aside the wainscot
in one of the corners, and a small lock became visible. Whilst the
Freiherr was regarding the polished lock with covetous eyes, and making
preparations to try and unlock it with the keys of the great bunch
which he dragged with some difficulty out of his pocket, Daniel drew
himself up to his full height, and looked down with almost malignant
pride upon his master, who had now stooped down in order to see the
lock better. Daniel's face was deadly pale, and he said, his voice
trembling, "If I am a dog, my lord Freiherr, I have also at least a
dog's fidelity." Therewith he held out a bright steel key to his
master, who greedily snatched it out of his hand, and with it he
easily succeeded in opening the door. They stepped into a small and
low-vaulted apartment, in which stood a large iron coffer with the
lid open, containing many money-bags, upon which lay a strip of
parchment, written in the old Freiherr's familiar handwriting, large
and old-fashioned.

 One hundred and fifty thousand Imperial thalers in old _Fredericks
 d'or_,[8] money saved from the revenues of the estate-tail of
 R--sitten; this sum has been set aside for the building of the
 castle. Further, the lord of the entail who succeeds me in the
 possession of this money shall, upon the highest hill situated
 eastward from the old tower of the castle (which he will find in
 ruins), erect a high beacon tower for the benefit of mariners, and
 cause a fire to be kindled on it every night. R--sitten, on
 Michaelmas Eve of the year 1760.
                                          RODERICK, FREIHERR von R.

The Freiherr lifted up the bags one after the other and let them fall
again into the coffer, delighted at the ringing clink of so much gold
coin; then he turned round abruptly to the old house-steward, thanked
him for the fidelity he had shown, and assured him that they were only
vile tattling calumnies which had induced him to treat him so harshly
in the first instance. He should not only remain in the castle, but
should also continue to discharge his duties, uncurtailed in any way,
as house-steward, and at double the wages he was then having. "I owe
you a large compensation; if you will take money, help yourself to one
of these bags." As he concluded with these words, the Baron stood
before the old man, with his eyes bent upon the ground, and pointed to
the coffer; then, approaching it again, he once more ran his eyes over
the bags. A burning flush suddenly mounted into the old house-steward's
cheeks, and he uttered that awful howling whimper--a noise as of an
animal wounded to death, according to the Freiherr's previous
description of it to the Justitiarius. The latter shuddered, for the
words which the old man murmured between his teeth sounded like, "Blood
for gold." Of all this the Freiherr, absorbed in the contemplation of
the treasure before him, had heard not the least. Daniel tottered in
every limb, as if shaken by an ague fit; approaching the Freiherr with
bowed head in a humble attitude, he kissed his hand, and drawing his
handkerchief across his eyes under the pretence of wiping away his
tears, said in a whining voice, "Alas! my good and gracious master,
what am I, a poor childless old man, to do with money? But the doubled
wages I accept with gladness, and will continue to do my duty
faithfully and zealously."

The Freiherr, who had paid no particular heed to the old man's words,
now let the heavy lid of the coffer fall to with a bang, so that the
whole room shook and cracked, and then, locking the coffer and
carefully withdrawing the key, he said carelessly, "Very well, very
well, old man." But after they entered the hall he went on talking to
Daniel, "But you said something about a quantity of gold pieces buried
underneath the ruins of the tower?" Silently the old man stepped
towards the postern, and after some difficulty unlocked it. But so soon
as he threw it open the storm drove a thick mass of snow-flakes into
the hall; a raven was disturbed and flew in croaking and screaming and
dashed with its black wings against the window, but regaining the open
postern it disappeared downwards into the chasm. The Freiherr stepped
out into the corridor; but one single glance downwards, and he started
back trembling. "A fearful sight!--I'm giddy!" he stammered as he sank
almost fainting into the Justitiarius' arms. But quickly recovering
himself by an effort, he fixed a sharp look upon the old man and asked,
"Down there, you say?" Meanwhile the old man had been locking the
postern, and was now leaning against it with all his bodily strength,
and was gasping and grunting to get the great key out of the rusty
lock. This at last accomplished, he turned round to the Baron,
and, changing the huge key about backwards and forwards in his
hands, replied with a peculiar smile, "Yes, there are thousands
and thousands down there--all my dear dead master's beautiful
instruments--telescopes, quadrants, globes, dark mirrors, they all lie
smashed to atoms underneath the ruins between the stones and the big
balk." "But money--coined money," interrupted the Baron, "you spoke of
gold pieces, old man?" "I only meant things which had cost several
thousand gold pieces," he replied; and not another word could be got
out of him.

The Baron appeared highly delighted to have all at once come into
possession of all the means requisite for carrying out his favourite
plan, namely, that of building a new and magnificent castle. The
Justitiarius indeed stated it as his opinion that, according to the
will of the deceased, the money could only be applied to the repair and
complete finishing of the interior of the old castle, and further, any
new erection would hardly succeed in equalling the commanding size and
the severe and simple character of the old ancestral castle. The
Freiherr, however, persisted in his intention, and maintained that in
the disposal of property respecting which nothing was stated in the
deeds of the entail the irregular will of the deceased could have no
validity. He at the same time led V---- to understand that he should
conceive it to be his duty to embellish R--sitten as far as the
climate, soil, and environs would permit, for it was his intention to
bring home shortly as his dearly loved wife a lady who was in every
respect worthy of the greatest sacrifices.

The air of mystery with which the Freiherr spoke of this alliance,
which possibly had been already consummated in secret, cut short all
further questions from the side of the Justitiarius. Nevertheless he
found in it to some extent a redeeming feature, for the Freiherr's
eager grasping after riches now appeared to be due not so much to
avarice strictly speaking as to the desire to make one dear to him
forget the more beautiful country she was relinquishing for his sake.
Otherwise he could not acquit the Baron of being avaricious, or at any
rate insufferably close-fisted, seeing that, even though rolling in
money and even when gloating over the old _Fredericks d'or_, he could
not help bursting out with the peevish grumble, "I know the old rascal
has concealed from us the greatest part of his wealth, but next spring
I will have the ruins of the tower turned over under my own eyes."

The Freiherr had architects come, and discussed with them at great
length what would be the most convenient way to proceed with his
castle-building. He rejected one drawing after another; in none of them
was the style of architecture sufficiently rich and grandiose. He now
began to draw plans himself, and, inspirited by this employment, which
constantly placed before his eyes a sunny picture of the happiest
future, brought himself into such a genial humour that it often
bordered on wild exuberance of spirits, and even communicated itself to
all about him. His generosity and profuse hospitality belied all
imputations of avarice at any rate. Daniel also seemed to have now
forgotten the insult that had been put upon him. Towards the Freiherr,
although often followed by him with mistrustful eyes on account of the
treasure buried in the chasm, his bearing was both quiet and humble.
But what struck everybody as extraordinary was that the old man
appeared to grow younger from day to day. Possibly this might be,
because he had begun to forget his grief for his old master, which had
stricken him sore, and possibly also because he had not now, as he once
had, to spend the cold nights in the tower without sleep, and got
better food and good wine such as he liked; but whatever the cause
might be, the old greybeard seemed to be growing into a vigorous man
with red cheeks and well-nourished body, who could walk firmly and
laugh loudly whenever he heard a jest to laugh at.

The pleasant tenor of life at R--sitten was disturbed by the arrival of
a man whom one would have judged to be quite in his element there. This
was Wolfgang's younger brother Hubert, at the sight of whom Wolfgang
had screamed out, with his face as pale as a corpse's, "Unhappy wretch,
what do you want here?" Hubert threw himself into his brother's arms,
but Wolfgang took him and led him away up to a retired room, where he
locked himself in with him. They remained closeted several hours, at
the end of which time Hubert came down, greatly agitated, and called
for his horses. The Justitiarius intercepted him; Hubert tried to pass
him; but V----, inspired by the hope that he might perhaps stifle in
the bud what might else end in a bitter life-long quarrel between the
brothers, besought him to stay, at least a few hours, and at the same
moment the Freiherr came down calling, "Stay here, Hubert! you will
think better of it." Hubert's countenance cleared up; he assumed an air
of composure, and quickly pulling off his costly fur coat, and throwing
it to a servant behind him, he grasped V----'s hand and went with him
into the room, saying with a scornful smile, "So the lord of the entail
will tolerate my presence here, it seems." V---- thought that the
unfortunate misunderstanding would assuredly be smoothed away now, for
it was only separation and existence apart from each other that would,
he conceived, be able to foster it. Hubert took up the steel tongs
which stood near the fire-grate, and as he proceeded to break up a
knotty piece of wood that would only sweal, not burn, and to rake the
fire together better, he said to V----, "You see what a good-natured
fellow I am, Herr Justitiarius, and that I am skilful in all domestic
matters. But Wolfgang is full of the most extraordinary prejudices,
and--a bit of a miser." V---- did not deem it advisable to attempt to
fathom further the relations between the brothers, especially as
Wolfgang's face and conduct and voice plainly showed that he was shaken
to the very depths of his nature by diverse violent passions.

Late in the evening V---- had occasion to go up to the Freiherr's room
in order to learn his decision about some matter or other connected
with the estate-tail. He found him pacing up and down the room with
long strides, his arms crossed on his back, and much perturbation in
his manner. On perceiving the Justitiarius he stood still, and then,
taking him by both hands and looking him gloomily in the face, he said
in a broken voice, "My brother is come. I know what you are going to
say," he proceeded almost before V---- had opened his mouth to put a
question. "Unfortunately you know nothing. You don't know that my
unfortunate brother--yes, I will not call him anything worse than
unfortunate--that, like a spirit of evil, he crosses my path
everywhere, ruining my peace of mind. It is not his fault that I have
not been made unspeakably miserable; he did his best to make me so, but
Heaven willed it otherwise. Ever since he has known of the conversion
of the property into an entail, he has persecuted me with deadly
hatred. He envies me this property, which in his hands would only be
scattered like chaff. He is the wildest spendthrift I ever heard of.
His load of debt exceeds by a long way the half of the unentailed
property in Courland that fell to him, and now, pursued by his
creditors, who fail not to worry him for payment, he hurries here to me
to beg for money." "And you, his brother, refuse to give him any?"
V---- was about to interrupt him; but the Freiherr, letting V----'s
hands fall, and taking a long step backwards, went on in a loud and
vehement tone. "Stop! yes; I refuse. I neither can nor will give away a
single thaler of the revenues of the entail. But listen, and I will
tell you what was the proposal which I made the insane fellow a few
hours ago, and made in vain, and then pass judgment upon the feelings
of duty by which I am actuated. Our unentailed possessions in Courland
are, as you are aware, considerable; the half that falls to me I am
willing to renounce, but in favour of his family. For Hubert has
married, in Courland, a beautiful lady, but poor. She and the children
she has borne him are starving. The estates should be put under trust;
sufficient should be set aside out of the revenues to support him, and
his creditors be paid by arrangement. But what does he care for a quiet
life--a life free of anxiety?--what does he care for wife and child?
Money, ready-money, and large quantities, is what he will have, that he
may squander it in infamous folly. Some demon has made him acquainted
with the secret of the hundred and fifty thousand thalers, half of
which he in his mad way demands, maintaining that this money is movable
property and quite apart from the entailed portion. This, however, I
must and will refuse him, but the feeling haunts me that he is plotting
my destruction in his heart."

No matter how great the efforts which V---- made to persuade the
Freiherr out of this suspicion against his brother, in which, of
course, not being initiated into the more circumstantial details of the
disagreement, he could only appeal to broad and somewhat superficial
moral principles, he yet could not boast of the smallest success. The
Freiherr commissioned him to treat with his hostile and avaricious
brother Hubert. V---- proceeded to do so with all the circumspection he
was master of, and was not a little gratified when Hubert at length
declared, "Be it so then; I will accept my brother's proposals, but
upon condition that he will now, since I am on the point of losing both
my honour and my good name for ever through the severity of my
creditors, make me an advance of a thousand _Fredericks d'or_ in hard
cash, and further grant that in time to come I may take up my
residence, at least for a short time occasionally, in our beautiful
R--sitten, along with my good brother." "Never, never!" exclaimed
the Freiherr violently, when V---- laid his brother's amended
counter-proposals before him. "I will never consent that Hubert stay
in my house even a single minute after I have brought home my wife. Go,
my good friend, tell this mar-peace that he shall have two thousand
_Fredericks d'or_, not as an advance, but as a gift--only, bid him go,
bid him go." V---- now learned at one and the same time that the ground
of the quarrel between the two brothers must be sought for in this
marriage. Hubert listened to the Justitiarius proudly and calmly, and
when he finished speaking replied in a hoarse and hollow tone, "I will
think it over; but for the present I shall stay a few days in the
castle." V---- exerted himself to prove to the discontented Hubert that
the Freiherr, by making over his share of their unentailed property,
was really doing all he possibly could do to indemnify him, and that on
the whole he had no cause for complaint against his brother, although
at the same time he admitted that all institutions of the nature
of primogeniture, which vested such preponderant advantages in the
eldest-born to the prejudice of the remaining children, were in many
respects hateful. Hubert tore his waistcoat open from top to bottom
like a man whose breast was cramped and he wanted to relieve it by
fresh air. Thrusting one hand into his open shirt-frill and planting
the other in his side, he spun round on one foot in a quick pirouette
and cried in a sharp voice, "Pshaw! What is hateful is born of hatred."
Then bursting out into a shrill fit of laughter, he said, "What
condescension my lord of the entail shows in being thus willing to
throw his gold pieces to the poor beggar!" V---- saw plainly that all
idea of a complete reconciliation between the brothers was quite out of
the question.

To the Freiherr's annoyance, Hubert established himself in the rooms
that had been appointed for him in one of the side wings of the castle
as if with the view to a very long stay. He was observed to hold
frequent and long conversations with the house-steward; nay, the latter
was sometimes even seen to accompany him when he went out wolf-hunting.
Otherwise he was very little seen, and studiously avoided meeting his
brother alone, at which the latter was very glad. V---- felt how
strained and unpleasant this state of things was, and was obliged to
confess to himself that the peculiar uneasiness which marked all that
Hubert both said and did was such as to destroy intentionally and
effectually all the pleasure of the place. He now perfectly understood
why the Freiherr had manifested so much alarm on seeing his brother.

One day as V---- was sitting by himself in the justice-room amongst his
law-papers, Hubert came in with a grave and more composed manner than
usual, and said in a voice that bordered upon melancholy, "I will
accept my brother's last proposals. If you will contrive that I have
the two thousand _Fredericks d'or_ today, I will leave the castle this
very night--on horseback--alone." "With the money?" asked V----. "You
are right," replied Hubert; "I know what you would say--the weight!
Give it me in bills on Isaac Lazarus of K----. For to K---- I am going
this very night. Something is driving me away from this place. The old
fellow has bewitched it with evil spirits." "Do you mean your father,
Herr Baron?" asked V---- sternly. Hubert's lips trembled; he had to
cling to the chair to keep from falling; but then suddenly recovering
himself, he cried, "To-day then, please, Herr Justitiarius," and
staggered to the door, not, however, without some exertion. "He now
sees that no deceptions are any longer of avail, that he can do nothing
against my firm will," said the Freiherr whilst drawing up the bills on
Isaac Lazarus in K----. A burden was lifted off his heart by the
departure of his inimical brother; and for a long time he had not been
in such cheerful spirits as he was at supper. Hubert had sent his
excuses; and there was not one who regretted his absence.

The room which V---- occupied was somewhat retired, and its windows
looked upon the castle-yard. In the night he was suddenly startled up
out of his sleep, and was under the impression that he had been
awakened by a distant and pitiable moan. But listen as he would, all
remained still as the grave, and so he was obliged to conclude that the
sound which had fallen upon his ears was the delusion of a dream. But
at the same time he was seized with such a peculiar feeling of
breathless anxiety and terror that he could not stay in bed. He got up
and approached the window. It was not long, however, before the castle
door was opened, and a figure with a blazing torch came out of the
castle and went across the court-yard. V---- recognised the figure as
that of old Daniel, and saw him open the stable-door and go in, and
soon afterwards bring out a saddle horse. Now a second figure came into
view out of the darkness, well wrapped in furs, and with a fox-skin cap
on his head. V---- perceived that it was Hubert; but after he had
spoken excitedly with Daniel for some minutes, he returned into the
castle. Daniel led back the horse into the stable and locked the
door, and also that of the castle, after he had returned across the
court-yard in the same way in which he crossed it before. It was
evident Hubert had intended to go away on horseback, but had suddenly
changed his mind; and no less evident was it that there was a dangerous
understanding of some sort between Hubert and the old house-steward.
V---- looked forward to the morning with burning impatience; he would
acquaint the Freiherr with the occurrences of the night. Really it was
now time to take precautionary measures against the attacks of Hubert's
malice, which V---- was now convinced, had been betrayed in his
agitated behaviour of the day before.

Next morning, at the hour when the Freiherr was in the habit of rising,
V---- heard people running backwards and forwards, doors opened and
slammed to, and a tumultuous confusion of voices talking and shouting.
On going out of his room he met servants everywhere, who, without
heeding him, ran past him with ghastly pale faces, upstairs,
downstairs, in and out the rooms. At length he ascertained that the
Freiherr was missing, and that they had been looking for him for hours
in vain. As he had gone to bed in the presence of his personal
attendant, he must have afterwards got up and gone away somewhere in
his dressing-gown and slippers, taking the large candlestick with him,
for these articles were also missed. V----, his mind agitated with dark
forebodings, ran up to the ill-fated hall, the cabinet adjoining which
Wolfgang had chosen, like his father, for his own bedroom. The postern
leading to the tower stood wide open, with a cry of horror V----
shouted, "There--he lies dashed to pieces at the bottom of the ravine."
And it was so. There had been a fall of snow, so that all they could
distinctly make out from above was the rigid arm of the unfortunate man
protruding from between the stones. Many hours passed before the
workmen succeeded, at great risk of life, in descending by means of
ladders bound together, and drawing up the corpse by the aid of ropes.
In the last agonies of death the Baron had kept a tight hold upon the
silver candlestick; the hand in which it was clenched was the only
uninjured part of his whole body, which had been shattered in the most
hideous way by rebounding on the sharp stones.

Just as the corpse was drawn up and carried into the hall, and laid
upon the very same spot on the large table where a few weeks before old
Roderick had lain dead, Hubert burst in, his face distorted by the
frenzy of despair. Quite overpowered by the fearful sight he wailed,
"Brother! O my poor brother! No; this I never prayed for from the
demons who had entered into me." This suspicious self-exculpation made
V---- tremble; he felt impelled to proceed against Hubert as the
murderer of his brother. Hubert, however, had fallen on the floor
senseless; they carried him to bed; but on taking strong restoratives
he soon recovered. Then he appeared in V----'s room, pale and
sorrow-stricken, and with his eyes half clouded with grief; and unable
to stand owing to his weakness, he slowly sank down into an easy-chair,
saying, "I have wished for my brother's death, because my father had
made over to him the best part of the property through the foolish
conversion of it into an entail. He has now found a fearful death. I am
now lord of the estate-tail, but my heart is rent with pain--I can--I
shall never be happy. I confirm you in your office; you shall be
invested with the most extensive powers in respect to the management of
the estate, upon which I cannot bear to live." Hubert left the room,
and in two or three hours was on his way to K----.

It appeared that the unfortunate Wolfgang had got up in the night,
probably with the intention of going into the other cabinet where there
was a library. In the stupor of sleep he had mistaken the door, and had
opened the postern, taken a step out, and plunged headlong down. But
after all had been said, there was nevertheless a good deal that was
strained and unlikely in this explanation. If the Baron was unable to
sleep and wanted to get a book out of the library, this of itself
excluded all idea of sleep-stupor; but this condition alone could
account for any mistaking of the postern for the door of the cabinet.
Then again, the former was fast locked, and required a good deal of
exertion to unlock it. These improbabilities V---- accordingly put
before the domestics, who had gathered round him, and at length the
Freiherr's body-servant, Francis by name, said, "Nay, nay, my good Herr
Justitiarius; it couldn't have happened in that way." "Well, how then?"
asked V---- abruptly and sharply. But Francis, a faithful, honest
fellow, who would have followed his master into his grave, was
unwilling to speak out before the rest; he stipulated that what he had
to say about the event should be confided to the Justitiarius alone in
private. V---- now learned that the Freiherr used often to talk to
Francis about the vast treasure which he believed lay buried beneath
the ruins of the tower, and also that frequently at night, as if goaded
by some malicious fiend, he would open the postern, the key of which
Daniel had been obliged to give him, and would gaze with longing eyes
down into the chasm where the supposed riches lay. There was now no
doubt about it; on that ill-omened night the Freiherr, after his
servant had left him, must have taken one of his usual walks to the
postern, where he had been most likely suddenly seized with dizziness,
and had fallen over. Daniel, who also seemed much upset by the
Freiherr's terrible end, thought it would be a good thing to have the
dangerous postern walled up; and this was at once done.

Freiherr Hubert von R----, who had then succeeded to the entail, went
back to Courland without once showing himself at R--sitten again.
V---- was invested with full powers for the absolute management of the
property. The building of the new castle was not proceeded with; but
on the other hand the old structure was put in as good a state of
repair as possible. Several years passed before Hubert came again to
R--sitten, late in the autumn, but after he had remained shut up in his
room with V---- for several days, he went back to Courland. Passing on
his way through K----, he deposited his will with the government
authorities there.

The Freiherr, whose character appeared to have undergone a complete
revolution, spoke more than once during his stay at R--sitten of
presentiments of his approaching death. And these apprehensions were
really not unfounded, for he died in the very next year. His son,
named, like the deceased Baron, Hubert, soon came over from Courland to
take possession of the rich inheritance; and was followed by his mother
and his sister. The youth seemed to unite in his own person all the bad
qualities of his ancestors: he proved himself to be proud, arrogant,
impetuous, avaricious, in the very first moments after his arrival at
R--sitten. He wanted to have several things which did not suit his
notions of what was right and proper altered there and then: the cook
he kicked out of doors; and he attempted to thrash the coachman, in
which, however, he did not succeed, for the big brawny fellow had the
impudence not to submit to it. In fact, he was on the high road to
assuming the _rôle_ of a harsh and severe lord of the entail, when
V---- interposed in his firm earnest manner, declaring most explicitly
that not a single chair should be moved, that not even a cat should
leave the house if she liked to stay in it, until after the will had
been opened. "You have the presumption to tell me, the lord of the
entail," began the Baron. V----, however, cut short the young man, who
was foaming with rage, and said, whilst he measured him with a keen
searching glance, "Don't be in too great a hurry, Herr Baron. At all
events, you have no right to exercise authority here until after the
opening of your father's will. It is I--I alone--who am now master
here; and I shall know how to meet violence with violent measures.
Please to recollect that by virtue of my powers as executor of your
father's will, as well as by virtue of the arrangements which have been
made by the court, I am empowered to forbid your remaining in R--sitten
if I think fit to do so; and so, if you wish to spare me this
disagreeable step, I would advise you to go away quietly to K----." The
lawyer's earnestness, and the resolute tone in which he spoke, lent the
proper emphasis to his words. Hence the young Baron, who was charging
with far two sharp-pointed horns, felt the weakness of his weapons
against the firm bulwark, and found it convenient to cover the shame of
his retreat with a burst of scornful laughter.

Three months passed and the day was come on which, in accordance with
the expressed wish of the deceased, his will was to be opened at K----,
where it had been deposited. In the chambers there was, besides the
officers of the court, the Baron, and V----, a young man of noble
appearance, whom V---- had brought with him, and who was taken to be
V----'s clerk, since he had a parchment deed sticking out from the
breast of his buttoned-up coat. Him the Baron treated as he did nearly
all the rest, with scornful contempt; and he demanded with noisy
impetuosity that they should make haste and get done with all their
tiresome needless ceremonies as quickly as possible and without over
many words and scribblings. He couldn't for the life of him make out
why any will should be wanted at all with respect to the inheritance,
and especially in the case of entailed property; and no matter what
provisions were made in the will, it would depend entirely upon his
decision as to whether they should be observed or not. After casting a
hasty and surly glance at the handwriting and the seal, the Baron
acknowledged them to be those of his dead father. Upon the clerk of the
court preparing to read the will aloud, the young Baron, throwing his
right arm carelessly over the back of his chair and leaning his left on
the table, whilst he drummed with his fingers on its green cover, sat
staring with an air of indifference out of the window. After a short
preamble the deceased Freiherr Hubert von R---- declared that he had
never possessed the estate-tail as its lawful owner, but that he had
only managed it in the name of the deceased Freiherr Wolfgang von
R----'s only son, called Roderick after his grandfather; and he it was
to whom, according to the rights of family priority, the estate had
fallen on his father's death. Amongst Hubert's papers would be found an
exact account of all revenues and expenditure, as well as of existing
movable property, &c. The will went on to relate that Wolfgang von
R---- had, during his travels, made the acquaintance of Mdlle. Julia de
St. Val in Geneva, and had fallen so deeply in love with her that he
resolved never to leave her side again. She was very poor; and her
family, although noble and of good repute, did not, however, rank
amongst the most illustrious, for which reason Wolfgang dared not
expect to receive the consent of old Roderick to a union with her, for
the old Freiherr's aim and ambition was to promote by all possible
means the establishment of a powerful family. Nevertheless he ventured
to write from Paris to his father, acquainting him with the fact that
his affections were engaged. But what he had foreseen was actually
realised; the old Baron declared categorically that he had himself
chosen the future mistress of the entail, and therefore there could
never be any mention made of any other. Wolfgang, instead of crossing
the Channel into England, as he was to have done, returned into Geneva
under the assumed name of Born, and married Julia, who after the lapse
of a year bore him a son, and this son became on Wolfgang's death the
real lord of the entail. In explanation of the facts why Hubert, though
acquainted with all this, had kept silent so long and had represented
himself as lord of the entail, various reasons were assigned, based
upon agreements formerly made with Wolfgang, but they seemed for the
most part insufficient and devoid of real foundation.

The Baron sat staring at the clerk of the court as if thunderstruck,
whilst the latter went on proclaiming all this bad news in a
provokingly monotonous and jarring tone. When he finished, V---- rose,
and taking the young man whom he had brought with him by the hand,
said, as he bowed to the assembled company, "Here I have the honour to
present to you, gentlemen, Freiherr Roderick von R----, lord of the
entail of R--sitten." Baron Hubert looked at the youth, who had, as it
were, fallen from the clouds to deprive him of the rich inheritance
together with half the unentailed Courland estates, with suppressed
fury in his gleaming eyes; then, threatening him with his doubled fist,
he ran out of the court without uttering a word. Baron Roderick, on
being challenged by the court-officers, produced the documents by which
he was to establish his identity as the person whom he represented
himself to be. He handed in an attested extract from the register of
the church where his father was married, which certified that on such
and such a day Wolfgang Born, merchant, born in K----, had been united
in marriage with the blessing of the Church to Mdlle. Julia de St. Val,
in the presence of certain witnesses, who were named. Further, he
produced his own baptismal certificate (he had been baptized in Geneva
as the son of the merchant Born and his wife Julia, _née_ De St. Val,
begotten in lawful wedlock), and various letters from his father to his
mother, who was long since dead, but they none of them had any other
signature than W.

V---- looked through all these papers with a cloud upon his face; and
as he put them together again, he said, somewhat troubled, "Ah well!
God will help us!"

The very next morning Freiherr Hubert von R---- presented, through an
advocate whose services he had succeeded in enlisting in his cause, a
statement of protest to the government authorities in K----, actually
calling upon them to effectuate the immediate surrender to him of the
entail of R--sitten. It was incontestable, maintained the advocate,
that the deceased Freiherr Hubert Von R---- had not had the power to
dispose of entailed property either by testament or in any other way.
The testament in question, therefore, was nothing more than an
evidential statement, written down and deposited with the court, to the
effect that Freiherr Wolfgang von R---- had bequeathed the estate-tail
to a son who was at that time still living; and accordingly it had as
evidence no greater weight than that of any other witness, and so could
not by any possibility legitimately establish the claims of the person
who had announced himself to be Freiherr Roderick von R----. Hence it
was rather the duty of this new claimant to prove by action at law his
alleged rights of inheritance, which were hereby expressly disputed and
denied, and so also to take proper steps to maintain his claim to the
estate-tail, which now, according to the laws of succession, fell to
Baron Hubert von R----. By the father's death the property came at once
immediately into the hands of the son. There was no need for any
formal declaration to be made of his entering into possession of the
inheritance, since the succession could not be alienated; at any rate,
the present owner of the estate was not going to be disturbed in his
possession by claims which were perfectly groundless. Whatever reasons
the deceased might have had for bringing forward another heir of entail
were quite irrelevant. And it might be remarked that he had himself had
an intrigue in Switzerland, as could be proved if necessary from the
papers he had left behind him; and it was quite possible that the
person whom he alleged to be his brother's son was his own son, the
fruit of an unlawful love, for whom in a momentary fit of remorse he
had wished to secure the entail.

However great was the balance of probability in favour of the truth of
the circumstances as stated in the will, and however revolted the
judges were, particularly by the last clauses of the protest, in which
the son felt no compunction at accusing his dead father of a crime, yet
the views of the case there stated were after all the right ones; and
it was only due to V----'s restless exertions, and his explicit and
solemn assurance that the proofs which were necessary to establish
legitimately the identity of Freiherr Roderick von R---- should be
produced in a very short time, that the surrender of the estate to the
young Baron was deferred, and the contrivance of the administration of
it in trust agreed to, until after the case should be settled.

V---- was only too well aware how difficult it would be for him to keep
his promise. He had turned over all old Roderick's papers without
finding the slightest trace of a letter or any kind of a statement
bearing upon Wolfgang's relation to Mdlle. de St. Val. He was sitting
wrapt in thought in old Roderick's sleeping-cabinet, every hole and
comer of which he had searched, and was working at a long statement of
the case that he intended despatching to a certain notary in Geneva,
who had been recommended to him as a shrewd and energetic man, to
request him to procure and forward certain documents which would
establish the young Freiherr's cause on firm ground. It was midnight;
the full moon shone in through the windows of the adjoining hall, the
door of which stood open. Then V---- fancied he heard a noise as of
some one coming slowly and heavily up the stairs, and also at the same
time a jingling and rattling of keys. His attention was arrested; he
rose to his feet and went into the hall, where he plainly made out that
there was some one crossing the ante-room and approaching the door of
the hall where he was. Soon afterwards the door was opened and a man
came slowly in, dressed in night-clothes, his face ghastly pale and
distorted; in the one hand he bore a candle-stick with the candles
burning, and in the other a huge bunch of keys. V---- at once
recognised the house-steward, and was on the point of addressing him
and inquiring what he wanted so late at night, when he was arrested by
an icy shiver; there was something so unearthly and ghost-like in the
old man's manner and bearing as well as in his set, pallid face. He
perceived that he was in presence of a somnambulist. Crossing the hall
obliquely with measured strides, the old man went straight to the
walled-up postern that had formerly led to the tower. He came to a halt
immediately in front of it, and uttered a wailing sound that seemed to
come from the bottom of his heart, and was so awful and so loud that
the whole apartment rang again, making V---- tremble with dread. Then,
setting the candlestick down on the floor and hanging the keys on his
belt, Daniel began to scratch at the wall with both hands, so that the
blood soon burst out from beneath his finger-nails, and all the while
he was moaning and groaning as if tortured by nameless agony. After
placing his ear against the wall in a listening attitude, he waved his
hand as if hushing some one, stooped down and picked up the
candlestick, and finally stole back to the door with soft measured
footsteps. V---- took his own candle in his hand and cautiously
followed him. They both went downstairs; the old man unlocked the great
main door of the castle, V---- slipped cleverly through. Then they went
to the stable, where old Daniel, to V----'s perfect astonishment,
placed his candlestick so skilfully that the entire interior of the
building was sufficiently lighted without the least danger. Having
fetched a saddle and bridle, he put them on one of the horses which he
had loosed from the manger, carefully tightening the girth and taking
up the stirrup-straps. Pulling the tuft of hair on the horse's forehead
outside the front strap, he took him by the bridle and led him out of
the stable, clicking with his tongue and patting his neck with one
hand. On getting outside in the courtyard he stood several seconds in
the attitude of one receiving commands, which he promised by sundry
nods to carry out. Then he led the horse back into the stable,
unsaddled him, and tied him to the manger. This done, he took his
candlestick, locked the stable, and returned to the castle, finally
disappearing in his own room, the door of which he carefully bolted.
V---- was deeply agitated by this scene; the presentiment of some
fearful deed rose up before him like a black and fiendish spectre, and
refused to leave him. Being so keenly alive as he was to the precarious
position of his _protégé_, he felt that it would at least be his duty
to turn what he had seen to his account.

Next day, just as it was beginning to be dusk, Daniel came into the
Justitiarius's room to receive some instructions relating to his
department of the household. V---- took him by the arms, and forcing
him into a chair, in a confidential way began, "See you here, my old
friend Daniel, I have long been wishing to ask you what you think of
all this confused mess into which Hubert's peculiar will has tumbled
us. Do you really think that the young man is Wolfgang's son, begotten
in lawful marriage?" The old man, leaning over the arm of his chair,
and avoiding V----'s eyes, for V---- was watching him most intently,
replied doggedly, "Bah! Maybe he is; maybe he is not. What does it
matter to me? It's all the same to me who's master here now." "But I
believe," went on V----, moving nearer to the old man and placing his
hand on his shoulder, "but I believed you possessed the old Freiherr's
full confidence, and in that case he assuredly would not conceal from
you the real state of affairs with regard to his sons. He told you, I
dare say, about the marriage which Wolfgang had made against his will,
did he not?" "I don't remember to have ever heard him say anything of
that sort," replied the old man, yawning with the most ill-mannered
loudness. "You are sleepy, old man," said V----; "perhaps you have had
a restless night?" "Not that I am aware," he rejoined coldly; "but I
must go and order supper." Whereupon he rose heavily from his chair and
rubbed his bent back, yawning again, and that still more loudly than
before. "Stay a little while, old man," cried V----, taking hold of his
hand and endeavouring to force him to resume his seat; but Daniel
preferred to stand in front of the study-table; propping himself upon
it with both hands, and leaning across towards V----, he asked
sullenly, "Well, what do you want? What have I to do with the will?
What do I care about the quarrel over the estate?" "Well, well,"
interposed V----, "we'll say no more about that now. Let us turn to
some other topic, Daniel. You are out of humour and yawning, and all
that is a sign of great weariness, and I am almost inclined to believe
that it really was _you_ last night, who"---- "Well, what did I do last
night?" asked the old man without changing his position. V---- went
on, "Last night, when I was sitting up above in your old master's
sleeping-cabinet next the great hall, you came in at the door, your
face pale and rigid; and you went across to the bricked-up postern and
scratched at the wall with both your hands, groaning as if in very
great pain. Do you walk in your sleep, Daniel?" The old man dropped
back into the chair which V---- quickly managed to place for him; but
not a sound escaped his lips. His face could not be seen, owing to the
gathering dusk of the evening; V---- only noticed that he took his
breath short and that his teeth were rattling together. "Yes,"
 continued V---- after a short pause, "there is one thing that is very
strange about sleep-walkers. On the day after they have been in this
peculiar state in which they have acted as if they were perfectly wide
awake, they don't remember the least thing, that they did." Daniel did
not move. "I have come across something like what your condition was
yesterday once before in the course of my experience," proceeded V----.
"I had a friend who regularly began to wander about at night as you do
whenever it was full moon,--nay, he often sat down and wrote letters.
But what was most extraordinary was that if I began to whisper softly
in his ear I could soon manage to make him speak; and he would answer
correctly all the questions I put to him; and even things that he would
most jealously have concealed when awake now fell from his lips
unbidden, as though he were unable to offer any resistance to the power
that was exerting its influence over him. Deuce take it! I really
believe that, if a man who's given to walking in his sleep had ever
committed any crime, and hoarded it up as a secret ever so long, it
could be extracted from him by questioning when he was in this peculiar
state. Happy are they who have a clean conscience like you and me,
Daniel! We may walk as much as we like in our sleep; there's no fear of
anybody extorting the confession of a crime from us. But come now,
Daniel! when you scratch so hideously at the bricked-up postern, you
want, I dare say, to go up the astronomical tower, don't you? I suppose
you want to go and experiment like old Roderick--eh? Well, next time
you come, I shall ask you what you want to do." Whilst V---- was
speaking, the old man was shaken with continually increasing agitation;
but now his whole frame seemed to heave and rock convulsively past all
hope of cure, and in a shrill voice he began to utter a string of
unmeaning gibberish. V---- rang for the servants. They brought lights;
but as the old man's fit did not abate, they lifted him up as though he
had been a mere automaton, not possessed of the power of voluntary
movement, and carried him to bed. After continuing in this frightful
state for about an hour, he fell into a profound sleep resembling a
dead faint When he awoke he asked for wine; and, after he had got what
he wanted, he sent away the man who was going to sit with him, and
locked himself in his room as usual.

V---- had indeed really resolved to make the attempt he spoke of to
Daniel, although at the same time he could not forget two facts. In the
first place, Daniel, having now been made aware of his propensity to
walk in his sleep, would probably adopt every measure of precaution to
avoid him; and on the other hand, confessions made whilst in this
condition would not be exactly fitted to serve as a basis for further
proceedings. In spite of this, however, he repaired to the hall on the
approach of midnight, hoping that Daniel, as frequently happens to
those afflicted in this way, would be constrained to act involuntarily.
About midnight there arose a great noise in the courtyard. V----
plainly heard a window broken in; then he went downstairs, and as he
traversed the passages he was met by rolling clouds of suffocating
smoke, which, he soon perceived were pouring out of the open door of
the house-steward's room. The steward himself was just being carried
out, to all appearance dead, in order to be taken and put to bed in
another room. The servants related that about midnight one of the
under-grooms had been awakened by a strange hollow knocking; he thought
something had befallen the old man, and was preparing to get up and go
and see if he could help him, when the night watchman in the court
shouted, "Fire! Fire! The Herr House-Steward's room is all of a bright
blaze!" At this outcry several servants at once appeared on the scene;
but all their efforts to burst open the room door were unavailing.
Whereupon they hurried out into the court, but the resolute watchman
had already broken in the window, for the room was low and on the
basement story, had torn down the burning curtains, and by pouring a
few buckets of water on them had at once extinguished the fire. The
house-steward they found lying on the floor in the middle of the room
in a swoon. In his hand he still held the candlestick tightly clenched,
the burning candles of which had caught the curtains, and so occasioned
the fire. Some of the blazing rags had fallen upon the old man, burning
his eyebrows and a large portion of the hair of his head. If the
watchman had not seen the fire the old man must have been helplessly
burned to death. The servants, moreover, to their no little
astonishment found the room door secured on the inside by two quite new
bolts, which had been fastened on since the previous evening, for they
had not been there then. V---- perceived that the old man had wished to
make it impossible for him to get out of his room; for the blind
impulse which urged him to wander in his sleep he could not resist. The
old man became seriously ill; he did not speak; he took but little
nourishment; and lay staring before him with the reflection of death in
his set eyes, just as if he were clasped in the vice-like grip of some
hideous thought. V---- believed he would never rise from his bed again.

V---- had done all that could be done for his client; and he could now
only await the result in patience; and so he resolved to return to
K----. His departure was fixed for the following morning. As he was
packing his papers together late at night, he happened to lay his hand
upon a little sealed packet which Freiherr Hubert von R---- had given
him, bearing the inscription, "To be read after my will has been
opened," and which by some unaccountable means had hitherto escaped his
notice. He was on the point of breaking the seal when the door opened
and Daniel came in with still, ghostlike step. Placing upon the table a
black portfolio which he carried under his arm, he sank upon his knees
with a deep groan, and grasping V----'s hands with a convulsive clutch
he said, in a voice so hollow and hoarse that it seemed to come from
the bottom of a grave, "I should not like to die on the scaffold! There
is One above who judges!" Then, rising with some trouble and with many
painful gasps, he left the room as he had come.

V---- spent the whole of the night in reading what the black portfolio
and Hubert's packet contained. Both agreed in all circumstantial
particulars, and suggested naturally what further steps were to be
taken. On arriving at K----, V---- immediately repaired to Freiherr
Hubert von R----, who received him with ill-mannered pride. But the
remarkable result of the interview, which began at noon and lasted on
without interruption until late at night, was that the next day the
Freiherr made a declaration before the court to the effect that he
acknowledged the claimant to be, agreeably to his father's will, the
son of Wolfgang von R----, eldest son of Freiherr Roderick von R----,
and begotten in lawful wedlock with Mdlle. Julia de St. Val, and
furthermore acknowledged him as rightful and legitimate heir to the
entail. On leaving the court he found his carriage, with post-horses,
standing before the door; he stepped in and was driven off at a rapid
rate, leaving his mother and his sister behind him. They would perhaps
never see him again, he wrote, along with other perplexing statements.
Roderick's astonishment at this unexpected turn which the case had
taken was very great; he pressed V---- to explain to him how this
wonder had been brought about, what mysterious power was at work in the
matter. V----, however, evaded his questions by giving him hopes of
telling him all at some future time, and when he should have come into
possession of the estate. For the surrender of the entail to him could
not be effected immediately, since the court, not content with Hubert's
declaration, required that Roderick should also first prove his own
identity to their satisfaction. V---- proposed to the Baron that he
should go and live at R--sitten, adding that Hubert's mother and
sister, momentarily embarrassed by his sudden departure, would prefer
to go and live quietly on the ancestral property rather than stay in
the dear and noisy town. The glad delight with which Roderick welcomed
the prospect of dwelling, at least for a time, under the same roof with
the Baroness and her daughter, betrayed the deep impression which the
lovely and graceful Seraphina had made upon him. In fact, the Freiherr
made such good use of his time in R--sitten that, at the end of a few
weeks, he had won Seraphina's love as well as her mother's cordial
approval of her marriage with him. All this was for V---- rather too
quick work, since Roderick's claims to be lord of the entail still
continued to be rather doubtful. The life of idyllic happiness at the
castle was interrupted by letters from Courland. Hubert had not shown
himself at all at the estates, but had travelled direct to St
Petersburg, where he had taken military service and was now in the
field against the Persians, with whom Russia happened to be just then
waging war. This obliged the Baroness and her daughter to set off
immediately for their Courland estates, where everything was in
confusion and disorder. Roderick, who regarded himself in the light of
an accepted son-in-law, insisted upon accompanying his beloved; and
hence, since V---- likewise returned to K----, the castle was left in
its previous loneliness. The house-steward's malignant complaint grew
worse and worse, so that he gave up all hopes of ever getting about
again; and his office was conferred upon an old _chasseur_, Francis by
name, Wolfgang's faithful servant.

At last, after long waiting, V---- received from Switzerland
information of the most favourable character. The priest who had
married Roderick was long since dead; but there was found in the church
register a memorandum in his hand writing, to the effect that the man
of the name of Born, whom he had joined in the bonds of wedlock with
Mdlle. Julia de St. Val, had established completely to his satisfaction
his identity as Freiherr Wolfgang von R----, eldest son of Freiherr
Roderick von R---- of R--Sitten. Besides this, two witnesses of the
marriage had been discovered, a merchant of Geneva and an old French
captain, who had moved to Lyons; to them also Wolfgang had in
confidence stated his real name; and their affidavits confirmed the
priest's notice in the church register. With these memoranda in his
hands, drawn up with proper legal formalities, V---- now succeeded in
securing his client in the complete possession of his rights; and as
there was now no longer any hindrance to the surrender to him of the
entail, it was to be put into his hands in the ensuing autumn. Hubert
had fallen in his very first engagement, thus sharing the fate of his
younger brother, who had likewise been slain in battle a year before
his father's death. Thus the Courland estates fell to Baroness
Seraphina von R----, and made a handsome dowry for her to take to the
too happy Roderick.

November had already come in when the Baroness, along with Roderick and
his betrothed, arrived at R--sitten. The formal surrender of the
estate-tail to the young Baron took place, and then his marriage with
Seraphina was solemnised. Many weeks passed amid a continual whirl of
pleasure; but at length the wearied guests began gradually to depart
from the castle, to V----'s great satisfaction, for he had made up his
mind not to take his leave of R--sitten until he had initiated the
young lord of the entail in all the relations and duties connected with
his new position down to the minutest particulars. Roderick's uncle had
kept an account of all revenues and disbursements with the most
detailed accuracy; hence, since Hubert had only retained a small sum
annually for his own support, the surplus revenues had all gone to
swell the capital left by the old Freiherr, till the total now amounted
to a considerable sum. Hubert had only employed the income of the
entail for his own purposes during the first three years, but to cover
this he had given a mortgage on the security of his share of the
Courland property.

From the time when old Daniel had revealed himself to V---- as a
somnambulist, V---- had chosen old Roderick's bed-room for his own
sitting-room, in order that he might the more securely gather from the
old man what he afterwards voluntarily disclosed. Hence it was in this
room and in the adjoining great hall that the Freiherr transacted
business with V----. Once they were both sitting at the great table by
the bright blazing fire; V---- had his pen in his hand, and was noting
down various totals and calculating the riches of the lord of the
entail, whilst the latter, leaning his head on his hand, was blinking
at the open account-books and formidable-looking documents. Neither of
them heard the hollow roar of the sea, nor the anxious cries of the
sea-gulls as they dashed against the windowpanes, flapping their wings
and flying backwards and forwards, announcing the oncoming storm.
Neither of them heeded the storm, which arose about midnight, and was
now roaring and raging with wild fury round the castle walls, so that
all the sounds of ill omen in the fire-grates and narrow passages
awoke, and began to whistle and shriek in a weird, unearthly way. At
length, after a terrific blast, which made the whole castle shake, the
hall was completely lit up by the murky glare of the full moon, and
V---- exclaimed, "Awful weather!" The Freiherr, quite absorbed in the
consideration of the wealth which had fallen to him, replied
indifferently, as he turned over a page of the receipt-book with a
satisfied smile, "It is indeed; very stormy!" But, as if clutched by
the icy hand of Dread, he started to his feet as the door of the hall
flew open and a pale spectral figure became visible, striding in with
the stamp of death upon its face. It was Daniel, who, lying helpless
under the power of disease, was deemed in the opinion of V---- as of
everybody else incapable of the ability to move a single limb; but,
again coming under the influence of his propensity to wander in his
sleep at full moon, he had, it appeared, been unable to resist it. The
Freiherr stared at the old man without uttering a sound; and when
Daniel began to scratch at the wall, and moan as though in the painful
agonies of death, Roderick's heart was filled with horrible dread. With
his face ashy pale and his hair standing straight on end, he leapt to
his feet and strode towards the old man in a threatening attitude and
cried in a loud firm voice, so that the hall rang again, "Daniel,
Daniel, what are you doing here at this hour?" Then the old man uttered
that same unearthly howling whimper, like the death-cry of a wounded
animal, which he had uttered when Wolfgang had offered to reward his
fidelity with gold; and he fell down on the floor. V---- summoned the
servants; they raised the old man up; but all attempts to restore
animation proved fruitless. Then the Freiherr cried, almost beside
himself, "Good God! Good God! Now I remember to have heard that a
sleepwalker may die on the spot if anybody calls him by his name. Oh!
oh! unfortunate wretch that I am! I have killed the poor old man! I
shall never more have a peaceful moment so long as I live." When the
servants had carried the corpse away and the hall was again empty,
V---- took the Freiherr, who was still continuing his self-reproaches,
by the hand and led him in impressive silence to the walled-up postern,
and said, "The man who fell down dead at your feet, Freiherr Roderick,
was the atrocious murderer of your father." The Freiherr fixed his
staring eyes upon V---- as though he saw the foul fiends of hell. But
V---- went on, "The time has come now for me to reveal to you the
hideous secret which, weighing upon the conscience of this monster and
burthening him with curses, compelled him to roam abroad in his sleep.
The Eternal Power has seen fit to make the son take vengeance upon the
murderer of his father. The words which you thundered in the ears of
that fearful night-walker were the last words which your unhappy father
spoke." V---- sat down in front of the fire, and the Freiherr,
trembling and unable to utter a word, took his seat beside him.
V---- began to tell him the contents of the document which Hubert had
left behind him, and the seal of which he (V----) was not to break
until after the opening of the will Hubert lamented, in expressions
testifying to the deepest remorse, the implacable hatred against his
elder brother which took root in him from the moment that old Roderick
established the entail. He was deprived of all weapons; for, even if he
succeeded in maliciously setting the son at variance with the father,
it would serve no purpose, since even Roderick himself had not the
power to deprive his eldest son of his birth-right, nor would he on
principle have ever done so, no matter how his affections had been
alienated from him. It was only when Wolfgang formed his connection
with Julia de St. Val in Geneva that Hubert saw his way to effecting
his brother's ruin. And that was the time when he came to an
understanding with Daniel, to provoke the old man by villainous devices
to take measures which should drive his son to despair.

He was well aware of old Roderick's opinion that the only way to ensure
an illustrious future for the family to all subsequent time was by
means of an alliance with one of the oldest families in the country.
The old man had read this alliance in the stars, and any pernicious
derangement of the constellation would only entail destruction upon the
family he had founded. In this way it was that Wolfgang's union with
Julia seemed to the old man like a sinful crime, committed against the
ordinances of the Power which had stood by him in all his worldly
undertakings; and any means that might be employed for Julia's ruin he
would have regarded as justified for the same reason, for Julia had, he
conceived, ranged herself against him like some demoniacal principle.
Hubert knew that his brother loved Julia passionately, almost to
madness in fact, and that the loss of her would infallibly make him
miserable, perhaps kill him. And Hubert was all the more ready to
assist the old man in his plans as he had himself conceived an unlawful
affection for Julia, and hoped to win her for himself. It was, however,
determined by a special dispensation of Providence that all attacks,
even the most virulent, were to be thwarted by Wolfgang's resoluteness;
nay, that he should contrive to deceive his brother: the fact that his
marriage was actually solemnised and that of the birth of a son were
kept secret from Hubert In Roderick's mind also there occurred, along
with the presentiment of his approaching death, the idea that Wolfgang
had really married the Julia who was so hostile to him. In the letter
which commanded his son to appear at R--sitten on a given day to take
possession of the entail, he cursed him if he did not sever his
connection with her. This was the letter that Wolfgang burnt beside his
father's corpse. To Hubert the old man wrote, saying that Wolfgang had
married Julia, but that he would part from her. This Hubert took to be
a fancy of his visionary father's; accordingly he was not a little
dismayed when on reaching R--sitten Wolfgang with perfect frankness not
only confirmed the old man's supposition, but also went on to add that
Julia had borne him a son, and that he hoped in a short time to
surprise her with the pleasant intelligence of his high rank and great
wealth, for she had hitherto taken him for Born, a merchant from M----.
He intended going to Geneva himself to fetch his beloved wife. But
before he could carry out this plan he was overtaken by death. Hubert
carefully concealed what he knew about the existence of a son born to
Wolfgang in lawful wedlock with Julia, and so usurped the property that
really belonged to his nephew. But only a few years passed before he
became a prey to bitter remorse. He was reminded of his guilt in
terrible wise by destiny, in the hatred which grew up and developed
more and more between his two sons. "You are a poor starving beggar!"
said the elder, a boy of twelve, to the younger, "but I shall be lord
of R--sitten when father dies, and then you will have to be humble and
kiss my hand when you want me to give you money to buy a new coat." The
younger, goaded to ungovernable fury by his brother's proud and
scornful words, threw the knife at him which he happened to have in his
hand, and almost killed him. Hubert, for fear of some dire misfortune,
sent the younger away to St. Petersburg; and he served afterwards as
officer under Suwaroff, and fell fighting against the French. Hubert
was prevented revealing to the world the dishonest and deceitful way in
which he had acquired possession of the estate-tail by the shame and
disgrace which would have come upon him; but he would not rob the
rightful owner of a single penny more. He caused inquiries to be set on
foot in Geneva, and learned that Madame Born had died of grief at the
incomprehensible disappearance of her husband, but that young Roderick
Born was being brought up by a worthy man who had adopted him. Hubert
then caused himself to be introduced under an assumed name as a
relative of Born the merchant, who had perished at sea, and he
forwarded at given times sufficient sums of money to give the young
heir of entail a good and respectable education. How he carefully
treasured up the surplus revenues from the estate, and how he drew up
the terms of his will, we already know. Respecting his brother's death,
Hubert spoke in strangely obscure terms, but they allowed this much to
be inferred, that there must be some mystery about it, and that he had
taken part, indirectly, at least, in some heinous crime.

The contents of the black portfolio made everything clear. Along with
Hubert's traitorous correspondence with Daniel was a sheet of paper
written and signed by Daniel. V---- read a confession at which his very
soul trembled, appalled. It was at Daniel's instigation that Hubert had
come to R--sitten; and it was Daniel again who had written and told him
about the one hundred and fifty thousand thalers that had been found.
It has been already described how Hubert was received by his brother,
and how, deceived in all his hopes and wishes, he was about to go off
when he was prevented by V----, Daniel's heart was tortured by an
insatiable thirst for vengeance, which he was determined to take on the
young man who had proposed to kick him out like a mangy cur. He it was
who relentlessly and incessantly fanned the flame of passion by which
Hubert's desperate heart was consumed. Whilst in the fir forests
hunting wolves, out in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, they agreed
to effect his destruction. "Make away with him!" murmured Hubert,
looking askance and taking aim with his rifle. "Yes, make away with
him," snarled Daniel, "but not in _that way_, not in _that way!_" And
he made the most solemn asseverations that he would murder the Freiherr
and not a soul in the world should be the wiser. When, however, Hubert
had got his money, he repented of the plot; he determined to go away in
order to shun all further temptation. Daniel himself saddled his horse
and brought it out of the stable; but as the Baron was about to mount,
Daniel said to him in a sharp, strained voice, "I thought you would
stay on the entail, Freiherr Hubert, now that it has just fallen to
you, for the proud lord of the entail lies dashed to pieces at the
bottom of the ravine, below the tower." The steward had observed that
Wolfgang, tormented by his thirst for gold, often used to rise in the
night, go to the postern which formerly led to the tower, and stand
gazing with longing eyes down into the chasm, where, according to his
(Daniel's) testimony, vast treasures lay buried. Relying upon this
habit, Daniel waited near the hall-door on that ill-omened night; and
as soon as he heard the Freiherr open the postern leading to the tower,
he entered the hall and proceeded to where the Freiherr was standing,
close by the brink of the chasm. On becoming aware of the presence of
his villainous servant, in whose eyes the gleam of murder shone, the
Freiherr turned round and said with a cry of terror, "Daniel, Daniel,
what are you doing here at this hour?" But then Daniel shrieked wildly,
"Down with you, you mangy cur!" and with a powerful push of his foot he
hurled the unhappy man over into the deep chasm.

Terribly agitated by this awful deed, Freiherr Roderick found no peace
in the castle where his father had been murdered. He went to his
Courland estates, and only visited R--sitten once a year, in autumn.
Francis--old Francis--who had strong suspicions as to Daniel's guilt,
maintained that he often haunted the place at full moon, and described
the nature of the apparition much as V--- afterwards experienced it for
himself when he exorcised it. It was the disclosure of these
circumstances, also, which stamped his father's memory with dishonour,
that had driven young Freiherr Hubert out into the world.

This was my old great-uncle's story. Now he took my hand, and whilst
his eyes filled with tears, he said, in a broken voice, "Cousin,
cousin! And she too--the beautiful lady--has fallen a victim to the
dark destiny, the grim, mysterious power which has established itself
in that old ancestral castle. Two days after we left R--sitten the
Freiherr arranged an excursion on sledges as the concluding event of
the visit. He drove his wife himself; but as they were going down the
valley the horses, for some unexplained reason, suddenly taking fright,
began to snort and kick and plunge most savagely. 'The old man! The old
man is after us!' screamed the Baroness in a shrill, terrified voice.
At this same moment the sledge was overturned with a violent jerk, and
the Baroness was hurled to a considerable distance. They picked her up
lifeless--she was quite dead. The Freiherr is perfectly inconsolable,
and has settled down into a state of passivity that will kill him. We
shall never go to R--sitten again, cousin!"

Here my uncle paused. As I left him my heart was rent by emotion; and
nothing but the all-soothing hand of Time could assuage the deep pain
which I feared would cost me my life.

Years passed. V---- was resting in his grave, and I had left my native
country. Then I was driven northwards, as far as St. Petersburg, by the
devastating war which was sweeping over all Germany. On my return
journey, not far from K----, I was driving one dark summer night along
the shore of the Baltic, when I perceived in the sky before me a
remarkably large bright star. On coming nearer I saw by the red
flickering flame that what I had taken for a star must be a large fire,
but could not understand how it could be so high up in the air.
"Postilion, what fire is that before us yonder?" I asked the man
who was driving me. "Oh! why, that's not a fire; it's the beacon
tower of R--sitten." "R--sitten!" Directly the postilion mentioned
the name all the experiences of the eventful autumn days which I had
spent there recurred to my mind with lifelike reality. I saw the
Baron--Seraphina--and also the remarkably eccentric old aunts--myself
as well, with my bare milk-white face, my hair elegantly curled and
powdered, and wearing a delicate sky-blue coat--nay, I saw myself in my
love-sick folly, sighing like a furnace, and making lugubrious odes on
my mistress's eyebrows. The sombre, melancholy mood into which these
memories plunged me was relieved by the bright recollection of V----'s
genial jokes, shooting up like flashes of coloured light, and I found
them now still more entertaining than they had been so long ago.
Thus agitated by pain mingled with much peculiar pleasure, I reached
R--sitten early in the morning and got out of the coach in front of the
post-house, where it had stopped I recognised the house as that of the
land-steward; I inquired after him. "Begging your pardon," said the
clerk of the post-house, taking his pipe from his mouth and giving his
night-cap a tilt, "begging your pardon; there is no land-steward here;
this is a Royal Government office, and the Herr Administrator is still
asleep." On making further inquiries I learnt that Freiherr Roderick
von R----, the last lord of the entail, had died sixteen years before
without descendants, and that the entail in accordance with the terms
of the original deeds had now escheated to the state. I went up to the
castle; it was a mere heap of ruins. I was informed by an old peasant,
who came out of the fir-forest, and with whom I entered into
conversation, that a large portion of the stones had been employed in
the construction of the beacon-tower. He also could tell the story of
the ghost which was said to have haunted the castle, and he affirmed
that people often heard unearthly cries and lamentations amongst the
stones, especially at full moon.

Poor short-sighted old Roderick! What a malignant destiny did you
conjure up to destroy with the breath of poison, in the first moments
of its growth, that race which you intended to plant with firm roots to
last on till eternity!

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FOOTNOTES TO "THE ENTAIL":

[Footnote 1: Freiherr = Baron, though not exactly in the present
significance of the term in Germany. A Freiherr belongs to the
"superior nobility," and is a Baron of the older nobility of the Middle
Ages; and he ranks immediately after a Count (Graf). The title Baron is
now restricted to comparatively newer creations, and its bearer belongs
to the "lower nobility." In this tale "Freiherr" and "Baron" are used
indifferently.]

[Footnote 2: The Justitiarius acted as justiciary in the seignorial
courts of justice, which were amongst the privileges accorded to the
nobility of certain ranks, in certain cases, by the feudal institutions
of the Middle Ages. This privilege the R---- family is represented as
exercising.]

[Footnote 3: At the present time the Germans say _Prosit!_ under like
circumstances. This of coarse reminds one of the Greek custom of
regarding sneezing as an auspicious omen.]

[Footnote 4: This refers to an episode in Schiller's work, related by a
Sicilian. The story is of a familiar type. Two brothers, Jeronymo and
Lorenzo, fall in love with the same Lady Antonia; the elder brother is
secretly killed by the younger. But on the marriage day of the murderer
the murdered man appears in the disguise of a monk, and proceeds to
reveal himself in his bloody habiliments and show his ghastly wounds.]

[Footnote 5: By Paul Fleming (1609-1640); one of the pious but gloomy
religious songs of this leading spirit of the "first Silesian school."]

[Footnote 6: See note, p. 40.]

[Footnote 7: The reference is to a _Landsmannschaft_. These were
associations, at a university, of students from the same state or
country, bound to the observance of certain traditional customs, &c,
and under the control of certain self-elected officers (the _Senior_
being one).]

[Footnote 8: Imperial thalers varied in value at different times, but
estimating their value at three shillings, the sum here mentioned would
be equivalent to about £22,500. A _Frederick d'or_ was a gold coin
worth five thalers.]



                            ARTHUR'S HALL.[1]


You must of course, indulgent reader, have heard a good deal about the
remarkable old commercial town of Dantzic. Perhaps you may be
acquainted from abundant descriptions with all the sights to be seen
there; but I should like it best of all if you have ever been there
yourself in former times, and seen with your own eyes the wonderful
hall into which I will now take you--I mean Arthur's Hall.[2]

At the hour of noon the hall was crammed full of men of the most
diverse nations, all pushing about and immersed to the eyes in
business, so that the ears were deafened by the confused din. But when
the exchange hours were over, and the merchants had gone to dinner, and
only a few odd individuals hurried through the hall on business (for it
served as a means of communication between two streets), that I dare
say was the time when you, gracious reader, liked to visit Arthur's
Hall best, whenever you were in Dantzic. For then a kind of magical
twilight fell through the dim windows, and all the strange reliefs and
carvings, with which the wall was too profusely decorated, became
instinct with life and motion. Stags with immense antlers, together
with other wonderful animals, gazed down upon you with their fiery eyes
till you could hardly look at them; and the marble statue of the king,
also in the midst of the hall, caused you to shiver more in proportion
as the dusk of evening deepened. The great picture representing an
assemblage of all the Virtues and Vices, with their respective names
attached, lost perceptibly in moral effect; for the Virtues, being
high up, were blended unrecognisably in a grey mist, whilst the
Vices--wondrously beautiful ladies in gay and brilliant costumes--stood
out prominently and very seductively, threatening to enchant you with
their sweet soft words. You preferred to turn your eyes upon the narrow
border which went almost all round the hall, and on which were
represented in pleasing style long processions of gay-uniformed militia
of the olden time, when Dantzic was an Imperial town. Honest
burgomasters, their features stamped with shrewdness and importance,
ride at the head on spirited horses with handsome trappings, whilst
the drummers, pipers, and halberdiers march along so jauntily and
life-like, that you soon begin to hear the merry music they play, and
look to see them all defile out of that great window up there into the
Langemarkt.[3]

While, then, they are marching off, you, indulgent reader,--if you
were, that is, a tolerable sketcher,--would not be able to do otherwise
than copy with pen and ink yon magnificent burgomaster with his
remarkably handsome page. Pen and ink and paper, provided at public
cost, were always to be found lying about on the tables; accordingly
the material would be all ready at hand, and you would have felt the
temptation irresistible. This you would have been permitted to do, but
not so the young merchant Traugott, who, on beginning to do anything of
this kind, encountered a thousand difficulties and vexations. "Advise
our friend in Hamburg at once that that business has been settled, my
good Herr Traugott," said the wholesale and retail merchant, Elias
Roos, with whom Traugott was about to enter upon an immediate
partnership, besides marrying his only daughter, Christina. After a
little trouble, Traugott found a place at one of the crowded tables; he
took a sheet of paper, dipped his pen in the ink, and was about to
begin with a free caligraphic flourish, when, running over once more in
his mind what he wished to say, he cast his eyes upwards. Now it
happened that he sat directly opposite a procession of figures, at the
sight of which he was always, strangely enough, affected with an
inexplicable sadness. A grave man, with something of dark melancholy in
his face, and with a black curly beard and dressed in sumptuous
clothing, was riding a black horse, which was led by the bridle by a
marvellous youth: his rich abundance of hair and his gay and graceful
costume gave him almost a feminine appearance. The face and form of the
man made Traugott shudder inwardly, but a whole world of sweet vague
aspirations beamed upon him from the youth's countenance. He could
never tear himself away from looking at these two; and hence, on the
present occasion, instead of writing Herr Elias Roos's letter of advice
to Hamburg, he sat gazing at the wonderful picture, absently scribbling
all over his paper. After this had lasted some time, a hand clapped him
on the shoulder from behind, and a gruff voice said, "Nice--very nice;
that's what I like; something maybe made of that." Traugott, awakening
out of his dreamy reverie, whisked himself round; but, as if struck by
a lightning flash, he remained speechless with amazement and fright,
for he was staring up into the face of the dark melancholy man who was
depicted on the wall before him. He it was who uttered the words stated
above; at his side stood the delicate and wonderfully beautiful youth,
smiling upon him with indescribable affection. "Yes, it is they--the
very same!" was the thought that flashed across Traugott's mind. "I
expect they will at once throw off their unsightly mantles and stand
forth in all the splendours of their antique costume." The members of
the crowd pushed backwards and forwards amongst each other, and the
strangers had soon disappeared in the crush; but even after the hours
of 'Change were long over, and only a few odd individuals crossed the
hall, Traugott still remained in the self-same place with the letter of
advice in his hand, as though he were converted into a solid stone
statue.

At length he perceived Herr Elias Roos coming towards him with two
strangers. "What are you about, cogitating here so long after noon, my
respected Herr Traugott?" asked Elias Roos; "have you sent off the
letter all right?" Mechanically Traugott handed him the paper; but Herr
Elias Roos struck his hands together above his head, stamping at first
gently, but then violently, with his right foot, as he cried, making
the hall ring again, "Good God! Good God! what childish tricks are
these? Nothing but sheer childishness, my respected Traugott,--my
good-for-nothing son-in-law--my imprudent partner. Why, the devil must
be in your honour! The letter--the letter! O God! the post!" Herr Elias
Roos was almost choking with vexation, whilst the two strangers were
laughing at the singular letter of advice, which could hardly be said
to be of much use. For, immediately after the words, "In reply to yours
of the 20th inst. respecting----" Traugott had sketched the two
extraordinary figures of the old man and the youth in neat bold
outlines. The two strangers sought to pacify Herr Elias Roos by
addressing him in the most affectionate manner; but Herr Elias Roos
tugged his round wig now on this side and now on that, struck his cane
against the floor, and cried, "The young devil!--was to write letter of
advice--makes drawings--ten thousand marks gone--dam!" He blew through
his fingers and then went on lamenting, "Ten thousand marks!" "Don't
make a trouble of it, my dear Herr Roos," said at length the elder of
the two strangers. "The post is of course gone; but I am sending off a
courier to Hamburg in an hour. Let me give him your letter, and it will
then reach its destination earlier than it would have done by the post"
"You incomparable man!" exclaimed Herr Elias, his face a perfect blaze
of sunshine. Traugott had recovered from his awkward embarrassment; he
was hastening to the table to write the letter, but Herr Elias pushed
him away, casting a right malicious look upon him, and murmuring
between his teeth, "No need for you, my good son!"

Whilst Herr Elias was studiously busy writing, the elder gentleman
approached young Traugott, who was standing silent with shame, and said
to him, "You don't seem to be exactly in your place, my good sir. It
would never have come into a true merchant's head to make drawings
instead of writing a business letter as he ought" Traugott could not
help feeling that this reproach was only too well founded. Much
embarrassed, he replied, "By my soul, this hand has already written
many admirable letters of advice; it is only, occasionally that such
confoundedly odd ideas come into my mind." "But, my good sir,"
continued the stranger smiling, "these are not confoundedly odd ideas
at all. I can really hardly believe that all your business letters
taken together have been so admirable as these sketches, outlined
so neatly and boldly and firmly. There is, I am sure, true genius
in them." With these words the stranger took out of Traugott's hand
the letter--or rather what was begun as a letter but had ended in
sketches--carefully folded it together, and put it in his pocket. This
awakened in Traugott's mind the firm conviction that he had done
something far more excellent than write a business letter. A strange
spirit took possession of him; so that, when Herr Elias Roos, who had
now finished writing, addressed him in an angry tone, "Your childish
folly might have cost me ten thousand marks," he replied louder and
with more decision than was his habit, "Will your worship please not to
behave in such an extraordinary way, else I will never write you
another letter of advice so long as I live, and we will separate." Herr
Elias pushed his wig right with both hands and stammered, as he stared
hard at Traugott, "My estimable colleague, my dear, dear son, what
proud words you are using!" The old gentleman again interposed, and a
few words sufficed to restore perfect peace; and so they all went to
Herr Elias's house to dinner, for he had invited the strangers home
with him. Fair Christina received them in holiday attire, all clean and
prim and proper; and soon she was wielding the excessively heavy silver
soup-ladle with a practised hand.

Whilst these five persons are sitting at table, I could, gracious
reader, bring them pictorially before your eyes; but I shall only
manage to give a few general outlines, and those certainly worse than
the sketches which Traugott had the audacity to scribble in the
inauspicious letter; for the meal will soon be over; and besides, I am
urged by an impulse I cannot resist to go on with the remarkable
history of the excellent Traugott, which I have undertaken to relate to
you.

That Herr Elias Roos wears a round wig you already know from what
has been stated above; and I have no need to add anything more; for
after what he has said, you can now see the round little man with his
liver-coloured coat, waistcoat, and trousers, with gilt buttons, quite
plainly before your eyes. Of Traugott I have a very great deal to say,
because this is his history which I am telling, and so of course he
occurs in it. If now it be true that a man's thoughts and feelings and
actions, making their influence felt from within him outwards, so model
and shape his bodily form as to give rise to that wonderful harmony of
the whole man, that is not to be explained but only felt, which we call
character, then my words will of themselves have already shown you
Traugott himself in the flesh. If this is not the case, then all my
gossip is wasted, and you may forthwith regard my story as unread. The
two strangers are uncle and nephew, formerly retail dealers, but now
merchants trading on their gains, and friends of Herr Elias Roos, that
is to say, they had a good many business transactions together. They
live at Königsberg, dress entirely in the English fashion, carry
about with them a mahogany boot-jack which has come from London,
possess considerable taste for art, and are, in a word, experienced,
well-educated people. The uncle has a gallery of art objects and
collects hand-sketches (witness the pilfered letter of advice).

But properly my chief business was to give you, kindly reader, a true
and life-like description of Christina; for her nimble person will, I
observe, soon disappear; and it will be as well for me to get a few
traits jotted down at once. Then she may willingly go! Picture to
yourself a medium-sized stoutish female of from two to three and twenty
years of age, with a round face, a short and rather turned-up nose, and
friendly light-blue eyes, which smile most prettily upon everybody,
saying, "I shall soon be married now." Her skin is dazzling white, her
hair is not altogether of a too reddish tinge; she has lips which were
certainly made to be kissed, and a mouth which, though indeed rather
wide, she yet screws up small in some extraordinary way, but so as to
display then two rows of pearly teeth. If we were to suppose that the
flames from the next-door neighbour's burning house were to dart in at
her chamber-window, she would make haste to feed the canary and lock up
the clean linen from the wash, and then assuredly hasten down into the
office and inform Herr Elias Roos that by that time his house also was
on fire. She has never had an almond-cake spoilt, and her melted-butter
always thickens properly, owing to the fact that she never stirs the
spoon round towards the left, but always towards the right. But since
Herr Elias Roos has poured out the last bumper of old French wine, I
will only hasten to add that pretty Christina is uncommonly fond of
Traugott because he is going to marry her; for what in the name of
wonder should she do if she did not get married?

After dinner Herr Elias Roos proposed to his friends to take a walk on
the ramparts. Although Traugott, whose mind had never been stirred by
so many wonderful and extraordinary things as to-day, would very much
have liked to escape the company, he could not contrive it; for, just
as he was going out of the door, without having even kissed his
betrothed's hand, Herr Elias caught him by the coat-tails, crying, "My
honoured son-in-law, my good colleague, but you're not going to leave
us?" And so he had to stay.

A certain professor of physics once stated the theory that the _Anima
Mundi_, or Spirit of the World, had, as a skilful experimentalist,
constructed somewhere an excellent electric machine, and from it
proceed certain very mysterious wires, which pass through the lives of
us all; these we do our best to creep round and avoid, but at some
moment or other we must tread upon them, and then there passes a flash
and a shock through our souls, suddenly altering the forms of
everything within them. Upon this thread Traugott must surely have trod
in the moment that he was unconsciously sketching the two persons who
stood in living shape behind him, for the singular appearance of the
strangers had struck him with all the violence of a lightning-flash;
and he now felt as if he had very clear conceptions of all those things
which he had hitherto only dimly guessed at and dreamt about. The
shyness which at other times had always fettered his tongue so soon as
the conversation turned upon things which lay concealed like holy
secrets at the bottom of his heart had now left him; and hence it was
that, when the uncle attacked the curious half-painted, half-carved
pictures in Arthur's Hall as wanting in taste, and then proceeded more
particularly to condemn the little pictures representing the soldiers
as being whimsical, Traugott boldly maintained that, although it was
very likely true that all these things did not harmonize with the rules
of good taste, nevertheless he had experienced, what indeed several
others had also experienced, viz., a wonderful and fantastic world had
been unfolded to him in Arthur's Hall, and some few of the figures had
reminded him in even lifelike looks, nay, even in plain distinct words,
that he also was a great master, and could paint and wield the chisel
as well as the man out of whose unknown studio they themselves had
proceeded Herr Elias certainly looked more stupid than usual whilst the
young fellow was saying such grand things, but the uncle made answer in
a very malicious manner, "I repeat once more, I do not comprehend why
you want to be a merchant, why you haven't rather devoted yourself
altogether to art."

Traugott conceived an extreme repugnance to the man, and accordingly he
joined the nephew for the walk, and found his manner very friendly and
confidential. "O Heaven!" said the latter, "how I envy you your
beautiful and glorious talent! I wish I could only sketch like you! I
am not at all wanting in genius; I have already sketched some deucedly
pretty eyes and noses and ears, ay, and even three or four entire
heads;--but, dash it all! the business, you know! the business!" "I
always thought," said Traugott, "that as soon as a man detected the
spark of true genius--of a genuine love for art--within him, he ought
not to know anything about any other business." "You mean he ought to
be an artist!" rejoined the nephew. "Ah! how can you say so? See you
here, my estimable friend! I have, I believe, reflected more upon these
things than many others; in fact, I am such a decided admirer of art,
and have gone into the real essential nature of the thing far deeper
than I am even able to express, and so I can only make use of hints and
suggestions." The nephew, as he expressed these opinions, looked so
learned and so profound that Traugott really began to feel in awe of
him. "You will agree with me," continued the nephew, after he had taken
a pinch of snuff and had sneezed twice, "you will agree with me that
art embroiders our life with flowers; amusement, recreation after
serious business--that is the praiseworthy end of all effort in art;
and the attainment of this end is the more perfect in proportion as the
art products assume a nearer approach to excellence. This end is very
clearly seen in life; for it is only the man who pursues art in the
spirit I have just mentioned who enjoys comfort and ease; whilst these
for ever and eternally flee away from the man who, directly contrary to
the nature of the case, regards art as a true end in itself--as the
highest aim in life. And so, my good friend, don't take to heart what
my uncle said to try and persuade you to turn aside from the serious
business of life, and rely upon a way of employing your energies which,
if without support, will only make you stagger about like a helpless
child." Here the nephew paused as if expecting Traugott's reply; but
Traugott did not know for the life of him what he ought to say. All
that the nephew had said struck him as indescribably stupid talk. He
contented himself with asking, "But what do you really mean by the
serious business of life?" The nephew looked at him somewhat taken
aback. "Well, by my soul, you can't help conceding to me that a man who
is alive must live, and that's what your artist by profession hardly
ever succeeds in doing, for he's always hard up." And he went on with a
long rigmarole of bosh, which he clothed in fine words and stereotyped
phrases. The end of it all appeared to be pretty much this--that by
living he meant little else than having no debts but plenty of money,
plenty to eat and drink, a beautiful wife, and also well-behaved
children, who never got any grease-stains on their nice Sunday-clothes,
and so on. This made Traugott feel a tightness in his throat, and he
was glad when the clever nephew left him, and he found himself alone in
his own room.

"What a wretched miserable life I lead, to be sure!" he soliloquised.
"On beautiful mornings in the glorious golden spring-time, when into
even the obscure streets of the town the warm west wind finds its way,
and its faint murmurings and rustlings seem to be telling of all the
wonders which are to be seen blooming in the woods and fields, then I
have to crawl down sluggishly and in an ill-temper into Herr Elias
Roos's smoke-begrimed office. And there sit pale faces before huge
ugly-shaped desks; all are working on amidst gloomy silence, which is
only broken by the rustle of leaves turned over in the big books, by
the chink of money that is being counted, and by unintelligible sounds
at odd intervals. And then again what work it is! What is the good of
all this thinking and all this writing? Merely that the pile of gold
pieces may increase in the coffers, and that the Fafnir's[4] treasure,
which always brings mischief, may glitter and sparkle more and more!
Oh, how gladly a painter or a sculptor must go out into the air, and
with head erect imbibe all the refreshing influences of spring, until
they people the inner world of his mind with beautiful images pulsing
with glad and energetic life! Then from the dark bushes step forth
wonderful figures, which his own mind has created, and which continue
to be his own, for within him dwells the mysterious wizard power of
light, of colour, of form; hence he is able to give abiding shape to
what he has seen with the eye of his mind, in that he represents it in
a material substitute. What is there to prevent me tearing myself loose
from this hated mode of life? That remarkable old man assured me that I
am called to be an artist, and still more so did the nice handsome
youth. For although he did not speak a word, it yet somehow struck me
that his glance said plainly what I had for such a long time felt like
a vague emotional pulsation within me, and what, oppressed by a
multitude of doubts, has hitherto been unable to rise to the level of
consciousness. Instead of going on in this miserable way, could I not
make myself a good painter?"

Traugott took out all the things that he had ever drawn and examined
them with critical eyes. Several things looked quite different to-day
from what they had ever done before, and that not worse, but better.
His attention was especially attracted by one of his childish attempts,
of the time when he was quite a boy; it was a sketch of the old
burgomaster and the handsome page, the outlines very much wanting in
firmness, of course, but nevertheless recognisable. And he remembered
quite well that these figures had made a strange impression upon him
even at that time, and how one evening at dusk they enticed him with
such an irresistible power of attraction, that he had to leave his
playmates and go into Arthur's Hall, where he took almost endless pains
to copy the picture. The contemplation of this drawing filled him with
a feeling of very deep yearning sadness. According to his usual habit,
he ought to go and work a few hours in the office; but he could not do
it; he went out to the Carlsberg[5] instead. There he stood and gazed
out over the heaving sea, striving to decipher in the waves and in the
grey misty clouds which had gathered in wonderful shapes over Hela,[6]
as in a magic mirror, his own destiny in days to come.

Don't you too believe, kindly reader, that the sparks which fall into
our hearts from the higher regions of Love are first made visible to us
in the hours of hopeless pain? And so it is with the doubts that storm
the artist's mind. He sees the Ideal and feels how impotent are his
efforts to reach it; it will flee before him, he thinks, always
unattainable. But then again he is once more animated by a divine
courage; he strives and struggles, and his despair is dissolved into a
sweet yearning, which both strengthens him and spurs him on to strain
after his beloved idol, so that he begins to see it continually nearer
and nearer, but never reaches it.

Traugott was now tortured to excess by this state of hopeless pain.
Early next morning, on again looking over his drawings, which he had
left lying on the table he thought them all paltry and foolish, and he
now called to mind the oft-repeated words of one of his artistic
friends, "A great deal of the mischief done by dabblers in art of
moderate abilities arises from the fact that so many people take a
somewhat keen superficial excitement for a real essential vocation to
pursue art." Traugott felt strongly urged to look upon Arthur's Hall
and his adventure with the two mysterious personages, the old man and
the young one, for one of these states of superficial excitement; so he
condemned himself to go back to the office again; and he worked so
assiduously at Herr Elias Roos's, without heeding the disgust which
frequently so far overcame him that he had to break off suddenly and
rush off out into the open air. With sympathetic concern, Herr Elias
Roos set this down to the indisposition which, according to his
opinion, the fearfully pale young man must be suffering from.

Some time passed; Dominic's Fair[7] came, after which Traugott was to
marry Christina and be introduced to the mercantile world as Herr Elias
Roos's partner. This period he regarded as that of a sad leave-taking
from all his high hopes and aspirations; and his heart grew heavy
whenever he saw dear Christina as busy as a bee superintending the
scrubbing and polishing that was going on everywhere in the middle
story, folding curtains with her own hands, and giving the final polish
to the brass pots and pans, &c.

One day, in the thick of the surging crowd of strangers in Arthur's
Hall, Traugott heard close behind him a voice whose well-known tones
made his heart jump. "And do you really mean to say that this stock
stands at such a low figure?" Traugott whisked himself quickly round,
and saw, as he had expected, the remarkable old man, who had appealed
to a broker to get him to buy some stock, the price of which had at
that moment fallen to an extremely low figure. Behind the old man stood
the youth, who greeted Traugott with a friendly but melancholy smile.
Then Traugott hastened to address the old man. "Excuse me, sir; the
price of the stock which you are desirous of selling is really no
higher than what you have been told; nevertheless, it may with
confidence be anticipated that in a few days the price will rise
considerably. If, therefore, you take my advice, you will postpone the
conversion of your stock for a little time longer." "Eh! sir?" replied
the old man rather coldly and roughly, "what have you to do with my
business? How do you know that just now a silly bit of paper like this
is of no use at all to me, whilst ready money is what I have great need
of?" Traugott, not a little abashed because the old man had taken his
well-meant intention in such ill part, was on the point of retiring,
when the youth looked at him with tears in his eyes, as if in entreaty.
"My advice was well meant, sir," he replied quickly; "I cannot suffer
you to inflict upon yourself an important loss. Let me have your stock,
but on the condition that I afterwards pay for it the higher price
which it will be worth in a few day's time." "Well, you are an
extraordinary man," said the old man. "Be it so then; although I can't
understand what induces you to want to enrich me." So saying, he shot a
keen flashing glance at the youth, who cast down his beautiful blue
eyes in shy confusion. They both followed Traugott to the office, where
the money was paid over to the old man, whose face was dark and sullen
as he put it in his purse. Whilst he was doing so, the youth whispered
softly to Traugott, "Are you not the gentleman who was sketching such
pretty figures several weeks ago in Arthur's Hall?" "Certainly I am,"
replied Traugott, and he felt how the remembrance of the ridiculous
episode of the letter of advice drove the hot blood into his face. "Oh
then, I don't at all wonder," the youth was continuing, when the old
man gave him an angry look, which at once made him silent. In the
presence of these strangers Traugott could not get rid of a certain
feeling of awkward constraint; and so they went away before he could
muster courage enough to inquire further into their circumstances and
mode of life.

In fact there was something so quite out of the ordinary in the
appearance of these two persons that even the clerks and others in the
office were struck by it. The surly book-keeper had stuck his pen
behind his ear, and leaning on his arms, which he clasped behind his
head, he sat watching the old man with keen glittering eyes. "God
forgive me," he said when the strangers had left the office, "if he
didn't look like an old picture of the year 1400 in St. John's parish
church, with his curly beard and black mantle." Herr Elias set him down
without more ado as a Polish Jew, notwithstanding his noble bearing and
his extremely grave old-German face, and cried with a simper, "Silly
fellow! sells his stock now; might make at least ten per cent, more in
a week." Of course he knew nothing about the additional price which had
been agreed upon, and which Traugott intended to pay out of his own
pocket. And this he really did do when some days later he again met the
old man and the youth in Arthur's Hall.

The old man said, "My son has reminded me that you are an artist also,
and so I will accept what I should have otherwise refused." They were
standing close beside one of the four granite pillars which support the
vaulted roof of the hall, and immediately in front of the two painted
figures which Traugott had formerly sketched in the letter of advice.
Without reserve he spoke of the great resemblance between these figures
and the old man himself and the youth. The old man smiled a peculiar
smile, and laying his hand on Traugott's shoulder, said in a low and
deliberate tone, "Then you didn't know that I am the German painter
Godofredus Berklinger, and that it was I who painted the pictures which
seem to give you so much pleasure, a long time ago, whilst still a
learner in art. That burgomaster I copied in commemoration of myself,
and that the page who is leading the horse is my son you can of course
very easily see by comparing the faces and figures of the two."
Traugott was struck dumb with astonishment. But he very soon came to
the conclusion that the old man, who took himself to be the artist of a
picture more than two hundred years old must be labouring under some
peculiar delusion. The old man went on, lifting up his head and looking
proudly about him, "Ay, that was an artistic age if you like--glorious,
vigorous, flourishing, when I decorated this hall with all these gay
pictures in honour of the wise King Arthur and his Round Table. I
verily believe that the tall stately figure who once came to me as I
was working here, and exhorted me to go on and gain my mastership--for
at that time I had not reached that dignity,--was King Arthur himself."
Here the young man interposed, "My father is an artist, sir, who has
few equals; and you would have no cause to be sorry if he would allow
you to inspect his works." Meanwhile the old man was taking a turn
through the hall, which had now become empty; he now called to the
youth to go, and then Traugott begged him to show him his pictures. The
old man fixed his eyes upon him and regarded him for some time with a
keen and searching glance, and at length said with much gravity, "You
are, I must say, rather audacious to be wanting to enter the inner
shrine before you have begun your probationary years. But--be it so! If
your eyes are still too dull to see, you may at least dimly feel. Come
and see me early to-morrow morning," and he indicated where he lived.
Next morning Traugott did not fail to get away from business early and
hasten to the retired street where the remarkable old man lived. The
youth, dressed in old-German style, opened the door to receive him
and led him into a spacious room, in the centre of which he found
the old man sitting on a little stool in front of a large piece of
outstretched grey primed canvas. "You have come exactly at the right
time, sir," the old man cried by way of greeting, "for I have just put
the finishing-touch to yon large picture, which has occupied me more
than a year and cost me no small amount of trouble. It is the fellow of
a picture of the same size, representing 'Paradise Lost,' which I
completed last year and which I can also show you here. This, as you
will observe, is 'Paradise Regained,' and I should be very sorry for
you if you begin to put on critical airs and try to get some allegory
out of it Allegorical pictures are only painted by duffers and
bunglers; my picture is not to _signify_ but to _be_. You perceive how
all these varied groups of men and animals and fruits and flowers and
stones unite to form one harmonic whole, whose loud and excellent music
is the divinely pure chord of glorification." And the old man began to
dwell more especially upon the individual groups; he called Traugott's
attention to the secrets of the division of light and shade, to the
glitter of the flowers and the metals, to the singular shapes which,
rising up out of the calyx of the lilies, entwined themselves about
the forms of the divinely beautiful youths and maidens who were dancing
to the strains of music, and he called his attention to the bearded men
who, with all the strong pride of youth in their eyes and movements,
were apparently talking to various kinds of curious animals. The old
man's words, whilst they grew continually more emphatic, grew also
continually more incomprehensible and confused. "That's right, old
greybeard, let thy diamond crown flash and sparkle," he cried at last,
riveting a fixed but fiery glance upon the canvas. "Throw off the Isis
veil which thou didst put over thy head when the profane approached
thee. What art thou folding thy dark robe so carefully over thy breast
for? I want to see thy heart; that is the philosopher's stone through
which the mystery is revealed. Art thou not I? Why dost thou put on
such a bold and mighty air before me? Wilt thou contend with thy
master? Thinkest thou that the ruby, thy heart, which sparkles so, can
crush my breast? Up then--step forward--come here! I have created thee,
for I am"---- Here the old man suddenly fell on the floor like one
struck by lightning. Whilst Traugott lifted him up, the youth quickly
wheeled up a small arm-chair, into which they placed the old man, who
soon appeared to have fallen into a gentle sleep.

"Now you know, my kind sir, what is the matter with my good old
father," said the youth softly and gently. "A cruel destiny has
stripped off all the blossoms of his life; and for several years past
he has been insensible to the art for which he once lived. He spends
days and days sitting in front of a piece of outstretched primed
canvas, with his eyes fixed upon it in a stare; that he calls painting.
Into what an overwrought condition the description of such a picture
brings him, you have just seen for yourself. Besides this he is haunted
by another unhappy thought, which makes my life to be a sad and
agitated one; but I regard it as a fatality by which I am swept along
in the same stream that has caught him. You would like something to
help you to recover from this extraordinary scene; please follow me
then into the adjoining room, where you will find several pictures of
my father's early days, when he was still a productive artist."

And great was Traugott's astonishment to find a row of pictures
apparently painted by the most illustrious masters of the Netherlands
School. For the most part they represented scenes taken from real life;
for example, a company returning from hunting, another amusing
themselves with singing and playing, and such like subjects. They bore
evidences of great thought, and particularly the expression of the
heads, which were realised with especially vigorous life-like power.
Just as Traugott was about to return into the former room, he noticed
another picture close beside the door, which held him fascinated to the
spot. It was a remarkably pretty maiden dressed in old-German style,
but her face was exactly like the youth's, only fuller and with a
little more colour in it, and she seemed to be somewhat taller too. A
tremor of nameless delight ran through Traugott at the sight of this
beautiful girl. In strength and vitality the picture was quite equal to
anything by Van Dyk. The dark eyes were looking down upon Traugott with
a soft yearning look, whilst her sweet lips appeared to be half opened
ready to whisper loving words. "O heaven! Good heaven!" sighed
Traugott with a sigh that came from the very bottom of his heart;
"where--oh! where can I find her?" "Let us go," said the youth.
Then Traugott cried in a sort of rapturous frenzy, "Oh! it is indeed
she!--the beloved of my soul, whom I have so long carried about in my
heart, but whom I only knew in vague stirrings of emotion. Where--oh!
where is she?" The tears started from young Berklinger's eyes; he
appeared to be shaken by a convulsive and sudden attack of pain, and to
control himself with difficulty. "Come along," he at length said, in a
firm voice, "that is a portrait of my unhappy sister Felicia.[8] She
has gone for ever. You will never see her."

Like one in a dream, Traugott suffered himself to be led into the
other room. The old man was still sleeping; but all at once he started
up, and staring at Traugott with eyes flashing with anger, he cried,
"What do you want? What do you want, sir?" Then the youth stepped
forward and reminded him that he had just been showing his new picture
to Traugott, had he forgotten? At this Berklinger appeared to recollect
all that had passed; it was evident that he was much affected; and he
replied in an undertone, "Pardon an old man's forgetfulness, my good
sir." "Your new piece is an admirable--an excellent work. Master
Berklinger," Traugott proceeded; "I have never seen anything equal to
it. I am sure it must cost a great deal of study and an immense amount
of labour before a man can advance so far as to turn out a work like
that. I discern that I have an inextinguishable propensity for art, and
I earnestly entreat you, my good old master, to accept me as your
pupil; you will find me industrious." The old man grew quite cheerful
and amiable; and embracing Traugott, he promised that he would be a
faithful master to him.

Thus it came to pass that Traugott visited the old painter every day
that came, and made very rapid progress in his studies. He now
conceived an unconquerable disgust of business, and was so careless
that Herr Elias Roos had to speak out and openly find fault with him;
and finally he was very glad when Traugott kept away from the office
altogether, on the pretext that he was suffering from a lingering
illness. For this same reason the wedding, to Christina's no little
annoyance, was indefinitely postponed. "Your Herr Traugott seems to be
suffering from some secret trouble," said one of Herr Elias Roos's
merchant-friends to him one day; "perhaps it's the balance of some old
love-affair that he's anxious to settle before the wedding-day. He
looks very pale and distracted." "And why shouldn't he then?" rejoined
Herr Elias. "I wonder now," he continued after a pause,--"I wonder
now if that little rogue Christina has been having words with him? My
book-keeper--the love-smitten old ass--he is always kissing and
squeezing her hand. Traugott's devilishly in love with my little girl,
I know. Can there be any jealousy? Well, I'll sound my young
gentleman."

But however carefully he sounded he could find no satisfactory bottom,
and he said to his merchant-friend, "That Traugott is a most peculiar
fellow; well, I must just let him go his own way; though if he had not
fifty thousand thalers in my business I know what I should do, since
now he never does a stroke of anything."

Traugott, absorbed in art, would now have led a real bright sunshiny
life, had his heart not been torn with passionate love for the
beautiful Felicia, whom he often saw in wonderful dreams. The picture
had disappeared; the old man had taken it away; and Traugott durst not
ask him about it without risk of seriously offending him. On the whole,
old Berklinger continued to grow more confidential; and instead of
taking any honorarium for his instruction, he permitted Traugott to
help out his narrow house-keeping in many ways. From young Berklinger
Traugott learned that the old man had been obviously taken in in the
sale of a little cabinet, and that the stock which Traugott had
realised for them was all that they had left of the price received for
it, as well as all the money they possessed. But it was only seldom
that Traugott was allowed to have any confidential conversation with
the youth; the old man watched over him with the most singular
jealousy, and at once scolded him sharply if he began to converse
freely and cheerfully with their friend. This Traugott felt all the
more painfully since he had conceived a deep and heart-felt affection
for the youth, owing to his striking likeness to Felicia. Indeed he
often fancied, when he stood near the young man, that he was standing
beside the picture he loved so much, now alive and breathing, and that
he could feel her soft breath on his cheek; and then he would like to
have drawn the youth, as if he really were his darling Felicia herself,
to his swelling heart.

Winter was past; beautiful spring was filling the woods and fields with
brightness and blossoms. Herr Elias Roos advised Traugott either to
drink whey for his health's sake or to go somewhere to take the baths.
Fair Christina was again looking forward with joy to the wedding,
although Traugott seldom showed himself--and thought still less of his
relations with her.

Once Traugott was confined to the office the whole day long, making a
requisite squaring up of his accounts, &c.; he had been obliged to
neglect his meals, and it was beginning to get very dark when he
reached Berklinger's remote dwelling. He found nobody in the first
room, but from the one adjoining he heard the music of a lute. He had
never heard the instrument there before. He listened; a song, from time
to time interrupted, accompanied the music like a low soft sigh. He
opened the door. O Heaven! with her back towards him sat a female
figure, dressed in old-German style with a high lace ruff, exactly like
the picture. At the noise which Traugott unavoidably made on entering,
the figure rose, laid the lute on the table, and turned round. It was
she, Felicia herself! "Felicia!" cried Traugott enraptured; and he was
about to throw himself at the feet of his beloved divinity when he felt
a powerful hand laid upon his collar behind, and himself dragged out of
the room by some one with the strength of a giant. "You abandoned
wretch! you incomparable villain!" screamed old Berklinger, pushing him
on before him, "so that was your love for art? Do you mean to murder
me?" And therewith he hurled him out at the door, whilst a knife
glittered in his hand. Traugott flew downstairs and hurried back home
stupefied; nay, half crazy with mingled delight and terror.

He tossed restlessly on his couch, unable to sleep. "Felicia! Felicia!"
he exclaimed time after time, distracted with pain and the pangs of
love. "You are there, you are there, and I may not see you, may not
clasp you in my arms! You love me, oh yes! that I know. From the pain
which pierces my breast so savagely I feel that you love me."

The morning sun shone brightly into Traugott's chamber; then he got up,
and determined, let the cost be what it might, that he would solve the
mystery of Berklinger's house. He hurried off to the old man's, but his
feelings may not be described when he saw all the windows wide open and
the maid-servants busy sweeping out the rooms. He was struck with a
presentiment of what had happened. Berklinger had left the house late
on the night before along with his son, and was gone nobody knew where.
A carriage drawn by two horses had fetched away the box of paintings
and the two little trunks which contained all Berklinger's scanty
property. He and his son had followed half an hour later. All inquiries
as to where they had gone remained fruitless: no livery-stable keeper
had let out horses and carriage to persons such as Traugott described,
and even at the town gates he could learn nothing for certain;--in
short, Berklinger had disappeared as if he had flown away on the
mantle[9] of Mephistopheles.

Traugott went back home prostrated by despair. "She is gone! She is
gone! The beloved of my soul! All--all is lost!" Thus he cried as he
rushed past Herr Elias Roos (for he happened to be just at that moment
in the entrance hall) towards his own room. "God bless my soul!" cried
Herr Elias, pulling and tugging at his wig. "Christina! Christina!" he
shouted, till the whole house echoed. "Christina! You disgraceful girl!
My good-for-nothing daughter!" The clerks and others in the office
rushed out with terrified faces; the book-keeper asked amazed, "But
Herr Roos?" Herr Roos, however, continued to scream without stopping,
"Christina! Christina!" At this point Miss Christina stepped in through
the house-door, and raising her broad-brimmed straw-hat just a little
and smiling, asked what her good father was bawling in this outrageous
way for. "I strictly beg you will let such unnecessary running away
alone," Herr Elias began to storm at her. "My son-in-law is a
melancholy fellow and as jealous as a Turk. You'd better stay quietly
at home, or else there'll be some mischief done. My partner is in there
screaming and crying about his betrothed, because she will gad about
so." Christina looked at the book-keeper astounded; but he gave a
significant glance in the direction of the cupboard in the office where
Herr Roos was in the habit of keeping his cinnamon water. "You'd better
go in and console your betrothed," he said as he strode away. Christina
went up to her own room, only to make a slight change in her dress, and
give out the clean linen, and discuss with the cook what would have to
be done about the Sunday roast-joint, and at the same time pick up a
few items of town-gossip, then she would go at once and see what really
was the matter with her betrothed.

You know, kindly, reader, that we all of us, when in Traugott's case,
have to go through our appointed stages; we can't help ourselves.
Despair is succeeded by a dull dazed sort of moody reverie, in which
the crisis is wont to occur; and this then passes over into a milder
pain, in which Nature is able to apply her remedies with effect.

It was in this stage of sad but beneficial pain that, some days later,
Traugott again sat on the Carlsberg, gazing out as before upon the
sea-waves and the grey misty clouds which had gathered over Hela; but
he was not seeking as before to discover the destiny reserved for him
in days to come; no, for all that he had hoped for, all that he had
dimly dreamt of, had vanished. "Oh!" said he, "my call to art was a
bitter, bitter deception. Felicia was the phantom who deluded me into
the belief in that which never had any other existence but in the
insane fancy of a fever-stricken mind. It's all over. I will give it
all up, and go back--into my dungeon. I have made up my mind; I will go
back." Traugott again went back to his work in the office, whilst the
wedding-day with Christina was once more fixed. On the day before the
wedding was to come off, Traugott was standing in Arthur's Hall,
looking, not without a good deal of heart-rending sadness, at the
fateful figures of the old burgomaster and his page, when his eye fell
upon the broker to whom Berklinger was trying to sell his stock.
Without pausing to think, almost mechanically in fact, he walked up to
him and asked, "Did you happen to know the strikingly curious old man
with the black curly beard who some time ago frequently used to be seen
here along with a handsome youth?" "Why, to be sure I did," answered
the broker; "that was the crack-brained old painter Gottfried
Berklinger." "Then don't you know where he has gone to and where he is
now living?" asked Traugott again. "Ay, that I do," replied the broker;
"he has now for a long time been living quietly at Sorrento along with
his daughter." "With his daughter Felicia?" asked Traugott so
vehemently and so loudly that everybody turned round to look at him.
"Why, yes," went on the broker calmly, "that was, you know, the pretty
youth who always followed the old man about everywhere. Half Dantzic
knew that he was a girl, notwithstanding that the crazy old fellow
thought there was not a single soul could guess it. It had been
prophesied to him that if his daughter were ever to get married he
would die a shameful death; and accordingly he determined never to let
anybody know anything about her, and so he passed her off everywhere
as his son." Traugott stood like a statue; then he ran off through
the streets--away out of the town-gates--into the open country, into
the woods, loudly lamenting, "Oh! miserable wretch that I am! It was
she--she, herself; I have sat beside her scores and hundreds of
times--have breathed her breath--pressed her delicate hands--looked
into her beautiful eyes--heard her sweet words--and now I have lost
her! No; not lost I will follow her into the land of art. I acknowledge
the finger of destiny. Away--away to Sorrento."

He hurried back home. Herr Elias Roos got in his way; Traugott laid
hold of him and carried him along with him into the room. "I shall
never marry Christina, never!" he screamed. "She looks like _Voluptas_
(Pleasure) and _Luxuries_ (Wantonness), and her hair is like that of
_Ira_ (Wrath), in the picture in Arthur's Hall. O Felicia! Felicia! My
beautiful darling! Why do you stretch out your arms so longingly
towards me? I am coming, I am coming. And now let me tell you, Herr
Elias," he continued, again laying hold of the pale merchant, "you
will never see me in your damned office again. What do I care for
your cursed ledgers and day-books? I am a painter, ay, and a good
painter too. Berklinger is my master, my father, my all, and you are
nothing--nothing at all." And therewith he gave Herr Elias a good
shaking. Herr Elias, however, began to shout at the top of his voice,
"Help! help! Come here, folks! Help! My son-in-law's gone mad. My
partner's in a raging fit Help! help!" Everybody came running out of
the office. Traugott had released his hold upon Elias and now sank down
exhausted in a chair. They all gathered round him; but when he suddenly
leapt to his feet and cried with a wild look, "What do you all want?"
they all hurried off out of the room in a string, Herr Elias in the
middle.

Soon afterwards there was a rustling of a silk dress, and a voice
asked, "Have you really gone crazed, my dear Herr Traugott, or are you
only jesting?" It was Christina. "I am not the least bit crazed, my
angel," replied Traugott, "nor is it one whit truer that I am jesting.
Pray compose yourself, my dear, but our wedding won't come off
to-morrow; I shall never marry you, neither to-morrow, nor at any other
time." "There is not the least need of it," said Christina very calmly.
"I have not been particularly pleased with you for some time, and some
one I know will value it far differently if he may only lead home as
his bride the rich and pretty Miss Christina Roos. Adieu!" Therewith
she rustled off. "She means the book-keeper," thought Traugott. As soon
as he had calmed down somewhat he went to Herr Elias and explained to
him in convincing terms that he need not expect to have him either as
his son-in-law or as his partner in the business. Herr Elias reconciled
himself to the inevitable; and repeated with downright honest joy in
the office again and again that he thanked God to have got rid of that
crazy-headed Traugott--even after the latter was a long, long way
distant from Dantzic.

On at length arriving at the longed-for country, Traugott found a new
life awaiting him, bright and brilliant. At Rome he was introduced to
the circle of the German colony of painters and shared in their
studies. Thus it came to pass that he stayed there longer than would
seem to have been permissible in the face of his longing to find
Felicia again, by which he had hitherto been so restlessly urged
onwards. But his longing was now grown weaker; it shaped itself in his
heart like a fascinating dream, whose misty shimmer enveloped his life
on all sides, so that he believed that all he did and thought, and all
his artistic practice, were turned towards the higher supernatural
regions of blissful intuitions. All the female figures which his now
experienced artistic skill enabled him to create bore lovely Felicia's
features. The young painters were greatly struck by the exquisitely
beautiful face, the original of which they in vain sought to find in
Rome; they overwhelmed Traugott with multitudes of questions as to
where he had seen the beauty. Traugott however was very shy of telling
of his singular adventure in Dantzic, until at last, after the lapse of
several months, an old Königsberg friend, Matuszewski by name, who had
come to Rome to devote himself entirely to art, declared joyfully that
he had seen there--in Rome, the girl whom Traugott copied in all his
pictures. Traugott's wild delight may be imagined. He no longer
concealed what it was that had attracted him so strongly to art, and
urged him on with such irresistible power into Italy; and his Dantzic
adventure proved so singular and so attractive that they all promised
to search eagerly for the lost loved one.

Matuszewski's efforts were the most successful. He had soon found out
where the girl lived, and discovered moreover that she really was the
daughter of a poor old painter, who just at that period was busy
putting a new coat on the walls of the church Trinita del Monte. All
these things agreed nicely. Traugott at once hastened to the church in
question along with Matuszewski; and in the painter, whom he saw
working up on a very high scaffolding, he really thought he recognised
old Berklinger. Thence the two friends hurried off to the old man's
dwelling, without having been noticed by him. "It is she," cried
Traugott, when he saw the painter's daughter standing on the balcony,
occupied with some sort of feminine work. "Felicia, my Felicia!" he
exclaimed aloud in his joy, as he burst into the room. The girl looked
up very much alarmed. She had Felicia's features; but it was not
Felicia. In his bitter disappointment poor Traugott's wounded heart was
rent as if from innumerable dagger-thrusts. In a few words Matuszewski
explained all to the girl. In her pretty shy confusion, with her cheeks
deep crimson, and her eyes cast down upon the ground, she made a
marvellously attractive picture to look at; and Traugott, whose first
impulse had been quickly to retire, nevertheless, after casting but a
single pained glance at her, remained standing where he was, as though
held fast by silken bonds. His friend was not backward in saying all
sorts of complimentary things to pretty Dorina, and so helped her to
recover from the constraint and embarrassment into which she had been
thrown by the extraordinary manner of their entrance. Dorina raised the
"dark fringed curtains of her eyes" and regarded the stranger with a
sweet smile, and said that her father would soon come home from his
work, and would be very pleased to see some German painters, for he
esteemed them very highly. Traugott was obliged to confess that,
exclusive of Felicia, no girl had ever excited such a warm interest in
him as Dorina did. She was in fact almost a second Felicia; the only
differences were that Dorina's features seemed to him less delicate and
more sharply cut, and her hair was darker. It was the same picture,
only painted by Raphael instead of by Rubens.

It was not long before the old gentleman came in; and Traugott now
plainly saw that he had been greatly misled by the height of the
scaffolding in the church, on which the old man had stood. Instead of
his being the strong Berklinger, he was a thin, mean-looking little old
man, timid and crushed by poverty. A deceptive accidental light in the
church had given his clean-shaved chin an appearance similar to
Berklinger's black curly beard. In conversing about art matters the old
man unfolded considerable ripe practical knowledge; and Traugott made
up his mind to cultivate his acquaintance; for though his introduction
to the family had been so painful, their society now began to exercise
a more and more agreeable influence upon him.

Dorina, the incarnation of grace and child-like ingenuousness, plainly
allowed her preference for the young German painter to be seen. And
Traugott warmly returned her affection. He grew so accustomed to the
society of the pretty child (she was but fifteen), that he often spent
the whole day with the little family; his studio he transferred to the
spacious apartment which stood empty next their rooms; and finally he
established himself in the family itself. Hence he was able of his
prosperity to do much in a delicate way to relieve their straitened
circumstances; and the old man could not very well think otherwise than
that Traugott would marry Dorina; and he even said so to him without
reservation. This put Traugott in no little consternation: for he now
distinctly recollected the object of his journey, and perceived where
it seemed likely to end. Felicia again stood before his eyes instinct
with life; but, on the other hand, he felt that he could not leave
Dorina. His vanished darling he could not, for some extraordinary
reason, conceive of as being his wife. She was pictured in his
imagination as an intellectual vision, that he could neither lose nor
win. Oh! to be immanent in his beloved intellectually for ever! never
to have her and own her physically! But Dorina was often in his
thoughts as his dearly loved wife; and as often as he contemplated the
idea of again binding himself in the indissoluble bonds of
betrothal,[10] he felt a delicious tremor run through him and a gentle
warmth pervade his veins; and yet he regarded it as unfaithfulness to
his first love. Thus Traugott's heart was the scene of contest between
the most contradictory feelings; he could not make up his mind what to
do. He avoided the old painter; and _he_ accordingly feared Traugott
intended to receive his dear child. He had moreover already spoken of
Traugott's wedding as a settled thing; and it was only under this
impression that he had tolerated Dorina's familiar intimacy with
Traugott, which otherwise would have given the girl an ill name. The
blood of the Italian boiled within him, and one day he roundly declared
to Traugott that he must either marry Dorina or leave him, for he would
not tolerate this familiar intercourse an hour longer. Traugott was
tormented by the keenest annoyance as well as by the bitterest
vexation. The old man he viewed in the light of a vile match-maker; his
own actions and behaviour were contemptible; and that he had ever
deserted Felicia he now judged to be sinful and abominable. His heart
was sore wounded at parting from Dorina; but with a violent effort he
tore himself free from the sweet bonds. He hastened away to Naples, to
Sorrento.

He spent a whole year in making the strictest inquiries after
Berklinger and Felicia; but all was in vain; nobody knew anything about
them. The sole gleam of intelligence that he could find was a vague
sort of presumption, which was founded merely upon the tradition
that an old German painter had been seen in Sorrento several years
before--and that was all. After being driven backwards and forwards
like a boat on the restless sea, Traugott at length came to a stand in
Naples; and in proportion as his industry in art pursuits again
awakened, the longing for Felicia which he cherished in his bosom grew
softer and milder. But he never saw any pretty girl, if she was the
least like Dorina in figure, movement, or bearing, without feeling most
bitterly the loss of the dear sweet child. Yet when he was painting he
never thought of Dorina, but always of Felicia; she continued to be his
constant ideal.

At length he received letters from his native town. Herr Elias Roos had
departed this life, his business agent wrote, and Traugott's presence
was required in order to settle matters with the book-keeper, who had
married Miss Christina and undertaken the business. Traugott hurried
back to Dantzic by the shortest route.

Again he was standing in Arthur's Hall, leaning against the granite
pillar, opposite the burgomaster and the page; he dwelt upon the
wonderful adventure which had had such a painful influence upon his
life; and, a prey to deep and hopeless sadness, he stood and looked
with a set fixed gaze upon the youth, who greeted him with living eyes,
as it were, and whispered in a sweet and charming voice, "And so you
could not desert me then after all?"

"Can I believe my eyes? Is it really your own respected self come back
again safe and sound, and quite cured of your unpleasant melancholy?"
croaked a voice near Traugott. It was the well-known broker. "I have
not found her," escaped Traugott involuntarily. "Whom do you mean? Whom
has your honour not found?" asked the broker. "The painter Godofredus
Berklinger and his daughter Felicia," rejoined Traugott. "I have
searched all Italy for them; not a soul knew anything about them in
Sorrento." This made the broker open his eyes and stare at him, and he
stammered, "Where do you say you have searched for Berklinger and
Felicia? In Italy? in Naples? in Sorrento?" "Why, yes; to be sure,"
replied Traugott, very testily. Whereupon the broker struck his hands
together several times in succession, crying as he did so, "Did you
ever now? Did you ever hear tell of such a thing? But Herr Traugott!
Herr Traugott!" "Well, what is there to be so much astonished at?"
rejoined Traugott, "don't behave in such a foolish fashion, pray. Of
course a man will travel as far as Sorrento for his sweetheart's sake.
Yes, yes; I loved Felicia and followed her." But the broker skipped
about on one foot, and continued to say, "Well, now, did you ever? did
you ever?" until Traugott placed his hand earnestly upon his arm and
asked, "Come, tell me then, in heaven's name! what is it that you find
so extraordinary?" The broker began, "But, my good Herr Traugott, do
you mean to say you don't know that Herr Aloysius Brandstetter, our
respected town-councillor and the senior of our guild, calls his little
villa, in that small fir-wood at the foot of Carlsberg, in the
direction of Conrad's Hammer, by the name of Sorrento? He bought
Berklinger's pictures of him and took the old man and his daughter into
his house, that is, out to Sorrento. And there they lived for several
years; and if you, my respected Herr Traugott, had only gone and
planted your own two feet on the middle of the Carlsberg, you could
have had a view right into the garden, and could have seen Miss Felicia
walking about there dressed in curious old-German style, like the women
in those pictures--there was no need for you to go to Italy. Afterwards
the old man--but that is a sad story" "Never mind; go on," said
Traugott, hoarsely. "Yes," continued the broker. "Young Brandstetter
came back from England, saw Miss Felicia, and fell in love with her.
Coming unexpectedly upon the young lady in the garden, he fell upon his
knees before her in romantic fashion, and swore that he would wed her
and deliver her from the tyrannical slavery in which her father kept
her. Close behind the young people, without their having observed it,
stood the old man; and the very self-same moment in which Felicia said,
'I will be yours,' he fell down with a stifled scream, and was dead as
a door nail. It's said he looked very very hideous--all blue and
bloody, because he had by some inexplicable means burst an artery.
After that Miss Felicia could not bear young Brandstetter at all, and
at last she married Mathesius, criminal and aulic counsellor, of
Marienwerder. Your honour, as an old flame, should go and see the _Frau
Kriminalräthin_. Marienwerder is not so far, you know, as your real
Italian Sorrento. The good lady is said to be very comfortable and to
have enriched the world with divers children."

Silent and crushed, Traugott hastened from the Hall. This issue of his
adventure filled him with awe and dread. "No, it is not she--it is not
she!" he cried. "It is not Felicia, that divine image which enkindled
an infinite longing in my bosom, whom I followed into yon distant land,
seeing her before me everywhere where I went like my star of fortune,
twinkling and glittering with sweet hopes. Felicia--_Kriminalräthin_
Mathesius! Ha! Ha! Ha!--_Kriminalräthin_ Mathesius!" Traugott, shaken
by extreme sensations of misery, laughed aloud and hastened in his
usual way through the Oliva Gate along the Langfuhr[11] to the
Carlsberg. He looked down into Sorrento, and the tears gushed from his
eyes. "Oh!" he cried, "Oh! how deep, how incurably deep an injury, O
thou eternal ruling Power, does thy bitter irony inflict upon poor
man's soft heart! But no, no! But why should the child cry over the
incurable pain when instead of enjoying the light and warmth he thrusts
his hand into the flames? Destiny visibly laid its hand upon me, but my
dimmed vision did not recognise the higher nature at work; and I had
the presumption to delude myself with the idea that the forms, created
by the old master and mysteriously awakened to life, which stepped down
to meet me, were my own equals, and that I could draw them down into
the miserable transitoriness of earthly existence. No, no, Felicia, I
have never lost you; you are and will be mine for ever, for you
yourself are the creative artistic power dwelling within me. Now,--and
only now have I first come to know you. What have you--what have I to
do with the _Kriminalräthin_ Mathesius? I fancy, nothing at all."

"Neither did I know what you should have to do with her, my respected
Herr Traugott," a voice broke in. Traugott awakened out of his dream.
Strange to say, he found himself, without knowing how he got there,
again leaning against the granite pillar in Arthur's Hall. The person
who had spoken the abovementioned words was Christina's husband. He
handed to Traugott a letter that had just arrived from Rome.
Matuszewski wrote:--

"Dorina is prettier and more charming than ever, only pale with longing
for you, my dear friend. She is expecting you every hour, for she is
most firmly convinced that you could never be untrue to her. She loves
you with all her heart. When shall we see you again?"

"I am very pleased that we settled all our business this morning," said
Traugott to Christina's husband after he had read this, "for to-morrow
I set out for Rome, where my bride is most anxiously longing for me."

                      *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FOOTNOTES TO "ARTHUR'S HALL":


[Footnote 1: Written for the _Urania_ for 1817.]

[Footnote 2: The _Artushof_ or _Junkerhof_ derives its names from its
connection with the Arthurian cycle of legends, and from the fact that
there the _Stadtjunker_, or wealthy merchants of Dantzic, used formerly
to meet both to transact business and for the celebration of festive
occasions. It has been used as an exchange since 1742. The site of the
present building was occupied by a still older one down to 1552, and to
this the hall, which is vaulted and supported on four slender pillars
of granite, belongs architecturally. It was very quaintly decorated
with pictures, statues, reliefs, &&, both of Christian and Pagan
traditions.]

[Footnote 3: A broad street crossing Dantzic in an east-to-west
direction.]

[Footnote 4: In Scandinavian mythology, Fafnir, the worm, became
the owner of the treasure which his father, Hreidmar, had exacted as
blood-money from Loki, because he had slain Hreidmar's son Otur, the
sea-otter. This treasure Loki had taken by violence from its rightful
owner, a dwarf, who in revenge prophesied that the possession of the
treasure should henceforward be fraught with dire mischief to every
successive owner of it.]

[Footnote 5: A hill to the north-west of Dantzic, affording a splendid
view of the Gulf of Dantzic.]

[Footnote 6: A long narrow spit of land projecting from the coast at a
point north of Dantzic in a south-south-east direction into the Gulf of
Dantzic.]

[Footnote 7: August 4th.]

[Footnote 8: The name in the text is _Felizitas_--Felicity; Felicia
has been adopted in the translation as being the nearest approach to
it. Felicity would in all probability be extremely strange to English
ears, besides being liable to lead to ambiguities.]

[Footnote 9: A mode of aërial conveyance made use of on occasion by
the personage named, in the popular Faust legend.]

[Footnote 10: In Germany the betrothal is a more significant act than
in England, and by some regarded as more sacred and binding than the
actual marriage ceremony.]

[Footnote 11: A suburb of Dantzic, on the N. W., 3-1/2 miles nearer
than Carlsberg; it is connected with the city by a double avenue of
fine limes.]



                           END OF VOLUME I.





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