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Title: Gabriel - A Story of the Jews in Prague
Author: Kohn, Spiegfried
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Notes:

   1. Page scan source:
      http://www.archive.org/details/gabrielstoryofje00kohnuoft

   2. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].

   3. Author's full name is Spiegfried Kohn.



                               COLLECTION

                                   OF

                            GERMAN AUTHORS.

                                VOL. 14.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                                GABRIEL,

                     A STORY OF THE JEWS IN PRAGUE

                             IN ONE VOLUME.



                                GABRIEL,

                     A STORY OF THE JEWS IN PRAGUE



                                   BY
                                S. KOHN.



                            FROM THE GERMAN
                                   BY
                          ARTHUR MILMAN, M.A.



                              LEIPZIG 1869
                          BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ.
           LONDON: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE & RIVINGTON.
                  CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET.
          PARIS: C. REINWALD & CIE, 15, RUE DES SAINTS PÈRES.



                                GABRIEL.



                                   I.


It was the morning of a wintry autumnal day in the year 1620, when a
young man stepped slowly and thoughtfully through the so-called
Pinchas-Synagogue Gate into the Jews' quarter in the city of Prague. A
strange scene presented itself. The morning service was just over in
the synagogues, and whilst numerous crowds were still streaming out of
the houses of prayer, others, mostly women with heavy bunches of keys
in their hands, were already hurrying to the rag-market situated
outside of the Ghetto. The shops too and stalls within the Ghetto were
now opened, and even in the open street an activity never seen in the
other quarters of the city displayed itself. Here, for instance,
dealers--in truth of the lowest class--were offering their wares
consisting of pastry, wheat-bread, fruits, cheese, cabbage, boiled peas
and more of such kind of stuff to the passers-by. Here and there too in
spite of the early hour emerged some peripatetic cooks, in peaceful
competition extolling loudly the products of their kitchen, bits of
liver, eggs, meat and puddings, and whilst in one hand they held a tin
plate, in the other a two-pronged fork,--a very unnecessary article for
most of their guests,--devoted their attention chiefly to the foreign
students of the Talmud. To them also the greatest attention was paid by
those cobblers who less wealthy than their colleagues in the so-called
Golden St. offered their services to the students in open street, and
most assiduously, while the owners were obliged to wait in the street
or a neighbouring house, mended their shoes at a very moderate price,
but, it must also be allowed, in a very inefficient manner.

The young man who had just stepped into the Jew's quarter, gazed
earnestly and observantly at this busy stir, and did not seem to
notice, that he himself had become an object of common attention. His
appearance was however fully calculated to excite observation. His form
was powerful and commanding; his dress that of a Talmud-student, cloak
and cap. Out of his pale face shadowed by a dark beard, under heavy
arching eyebrows there shone two black eyes of uncommon brilliance;
raven locks fell in waves from his head; the fingers of a white sinewy
hand, that held close the silken cloak, were covered with golden rings;
his thick ruff was of spotless purity and smoothness. Had not the
stranger by the elegance of his appearance, perhaps also by his
gigantic make, struck a little awe into the curious dealers in the
street, of a surety at his first appearance, a whole heap of questions
would have been addressed to him. "Who or what he wanted? What could
they do for him?" and such like.... Under the circumstances, however,
it was Abraham, a cobbler, who sat on a bench by the Pinchas-Synagogue
that after some consideration mustered up courage and as he laid down a
shoe that had been committed to his artistic skill, began to ask: "dear
student! whom are you seeking? Certainly not me, that I can see from
your beautifully made shoes with their glittering silver buckles;
_they_ were not made at Prague."--This was put in more for the benefit
of those about him and himself than the stranger.--"You are surely a
stranger here? pardon me, you are perhaps a German, a Moravian or a
Viennese? do you wish to go to a lecture upon the Talmud, or perchance
to the Rabbi, or to Reb Lippman Heller? Who do you want to go to? I
will gladly shew you the way to the Talmud-lecturers--or, perhaps, you
are looking out for a lodging? I can very likely procure you a
convenient one." "I _am_ a stranger here," replied the student, "and
must, indeed, first of all look about me for a lodging. If you happen
to know of an apartment where I could pursue my studies undisturbed I
shall thankfully avail myself of your offer: but the apartment must be
large, light and cheerful."

"Then I only know of one in the whole town, at my superior attendant
Reb Schlome's, I mean the superior attendant of my synagogue, the
Old-Synagogue, he lives close to the synagogue; there is a beautiful
room there--and besides, Reb Schlome is very learned in the Talmud, and
has got a beautiful library,--in a word that or none is the lodging for
you."

While this short conversation was going on, the cobbler's neighbours
had as it were accidentally got nearer, so as to overhear a few words;
and the group that for some minutes had been hazarding the most
ingenious opinions and conjectures about the stranger, formed, perhaps
without noticing it, a complete circle round the two talkers. This was
now suddenly broken through, and a shabbily dressed old man thrust
himself up impetuously against the stranger.

"Peace be with you," he cried, "you are then just arrived, be so good
as to come with me, I have a question to put to you, it will do you no
harm, and me good, come with me."

The stranger gazed in astonishment at the singular figure. "What do you
want of me? How can I, a stranger, whom you have surely never seen,
give you any tidings? perhaps, however, you do know me?"

"Sir," whispered Cobbler Abraham, standing on tiptoe so as to reach
up to the stranger's ear, "Jacob is out of his mind; ten years ago,
when he came to live at Prague, he used to put the strangest questions
to everybody that came in his way; when the small boys came out
of the school, he used to examine them in the Bible, and however
correctly they answered, would ever become furious and cry: False!
False!--grown-up people too he used to catechise, fathers, students, in
short every one; but as he has now put his questions to almost
everybody in the whole community, he has kept quite quiet for a long
while. He is only unsociable, refuses to give any information about
himself, and never answers a question; but he is a good harmless
fellow, and as the students say, must be a very great Talmudist--I
wonder that he begins again."--

"Don't be led astray by what that man there is whispering to you,"
cried the old man in anguish; "only come with me, I pray you most
instantly to do so--you, only you can give me peace; I will believe
your answers, all the rest lie to me, a poor old man! Come home with
me, believe me, you will do a real good deed."

The stranger cast a penetrating searching glance at the old man, as
though he would sound the whole depths of this troubled human soul.
Contrary to all expectation he replied after short reflection: "only
unloose my cloak; hold me not so nervously, I will verily go with you.
But to you," he turned to the cobbler, "I will soon come back, and will
then beg you to conduct me to the man who has the room to let. Accept
this in the meanwhile for your friendly sympathy"--as he spoke he drew
out of his doublet an embroidered purse full of gold and silver pieces,
and laid a large silver coin on the cobbler's bench. "That is too
much," said Abraham highly surprised and pleased, "God strengthen you,
your Honour, Reb--I don't know what's your name!"--

Without answering these further questions, the stranger stepped by the
side of the old man out of the circle, which now once more began loudly
and without circumlocution to utter its conjectures.

"I know what he is:--he is a fool," suggested a dealer in liver as she
arranged her stores on a board--"and what's more a big fool! gives
Abraham a piece of silver, what for? goes home with the madman, why?"

"My dear Mindel," urged another huckster, "it seems to me you are very
envious of Abraham; that's why the handsome stranger student is a fool.
If you'd got the money, he would have been wise!"--

Most of the hucksters, and hucksteresses, seemed fully to concur in the
opinion of the fish-monger--such was the speaker--for Mother Mindel was
in truth what one would in these days in popular parlance call a dog in
the manger. But Mother Mindel was not the sort of person in a war of
words to leave the lists in a hurry, and own herself vanquished. She
answered therefore sharply: "Say you so, Hirsch, what did you get from
him. Come now, tell the truth." These last words spoken in a somewhat
high key, can only be understood when it is explained, that Hirsch, the
fish-monger, was too often addicted to the bad habit, when he told a
story, of passing off in fullest measure the exaggerations and
embellishments of his copious imagination; of treating, on the other
hand, an actual fact in a very step-motherish fashion, a circumstance
that compelled even his best friends to admit that he was a little
given to exaggeration; while impartial persons were fond of applying to
him the well-deserved predicate of 'liar.'

"If I'm to tell the truth," continued Hirsch, apparently not observing
that which was injurious in his neighbour's manner of expressing
herself, "If I'm to tell the truth I'm not so envious as some people,
who seem to have been created so by the dear God, probably as a
punishment; I should, however, have been more pleased if Pradel, the
pastry-cook, had got the money, she has five children, her husband, the
bass-singer in the Old-Synagogue, is away, lying ill at home for the
last four months--_she_ would have made a better use of the money--but
if it had rained gold the good woman would not have been at the place,
and if she had, what would have been the use? would _she_ have had the
impudence at once coolly to accost a stranger with gold rings on his
fingers like a prince as if he was a nobody? Why did we all hold our
tongues? I was only curious to see how far Cobbler Abrabam would
go. A very little more and he'd have asked him the name of his
great-grandfathers, how long it was since his thirteenth birthday, and
what chapter out of the prophets had at that time been read on the
Sabbath."--

These words seemed to show that the brave Hirsch in addition to his
unpleasant habit of exaggeration could not be altogether absolved from
the failing of his neighbour Mindel.--In the bosom of Cobbler Abraham
who had listened to all these gibes in silence some significant idea
seemed striving for utterance. He moved uneasily on his stool and
rubbed his hands with a singular smile.

"Good people!" he cried at length, "I'll show you that none of you yet
know Cobbler Abraham, although for now more than twenty years he has
enjoyed the great honour in your society of mending shoes for the
scholars at the high school of Prague, and for more than twenty years
has had the privilege of listening to your lies, Hirsch, and to your
tattle, Mindel. None of you yet know Cobbler Abraham. The money I shall
consider as if it was not mine. It belongs to Pradel the pastry-cook,
or rather to her sick husband Simche, he's my bass, that is, bass of my
synagogue, has never in his life got a new year's or other present from
me. I'm a bachelor, he's a married man with five children: I'm, thank
God, in good health, he's ill. I for once will be a prince, he shall
have the money from me, at once, to-day, as a dedicatory gift, and as
to your insinuation Hirsch, that none of you had the impudence to
accost the stranger, perhaps, you would be more justified in saying
that none of you had had the sense to do it; and now, seeing that I'll
have none of the money, leave me alone, let me get on with my work, and
sell your sweet fish and roast liver." So saying he caught briskly up
the shoes that were before him, and began industriously to cobble.

"Ah, there's some sense in that, I knew you had a good heart;" even
Mother Mindel was obliged to join in the loud applause of the
neighbours, whereupon she tried to secure an honourable retreat out of
the wordy skirmish by kindling with the whole strength of her lungs
into a bright glow the fading flame of her charcoal pan; whilst,
Hirsch, after he too had in an embarrassed way recognised Abraham's
noble feeling, availed himself of that very moment as the most
favourable to recommend his fish to the passers-by, as especially
excellent.--But the three neighbours were of a very placable
disposition, and in spite of the fact that they had for the last ten
years followed the laudable custom, of jeering as opportunity offered,
yet in time of need and wretchedness they had mutually stood by one
another, and so it came to pass, that half an hour after, they had
forgotten the little dispute, but not its cause; and the three
neighbours were laying their heads together to ventilate anew their,
doubtless very interesting surmises about the stranger.

He meanwhile was walking in silence by the side of his strange
companion, and though he looked about inquisitively, still found time
to observe Jacob more closely. It was difficult to fix the old man's
age. His pale countenance was sorrow-stricken, and furrowed by care. It
might once have been beautiful but was transformed into something
different, strange, scarce akin to a human face by a grizzly white
untended beard, that entangled with the disordered hair, which fell in
waves from his head, formed with it a shapeless mass; but especially by
the weird glittering of his eyes that protruded far out of their
sockets. His thin form crushed by the weight of misery, seemed once to
have been gigantic, and the scantiness of his clothing completed the
singular impression caused by his appearance. At the Hahn-alley the old
man stopped before a small house, and begged the stranger to follow him
across the court to his little room. It was poorly furnished, and
situated on the ground floor, abutting the burial-ground, so that
one could without difficulty pass through the low window into the
burial-ground. Besides an arm-chair there was only one stool in the
room. The old man pushed both up silently to the table, and signed to
the stranger to take a seat.

"What do you wish?" the stranger now asked. The old man looked
cautiously about to see if anyone was listening, closed the door, then
the window-shutters and lit a lamp. "See," he now began, "see, as I
looked at you, it affected me so differently, impressed me so far
otherwise than when I look at any other strange student. I know you are
not so wicked as the others are, all, all of them, that despise, ill
use, unsparingly laugh to scorn a poor old man; they know no pity, have
no mercy, are not aware what it is to suffer as I suffer. They bring me
to naught, they have all sworn together against me, and whom ever I
question, he answers falsely, falsely, falsely!"--

The old man spoke with frightful excitement, all the blood that flowed
through his withered body seemed to have gathered itself into his
cheeks flushed with a hectic red, the veins of his forehead swelled to
an unnatural size. "Tell me, tell me, tell me truly," he whispered,
suddenly becoming again quite humble. "Do you know the ten
commandments? but I conjure you by the God of Israel, that made heaven
and earth, by the head of your father, by your mother's salvation, by
your portion in the world to come, answer truly, without deceit."

"My good old man," said the stranger quietly, "I will do all that you
desire, I will repeat to you the ten commandments, all the six hundred
and thirteen laws, provided always, I can still recollect them, I will
be entirely at your service, for I see, that you are a poor worn-out
man--you live pretty well alone here in this narrow room, you receive
no visits?" asked the student after a short pause.

"Since I have found out that no one will come home with me, to read me
the ten commandments out of my small Bible, I let no one in. Many too
are afraid--no one comes to me, no one, you are the first that for many
years has set foot in my hovel.--But now be so good, let me hear the
ten commandments, quickly, I implore you!"

The young man passed his hand over his forehead, as though he would
call back to memory something long forgotten, and then began in a loud
powerful voice to utter by heart those ten sayings of the Lord, that
were revealed on Sinai. The old man sat resting his head which he bent
forward upon both hands--as though greedily to suck up every word that
fell from his lips--and gazed into the face of the stranger. All the
blood seemed to flow back slowly to his heart, his face became deadly
pale, his eyes seemed bursting from their wide opened lids, and the
longer the stranger spoke, the deeper blue became his thin
spasmodically quivering lips. Had not the beating of the tortured old
man's heart been audible, one must have believed that life was extinct
in that frail body. The stranger went quietly on, but as he uttered the
seventh commandment '_Thou shalt not commit adultery_' a fearfully
horrible cry, a cry that made the very bones creep, escaped from the
breast of the poor tormented creature, a cry shrill as that which, a
bird of prey sore wounded by an arrow, launches through the air in its
death struggles, a cry, such as naught but the deepest most unspeakable
grief of the soul can tear from a man's breast. The stranger stopped,
the old man sank in a heap, covering his face with both hands. There
was a moment of deepest silence, at length the old man broke forth into
loud sobbing.--

"You too! I had hope of you. Oh, how I would have loved you, how I
would have honoured you, how I would have worshipped you, if you had
read differently to the others, but no, no, no! _he_ read. Thou shalt
not commit adultery. "_Thou shalt not commit adultery_.' Lord of the
World, have I suffered too little, repented too little, done
insufficient penitence? And yet Thou still lettest it stand in Thy holy
scripture? Must I for ever be tormented in this world and the next? But
Thou art righteous, and I a sinner--I have sinned, I have gone astray,
I have"--then beating his breast he muttered the whole confession of
sins.

"I grieve to have been the cause of pain to you, but see"--the student
at these words opened a Bible that was lying on the table at the
passage in point--"see, it is as I have read it." The characters were
quite effaced by the marks of tears, and it was clear that this
especial page had been read and reread countless times.

"Yes, yes, so is it written," cried the old man in a tone of the
profoundest dejection and despair. "You were right, _my brother_ was
right, all were right, the students, the little boys from school,
all, all read it so--all are right, except me, except me,--I am
guilty!"--and again he began, striking both his clenched hands upon his
breast, to utter the confession.

The student had risen from his seat, and paced the chamber up and down.
The old man's illimitable grief seemed to awaken a slight feeling of
sympathy in him. "Every one is not like thee, a giant in spirit and
thought," said he softly to himself, "every one cannot like thee strip
off his faith like a raiment that has become useless, and rouse a new
life from the inner fire of the soul." The man was not always mad, a
milder light must once have shone out of those weird dark eyes--_but he
sank through his own guilt!_ One bold flight of his free spirit had
saved him from everlasting night, but he would not! Was he constrained
to give credence to a dead word out of the Bible? Did he stand upon
flaming Sinai, when the words were thundered down upon humanity? Could
not he free himself from the blind faith of his fathers? Must that
appear to him true and holy, that appeared true and holy to his father
and forefathers? His fathers ecstatically smiling could mount the
smoking pyres, and while flames consumed their body, sing psalms and
hymns of praise, _they_ could do all this for they looked for the bliss
of Paradise in a world they hoped to come: and what is the bitterest,
saddest moment of torment compared with an eternity that never ends!
His fathers could breath out their lives with a smile under the axe of
the persecutor; with faith they had life's highest gift, Hope. But this
fool? He has sinned, good!--tear then from thy lacerated and bleeding
heart the foolish faith, that torments thee, what good does it do
thee, thou poor lost one, in this world or the next?--Yet there is a
mighty too constraining power in Faith!----"How if _I_ tried yet to
believe?--the sweet fable can heal wounds too!--but I, I cannot, I
cannot--they have cast me forth, they have compelled me to it, the
Bible, men--all, all--I, indeed, _I_ could not otherwise."

Then he stopped again suddenly before the old man, who without paying
further attention to his guest, had lapsed into a gloomy brooding.

"Of course, you are a Talmudist?" asked the student aloud, "you are!
Now then, know you not the sentence of the pious king Chiskia? Though a
sharp sword lyeth at the neck of man, yet may he not despair of God's
infinite mercy! Do not forget: in the same chapter in which it is
written 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' it is also written: 'The Lord,
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in
goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and
transgression and sin!'"--

"But he visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon
the children's children unto the third and to the fourth generation!"
said Jacob in continuation. "Do not despair! If the gates of prayer
have been closed since the destruction of the sanctuary in Jerusalem,
the gates of repentance have not been closed. Do not despair, poor
Jacob, consider what the Bible says: 'For man's heart is wicked even
from his youth up.' Consider the saying: 'As I live, saith the Lord
God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked
turn from his way and live'; consider that well and do not despair!"--

The student broke off suddenly, as if astonished at the compassion that
had been stirred up in him, it seemed to have surprised himself. But
Jacob in the excess of his emotion clapsed the strangers' hand
convulsively and pressed it to his lips.

"Ah, what good you do me," he cried; "how you drop balm into my
irremediable wounds! For years no one has spoken to me thus; God bless
you for it!" "You see, Jacob," said the student preparing to depart, "I
have obeyed your request and have done you such service as I could.--It
is now my turn to ask a favour of you.--No one comes to see you, you
are often alone, suffer me occasionally to visit you and study the
Talmud here. Perhaps I may be able to banish the evil spirit that at
times seizes you."

"Oh, a wicked, wicked spirit, you are right.--Yes, you with your
beautiful eyes you do me good.--Ah, once I too was as you are, tall,
handsome, strong. When I gaze on you, I call to remembrance my own
happy youth, my brother's! Yes, come to me often, often."

"That I will, and now farewell."

"God bless you."

The student stepped out of the house; then stood lost in thought. "I
shall consider the chance a fortunate one," he softly said, "that led
to my encounter with this madman; he may be useful to me, may put me
upon the right track in my sublime chace. But it is inexplicable to me!
I thought that I had quenched all compassion, all pity in my soul, and
lo! this old man wakens feelings in me, that I would have banished for
ever from my soul. Every one rejects him, and I, I who bear so bitter,
so deadly a hatred against all those that hang on Bible texts, I let
him immediately, before I saw my advantage therefrom, gain his end and
placed myself at his disposal. Alas, in spite of the maddest hatred,
the most raging fury, there is still too much of the good old Jew left
in me. I must become very different."



                                  II.


Reb Schlome Sachs, superior attendant in the old synagogue, had on
Friday evening just returned home from this synagogue. In his house and
in his heart there ruled a Sabbath-peace. There is something very
pleasurable in a small room on such a winter Friday evening! A large
black stove radiated a pleasant warmth, whilst in the middle of the
room a pendant lamp of eight branches, spread abroad a subdued, ruddy,
but yet friendly light. On the oblong table lay a clean white cloth,
under it again might be seen yet another particoloured covering, from
the corners of which tassels were hanging and served as a cheerful
pastime for a lively cat. But the loveliest ornament of the room was
without a doubt the housewife Schöndel, a blooming graceful woman of
about thirty. As she, in her elegant Sabbath-attire, the rich clusters
of her dark hair becomingly covered by a richly worked cap, in her
pretty, close fitting neatly made gown, fastened high up on the neck,
stepped to meet her husband, and took off his cloak and cap, as they
both of them joyously wished one another a happy Sabbath, as in their
features a pure and childlike joyfulness of soul, a deep and blessed
peace of mind mirrored itself--then surely would neither of them have
exchanged their lot for that of kings or princes.

The master sang the Psalm of the day, and as he ended, enquired, "was
Reb Gabriel not yet come home."

"No, he wished to go to-day to the old New-synagogue which he has not
yet seen."

"Oh, then he will return later; we in the old synagogue only repeat the
Friday-Psalm once and have no 'benediction.'--How do you like our new
tenant that Cobbler Abraham brought us?"

"Oh, I like him very well, a handsome man of refined habits and
demeanour; not at all like a Talmud-student; they think of nothing but
their themes and disputations; but Reb Gabriel converses well and
gracefully. He must be of a good and wealthy family; his deportment too
is very different to that of the others, so bolt upright and so stiff,
you know, just as if he was a soldier; but he is not so devout as the
others."

"He has a profound knowledge of the Talmud, as in the course of this
very day I became aware, and I'm glad of that--you know I take no rent
from our lodger, only make a point of having a god-fearing sound
Talmudist in the house; but tell me, dear wife, what makes you think
that he holds himself like a soldier?"

"Nay, because they hold themselves straight and upright. What is there
remarkable in that."

"Nothing, nothing,--but I have not yet told you; yesterday evening,
when I came home from the midnight-prayer-meeting, just as I was going
to unlock the door of our cottage--I always take the key with me that I
may not be obliged to wake you--I heard a loud voice in our lodger's
room; I listened a moment.--It was not the way, in which one studies
the Talmud--he seemed to be addressing one or more persons, but what he
said had such a strange ring about it, I could not at first clearly
make it out, especially as according to the tenor of his words he at
one moment muttered softly, at another cried loud out--the wind
moreover whistled loud through the passage; but my ear soon grew
accustomed to the sound, and I heard him plainly say: 'Man, we are
both lost--both of us, you and I--they will betray us to the
Imperialists--they will deliver us to our deadliest enemy,' afterwards
he cried out again suddenly--'they shall not surprise us! we are armed,
march, halt! fire! storm! no quarter--they give none, level everything.
Ah, ah, blood, blood! that refreshes the soul. The victory is mine! mine
the blood stained laurel wreath, I am victor,--I victor. Ah me, it
avails nothing, I am still a ----' the last words died lightly away.
After some minutes all was again still in the room, and I heard the
measured breathing of his mighty breast. This is the first opportunity
that I have had of telling you about it, for Friday, as you know, I am
entirely occupied by my duty in the synagogue,--I might, perhaps, have
forgotten it, had not you remarked upon his military aspect."--

"I am not at all surprised that he has such dreams," replied Schöndel,
"his mind is always full of such wonderful things.--This morning, when
I wanted to fetch for you your Sabbath clothes out of the chest, that
he lets us leave in his room, getting no answer to my knock, I lifted
up the latch, to assure myself that he was out; but the door came open
and Gabriel, his head resting on both hands, was gazing with fixed
attention--not on a folio, but a roll of coloured paper on which he was
drawing different lines with a pen. When I got nearer, I made out that
it was a map. I asked him in astonishment what that meant, and he told
me that as he travelled from Germany to Prague, he had in the course of
his journey encountered the Bohemian and Imperial armies, and that to
amuse himself he was now looking where they were--then he pointed out
to me the exact spot, where the brave Field-Marshal Mannsfield was,
where the Elector Maximilian, and Generals Tilly and Boucquoi lay with
their troops, then he showed me how badly Christian of Anhalt,
Frederick's General-in-chief, was supporting the operations of the
brave Ernest of Mannsfield, and how that the troops of the union in
spite of their bravery and gallant leader must succumb, so long as
Anhalt, incapable, or as he expressed himself, perhaps won over by the
Imperialists remained at the head of the army: all this he explained to
me so clearly, and distinctly, that even I, a foolish woman, could
quite easily see the force of it.--'How do you come to have such a
clear perception of all that,' I enquired, 'of all the students of the
present School not one would understand so much about these things as
you--you'd make a good officer.' 'Nay, who knows,' he laughingly
answered, 'if some day I do not get a good Rabbinate, I may still
become a soldier.' The whole occurrence struck me as so strange, that
it haunted me the whole day; I cannot help smiling when I think of it.
In the middle of the day, about three hours afterwards, as I crossed
over to the 'Kleinseite' to buy some wax tapers, I saw two superior
officers riding over the bridge, one I happened to know, the young
Thurn--every child here knows him; but as to the other, a captain, who
rode a perfectly black horse, he seemed to me as like our lodger
Gabriel, as one twin-brother is to the other, and as they both turned
the corner into the 'Kleinseite,' this captain caught sight of me and
gave me such a friendly unconstrained look, as if he would greet me.
But all this was a pure deception, the whole resemblance may have been
a slight and casual one, and Gabriel's strange conversation of which my
thoughts were still full, may have probably been the cause of my
exaggerating the likeness--and that officers turn round to stare at
young women, is certainly no new occurrence."

"Trust me," answered Schlome, "Gabriel is no captain. The students of
the School at Prague are not the stuff out of which kings, or states
would fashion heroes. I do not say that they would not make as good as
others.--The Maccabees fought as bravely as a Thurn, a Boucquoi, a
Mannsfield, and even more bravely,--but so long as the Lord of Hosts in
his lofty wisdom does not entirely turn the hearts of the princes and
peoples among whom we live, we must accept oppression, contumely,
scorn, and all else that Providence has ordained for us. Do you not
know, that for some years the fencing-masters here in Prague have
been forbidden to teach the Jews the noble art of fencing? But, dear
wife, this is no pleasant subject of conversation for a joyful
Friday-evening."

"You are ungrateful! Do we not now live quietly under the protection of
the laws? Look back to the dark and horrible times of yore."--

"To-day let us conjure up no sad memories, let us not disturb a joyous
Sabbath peace," implored Schlome, "let us speak of something else, of
what you will. You say our lodger is not as devout as other students?"

"No, he is not so industrious, does not often attend a lecture on the
Talmud, even in the few days that he has been here has often neglected
to attend at synagogue; besides he never kisses the scroll on the door
as he goes in and out."

Schlome was about to answer, but was prevented by the hurried entrance
of Gabriel, who by an actual omission confirmed the assertion that had
just been made.

"A happy Sabbath to you; excuse my late return. I was in the old
New-synagogue, an awe striking synagogue! We hear much of this
synagogue in my country. It is certainly one of the most ancient Judaic
buildings in Europe, if we except the house of God at Worms, perhaps,
the most ancient;--but tell me, good man, are all the stories, that
they tell us in the schools of Germany, especially towards midnight,
about this edifice and which have often caused me a thrill of pleasant
ghostly horror, true?"

"The child-like temper of the people," replied the goodman, "delight in
the unwonted and strange, and then many stories are told, that in
reality may have happened very differently."

"Yes, but there is much truth in it," interposed the good wife; "ah,
this community of Prague has in the course of time met with so much
sorrow, has suffered such endless anguish, and yet God--blessed be his
name--has so wonderfully supported it, that even now it shines forth a
brilliant example to its sisters in Germany. Whenever I pass that
ancient and reverend house of God, pictures of the days that are gone
come back upon me. Do you know the history of how our brethren in the
faith were once ruthlessly slaughtered in the old New-synagogue?"

Schöndel was obliged to repeat this question; Gabriel seemed suddenly
lost in deep reflection. "No," said he, at length arousing himself from
his reveries, as though his spirit was for away;--"tell it, noble lady!
Everything sounds doubly beautiful from your rosy lips."--

Schlome shook his head in thoughtful astonishment over this manner of
speaking, so different from that usual with Talmud-students.

"Reb Gabriel! you talk like a knight to a lady of rank. Do not forget
that you are a student of the Talmud, and my wife the wife of a
servant."

"You must not talk as if you wished to mock us," said Schöndel, and a
deep flush suffused her face; "or I cannot"--

"Oh, the story, good wife! mind not my talk. I am at times absent, and
often far off in imagination."

"High on horseback in the battle, is it not so?" asked Schöndel slily.

The face of the student became a deep dark red. He required a moment to
recover command of himself. "What do you mean by that?" he impetuously
demanded.

"Women are gossiping, as you know from the Talmud and surely from your
own experience also," said Schlome. "I was just telling my wife, as we
waited for you, that yesterday when I returned from midnight prayer, as
I passed by the door of your room, I could hear you call out loud in
your sleep, and that you appeared to be dreaming of a battle or
something of that kind.--We thought the dream a strange one for a
student."

"Ah," said Gabriel, drawing a deep breath, and visibly relieved--"ah,
you thought so? Well, I do sometimes dream heavily of battles.--But do
you know, how that happens? I was too industrious as a student--studied
the Talmud day and night; but a man cannot endure too much work, and as
my ambition compelled me to unbroken exertion, it fell out, that my
mind became confused, I became subject to delusions and fancied myself,
a knight, a warrior--but I am now thanks to a clever physician and
rest of body and mind, perfectly well again, perfectly! Do not be
anxious!--But as on my journey here I encountered many troops of
soldiers, my mind may again in sleep have been terrified by gloomy
visions: for although I am now quite well, yet still, if I have shortly
before been excited about anything, unpleasant dreams are wont to pain
me; but they are only dreams; and it seldom happens, so I beg you to
pay no attention if I do again talk such strange stuff in my sleep."

It was an age, when the study of the Talmud afforded almost the only
outlet for spiritual activity. It was no uncommon event for a student,
especially if he combined an ascetic life with hard study, to unhinge
his mind by what is called over-study. It was known too, that mental
derangements which had been caused in that way, could be healed by
sensible treatment, rest of body and mind, just as Gabriel had stated,
and the husband and wife themselves knew more than one student, who had
been affected just in the same way as their lodger, and like him too
had recovered. They had no reason, therefore, for doubting Gabriel's
open confession, and even the obvious embarrassment, that he had
evinced at the quick retort of the good-wife seemed entirely justified
by the really unpleasant and affecting confession that had been wrung
from him.

"Poor young man," thus Schöndel broke the long pause that intervened
and began to be uncomfortable. "Thank God,--praised be he
therefore!--that he hath helped you, and be right glad. Now I too
understand, wherefore you took such warm sympathy in the old Jacob, and
immediately granted his request."

"No, that was not the reason," said Gabriel earnestly, and
reflectively, as if in fact he too participated in Schöndel's wonder,
and could find within himself no sufficient explanation of his
behaviour at that time--"but please, let us leave this subject, and
talk of something else.--You were going to tell me, how once on a
time."

"Yes, yes," cried Schöndel, glad to be able to give another direction
to the conversation; "listen: It must be now more than two hundred
years ago,--Wenceslaus the _Slothful_ was ruler of the country--when it
fell out that a knight was inflamed with a hot lust for a Jewish
maiden. She rejected his shameful proposals with virtuous indignation.
Cunning and seductive arts were shattered against the maiden's
steadfast determination. The knight, therefore, resolved to attain his
warmly coveted aim by violence. The day of the feast of the atonement
seemed to him the best suited for the accomplishment of his ruthless
plan. He knew, that Judith--so the maiden was named--would on that day
stay at home alone with her blind mother, while all the rest were
detained by prayer and devout exercises in the house of God. On the
evening of that day--Judith was softly praying by the bed-side of her
slumbering mother--the door of her chamber opened, and her detested
persecutor entered with sparkling eager look. Unmoved by the prayers,
the tears of Judith, he already held her fast embraced in his powerful
arms when a lucky chance brought home her brother to enquire after the
health of his mother and sister. The terrible unutterable wrath that
took possession of him, gave the man, naturally powerful, the strength
of a giant. He wrenched his arms from the villain, who had only the
women to thank, that he did not by the forfeit of his life pay for the
attempted infamy. With kicks and grim mockery the outraged brother
expelled the dissolute fellow from the house. The knight given over to
the scorn of the people who had assembled in considerable numbers,
swore a bloody deadly revenge against the Jews. He kept his word--Reb
Gabriel! for God's sake! what is the matter with you?" suddenly the
narrator interrupted herself; "are you unwell?"

Gabriel, who had listened to the housewife, with ever growing
attention, was in fact at this moment a sight to look upon, his
features had become as pale as ashes and twitched convulsively, his
large and glassy eyes were fixed immoveably on one spot, as though he
saw a ghost.

"What ails you?" cried Schlome, shaking his lodger with all his force,
"recover yourself."

Gabriel's lips closed more than once with a quiver, without being able
to give forth an intelligible sound; at length he passed his hand
across his forehead that was covered with a cold sweat, and said with a
powerful effort at self-command, and as if awaking from a dream: "That
was in the days of King Wenceslaus, was it not? two hundred years
ago,--a blind mother--a beautiful daughter--and the day of
reconciliation was it?"

"Thank God, that you are well again, you must have had a sudden
giddiness."

"Yes, yes," said Gabriel, faint and enfeebled, "I felt very unwell for a
moment, very unwell--but I am better again. Go on with your story, dear
lady, I pray you, go on with it."

Complying with his urgent request, Schöndel continued: "Long ago
expelled from the ranks of the nobility on account of his worthless
behaviour, the knight had cultivated a connection with some
discontented idle burghers of the city, and these he hoped to make the
ministers of his cruel vengeance. Some short time afterward he put
himself at the head of a mob rendered fanatical under frivolous
pretexts to murder and plunder in the Jews-town. The first, who,
frightened out of their peaceful dwellings, went to meet the robbers,
were cut down. Determined men endeavoured to oppose a monstrously
superior force. Vain effort. Without arms, they saw themselves after an
heroic opposition compelled to take refuge in the old New-synagogue
already filled with old men, women, and children. Mighty blows sounded
heavily on the closed doors of the synagogue. 'Open and give yourselves
up,' yelled the knight from outside. After a short pause of
consultation answer was made, that the Jews would deliver their
property over to the mutineers, would draw up a deed of gift of it, and
only keep back for themselves absolute necessaries; they also promised
to make no complaint to king or states, in exchange for which, the
honour of their wives and daughters was to be preserved, and no one
compelled to change his religion.

"'It is not your business,' a voice from outside again resounded, 'it
is ours to dictate conditions.--Do you desire life and not a wretched
death, then open and at once abjure your faith. I grant but short delay
for reflection; if that fruitlessly elapses, you are one and all given
over to death!'

"No answer followed. Farther resistance could not be thought of, and
hope that the king would at length put a stop to this unheard of,
unparalleled iniquity, grew every moment less. The battle in the
street--if the desperate resistance of a few unarmed men against an
armed superior force could be called by that name--had lasted so long;
that King Wenceslaus might have easily sent assistance; but none came.
They were at length constrained to admit, that he did not trouble
himself about the fate of the Jews. A silence as of death reigned in
the synagogue; only here and there a suppressed sobbing, only here and
there an infant at the breast, that reminded its mother of her sweetest
duty, was heard. Once more the voice of the knight thundered rough and
wild: 'I demand of you for the last time, whether do you choose: the
new faith or death?' There was a momentary silence, then broke a cry of
thousands 'Death' with a dull sound against the roof of the house that
was consecrated to God.--The insurgents now began to demolish the doors
with axes and hatchets. But the besieged in their deadly agony lifted
up their voice in wonderful accord, and sang in solemn chorus the
glorious verse of the Psalmist:


     'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
      I will not fear the crafty wiliness of the evil-doer
      For thou art with me! Thou art in all my ways:
      The firm staff of faith is my confidence!'


"The aged Rabbi had sunk upon his knees in prayer upon the steps that
led up to the tabernacle. 'Lord,' he implored, 'I suffer infinite
sorrow, yet, oh that we might fall into the hands of the Lord, for his
mercy is boundless.--Only not into the hand of man! Ah, we know not
what to do; to Thee alone we look for succour! Call to remembrance Thy
mercy and gracious favour, that has been ever of old. In anger be
mindful of compassion! Let Thy goodness be showed unto us, as we do put
our trust in Thee!'

"But God at this season did not succour his children, in his
unsearchable counsels it was otherwise ordered. The first door was
burst open, the mob pressed into the vestibule of God's house, a single
frail door separated oppressed and oppressors.

"'Lord,' cried the Rabbi in accents of deepest despair, 'Lord, grant
that the walls of this house in which we and our fathers with songs of
praise have glorified and blessed Thy name--that the walls of this
temple of God may fall together, and that we may find a grave under its
ruins! But let us not fall alive into the hands of the barbarians, let
not our wives and maidens become a living prey to the wicked.' 'No,'
now exclaimed a powerful voice, 'that shall they not, Rabbi!--Wives and
maidens; do you prefer death at the hand of your fathers, husbands,
brothers, death at your own hands to shame and dishonour? Would you
appear pure and innocent before the throne of the Almighty instead of
falling living victims into the hands of those blood-thirsty inhuman
men outside.--Would you? Speak, time presses,' and again resounded from
a hundred women's lips 'Rather death than dishonour!'--

"His lovely blooming wife pressed up close to the side of the man who
had thus spoken, her baby at her breast: 'Let me be the first, let me
receive my death from thy loved hands,' she murmured softly. With the
deepest emotion of which a human soul is capable he clapsed her to his
breast. 'It must be done quickly,' he said with hollow trembling voice.
'The separation must be speedy, I never thought to part from you thus!
Lord, Most Merciful, forgive us, we do it for Thy holy name's sake
alone! Art thou ready?'

"'I am,' she said, 'let me only once more, but once more, for the last
time kiss my sweet, my innocent child--God bless thee, poor orphan, God
suffer thee to find compassion in the eyes of our murderers.... God
help thee! We, dear friend, we part but for a short time, thou wilt
follow me soon, thou true-hearted!'--

"With the most infinite sorrow that can thrill a human breast, the
husband pressed a fervent parting kiss, and a last touch of the hand
upon the loved infant that absolutely refused to leave its mother, and
the bared and heaving breast.--One stroke of the knife, and a jet of
blood sprinkled the child's face and spouted up against the walls of
the house of God.--The woman sank, with a cry of 'Hear, o Israel, the
Everlasting our God is God alone' and fell lifeless on her knees.--

"All the other women, including Judith, followed the heroically
courageous example. Many died by their own hands, many received the
death-stroke from their husbands, fathers, brothers, but all of them
without a murmur, silent and resigned to God's will. They had to tear
away tender children, who weeping and wringing their hands climbed on
to their father's knees, and piteously implored them, not to hurt their
mother--it was a scene, horrible and heart-rending, a scene than which
the history of the Jews, the history of mankind knows none more
agonising. It was accomplished! No woman might fall alive into the
hands of the persecutors, the last death-sigh was breathed, and the few
stout men, who had desired only so long to defend the inner door,
stepped backward. A fearful blow, and the door, the last bulwark, fell
in, sending clouds of dust whirling over it. The knight, brandished
battle-axe in hand, stood on the steps that led up into the house of
prayer, his countenance disfigured by wrath, behind him crowded an
immeasurable mass of people armed with spits and clubs and iron flails.
'Yield your women and children,' he shouted in a voice of thunder, at
length betraying his real intention--'and abjure your faith!'

"'Look at these blood-dripping steaming corpses,' said a man who stood
nearest the door, 'they are women and maidens, they have all preferred
death to dishonour.--Do you think that we men fear death at thy hands
and the hands of thy murderous associates? Murder me, monster, and be
accursed, here and hereafter, in this world and the next, for ever and
ever!'--a moment afterwards the bold speaker lay on the ground
weltering in his blood. At sight of the countless corpses of the women
the beastly rage of the populace, that saw itself cheated of the
fairest portion of its booty, mounted to absolute madness. Hyenas drunk
with blood would have behaved with greater humanity. Not a life was
spared, and even infants were slaughtered over the bodies of their
mothers. Blood flowed in streams. One boy alone was later on dragged
still living from under the heaps of dead. As they approached the
tabernacle, in order to inflict the death-stroke on the Rabbi, who
knelt on the steps before it, they found him lifeless, his head turned
upwards towards the East, a soft smile upon his death-like features.
Death had anticipated them; his pure soul had exhaled in fervent
prayer.

"The mob surveyed the work that had been accomplished, and now that the
thirst for blood was stilled, shrunk in terror before the bloody horror
that had been perpetrated.--The tabernacle remained untouched, the
house of God unplundered. Discharging oaths and curses at the knight,
their ringleader, the wild troop dispersed in apprehensive fright of
the divine and human judge. But King Wenceslaus left the iniquity, in
spite of the most urgent representations of the Bohemian nobility,
unvisited and unpunished. But from that day his good angel left him.
The spirit of those helpless murdered ones seemed continually to hover
about his head. His reign became unfortunate. The nobility felt itself
deeply injured by this outrage upon justice. A series of interminable
disputes sprung up between the nobles and populace, and Wenceslaus who
went on from one cruelty to another was twice imprisoned by the states,
and died at length, probably of the trouble and anxiety cause by a
bloody revolt of the Hussites that had broken out shortly before his
death. To his life's end he never recovered either happiness on
confidence.--The knight too, the author of that foul deed, who
afterwards marched through the country, burning, robbing and murdering
was overtaken by a righteous punishment. The Archbishop of Prague ten
years later, at the time of the second captivity of Wenceslaus, hanged
him up with fifty other robbers in sight of the city of Prague.--His
name was forgotten."

"You are a wonderful narrator," thus Gabriel broke the silence that had
lasted for some time, after Schöndel had ended her story: "I could
listen to you by the hour."

Indeed he had been especially struck by the impassioned elevation of
her language, and the choiceness of her expressions so little in
accordance with her position in life.

"Excuse a question," he began again after a short pause. "I feel myself
for the first time really at home, when I am intimately acquainted with
those about me. A happy chance led me to your house, a house than which
I could not wish or find a better--but you will not be offended with my
frankness. I am surprised to find such remarkably easy circumstances in
the house of a servant, and still more in you, dear goodwife, such an
unusually high degree of cultivation.--Perhaps, you will explain this
to me."

"Oh yes," replied the goodman, "but at table, it is late and we will
sup."

The three took their seats and an old maidservant came in. The goodman
said a blessing over a flagon of wine, they washed their hands, and
after grace had been said over two cakes of white bread that had up to
that moment been covered by a velvet cloth, the maid-servant placed the
smoking dishes on the table. The two men set too with a will.

"You know, Reb Gabriel," began Schlome, "where two are sitting and the
word of God is not between them so may I ask you to impart to me some
of the results of your religious researches."

"Researches," said Gabriel slowly, "I will try"--and passing his hands
slowly over his forehead, and rubbing his eyes as though he would force
back all other thoughts, and conjure up recollections long left in the
background, he began a very ingenious dissertation upon the Talmud. At
first measured and thoughtful as though moving on strange and slippery
ground, he became gradually more confident and at home, and expressed
himself as he warmed with that oriental vivacity, that gives to these
studies a singular attraction. He displayed unusual knowledge. All that
he said, was so acutely considered and well-balanced, that he easily
repelled the objections that Reb Schlome here and there attempted to
interpose. He, in spite of his ripe knowledge of the Talmud and his
practised dexterity soon saw the futility of every disputation and
listened to the student in almost reverential silence to the end. "That
is a glorious dissertation," he said, when Gabriel left off speaking,
"and our assessor of the college of Rabbis, Reb. Lippman Heller will be
delighted to have got such a scholar. But you do not often attend his
lectures?"

"I have as yet had a good deal to arrange after my journey and cannot
attend the lecture as often as I could wish; but now, dear sir, as we
have already had our discourse on the Talmud, tell me, how it happens
that you are so prosperous and yet a servant, how it comes to pass that
your wife has attained to such a high degree of culture, as one so
seldom finds in a Jew, especially a woman, on account of the oppression
that the Jews, in spite of much even if slow progress, have still to
endure. Explain this to me, unless special reasons impose silence upon
you."

Schlome, who had already enjoyed the thought of proving to his
guest that he too had profitably devoted himself to Talmudic studies,
was obliged to put it off to another opportunity and yield to the
earnestly expressed wish of his guest. "I am now much pleased with you,
Reb Gabriel, and as I feel more and more convinced that you are a
genuine scholar, a certain feeling of distrust--I may now confess it
openly--that sometimes came over me with respect to you, is
disappearing, and I am heartily rejoiced at these your frank
expressions.--So listen: I am the son of Reb Carpel Sachs--may the
memory of the just be blessed.--My father was a very rich and pious man
and made the best use of his fortune. The Community, whose chief
overseer, and the Old-synagogue, whose ruler he was, have much to be
thankful to him for. I was his only child and was the more precious to
my father, as in me the memory of my early lost mother survived to him.
His affectionate care for me knew no bounds. I never dared to go out
alone, I never dared to leave him even for a moment, and all my tutors
were obliged to give me their lessons in his presence. As overseer of
the community frequently brought into relation with the leading men of
other religions, he saw the necessity of a Jew, devoting himself to the
assiduous study of universal sciences as well as to more strictly
religious studies, that the Jewish nation might stand worthily by the
side of the whole race of mankind as opposed to the Judaic alone. In
spite of his many occupations he was often with the worthy Löwe, and
the partner of his varied studies. I myself very early received
instruction in the learned languages and natural science, without on
that account at all neglecting the study of our holy scripture. It was
on a lovely winter morning, I, a little boy, was sitting by my father
in his study reading the Bible. The servant announced a man, who
urgently desired to see my father, and almost immediately he entered
the room carrying a little girl in his arms. I shall never forget the
scene, even this day it rises up before me clear and lifelike.--The man
was large and strongly built, but deep lines of sorrow and trouble were
stamped upon his earnest noble features. The child, that with anxious
tenderness he still held in his arms, was a lovely blooming little
girl; I need not farther describe her, picture to yourself my goodwife,
a girl of three year's old. Both were poorly clothed, the stranger wore
the dress of a needy wandering Pole, the little girl seemed
insufficiently protected from the cold by her tattered garments, and
her father--for that the stranger apparently was--warmed her tiny
frozen hands that were fast entwined round his neck with the breath of
his mouth.

"'I and my child,' said the stranger, 'arrive from a long and difficult
journey. I have come straight to your house, Reb Carpel, I ask that
help from you, that you both can and will afford me. Grant me an hour
of your time, I must speak with you alone.' These few words of the
stranger, and even before they had been spoken, his reverend aspect had
obviously, in spite of the meanness of his dress, made a favourable
impression upon my father. He rose from his seat, held out his hand to
his visitor in sign of welcome, and placed a chair by the stove in
which an hospitable fire was burning. My father bid me take the little
girl with me to my room, and let the servant give her some supper.
Schöndel looked at her father, and when he put her down, and told her
she might, took hold of my hand with a confiding smile and went with
me, I do not know what passed in secret between the two men, but when
two hours later my father opened the door of his apartment, I heard him
say aloud: 'Since you will neither be our counsellor nor assessor, nor
Klaus Rabbi, I consider it a special Providence, that just at this very
moment the post of upper-attendant in the Old-synagogue is vacant, that
that exactly meets your wishes, that I can have a decisive word in
arranging your appointment. I believe that I am sure of the consent of
my associates. I will see besides that that respect, Rabbi, which is
your due, is paid to you by all the servants and the congregation, with
whom in truth you will not be brought into contact. You will be able to
live in the manner you wish, unknown, cut off from all society, devoted
to your studies. I look upon it as a piece of good fortune, Rabbi, that
you have granted my request, and consent to initiate my boy in the
depths of our holy Scripture.' 'I thank thee, Reb Carpel, but call me
not Rabbi, call me Mosche as....' He saw me and stopped.

"I was astounded at the almost reverential behaviour of my father. The
first person in the community, he well knew how to keep up his dignity
on all occasions, and it could only be a very distinguished individual
indeed, who could be gladdened by such treatment.

"'Schlome, kiss the Rabbi's hand, from to-day he will undertake the
care of your education,' said my father. I lifted his hand respectfully
to my lips and from that time Reb Mosche seemed to me a being of a
superior nature. My father let him immediately into occupation of a
house close to the synagogue, the residence of the upper-attendant for
the time being, the very rooms in which we are now living, and the next
Saturday, after a long parley with the other overseers of the
synagogue, it was announced to the frequenters of the Old-synagogue,
that a stranger, for whom Reb Carpel Sachs answered in every respect,
had been appointed upper-attendant. Here then my step-father lived,
here it was that I as little boy came to make my first essay in the
study of the Talmud, here we closed his wearied eyes. Rabbi Mosche was
a wonderful man, all that, he said and did evinced the profoundest
religious feeling. He lived retired from all society and the only
visits that he received were from the high Rabbi Löwe and my father.
His expositions were clear and easy to be understood, and my rapt
attention, and firm determination to win his approbation came
excellently to the aid of my lessons. The man usually so reserved, soon
shared his love between his only child, whom he almost idolised, and
me. My father too loved with an infinite love the stranger's motherless
child. We children clung to one another with extraordinary tenderness,
a feeling, that, God be praised and thanked, has never been
extinguished in our hearts. When I received nay lessons from her
revered father, Schöndel would sit by me by the hour and listen, and
even when I was occupied by other studies, the dear little maid was my
constant companion. To this circumstance and to the remarkable industry
and talents of my wife you must ascribe the fact, that in a menial
position she surpasses in knowledge and culture many ladies of
rank.--In a word, this confined room was even in my free hours the
place where I loved best to be, I knew no higher enjoyment than to
converse with Rabbi Mosche. I was often allowed to help him in certain
business about the synagogue, and I was the more glad to do so, as it
enabled him to decline the assistance of all the inferior servants that
were under his orders. What a childish pleasure I took on every
Thursday evening at the thought of the coming morning! Friday, I was
always up betimes, no need to wake me--dressed myself and ran down to
Reb Mosche. He was already expecting me, I took his hand and we went
together to the adjoining house of God. To this day a perfectly empty
temple makes a singular, not easily to be described impression upon me,
and when the grating doors opened and our steps echoed loud in the cool
and empty space, it seemed to me as though the blissful breath of God's
peace was upon me. My teacher first opened his desk in the tribune,
then placed candles in the chandeliers, and trimmed the lamp, that ever
burneth, with fresh oil, and I was allowed to follow him carrying the
flask of oil, candles and everything that he usually wanted. All this
was done in the profoundest silence, as if we feared by a word to
dispel the stillness that reigned through the building dedicated to
God's service. When all was duly arranged I sat me down on the steps
that led up to the tabernacle and began to read out of the Bible to my
teacher the portions of Scripture appointed for the week. The earliest
frequenters of the synagogue found us ever busy with our studies in the
Bible. I passed a peaceful and contented youth. The mysterious
obscurity that enveloped my second father,--for so had Reb Mosche
become to me--was only calculated to heighten, if possible, the feeling
of reverence with which he had inspired me and I dared not even wish to
raise this veil that enshrouded him. Neither Schöndel nor I would for
worlds have asked him about his past life, which had of a surety been
fruitful of sorrow to him, and even my father, to whom his secret was
probably known, preserved the most unbroken silence with respect to it.
The mutual relation of the two men was also a singular one. Sometimes
they addressed one another, as though years and years ago they had
known one another as children, and yet my father had never left his
native town, while Reb Mosche on the contrary--Schöndel could just
remember it as in a dream--had come from a very great way off. I myself
with respect to Reb Mosche adopted that demeanour which the Talmud
enjoins in the intercourse of scholar and tutor. I fulfilled his
smallest wishes, and learned to interpret them from his look; and if I
chanced without intending it to vex him by my talk, I was inconsolable
and could have wept by the hour. This, however, seldom happened, and I
can only recollect one instance of it. As we were reading the Psalms we
had come to that passage, 'Behold how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity!' and I expressed the childish
wish, that as well as Schöndel whom I regarded as my dear little
sister, I had a brother too. 'My son,' replied Reb Mosche earnestly,
'what God doeth, that is well done! Wherefore dost thou desire a
brother? Brothers do not always love one another, there where love and
friendship should prevail, enmity and strife have often mastery. Cain
slew his brother Abel, Jacob and Esau were brothers, but Esau hated
Jacob. Joseph was sold by his brethren, and the brethren of the
greatest prophet, even the brethren of Moses spoke evil of him.' I
gazed in astonishment at the face of my respected teacher, a bitter
smile played upon his lips, a tear shone in his mild eye.--

"I will not further weary you with the descriptions of my youth,--which
while they fill me with sad remembrances, are probably to you a matter
of indifference. My youth slipped away as happily and as untroubled as
my childhood. I ripened to manhood, Schöndel developed into a most
beautiful young woman. Our infelt mutual attachment was known to both
fathers, and Schöndel's two and twentieth birthday was fixed for our
betrothal.--Eight days before, one Saturday afternoon I was sent for to
the room of my father, where I found my father-in-law also. 'My son,'
he began, with deep emotion, 'I have joyfully consented to your
marriage, I have known you from a child, you are infinitely beloved and
dear to me, and I can now depart in peace from my own loved child
whenever the Lord calls me. But I have a request to make to you, and
your own worthy father adds his prayers to mine. See, Schlome, see, I
have early grown grey with trouble and sorrow, I have been unhappy, and
to-day I must confess it to you with deepest affliction, have learned
to know the iniquity of mankind. We both, thy father and I, are
ignorant when God will send his messenger to us.--Schlome, do not
refuse our request! _Remain always attendant in the synagogue_." I was
for a moment petrified with astonishment, I had expected anything but
this wish; but it was not for me to pry into the reasons of the strange
petition. My father fully agreed with him, I had nothing to do but
consent.--Eight days afterwards was the wedding. The poor of the
community had liberal alms, every synagogue, every charitable
institution was bountifully remembered, but the marriage-feast was
celebrated quietly and without display. When the two fathers came home
from the wedding, they fell into one another's arms with expressions of
the highest excitement, 'Reb. Carpel! could you have hoped for this
when we separated forty years ago,' asked my father-in-law, 'could we
have expected ever to meet again? and yet the gracious Lord of all
grants us the felicity of uniting our only loved children in the holy
bonds of wedlock.' 'Now, we may die in peace,' replied my father, with
the deepest emotion.

"My father seemed to have spoken prophetically. In the first year of
our marriage died my never-to-be-forgotten father, shortly afterwards
my father-in-law. Their souls seemed linked to one another by the bonds
of friendship even for the next world, and they rest in adjoining
graves.

"'My children,' said Rabbi Mosche, on his deathbed, 'your father, Reb.
Carpel Sachs, has left you a store of this world's goods, I am poor, I
leave you naught but my blessing, my infinite love. In this sealed
packet is the record of my life's history written in the long winter
nights for your benefit. Only after twenty years may you break the
seal, when he that wished to do me evil, is dead, and God will have
already forgiven him. That which was dark to you will then become
clear. My life was dedicated first to God, next to you, and my
boundless love will not expire with my last breath. Have God ever
before your eyes, what he doeth that he doeth well. This world is but
the vestibule of a more beauteous world beyond. Murmur not. Trust in
God! Farewell! God bless you. May the Eternal One let the light of his
countenance shine upon you. May the Everlasting turn his face upon you
and give you peace for evermore! Hear, o Israel, the Everlasting our
God is one God!' that was his last breath, his beautiful soul expired."

Reb Schlome was obliged to stop, the recollection had seized him with
overpowering might, his wife too sobbed aloud.

"We had suffered two violent blows following quickly one upon the
other," he continued after a long pause with more composure. "The
unutterable grief that filled us can only be measured by one whose
bosom has felt a like affliction, who has stood at the death-bed of a
man, as highly prized and dear to him. We felt as if the whole world
had escaped our grasp, we both were now so solitary and forsaken."

"Solitary and forsaken," echoed Gabriel in a heart-rending voice that
quivered with agony, "solitary and forsaken, and yet ye were two, who
hung upon one another with infinite affection."

"You too have stood sorrowing, solitary and forsaken, by the bed of a
dying father, a dying mother?" asked Schöndel with infelt sympathy.

"Yes, yes," replied Gabriel vehemently, almost screaming. "Yes, yes, I
did once stand by a mother's death-bed, wringing my hands and
despairing! Oh, a very tender mother, virtuous and tender, she loved
me, her only child, with a love that conquered death.--Oh, a good, good
mother, and I was, indeed, _solitary and forsaken when she died_!"

The student spoke these words with wild and passionate bitterness, his
large and brilliant eyes rolled restlessly, a pallor as of death, and a
purple flush covered in rapid succession his face marred, but once so
beautiful.

"Do not let the recollection obtain such mastery over you," implored
Schöndel soothingly, "consider: Perchance you have still a tender
father."--

"A tender father? No--yes.--Is it not true, fathers are all tender,
more tender than mothers?--

"Neither husband or wife had ever known a mother and kept silence."

"A father!" repeated Gabriel, with an expression of the most poignant
despair, and as though he would force back the overflowing tide of his
feelings, he pressed his hands violently against his breast; and then
after a short pause recovered himself, wiped the sweat, that had
collected in heavy drops, from his forehead and said with a visible
effort, "Excuse me, my friends, but you know, profound sorrow cannot be
restrained."

"Your sorrow must still be fresh," remarked Schlome.

"Oh, a deep heart-wound is never healed. But enough of this, proceed,"
exclaimed Gabriel; "the twenty years have not yet elapsed, and you are
still unacquainted with the affecting fortunes of your father-in-law?"

"No, it is but nine years since he passed into a more beautiful
existence, his life-history still rests unopened in the chest that
stands in your room.--We do not even know the name of his family."

"Strange!" said Gabriel; "you too never knew your mother? dear
housewife."--

"My father never alluded to his past history," she replied, "my mother
must have died in my earliest childhood."--

"Well for you!" cried Gabriel, and as both gazed at him in
astonishment, he continued hurriedly, "Well for you, that you cleave to
your father with the indissoluble link of love, that he still survives
in your memory; may you some day thus survive in the heart of your--but
you have no children?"

"God has not blessed our union with children," answered Schöndel,
sadly.

"What God doeth, is well done! cling fast to that belief," now
interposed Schlome, in quiet and earnest accents. "See, I was once sore
troubled about it; we, my wife and I, have neither brethren, nor
friends--we always lived so retired from all company--and even if we
had friends, the love of a child for its parents can be supplied by
nothing else, nothing can be weighed in the balance with it.... It made
me sad when I thought that if the Lord should call me or my wife to
himself, one of us must be left behind, desolate and forsaken in
bitterest woe.--It made me sad when I thought, that with us would be
entombed the memory of my father and father-in-law, that with me the
long web would be broken, that humanity was ever destined to weave
since the world's creation.--But consoling encouraging thoughts in time
germinated in my heart. 'Murmur not! this world is but a vestibule of
the next,' had my father said, and says not also the prophet? 'Oh, let
not the childless lament, I am as grass that withereth!--Thus saith the
Lord to them that are childless, they that observe my feast-days, and
choose that which pleaseth me and hold fast to my covenant. Even unto
them will I give in my house and within my walls a place, and a name
better than of sons and of daughters. I will give them an everlasting
name that shall not be cut off.' I bow to the decree of the Allwise,
what he doeth is well done--I live happy in the performance of my
duties, for the future, One that is above will provide--if, hereafter,
my soulless body be lowered by strangers into the vault, my spirit will
mount upwards to God!"--

Schlome spoke with honest warmth, this was no pleasant self-deception,
it was his clear, mature, and veritable intuition. When he had ended, a
pause ensued. The oil-lamps began to go out one by one, and Schöndel
remarked, that grace had not yet been said. A quarter of an hour
afterwards Gabriel took his leave and retired to his room. Here the
careful housewife even before the break of the Sabbath had lit a
well-filled lamp, that still burned clear. Gabriel shut the door
rapidly and tossing off cloak and cap, cried with gnashing teeth and
fists spasmodically clenched, "Tear pitilessly at the ever bleeding
wounds of my heart, keen was your aim and sure the blow, you could not
have rent my raging soul with a pang of greater anguish! Did you gaze
into the secrets of my breast? Is a Cain's sign imprinted on my
forehead, that every one at his will may read upon it my ignominious
past? As this woman with flashing eyes spoke to me of that day of
atonement, of that knight, of that Jewish maiden and her blind
mother--and how they cast him forth with mockery and scorn--did
it not seem as if she would have unfolded before me a detested period
of my own life? And when she looked at me and asked if I had ever
stood solitary and forsaken by the death-bed of a mother? If I had
yet a tender father? that was no chance, that cannot have been a
chance.--Chance can decide battles. Chance can let me fall alive into
the hands of the Imperialists--but that is no chance, that is a
presentiment, a dark impulse, an instinct, to hate me, to mortify me.
But you are right, I hate you too, with the most unbridled strength of
a sore, provoked tiger--revenge, to revenge myself, that is now the
only thought that keeps me alive.--I must find the woman, the _woman_,
that might have saved me as I hovered on the brink of a bottomless
abyss--and that let me be dashed to pieces--I must find her, she cannot
escape me--she is here in Prague, shut up within the gates of the
Ghetto! Oh, how I gloat upon a sweet revenge--to take sweet and fearful
vengeance, and then to perish for ever.--But what if I should die
first, if the trumpet summoned me to battle, if I perished on the
field,--if the outlaw fell alive into the hands of the Imperialists!
No, no, that cannot be or--there is in sooth a God."

Gabriel paced his chamber impetuously--visions of the past filling
him with the most torturing recollections, passed over his soul.--To
die? He said at length suddenly stopping, "I fear not death, I have
looked it in the face motionless and unconcerned in the whirl of
battle, but before I die, oh, that I might find him, whom I have sought
for ten long years, whom I might, perhaps, even yet embrace in these
arms.--Thou, whom men call all-mighty and all-merciful," he suddenly
cried, opening the window and lifting his gaze to the starry heaven,
"Thou! give me my father, give me him though it be at my life's
last breath--let him rest one moment, and may it be my last, on my
breast--and I will acknowledge Thee, and I will bend my proud spirit
even in death before Thee! But where to seek him, where to find him! I
am sure of nothing, am sure of nothing but that I hate them all with a
nameless hatred, and have good reason to hate them!"--



                                  III.


On Saturday Gabriel had gone to early prayers with his landlord in the
Old-synagogue. The service had lasted till near mid-day. Reb Schlome
had then paid a visit to the chief Rabbi. At the midday meal, which was
shared by two guests, they met again.

"How were you pleased with us in the old synagogue?" asked Reb Schlome.

"It is a beautiful building, quiet and order prevails among you. I must
express my thanks to you, I know I am only endebted to you for it, that
I, a stranger student, was called upon to expound, an honour that this
Saturday was only conceded to distinguished persons.... I obtained the
names of all who were called upon to expound, they were universally men
of weight and character, but with regard to the last, who was called
upon just before me, no one would or could give me precise information,
though all seemed to know him."

"I will explain that to you," said Schlome; "that man is a member of
the well-known family of Nadler, a family that, even now I scarcely
dare to say so, fifty years ago in spite of their wealth and prosperity
was shunned by everyone. People would not associate with them. No one
would marry their daughters, no one would converse with them, every one
kept away from them in the houses of prayer; they could obtain no
tenants; the very poor despised the alms which they would have lavished
in abundant measure. You can easily divine the cause,--there rested on
the grandfather of this unhappy family the weight of a suspicion which
afterwards proved to be groundless, that he was one of those who cannot
be received in the congregation of the Lord. The family suffered
fearfully under this foregone conclusion. It was that great thinker,
the high Rabbi Löw, who first devised a means of once for all
dispelling the clouds of obloquy, in that he--it is this very Saturday
exactly six-and-thirty years ago--in a lecture, with the approval of
the ten chief personages of the then community, uttered a solemn curse
against all those who should dare any longer to injure the reputation
of the family, to speak evil of the dead, or to apply the name of
Nadler as a contumelious epithet to any one in the Jewish community.
From that day no one ventured to withdraw himself from intercourse with
them, and all the more honour was shown to them that they consumed
their wealth for the benefit of the poor and afflicted, lived strictly
in accordance with the Law, and moreover people wished to make them
forget the humiliation and injustice of many a long year. On this
account people do not like to talk about them, and avoid everything
that might lead to further explanations about this family."

Gabriel had listened in silence with the deepest sympathy. "See,
Schöndel," Reb Schlome suddenly exclaimed, "I notice a very remarkable
resemblance between Reb Gabriel and you, a resemblance, about which I
yesterday by lamplight thought that I had been deceiving myself. In the
middle of his forehead too a fiery spot is wont at times to gather."

"That is strange," said Gabriel earnestly and thoughtfully.

"Not so strange as you believe," struck in one of the guests, "it is a
not uncommon appearance I have heard of one of the Imperialist officers
who has a mark on his forehead, I think two crossed swords--probably
your mother, when she carried you under her heart, saw a sudden
conflagration, or is it an inherited family-mark; had your father also
such a mark on his forehead?"

Gabriel had listened to the guest attentively, he gave no answer, but
the red stripe of flame on his forehead became more conspicuous and
clearly marked than before. "I myself," said the other guest by way of
confirmation, "some years ago when I studied at the school in Mainz,
knew a madman, named Jacob, and in his case too as soon as he became
excited just such another mark made its appearance in the centre of his
forehead; probably the concurring circumstances were the same with each
of you."

"Moreover," added the guest, after a short consideration, "I fancy that
I have seen that same madman in this very place."

"You are not mistaken," said Schöndel, "the mad Jacob is here in
Prague, and our lodger Reb Gabriel can if he likes give us some news
about him, for he has taken a great fancy to him, and often passes
whole days with him without coming home or visiting the lecture-rooms."

It seemed for an instant as if Gabriel would have contradicted the
goodwife, but he quickly recovered his self-possession and remained
silent--at that moment the old maid-servant entered and announced a boy
who was enquiring after Herr Gabriel Mar, and was urgently desirous of
speaking to him.

"Excuse me," he said, rising quickly, "I must let the boy come to my
room and hear what he has to say."

The boy must in fact have brought some important news, for Reb Gabriel
did not return to table and sent his excuses by the old maid-servant--a
soldier has arrived here from his country, such was the old Hannah's
story, and he is breathlessly hurrying to hear, how it fares with all
at home--the good student.

The two guests did not seem to share the old maid's favourable opinion.
"A strange student that," opined one of them, "sits at table and speaks
no word of his Talmudic investigations, gets up and does not pray, goes
away and kisses no scroll."

Reb Schlome felt that his wife was right the other evening when she
said, that Gabriel was less devout than other students, but he allowed
this with reluctance, for Gabriel's rich stores of Talmudic science had
won his estimation and good will. He requested, therefore, one of the
two students to let them have a Talmudic discourse, and after this had
been complied with recited the prayer after meat.

                               *   *   *

Gabriel had scarcely waited till the door of his room was shut to speak
with the boy alone.

"What do you bring me, John," he asked hastily.

"Gracious Sir," answered the boy, "my relative begs respectfully to
announce, that Ensign Herr Smil von Michalowitz is just arrived from
Pilsen with a message to your Honour, and waits in your house."

"Good boy, run on, I will follow immediately."--Gabriel hastily
donned cloak and cap and went out--Although the house which he was
leaving was situated by the Old-synagogue and, therefore, outside of
the Ghetto-gate, he was obliged to pass through the Ghetto in order to
reach the Plattnergasse by the nearest route. He stopped at the back of
a house. He knocked twice at a closed door; this was quickly opened,
and he hurried up a back-staircase to a room, on the walls of which,
sabres, travelling-pistols and other arms were hanging, crossed in
varied confusion one upon the other. He threw off cloak and cap, girded
a dagger about his loins, without lingering over the choice enveloped
himself in a knight's mantle and stepped through a door in the tapestry
into a large adjoining room. Here he was already expected. A slightly
made young man in the embroidered uniform of one of Mannsfield's
cavalry-officers was pacing impatiently up and down.--

"Welcome to Prague, Herr von Michalowitz," said Gabriel in a friendly
way, "do you bring me good news from Mannsfield?"

"I wish I brought better, your Grace," answered the officer with a bow.
"First of all, however, I have the honour to deliver the autograph
despatch of the General-Fieldmarshal, I partly know its contents and am
commissioned to give your Grace all further necessary explanations."

Gabriel hastily unsealed the despatch and cast a glance over its
contents. "Our troops have still no pay," he cried, stamping his
foot angrily, while the fiery mark on his forehead kindled to a deep
red--"still nothing? and they promised me everything, money, munitions,
forage, reinforcements. It's enough to drive a man mad! You would
scarcely believe, Herr von Michalowitz, what a difficult position I am
in here! Nothing can be done with this Frederick.--The Bohemians could
not have elected a worse king.--He listens to his preachers, goes out
hunting, gives banquets and tournaments--of Emperor and League he takes
no heed.--His Generals are in constant feud with one another and only
agree when it is a question of putting a slight upon or deposing Thurn
and Mannsfield.--These gentlemen let me sue for reinforcements and
plans of operation, as if they were things that concerned my own
private advantage, as if I was asking an alms for myself. Believe me,
Frederick must succumb. Who does he oppose to these experienced skilful
Generals? an Anhalt against a Tilly, an Hohenlohe against a Boucquoi.
The Bohemians are brave soldiers, but they are badly led. I can speak
openly to you, Sir Ensign, who have been the constant confidant of our
plans.--There is only one conceivable way for Frederick to get the
upper-hand--Anhalt and Hohenlohe must be dismissed, and Matthias Thurn
take the command."

"It is indeed melancholy," answered the Ensign bitterly, "that all our
most energetic and best-laid efforts are so badly supported at Prague.
This Anhalt gives up one strong position after another, and if things
go on so, it is to be feared that Archduke Maximilian will drive
the Prince in under the walls of Prague, and force him to accept a
battle,--unless he has been entirely won over by the Imperialists--and
a battle lost before the gates of Prague...."

"Would still not be decisive," interposed Gabriel. "I am well
acquainted with Prague, it is strongly situated, and could hold out a
long time.--I suppose you know the capital city of your native country?
The citizens are brave, well-trained in arms, and in the old and new
quarter at least devoted to the king's party.--Frederick's power is
still great, Mannsfield man[oe]uvres in the enemy's rear; fresh troops
are on the march from Hungary.... Sir Ensign, say to my friend
Mannsfield, that a battle lost before the gates of Prague would not put
an end to the war;--but that Anhalt must not remain at the head of the
army. So long as he commands in-chief, everything is at stake ... and
to think that two such losers-of-armies as Anhalt and Hohenlohe should
command thirty thousand men, while the hero Mannsfield, alone, forsaken
by the Union and the weak Frederick for whom he is fighting, without
support, without money, in an unknown country, surrounded by secret and
open enemies, makes head with a small force against one three times his
superior.--How does he bear the hard blows of fickle fortune?"

"With his usual calm, with unshakeable equanimity. Oh, there is but one
Mannsfield, Sir Major-General, in such a hero alone do martial fame,
and martial deeds attain so high a point. It is an event unparalleled
in the annals of history, that a Count, first legitimized by the
Emperor Rudolph, should defy the Emperor and whole Empire--should defy,
without money, land, or support, under a ban, solitary, by the force of
his sword and name alone.--What are all of us in Mannsfield's camp? are
we the troops of the Union, which concluded on the 3d of July an
ignominious peace with the league? are we the mercenaries of this Count
Palatine, who placed the crown of our Fatherland upon his head for a
merry pastime? By God and my knightly honour, no! What are we? we are
nothing but Mannsfield's children, all of us, from the meanest
artillery-driver up to you. Sir Major-General! We all cleave to him
with faith as firm as a rock, we follow his standard alone, his call
alone. We offer our lives for Mannsfield, his is our sword, our blood,
our honour, our name, our oath; for well we know that he leads us on to
naught but victory or an honourable soldier's death."

"You are very right. Sir Ensign," replied the General much moved, "he
is to all of us a father, brother, friend! What should I have been if I
had not fallen in with Mannsfield? Sir Ensign, you have a country, you
have a coat of arms, you have a name--I had none of all this, I had
nothing but my arm, and a revengeful, torn and bleeding heart!"--

"Yes, Sir Major-General, Mannsfield loves the bold, and brave, and
among them are you numbered, by God, you have given good proof of that
a thousand times! Name, rank and belief are indifferent to him;
Mannsfield asks no questions whether a man is a Reformer, Utraquist or
Lutheran, whether gentleman or knight, burgher or peasant, German or
Bohemian? Consider, your Grace, that too forces me to admire
Mannsfield.... has not this Frederick estranged the hearts of all
Bohemians from him, in that he has by the advice of his sternly
calvinistical intolerant Chaplain Abraham Schulz bitterly offended
Catholics, Utraquists and Lutherans? I am a man of war and no scholar,
I am a mere soldier, and have paid little attention to theology, but
yet I hold that in this world, everyone should be allowed to believe
what he likes, that is an affair to be settled by his own conscience;
but no one should be permitted to be a hindrance and stumbling block to
another, and throw ridicule upon that which is an object of respect and
dear to his neighbour.... Why did we violently revolt from the
illustrious House of Austria, under which we were great and powerful?
Because we wished to be free to choose our faith, and now steps in this
Frederick, whom we ourselves elected, whom we aggrandized, and we are
no better off! Your Grace! You are no Bohemian and cannot comprehend,
what a painful day the 3d of September in last year is to me, on which
thirty-six lords, ninety-one knights and almost all the municipalities
permitted themselves to be befooled by the brilliant eloquence of
Wilhelm Raupowa and elected this incapable Frederick.--I too, as well
as my uncle, the royal Burgrave, were among the voters."

The General was silent. Memories slumbered in his soul like sparks in a
tinder; the lightest breath might kindle them to a clear blaze. The
Ensign misinterpreted the silence. He had said much, that might have
made an unpleasant impression upon the General. He was of low origin,
no Bohemian, perhaps a co-religionist of the Palatine. "Your Grace," he
therefore again began in an embarrassed way, after a short pause, "have
I, perhaps, offended you? Are you, perchance, one of those, who busy
themselves with religious studies, and learned ecclesiastical
disputations? Are you, Sir Major-General, may I venture to ask,
yourself a Calvinist? It's all the same to me, General, I should
respect your high rank, your gallantry even if, you will excuse the
joke, even if you were a Jew or a Heathen...."

Pictures out of a time that had long vanished again passed over
Gabriel's soul, his spirit was again fast fixed on some moment of the
distant past. "I busy myself no longer with religious studies," he
answered, absently--"but at one time, at one time it was my highest
enjoyment; but then I was still a J...." he did not finish, he seemed
to awake suddenly from a heavy dream, a deep flush suffused his face,
he stroked the hair off his high forehead, in the centre of which
glowed the purple mark and added hastily in a changed voice: "then I
was still young, very young--but now I think no more of it--and
Mannsfield's faith is mine too."

The way in which the General spoke, the singular expression of his
face, was not calculated to set at rest the Ensign's fears. "Your
Grace!" he went on, "you yourself said in my presence that you had no
name, when you took service in Mannsfield's corps, and yet now you are
the Mannsfieldian General Otto Bitter, known and feared far and wide.
It may be that, you have no genealogy, no past; but you have a future;
with the point of your sword you inscribe your name on the brazen
tablets of history."

"No, no," the General now impetuously continued, "no, not so. Herr von
Michalowitz, believe me, I am not superstitious, not even a believer--I
believe in actually nothing--do you hear! in actually nothing, but
Mannsfield and mine own good sword.--I am not weak, I would not yield
to any presentiment, but one presentiment does haunt me with all the
strength of truth, as clear, as life-like as if I saw it with my own
bodily eyes, _my name will not live in history_.... Mannsfield, Thurn,
Boucquoi, Tilly, Waldstein, all the heroes that fight with us or
against us, have lived for eternity, but my name will perish, will
leave no trace behind it...."

The General paced the room many times and with his hand put back the
dark locks from his high forehead, then stopped before the Ensign--"I
sometimes become very excited, Herr von Michalowitz," he said, "and say
much that would be better unsaid--therefore I pray you forget what I
have spoken...."

The Ensign bowed in silence. The General threw himself into an
arm-chair, motioned the Ensign also to a seat, and after a short pause
took up Mannsfield's letter again. "You have captured another wandering
Jew? You thought he was a spy, or messenger of the Imperialists, he
carried letters in cipher with him?" asked the General, interrupting
his reading.

"Yes, your Grace, the prisoner declares, improbably enough, the
writings were Hebrew extracts from the Bible and letters to his
wife.--The Field-Marshal sends the writings to you probably in the
intention that you may prove their contents here in Prague with the
assistance of some Rabbi, or clergyman learned in the Scripture." The
Ensign with these words laid a sealed packet on the table. "We should
almost prefer that he was guilty, in Pilsen, which is imperialist in
feeling, we are quite surrounded by spies, we cannot any longer tell
who to trust: an example of severity must be made."

The General involuntarily seized the packet, to unseal it, but quickly
laid it aside, as if remembering himself, and read on.

"Sir Ensign, I must up to the castle," he said, when he had finished
and maturely considered the despatch. "Nothing can be done with
Anhalt and Hohenlohe--I must up, and once more speak with the king
himself--To-morrow early you shall have the answer for Mannsfield."

"If your Grace will permit me I will accompany you to the castle."

The General rang the bell, a servant, who entered, was ordered to make
the necessary preparation, and shortly afterwards the large principal
entrance of the house, that led into the Marienplatz, was thrown open,
and the General and Ensign rode out of it in the direction of the
'Kleinseite.' At a proper distance followed two mounted attendants
armed with pistols and sabres.--

                               *   *   *

In King Frederick's anteroom three persons were waiting for an
audience. They stood in the recess of a lofty bow-window, and were
talking in a low voice but with much animation to one another.

"Yes, gentlemen," began John de Bubna, a man of some fifty years old,
"yes, it is all Raupowa's fault. Your father--" he turned to the young
Count Schlick--"the noble Count Joachim who voted for the Elector of
Saxony was quite right--but the past is irreparable, and now we must
defend ourselves to the last extremity. Our faith, our freedom, are at
stake, is it not so, Thurn?"

The person thus addressed, Count Henry Mathias of Thurn was also of
about the age of fifty. Dark eyes with all the fire of youth flashed
from his bronzed countenance, as if to give the lie to the thick grey
hair; the noble lineaments of his spiritual and thoughtful face showed
at the first glance, that a hero's soul dwelt in this powerful and
compact frame. He was indisputately the chief leader of his party, an
able commander, and the originator of the revolt against the Emperor.
It was he who brought about the well-known catastrophe of the 3d of May
1618, when the two Imperial stadtholders, Slawata and Martinitz, were
thrown out of window into the court-yard, and supposing it is in the
power of a single person, if not to evoke, at any rate to further a
crisis on which the future history of the world may depend, Count
Matthias Thurn was certainly one of those, who fanned the flames of
this outbreak into that wild conflagration which devastated Germany and
Central-Europe for thirty years.

He was by birth an Italian, but held rich possessions in Bohemia. A
brave soldier, a practised courtier, a subtle diplomatist and excellent
speaker, he had won the affections of the nobles, the army, and whole
people, and the nation committed to him the weighty and influential
place of a defender, or guardian of the faith. Deprived by the Emperor
of his office, as Burgrave of Carlstein, he had later on assumed with
Mannsfield the joint command of the Bohemian troops. Frederick,
however, soon after his coronation, to the deep vexation of the
Bohemian army, transferred the command to Prince Christian of Anhalt
and Count George of Hohenlohe.

Count Thurn seemed to express his views unwillingly. "Yes, gentlemen,
you know I was never the last in the field, I gladly combat for
Bohemia. Perhaps a time will again come when I may fight for the
cause--but in the meanwhile...."

"Your Grace then is absolutely determined not to accept a command so
long as the Prince commands in-chief?" asked Henry Schlick hastily.

"He is right," opined John Bubna; "it was a stupid course of the king,
to take the command from our Thurn."

"It is not that," continued Thurn, "at least not that alone; but the
war is badly conducted. What did I and young Anhalt, who is far
superior to his father in gallantry, and in spite of his youth in
military science too, what did we insist upon in the council of war at
Rokizan; that we should fall with our whole force upon an enemy wearied
out with painful marching. Even Hohenlohe, who is usually very
reluctant to embrace a bold project, shared our opinion--there could
not be a doubt, we must have gained a victory--then up gets Prince
Anhalt and proved to the king in a long speech--but, I cannot bear to
think of it, how my splendid plan of operations was frustrated, how
instead of fighting they allowed themselves to become involved in a
disgraceful treaty, how we, I may say, fled to Unhoscht without
striking a blow, or if it sounds better, drew back in good order; for
the slight affair at Rakoniz, where, moreover, we lost von Dohna and
Graz, cannot be counted anything."

"But the rencounter at Rakoniz," observed Henry Schlick, "remained,
as I have heard, undecided. The Imperialists too lost both their
Field-Marshals Fugger and Aguaviva; and their General-in-chief Boucquoi
was so severely wounded as to have been since incapable of bearing a
campaign."

"Sir Count," replied Thurn moodily, "you do not know Boucquoi, he is a
worthy antagonist of the very bravest. If it comes to a battle, he will
be carried though in a dying state to the field. God grant, that we may
not shortly see him before the gates of Prague. At Unhoscht," resumed
Thurn, "my patience was exhausted, and when the king, at Anhalt's
urgent request went to Prague, I offered to accompany him. I am glad to
be here and--"

Thurn was interrupted, for the door of the antechamber opened, and
Gabriel, or Mannsfield's Major-General Otto Bitter entered.

"Ah, welcome friend," cried John Bubna, held out his hand to him and
led him up to the two others. "Do not be put out, Count Thurn, I answer
for my friend Bitter, go on with what you were saying."

"I am acquainted with the Major-General," said Thurn, while Bitter made
a low obeisance.--"My friend's friend is my friend too."--Then Thurn
himself with obliging civility presented the young men to one another,
"Count Henry Schlick, son of our supreme Judge and Director, the
Lord Joachim Andrew Schlick, Count of Passau and Ellbogen, a brave
captain--Sir Otto Bitter, Major-General in Mannsfield's army and his
right hand man."--

"The name of Schlick," said Otto Bitter politely, "has a genuine ring
about it, and you, Sir Captain, as I have been assured on all sides,
are worthy of bearing so celebrated a name."

Henry Schlick wished to respond to the General's courteous address, but
Matthias Thurn turned to him and asked what brought him to Prague.

"I make no secret of my mission," he answered, "I am come to Prague
under instructions from the Field-Marshal to demand the pay of our
troops, which is now nearly six months in arrear, and to remind them of
the promised reinforcements; I propose to stay here just long enough to
urge upon the king and his generals some decisive step which our
Mannsfield will support with all his might; but the king is too busy
with his festivities, and Field-Marshal Prince Anhalt, has, at least
for me, no time unoccupied."

"Hush!" said Bubna, "lupus in fabula, he comes just in...."

The conversation, though it had been carried on in an undertone,
was instantly dropped. The double doors of the antechamber were
thrown hastily and noisily open, and Prince Christian of Anhalt,
Commander-in-chief of the royal army and Stadtholder of Prague, stepped
haughtily with a proud look into the anteroom. All present, with the
exception of Thurn made a low bow. Anhalt recognised it with a careless
nod of the head, and prepared as usual to enter unannounced into the
royal apartment. Otto Bitter, however, advanced hastily and said:

"I am fortunate in meeting your Highness here. I am just arrived from
General-Field-Marshal the Count of Mannsfield...."

"You have come from Count Mannsfield?" repeated the Prince with a sharp
emphasis. "Why does not he make his applications immediately to the
commander-in-chief, as every commander of a corps d'armée should do.
What is the use of a mediator and go-between? Besides, time and place
are very badly chosen for your representations, this is the king's
anteroom, and I am on my way to an audience"--so saying, Anhalt,
without allowing the General time to reply, passed into the king's
audience-chamber. Bitter returned to the other lords; his features were
disfigured by rage, and the fiery sign burnt red upon his forehead. All
were unpleasantly affected by this behaviour.

"Such is the manner of princes," Henry Schlick tried to make a
conciliatory excuse; "he is imperious and hates opposition, do not be
so put out by it, Sir Major-General."

"No! to receive an officer of such high desert in such a way,"
exclaimed Bubna clashing his scabbard upon the floor; "and when he was
speaking of Mannsfield!..."

"These men of the Palatinate have always free access to the king,"
observed Thurn, and out of his eyes flashed, as it were, a consuming
lightning--"and as for us, they let us wait."

Andrew of Habernfeld, Frederick's favorite, in full gala-costume,
opened at the very moment the door of the king's apartment; he might
probably have heard this last observation of Thurn's, spoken in a loud
voice.

"Can audience be obtained of his Majesty," asked Thurn drawing himself
up proudly, "I mean, by us...."

"The king cannot be aware, that so many gentlemen of the highest
dignity wish to speak with him, or else he had surely before this
summoned you before him. I will immediately inform him of your
presence."

"Bubna, Schlick, and I, have been announced long since and been kept
waiting in vain up to this time," replied Thurn stiffly, "Major-General
Bitter is also apparently as desirous as we are of an interview with
the king.--Meantime it can do no harm if you once more remind him of
our presence."

Habernfeld looked very much disconcerted and instantly disappeared.
Shortly afterwards he returned breathless. "His Majesty," he announced,
"implores the noble lords to spare him all government-business at
present. The king celebrates today the anniversary of his arrival in
Prague, and invites the lords to betake themselves to the banquet in
the hall of Spain."

"A banquet?" replied Thurn almost sadly, and the veins on his noble
forehead swelled high; "I am sorry not to be able to accept the
gracious invitation, I am not in a humour for banqueting, my thoughts
would be ever occupied with the victorious irresistible advance of the
Imperialists, and my gloomy face would but mar the festal joy, give
this answer to the king, I pray you, do so, Herr von Habernfeld....
that he may graciously excuse my absence...." with these words Thurn
threw his cloak over his shoulder, and would have departed.

"Your Grace," cried Schlick, seizing Thurn by the arm, "on every
account, pause. He is our lord and king--our self-elected lord and
king, he will take it in very bad part."

"My young friend," whispered Thurn in Schlick's ear--"spare me the
hated sight of Anhalt carousing by the side of king, while our brave
army is offering itself a vain sacrifice. Meat and drink would become
poison and gall to me.--You know, I am not easily induced to change a
determination that I have once made, therefore, I pray you, Sir Count,
leave me."

"I will at least present your humble excuses to the king's Majesty,"
answered Schlick aloud; "I pray you, Herr von Habernfeld, forget, what
the Count may have said in a moment of excitement, he is a warm
patriot, a staunch Bohemian, but still the southern blood of Italy
flows in his veins."

Thurn went away, the three gentlemen followed Habernfeld to the
banqueting-hall. Twilight had in the meanwhile come on. The broad and
spacious room was illuminated, fairy-like, with a thousand waxen
torches. The rich sea of light broke into countless points of
brilliancy upon the lofty mirrors. A sumptuous circle of ladies and
gentlemen, mostly from the Palatinate and Germany, passed with merry
laughter through the gorgeously ornamented apartment. No one seemed to
think of the war--to judge from the attitude of those who were present
no one could have had a presentiment that in eight days all this
splendor would have disappeared.

At the upper end of the hall was a throne-like elevation, where King
Frederick and his spouse sat on two crimson and gold-embroidered chairs
of state. They were a wonderful pair. Frederick was then in his
twenty-fifth year. Fair waving locks, mild blue eyes, and soft
rosy cheeks, gave to his features, an air of weakness, almost
effeminacy--and yet the carefully arranged blond mustachio and whiskers
became him wonderfully. The costume of the period was especially
adapted to set off the advantages of his person in the best light. He
was entirely dressed in a suit of dark violet coloured velvet. The
close fitting doublet was richly embroidered with gold, the slashed
armlets lined with white were ornamented with point-lace. Over a white
lace collar hung a gold medallion attached by a red ribbon. The
trowsers, cut short at the knee, were there adorned with gold brocade
and point-lace. In his left hand he held a black cap with red and white
feathers.

Queen Elisabeth was somewhat smaller than Frederick. She was a perfect
beauty. Her face bore the stamp of her English origin. Abundant fair
golden hair, into which a diadem had been woven by a blue ribbon,
cheeks suffused with the most delicate pink, lovely soft blue eyes,
gave to the queen at first sight a remarkable resemblance to her
husband. She wore a dress of pale green satin. This, low bodied and
close fitting, brought out the wonderful fulness of her contour. The
string of pearls, that hung round her neck, seemed to flow without any
perceptible division into the snowy whiteness of her bosom.--Both,
Frederick and his consort, wore satin shoes with large silk bows, and
their feet rested upon a crimson cushion.--They gazed cheerfully and
good-naturedly at the varied throng. Musicians occupied the gallery and
at a sign from Habernfeld, on the entrance of the three officers,
struck up a clamorous flourish of trumpets, and then played lively
tunes.

The three officers in their simple uniform made a striking contrast to
the rest of the company. Henry Schlick as fine a courtier, as a brave
soldier, soon made himself at home among a group of ladies, but Bubna
and Bitter felt strange amid the loud hubbub of the assembled guests,
and stared silently and gloomily straight before them. Immediately on
their arrival Habernfeld had led all three of them up to the place
where the king was sitting and Schlick had excused the absence of Count
Thurn on the score of urgent business that could not be postponed.
General Bitter dared not venture on this occasion to announce the aim
of his mission to Prague, but was fully determined in the course of the
evening to submit his business to the king. An opportunity soon
offered. The king and queen rose from their seats in order to make a
tour of the room, and those who were present--for Frederick popular and
condescending was fond of saying a word to each--ranged themselves in
two long rows. The king, whom the Prince of Anhalt followed at a short
distance, began to move down the line of gentlemen, while the queen
turned to that of the ladies. Everyone to whom the king addressed an
observation made a low obeisance. He spoke to everybody, and had a
friendly or flattering word for each. Bitter and Bubna had remained
standing together and waited in respectful silence for Frederick's
address. As he approached General Bitter, Anhalt whispered something in
the king's ear.

"General Bitter, from Mannsfield's camp, is it not so?" asked
Frederick, while a shade of vexation flitted over his face--"I am
pleased to see you in Prague; but you have been some weeks here. I am
surprised that they can do so long without you in Mannsfield's
camp...."

Bubna bit his lips till the blood started; and Bitter answered
undismayed but calmly:

"Since your royal Majesty is so gracious as to enquire the grounds of
my long residence in Prague, I must most humbly take leave to mention
the affairs, that I have already once before had the honour of most
obediently laying before your royal Majesty...."

"No business, no business," said Frederick, so loud that the bystanders
could hear it, "I will for once in my life be joyous and not always
thinking of governing and commanding. For the rest," he continued with
excitement, "complaints are abroad; that Mannsfield places the district
round about Pilsen under contribution as if he were in an enemy's
country, and oppresses my own people: a stop must be put to this."

"If your Majesty will only listen to me for a moment," said Bitter
hastily. "Mannsfield's corps d'armée is made up mainly of foreigners;
bound by no oath to the crown of Bohemia they fight only so long as
they receive pay. The pay is six months in arrear, the famished
soldier, who has not a whole coat to his body, resembles rather a
ragged robber than a man-at-arms, and if Mannsfield were not the adored
hero of our camp, the whole corps would long ago have freed itself from
the bands of discipline.--We are also surrounded by enemies, for Pilsen
and the circumjacent districts are Imperialist in their sympathies, and
the storming of Pilsen cost us many a bloody battle and many a
skirmish.--The peasants, who should deliver corn and forage, and have
up to this time been vainly paid by assignments upon the money that was
to come from Prague, are difficult to deal with, and stand up in arms
against us in large masses. All the necessaries of life have to be
violently procured, sword in hand, out of a hostile and almost
exhausted circle.--Your Majesty in your high wisdom cannot really
expect that Mannsfield could obtain food for four thousand men
and one thousand five hundred horses empty handed. As soon as your
Majesty shall have graciously condescended to give orders to your
commander-in-chief and paymaster, to pay over to us the sum that is
due, there will be an end of all violence, and compensation will be
made to those who have been aggrieved. To lay this and one other
petition before your royal Majesty am I come to Prague, and as I have
not yet been so fortunate as to see the object of my visit crowned with
success, I was to my sorrow obliged to determine to remain absent for a
time from the army, though every officer, every commander, should stay
with his troops."

Anhalt grew pale with anger. Frederick was silent for a moment; the
frank unconstrained speech of Mannsfield's officer had surprised and
for a moment disturbed his composure.

"You speak very openly and unconstrainedly, Sir General,--I love
frankness in a soldier, but you should never transgress the bounds of
due respect. I will talk over and consider what you have said to me
with my commander-in-chief.--When you return to Mannsfield's camp, do
not report to the troops the manner in which you have addressed me--it
might injure respect."

Frederick pronounced these words with a sad smile in an undertone,
almost in a whisper inaudible to the rest.--He went no farther down the
line, the joy of the evening was troubled, the king and queen soon went
away, and Bubna and Bitter were the first to follow their example.

"Pest upon the Palatine," cried Bubna furiously, as both together rode
down the Spornergasse. "But you stood up stoutly, Bitter: answered word
for word and bravely urged your suit. That Frederick stood before thee
trembling like a school-boy! _He_ talk of oppression and forced
contributions, and leaves his own brave troops to perish of hunger!--I
cannot find fault with Thurn for having broken quite loose from this
luxurious court, and shall wait till he returns again to the helm.--God
be merciful to our poor country!"

Before Bubna's house the two Generals took leave of one another, and
Bitter alone, followed by his two mounted servants, galloped over the
bridge to the Altstadt. As he arrived at the Marienplatz, the clapper
of the clock in the tower struck twenty one, equivalent to nine o'clock
in the evening.--The owner of the house was waiting for him at the
great gate, an armourer, who in times past had served under him as
sergeant-major.

"It is already late," whispered Bitter to him, as he rode in, "open the
back-door directly, I must be quick."--Shortly thereupon Otto Bitter
stepped out of the back-door that led into the Plattnergasse; he wore
again the dress of a student and hurried quickly to the Jews-quarter.
The proprietor of the house, a man with a wooden leg, closed the door
carefully and grumbled as he went across the court: "My general is
brave, second to none as a warrior, but this passion is rather
despicable for a great lord, now if it were a count's daughter or a
lady of rank: but a Jewish wench! I cannot understand it."

Gabriel struck into the shortest way to his dwelling by the
Old-Synagogue, he found the gate of the Ghetto still open and passed
through the gate in the street called "golden" into it.--He had walked
a short distance sunk in deep thought, when suddenly some words struck
his ear: "I thank you, dear lady, I cannot accept your company, it is
here, I think, quite safe in the streets and I shall soon be at home."

The melodious ringing tone of this voice made an extraordinary
impression upon Gabriel. A violent terror for a moment thrilled through
him. The strong colossal man was obliged to lean against a wall in
order to save himself from falling, his breast heaved with mighty
respirations, it seemed as if he did not dare to look about him, as if
he was afraid that the form to which that voice belonged would melt
before his eyes into nothing. But at the next moment a woman passed
quickly by him, and the moon, gliding at that moment from behind a
cloud, threw its pale trembling light upon a face that was, as it
chanced, but half concealed by a floating veil. He could recognise the
features, his ear had not deceived him.--"Found," he cried almost aloud
after a pause of speechless rapture; "Gabriel! thou hast drained the
cup of sorrow to the dregs! But thy revenge will be sweet, will be
fearful!" ... then he followed, unobserved, with hasty step, the
woman's form. She stopped for the first time breathless at the Hahnpass
before an apparently quite uninhabited dilapidated three-storied house.
She opened the house-door with a key that she drew out of a pocket in
her dress, and shortly afterwards Gabriel saw a ray of light shooting
from a garret-window. Gabriel wiped the perspiration from his forehead,
rubbed his eyes, looked about him, laid his hands upon the cold walls
of the house in order to convince himself that it was no dream, that
filled him with lying phantoms, that this moment had really and truly
an actual existence. He might have stood there for some few minutes
when again the clear accents of a woman's voice pierced his ear.--"Why
do you stand dreaming there, Reb Gabriel?"

Gabriel awoke as from a heavy sleep; a group of women stood before him,
among them, his hostess Schöndel. "Why do you stand in the street like
this, what are you waiting for? Why have you been neither home nor to
service in the Old-Synagogue since mid-day?"

Gabriel recovered himself quickly; he found himself in the
neighbourhood of Jacob's house; he had frequently excused his staying
away so long from Schlome's house on the plea of his visits to the
lunatic; he, unsociable as he was, never conversed with anyone, and
Gabriel could feel sure that he would not be betrayed by him at any
rate.

"Cannot you see," he said, "I have just come from the poor lunatic, who
enlists my sympathies in the highest degree. One should visit those who
are afflicted with spiritual infirmities, as well as those who suffer
bodily ailment, and, perhaps, to do so is a more excellent work of
charity."

"We too return from doing a good action," replied Schöndel; "I belong
to the society of 'devout women.' We have been praying at the death-bed
of a departing sister, have closed the eyes of a poor forsaken old
woman.--It is sad to die solitary and forsaken."--Schöndel dried her
beautiful eyes, which were wet with emotion.

"We must make haste," said a woman, a neighbour of Schöndels', "or the
gate will be shut, we are the only people who live outside...."

"Reb Gabriel, if you are going home too, give us your company," said
Schöndel.

Gabriel walked silently and rapt in meditation by the side of the two
women, while they, full of the recollection of the sad duty which they
had just performed, did not attempt to resume the conversation.

Arrived at home Schöndel told her husband, how she had found Gabriel at
the door of the lunatic's house, with whom he had spent the afternoon
and evening.--Gabriel threw himself, as soon as he reached his room, in
a more than feverish state of excitement into a chair. The manifold
events of the day all disappeared before the extraordinary impression
that the discovery of that woman had made upon him.--He staid awake the
whole night, pacing the room backwards and forwards and only towards
morning could make up his mind to write the report which Ensign
Michalowitz was to carry back to Count Mannsfield.



                                  IV.


In the garret of a usually uninhabited dilapidated three-storied house
in the Hahnpass a woman was sitting at a rickety table and embroidering
by the light of an oil-lamp a curtain for the holy tabernacle. It was
already late; a rude wind howled through the walls of the poor
dwelling, a corner house, far over-topping all the others. All was dark
in the vicinity, only the windows of the distant lecture-room which was
visited by a succession of students emitted a dull light. The woman,
though no longer in the first bloom of youth, presented a perfect
picture of the most faultless oriental beauty. She might have numbered
six or eight and twenty years. Her wonderfully well-formed face, pale
as a lily, but suffused from time to time with the softest roseate
flush, contrasted superbly with the shining black hair, the rich waving
curls of which issued from under a turban-like head-dress and fell in
waves on her snowy neck. Her eyes were brighter and blacker than coal,
her eyelids fringed with long silky lashes, and her half-opened fresh
lips disclosed two rows of pearly teeth.--She worked assiduously, only
interrupting herself now and then to go to the open door of a second
chamber and listen to the breathing of her sleeping mother--or when she
lent with an expression of the deepest motherly love over a cradle, in
which a baby, the perfect image of its mother was sleeping quietly.

"Blume, my child," now cried the mother from the adjacent room, "are
you still up? Go to bed, spare your eyes, I pray you do so.--When a
person has lived as I have done for more than fifteen years in
darkness, she learns for the first time to set a right value on
eyesight, take my advice, child, go to bed!"

"Only go thou to sleep, dear mother," answered Blume in a loud voice,
almost screaming, and leaving off her work for a few moments. "It is
not so late as you think, it wants two hours yet to midnight."

"If only your husband would return from his journey," sighed the
mother, "he would surely bring money with him, and you would no longer
consider it necessary to make a sacrifice of your sweet precious
sight.--Lord of the world! that a Rottenberg should be reduced to
travel over the country as a scribe in order to earn a livelihood, that
my daughter, my graceful Blume, must work at embroidery to save herself
from beggary, that grieves me--but Lord, Thou art just, and what Thou
doest, is well done, I do not murmur! I only make my supplication
before Thee out of the profoundest depths of my heart, not for myself,
not for myself, who am tottering on the verge of the grave, but for my
children--have mercy upon them!"

"Sleep, dear mother, sleep," cried Blume, and large tears fell like
pearls over her cheeks, "all will come right, believe me, God never
forsakes his own."

Blume shut the door. "Yes, if only my husband were at home again," said
she then, with a shiver; "sometimes I become so sad when I am alone
with my mother and child, alone, forsaken, in a strange and unknown
city! and my husband wanders over the country to earn bread; God
preserve him."

She folded her hands almost involuntarily and began the evening prayer
with fervent devotion. The little slumberer in the cradle awoke and
cried after its mother. Without interrupting her prayer she suckled
it.--She was just saying the words, "May the Everlasting bless and
guard thee! May he let the light of His countenance shine upon thee and
be gracious unto thee, may the Everlasting turn His face to thee and
give thee peace for evermore," as she pressed the child to her bosom,
and falling tears bedewed the babe's lovely face.--Suddenly it seemed
to her as if the house-door was opened--could it be her husband
returned from his journey? that was inconceivable--a man's step sounded
upon the contiguous staircase, she heard a noise, as if some one was
groping for the latch and could not find it.... Who could be seeking
the stranger and friendless woman? a nameless pang for a moment seized
her heart,--she was at the conclusion of the evening prayer, and the
last words of the same filled her again with the confidence of faith,
she said them, perhaps unconsciously, aloud, "Into thy hands I commend
my spirit, sleeping or waking, my soul and body.... God is with me,
therefore, I cannot fear!" She kept her eyes fixed fast upon the
entrance. As a weak wooden bolt fastened the door on the inside, she
expected, that the comer would first knock; but it happened otherwise,
and a single push from a strong hand made the door come open.

"Gabriel," cried Blume, the colour forsaking her lips, with a
suppressed cry of the most hopeless despair; she tore the child from
her breast, which she hurriedly covered, pressed it tight in her arms,
and got up as though she feared that Gabriel would tear it away from
her.

He stood speechless and as one rooted to the ground before her--his
whole body trembled, a strange and wonderful quivering passed over his
pale corpse-like face, his eyes flashed lightning, the fiery mark on
his forehead glowed, his broad breast rose and sank stormily, an
unchained passion seemed to rage within him--for some moments he vainly
strove to speak.

"I am he," he said at length in a hollow voice, and each word sounded
in the ear of the terrified woman like the roar of thunder; "I am
Gabriel Süss--whom ye all expelled and trampled upon.--Thou too.--Thou!
whom I had once so deeply and ardently loved."

A long pause again ensued, Blume's bosom heaved impetuously, she stared
at Gabriel, as if he were some horrible spectre; she held her child
still tightly pressed to her; at length she broke the painful silence
and spoke in a soft imploring voice: "That is past and gone,
Gabriel.... What do you want of me now?"

"Thee!"

The poor tortured woman sank upon her chair. Gabriel paced the chamber
several times.

"Do not waken my blind mother, Gabriel," prayed Blume, at length
timidly and in a voice scarce audible; "age and sickness have weakened
her sense of hearing, but you speak so loudly, so impetuously...."

"Shut the door closer, I must speak with thee alone, no third person
shall hear us...."

Blume shut the door. "Gabriel," she said with trembling voice, "I am
alone with you, I am a weak woman, you are a giant in strength--but
never forget--a third person does hear us, does see us--the spirit of
the Lord is over all--he is near to them which are afflicted, he helps
the oppressed."

Gabriel did not interrupt her; but an incredulous smile so horribly
disfigured his once beautiful features, the fiery mark on his forehead
blazed out so strangely from under his dark hair that the word died
away on her lips..... she felt that an hatred nourished for years in
all its force held irresistible dominion in Gabriel's breast, and that
he was now vainly striving to find an expression for that wild
consuming ardour of vengeance that drove his hot blood to the height of
madness! The baby had again dropped fast asleep, Blume did not know
what to do, she dared not lay the child in its cradle.

"Is that.... thy only child?" Gabriel recommenced after a profound
silence with that singular inexplicable aberration of thoughts which
sometimes seems to come over a man at the very moment when the
overpowering sensations of the moment should in fullest measure occupy
his mental activity.

"It is my only dear innocent child," cried Blume in mortal terror and
bursting into tears--"let me take it to my mother that we may not awake
it."--

"Blume!" shouted Gabriel, seizing her arm and detaining her, "there are
two words that I will never hear from your mouth 'mother' and 'innocent
child', do not utter them in my presence, or you may make me forget
resolves that have been ripening for years, and take once for all a
fearful vengeance on thee and thy child.... 'Mother'" repeated Gabriel
in a voice so sad and piercing that even Blume pitied him, "'mother'
that beautiful sweet heavenly word, which everyone utters and hears so
gladly--that word, which finds its way into the depths of the heart,
and evokes in everyone an inexpressible feeling of bliss. 'Mother' that
word, which ringing through the spheres awakes a magic harmony in the
soul--that word is to me an empty hollow meaningless sound! Every man,
as far as the blue vault of heaven overarches the earth, even though he
were the wretchedest slave, that shakes his chain in maniacal fury,
every living being, all, all, all have or have had a mother----only I
not! only I not, I alone since men have walked the earth! The woman,
the abandoned creature, the demon.... that thrust me into this
existence.... she was no mother! Fye, fye, call her not mother! apply
not the beautiful glorious name to her!--a mother--though it were the
spotted hyena that destroys in mere wantonness, a mother defends her
offspring.... a mother does not pile the whole weight of the sins which
she has committed upon her child's innocent head, while it stands
wringing its hands, in despair at her deathbed--a mother...."

"Gabriel, hush! for God's sake, say no more.... speak no more so of thy
mother, my mother's sister. In spite of all she is thy mother, thou art
her son! she is dead, be not hard upon her--a day will come, when thou
too wilt stand before the judgment seat of the most High, when thou too
wilt implore the mercy, the grace of God. Oh, think of that! The
moments of each mortal existence are numbered.... think on the last
hours of thy life!... hadst thou in thy storm-tossed life never sinned,
hadst thou never committed a fault, never--save to speak thus of thy
mother, of thy mother that carried thee in her womb, bore thee in pain,
nourished, nursed, loved.... hadst thou committed no fault but in
speaking thus of thy mother.... Gabriel, thou must tremble at the
thought of the world to come."

Blume spoke these words with noble indignation, with the impulsive
enthusiasm of a prophetess, her cheeks glowed, her eyes sparkled, she
resembled a supernatural being.

"Woman!" replied Gabriel, with flashing glance, "I do not tremble!... I
have looked death in the face thousands of times in the whirl of battle
and did not tremble, thousands have fallen beside me mutilated by the
enemies' cannon, their scattered brains have sprinkled my face, and I
did not tremble--I was surrounded by bands of foes, all pointed their
swords at my breast, I was wounded, seemed lost--I slew them all but
did not tremble."

"But you are alive, it was not your last moment," interposed Blume
hastily,--"but by the Almighty God of Israel, who made the worlds
above, and will hereafter awaken those who slumber below," she pointed
up to the blue dome of heaven, down to the graves of the snow-covered
burial-ground seen from her window--"by his holy name--_when thy last
hour strikes, in the last moment of thy life thou wilt tremble,
repentance will break thy proud unbending heart_."

Gabriel was silent, "let us quit the vain contention of priests, of
Rabbis," he said at length, involuntarily in a milder tone: "Thou hast
never troubled thyself about my life--leave to me the care of my hour
of death--what signifies it to thee? Wilt thou be near me in my last
hour? wilt thou close my wearied eyes? wilt thou scare the ravens from
my bloody corpse, when I lie on the field of battle trampled under the
hoofs of horses? What carest thou for me and my soul's salvation? What
carest thou for the stranger, the outcast? Long, long is it vanished,
the beautiful golden time when it would have been otherwise...."

Gabriel spoke again with measureless impetuosity, but yet in his last
words a deeply agitated expression of sorrow had wonderfully mingled
itself with the wild rage, and even Blume, the noble loyal wife, was
much touched, she perceived how this stony man had once loved her, how
fruitful in misery his past life must have been!

"You are alone? Your husband is absent? Do you know where he is?" asked
Gabriel after a pause, apparently calm.

Blume was convulsed again with a fearful terror and answered humbly:
"He travels about as a scribe to earn us bread. I do not know where he
is, I have no news of him--have compassion upon us, Gabriel, the
Rottenbergs are no longer rich, we are poor and wretched."

Gabriel gazed awhile darkly before him, then suddenly, as if embracing
a violent resolution, stood before Blume and pressed her down on a
chair.

"Woman," he said, "for ten years have I sought thee, ten years have I
panted to see thee, to speak with thee, to be avenged on thee, as the
wounded, exhausted hart for fresh water.--When I saw at a distance the
towers of Prague, where I knew that I should find thee, when I entered
the Ghetto whose gates enclosed thee--then my heart bounded with a wild
joy, I assumed the dress of a student, I visited all the houses of
prayer, the lecture-rooms, the libraries, in order to meet your
husband. I dwelt with those to whom I bear a deadly hate, all this
only--to find thee.... I despised not to associate with a mad beggar,
because I believed he would put me upon your track--when I recognised
you yesterday evening, I was so happy in my hate, so superabundantly
happy, to have found thee, to have revenge in my power--happy! as I
have never been since that fateful hour when all the hope of my life
was quenched and now, now that I stand before thee, that my hands clasp
thy beautiful rounded arm, now, at this moment words fail me to tell
thee, how fervently I hate thee, how fervently I hate ye all...."

Gabriel again paced up and down in the highest excitement. "I will tell
you a story, Blume," he said at length, pushing a chair by her side, "a
very notable story, most of it you already know, but it matters not, it
is long since the history has crossed my lips, and I will once more
bring my comfortless past before my soul, perchance in so doing I
shall find the true expression for that emotion which agitates my
breast.--Once upon a time there lived in Cologne a man named Baruch
Süss. He was physician to the Archbishop, rich, powerful, and respected
at court. But he was prouder of the possession of two daughters, Miriam
and Perl, than of his wealth and influence. On the death of two hopeful
boys he had transferred to them his whole love. They were the most
beauteous maidens in Germany, and suitors soon approached them from all
corners of the world. Miriam could with difficulty make up her mind,
and only after the younger, Perl, your mother, had intermarried with a
branch of the celebrated Rottenberg family, did her father succeed in
fixing her choice upon his brother's son, his nephew, Joseph Süss, who
lived at Spires.--Their marriage was for three years a childless one,
in the fourth she announced to her enraptured husband that she was a
mother.--Miriam Süss was brought to bed of a wonderfully beautiful boy,
they named him Gabriel. The happy husband rejoiced, the poor were
bountifully endowed, a rich foundation established. Baruch of Cologne,
the grandfather, who before had feared that he would remain without
posterity, undertook the fatiguing journey to Spires for the express
purpose of seeing his first grandchild, and in the first intoxication
settled his property upon him after his death. Shortly after me, you,
Blume, were born, and the grandfather and his two sons-in-law agreed,
that the children should some day be united in the bond of wedlock. The
years of my childhood and of my youth flew happily by. Idolised by a
father whose rich love I could not, though with the best intentions,
adequately return, I clave with an infelt warm and holy love to my
mother, who guarded me as the apple of her eye. Both because I remained
an only child, and on account of my intended union with you, Blume, who
wast also the only child of thy parents, my grandfather heaped all his
tenderness upon my head. I remember but dimly my earliest childhood,
and only one circumstance presents itself to my soul, but so mistily,
so confusedly, that even to this day I am in doubt, whether it was not
a dream, a deceitful phantom, that my glowing fancy at a later period
created and then referred back to an earlier time. I was once walking
outside the gate, accompanied as usual by a maidservant, when suddenly
a tall, pale, thin man threw himself upon me, pressed me to his heart,
and dropped two large tears upon my face. My nursemaid, as surprised as
I, would have screamed, but he pressed a piece of gold into her hand
and speedily made off with a heavy sigh.--If it was not a dream, that
man was my father!"

Gabriel stopped exhausted. Blume was acquainted with her kinsman's
early history, she followed his narrative with the most strained
attention, anxiously awaiting the moment when he should come to the
most fearful catastrophe of his life.

"You know," continued Gabriel, "that from my ninth year I passed one
half of the year with my grandfather, the other in my parents' house.
My education was a perfect one. In Spires I was thoroughly instructed
in religious and Talmudic knowledge; my grandfather, loved and
respected at the Court of the Archbishop of Cologne, and owing to his
situation, for a Jew a peculiar one, in constant intercourse with the
Rhenish nobility, caused me to be indoctrinated with all those
sciences, that are ordinarily less accessible to German Jews. I even
dared devote myself to knightly arts and exercises, forbidden them in
the largest portion of Germany either by law or arbitrarily. I was well
made, strong, gifted with a keen and penetrating spirit. I was nineteen
years old, and once, it was on the feast of the dedication, on my
return home from the high-school at Frankfurt, I found my grandfather
there. It had with wise foresight--not to arouse my opposition before
hand--been kept secret from me that they intended to marry me to you
whom I had never seen before, and even then when it was announced that
we were all to go and visit uncle Joel in Worms, it never in the least
occurred to me, that the journey was to be a bridal one for me. We
arrived at Worms. I saw you, Blume! resplendent with all the lustre of
your youthful beauty, and the deepest love that ever seized man's heart
blazed suddenly high in my bosom. To my mother's husband who called
himself my father I had only devoted a feeling of gratitude, not of
inclination, and it was my, your grandfather, to whom I openly declared
my ardent affection, and that I believed it to be returned. 'My
glorious, my dear child,' exclaimed the old man and tears streamed from
his eyes, 'by thee all the wishes of my heart are fulfilled; yes,
Gabriel! Blume, thy mother's sister's daughter, is the bride that was
destined for thee. God bless the union, that your fathers concluded
upon in your earliest years, and that you have sealed by the feelings
of your heart.' Holding my grandfather's hand I stood before you, and
dared to kiss your forehead white as alabaster. We were bride and
bridegroom...."

Gabriel made another pause. Blume's face revealed the fearful anguish
of her soul, she knew, what would follow, and cold clear drops of
perspiration trickled down her face, which even the bitterest mental
torture could not rob of its miraculous attractiveness. Her heart beat
audibly.

"I was the happiest man on earth," continued Gabriel in a voice, the
unsteadiness of which was a sign of the infinite sorrow that consumed
his soul, "I was filled with my faith to which I clave with all the
strength of my mind and spirit. It made me happy, it exalted me. I had
a mother, and I loved my mother with that unutterable superhuman
intenseness, for which we vainly seek an expression, which can only
exist to such a pitch in the heart of a grateful child. I had thee, and
how I loved thee, how I loved thee, Blume! That thou hast never had an
idea of, that thou couldst never have had an idea of!..."

Gabriel stopped short, his voice, that in the whirl of battle could be
heard above the thunder of the cannon, sounded feeble and tremulous;
his gleaming eyes were wet. He passed his hand over his forehead, and
went on: "It was doomed to be otherwise. Ten months had elapsed since
our betrothal, I was at Worms, on a visit to you, and full of hope was
looking towards a future close at hand, in which you were to be wedded
to me; when an unexpected message arrived, that my mother had been
suddenly attacked by a mortal sickness, that I was to make haste, if I
would see her again alive. A maddening grief thrilled through my
breast. I flew along the road to Spires, like one hunted by evil
shadows; I arrived late on the evening of the new year. The servants
were waiting for me in the entrance-hall, they wished to delay me, to
prepare me; I paid no heed to their officiousness, and flew breathless
and swift as an arrow up the stairs and into my mother's sick-room. She
was still living, but lay at her last gasp. The darkness was broken:
many men had already assembled to say the prayers for a departing
soul,--the chamber was lit by a pendant lamp of eight branches in the
centre of it. Joseph Süss stood by her bed and held her hands in his.
The sorrowful consolation of finding her still alive struggled in me
with the bitterest grief 'Here am I, dear Mother,' I cried in a voice
choked by tears, throwing myself on my knees before her, and covering
her beautiful cold hand with hot kisses, 'here am I, good sweet mother!
I was sure that thou wouldst tarry for thine own true son.... I could
not believe, dear true-hearted mother, that thou wouldest soar away
from me before I arrived.... here I am, here I kneel before thee in
deep inexpressible sorrow. Why do you not speak to me?... Look at me
once again, only once again, with thy mild loved eye, speak to me I
implore you! only one word, but one, a last farewell ... lay thine hand
in blessing on the head of thy only child, whom thou forsakest, who is
dying of deep and infinite grief!..."

"The bye-standers, though accustomed to scenes of death, were
constrained to sob aloud at the unbounded outbreak of my childish
emotion and my vain entreaty seemed not to be ineffectual. Miriam Süss
suddenly raised herself in the bed, as if lifted by a spring, her
beautiful face, already touched by the breath of death, was a
blue-white, her eyes protruded far out of their sockets ... _but she
did not bless me_!... she folded her hands and began in a tremulous but
perfectly intelligible voice: 'Lord of the World!... Thou hast sent thy
messenger to me, and I must pass into the shadowy realms of death.... I
tremble before Thee, O Lord and Judge! for I have sore sinned, gone
sore astray!... Forgive me, O God, Thou that art gracious to all, and
pardoneth iniquity and sins; I have bitterly repented, made large
atonement.... and that all men may know, that my repentance is perfect
and sincere, I will now in the last moment of my life, openly and
loudly confess before thee my husband and these worthy men the whole
enormity of my inexpiable guilt.... _I broke my marriage vows to
thee_.... _and my son Gabriel is not thy son_....' Blume! what I felt
at that moment, poor human speech is incapable of expressing.... Grief,
passion, woe, torment--put together in one conception all the notions
that these words embrace; multiply them by thousands,--and you will
still have no idea of that which coursed quivering through my broken
heart,--With one blow, with one single, mighty, well-aimed blow, an
infinite filial love was driven out of my breast, and the blackest hate
filled me, a hate, well founded and inextinguishable. Had I lived a
thousand lives and every moment of my life committed a deadly sin, yet
_if there is a divine justice_.... all the iniquity of my life would
have been atoned for by this too woeful moment. At the very time when I
was supplicating with hot tears a blessing from my dying mother--_she
betrayed me_, cast me out of the Paradise of my life into never ending
torment.... at a time when for her I would have breathed out my life
with a smile and in silence under the cruellest tortures, when I would
have with joy delivered my soul for her salvation to the everlasting
torments of the damned, at _that time my mother betrayed me_!!! 'Mad
liar! recall the words! say that an evil spirit has spoken by thy
mouth!' I cried in a furious voice, shaking violently her almost
inanimate body. 'I cannot, Gabriel, I cannot,' she shrieked, 'pray for
me!... Lord of the world! forgive me! be gracious unto me! have pity on
me! I have sore sinned.... Oh God! accept my confession and death as
atonement! Hear Israel ...' she could say no more, her eyes grew
dim--she fell back--a light death sigh heaved her breast--she had
ceased to exist.... 'No, dead mother, No,' I cried, 'God will not have
compassion upon thee, since thou knewest no compassion for me--I curse
thee and thy memory: ...' I uttered the most fearful maledictions, the
most horrible curses--they tore me from my mother's lifeless corpse....

"Joseph Süss Lad sunk speechless at the confession of his guilty wife.
When he came to himself he foamed with rage. His guilty wife was dead
and the poor deceived man turned the whole weight of his irreconcilable
wrath upon my innocent head.--The bond that should have united us to
one another was loosed, I was not his son, I was a stranger--oh! far
less than a stranger.... He took no time for reflection, and an hour
later I stood alone, forsaken, an outcast from the house, that I had
hitherto called my home! Thus had one moment, one word, robbed me of
father, mother, love, memory, past and future.

"I wandered all the night about the town, I could not wait till morning
dawned, and when it came I wished that the darkness of night had
endured for ever. Early on new year's day every one went to the
synagogue, I, I alone shunned the face of men.... I would not remain in
the street, and in the despair of my heart turned my steps towards the
dwelling of my early teacher, a sick, bed-ridden old man, obliged even
on highest feast-days to perform his devout exercises at home. I found
him already sitting up in bed and reading by the light of a lamp. The
report of my humiliation had already reached even him, at sight of his
once loved scholar he uttered a cry and the bible fell from his
trembling hands. Was it chance, was it perhaps that my old teacher,
revolving my unhappy situation, had opened at the passage in scripture
that applied to it, I know not; but as I bent to pick up the book, my
glance fell upon it, the words danced in varied iridescence before my
burning eyes, I read the words: 'A bastard shall not enter into the
congregation of the Lord.' I felt anew a wild spasm at my heart.
Together with the fearful unutterable excitement that had seized me at
the shameless confession of that woman, who had carried me in her womb,
with the crushing pain of seeing myself so humiliated before the eyes
of men; there had also sprung up the melancholy self-tormenting feeling
that I owed my existence to a sin, that I had been launched into the
world against the will of the Most High, whom I at that time worshipped
with boundless reverence: ... But as I once more read those clear and
significant words, the words of that scripture which I had hitherto
looked upon as binding and sacred--as I read the sentence of the Lord,
whom I, bowed to the dust in fulness of faith, had called all-merciful,
all-good, all-just--as I read the judgment, that made me, me guiltless
of the transgression, miserable--that brought me to naught; T tore out
of my lacerated and bleeding heart that blind faith, that could never
restore me to bliss, never make me happy, that faith which might never
more seem true and sacred to me.... I tore myself free from religion,
sweet comfortress, that offered consolation to all but me...."

"It was mid-day. The walls of the city were too confined for me. I went
out, and while my former brethren in the faith were praying in God's
house, I sat alone in the deep forest, weeping hot bitter tears, tears
more agonizing than man had ever wept before! It was a lovely fresh
autumnal day, the rays of the sun pierced with deadened heat through
the tops of the trees tinted with the yellow hues of autumn, the birds
chirped cheerful songs, a soft mild wind breathed through the withering
arbour, the deepest peace had dominion around: in me seethed the
bitterest deadliest hatred.--I may have sat there for hours plunged in
the most melancholy brooding, when I suddenly started up: It flashed
across me, like bright lightning in a clear night, that I was not yet
lost. Thy loved image, Blume! appeared all at once in liveliest colours
before my soul. I still had thee! only thee in the wide world: but
still I had thee: what more could I want?" The sentence of Scripture
had branded me, my mother had betrayed me, my brethren had rejected
me,--but still I had thee, thee, Blume! thou who couldest make up to me
for all that, all of it, all. To thee I now transferred the whole
wealth of my undivided love! a nameless ardent longing after thee burnt
like wild fire in my soul; my love to thee had reached the height of
madness. Remembrance of thee had effaced the horrible warning of the
immediate past, had averted my gaze from the dark future--to live with
thee, Blume! in some remote corner of the world, so sweet a child, my
child!... "Blume," said Gabriel, suddenly breaking off with an accent of
the most passionate grief.---"Thou mightest have been my guardian
angel.... By thee, Blume, I might have been converted again.... Thou
hast dealt injuriously with me, thou hast not acted justly.--Blume, if
there is a God--hearest thou! I will not believe it, I dare not believe
it, but if there is, Blume! at thy hands will my soul be required!... I
hurried to Worms--how thy father rejected me with contumely, how I
learnt, that as soon as they had received the quickly circulated news,
they had instantly betrothed thee to thy father's nephew, thy cousin
Aaron,--all that you know.--What I suffered, that you did not know, no!
for the honour of humanity I will believe that you did not know it--I
insisted on speaking to you alone; I trusted that your father had lied,
that you would behave differently to the others, would have compassion
upon me, would love me! I waited wistfully for the feast of atonement:
I knew, that while the rest were praying in God's temple, you would
remain at home with your blind mother. On the afternoon of the festival
I crept into your house. Breathless I hurried through the well-known
passages and opened the door that led into your mother's room. She was
asleep, you were sitting by her bed and praying. I stood on the
threshold trembling like an aspen. I thought that with a cry of joy you
would throw yourself into my arms, kiss the tears from my eyelids, dry
the cold drops of anguish that fell from my forehead. 'Blume,' I cried,
'wilt fly with me? Wilt be my wife?' you were silent. 'You too Blume!'
I cried in inexpressible sorrow, and fell at your feet.... your bosom
panted, your lips moved, as though you would speak, but you did not
speak, your look fixed itself ghostlike upon me, as if I, innocent and
unfortunate, had escaped from hell! I wished to break the dull silence,
I sought for words, to move you, to melt the hard marble of thy heart;
but I suddenly felt myself seized from behind, your father, your
betrothed had returned home to enquire after your mother's health. A
wild fury disfigured their faces.... you heard how they insulted and
laughed me to scorn, you saw how they cast me forth, mercilessly,
pitylessly, as a mangy hound is expelled with kicks; yes you saw it,
but said nothing, you did not fall into their arms, ... you did not
stand trembling and wringing your hands.... 'Blume,' yelled Gabriel
shaking her fiercely by the arm, and a mad fury flashed from his eyes,
'why did you allow that horror to be perpetrated, tell me, woman! why?
Why did you give your hand to the man, who so fearfully and
undeservedly insulted me, an innocent man,--tell me, why? speak!'"

Blume sobbed violently, she folded her beautiful white hands, her lips
moved silently in fervent prayer.

"Blume!" said Gabriel, after a moment's pause, in a dull unsteady
voice. "If my deadly enemy, who bears an everlasting hatred to me, who
strives with hot desire to drink my heart's blood--if my deadly enemy
were to lay at my feet as I on that evening kneeled before thee, I who
am steadfast in hate, I who know no pity, should weep hot tears of
compassion--and I was not your enemy, I had loved you with a love as
infelt and holy as is permitted to a human soul, I would have given the
last drop of my heart's blood for one tear from your eyes,--and you, a
weak, mild, pitiful woman, would not weep that tear.... You stood there
dismayed, but did not keep off those furious one's.... What had I done
to you? What was my transgression? Had not I been, to my mother's last
breath, devout, noble, self-sacrificing?--Why did you solemnly inter
the guilty mother as a contrite penitent, and cast out the innocent
son? When I was cast forth from your house, Blume! when the last cable
of my hope snapped there:--then I swore in my soul, a fearful undying
vengeance: ... I love not men, I hate you Jews, but the most burning
hate that man, or perhaps hell is capable of, I bear against thy
mother, thy husband, and far beyond all in my heart against thee."

"Then slay me," cried Blume hastily, "and leave my husband, my mother,
leave all in peace! let the whole weight of your anger fall on my head,
slay me, Gabriel, but spare the others...."

The tiny sleeper on her arms awoke again and stretched its hands
smiling towards its mother. Blume shuddered and broke into loud
sobbing: "No, Gabriel, slay me not, let me live, see me at thy
feet,"--she cast herself upon her knees--"let me live, I supplicate not
for myself, by the Almighty God, not for my own sake;--but look at this
innocent babe, its father is far away, it has only its mother, could
you be responsible for depriving it of its mother? You do not know what
a mother feels for her child."

"Hush, Blume, and stand up!" cried Gabriel, pulling the kneeling woman
up from the ground, and the veins in his forehead swelled high: "are you
mad? Do you think I shall murder a defenceless woman? be composed, I
shall not slay thee.... That is not the revenge I shall take."

Both were silent. Blume opened the window, she looked whether a light
was still burning in the lecture-room, a faint glimmer shot from the
windows of the distant edifice, she felt relieved by the knowledge that
men were still awake there! A cold wind blew through the room, neither
Gabriel or Blume observed it, only the child shivered in its mother's
arms.

"You have suffered much," so Blume broke the long painful silence.

"You have fallen off from the faith of your fathers? You are ..., you
were...."

Blume knew not what she said, but this silence of the grave was mortal
to her, she was constrained to speak, and almost involuntarily emitted
these words from her lips.

"From the faith of my fathers!" re-echoed Gabriel; "you choose your
words well, each is a poisoned arrow and barbed--have I then forsaken
the faith of my fathers? Do I forsooth know my father? For ten years
have I sought him, and thee," he continued thoughtfully, "thee have I
found,--shall I ever discover him, whom perhaps--and supposing I did
find him," said Gabriel after a long silence, inwardly communing, and
rather as addressing himself, "would the voice of nature, as silly men
declare, conquer? Full of infinite love should I fling myself into my
father's arms, or should I be possessed with an unspeakable hatred
against the faithless traitor, who was perhaps wantoning in luxury,
when his child, loaded with insult and scorn, was cast out from the
threshold of that house that he had for twenty years called home! If he
proves such a man, if he has forgotten me, if he has never been mindful
of the unhappy one whom to his everlasting misery he tossed out into
the wide desolate world; if he proves like the mother, who even on her
death-bed betrayed her child, if he should prove such, and I do find
him, Blume: I shall gloriously conclude my wretched existence with a
parricide."

Blume shuddered. Gabriel threw himself into a chair and hid his face
with both hands.

"But if it is not so, supposing it otherwise," he began again after a
long pause, in the course of which the foaming billows of his wrath had
sunk, "if the apparition in my youth was a truth and no deception, if
his tears did indeed once bedew the face of his child, if my father has
been pining in infinite sorrow for his long lost son, if his heart has
been sighing after me with the same strange emotion as sometimes in
hours of quiet rises convulsively in the depths of my soul, if racked
by repentance and the stings of conscience he has been seeking me mad
with grief.... if I should find him thus, though he were the meanest on
earth, the wretchedest beggar to whom one flings a morsel of bread--and
stood before me in that condition--Blume! I have often declared, and
now repeat, by my troth, and knightly honour! I should fold him
lovingly in my arms.... and though it were the last moment of my life,
my last breath--my last, yea dying breath should be a loud Hallelujah."

Gabriel stopped suddenly, Blume too had for some time been listening.
Out of the bushes in a distant corner of the graveyard, on the gusts of
a favouring wind, sounds of lamentation came born to the ears of both
of them. Each for a time had accepted what was heard as a deception to
be accounted for by the fearful excitement of the moment; but the
sounds, at first dying away with a hollow echo, came nearer:

"My Son, my Son;" it rung now clearer and clearer in their ears, "my
much loved only child--where art thou? Come to me, thou dear one....
thou wert born in sin, but I love thee in spite of all! for in truth
you are my only son! Where can I find thee? could I find thee in
heaven, I would seek thee there; could I find thee far over the sea, I
would seek thee there.--Where art thou, thou that wert conceived in
sin, thou that art so near to my heart? approach me and let us crave
mercy at my father's grave, perhaps God will have compassion on me,
will pardon me!... Oh! if my son but lives and I may see him again:
then, then would I die!..."

The clock on a neighbouring tower tolled midnight, a wind sprung up,
and sighed over the wide desolate space of the graveyard.... the clang
of the clock, the rustling of the wind drowned the words which again
died away in the distance. Gabriel had become deadly pale. He stepped
to the window, and gazed for a long while down: but saw nothing. "It
was an illusion," he said softly, quickly recovering himself by a
wonderful mental effort--"my sharp glance detects nothing in the wide,
and snow-covered space--and the dead have no voice."

Blume shivered, she did not dare announce that she too had heard the
ghostly cry from the graveyard. Gabriel stared fixedly before him, sunk
in gloomy brooding. Blume tried to read his soul. She had never seen
him since that fateful day of the feast of atonement. He, who had once
loved her, who had once clung with the perfect fresh strength of youth
to his faith, to humanity, to his people, to justice, had become a
changed man. Branded by holy scripture, which human wisdom can never
quite interpret, betrayed by his mother whom he idolized, driven from
her presence, cast forth from the society of his brethren--his soul was
filled with hate. But even his hate she was unable to fathom. When he
had entered, she feared that he would rob her of her child, that he
would slay herself--that he would not do so, was now clear--but she
dared not yet be tranquil, for he had declared that he hated her, that
he would be revenged upon her. In pitiful sorrow she gazed motionless
at his lips, at every movement of which her blood again ran cold:
though his silence seemed to her yet more horrible. Once more one of
those long and oft-recurring pauses had intervened, that seemed to
Blume to last an eternity. Her unspeakable oppression was intensified
by the profound impression caused by the singular incident that had
just occurred, by astonishment at Gabriel who seemed by force of will
to have soon banished it from his soul.

"Gabriel," implored Blume, "I pray thee, speak, break this weird
silence, it is awful! say what thou wilt, go on with your story."

"Dost thou consider Blume! thy silence was once awful to me too....
once thou hadest no word of pity, no look of compassion for a poor
innocent martyr, and I languished for a word of love.--Had my
grandfather then still continued to live at Cologne perhaps.... I do
not know, but perhaps he, he alone, would have taken me to his arms.
But the fearful tidings, that branded his daughter, his grandson, gave
his name a prey to the scornful, and blighted his dearest hopes, threw
the old man on a bed of death. I arrived two days after his funeral at
Cologne. Every one shunned me, my misfortune was known to all my
brethren in the faith.

"I took possession, as heir, of my grandfather's immense property. I
was no longer attached by any tie to this life, all that I had loved, I
was constrained to hate, that which had once been true and holy to me,
now seemed to me lying and false, I was the unhappiest man on earth! I
broke with my whole past life, I would have none of it live on within
me, except the remembrance of my unmerited humiliation, that fanned the
hot flame of my revenge with undiminished fury.... I sought by some
overt act to prove that I had become a changed man. In the cathedral at
Aix-la-chapelle I abjured the old faith, and swore enmity in my heart
against all those that clave to it.... As I came out of the church a
crowd of people had assembled to gape at the new convert. I did not
lift my eyes; but felt that the odious looks of all were fixed upon me.
I hurried through the press, and sought to gain a side street that led
to my dwelling. The crowd that accompanied me fell off one by one, and
at last I heard the step of but one solitary person behind me, who
followed me obstinately to the door of my house. I did not look round,
but as I was about to step into the house, I felt myself seized by the
cloak. 'What do you want?' I asked of the importunate fellow, a beggar
in the dress of a poor Jew. 'Nothing,' replied he, with the wandering
gaze of madness, 'nothing, except to tell you, that you have done
wrong.... Thou hast forsaken thy Father in heaven.... and a good child
seeks his father, even though he has prepared sorrow for him.... There
is no greater grief than when father and son seek and cannot find one
another!...' The maniac ran quickly away: but his words, burnt into my
soul like kindled sparks.--I did not know my father! my mother had died
without naming his name.--The high reputation for virtue which she had
enjoyed during her lifetime, had not permitted the faintest doubt to
rest upon her, and even if I had ventured to induce my brethren to make
any revelations, my inquiries would have been vain. I had as yet been
too stunned to think of my unknown father; but now, with the wild
thirst for vengeance on you all, was associated a feeling, so singular,
so wonderful, that I can never describe it. At one moment I was
inflamed with unutterable hate against the unknown author of my days,
at another I felt myself more mildly disposed, and a profound longing
took possession of my torn heart. At one moment I believed myself
convinced that he had forgotten me, and revelled with undisturbed and
cheerful mind in earthly happiness, while his son succumbed before a
woeful affliction; at another I hoped that he, who had never betrayed
me, who had never for years enforced his paternal authority, had
omitted to do so by reason of his inextinguishable love for me. A
tormenting, frequently rapid succession of emotions took powerful hold
on my heart; but from that moment a desire was born within me to find
my father, were it to demand fearful reckoning of him, or were it to
fall reconciled into his fatherly arms!

"Three days later I received intelligence that they had wedded you to
your betrothed. You were in a great hurry, and your grandfather's death
could not deter you from your hasty resolution. Thou, my ardently
beloved adored bride, gavest thy hand to him who had disgracefully
mis-used me as I lay on my knees in supplication before thee!... The
marriage was solemnized at Worms, while I in Aix was languishing in
maddest grief!--My determination to be avenged remained firm and
immovable, but I was as yet too weak, too powerless to carry it into
effect!"

Gabriel ceased, pressed both hands to his burning forehead and went on,
after a long pause, passionlessly almost calmly.

"I was restless and changeable, I knew not whither to turn my steps,
nor what to set about. War was kindled in a part of Germany, but
I did not care about it, I was indifferent to it. I wandered in wild
fury from city to city, from village to village; and found nowhere
peace and rest. I was often forced to rise in the middle of the
night and travel further: an irresistible power seemed to urge me
on. One stormy winter's night I had arrived at a small town in the
district of Juliers, and intended to pass the night there: but
sleep fled my wearied eyes, about midnight I arose and had my
horse saddled. My servant resolutely refused to go on in the fearful
storm, people dissuaded me from continuing my journey, the roads were
unsafe.--Nothing could restrain me, some impulse drove me abroad!... I
may have ridden for two hours objectless, when I suddenly heard a
report of firearms. I rode in the direction whence the noise came, and
saw by the light of the full moon, that momentarily appeared through an
opening in the wind-riven clouds, a group of horsemen engaged at a
short distance in a fierce struggle. I almost involuntarily spurred my
horse to a swifter pace, and first held rein when close to the angry
fight. This was an unequal one. Five horsemen, manifestly the
aggressors, formed a half circle round a tall and knightly form.
Enveloped in a white mantle, his head protected by an open dragoon's
helmet, the man who was attacked was obliged at the moment of my
arrival to make head alone against the superior number, for his
attendant had fallen shortly before, wounded by a pistol-shot. I
remained for a moment an inactive spectator. Two corpses and two
masterless steeds on the side of the assailants proved beyond a doubt
that the White-mantle and his companion had made good use of their
fire-arms; but now that this last had been put hors-de-combat the other
was fully occupied in parrying the thrusts of the attacking party. The
moon threw its pale light on the White-mantle, who, with lips fast
pressed, flashing eye and steady hand covered himself against every
assault, and wielded his mighty sword with almost superhuman strength.
The weapons clashed, other wise there was a profound stillness. I
approached in rear of the assailants. When he who was sore pressed saw
me, a ray of hope seemed to flit over his pale noble features; but no
sound escaped his lips. My arrival altered the position of affairs. Two
of the horsemen wheeled round and presented their pistols at me.
'Brandenburgian or Imperialist?' they cried.--'It's all the same to
me,' was my honest answer. One of my interrogators now turned about,
and aimed steady and sure at the head of the White-mantle. At that
moment my full sympathy was aroused for the man whose life was
threatened.

"He was forsaken, alone against many:--without analysing my motive,
driven by some inner impulse without even knowing to what party he
belonged, I drew the pistols from my holster, and shot down the man who
had taken aim. 'Receive my thanks, Saviour in the hour of need, I will
never forget you,' cried White-mantle, raising himself, as if endued
with fresh strength, high in his saddle, and directing against one of
his surprised opponents a blow so mighty that he fell lifeless to the
ground. We were now two against three--the White-mantle was saved--with
a wonderful inimitable, caracole he placed his horse by my side. I had
not time to discharge my second pistol, for our opponents, well skilled
in arms, pressed us with redoubled impetuosity. I tore the sword from
my side and fought with that boundless untamed fury that filled my
heart. The hot fight did me good, I did not feel the blood, trickling
from my arm, but on a sudden out of the neighbouring thicket a ball
whistled by my ear, I fell wounded.... White-mantle supported me with
one arm, with the other still kept brandishing his mighty weapon. At
that instant I heard the tramp of horses, but closed my eyes and lost
consciousness. Eight days later when I recovered my senses I found
myself to my astonishment in a handsome apartment in Juliers.... I was
lying in bed--I learnt that the warrior, whose life I had saved, was
the Imperialist General, Count Ernest of Mannsfield, Margrave of
Castelnuovo and Bortigliere. Brandenburgian horsemen had laid in wait
for him, when he rashly enough, accompanied only by his lieutenant, had
set out on his way back to the city. The ball which had struck me, was
fired by some sharp-shooters from Neuberg, who had come to the aid of
the Brandenburgers: but the report of fire-arms had at the same instant
brought up some Imperial dragoons whose arrival had settled the small
skirmish in our favour. They told me that Mannsfield was ardently
desirous of offering his thanks to me for the unexpected help, and when
I declared that I now felt myself well and strong enough to receive his
visit, some moments afterwards he entered my room. Mannsfield was at
that time twenty years old. He was a tall powerful man; his
extraordinarily pale earnest face with pointed Spanish beard and
mustachios was framed with dark waving locks, his large eyes gazed
feelingly at me, he held out his hand. 'I thank thee, Brother,' he said
with emotion, and each of his words made a deep impression upon my poor
heart, void of love.--'Thou hast saved my life, I will never--may God
help me--forget thee! You were ignorant whom you succoured, you
offered--as a good soldier should--a saving hand, not to the Count
Mannsfield, not to the Imperial Marshal, no, to the man, to the hard
pressed worn-out unknown soldier! no oath bound you, what you did for
me had its source only in the free will of your noble soul....'

"Blume! you had all rejected me, I stood alone in the wide world, my
heart, that could love so warmly, so boundlessly, was desolate and
bleeding. Each word of Mannsfield's dropped balsam upon the wounds of
my soul: an emotion, so profound, as could only be excited in me at a
time when still credulous and undeceived, I dared live for a sweet
delusion, thrilled through me; my whole heart expanded to his words, I
pressed the hand of the noble soldier, and hot tears rolled from my
eyes. 'Now if you are strong enough, and talking does not try you,'
continued Mannsfield, 'let me learn the name of my saviour. What is thy
escutcheon, where is thy home?'

"Drops of agony stood on my forehead. Once more the past moved in swift
flight over my soul, all seemed to me a confused dream! I fought a hard
fight with myself; chance had led me to a powerful grateful friend,
could I venture to narrate to him frankly and unconstrainedly my life's
history? Had I not reason to fear that the renowned hero, the General,
the Emperor's favourite would turn scornfully from me? from me, a
renegade Jew, an outcast of his brethren, a man branded from his birth?
Mannsfield remarked my hesitation. 'I will not urge you,' he continued
after a pause of surprise: 'perhaps a mystery hangs over your name--I
am sorry, but be you what or who you will you will ever remain dear to
me--a thought suddenly flashed across him. Perhaps you are a
Protestant? perhaps an adherent of the Union?' he exclaimed, 'ah how
little you know Mannsfield! By God Almighty--be you who you will--you
are prized by and dear to me.... Shall I speak to you in confidence? I
am at the bottom of my heart not averse to the Protestantism, which I
now do battle against under the standard of my glorious Imperial
master:--But I am rivetted to the illustrious House of Austria by a
bond of gratitude: I was brought up at the Court of my godfather the
Archduke Ernest; I have to thank my Imperial lord and master for all
that I am, and why should I conceal from you, my preserver, that for
which I have so often been compelled to blush, and what half Germany
knows.... I was not born in lawful wedlock, and I only owe it to the
especial favour and grace of the monarch, that he permits me to enjoy
the name and rank of my father, that he has legitimised me, that he has
pledged his Imperial word as soon as the war which we are now waging is
over, to invest me with all my father's possessions. Mannsfield's words
made a tremendous impression upon me. Blind chance had wonderfully
guided me. That the birth of this man, whom I had saved, who was
soliciting my friendship and love should have been first legitimised by
the absolute command of the Emperor, that I had saved him while my
heart was overflowing with hate, that he, the brave lion-hearted hero
who had staked his life thousands of times for his Emperor, his
colours, his glory, laid such stress upon it, all this had such a
decisive influence upon me, that I broke the deep silence, which I had
firmly intended to preserve, and revealed to Mannsfield my whole past
history. Mannsfield listened to me with the warmest infelt sympathy.
'You are alone in the world,' he said, after I had ended, in the
harmonious accents of his powerful voice, 'you have saved my life....
Your secret shall for ever be preserved in my breast--will you be my
brother?' Mannsfield gazed at me out of his deep dark eyes so
cordially, so lovingly. My heart beat as if it would burst. Mannsfield
despised me not, Mannsfield did not hold out to me only a poor common
oblation of compassion: no, he offered me all his great heart--could
I refuse the too-bountiful present? Tears, that rolled from my eyes,
were my only answer. We sealed the compact with a long fraternal
embrace.--Eight days afterwards I was entirely recovered, and was
presented to the assembled officers as a new companion in arms at a
banquet given in Mannsfield's honour. They had named me at my baptism
Gottfried. But God was no longer in my heart, peace was never in my
soul, I banished both from my name, and called myself Otto Bitter.
I took service in the Imperial army under that perfectly unknown
name.--The vast wealth that I had inherited from my grandfather
supplied the means of equipping at my own cost some troops of cavalry,
in return for which I was appointed to their command. Fortune, which
favoured my arms, in conjunction with Mannsfield's inexhaustible
affection for me, quickly promoted me from step to step and allowed me
to take conspicuous rank in the army under Arch-duke Leopold which was
detailed to operate against the Unionists in the Cleves-Juliers
district. The continuance of the war had fully occupied me, but spite
of the fact that my past history was to remain a mystery to every one
except Mannsfield, I had succeeded in obtaining tidings of thee and
thine. I was indeed far from you, but in spirit I stood ever near you,
I never lost sight of you for a moment--after a series of battles the
Protestant Union at length concluded a peace with the Emperor, in order
to oppose their whole force to the newly formed Catholic confederacy,
the League. I was free, I wished to hurry to Worms, to appear before
thee and thine, and settle accounts with you--but a new and unexpected
turn in the fortunes of my friend Mannsfield hindered me. Mannsfield
had confidently expected that the Emperor at the end of the campaign
would have invested him with the possessions of his deceased father who
had been Stadtholder in Luxembourg. The war of succession in Juliers
and Cleves was over; the complication in Alsace arranged: Mannsfield
had rendered the Emperor substantial services; he had shed his blood
upon the field of battle; he had squandered his rich maternal heritage
in warlike armaments, without demanding compensation for it: it was
only through Mannsfield's zeal, through his high military talents and
spirit of self-sacrifice that the Imperial General-in-chief the
Arch-duke Leopold had been enabled to make head successfully against a
superior force. Mannsfield now applied for the desired investment, but
was shamefully refused. His proud spirit could not brook the slight
which was inflicted on him, he retired from the Imperial service, and
devoted his zeal and victorious sword to the evangelical Union. It was
perfectly indifferent to me, for whom or what I fought.--A firm
indissoluble bond of friendship united me to Mannsfield, I could not
hesitate a moment, I ranged myself by Mannsfield's side. Victory was
tied to Mannsfield's standard. I was his truest and best companion in
arms, the fortune of war was favourable to me; loved by Mannsfield,
idolised by the troops I now became the first officer in his army.--In
the meanwhile a persecution of the Jews had broken out in Frankfurt
stirred up by Vettmilch, Gerngross and Schopp. The Jewish quarter was
plundered and wasted, the life of your brethren threatened. The rabble
at Worms wished to follow the example of Frankfurt and a pretext was
easily found. Your family, the Rottenbergs, had some, I do not doubt
well grounded claim, against a Frankfurt patrician; he died, and his
son who had been admitted to the rights and privileges of a citizen at
Worms found it most convenient to get rid of the obligation into which
his father had entered, first by disputing the demand as usurious, but
afterwards the receipt for the debt as forged. The honour, property,
safety of your family were all equally endangered. The workmen at
Worms, friendly to a hasty course as it was a question of using
violence against the Jews, looked upon the private suit as a public
concern and demanded from the Imperial Chamber at Spires the immediate
expulsion of all Jews from Worms. They were sent back and ordered to
follow the usual course of justice in reference to your affair. But the
Imperial judges were stern and just, and there was no doubt therefore,
that you would win your cause. The trades, irritated to the highest
degree by the failure of their plan, demanded that you should make a
sacrifice of your claim, and moreover in order to save the honour of
their fellow citizen should declare the proofs to be forged. You made
up your minds to lose the sum, which was a considerable one, but no one
could persuade you to make a false dishonourable confession. Vain was
the pressure of the workmen, vain the prayers of your brethren in
Worms, who were blind enough not to detect the clumsy artifice and
believed in their simplicity that the artisans of Worms would be
appeased by this declaration, and undertake no further hostilities
against the Jews. You remained firm and in the week before Easter the
wild storm broke loose. The magistrates, though with the best
intentions, too feeble to protect you, were obliged to look on
bewildered and inactive, while the Jews were expelled, their ancient
synagogues demolished their burial ground desecrated.--It was only
through the immense exertions of the Bishop, who only arrived in Worms
late in the evening of that hapless day, that the wild fury of the
populace was at length bridled. A general plunder was prevented, too
late however for you, against whom the popular hatred had first vented
itself. Your house was entirely demolished, you were plundered, your
father was roughly handled. You had only escaped a certain death by
speedy flight. Your father died from the effects of the fright and
ill-usage that he had experienced.--The Frankfurt rebels were subdued
by force of arms. An Imperial commissioner punished the guilty and the
Jews returned in triumph to the city. In Worms also the insurgents soon
surrendered to the Imperial troops, the Jews were recalled and
honourably re-instated in their ancient residences. But you never
returned. The community of Worms maintained that the calamity was
attributable to your obstinacy, that much worse might have happened,
that you should have sacrificed your honour and pride to the
common-weal. The community excluded you from the midst of them. Poor
and wretched, concealing your shame under an assumed name, you were
forced to seize the beggar's staff and start on a wide uncertain
wandering. The punishment was hard, but you had deserved it for your
behaviour to me!"

Blume had again silently listened to Gabriel without interrupting him.
It seemed to her almost as if he took pleasure in the pleasing broad
circumstantiality of the story as he told it. As if he took a pleasure
in embodying in living sounding words his whole past, that he must for
years have kept sealed in his heart. As he spoke of that time when he
was far from her, he seemed to become more calm. A mild conciliatory
spirit seemed to come over him, when he referred to Mannsfield and the
firm bond of friendship that united their hearts to one another. When
he spoke of the persecution of the innocent Jews in Frankfurt and Worms
it seemed to her as if love for his former brethren was not yet
altogether dead in him, as if a feeling of compassion still stirred in
the depths of his almost inscrutable soul. She already yielded to the
delusive hope that Gabriel was only come to forgive her and had only
wished to give her a fright by calling up the memory of the past. The
earnest warning was to serve only to annihilate her by the full weight
of his magnanimity;--but when he once more probed with rough hand her
bleeding wounds, when he once more spoke of punishment, thought of
retaliation, she again sunk down, covering her beautiful face with both
hands. Gabriel did not notice it. "From that moment I lost all trace of
you. I had joined fortune with my friend Mannsfield, and was hurried
from one end of Germany to the other. Everywhere I looked sharply out
for thee. If I came into the neighbourhood of a Jewish community, I
often exchanged armour and helm for cloak and cap, in order to obtain
admittance into it as a travelling student that I might search thee
out. When my disguise could not be kept secret from those about me, a
silly foolish love-affair with a Jewish girl served as an excuse for
it. My inquiries were in vain, but I doubted not, I was convinced that
I must some day find you.... We were just on the point of hurrying off
to the assistance of the Duke of Savoy, a member of the Union, when
suddenly the flame of war was kindled in Bohemia. The duke no longer
required reinforcement, it was a matter of indifference to Mannsfield
in what quarter he waged war on behalf of Protestantism against the
Emperor: we marched therefore at the request of the Bohemian states,
who took us into their pay, to Bohemia. Our arrival was immediately
illustrated by a victory, we took the strong and disaffected city of
Pilsen. The Emperor was exasperated to the highest pitch by the loss of
this loyal city, and Mannsfield and I his chief officer, were put under
the ban of the Empire. Meanwhile the Bohemians had elected the Palatine
Frederick their king. The selection was an unfortunate one. Frederick
appointed Anhalt and Hohenlohe commanders-in-chief of his army and
Mannsfield remained at Pilsen at a distance from head-quarters in order
to escape serving under both of them. We found ourselves badly off. Pay
and support, as well from the Union as from the Palatine, failed.
Mannsfield was obliged to keep the army on foot without money. To fill
up the measure of our misfortunes, that portion of the country in which
we were encamped was attached to the Imperial party and we were
surrounded by spies.--We were obliged to observe the greatest
watchfulness and every one, who afforded the slightest ground for
suspecting him of being a spy, was arrested and strictly examined. A
travelling Jew was once detained; it was known that the Jews of Prague
were zealous and faithful partisans of the imperial faction, it was not
impossible, that he was a spy. He was brought before me, I recognised
him immediately. He had formerly been with me for some time at the high
school at Frankfurt, I had seen him too several times at Worms. My
altered situation made me quite irrecognisable. To his astonishment I
asked him if he knew anything of your whereabouts, and he reluctantly
confessed to me that he had caught a glimpse of the long lost woman in
Prague, but that you had timidly shunned any meeting. The poor student
had not had the remotest intention of acting as a spy and only wished
to travel to Fürth. I dismissed him, unenlightened, but with a
munificent present. It had been suggested long before that I should
undertake a journey to Prague in order to petition the king for the
arrears of pay, and to talk over a common plan of campaign with Anhalt.
I had hitherto put off the troublesome business, but when I learnt that
you were at Prague, I declared myself at once ready for the journey. I
arrived here and after three days of ineffectual exertion with king and
council, I resolved to stay here till I had discovered you.... I had
taken up my quarters in the house of an armourer who had once served as
sergeant-major in my regiment.--He had become incapable of further
service, and had joined the great swarm of foreigners who had come to
Prague with the Palatine. He had always been devoted to me and I could
reckon upon his fidelity and secrecy..... I once more pretended a
love-affair, when I exchanged the dress of a General for that of a
student. I went into the Jews-town and assumed the family name of Mar.
By a fortunate coincidence I found a lodging in the house of the
upper-attendant of the synagogue, Reb Schlome Sachs. Situated outside
of the gate of the Ghetto it was peculiarly adapted for the double
purpose of my residence here. Immediately on my entrance into the
Ghetto too I had, in a really inexplicable way, found favour in the
eyes of a usually reserved and maniacal old man, and I felt myself,
without being able to give a reason for it, stirred by an unwonted
feeling of sympathy for him--perhaps, as I was afterwards obliged to
admit, on the ground that his strange madness reminded me of the
misfortune of my own life. I was a stranger in the Jewish community of
Prague: you lived here quiet and retired under an assumed foreign name.
Every enquiry among your co-religionists gave occasion for a well
founded suspicion against me, rendered a discovery of my true relation
to them possible. It was therefore only through the intermediation of
the lunatic that I could hope to discover you: but when I sought him
for the second time in his dwelling, I found it shut up, and since the
day of my arrival I have never been able to obtain a sight of him. But
as I knew that he communicated with nobody, I could at least allege my
acquaintance with him, which was concluded in open street, as an excuse
for my frequent absence from home, and my landlord Reb Schlome Sachs
often believed me to be sympathetically seated by the madman while I
was engaged in negotiating with the king and field-marshal about pay in
arrear, or campaigns that had miscarried. I ranged through the streets
of the Jews-town assiduously, but never saw you. I was almost in
despair of finding you here, when a lucky chance led you yesterday to
meet me at the threshold of the bathhouse, exactly _yesterday_, when by
a concurrence of events I became master of your destiny. Yesterday,
after a martyrdom of ten years, I found thee; today I stand before
thee...."

Blume had again been listening to Gabriel without uttering a word. He
had again, either in self-forgetfulness or mastering his unbridled
passion by an astonishing exercise of mental strength been addressing
her in the accents of former years. Blume gave way as before to a
consoling hope, but Gabriel's last words dispelled all her illusions.

"What do you want of me?" she cried again, lifting herself up and
bending involuntarily over the cradle of her child. "What do you want
of me? Speak it out, Gabriel! and torture me not to death with
protracted anguish...."

"Thou askest what I want?" shouted Gabriel with flashing glance, and
his voice sounded like the growling of a thunderstorm: "what I want?
_thee!_ thou wert mine, Blume! from thy birth up thou wert destined for
me, the covenant which our parents had concluded for us, we confirmed
by the bond of love--_thou_ hast loosened the beautiful bond of love,
and now Hate binds me to thee! If it is no longer the heaving of thy
voluptuous bosom, if it is no longer the waving of thy dark luxurious
tresses, if it is no more the flashing of those beautiful love-kindling
eyes, or those rosy budding lips which rapturously attract me to
thee.... Why then it is the sweet stupifying poison of revenge! you
rejected me, you trampled upon me, ... for a sin that I never
committed--if the curse of that sin bears heavily upon my wretched
tainted existence--I will at least taste the sweetness of the sin.... I
will...."

Blume was for a moment motionless from horror, then seized her child
impetuously, opened the window and leaned far out of it, as though to
call for help--Gabriel seized her by the arm.

"Be still, Blume," he said, "be not afraid, I shall do nothing by brute
force. Thou wilt have time for consideration, and thou wilt throw
thyself supplicatingly into my arms.... I give you a week for
consideration.... but I believe your resolution will be taken
sooner.... Eight days hence, Sunday the eighth of November--it is
exactly the anniversary of our betrothal--I shall be with you by
midnight.... Wilt thou be mine?"

God-forsaken! screamed Blume beside herself with fury, with flaming
face and sparkling eyes: "dost thou desire _that_ of me, of me, the
wife of another, the devout Jewess, the faithful wife, the tender
mother? Yes my resolve is quickly made...."

"It is because you are the wife of another man," interrupted Gabriel,
"that I do desire it.--_Wert thou free_, and lying at my feet in all
the infinite beauty that neither sorrow nor wretchedness can rob you
of, wert thou imploring one glance of love--I should spurn thee from
me, as thou didst spurn me,--but the bond of wedlock enchains thee!
thou shalt sin, thy hard marble heart shall learn to know the bitter
torments of remorse,--and it is because thou art a faithful wife,
because thou lovest thy husband, because thou wouldest preserve a
father for his child that I expect the fulfilment of my wish."--He drew
a packet from his breast-pocket, it contained some small manuscript
parchment rolls and a sheet of paper; he handed them in silence to the
woman who trembled with rage and grief.

"That is my husband's writing!" shrieked Blume, "those are the texts
that he has copied.... God! there is one of my letters. How did you
come into possession of these writings? Where is my husband? speak!"

"Read," answered Gabriel, and held out to her Mannsfield's letter which
he had received the day before from the ensign. Blume devoured the
writing eagerly, but when she came to the last lines, she tottered and
was obliged to steady herself by the arm of the chair. The characters
danced before her eyes.... "I cannot read it," she said, "do thou
read!"

Gabriel read:

"With regard to the above mentioned Jew, whom my outposts arrested, I
think that he is innocent. I was obliged to exercise all my authority
to prevent his being torn in pieces by the exasperated soldiery, or
hanged on the nearest tree; even some of the officers voted for his
death. Seeing that the suspicious writings found upon him are according
to his own account Hebrew bible-texts and letters from his wife I have
sent them to you to be tested, and your report as to the contents of
the writings will give him death or freedom.--The whole affair however
is so insignificant that you will have no need to detain Michalowitz
respecting it. Only in the event of the Jew being a spy, and the
contents of the writings therefore of importance to us, will it be
necessary for you to send me advice by a trooper: otherwise on account
of the insecurity of the roads to Pilsen do not send me any
messenger...."

"Now," cried Blume, hastily, "you see, it is not a cipher, it is only
texts and my letters. Have you despatched the messenger who will solve
the inauspicious misunderstanding?"

"No! My answer will depend on thine.... Will you eight days hence
submit yourself to my will?"

"And if I answer no, what will you do?" asked Blume with the utmost
eagerness.

"That answer thou wilt never make," replied Gabriel violently, "thou
wilt not compel me to an extreme, to the greatest extremity of all....
So, and so only will I be revenged, Blume, force me to no other, to no
bloody vengeance.--I will only repay like by like.... you suffered my
heart to break.--Come then, I will be the ever living sting of
conscience in thy existence--you let me humiliated, deeply, oh
infinitely deeply humiliated.--Come now, I will humiliate thee too. But
as for me, I had loved thee, had idolized thee, you repaid my love with
hate. I am juster than you--I give you hate for hate!... My resolve is
unshakeable!"

Blume stood before Gabriel wringing her hands despairingly.--"No, I
cannot believe that you will perpetrate the horrible iniquity of
writing to Mannsfield a hellish lie that will cause my husband's death.
Consider, Gabriel," she continued almost inaudibly, clasping her
hands--"indeed I never injured you, never humiliated, never degraded
you. It could not be, I could not be your wife, a higher power placed
itself between us, could I, could any one help it? I was innocent, thou
wert innocent! Oh Gabriel, thou wouldst only terrify me, thou wilt not
write the lie to Mannsfield, is it not so."

"Blume, I am armed against thy entreaty.... for long years have I
sought thee, for ten years have I been hatching a thought of vengeance,
and now that a wonderful chance throws the reins of your destiny into
my hands, shall I let the moment pass by unavailed? Shall thy tears
befool me? No, Blume, no, every human life must have some attainable
aim.--I had no other than revenge!--My resolve remains unalterable."

"You leave me then but the choice between sin and unutterable woe? You
are silent? Gabriel," said Blume after a pause suddenly lifting her
lovely head.... "You once loved me, now every spark of that feeling,
all sympathy is extinguished in your heart, but I, I pity thee in
spite of it!... How low art thou fallen, poor Gabriel!--the proud,
high-souled Gabriel, who should have been a guiding light to his
people, a giant in intellect, contends with a weak woman, one
stricken-down with misery, that with her baby in her arms, makes her
trembling supplication before him.... and what kind of victory, what a
triumph would he win? He would destroy a poor, wornout woman, by means
of an abominable shameless lie, than which humanity can conceive
nothing more mean.--Gabriel, at this moment I am more wretched and
unhappy than any woman upon earth, but--by God Almighty!--I would not
for worlds stand before thee, as thou now standest before me!"--

Gabriel stood with folded arms before Blume. The desperate reckless
opposition of the helpless woman, especially the last sorrowful cry of
her tortured heart had caused him for a moment, but only for a moment
to waver; thoughts like lightning flashed through his soul, feelings
that he had long believed dead were stirred up in him, for a moment he
entertained a thought of foregoing his vengeance, of forgetting the
past, of being re-converted--but he had already gone too far, he had
broken with all tradition, the future as he had dreamed of it in his
youth, seemed to _him lost for ever_--he could never drawback.--His
better genius succumbed, the iniquitous passion conquered.

"My resolution is firm and unshakeable," he said, rapidly preparing to
go, as if he himself feared lest he should waver again. "Eight days
hence I shall be with you by midnight.--Your husband's fate is in your
own hands, ponder upon it till then. My resolve is inflexible!"

He folded himself in his mantle and departed--Blume gave way and sobbed
aloud.



                                   V.


The Imperial army advanced without interruption, almost without
striking a blow, while Anhalt drew back with his troops to the
White-mountain close by Prague. He had barely entrenched his camp, when
news arrived that the Duke Maximilian was approaching with his
division, and that Boucquoi was following with the remainder of the
Imperialists, Anhalt summoned a council of war. Mathias Thurn advised
that they should attack the Duke immediately on his approach, before
the wearied troops should have time to refresh themselves, and before
he could unite himself with Boucquoi. John Bubna, Schlick, Styrum and
others supported his proposal, and the Commander-in-chief Prince Anhalt
seemed already won over to this view, when Hohenlohe pronounced himself
violently against any offensive operation. "We must," he opined, "try
and avoid any open battle with a superior force under the command of
illustrious generals: the result of battles is uncertain, and a crown
is not to be lightly hazarded. We have a strong impregnable position on
the heights and the enemy will not venture to assault us." Hohenlohe's
plan was adopted, and Mathias Thurn left the council in a state of the
highest indignation.--So dawned the morning of the 8th of November, a
day destined to have a decisive influence for centuries to come.

Encouraged by Frederick's example who did not allow himself to be the
least disturbed in his wonted pleasures and amusements, the people in
Prague did not give way to fear, and even in camp on the White-mountain
they believed themselves so secure and so little expected an attack,
that on that very day--it happed to be Sunday--many of the officers and
common soldiers had gone into Prague to see their families.

Gabriel had passed the eight days since his nocturnal visit to Blume in
a state of feverish excitement. He greeted the morning of this day, the
anniversary of his betrothal, with singular feelings. But one short
space of time divided him from the long looked for moment of revenge!

It was forenoon, he was sitting in his room in Reb Schlome Sachs' house
sunk in deep thought, and gazing earnestly before him. Feelings most
various and violent were preying upon him. He permitted, as he was
often wont to do for his own torment, his gaze to hover over his past
life. He saw himself a boy, full of peace and faith in the house of his
grandfather, in the house of his mother. He saw himself a youth by the
side of his grandfather in the presence of his exquisitely lovely bride
all glowing with becoming modesty he called to remembrance the golden
dreams of his youth, how in blissful hope he purposed to obtain a
rapturous world to come by a life dedicated to virtue and faith.... And
then how that was all suddenly, oh how suddenly, changed--his dying
mother--that feast of atonement when he stood in despair before Blume.
And now, now, he was about to take vengeance, fearful vengeance!... He
knew that it would be impossible to inflict a more painful wound on
Blume, that chaste pure woman, that he could not more deeply degrade
her--and yet he did not doubt that the noble faithful woman would make
a sacrifice of her honour, her soul's peace to her husband. Sometimes
it seemed to him as if the minutes that separated him from midnight
were rolling on too quickly, too hurriedly, as if he would enjoy the
expectation of the near approaching moment of revenge, more than the
moment itself? Generally, however, each second seemed infinitely long,
and he could not control his impatience. The thought of his father too,
as it always did when he was violently excited, had associated itself
with all these recollections, with all these unwonted emotions. Swiftly
succeeding feelings of alternate love and hate towards him, the natural
desire to learn to know him, perhaps that too which we call the voice
of nature, all this together had constantly aroused in his heart an
indescribable strange desire. At this instant he doubted whether he
would ever find him. One thing that he had striven after for years, he
believed that he had attained: but it was impossible that Blume should
escape him, he had always been sure, though perhaps years might be
consumed in the search, that he must sooner or later discover her. But
his father? Of him he knew absolutely nothing, he had not the smallest
ground to go upon, not the faintest shadow of a conjecture dawned on
him.--Where could he seek him; where could he find _him_?

The hurried opening of the door roused Gabriel suddenly out of the
confused chaos of his thoughts, he turned round. Before him stood the
boy, the ordinary messenger of the armourer in the Platnergasse.--

"Gracious Sir!" cried the boy, "Captain Schlemmersdorf, is
waiting for you at home, he is urgently desirous to speak with you
speedily"--Gabriel hesitated.

"Say, you could not find me, young one," he replied after a short
reflection: "I wish to remain undisturbed till to-morrow."

"Gracious Sir! It must be about some most weighty matters. The captain
was beside himself at not finding you at home, he wished to follow me.
I was to tell you, that life, honour, everything was at stake."

Gabriel now rose hastily but with a dissatisfied air and obvious
reluctance. Shortly afterwards he had arrived in the manner now
well-known to us, at his house in the Marienplatz, where Schlemmersdorf
was waiting for him with terrible impatience.

"Where have you been staying so long General?" he cried out to him as
he entered, "quick, make haste, take your arms, to horse, to horse.--I
pray you haste!"

"What has happened?" enquired Gabriel.

"Nothing pleasant, at least not for the present.... Early this morning
the advanced guard of the Bavarian column was seen at the further end
of the street. The Prince once again summons the few officers present
in camp, to advise whether now at any rate it would not be prudent to
receive the advancing troops with an attack: but Hohenlohe absolutely
refuses to quit the secure position upon the heights, and whilst he is
saying all he can in favour of his view, it is announced that Tilly
with his Bavarians has crossed the river by a small bridge without
hindrance.--The propitious moment for an attack is lost to us. Duke
Maximilian is deploying in the centre his whole well-formed array;
Boucquoi, who must have followed close upon the Duke, is taking up a
position on the right wing, and we have the entire main-body of the
enemy opposed to us.--The Prince, who is expecting every moment to be
attacked by the Imperialists, is endeavouring in the greatest haste to
range his troops in order of battle. He has despatched Habernfield to
the king with a request that he will adjourn the ill-timed banquet that
he gives to the English ambassadors, and come to the camp, in order to
cheer the low spirits of the troops. Styrum is looking for Mathias
Thurn and I have hastened to you--but General! don your armour at once.
Why tarry you?"

The General had listened to Schlemmersdorf in silence and in spite of
his urgency without the least movement.

"What should I do in camp?" he now enquired.

"A strange question, Sir General," replied Schlemmersdorf excitedly,
"as far as one could hastily gather in the camp," he added hurriedly
resuming, "you were to take charge of the Hungarian cavalry on the
left, instead of Bornemissa, who is lying sick."

"Never, never, Sir Captain," cried the General indignantly, "I will
never undertake the command of a detachment unaccustomed to discipline,
whose language I do not even know, to whom I could not make my orders
intelligible. I am obliged to the Prince for the honour and glory,
which might have been obtained with the command.--However, Sir Captain,
I cannot be of much use in the camp. I am unacquainted with the state
of the army that is drawn up here, I am informed neither as to the
strength of the divisions, nor the capacity of their officers; I am
entirely ignorant of the plan of proceedings.... Sir Captain, you must
yourself allow, it would be an unparalleled event in the history of
military operations, if I resolved to accept a command under such
circumstances."

Schlemmersdorf could not contest the justice of these observations, he
was silent.

"I can therefore render no service outside there," continued Gabriel,
"except with my sword, like any other common trooper.... but as
the Prince did not choose to invite me to the council, though all the
other superior officers here present took part in it, I think he will
do very well without an individual officer of Mannsfield's in the
battle-field.... Make then my excuses to the Prince, if I stay here,
where, precisely to-day urgent business, that admits of no
postponement, detains me."

"There is no more urgent duty than honour," burst forth Schlemmersdorf.
"I know, General, that you have been badly treated," he added, in a
conciliatory tone, "badly treated in many ways, it was wrong of the
Prince.... but now you are needed, the Prince summons you, after a
victory you shall have full satisfaction...."

Gabriel paced the chamber unquietly in deep emotion; a strange horror
that he had never before had a presentiment of, thrilled through
him.... that he should that very day be summoned to the battlefield!
that very day on the anniversary of his betrothal to Blume, that very
day, when he desired to take vengeance, to accomplish his long matured
plan!...

Schlemmersdorf was in despair, he was willing to make any concession to
gain his object. "General," he said at length stepping close up to
Gabriel, "time presses, resolve quickly whilst we are here idly
babbling away the time, the Imperialists are perhaps assaulting our
lines. This day may decide the fate of Frederick's crown, of Bohemia.
Consider; it would be an eternal ineffaceable blot upon your name, if
you withdrew at the commencement of a battle.--What would your own age,
what would even your friend Mannsfield say?"

Schlemmersdorf had touched Gabriel's weak point. His honour as a
soldier and Mannsfield's esteem were his highest possessions. Regard
for his honour, and a wild thirst for battle drew him into the field,
and yet he on the other hand felt himself chained fast to Prague by
brazen bonds.--He had looked death in the face unmoved a thousand
times, but to-day, just to-day, so near the goal.... to perish to-day
on the battle-field, perhaps to die unavenged, perhaps to die without
having retaliated the unspeakable woe that had stricken him, perhaps to
die without having achieved one single aim.... that was a thought that
filled him with fearful unutterable dismay. It seemed to him as if he
must strain every nerve to preserve his life for his revenge, for this
night--a discord full of torment rent his heart. For a moment he
remained undecided, but when Schlemmersdorf wrapped his cloak about him
and without a word of farewell turned his back contemptuously upon him
and stepped towards the door, he made a sudden resolution, "I go with
you, Schlemmersdorf!" he exclaimed, "go with you ... but I will not
fall to-day!"--Schlemmersdorf looked in Gabriel's face with surprise.
He knew that it was no expression of mere cowardice that escaped him;
but time was too precious for further enquiries, he urged him to make
all haste, and shortly afterwards the two were spurring at full speed
through the Strahower gate towards the camp. Outside the town they
encountered Styrum who had gone in vain quest for Mathias Thurn.
_Mathias Thurn was not to be found that day_.

                               *   *   *

The two hosts were drawn up opposite one another. The Imperial-Bavarian
army, over 30,000 strong, was in good order and eager for battle. The
Bohemian, scarcely numbering 20,000, was surprised, and in spite of the
favourable ground which it occupied was drawn up in a great hurry by
Anhalt without any fixed principle. The Prince had brought up all
the artillery that he had on to the heights that covered his right
wing.--This therefore, commanded by the young Prince Anhalt, was ranged
in the line of its own fire, the trajectory of which would pass over
its head. Hohenlohe commanded the centre under Anhalt, Bornemissa who
had had himself carried to the field in spite of his illness, the
left.--The Duke himself commanded the Imperial army in chief, under him
Lichtenstein the centre, Tilly the left, Boucquoi, who in spite of the
wound that he had received at Rakonitz was again on horse, the right
wing.

It was a beautiful fresh winter's day. The Imperialists seemed for some
time to be in doubt whether they should advance. At length, between
twelve and one o'clock in the afternoon, the two lines of which the
extreme wings were made up, set themselves in motion, and pushed
forward with drums rolling and loud shouting. Anhalt at once commenced
a cannonade from all his guns, but they were pointed too high, and the
balls passed far over the heads of the Imperialists without killing
even a single man. The right wing of the Bohemians was now impetuously
attacked and thrown back: but young Anhalt, supported by Bubna and
young Thurn, broke suddenly (according to the enemies' own account)
like thunder and lightning in amongst the Imperial cavalry, and his
extraordinarily fierce onset in spite of the most obstinate, heroic
resistance forced it slowly to give ground. The Imperialists lost three
standards, and Captain Preuner was taken prisoner. Victory seemed
inclining towards Frederick's side. But at this decisive moment
reinforcements arrived for the hard pressed Imperialists. Godfrey of
Pappenheim came up with his cuirassiers just in time to prevent young
Anhalt's further advance. At sight of the youthful sparkling hero the
Imperialists again stood firm, and a terrible hand to hand contest
ensued. For a quarter of an hour the fate of the battle in this portion
of the field was in suspense.--At that moment the three young men,
Gabriel, Schlemmersdorf and Styrum reached the White-mountain. Gabriel
had only one personal friend, John Bubna, upon the field. He was on the
right wing and thither Gabriel turned his fiery steed. His discontent
vanished at sight of the battle-field. The hot fight, the blast of the
trumpets, the rattle of musketry, the thunder of cannon, all this made
him for a moment forgetful of his resolution. Thus had he often stood
at Mannsfield's side. On the battle-plain he had won for himself a new
name, respected and terrible. His lust of combat was kindled to a wild
heat, he drew his sword, spurred his horse to a mad gallop, and flew
swift as an arrow over the level ground that separated him from the
field of battle.

"Ah, thou here, young friend!" cried the elder Bubna who had withdrawn
for a moment from the thickest pressure, to staunch the blood that was
flowing from a flesh-wound.--"That's right of you to come, the sight of
you has a wonderfully strengthening effect upon me. How fares it with
the other wing?"

"I do not know, Bubna," replied Bitter.... "I am but just
arrived.--You hold out bravely against a superior force...."

"We had just got the upper hand, when this Pappenheim came up with his
cuirassiers, and made the issue of the fight again doubtful.... Do you
see him there with raised visor on a grey horse how he is animating his
troopers? he seems to stamp on the ground and call up ever fresh masses
of death-defying cuirassiers--but forward, friend!"

Gabriel on his black horse pressed irresistibly forward. The troop of
horsemen, that followed his waving plume, advanced deepest into the
fray. His gigantic form, overtopping all about him, and the unwearied
strength of his arm, that scattered his enemies like stubble, attracted
Pappenheim's attention. He had hitherto encouraged his Walloons by the
brandishing of his glittering sabre, and the thunder of his voice, that
was perfectly audible over the roar of battle; but at sight of the bold
onward movement of this enemy's officer he suddenly resolved, like a
Grecian hero of antiquity, once more to assay the oft-proved might of
his sword. His afterwards world-renowned youthful rashness carried him
where the throng was densest, and Mannsfield's out-lawed General was
soon confronted by Count Pappenheim, the most zealous servant of his
Emperor, the most ardent champion of his faith.--Both men were of
gigantic stature, both felt, that by one well-aimed stroke a loss might
be inflicted on the opposite party which would with difficulty be
repaired. Gabriel heeded not his fixed intention, nor Pappenheim the
duty of a leader; forgetful of every other consideration it seemed as
if each of them desired but to achieve the object immediately before
him or die.--A life and death combat ensued between the two officers, a
combat such as most rarely occurs in modern warfare. Each gazed for a
second motionlessly in the other's face. Pappenheim observed with
astonishment a bright streak of purple, like a sacrificial flame, on
the forehead of his antagonist, while Gabriel stared at the crossed
swords on Pappenheim's brow.--That was the Pappenheim, that was the
mark, of which the student, nine days ago at the dinner-table of his
landlord, Reb Schlome Sachs' had spoken, the same student who had
reminded him of his father and mother.--All the past, the immediate
future, passed with the infinite-swiftness of thought before his mental
vision. He desired to live, to live for his revenge. The mournful
presentiment, that to-day, so near the longed for goal, he must die
without having attained it, the mournful presentiment, with which he
had once before on this day been imbued, sprung up with redoubled
violence in his breast. That an adverse destiny should have led him
to-day, this very day, against the doughtiest champion of the Imperial
army!... He would gladly have retreated, but again he had gone too far,
it was no longer possible to withdraw. Pappenheim stormed against him
with all the mad audacity of youthful ardour, a terrible combat began.
Both were unusually powerful men, both were accomplished swordsmen.
Pappenheim had expected to encounter an opponent skilful as himself,
but he found his master. The foreboding of death which had passed over
Gabriel, had not dispirited but had made him cautious, he had acted for
some time on a system of defence, but suddenly spied a weak point in
his adversary's too impetuous attack and, raising himself suddenly in
saddle, planted a masterly thrust which his knightly foe could not
parry with sufficient rapidity.... Pappenheim dropped lifeless from his
horse.... Gabriel drew a deep breath, and the Bohemian cavalry pressed
bravely forward, while the cuirassiers discouraged by the presumed
death of their leader began to give ground. Suddenly, however, a rumour
flies through the ranks. That young Anhalt has been thrown from his
horse wounded, and has fallen into the hands of the Imperialists.
Gabriel heard it, and shortly afterwards orders ring out in Bubna's
sonorous voice, who had succeeded to the command in place of young
Anhalt--Still there is hope of victory: but the whole aspect of affairs
is speedily changed.

Simultaneously with the attack upon the Bohemian right wing the Duke
upon his own right had made a feigned false attack of Poles and
Cossacks against the Hungarian cavalry drawn up opposite to them, an
attack however soon repelled and dissipated by the resistance it
encountered. The Hungarians, whose chief Bornemissa was unable to sit
on horseback, allowed themselves to be deceived by this stratagem; they
pursued the fugitives and looking upon themselves as already masters of
the field, broke their serried ranks to seek for plunder. Duke
Maximilian and Lichtenstein, who had been watching for this favourable
moment, advanced with fresh choice troops against the Hungarians.
Anhalt saw the danger that threatened his left, and sent reinforcements
from Hohenlohe's cavalry in the centre to the aid of the hard-pressed
troops. But Lichtenstein received them with a well-directed fire of
cannon and musketry, the front ranks fell, and Hohenlohe's cavalry took
to sudden flight without having struck a blow. A panic terror seized
the Hungarians, they followed the bad example that had been given them,
turned their backs upon the enemy and burst through the ranks of their
own infantry. Every effort to stop the flight of the Hungarians, was
vain, they threw themselves into the valley near Motol, and endeavoured
to cross the Moldau by swimming; but the river was swollen, and most of
them found their grave under its waves. The infantry, thrown into
disorder, deserted by the cavalry and without artillery, was itself
also now obliged to make up its mind for a speedy retreat.--The left
wing and centre of the Bohemian army was beaten, Lichtenstein and
Boucquoi had no longer an enemy before them. The Duke also made a sweep
round with his right wing and main-body to the left and occupied the
heights, on which Anhalt had planted the whole of his artillery, and
from which his troops had advanced too far. In a short time it was in
the hands of the Duke, and Frederick's soldiers were exposed to the
fire of their own cannon. This happened exactly at the moment when
Pappenheim had fallen, Anhalt had been taken prisoner by the
Imperialists and Bubna had succeeded to the command.--Bubna ordered a
retreat to be sounded. The troops, in rear exposed to the fire of the
artillery, in front to the terrible onset of the Imperial cavalry,
now as their services were no longer needed elsewhere united in one
body,--retired in as good order as the unfavourable circumstances would
admit of.--A bit of high ground to which they had fought their way
between two fires revealed to them the comfortless aspect of the field
of battle.... Corpses and arms that had been cast away strewed the
plain. The centre and left wing was discovered in full flight. A
determination had to be quickly taken. It was necessary to separate.
Bubna decided that he would endeavour to conduct the horse back to
Prague, so as at least to preserve the remnant of his cavalry for
Frederick. Schlick and his Moravian infantry is firmly resolved to die
rather than fly, and while Bubna accompanied by Gabriel turns in the
direction of Prague, the Moravian regiments in serried ranks press
through the victorious Imperial army, and fighting their way reach the
wood of Stern, where they again make a stand, but soon succumb
valiantly resisting to the last....

The victory of the Imperialists was complete, and achieved in less than
an hour.--Four thousand Bohemians, among them one Count and several
noblemen, had fallen. Young Anhalt, young Schlick and other superior
officers were prisoners, all the artillery and camp had fallen into the
enemy's hands. The loss of the Imperial-Bavarian army had been
proportionally small. Count Meggau, Rechberg, and fourteen other
officers had remained dead on the field, Godfrey of Pappenheim was
afterwards found, alive but badly wounded, under a heap of slain.

Considering the complete overthrow of the Bohemian army, the Duke had
held all pursuit of the fugitives unnecessary, and close to Prague, on
the highroad, several battalions of infantry that Schlemmersdorf was
leading back to Prague united themselves to Bubna's orderly masses of
horse.--Schlemmersdorf held out his hand sadly to Bubna and Gabriel:
all three rode in silence through the Strahower Gate. As they entered
the city they saw the Palatine. He was clad, as for a feast, in satin.
Habernfield had not succeeded in persuading him to come to the
battle-field, he would not ride out fasting, had purposed that very day
to give an entertainment, and would not betake himself to camp till the
cloth was drawn. Tidings of the complete overthrow of his troops
interrupted the ill-timed banquet, he hurried to the gates, where his
Generals, Prince Anhalt and Count Hohenlohe were already coming to meet
him. The first was without a helmet and terribly excited.

"Gracious Sire. You have lost the battle, and I my only son on the
field!" he cried to him with the agitated grief of an inconsolable
father: "all is lost!"

Frederick was for a moment unable to answer, violent emotion deprived
him of the power of speech.--"I now know what I am," he said at length,
"there are virtues which only misfortune can teach us, and we Princes
discover in adversity alone, what manner of men we are."

"Gracious Sire!" now said Schlemmersdorf, who at that moment rode
through the gate, in a tone of mournful reproach. "You were sitting
joyously and cheerfully at table, while your army let itself be shot
down before the gates in your cause."

"And you have made a fruitless sacrifice of yourselves," said Frederick
sorrowfully, and a tear filled his eyes: "I am undone!"

"God forbid," cried Schlemmersdorf; "we are bringing the remnant of the
army about seventeen battalions to you; the fugitives at the first
blast of the trumpet will return to their standards, Mannsfield's
flying division stands ready for battle in rear of the enemy, eight
thousand fresh troops in support have arrived from Hungary and have
already reached Brandeis.... Only give orders for the gates to be shut,
and for the burghers to arm and the city can hold out against a long
siege."

"What do _you_ think, Prince?" Frederick turned to Anhalt. He shrugged
his shoulders. "Advise me, gentlemen, advise me, what is your opinion?"
cried Frederick almost imploringly, "what should be done?"

"First of all," observed Bubna with a side glance at Anhalt, "a brave
general must be nominated to conduct the defence of the city...."

"You have requested my advice, gracious Sire!" Anhalt now continued,
"well then, the open street is a bad place for a serious consultation:
permit me to accompany you to the castle, there we will think the
matter over...."

The battle lost had not diminished Anhalt's influence over the feeble
Frederick. The Palatine turned his horse, and accompanied by Anhalt,
Hohenlohe and Schlemmersdorf, rode to the Hradschin. Bubna looked after
them in bitter wrath.

"What do you think of doing, Bitter?" enquired Bubna after a long and
painful pause.

"At all events I shall remain to-night in the city," replied Gabriel,
"to-morrow we shall hear, what sort of a plan Frederick's council has
hatched, and I shall guide myself accordingly.... It is settled that
our Mannsfield shall continue the war, even if Frederick concludes a
peace. Whatever happens, I intend to share Mannsfield's fate."

"You are no Bohemian, Bitter! you are free.... but I, I, ... I love
not Frederick, I esteem him not:--but the diet has elected him: if he
is obliged to leave Prague a fugitive, I must go with him, I cannot act
otherwise. Only when he has obtained a secure retreat, shall I join
Mannsfield--therefore Bitter, farewell!"

Gabriel pressed Bubna's hand, but suddenly the old soldier threw his
arms passionately round Gabriel's neck and kissed him repeatedly with
impetuosity. "You saved my life at the skirmish of Netolitz," he said,
"I have never thanked you for doing it. I always believed that I should
some day repay the old debt. But our paths divide--Bitter! we are
approaching a period, insecure, and prolific of disorder: ... The
immediate future may bring death to us, I do not know whether we shall
ever meet again. Bitter! I feel as if I shall never see thee more.... I
thank thee.... farewell!"

Bubna tore himself away by a violent effort, his rough powerful voice
shook, large tears flowed slowly over his powder-blackened face.
Without leaving Gabriel time to reply, he spurred off in the direction
of the Hradschin. But once more he halted and making a signal with his
hand, cried, "farewell, Bitter, for ever!"

Gabriel could make no answer from emotion, and was obliged almost to
cling to his horse's neck to prevent rocking in his seat.--That strange
flutter within him of a sad presentiment of death, when Schlemmersdorf
called him to the field, had disappeared in the heat of the fight, but
was again powerfully excited when he had stood in single combat against
the awful Pappenheim. For a moment he had given himself up as lost
beyond redemption. But he had conquered, he had returned without a
wound, safe and sound to Prague: it seemed to him as though he had
risen superior to destiny. A bold violent feeling of self-confidence in
his strength attained to its highest pitch, and spite of bitter
discontent for the lost battle, he still smiled within himself at the
childish terrors to which he had given way. But Bubna's leave-taking,
the gloomy presentiment, which the aged, gallant veteran steeled in
many a battle had undoubtedly given voice to, and which Gabriel had
involuntarily referred to himself, had once again violently shaken him.
In swift course, as though to leave his gloomy thoughts behind, he
spurred over the bridge into the Altstadt, and first held rein in the
Marienplatz before his residence. His devoted armourer was waiting for
him impatiently at the gate.

"Thank God, gracious Sir, you live; you are not wounded.... The battle
is lost, is it not?"

Gabriel hurried, without heeding the armourer's words up the steps and
beckoned him to follow. Gabriel threw himself into an arm chair, the
armourer stood straight as a taper before him, expecting his orders.

"Martin!" began the General after a long reflection; "you have always
been faithful to me, from my heart I thank you for it--you must do me
one more service, perhaps the last. This night will decide the fate of
Prague, of the whole country. I do not doubt that Frederick will follow
the whispered suggestions of his council, will fly; ... in that case
the ensuing morning must not find me in Prague.... I dare not fall
alive into the hands of the Imperialists...."

"Only, gracious Sir, fly," interposed Martin, rubbing the back of his
hand across his moist eyes; "don't lose a moment!"

"No, Martin! I must stay here to-night, I _must_ Martin!" he repeated
impetuously, as if the man had contradicted him; then rapidly paced the
chamber, and said softly to himself. "How, if Frederick were cowardly
and wicked enough to open at once and instantly the gates of Prague for
the entrance of the enemy.--How if I, the outlaw, should fall alive
into the hands of the Imperialists, if I, born in ignominy, should die
ignominiously by the hand of the executioner, should die without having
avenged myself; ... No, no, I stay in Prague at all hazards, I _must_
revenge myself.... and then?... surely I have a trusty sword, I will
never fall alive into the hands of my enemy.... Martin!" he said aloud,
"in every event let two of the dragoons who accompanied me to Prague,
wait for me to-morrow morning early at the Schweinthor well armed and
with a saddled horse. If in the course of the night the city is put
into a state of defence, it will be announced to the burghers and you
will hear of it. If this is not the case, we must conclude that
Frederick gives up all idea of resistance, surrenders his crown.--The
best plan will be for you to go to the Hradschin and watch carefully
whether the Palatine takes flight. No carriage can pass out of the city
unperceived. To-morrow at daybreak you come to the gate and make your
report to me. If the city is given up, I shall go to Brandeis to meet
the Hungarian reinforcements, endeavour to form a junction between them
and Mannsfield, and the war begins anew.--If the Imperialists march in,
they will seek me; say that I escaped with the Palatine."

"Gracious Sir!" cried Martin, "fly at once, tarry not a moment. I will
fly with you, I will never forsake you."

"What is the matter with you?" said Gabriel, moved in spite of the
disorder of his spirits by the armourer's proposal. "You are now a
domiciled citizen of Prague, no one will trouble himself about you, and
when the first storm, which will only touch lofty heads, has blown
itself out, you can go on with your business in peace. Consider, old
man! you have only one leg, you are no longer young, a soldier's life
is no longer suitable for you.... or are you afraid lest they should
pay you out for your fidelity to me? No, Martin! there is no fear of
that, they do not know of it, and even if they did know!..."

"No, it is not that, gracious Sir," replied Martin; "I only fear on
your account. Why will you pass this night in Prague?... fly at once!"

"I _cannot_, Martin! I _cannot_," said Gabriel; "it will be time enough
to fly to-morrow.... I adhere to the directions that I have given. Now
leave me alone, I have still matters to think over.--We shall see one
another to-morrow."

Martin lingered yet another moment. "Gracious Sir!" he said.

"Do you still wish to say anything?... Yes, I recollect, I must reward
you for your faithful service, and to-morrow in my hurry I might forget
it ..." Gabriel began to unlock a cabinet.

"For God's sake. Sir! How could you misunderstand me so? that is not
what I desire, I am rich enough:--but grant me this favour--fly to-day,
fly at once...."

Martin's obstinacy was striking. "What reason have you? Have you any
information? Do you think that a rising in favour of the Imperialists
will break out in the city? speak!

"No, by God Almighty, I have no information, gracious Sir!... but," he
added in a low unsteady voice, "I fear, I know not why, that I shall
never see you alive again to-morrow."

Gabriel gave an involuntary shudder. The words of the honest armourer
accorded so exactly with Bubna's farewell.--

"Martin!" he said, after he had recovered his self-possession, "your
love to me makes you take a gloomy view of everything.... I cannot set
off today, I _must stay here_--my resolution is immovable!"

Martin bowed himself over the hand, which Gabriel extended to him, and
wetted it with his tears.

"My resolve is unshakeable!" repeated Gabriel once more when he was
alone.... this was the last word that he had addressed to Blume.... He
paced the room with long strides. Physical exhaustion, unusual but
easily to be accounted for, increased his intense mental excitement.
His stirring life had been always full of manifold vicissitudes, but
to-day in the short space of a few hours an infinity of events had been
compressed. Once awakened and kept alive by suggestion, from many
quarters, he could not quite banish from his soul the thought that he
should die _to-day this very day_. He had often been near to death, the
enemies' balls had often whistled about him, hostile daggers had
threatened him, he might often before have fallen, and unavenged, and
without having accomplished his design:--_But he had never been so near
it_--on the faintest doubt of the success of his plan he suffered the
tortures, which legend attributes to Tantalus: only more woeful.... _If
he should die to-day without having revenged himself, if he should die,
behind him a desolate, empty, aimless existence, before him an unknown
future, then there must be a Providence, then he must have ruined more
than one human life, more than one existence_.--He struggled with the
whole strength of his powerful intellect against the thought that would
keep rising from the depths of his soul. But the thought was
intangible, irrefutable. He might assure himself thousands of times,
that there was no ground for these terrors, but for the very reason
that he found no sensible foundation for his apprehensions, this
inexplicable coincidence of his own sensations with that of his friend
Bubna, of his devoted Martin, caused him a feeling of uneasy
astonishment.--But his strong mind gradually with many a struggle
composed itself. He could not in truth annihilate the painful thought,
but he overcame it.

"Blume's fate, her husband's life is still in my hands," he said to
himself. "The immediate future may cause an alteration in our relative
positions.... the grey dawn of to-morrow must not find me in Prague....
I do not know whether I shall ever see Blume again--the favourable
moment for revenge must be made use of!"

One hour later Gabriel was about to step out of the back-door of his
house. He was again in the dress of a student, but he had this time
thrown a broad cloak about him.

"What do you want, Martin?" he enquired in surprise, as he saw the
armourer, who caught him hurriedly by the arm.

"Sir," cried he, "do not enter the Jews' quarter, fly, quit the silly
passion.... he entreated; what signify Jewish women to you?... do not
go into the Jews' town, they are well affected to the Emperor there."

"Martin! you mean well ... but I cannot follow your advice--See," he
unfolded his cloak, under which flashed a scabbard and three pistols,
"I am armed, there is nothing to be afraid of. Leave me, you know me,
you are aware that my resolution is immovable.--Remember, to-morrow
early at the Schweinsthor."

Gabriel stepped out and hastened to the Jews' street. Martin gazed
after him as long as he was in sight, then closed the postern and
murmured with a sigh: "surely I shall never see him again."

                               *   *   *

The news of Fredericks complete overthrow had soon spread over the
whole city, and the highest excitement prevailed everywhere. The
burghers of the Altstadt had sent up to the castle, to ask what they
should do, and offered themselves to enlist troops and defend the city
if Frederick would remain in Prague. Frederick's answer, which he
communicated to the burghers by Anhalt's advice: "that they should
endeavour to make terms with the enemy, for himself he would depart at
daybreak" was not as yet known. The inhabitants of the Altstadt, well
disposed to Frederick, were overwhelmed, the population of the
Kleinseite on the other hand, being for the most part devoted to the
Emperor, rejoiced at the victory which Duke Maximilian had won. Great
excitement too prevailed in the Jews' town. Numerous groups in the open
street were whispering the latest intelligence; all were of the
Imperial faction. Gabriel hurried through this throng. At the corner of
a street he happened to run against a crowd of students. He recognised
them, they were in the habit of attending the lecture room of the
Assessor Reb Lippmann Heller, the same which Gabriel, in order to keep
up at least the outward appearance of a student, had attended.

"How do you do Reb Gabriel;" one of the students turned quickly
round, "How do you do? a pity you were not at lecture this morning,
it was a lecture! I tell you, you can only hear one like it in
Prague--wonderful!"

The student who had addressed Gabriel was a strange figure.--He was the
Nestor of the Prague students.--He had numbered fifty years. Devoted to
the continual study of the Talmud he had found it best after a mature
deliberation of five and twenty years to renounce all ideas of
marriage. In early days these may very well have been wrecked upon his
outward appearance, which in fact offered little that was attractive.
His unusual height did not in the remotest degree harmonise with a
remarkable leanness that served as a foil to an enormous humped back.
His dress was moreover calculated to intensify the strange impression
produced by his appearance. Of a poor family, and too devoted to study
to earn a living by teaching, he was perpetually driven to make use of
his friends' cast off clothes. This he did without paying the least
attention to their physical stature, and so it came to pass, that his
threadbare silken doublet scarce covered his hump, that the much-darned
slovenly cloth-breeches turned up their ends at the knee, where they
should by right have joined on to the somewhat ragged silk stockings
and left a notable gap very imperfectly filled up by a linen band; that
the little close fitting cap, whose original black tended towards a
very significant red, rested but lightly on his head covered with thick
masses of hair, and shook about at the slightest movement of the
vivacious man. A grey beard, that hung untended down on his breast, was
continually combed out by the fingers of his right hand, and when its
bearer was engaged in any animated discussion was forced to submit to
have its end turned up artistically into his mouth, and to be bitten,
and in fact Reb Mordechai Wag's--that was the student's name--teeth had
manifestly thinned this ornamental hair appendage. Notwithstanding this
very unattractive exterior, Reb Mordechai Wag was everywhere well
received. He had a quick intelligence that readily grasped the essence
of Talmud truth, and a good heart. On account of his dialectics, he was
a terror to all itinerant teachers who wished to lecture in Prague and
a patron of all the humble students who came to the high school there.
Often, when as was the custom at that time, he was invited by some
member of the community to dinner, he sent some one else in his place,
who, less fortunate than himself had found no host that day, and while
he gave out that he was ill, chewed his small crust of dry bread at
home, and laughed at his own cunning. Study of the Talmud was the one
highest aim of his life. It seemed to him impossible that a student
could take interest in anything besides a lecture, and even to-day,
when everything was in the greatest uproar, it was perfectly
indifferent to him, whether the Palatine or the Duke Maximilian gained
the victory, and his thoughts ran only in their accustomed track.--It
was very unpleasant for Gabriel, just in his present temper, to have
fallen into the hands of the sympathetic Reb Mordechai, and yet he was
unwilling to draw the attention of the students to himself by making
off in too great a hurry. He enveloped himself therefore more closely
in the cloak that concealed his arms, and said struggling with his
impatience: "I am sorry to have missed to-day's lecture, I shall take
the earliest opportunity of asking you to impart to me what the...."

"Why put it of? I will tell you at once: what have we got better to do
now?"

"I thought," replied Gabriel forcing a laugh, "a moment when every one
looks excitedly forward to see what will happen next, when it will be
decided whether the Emperor or the Palatine...."

"What does that matter to us students?" interrupted Reb Mordechai,
provoked by Gabriel's opposition.... "The Emperor will be a mild
ruler.... the Palatine and the Bohemian nobility have also protected us
Jews, but how can that be helped, they haven risen against the
government, and you know, that is not right.--But let us leave all that
to the Holy one, praised be his name--and occupy ourselves with an
exposition of his words.... the master then...."

"Reb Mordechai," now interposed a young man with a dark expressive
countenance, whom the others called Reb Michoel; "leave that for the
present. It is a fine thing when learning is combined with knowledge of
the world.... The affairs of this world are also of importance even
though you cannot understand it; you come from outside," he continued
turning to Gabriel, "have you perchance heard anything more authentic
about the battle? It is reported, that the Hungarian cavalry was at
first victorious, but that the heavy artillery of the Imperialists had
silenced the fire of the small...."

"What does it signify to a student," asked Reb Mordechai vehemently,
"whether the cavalry fired on the infantry, or the infantry on the
cavalry, whether they first let off the small firelocks and then the
great guns, or contrariwise? What rightly constituted student troubles
him about such things? A student may become a Rabbi, or a butcher, or
peaceful father of a family, but have you ever seen a student that
became a soldier?"

A third youth who had as yet taken no share in the conversation drew
nearer. "I have only been a short time in Prague," he said, "I have up
to this time been studying at Frankfurt on Main, I am not aware whether
the name of Gabriel Süss is known to you.... he was first an able
student, and then became a soldier."

Gabriel shrunk within himself; he heard himself thus named for the
first time since many years, he made no answer, but Michoel shook his
head negatively. "Gabriel Süss.... Süss"--repeated Reb Mordechai
thoughtfully, "was not he a bastard? I once heard something about
it.... but I have no memory for such trifling matters."

"What happened to him?" asked Michoel inquisitively, "tell us, I pray
you."

Reb Nochum--that was the name of the Frankfurt student--complied with
Reb Michoel's urgent request, and related Gabriel's history, departing
indeed here and there somewhat from the truth, but on the whole
correctly enough. His story concluded thus, that Gabriel had once since
his baptism been seen by early acquaintances on horseback with several
Imperial troopers, but might perhaps, as he had disappeared since that
time, have met his death in the Juliers and Cleves war.

"Yes, I have heard something of the kind," said Mordechai, when the
Frankfurt student had finished; "but it was not known in Prague that he
had become a soldier, it was reported that he had drowned himself; who
knows however whether it was true.... Besides you know, he might have
been declared legitimate, yes truly," added Mordechai hastily, feeling
himself once more on firm ground, "The mothers declaration is worth
nothing, Gabriel Süss ought not to be looked upon as a bastard, refer
to the Jad-ha-Chasaka cap. 15 &c." ...

"That's all very well, Reb Mordechai," replied Michoel, "but you
forget, it was a dying mother, a dying mother will not part from her
child with a lie.... and moreover she had ever till then, as this story
is told, loved her son.... besides, what would be the use to him? Will
any one, will any one person doubt, that he is a bastard? If you had a
sister or daughter, would you give her to him to wife? think of that,
Reb Mordechai: _No power on earth could establish the legality of his
birth before our inward convictions!_"

Michoel's glance chanced to rest upon Gabriel's face, he noticed the
fiery red, and deadly pallor that coursed in quick succession over
Gabriel's features.--"_Not before inward conviction_," echoed Gabriel,
feebly.--Reb Mordechai had no answer to make, and a pause ensued.
Gabriel might now have got away, but he would not, the conversation was
too interesting to him not to hear the end of it.

"The law: that a bastard may not enter into the congregation of the
Lord," began Reb Nochum again, "is unreasonable. Why should the
innocent be punished for the sins of his parents? Why is he cast forth
from the closest, loveliest union? Why may he never lead home a loving
woman as wife? Why may he not be happy in the circle of his family? Yet
consider, even in this law the spirit of the Lord comes to light, which
breathes upon the faithful out of every word of Holy Scripture.
Contemplate this bastard, this Gabriel Süss.... he cursed his inanimate
mother: ... only a bastard could do that, no man could perpetrate such
an iniquity, unless he were born in sin.... The transgression, that
called him into life, urges him ever farther forward, and involuntarily
he trod the paths of sin.... therefore the Lord in his wisdom may...."

"You are a thinker," Michoel interrupted the speaker, "and I am glad to
have met you: such are not often found among students.... _A firm faith
in God is not shaken by reasonable speculations, if they are kept
properly subordinate_. But you are in error friend! God forbid, that
any man should be obliged to follow a path absolutely fixed beforehand,
the path of sin.--Where would his free will be? that is not so. You may
not give a daughter or sister to a bastard as wife, so the commentaries
enjoin us--but only that and nothing further is declared by the
Talmud--that is a command, like many others, a command of the Lord's,
obscure and inexplicable to man's mind.... but a bastard may be noble,
great, a shining light to his people. Are you not acquainted with the
article 'a bastard profoundly versed in scripture is superior in
dignity to a high priest who is less deserving.' Is it not true,"
Michoel turned to Mordechai, "that it is so. Gabriel Süss ought not to
have despaired, ought not to have acted as he did. The Lord had blessed
him with earthly wealth, had endued him with a powerful intellect: he
might have been a benefactor of the poor, a staff to the infirm, a
teacher of his people, an example of humble submission. In the
enjoyment of the highest mental activity, the undisturbed study of
God's word, in strivings for a future state, he might have found
consolation, and peace even in this world. _His fate was in his own
hands.... it was his own fault that he perished_."

Gabriel felt as if a blazing thunderbolt had fallen in the depths of
his soul. He pressed his hands spasmodically against his heart and was
forced to sit down upon the curb-stone. Mordechai, whose understanding
was not transcendent enough to appreciate the force of what had just
been said, observed this as little as Reb Nochum, whose attention
remained entirely fixed upon Michoel's words. It was only the sharp
glance of this latter that noticed Gabriel's emotion, which he was
incapable of controlling.--_The state of frightful excitement_, of
feverish expectation in which he found himself, _had still more
intensified and exaggerated the impression of those words_. He felt at
this moment with the whole power of his comprehension that in the most
decisive events of his life the torch of his wild hatred had been his
only light, that everything had come grinning to meet him distorted by
its gloomy dismal rays.... The words which might once have fallen like
assuaging balsam upon his bleeding heart now struck him with the whole
weight of their convincing truth. The thought, that might once have
saved him, now filled him with nameless unutterable woe. The audacious
confidence with which he had believed himself irresponsible for all
that he had done was broken--Michoel had shown him what he might have
been--how different had he become!

A pause had again ensued. Mordechai now observed with horror that he
was almost too late for evening-prayer, and hurried with Reb Nochum
into the nearest synagogue. Michoel remained standing before Gabriel
who seemed nearly to have lost consciousness. At last he asked,
recovering himself, in a dull voice: "Who are you and what is your
name?"

"I am Michoel Glogau, I was born in Silesia, and have finished here
my course of Talmudic study. I have been summoned to Breslau as
preacher--and what is your name?"

"I am called Gabriel Mar," he replied to the interrogation in a
trembling unsteady voice.

"Gabriel Mar, Mar, Mar," echoed Michoel quite softly and thoughtfully,
his eyes fast fixed on Gabriel: "strange!... are you unwell, that you
sit there thus languidly on the stones?"

"Yes.... no.... rather--I shall soon be better. Why do you gaze at me
so fixedly? only go away, Reb Michoel, do not be disturbed on my
account.... I am often wont.... to suffer so. Away, I pray you, away,
away...."

Michoel went off, stopping from time to time to look round after
Gabriel. He sat for some minutes as if changed to stone, but--whether
it was recovered self-possession, or whether the heavy snow which began
to fall had roused him--he got up suddenly, wiped the cold sweat from
his forehead and looked motionlessly at the spot where Michoel had
stood, as if to convince himself, that they were not fantastic dreams
which hovered over him, then hurriedly strode to his dwelling. As he
arrived at the end of the narrow lane that led out of the Jews-town to
the Old-synagogue, he suddenly heard his old name Gabriel Süss called.
Taken by surprise he involuntarily turned his head--he saw no one and
hastened with redoubled speed to his house by the Old-synagogue.

"It is he!" said Michoel stepping from behind the corner of a wall that
had concealed him from Gabriel's sight, "my suspicion was correct,
Gabriel Mar--is Gabriel Süss. I must speak with him."

                               *   *   *

Gabriel was once more in his room by the Old-synagogue. In a few
hours, since the forenoon when Schlemmersdorf had summoned him to the
battle-field, what numberless events had happened within and without
him. Frederick had lost his crown, the Emperor had won a highly
important victory. He had been present at this weighty catastrophe, had
been a witness, a participator in the hot combat, his life had been
threatened on all sides. He had stood opposed to Pappenheim, the most
accomplished knight in the Imperial army, and believed that he had
slain him--and all these occurrences of which any one would have been
sufficient to have put the most strong minded into a state of intensest
excitement disappeared and left no trace in Gabriel's soul. Michoel's
words had called forth a fresh flood of emotion in his overcharged
breast. A new sorrow never before anticipated strove with the old grief
in his breast. With the whole gigantic strength of his intellect he
endeavoured to swing himself up out of the wild chaos of thoughts which
would have indubitably thrown any one of weaker mould into the black
night of madness.--With both his mighty hands pressed against his
inflamed and glowing lofty brow, as if to force all thoughts to one
point, he sat for hours by the table in strong inward struggle.

"No, no, no!" he cried out at length impetuously, "now it is too late,
too late! Gabriel, thou hast gone, too far, too far, now thou canst
never recede.--Thou art like that Acher, he that heard said of himself:
'Turn again ye stiffnecked children.... all but Acher!'--Yes Michoel.
Thou man with a beautiful voice, with mild friendly gleaming eyes!
Hadst thou stood at my mother's death-bed, hadst thou then addressed me
thus.... but they had all rejected me.... Oh, Blume! Blume! Why did you
treat me so? Had you but extended to me, _I will not say your hand, but
your compassion_.... Alas! one single word of comfort on that day of
atonement, in my fierce wrestling with the unutterable grief! Why did
you not speak like this Michoel? Oh! I should have been quite another
man, surely, surely, I should have been a changed man!... Blume! you
might have been the preserving angel of my life.... You cast me from
you, you became my demon!... Gabriel held both hands before his face:
yes, _you_, _you_," he now suddenly cried, and wild fury repressed all
gentle feelings, "_you_ have forced me to take the path which I
tread.... you have poisoned my existence, annihilated my hopes!...
If I now stand between a comfortless past and a hopeless future,
I will at least turn the present to account, I will at least bring
my ruined wretched life to a consistent conclusion. I will avenge
myself, sweetly, fearfully.... This night I dedicate to revenge--and
then--myself to certain death: the next battle I will hurl myself where
the enemies' ranks are thickest, will bathe my naked breast in a warm
shower of bullets. One blade, one ball will surely find its way to my
heart broken with sorrow!--and when alone and forsaken, trampled by
horses' feet on the bloody plain, I expire: then will I raise my
failing eyes for one last defiant look, then with unbending spirit I
will once more exclaim: Where art thou whom men call, all just, all
mighty, all merciful? Dost thou behold? I die desolate forsaken
unwept,--cursed by the woman whom once I madly loved, rejected by the
father...."

This thought, that had been woven like a red thread through Gabriel's
spiritual life, this thought, that had continually buoyed him with hope
or racked him with despair, according as the waves of his troubled
spirit were rising or falling, now worked upon Gabriel, only if
possible more violently, if possible, with greater tenacity. He tore
open the window in almost mad haste, and looked up to the partially
clouded starry heaven: "Give me my father, if thou art Almighty, let me
find him, find him _to-day_, _to-day_.... and I will offer up to thee
the greatest sacrifice, the woefullest sacrifice, the sacrifice of my
revenge; let me die in my father's arms ..., and I will perform my vow,
yes, yes, I will bow my stiff neck as I die, _I will repent, will say
that I have sinned, that thou art all merciful, all just, Almighty!_ my
last breath shall be a 'Hear o Israel'.--I will die like a pious Jew:
but thou must give me my father, give him _to-day_! Canst thou do that.
Almighty one?"

The phrensied scornful laughter with which he accompanied these last
words, echoed over the empty court, and reverberated dull and hollow
from the spacious adjacent vaults of the opposite synagogue, the lofty
windows of which chanced to be open.

In the highest state of bodily and mental tension Gabriel sank back in
his chair, the warm stream of blood that had rushed to his head and
threatened to burst his forehead, flowed again slowly back to his
heart: a sudden collapse, as is often the case, followed after this
indescribable excitement; after this, but later, a calm reflective
mood. In this state his landlady Schöndel found him, when she opened
the door, and asked: "Reb Gabriel, you are sitting in the dark, do you
wish for candles?"

Accepting Gabriel's silence as consent, she disappeared directly to
fetch a light.

On his return home Gabriel had laid his weapons upon the table; he
wished to hide them quickly before Schöndel returned with a light. A
large old bureau, belonging to his landlord, stood near him: but the
key was not in the lock. Without stopping to reflect he opened its
bottom drawer with a strong kick and threw the arms into it. A moment
afterwards Schöndel entered with a light: Gabriel leaned heavily
against the broken bureau to conceal it from Schöndel.

"Where have you been all day, Reb Gabriel?" she asked, "we have not
seen you since early morning! What do you say to the news of to-day?...
We in the Jews-town are absolutely without information; perhaps by
to-morrow morning early the Imperialists will already occupy the circle
of the Altstadt."

"Indeed, then I must make haste," said Gabriel.

"Why make haste?" enquired Schöndel with an air of surprise.

"That is quite clear," answered Gabriel recovering himself, with a
forced laugh. "I have now been rather a long time in Prague and have to
speak the truth not studied much Talmud. I must recommence. If the city
is surrendered, everybody's attention will be diverted, I myself shall
be disturbed, and my good intentions will be again postponed for some
days. I will set to work this very day. At midnight I shall go to the
lecture room and study all night long. Then before daybreak I shall go
to prayers in the Old-synagogue. I suppose the gate will be open early
enough?"

"Yes, but you must be in the Jews-town two hours before midnight or the
gates will be shut ... Well, I am heartily rejoiced that you intend
beginning to behave like a real student.... but you will not come to
prayers to-morrow morning, I give you my word of that?"

"Why not?" asked Gabriel.

"Early to-morrow you will be sleeping a deep sleep, out of which a
person does not easily awaken."--Schöndel heard her husband's voice
calling her and hurried away. Gabriel had misunderstood the last words.
Students, who staid awake the whole night in a lecture-room, were in
the habit of falling asleep towards morning and so being late for early
service. This was what Schöndel had meant jokingly to signify: but
Gabriel was in no mood to understand a joke, and these words sounded
gloomily and bodingly.... they accorded so strangely with the terror of
the faithful armourer, with Bubna's affecting farewell, with the
mournful presentiment that had many times in the course of the day
taken possession of him!

The stroke of the clock on the Rathhaus indicated that hour which
corresponds to eight in the evening. He wished to be in the Jews-town
before the gates were shut, two hours before midnight, so that he had
still some time before him. The superhuman excitement of the day, the
delicious torment of the expectation of revenge, that kept all his
manly energy on the stretch, could not long continue in such strength.
He was afraid, that the excess of these sensations would drive him mad,
would kill him. He passed his strong hand over his lofty brow, and
firmly closed his eyes, as though to annihilate thought.... He
sought for some object adapted to occupy his mind otherwise for two
hours:--one suddenly offered itself to him. A manuscript had fallen out
of the bureau when it was violently broken open.--He now noticed this
for the first time. He picked up the sealed packet, it was written in
Hebrew, and the envelope informed him, that it was the history, the
testament of Reb Mosche, his landlady's father, which was to be first
opened twenty years after his death. He locked the door of his room,
pushed the chair to the table: unsealed the writings and read.--Its
contents were as follows:

"On the 23d day of the month Tischri, that is the day which succeeds
the feast of tents, in the year 371 according to the lesser Jewish
reckoning. It will be seven and thirty years to-day since I kept my
13th birthday, and now I have reached my 50th year. On the same day too
I left the ancient, worthy community of Prague--in which I had passed
my youth, and where God willing, I will end my days--on a wide and
weary wandering."

"I cannot employ this day more holily than by beginning to write the
leaves of my biography; the leaves which I intend for you my children.
When you break the seal of these writings I shall have been for years
no longer among the living; but as a father's infinite love reaches far
beyond the grave, so will your recollection of me survive, and you will
not then refuse me the fullest sympathy.--I have written down the
narrative of my life, that at least after my death there may be no
mystery between us.

"My father, may the memory of the just be blessed, was that most
learned Talmudist and Cabbalist Rabbi Jizchok Meduro. He was descended
from a very old family that flourished for centuries in Spain, and his
ancestors had always made themselves conspicuous from learning and
attachment to their faith.--Fearful and bloody persecutions of the Jews
had compelled his father, a little orphan boy, to a formal change of
faith. When arrived at man's estate it repented him that he had, though
but in outward profession, laid aside the faith of his father's, and
when the officers of the inquisition discovered him at a celebration of
the Passover, and led him before the tribunal, he openly confessed that
with all his soul he was a Jew. He mounted the scaffold at Seville. He
sang psalms and hymns with devout mind, while the flames with a
thousand greedy tongues licked up his bloody body, at length a jet of
flame shot up into his face and extinguished the light of his eyes. One
'Hear oh Israel' escaped in a suffocated voice from the breast of the
dying man--at the same moment a heart-rending cry, a cry that made the
bones creep, resounded from the Cathedral square, and a woman fell down
lifeless. It was the wife of the dying man; she was pregnant with my
father. Two hours afterwards he saw the light of this world in a dismal
cellar--soon after her delivery, his mother succumbed to the most
maddening grief. The day of my father's birth was the day of his
parents' death. A small red flame was observed on the forehead of the
new-born child, an effect of the frightful torture, which the horrible
sight of the scaffold had inflicted on the mother stricken with mortal
terror.--Devout Jews, themselves in want of every assistance, took care
of the helpless orphaned babe, noble mothers suckled him at their
breasts. But bigotry was not satisfied with the bloody sacrifice.
Another of those frequently recurring persecutions of the Jews had
broken out in the Spanish peninsula; there were to be no more Jews in
Spain. Whoever would not abjure the old faith was to leave the country
within four months without carrying with him silver or gold. A hundred
thousand souls forsook goods and possessions to save their relics in a
far country, to escape from a land, where their prayer to the one true
God was stamped as a crime. A number of noble men, who crossed the sea
to Barbary, carried the baby with them, in order to preserve the
offspring of so illustrious family for its faith. But the poor people,
without money and without protection, were rejected from the coast, a
portion of the fugitives succumbed to the plague, a portion fell into
the hands of pirates that carried them into captivity: some however
were so fortunate as to find a refuge in Portugal after terrible
sufferings.--Among these was my father. He had in the meanwhile grown
to be a glorious boy. He had as yet experienced nothing but sorrow. The
infinite crushing misfortunes that had marked the day of his birth had
made an indelible impression on his mind, and even on his features.--A
profound abiding melancholy rested on the boy's thoughtful face, and
the red fiery spot that sparkled on his forehead never allowed him for
a moment to forget that flaming scaffold that had consumed the body of
a loved idolised father, the sight of which had caused the death of his
mother.

"The youth Jizchock Meduro soon discovered a wisdom almost equal to
Solomon's, a fervent love for the faith. He was worthy of his renowned
ancestors. Leading a solitary life, he found consolation only in
religious studies, and in investigating the powers of nature, and he
devoted himself to these pursuits with the greatest zeal. His immense
industry, added to unusual intellectual gifts, enabled him to obtain
the most beautiful results and the youthful Jizchok Meduro was soon
accounted one of the lights of the Portuguese Jewish society.

"My father had attained the age in which he thought it right to choose
a wife. His choice fell upon a Spanish orphan, whose father, of firm
faith and devout, had also expired upon the scaffold.--In the first
year of a happy marriage she gave birth to twins, myself and brother.
The small cosy family circle seemed to banish the spirit of melancholy
from my father, and not indeed to extinguish but soften his sorrowful
recollections. Even this domestic happiness was however soon to be
destroyed. Persecutions of the Jews broke out in Portugal also and were
soon followed by a royal edict that forced the Jews to change their
religion or to leave the country. My father fled with his wife and two
children, then in tenderest years. Hunted like wild beasts of the
forest, we crossed the Pyrenean peninsula and a part of France. No
house, no cottage would hospitably entertain us. At night we were
obliged to sleep on the open heath. A drink of water was often refused
to the perishing. And we could only attribute it to God's visible
protection that after unutterable hardships we reached German ground.
In a city on the Rhine our dear mother sunk under the unwonted
sufferings of the long journey--she lies buried in Cologne.... My
father was alone in a foreign country with two little boys. Too proud
even in the misery of exile to be a burden upon his benevolent
brethren, he wandered over the whole of Germany, and when at length he
arrived in Prague he considered it an interposition of Providence, that
the post of upper-servant was vacant in the Old-Synagogue, where the
same ritual prevails as in Portugal. He offered himself as a candidate
for this office and when he mentioned to the overseer of the synagogue
his name the fame of which had reached far into Germany, the latter
expressed much regret that my father did not prefer to accept the chair
of Rabbi in a community, or whole district. But my father had been too
sore afflicted by the strokes of adversity, he desired to live unknown
in perfect retirement, for his faith, for his religious studies, for
his sons. Nothing could be refused to a man so famous; his wishes were
entirely fulfilled by the authorities. Reb Jizchok Meduro became
upper-attendant, but it remained a secret to every one else that the
servant Reb Jizchok was the great teacher from Portugal. Here then,
where I lived as a little boy, and afterwards as man, and where God
willing, I will close these wearied eyes, here in this house, which you
my dear children now inhabit, lived and studied my deceased father....
His immense knowledge, his wisdom, his ascetic habits, filled every one
with a profound reverence for him, which was if possible increased by
his kind though reserved manners.

"It was natural that a feeling of reverential respect should also
animate myself and brother to the highest degree. Except at prayer we
met nobody. Our father never received visits, and as we children did
not go to school we had no play-fellows. Our father was all in all to
us. In our tender years he had performed for us all the troublesome and
petty services of a nurse-maid; as we grew older, he was our
instructor; were we sick, he was our physician and nurse.... The
profound gravity that rested on his features only gave way to a soft
gentle smile when we, my brother and I, sitting below there in the
synagogue at his feet, listened to his wonderful expositions,
expositions than which since that time I have never heard any so
admirable, so inspiriting; when he perceived how the fire of his mighty
eloquence found its way to our youthful hearts and kindled them.--He
loved his children infinitely, but refrained from showing it. He never
kissed us, once only when he thought that I was asleep, he pressed his
lips to my forehead, and a scalding tear rolled down on my face--a
sweet rapturous shudder crept over my limbs but I did not venture to
open my eyes."

Gabriel stopped at this passage. The image of that pale tall man, who
had once pressed his hot lips upon his own young forehead, whose tears
had once wetted his face, now appeared vividly, more vividly than ever
before him. He now felt sure that this image of his youth had been no
dream, and believed himself convinced that if it were now to appear
before him he should recognise him, him whom he held to be his father.

Gabriel read on:--

"This proof of his affection encouraged me on that day to the timid
question, what was the meaning of the purple streak upon his forehead,
a mark, that also at time showed itself on us children when we were
violently excited. I had expected a monosyllabic answer from my
taciturn father, but contrary to his wont he recounted to us with the
whole power of his mournful recollection the terrible events of his
life. These we now learnt for the first time, we learnt for the first
time, the place of our mother's grave.... 'The spot, that sparkles on
my, on your foreheads,' concluded my father, '_is a remembrance of the
man from whom we are descended_, who suffered the most painful death in
sure trust upon God.... May it be ever remind you to be worthy of your
ancestors....'"

Gabriel laid down the manuscript. The fiery mark upon his own forehead
now seemed to burn him painfully.... Was he, just at the moment when he
desired to come to a violent and complete rupture with his earlier past
life, was he, just at the moment when he was giving up all hope of
finding his father, that nobler aim of his life, was he just at that
very moment to find a direction post? Might not the mark whereby to
remember, be also a mark whereby to recognise? After short reflection
he once more seized the manuscript with feverish haste and read
further:--

"These confidences made an immense impression upon us children, and
often, as we sat idly by twilight before the gate of the synagogue, we
discussed our father's narrative with mournful emotion, always coming
to the conclusion, that we would do all in our power to sweeten our
father's life, and some day, when we were grown up, to wander to
Cologne to pray at our mother's grave.... I have already mentioned,
that we, I and my brother, had no playmates; but in truth we did not
care to associate with other children; the infelt brotherly love, with
which we were mutually penetrated, quite filled our young minds.
Chance, or rather God's providence, guided me however to a young
friend, a friend who became the stay of my life.... I had once gone on
a commission from my father to an artisan who had some work to deliver
for the house of the Lord. My way home led me by the banks of the
Moldau. A pack of wild schoolboys were insulting and ill-using a
delicate Jewish boy, apparently of about my own age. His cry for help
aroused my warmest sympathy. Born under a hot Southern sun, I did not
reflect that I was but ten years old and alone, but threw myself into
the thick of the throng, and came to the assistance of the poor
maltreated child at that moment when two of the worst, irritated by his
feeble resistance, would have tossed him into the river. 'Do you want
to kill the lad?' I cried with the whole force of my young voice, 'the
river is deep, he will be drowned! The first that touches him is a dead
man!'

"My arrival, the decided tone of my speech, made the wild troop
hesitate for a minute; but immediately afterwards a scornful horse
laugh resounded. Naturally strong, indignation gave me double force.
With a powerful blow of the fist I compelled the biggest of them, who
had got tight hold of the poor sufferer, to let him go. I disengaged
the little pale Jew-boy who was bleeding at mouth and nose, and whilst
I encircled him with my left arm, I threatened with the right to fling
into the river whoever dared come near us with hostile intention.
Twenty strong clenched fists let fly at me. I accepted the unequal
struggle with superior numbers, and they soon perceived that they had
to do with an antagonist, at least much surpassing any single one of
them in strength.... I resisted till my call for assistance brought up
some Jews who fetched the watch. The wild troop dispersed on their
arrival with a loud shout, and I carried, though myself bleeding from
many wounds, the fainting boy to the door of his house. The boy was
your father dear Schlome; Carpel Sachs, son of the wealthy Beer
Sachs.--Arrived at home, as soon as I had told my father what had
happened, I fell down and fainted.... My father poured some drops from
a flask into my wounds, kissed the blood from my face and smiled
kindly.--I was well again, I was happy! Next Friday the wealthy Reb
Beer Sachs sent me a beautiful new Sabbath-dress and three gold-pieces,
but the present was resolutely refused. The little Carpel had, in
consequence of the fright and the ill usage he had been exposed to,
been obliged to keep his bed for a week. The first time that he was
allowed to leave the house he came to thank me. The tears in his eyes,
the profound gratitude, the beautiful words with which the dear boy
knew how to give such a true and warm expression of this feeling, won
my heart. Carpel asked if he might often visit us, and as my father had
no objection to make, Carpel came to us as often as he had time, and a
firm bond of love and friendship was knitted between us, in which my
brother, also a noble-looking handsome boy took the warmest sympathy.
Carpel looked upon me, not unjustly, as his preserver, and his to a
certain extent respectful behaviour towards me, that he kept up even to
old age, caused almost the only difference in our kindly intercourse.
On the occasion of his frequent visits he not unseldom took part in our
lessons, and on his side only regretted that we, my brother and I,
could not make up our minds to come to his house; but the present of
the wealthy Reb Beer Sachs, who had never considered it necessary to
thank me in person for the real service which I had rendered his son,
had wounded us too deeply; and so it happened, that he scarcely knew
his son's preserver by sight.

"We boys spent our time monotonously and quietly, our life was now made
beautiful by the love of our little friend Carpel. But on a sudden the
hardest blow that could befall us, destroyed our calm happiness. It was
that feast of atonement when I and my brother, as we should in a few
days be thirteen years old; were fasting for the first time. The day
was declining, the departing sunbeams cast their red light, that
gradually faded before the advancing darkness, through the lofty narrow
windows of the Old-Synagogue, and the tapers were already dimly
burning. A profound silence prevailed in the vast space filled with
worshippers, when my father stepped to the desk to offer the appointed
evening prayer. I myself, though weary and excited, leant against the
marble enchased wall which incloses the steps that lead up to the
tabernacle in order to look my father in the face as I listened. He was
a wonderfully glorious man and at that moment was like an angel. Thus
had my childish spirit pictured the Prophet Elias!--His form was tall
and unbowed. The dark beard, but scantily sprinkled with grey, fell
down upon his breast and curved strikingly upwards against the long
white robe, while the locks of his hair, which forced their way from
under his turban, were already shining in the silvery glimmer. His
noble face now bore a stamp of the deepest devotion, and over his
flashing eyes, whose glance kindled enthusiasm, there glowed a dark
purple flame in the centre of his forehead. The prayers on the day of
atonement are striking, but in my father's mouth they made an
extraordinary impression. He did not look into the prayer-book that
laid open before him, but gazed heavenwards, so that it seemed as if
what he was saying came from the inspiration of the moment, as if he
was a divinely inspired seer. Every word that sounded with the full
melody of his voice from his lips penetrated victoriously and
irresistibly into the hearts of all present. As he repeated the
confession of sins with agitating expressiveness all were melted into
tears, and when on the other hand he gave utterance in prayer to a
devout trust in God's mercy, all felt exalted and strengthened. At
length he came to the end. With pious confidence in God he intoned
seven times at the top of his voice: 'The everlasting is our God' and
as the thousand voiced loud chorus of all who were present broke
magnificently against the vault of God's temple, my father sank
suddenly down:--I caught him in my arms....

"'I die,' he said in a feeble but audible voice. 'Lord of this
world! my father dared to breathe his life away upon the scaffold
for the glory of Thy holy name.--Me Thou hast not accounted worthy
of this favour.... but Thou permittest me to die here, on holy
ground, reconciled to Thee, at the conclusion of the festival of
atonement.--Father of all I thank thee!'--then he signed to my brother
also to draw near him, and said in faint dying voice that grew ever
weaker and weaker: 'My children, time presses.... Your mother rests in
the grave at Cologne.... In Prague, as attendant in this consecrated
house, I have passed the loveliest most tranquil years of my life....
Love one another.... sorrow not, despair not!... What God doeth that is
well done.... this world is but the vestibule of the next, bear this
ever in mind, and some day _on your own deathbeds inculcate it on your
children_--a benediction--a faint 'Hear oh Israel,' and the noble man
was no more!

"The day but one after we stood weeping at his grave as we returned to
our now desolate house, I asked my brother: 'What shall we do now?' The
sensible boy fixed his bright eyes upon me. 'Didst thou not hear what
our father said at his decease? Your mother lies buried in Cologne ...
We have prayed to-day at our father's grave, shall we not also visit
the last resting-place of our dear forsaken mother?'

"'Yes, yes dear, brother,' I cried, casting myself with loud sobs on
his breast, 'to Cologne, to Cologne, to our mother's grave.'

"During the seven days of mourning we arranged that directly after the
feast of tents we would start on our long journey. To our single friend
the little Carpel we made known our intention to his deep and infelt
regret. Tears rose in the poor boy's eyes, but he repressed them like a
man, that he might not vex us still more. On the feast of Tabernacles
we both, my brother and I, kept our 13th birthday. It was just the day
on which expositions are made. We attended the early service and got
ourselves called upon to expound. Then we went to the burial ground,
where the rulers of the Old-synagogue had caused a handsome gravestone
to be erected to my father, on which a bunch of grapes and the symbols
of a Levite were chiselled.... and then with slender bundle on back and
staff in hand went forth from the gate. Carpel accompanied us for an
hour. He pressed a small purse into the hand of each of us, and assured
us, that it consisted entirely of his own savings and that he had said
nothing to his father about this present. Then we renewed once more our
covenant of eternal friendship....

"'Forget me not, dear friends,' said Carpel as he took farewell....
'Mosche! I thank thee once more; we are still boys, but shall some day
be men, do not forget, Mosche; that in Prague you have a friend, whose
life you have saved, who is for ever thy debtor, who is prepared every
moment of his life to pay the heavy debt.... Forget me not, as I will
never forget thee! Carpel kissed me, my brother, then flung himself
once more sobbing aloud on my breast. Exerting all the force of my soul
I at length tore myself away.... We set off, Carpel sat himself down
upon a hillock and gazed weeping after us.... He was very sorry for
us.... We were so lonely, so forsaken. Father and mother lying in
the grave, and our one faithful little friend staying behind in
despair!--Ignorant of the road we wandered over all Germany. We
experienced many a sorrow, many a pain, but were sometimes entertained
compassionately and sympathetically. After a difficult journey of many
months we at length arrived at the end of our travel, at Cologne. Our
hearts beat high as we passed through the city-gate. But the unwonted
fatigues of the long way, had exhausted my brother's strength, and
the poor boy fell down, sick and worn out, in the open street. I was
alone with him in a strange city, my burning eyes sought help
despairingly--then God sent us a preserver. An elderly gentleman
stepped out of the house on the threshold of which my brother was lying
unconscious.

"'A sick child in the open street?' he enquired, 'who is the boy?'

"'It is my brother,' I answered shyly, 'we are orphans, we have come
from far away out of Bohemia, to visit our mother's grave....'

"'Carry the boy into the room upstairs,' was the gentleman's order,
'lay him in bed, let him have some broth, I will attend to him
directly....'

"'We are Jew-boys, gracious Sir,' I cried quickly.

"'I too am a Jew,' smiled the worthy man, 'I am Baruch Süss, favourite
physician to our gracious Elector, the Archbishop of Cologne.'"

Gabriel shuddered but read on:--

"Bustling servants carried my sick brother up the broad stairs into a
splendidly furnished room and laid him in bed. I stayed with my
brother. The noble humane Baruch Süss examined him with the greatest
attention and found that he was lying sick of an inflammatory fever,
that he probably would require nothing but complete repose, and
that it would not be possible to form a decided opinion as to the
further progress of the disorder till after a lapse of one and twenty
days.--Suddenly fresh childs' voices were heard at the door, which was
pulled open and two lovely maidens peeped into the room. The roguish
smile on their face rapidly yielded to the deepest emotion, as their
father enjoined silence by a sign, and informed them in a low voice
that they must give up their room for the present to a poor parentless
boy, who had fallen suddenly ill in the street. _The two maidens were
the daughters of Baruch Süss, Miriam and Perl_."

The manuscript escaped from Gabriel's nervously trembling hand. Must
the memory of his grandfather, of his mother, just to-day, in the hour
when, obstinately advancing, he wished to cut off the last possibility
of retreat, must it just to-day be awakened in him in such a strange,
unexpected, he was obliged reluctantly to admit, in such an almost
miraculous manner? Was he perhaps to discover in this writing, that a
curious accident had played into his hands at a critical moment, a
solution of the mystery of his birth? And if he did find it, should he
account all these remarkable coincidences as chance, or rather as a
wonderful proof of that all powerful providence which he had often so
defiantly challenged? These thoughts assailed Gabriel with all the
compass of their fearful import, and worked upon him all the more
effectually, as the tide of the swiftly succeeding events of the day
was calculated to shake the strongest determination. He paced
impetuously up and down the room. "I must not read further," he
muttered to himself, "till I have embraced a resolution. If I should
find a disclosure about my father in this manuscript, if I durst hope
that he would fold me in his arms, that he would press me lovingly to
his breast, Gabriel, what in the whole past, what in the future would
matter unto you? If I could find my father, if I could find him such as
I have always pictured him to myself in the short moments of blissful
dreams, if such I could fold him in my arms--though it were but
for the most infinitesimal instant of time that the human mind can
conceive--_God_!"

Gabriel's passionate excitement had attained a height that may easily
be imagined. In the most violent excess of a feeling that eagerly
sought an escape he had uttered the word, that, at least in his
self-communings, had not passed his lips for a long series of years,
and he almost shuddered, as the strange sound fell, if involuntarily,
almost believingly from his mouth....

"But if he be dead, and gone," cried Gabriel, looking up suddenly
almost joyfully, "if I should learn precisely out of this manuscript,
that he is irrecoverably lost to me.... if then no other tie than
vengeance, continues to bind me to this life, _then_, _then_, ... my
purpose remains immoveable."

He sat down, and his eyes could not fly over the somewhat faded
characters with sufficient swiftness. He read on:--

"My brother was taken the best care of. Death had once ravished from
our benefactor Baruch Süss two hopeful boys in one week. These boys
must have been of about our age, and this circumstance heightened the
sympathy that his noble heart felt for us, especially for my sick
brother.--It happened just as Baruch Süss had prophesied. For three
weeks my brother lay in fever and delirium: on the twenty first day he
dropped for the first time into a profound and peaceful slumber. Süss
waited for the sick child's waking with almost fatherly compassion. At
length my poor brother to my inexpressible delight opened his beautiful
dark eyes, raised himself in bed, and looked about him in wonderment.
'Where are we? Mosche!' he asked in a feeble trembling voice. I threw
myself passionately on to his neck and my tears bedewed his pale sunken
cheeks.

"'Thou hast been ill, poor child,' said Süss, 'God has permitted thy
recovery, thou must be grateful to him.'

"I related with an overflowing feeling of gratitude, with how much
goodness our benefactor had behaved towards us, and as my brother
seized the noble man's hand in deep emotion, pressed it to his
quivering lips, and vainly struggled after words to express his
heartfelt thanks, a strange convulsive movement passed over the face of
Süss, and his eyes filled with tears.... 'You are dear good boys!' he
said, profoundly agitated.... The memory of his two early lost sons may
have combined with the warm sympathy of his own great heart. He hurried
out of the room, that he might not depress the spirits of the
convalescent by his unwonted emotion. We remained alone. At this moment
we felt ourselves infinitely calmed, we did not stand any longer so
entirely alone, so entirely forsaken! Süss allowed the convalescent to
take fresh air in the garden attached to his house, and it was there,
that we became better acquainted with his daughters. They were probably
rather younger than ourselves. Both of them, but especially Miriam the
elder, had been endowed with the most excellent natural gifts. Their
extraordinary and, especially for maidens of their age, almost
unparalleled beauty most perfectly harmonised with a subtle,
comprehensive, deeply penetrating intellect, with a disposition that
seemed formed to be a shining example to youthful womanhood. The
friendly, confiding, almost sisterly behaviour of the girls which their
good father manifestly approved of, made a profound, inerasable
impression upon us.

"So long as my brother was not quite recovered, we dared not think of
accomplishing the aim of our journey, of visiting our mother's grave.
It cost me a severe struggle, not to hasten alone to the burial ground,
but it would have vexed my poor brother, and I loved him so fervently!

"At last he was strong enough.... we walked out to the burial ground.
Our father had given us a sufficient description of the stone that
covered our mother's grave; we found it easily, and the long desired
aim of our journey was reached. The frame of mind in which we found
ourselves I cannot paint to you, my dear children? The most reverential
fear, the most sorrowful emotion seized powerfully hold of our young
minds.... We prayed long and softly, and when at length we were forced
to tear ourselves away in order to return home, we flung ourselves with
loud sobs into each other's arms. 'We have no father, no mother, ...'
said my brother, deeply moved. 'I have only thee, thou hast only me!--I
will love thee for ever, for ever, I will never forsake thee, never!
Brother, love me too, as I love thee!...'

"I could not answer from excitement. I folded him impetuously to my
loud-beating heart, and pressed my hot lips to his pale forehead, on
which at that instant a bright streak of flame was burning. The firm
bond of brotherly love was to be knitted if possible still more
closely, the beautiful covenant was anew concluded, in a sacred hour,
in a spot that was infinitely holy to us children!

"'What will you do now?' asked Süss, when we returned, grave and
agitated, to his house. This question surprised us. Since our father's
death we had entertained no other thought, could not have grasped any
other thought than to pray at our mother's grave. It had so entirely
filled our young minds, had kept our spirits in such perpetual
excitement, that we had not even for a moment considered what was to
come after, that we now for the first time cast a scrutinising look
upon our future. We stood with downcast eyes for a while in silence
before Süss. My brother recovered himself first. 'What do we propose to
do?' he repeated.--'Before anything else to render thanks to you, dear
benefactor, for your inexpressible goodness, for the kindness, for the
fatherly affection that you have devoted to us poor forsaken orphans in
such abundant measure, to thank you for tending me a poor boy, and with
God's assistance healing me in a sore sickness--to thank you, ye dear
good girls for your compassion, for that ye were not proud towards the
poor stranger boys, that you weeped when I was sick and rejoiced, when
the good God let me recover,--for that you were kind to us as sisters,
you rich beautiful maidens to us poor, poor boys!' ... and next he
continued after a short pause during which he strove to overcome his
deep emotion, and swallowed with an effort his hot tears, next we shall
pursue our journey, go to some school, study God's word, and endeavour
to become worthy of our father Reb Jizchok Meduro, to become worthy of
our grandfather, who ended his life heroically upon the scaffold, in
remembrance of whom the fiery mark sparkles on our forehead in moments
of sanctification!'

"My brother ceased; he was glorious to look upon, his eyes flashed
beaming with soul, and the fiery mark of which he spoke, even then rose
splendidly and contrasted with the pale, still somewhat sickly, child's
face, with the pure forehead white as alabaster.--I gazed with a sad
fraternal pride on my twin-brother, who seemed to draw his words in
strange wise out of his breast. The two girls sobbed softly, and Baruch
Süss required some time to collect himself.

"'I will not let you go, you dear fine boys,' he cried, 'never, no
never God forbid that I should let you go out into the wide world,
forsaken, orphaned. Seeing that a fortunate dispensation caused you to
cross my threshold, you must now remain with me. I too had once two
beautiful good boys.... The Lord hath taken them from me. Will you
supply their place to me? Will you be my sons, will you be the brothers
of these girls?'

"This unlooked for offer took us by surprise. The blissful feeling that
we had suddenly, unexpectedly, found a new home struggled with an
innate proud reluctance to accept a benefit for which we could make no
return save our boundless gratitude.--We wavered for an instant and
knew not what reply to make; but when Miriam grasping our hands with
tearful eye and trembling voice implored us not to go away, to stay
with her father--it seemed to us as if no opposition could be thought
of; we stayed.

"Baruch Süss treated us ever with fatherly kindness, and we always
succeeded in preserving his favour. Our late father had already
initiated us in the study of God's word, and so it came to pass, that
in spite of our youth we had soon made rapid progress. In the house of
Süss we had now full leisure to indulge in our wonted occupations. All
our wants were cared for in the kindest manner, and we soon felt as
much at home as in the house of our parents--Baruch Süss was besides so
good as to let us be instructed in those sciences, of which our father
in the tenderest years of our boyhood had only been able to give us the
first indications. His exertions in our favour had the best
consequences. The examples of our forefathers continually hovered
before our souls, and urged us to the greatest industry, to the highest
sacrifices. We were soon proposed as a brilliant pattern to the Jewish
youth, not only in Cologne, but in the whole Rhine-country--our names
were every where mentioned with distinction, and Baruch Süss felt
himself thereby richly rewarded. We lived happily and contentedly, and
grew up.--I may now when all that is over say so--two splendid youths,
equally well developed in mind and body, while Miriam and Perl
blossomed into exquisitely lovely young women.

"I had arrived at the age, when the heart willingly opens to love.
Miriam's infinite attractiveness, the enrapturing grace of her
demeanour, her noble heart, her wonderfully penetrating mind, had made
a powerful, ineffaceable impression upon me, an impression that soared
to the height of love. I did not make the slightest attempt to conquer
this noble passion. Miriam's most friendly kindest sympathy did not
permit me to regard my bold hopes as unattainable, the less that
Baruch Süss too, when we became young men, made no difference in his
domestic economy, allowed us to make use of the intimate 'Thou' to
his daughters, and recognised our deserts with almost fatherly
affection.--His immense wealth, his influence, his position at the
electoral court, made it moreover possible for him in the choice of his
sons-in-law to neglect the petty considerations which so frequently
stand in the way of the dearest wishes. I rocked myself in dreams of a
happy glad future, but I avoided giving expression to these sweet
dreams and my hopes remained for months a secret even to my dear and
infinitely loved brother, to my brother whom in fact I loved more than
myself! At length it seemed to me treachery against my fraternal
affection, if I should any longer preserve silence with respect to a
feeling that struck daily deeper root in my soul. We occupied a room in
common, and in the dusk of a fading summer's day I opened my heart to
him. I held my arms twined about his neck, and leant my head on his
cheeks. It seemed to me, as if he suddenly shivered and began to
tremble; but I convinced myself that it was a delusion, and as he gazed
for a long while fixedly before him, I thought, that liveliest sympathy
for me had plunged him into a deep reverie. I sought to read his
features, but the increasing darkness made this impossible. 'Art thou
then convinced that Miriam loves thee?' he enquired at length in a dull
voice. I had often put the same question to myself, and ever given it
an answer favourable to myself, and Miriam's behaviour justified me in
doing so; but I forgot that she behaved exactly in the same way to my
brother, and it was only the later unfavourable turn, which this
connection, that at first caused me so much happiness, took, which
directed my attention to that fact, without however my being ever able
to fully make out the real state of the case: and even to this day,
when manifold experiences have increased my knowledge of human nature,
I cannot say for certain whether Miriam then loved me or my brother, or
whether her virgin heart hovered in anxious timorousness between us. At
that time I believed that I could answer my brother's question with an
honest yes. The dejected silence into which my brother sunk anew, was
equally misunderstood by me, I thought that I saw therein only an
excessive fear lest Baruch Süss should refuse me his daughter's hand. I
remained but a short time involved in this error; I was suddenly
bitterly undeceived. Some days afterwards I awoke in the night and
heard a loud and violent talking and weeping in my room. I sprung
swiftly from my couch. It was a clear starlight night, and the pale
moonlight fell just upon my brother's bed--he, as was often the case
with him, was talking in his dreams. The sorrow, that was printed on
the sleeper's face, the large tears, that welled from under his closed
lashes and rolled over his pale cheeks, filled me for a moment with a
strange pensive grief; but I soon smiled at my childish pity. I would
wake him, scare away the evil dream, that enchained his mind--but as I
was about to call him, there fell on my soul, as it were a quivering
flash of lightning, followed by a roaring thunderclap, and the words
which escaped slowly from his lips became on a sudden clear and
transparent.--I listened with restrained breath.

"'I love my dear brother more than life,' he said, 'and he loves
Miriam!... Hush, Hush! No one shall hear of it, but Thou, my God and
Lord; Thou that beholdest my writhing, lacerated heart.... I will be
silent, silent as the grave for ever.... not Miriam, not my brother, no
man shall hear of it.... Oh! indeed I am glad, brother! dear brother,
take Miriam for thy bride.... and, I can surely die! I will not trouble
the joy of your wedding day, I will not weep.... No! I will be glad and
laugh at your happiness, will laugh so right heartily, as on my
brother's day of rejoicing, on the wedding day of him whom I most
ardently love.... Oh, mine is no forced laugh, I laugh so truly from my
whole heart; see--ha, ha, ha!...'

"But my brother did not laugh, but sobbed convulsively. My heart
contracted frightfully, an indescribable, almost physically painful
grief thrilled through me--I could not at first speak for maddening
sorrow, but then cried aloud, casting myself upon the bed of my
sleeping brother: 'no, dear one, no, thou shalt not give her up....
Miriam shall be thine.... thine, thine, for ever.'

"My brother awoke.--What I said, showed him clearly, that I was
acquainted with his heart's secret. I lay upon his breast sobbing
aloud.

"'A woman, dear brother!' he began at length with trembling voice
vainly striving for composure--'a woman, though it were the glorious
Miriam, shall not divide our hearts. Thee only I possessed in the wide
world, thou wert my all, brother! Dost yet remember, how thou, thyself
sick and weary, didst carry me in thy arms, when on our journey to the
mother's grave I had wounded my foot? Dost yet remember, how thou didst
watch at my sick-bed for three weeks together, and didst scarcely get
any sleep? Dost yet remember, how our dying father exhorted us to love
one another? Dost yet remember, how we renewed the covenant at our
mother's grave?--And do you think that I, that I have forgotten all
that, all that? No, brother: take thou Miriam to wife.... be happy!

"A noble strife arose between us. Each of us wished to give up with
bleeding heart, and neither would accept the sacrifice offered by
fraternal love.--The most curious, the strangest ideas, such as could
only be born of so desperate a situation, danced in rapid succession
before us.--Lot, Miriam herself should decide; but they were rejected
as fast as entertained. At last a manly resolution the fruit of a long
painful struggle ripened in us: _we would both give her up_. Neither of
us should possess Miriam, and our love should remain a secret for ever.
In our mutual passionate brotherly love we determined to forget the
infinite sorrow that filled us.--

"We wished, we were bound to leave the house at daybreak, to which the
mightiest ties enchained us. On the next day we stood pale, confused,
with tears in our eyes before our friend Süss who had loved us as a
father, and declared to him with hesitating voice our suddenly formed
resolution of leaving his house, of proceeding farther on our journey.
Süss was alarmed, he glared at us speechlessly, our fixed purpose
seemed to have overthrown one of his favourite schemes. He vainly
endeavoured to detain us, fruitlessly enquired the reason that had
caused us to take a step so unexpected. 'Stay with me, I have good
designs for you....' repeated Süss over and over again sadly, and when
he saw how immovably we remained true to our purpose, he said at length
painfully subduing his pride: 'Stay with me, be my sons.... I have only
daughters, two lovely glorious daughters.... but I wish also to have
two sons.... Will you not be my sons? My daughters, I have good ground
for thinking so, are affectionately disposed towards you....' Süss said
no more, his parental pride struggled with his parental love.--To
us it was clear that Süss had intended to make choice of us as his
sons-in-law, and that his daughters had fully shared the wish. I and my
brother, as twins usually are, were almost exactly like one another,
for which of us would Miriam have decided? A painful torturing pause
ensued. Süss could not divine the real reason, why we who had entered
his house as poor orphan boys, despised his exquisitely graceful
daughters, the loveliest, wealthiest, noblest maidens among the German
Jews. We, my brother and I, needed all the strength of our manhood, not
to succumb to the unutterable pain of despair. One of us must of
necessity be standing close to that hotly desired aim, that we both,
each with the fullest force of his will, were striving to attain--and
now to be obliged to draw back, to be obliged to draw back in silence,
and by so doing to inflict an injury perhaps mortal on him whom we
loved beyond measure--that thought annihilated us.

"Süss, wounded in the most sensitive place of his heart, in his pride
as a father, was profoundly mortified. 'I cannot and must not detain
you any longer,' he said with bitter grief.... 'Go!... may you never
repent having thus departed.' Then he stepped hastily to the door and
said with an accent that rent our hearts: 'Oh, would that you had never
crossed the threshold of my house!...'

"We would not thus separate from our benefactor. We hastened after him
to his room--it was closed against us: We sent by an old servant of the
house to ask that we might as a favour be allowed to take farewell of
his daughters, it was refused us. We almost succumbed to the
unutterable grief of despair..... On the evening of that same day we
proposed to leave Cologne, the inexhaustible goodness of Süss furnished
us with an abundant outfit for our further journey--but he would never
see us again. At night-fall we got into the travelling carriage, that
waited for us at the back door of the house. We cast a sorrowful look
at the window of that room which Miriam occupied.... two maiden faces
looked forth into the gathering twilight, and the violent trembling of
one of them, who pressed her handkerchief to her eyes, showed that she
was sobbing impetuously--it was Miriam!

"Our hearts beat audibly, my brother's beautiful features were
frightfully disfigured, he must have suffered as unutterable woe as I
did.--I gazed into his face, visibly convulsed with sorrow. 'Brother,'
I said, 'there is yet time.... I can renounce.... do thou return to
Miriam. If Miriam wavers between us both, or even if she loves but one
of us, thy return will be decisive in thy favour.... Thou, Miriam, our
benefactor Süss, you all will be happy....'

"'And thou?' asked my brother in a tone of the woefullest reproach.

"'I go far away and strive to forget....' I tried hard to answer, but
my voice shook, and tears rolled irrestrainably over my cheeks. My
brother fell sobbing into my arms.--'I will never forsake thee,
Brother!' he cried--'good brother! cast me not away from thy noble
heart.'

"We went from one school to another; our name was already known far and
wide, we met with a friendly reception everywhere: but we felt nowhere
at home. We never mentioned Miriam, but the memory of this hapless love
threw a gloom over our life. We plunged with unwearied industry into
the study of God's word, we increased our stores of knowledge, but the
thorn in our bleeding hearts did not therefore pain us the less.... We
had acquired in the Talmudic world an unheard of renown for students,
we were often honoured by letters from illustrious Rabbis, who desired
our advice, our opinion upon scientific religious questions. The most
important Rabbinates were offered to us, we might have obtained the
highest aim of a Talmud-student. But neither of us could do so. Memory
still drove us unquietly from place to place.

"A year had elapsed since our departure from Cologne, when in one of
our wanderings we happened to hear that the younger daughter of the
wealthy electoral physician Süss had given her hand to her cousin Joel
Rottenberg of Worms, while the elder had previously absolutely refused
to enter into the bond of matrimony. This news filled both of us with a
strange sensation of sadness. To each of us, though he dared not allow
it to himself--a ray of hope seemed to dawn:--and yet neither of us
would have been made happy without the other. Once more, for the last
time I asked my brother whether he would return to Miriam; but he saw
my soul's infinite sorrow, after a short violent struggle his fraternal
affection conquered, he stayed with me; we would never separate:

"Another year elapsed, we were then living in Germersheim, a community
not far from Spires. We had in the course of our short residence there
won the approval and respect of the Rabbi, and when he died soon after
our arrival, he enjoined the community upon his death-bed to elect one
of us as his successor, and it besieged us with petitions that one of
us would accept the vacant chair of the Rabbi; and marry the daughter
of the defunct who lived with her now widowed mother. I was still in no
mood to accept these offers, however attractive and honourable they
might be; my brother also decidedly refused them. We determined
therefore to withdraw ourselves from all further discussion by a
distant journey. I was busily occupied in my little room in the house
of the Rabbi's widow packing my effects for the journey, when my
brother suddenly entered. He was pale as a corpse, his looks were
troubled.

"'Do you know what a foreign student has just been relating _in the
lecture-room_?'

"'What?'

"'Miriam Süss has at length yielded to her father's entreaty and given
her hand to her cousin Joseph Süss of Spires.--The wedding was
solemnised magnificently at Cologne.'--

"I felt a warm sympathy for my brother; at that moment I perceived for
the first time that he was of a more passionate nature than I. The
heavy blow, which I had expected for years, came upon him like a
thunderbolt out of a blue sky. He fell upon a chair, in vain he pressed
his hands to his face, the tears welled out between his fingers.

"'But brother, brother,' I cried, myself struggling to keep down all
the recollections and thoughts that awoke within me, couldest thou have
expected anything else? Why troublest thou thyself? What can it now
signify to thee? be a man, brother, be strong!'

"'God!' sobbed my brother, 'could I have known that!... could I have
known that Miriam would be so weak as to forget me! oh! brother,
brother, believe me, Miriam loved only me, me and none else, she could
love no one, as she loved me! oh, I made a great, an infinitely great,
sacrifice to thee, when I gave her up, _fruitlessly gave her up_ to
thee!... oh! why wert thou not magnanimous, why didst thou accept this
sacrifice?'

"I looked into my brother's face with the deepest grief, I had never
seen him so passionate, so excited before, and yet I thought that I
knew him as well as myself, for was he not my twin-brother. It seemed
to me almost as if at that moment the dark night of madness was
shadowing his clear spirit. The fire in his eyes sparkled wildly and
weirdly.

"'Thou hast made a fruitless sacrifice of thyself to me?' I repeated
painfully agitated: 'did I desire it, did I wish for it?--and I, I?
dost think my heart is of stone? dost think that I have suffered less
than thou, because I have said nothing? I too have often screamed in
the bitter agony of my soul, as I watched in despair through the long
melancholy night.--Consider, brother! I, I do not reproach thee.'

"I suffered inexpressibly: the news, which again painfully tore open my
heart's wounds, joined to the passionate unjust reproaches of my
brother, whom I loved so tenderly, by whom I believed that I was so
tenderly loved, agitated my mind with such violence that I fell
dangerously ill. For eight weeks I strove with the angel of death. In
the confused wild fever dreams of my sickness it sometimes seemed to me
as if an angel approached my couch, as if a girl's white hand touched
my burning forehead--once I thought, that a lovely woman bent over my
bed and that a tear rolled down upon my face.--God--praised be his
name--granted my recovery. He refreshed me with the springs of his
infinite grace. The sickness had had the most beneficial, the most
inexplicable influence upon my life. A new fresh stream of blood seemed
to roll through my veins. I was restored not only to bodily, but also
to mental health. My love for Miriam, now the wife of another, which I
must have violently eradicated, had died out in a miraculous manner. Oh
yes, it was a miracle! and I thanked God for that instance of his
goodness!--The noble handsome girl who had nursed me with more than a
sister's care, who had watched night after night by my bed, full of
sympathy and compassion, was thy mother, dear Schöndel.--Leah the
daughter of the Rabbi's widow.... Thy mother was lovely and good. As
long as Miriam had reigned in my heart, I had not noticed the
wonderfully beautiful maiden, but now, that I was once more free, my
earnest gratitude was easily converted into an infelt, fervent,
faithfully returned love. Half a year after my convalescence Leah
became my wife, and I took my seat in the Rabbi's chair at Germersheim.

"During my sickness my brother had shown me the most self-sacrificing
love, and had attached himself again to me with the greatest
tenderness, as though to make me forget the inauspicious reproach that
had pained me so much. I had never borne ill will against him. True it
is that he had shaken with rude hand the firm bonds, that held our
hearts entwined, that the hasty word which he had uttered, had touched
me to the quick,--but, dear children! you do not know what brotherly
love is, you do not know, how one loves a brother, and above all a
twin-brother!... From our birth, from our mother's lap we had been
united to one another by the sweetest holiest bonds.--The same
pulsation had stirred our hearts, we had lain on the same mother's
breast, we had hitherto fairly and equally shared every sorrow and
every joy.--I could not help it, I was constrained to love my brother
with undiminished cordiality!

"In the first year of a happy peaceful marriage thy mother presented me
with an admirably beautiful girl, with thee, dear Schöndel.... I was
happy, but my happiness endured but for a short time; eight days after
your birth thy dear never to be forgotten mother died! You may conceive
my profound grief! I formed a firm immoveable resolution never to marry
again, and following my father's lofty example to dedicate my whole
life to the study of God's word, to the religious care of my community,
to the education of my only beloved child.--In the conscientious
performance of my duties I at length found tranquillity, and when thou,
Schöndel, didst gaze at me with thy sweet child-like smile, when thou
didst extend to me thy little delicate hands, I felt myself almost
happy!

"My brother was my faithful companion. He occupied a small room in my
house and studied almost the whole of the day. My heart was filled with
the sad remembrance of my deceased wife, so soon snatched from me. I
never thought of Miriam except with a sensation of friendly gratitude.
Every feeling of love for her.--I have already said so--had quite died
out in me. I could have calmly conversed with my brother about her
father and sister: but I did not dare to do so, because the profound
silence which he preserved, was an unmistakeable sign, that he had not
yet conquered his once deep felt love, that it still remained rankling
with full strength in his soul. Miriam's name therefore never again
crossed our lips. Many advantageous offers of marriage were proposed to
my brother, he was elected as Rabbi by many important German
communities: but he firmly refused everything, and paid no attention to
my well meaning advice.... We often sat all day together, plunged in
the study of the Talmud. Once we were engrossed in the solution of a
case that had been laid before me for my decision by two Rabbis, who
could not come to an agreement with respect to it. We had long remained
seated, then in the eagerness of discussion began walking round the
room, and at last, as was often the case, happened to stop before the
open window. My brother was just on the point of controverting a
proposition that I had laid down, when he cast a glance through the
window.... He instantly became dumb, his arms fell powerlessly by his
side, his lips moved convulsively, but emitted no sound.

"'What ails thee, brother?' I asked in terror.

"He made no answer, but stretched out his arms and pointed to the
street; I saw a lady, stepping out of a travelling carriage.

"'What ails thee, brother?' I repeated more earnestly 'I see nothing
that can have discomposed you to such a degree.'

"My brother gazed fixedly at me, as if he thought my question an
incomprehensible one, then pointed once more at the lady and collecting
all his strength, screamed involuntarily in a loud shrill voice:
'Miriam Süss!' and trembling convulsively fell down pale as a corpse.
My brother did not come to himself till late in the evening. He was
right, it was Miriam. Joseph Süss her husband, had a lawsuit with the
magistracy of the city of Spires, and wished to wait for the issue of
it at the adjacent town of Germersheim. His wife had followed him. I
felt sorry that Joseph Süss had selected just Germersheim for his
residence, not for my own but for my brother's sake.

"I did not venture to talk to my brother about Miriam's presence; the
sight of her had too much affected him. I made a slight attempt to
advise him to go a journey while her stay lasted in Germersheim; but
his eyes flashed, as he answered: 'Brother, I have no one in the wide
world save thee! I have sacrificed everything, the dearest thing on
earth, to thee, cast me not away from thy presence!'

"After a time he became gradually calmer, and I was already beginning
to indulge a hope, that he had reconciled himself to his immutable
destiny, when after the expiration of some months his behaviour again
altered in a strange and striking way. My brother avoided my society,
came to me seldomer and seldomer, till at last he shut himself up in
his room, and refused either to see me or speak to me. I did not know
how to explain this to myself, and only waited a convenient
opportunity, to have a private conversation with him. This I at length
found, I was usually the first in God's house, and as a rule unlocked
its doors. One morning, it was winter. I stepped into the dark and
quite empty interior, shortly afterwards the iron gates grated again
and a form appeared on the steps that led into the inner synagogue. The
pale trembling light of the lamp that ever burneth revealed to me my
brother. He stopped irresolutely, as if he would avoid an interview
with me alone. I did not give him time to take a resolution, stepped
quickly up to him and held out my hand to him. But his hand trembled in
mine, he could not bear my steadfast gaze, his eye, that once was wont
to look me truly and honestly in the face, remained fixed on the
ground, and even his features formerly so beautiful seemed to me marred
and disfigured. The red streak of flame on his forehead burned to a
deeper hue than had ever been seen on him before, broad violet coloured
circles were stamped under his glistening eyes, his blue lips quivered
incessantly, it was clear, that my poor brother could not encounter my
looks. I gazed into his face, a profound inexpressible pang, an
incommunicable sympathy seized my heart:--but then suddenly a ray of
conviction flashed across me, brotherly love sharpened my spiritual
eyes; Miriam was in Germersheim, her husband was absent, my brother
loved her with a furious passion.... his face bore the Cains-mark of
guilt, there was no doubt, _my poor brother had sore sinned!_ I let
fall his hand! I was too violently agitated, and vainly struggled a
long time for a word.... My brother broke the painful death-like
stillness that reigned in the broad space with no sound. It was a
silent confession to me of his guilt!

"Pious worshippers now began to enter into the temple, and I could say
no more to him at present; in the deep silence of night, alone, I
determined that he should hear his brother's warning voice.

"I passed the day in a state of most painful excitement. Had my
brother's bleeding corpse been laid torn and disfigured at my feet I
should not have so profoundly mourned him! Could I with the last drop
of my heart's blood have undone that, which I now felt myself
constrained to admit as certain,--I would have gladly shed it. It was
for me to raise again my brother, my poor fallen brother, out of the
bottomless depths to which he had sunk. It was for me to tear him from
the strong arm of sin; I knew, that it must have been a hard struggle
in which my brother was subdued....

"After midnight.... all around was sunk in deep sleep--I crept to the
door of his room. I knocked at first gently, then louder, no answer
followed.--The key of my room also opened this door. It was not till
after long hesitation that I crossed the threshold with loud-beating
heart. The small lamp, that I carried with me, threw its dull light
round about; I stepped to my brother's bed, it was empty.... my brother
was not in his room--I sank down in despair; I had in truth before been
convinced of my brother's guilt; but the certainty, this horrible
certainty that robbed me of every, even the faintest shadow of a hope,
seized my heart anew with a grief as terrible as if I had up to that
time had not the least presentiment of it! At the very moment, when my
fraternal heart was crying out in the depths of its agony, at the very
moment when I was prepared to make any sacrifice to save my brother, at
that very moment _my brother_, _my brother_,  'my second I--oh no,
more, more;' I had loved him more than myself, I would have sacrificed
myself thousands of times for him--was wantoning! at that very moment
my brother was wantoning in the arms of an adulterous woman, _of that
woman whom I had once idolized with pure chaste fervent love_....

"What was I to do? I must stay, I must wait for him, though my poor
heart should break. I seated myself by the table and tried to read a
bible by the lamplight: but I could not. Incapable of thought I gazed
out through the open window, and made frequent fruitless attempts to
collect myself, to ponder over the address with which I proposed to
receive my brother. Every second seemed a century, and yet, and yet I
would gladly have postponed the painful moment, and yet I trembled
sadly at the slightest sound, that the wind made in the passage. I
might have sat thus for three long hours that seemed as if they would
never end, when I heard a faint rustle, and shortly afterwards a
powerful form swung itself through the window. It was my brother.--He
remained standing stiff and motionless as a statue before me. At sight
of him all my blood flowed back so swiftly and violently to my heart,
that I thought that it must indeed burst; a cold shudder crept over my
bones, I had half got up, keeping one hand on the open bible, as if I
would draw strength and confidence from it. A long pause ensued, it
exhausted my nervous system, more than ten years of trouble would have
done!

"I had reckoned with certainty that my brother would fall
broken-hearted into my arms, that the sight of me at that hour would
remind him of all that he had forgotten. I believed that he would come
to meet me; but I had deceived myself, my brother remained stiff and
motionless and never once dropped his eyes....

"In spite of the immense excitement in which I found myself at this
fateful moment, the whole impression of it has continued uneffaced in
my memory, and even at this day, when I am writing this history--though
almost twenty years have since elapsed,--the image of my poor brother
stands with perfect clearness before my soul, the image of my brother,
as J saw him then for the last time. He was tall, about the same height
as myself, his eyes flashed weirdly under black bushy eyebrows, on his
forehead, the fiery sign of our family glowed in deepest purple, his
dark beard set off the frightful corpselike pallor of his face, his
quivering lips were so violently convulsed that his large moustachios
kept continually trembling, his long abundant hair fell in tangled
masses over his shoulders."

Gabriel stopped again. From the depths of his soul confused memories
all suddenly emerged, that ever became clearer and clearer. That form,
which had once pressed its burning lips on the face of the frightened
child, stepped life-like before him--a half faded reminiscence of a
beggar, who had once followed him in Aix-la-Chapelle from the church
door to his house, again gathered life and strength. Strange to say, it
now for the first time, after a long series of years had weakened and
effaced the impression of these forms, seemed to him, that they
resembled each other--that both, Gabriel thought that he could not be
mistaken--corresponded with the description of his father. In vain he
sought to realise another embodiment of this picture, which he imagined
that he had seen only a short time back. But human memory possesses
this strange peculiarity, that it is just the impressions of the
remotest past, and especially youthful impressions, that survive with
greater vividness and clearness, than those, we have received later;
and, as the best shot in the heat of battle often misses the nearest
aim, in the same way did Gabriel, usually so strong-minded, in his
almost mad excitement vainly strive to conjure up this recollection. He
hoped perhaps to obtain from what followed more particular discoveries
about his father and read on:--

"I was determined to preserve silence, and left it to my brother to
break the profound stillness, that could not be less painful to him
than to me.... My brother was silent for a long time; his breast
laboured fearfully, he breathed heavily, his face too was
extraordinarily convulsed as I had never seen it before. The veins on
his forehead swelled, as if they would burst, his underlip dropped
loosely down, foam gathered on his mouth before he had spoken a
word.--I perceived, that he was seeking a word, a thought, wherewith to
crush, to annihilate me. I was afraid of him, but nevertheless gazed at
him fixedly and steadily. At last after a hard struggle some words
escaped from his lips, but his voice sounded hollow and dead: 'What
seekest thou here in the dead of night? Why dost thou act as a spy upon
me? Art thou my keeper? What dost thou want of me?'

"I had not expected such a stubborn unbending defiance. I stood at
first as if turned to stone, but at the next moment my hot Spanish
blood immediately boiled over; with a wild passionate excitement, such
as one only feels at such a moment, under such circumstances, I
answered my brother.

"'Dost thou ask, what I want of thee? Can you dare ask? Can you look me
in the face as if you were free and innocent? Do you not sink into the
ground for shame? Look into your own breast! Look! your very face bears
signs of your wicked wicked deed.... you ask what I want of you? I
would save you, tear you from the strong arm of sin, but lo! it holds
thee fast in brazen chains!--I stopped, my words seemed ineffectual. My
brother's features bore an expression of the wildest fury, he gnashed
his teeth, but made no answer.

"'Brother!' I began again, after a short painful pause, 'Brother! hast
thou then forgotten everything, everything? Hast thou no more memory
for the past, no regard for the future?... Oh, gaze not at me so
stonily, as if thou didst not understand me.... Brother, by that
infinite love which I have felt for thee, by the memory of our deceased
father, by the recollection of our early lost mother upon my knees I
implore thee,--think of it, _only think of it_, what a transgression
thou hast committed!... Yes! gaze at me as you will, with eyes
sparkling with rage, gnash your teeth, clench your fist, I do not
tremble, yes! thou hast fearfully sinned, yes, yes! dost hear?'

"I was so immeasurably confounded by my brother's obstinate unexpected
resistance, that I could say no more. I grasped at the bible which was
lying on the table, opened at the ten commandments and pointed silently
at the seventh.

"'Thou shalt not commit adultery!' I recommenced after a deep pause,
during which we could hear our hearts beating.... 'Thou shalt not lust
after thy neighbour's wife.... Dost thou see, thus it is written, thus
was it declared to listening mankind on flaming Sinai!... Well then,
that word of God, that word of God, which was a pillar of fire unto thy
people illuminating them in the darkness of night, and an ever
refreshing fountain in the heat of the day, that word of God, for which
thy grandfather endured a death by fire, that word of God whose
everlasting truth, thy father, I, every pious Jew, would have sealed
with his heart's blood, that same word of God thou hast despised, cast
from thee, trampled under foot!... Art thou not acquainted with the
sentence of our wisemen. All shall be inheritors of the kingdom to
come, all save three, the adulterer, the....'

"I could say no more, a fearful change came over my brother. His
features, even before marred and disfigured, now took an expression so
frightful, that they scarcely seemed to belong to an human being, all
the blood in his face seemed to have gathered into the dark-red borders
about his eyes, these protruded in an unnatural size far out of their
sockets, his mouth stood wide open, and disclosed his beautiful white
teeth--he resembled at that moment a wild blood-thirsty animal.

"'Thou hast robbed me of this world, wilt thou rob me of the next too?'
he yelled, after a long pause with a loud howl and threw himself
furiously upon me. I perceived to my unutterable grief, that my well
meant but bitter word, had penetrated the inmost recesses of his soul,
that the consciousness of his guilt had awaked in him with overwhelming
force, that it had suddenly conjured up the darkness of madness over
his once so clear and luminous mind.... In vain was now my friendly
address, he attacked me with the wild fury of delirium. 'Brother! let
go, let go, force me not to exert my strength?' I cried, 'we are still
brothers, Twin-brothers, I am still thy Mosche!...' But my brother
heeded me not, he seized me in his nervous grasp by the neck. My life
was in imminent danger. I did not much value life on my own account;
but I desired to preserve thy father for thee, dear Schöndel, thou who
haddest none other in the wide world but me, and the thought of thee
gave me a giant's strength! I had at first vainly more than once
endeavoured to force away my brother, whose hand compressed my throat
violently, but could not succeed in doing so.... My breathing became
difficult, the blood rushed to my head, lights danced before my eyes. I
was giddy, I felt that some decided course must be taken, that I must
disengage myself from my terrible opponent. I collected all my
strength, and forced him with the whole weight of my body to the
ground. 'Peace, Mosche, Peace!' said my brother at last, grinding his
teeth, after a fruitless struggle to break from my arms.... let me go,
I will be quiet!'

"I trusted his promise, but at the next moment he sprung upon me with
the fury and agility of a tiger, fastened his sharp teeth upon my naked
breast, and made most desperate efforts to strangle me. I screamed
aloud for excess of pain, and seized him, in obedience to a dim
instinct of self-preservation, by the throat.... a violent wrench of my
sinewy wrist--and my brother with a hollow muttering and distorted
visage sunk lifeless down! I stood for an instant in despair,
motionless, then threw myself, mad with grief, upon the ground and
endeavoured to recall him to life. My exertions were ineffectual!

"I recovered my presence of mind with astonishing rapidity, and it was
again the thought of thee, my dear daughter! which drew me out of the
wild storm of despair.... I opened the window, and cried out aloud to
the star-spangled heaven: '_Lord of the world: Thou hast seen it, Thy
paternal eye was watching_.... _I am not guilty of his death, I am no
Cain, my hand did not shed this blood!_'"

Gabriel, exhausted, almost unconscious, ceased reading, and threw the
fateful writing far away from him.... The superhuman strength, with
which he had hitherto attentively and greedily devoured the faded
characters, gave way. The hope of obtaining information about his
father, of searching him out, of being able to fold him to his beating,
bursting heart, had pervaded him with the wildest, most blissful
rapture--and now, now all these hopes were scattered, annihilated; the
very name of his father, which, as if intentionally, was not once
mentioned in the manuscript, remained unknown to him.--_The more
beautiful nobler aim of his life continued to be unattainable by him_.
What mattered to him the farther contents of the manuscript? Of what
importance to him was it to learn, how Rabbi Mosche in that same night
had taken flight with his daughter, to escape the avenging hands of
human justice? Of what importance was it to him to learn, how Reb
Carpel Sachs had received the old friend of his youth with warm
affection? Of what importance was it to him to learn, how Reb Mosche,
as attendant in the Old-Synagogue had led a peaceful, contemplative
life, how he embraced the firm resolution, to give the hand of his
daughter to a man who like himself, like his deceased father, would
accept the modest office of attendant in the Old-Synagogue, where far
from the busy tumult of the world he could peacefully live for his
faith, for his duties: calm and isolated, like his father, like
himself, might quietly close a storm tossed life.... What did all this
and more signify to Gabriel? Had he not learnt that his father was
dead, lost to him for ever--did he not know, that the hot unstilled
longing of his soul must remain for ever and ever ungratified, were not
the thousand threads, with which his heart hung to the sweetest hope of
his life, suddenly painfully snapped!... Gabriel read no further. He
sat for a while motionless in his chair. Language has no power to
express the tempest of emotion, that whirled through his breast, and it
needs the boldest flight of imagination, to picture it even in faint
colour to oneself.

"_That hope then is vanished!_" he said at last after long silence,
pressing his hand convulsively on his heart, "that hope is vanished!...
_there remains to me then but one, the only aim of my life. Vengeance_
... Mannsfield is still at Pilsen, Blume's destiny is yet in my
hands!... I thank thee, chance, thou hast wonderfully led me, thou hast
solved the torturing doubt in the most critical moment.... _vengeance
is all that is left to me--my resolution continues immoveable!_"

The strokes of the Rathhaus clock proclaimed, that it wanted but two
hours to midnight. About this time the gates of the Jews-town were
shut. Gabriel got up hastily, armed and enveloped himself in his cloak,
then passed his hand slowly over his lofty forehead white as marble, as
though violently to compress every new risen thought, and stepped to
the door. On the threshold he paused once more plunged in the
overflowing tide of thought, and cast a glance over the room that he
was leaving for ever. It seemed, as if he could not after all tear
himself away so easily from the dwelling, in which his grandfather had
ended a life fruitful in stirring incidents, where his father had
passed the lovely period of innocent youth.--All at once he manned
himself, and hastened with flying steps to the Jews-town.--In the short
distance there he met a man, with his cloak drawn close over his face;
it was Michoel Glogau; but both were too busied with their own
thoughts, and neither remarked the other.

Gabriel arrived just in time; immediately after his entrance the gates
of the Jews' quarter were closed.



                                   VI.


The winter of the year 1620 had set in betimes, it was a raw cold
night. The sky was hidden by a grey veil of clouds, dissipated at one
moment by the breath of the icy north wind, at another as rapidly
re-condensed. The roofs were covered with deep snow, the ground was
frozen hard and crunched under footsteps. It had already become quiet,
the numerous vendors, who cheapened their wares in open street till a
late hour, and whose candles and small lamps gave a singularly friendly
aspect to the Jews-town, had disappeared, the streets were almost
empty, and only here and there a solitary passenger close wrapped in
his cloak was seen hastening home, or to the lecture-room.

Gabriel stepped slowly, through the street, stopping almost every
minute. He had experienced in his passion-tossed life much mental
anguish. Since the day, when he had stood in despair at his mother's
dying bed, since the day when Blume had contumeliously rejected his
warm earnest and chaste young love, his whole life had been full of
pain and torment--and yet it appeared to him, as if he had never been
so unhappy, never so unutterably wretched, as now. His future
confronted him more fearful and horrible than ever. The fortune of war,
which had hitherto fastened itself to his, to his friend Mannsfield's
banners, seemed to have vanished with Frederick's overthrow on this
day.... The audacious confidence with which he had made himself
irresponsible for his abjuration of everything which he had formerly
considered dear and sacred had been dissipated by Michoel's ardent
words, which had struck him with the full overpowering force of truth
at the most critical hour.... His only hope, to discover his father, to
press him to his heart, to reconcile himself to him, to his destiny,
perhaps to God.... the audacious hope, which had often raised him from
the bottomless pit of despair; this one, sweet hope, which had ever,
even when he dared not allow it to himself, glimmered in his soul--was
dissipated, was annihilated!

In truth it was the crushing intelligence of his father's early death,
which now bowed him down under a burden of infinite sorrow, and almost
effaced every earlier impression.... His father had never rejected him,
as he had so often in moments of wild excitement feared.... His father
had perhaps departed out of this life, without any presentiment that
his child would one day be dispairingly searching a trace of his
path.... And this father he had never known, and should never, never
behold, this father whom he had therefore only so madly hated, because
he would have so gladly loved him with the whole gigantic power of his
soul!

Gabriel stood pensively in the middle of the street. With the strange
bitter grief that, self-tormenting, is wont to tear open the most
painful wounds of the heart, he endeavoured once more to bring his
father's features which his uncle had so vividly described, before his
inner eye; but he strove in vain, confused images alone rose up in his
soul, pale men with purple blazing marks on their forehead: and all
these dim fancies took shape and vanished with the swiftness of
thought: all resembled one another--and yet not one of them was the
real genuine image.... And as a man is sometimes unable to remember a
word that he desires to utter, and yet it is so infinitely near him,
that he thinks, he has but to move the tongue, in order to give voice
to it, thus Gabriel peered after this image, it seemed so near, it
almost hovered over him--and yet he could not realise it.

"That hope is vanished," he said at length in low tones, passing his
hand over his forehead--"fix your looks on something else.... The past
is unchangeable--the dead are dead.... The grave restores not to the
world, the dead never come to life.... _Thy father is dead, he is
irrecoverably lost_.... but my vengeance liveth within me, within my
breast with a wild hell-fire.... forget the dead, and remember
vengeance!"

Gabriel once more assayed, with that admirable suppleness of character
that had enabled him to oppose an almost incredible resistance to the
bitter blows which had struck him, to withdraw himself from the
destructive influence of this vortex of thoughts, to divert his mind
from it.... again he sought, as he was often wont to do in moments of
highest excitement, some object exterior to himself, that would fix his
attention were it but for a short time, and he accounted himself
fortunate, as he recognised in a person, who was walking rapidly by
him, the Frankfurt student Nochum.

"Good evening," he said, mastering his temper, and with difficulty
restraining the ill-will that he could not but feel in the bottom of
his heart towards Nochum: "Whither away?"

"I have been with the chief overseer Reb Gadel," answered Nochum, "I
had letters of recommendation to him and am in the habit of studying at
nights with his son: but they have just been informed, that the
Palatine has come over to the Altstadt, bringing the crown and regalia
with him, and has signified to the inhabitants of the Altstadt, that he
proposes to withdraw from the city at daybreak and leave the field to
his victorious antagonists--as you can well fancy, there could be no
more talk of study."

"Is this news to be depended upon?" asked Gabriel, after a long pause
of reflection.

"It came to the overseer from the most reliable source, and there can
be no doubt about it.... however I must ask you to keep the matter
secret till morning: it is still unknown to every one else in the
Jews-town, and may very well remain so till to-morrow."

Gabriel observed a thoughtful silence. "I am still master of Blume's
destiny," he thought, "she still believes that her husband is in my
power.... I must make haste.... if I lose the propitious moment for
revenge, it is perhaps irrecoverably, for ever lost!"

Nochum misinterpreted Gabriel's silence. He could in truth have no
suspicion of the gravity of the intelligence which he had imparted to
him, he could have no idea that he was standing by a man, the only hope
of whose life had been shortly before annihilated, who designed to take
instant vengeance with the full might of hate for the unutterable woe
of his whole tormented Past.

"You seem to take a warm interest in public affairs," began Nochum at
length, "and I am very glad of it, one finds it so seldom in a student;
but here in Prague, at this renowned high-school one meets students,
such as one seldom finds elsewhere.--Yesterday for the first time I
made the acquaintance of a student, Michoel Glogau; I am only sorry
that he is leaving Prague immediately.... I assure you, never has a
young man made so deep an impression upon me as he.... We happened to
be talking about a bastard, I laid down a proposition which, I
willingly allow, I retracted, when Reb Michoel proved to me that it was
wrong.... but what an argument he gave, so clear, so eager, so
convincing--but what am I telling you this for, I recollect that you
were present during the discussion, and must have heard it too. Michoel
found the true, correct, view of the case, did he not?"

Gabriel's heart beat high. His soul was pierced by a thousand arrows,
and the reawakened memory of Michoel's crushing words poured boiling
oil into all these open uncicatrized wounds.

"I too am sorry that I fell in with Michoel Glogau so late," said
Gabriel with profound emotion.... "but it was in sooth too late, too
late!"

Nochum looked enquiringly at Gabriel. The intense trouble that was
expressed by his features and words seemed to him incomprehensible.
Gabriel observed this, he was seized with a sudden terror as if he
feared that he had betrayed his most secret thoughts.... "Farewell," he
cried, after a short pause suddenly breaking off, and hurried as fast
as he could through the narrow irregular streets.--Nochum gazed after
him for a while in astonishment and then went quietly on his way.

Gabriel did not stop till he had reached Blume's house in the Hahnpass.
He looked up to the attic windows, one of them was open in spite of the
raw wintry cold, and he thought that he perceived in the obscurity the
outline of a woman's form.... His heart beat audibly, he laid his hand
on the door-latch, but still stood lost in thought.

"Thus then I stand at the goal," he began speaking to himself, at first
in low tones, then louder and louder.... "through a long life of torment
I have pined for the moment of revenge.... Now it is come, no power on
earth can now interpose between me and my revenge.... I will avenge
myself.... and then?... then solitary, forsaken, unwept and
unregretted--will die on the nearest battle-field.--It might have
been otherwise!... Had I encountered that Michoel, whom I now at the
end of my wide, wide wandering have found, had I encountered him on
that feast of atonement, had he then said those words, which have this
day so unsparingly rended my soul--had he then addressed me in such
accents--it might have been otherwise! Gabriel Süss, Gabriel Süss, the
poor, ill-used, rejected, down trodden,--Gabriel Süss, who has torn
himself from the blissful faith of his childhood, Gabriel Süss, who has
sought and never found forgetfulness of the past amid the roar of
cannon and the turmoil of battle.--Gabriel Süss _might have been a
support to the wavering, a teacher of his people, a lofty example of
humble resignation to the will of God_.... _His fate was in his own
hands. It was his own fault that he perished!_... That was what you
said, Michoel; but it was too late!... but no! no! I am not, I am not
guilty of it.... that is your invention, ye believers in God!... Naught
but a malicious, evil chance swayed me, and even at this critical
moment would embitter the sweet instant of revenge by a deceitful
image of what I might have been.... just as I am hastily setting
forth to accomplish my long-coveted revenge, it lets me meet Michoel
Glogau!--Oh! it is naught but malicious evil chance! at the moment,
when still irresolute I am for the last time imploring thee, whom men
call all-mighty, all-merciful,--in the deepest sorrow, that ever
crushed a poor human soul, to restore my father to me, a father! a
favour that is not refused to the humblest man on earth--at the moment,
when I am calling upon thee to restore my father to me, were it but for
the shortest interval of time that the human mind is capable of
conceiving--to permit me to die in his arms, were it at the penalty of
unutterable physical anguish.... _At that moment, I learn that he is
dead!_... Where is thy omnipotence? Where? Bow my stiff neck! shatter
my pride! conduct me to my father! and I, Gabriel Süss will return unto
thee--dost thou hear? to thee, to faith in thee.... I will repent, and
dying will glorify thy name!... but it will not be so--the Grave never
gives back its dead.... _I was only unexpressibly unfortunate.... and I
cry aloud: there is no_...."

Gabriel stopped short. A death-like stillness had reigned round about
over the then almost deserted Hahnpass, bounded, as it was, by the
spacious graveyard, but suddenly a voice issuing from the burial
ground, fell upon his ears, a voice which already once before had made
his blood run cold with horror, and which he had then accounted an
offspring of his heated over-excited imagination.... but this time it
sounded clearer; this time it could be no deception.

"My son! my son! Thou, poor, forsaken one, thou that wert born in sin,
where art thou? Where shall I seek thee? Oh! that my voice might echo
with the power of thunder, that it might reach from one end of the
earth to the other.... perchance my poor son would hear the voice of
his father and forgive him!..."

Thus it rung in Gabriel's ears. A hollow cry escaped from his breast,
he let fall the latch of the house-door which he had held nervously
clutched in his hand.--He looked around, a moderately high wall divided
him from the burial ground. Suddenly he perceived a small locked door
in the wall, and the intensity of his excitement gave a giant strength
to the man naturally powerful: at one blow the boards of the door fell
in with a crash, and Gabriel found himself in the cemetery.... His
flaming eyes flew over the wide snow-covered space. It was profoundly
dark, the sky was obscured by thick clouds, the crumbling grave-stones
made a strange contrast with the glittering snow-field; the old trees
with their frosted branches like hoary sentinels over this place of
rest, floated on the grey atmosphere of the background....

Gabriel put his whole soul in ear and eye:--but for a while saw
nothing, heard nothing, not a leaf stirred....

Presently there was a movement among the trees close to him. A feverish
heat coursed through his veins: he tottered, but recovered himself with
superhuman force and with lips firm closed, and hands pressed nervously
against his overflowing bursting heart, approached the thicket....
Tremblingly he parted the branches, nor observed, that his hands were
torn and bleeding: he advanced ever forwards, and at last broke through
the wood.... Exactly at the same instant the moon passed from behind
the black clouds that had hitherto veiled it, and cast its full light
over the tree-enclosed spot....

Gabriel perceived three grave-stones, a large and two smaller ones.
_The larger had engraved upon it a hunch of grapes the symbol of a
Levi_.... a lofty form, an old man had sunk down before the
gravestones....

Gabriel wished to press forward, to address the form, to look it face
to face.... though it should cost him a thousand lives:--but at that
instant the old man's trembling voice again resounded....

Gabriel remained rooted to the ground.

"My God! my Lord! all-merciful, all-gracious God!... have I not yet
made atonement for the sin of my youth?.... have I not for years done
penitence; suffered, as no other man on earth?... Here at the grave of
my dead, early lost, father--here at my twin brother's grave, who loved
me so dearly, so infinitely deeply, my brother's, who in that fateful
night awoke the inexpressibly bitter grief of remorseful despair.... oh
would that I had then died, when with strong grasp you threw from off
you the disloyal, the wicked shameless brother, would that I had then
met my death from your dear fraternal hand!--but no, thou dear one;
thou wert not destined to be a Cain, pure and blessed thou wert one day
to close thy eyes in peaceful death.... but I, I woke from what seemed
the sleep of death, to never ending nameless torment!... At the grave
of the never-to-be-forgotten sweet companion of my youth Carpel, whom I
would so gladly have once more folded in my arms ... and who peacefully
slumbered under this turf, as I returned in despair to Prague, the city
of my blissful innocent youth.... at this grave I have for years made
my supplication unto thee all-merciful!... Thou, Omniscient, thou that
seest into the depths of my soul, thou knowest, what I have
suffered!... And still the cloud of thine indignation is not yet passed
away.... Thou shalt not commit adultery stands ever written in my
bible.... and never yet has my son hastened to my arms!..."

Gabriel scarcely breathed. Each word made its way to his heart like a
flaming sword. In his breast raged a storm of emotion, that can neither
be represented, nor described, nor conceived. In the inmost core of his
being an infinite, all-embracing destroying change was brought to
pass.... light suddenly flashed into his soul, and as the dim eyes of
the body accustomed to profound obscurity close themselves painfully,
if they suddenly gaze into the glowing fire-streams of a mighty
volcano; so closed his spiritual eye for one instant before the
impression of this trying moment. He was standing by his unhappy
father! this form bowed low by sorrow and misery was his poor
despairing father.... the mad Jacob!... the most ardent wish of his
soul, the deepest longing of his tormented life was stilled, stilled at
the moment in which he had given himself over with wild God-denying
insolence to the profoundest despair.... _that was no blind chance_....
Gabriel assayed to speak, but his thought found no expression, his lips
no sound.

"Father of all men! forgive me at last," Jacob began again in the most
heart-rending accents of deepest despair; and his body seemed to
collapse under the weight of his sorrow--"forgive me, Father of all!...
I have sinned, I have gone astray, but I have suffered endless anguish,
and thou, Father! art all-goodness.... Let me die at length, Father of
all men.... let me rest by my dear ones.... forgive her also, the
mother of my son.... and as a sign that thou hast forgiven me, restore
my son to me, _my son_, before I die.... let me die on his heart.... _I
can die only on his heart_, I ask for nothing more!... God! grant me my
son!... Oh come to me, my son!... my son, where art thou?"

A silence deep as the grave reigned for a moment; then Gabriel cried:
"Father, I am here!"

Both, father and son, stared speechlessly at one another for a
space.... that was the image, that Gabriel had been vainly endeavouring
for some hours to conjure up, his father, the wandering Jew of Aix,
that form which had once imprinted its hot lips on his young forehead,
they were all one and the same....

The highest pitch of madness was mirrored for a minute in Jacob's
face.... but gradually and gradually the immense overpowering force of
the joyful surprise seemed to drive away the evil spirit that hovered
over his soul. His burning eyes, out of which madness had flashed,
became wet.... a hot tear escaped from under his eyelashes and trickled
slowly down his pale cheeks....

On a sudden, as if a ray of recognition had then for the first time
struck him, he exclaimed, "he bears the fiery sign on his forehead! My
God! it is my son!..."

"My father!... Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God is one God."

Gabriel flung himself into his father's wide opened arms.... they held
one another in close embrace.... their lips quivered as if they would
have spoken.... but they never spoke again.... the too swift
alternation of feeling had loosened the slight bond that united spirit
to body; the most terrible emotion, that has ever possessed a human
heart, killed them!

They held one another still fast embraced in death--in life divided,
isolated, _in death they would not be parted_.

This heart-breaking scene had not remained unwitnessed. Blume had stood
at the window of her house in sad painful expectation.... What she had
seen and heard had filled her with unutterable horror.... but she was
saved.... Profoundly struck by this dispensation of Providence, she
fell with unspeakable emotion upon her knees and prayed.



                                  VII.


The Palatine escaped next morning in the direction of Breslau. Anhalt,
Hohenlohe, the elder Thurn, the elder Bubna, Bohuslaw Berka, Raupowa,
and others accompanied him.--The Kleinseiters always devoted to the
Emperor, as soon as Frederick had left the city sent messengers to Duke
Maximilian and begged him to make his entry into the city. At mid-day
the Duke accompanied by Boucquoi and Tilly marched through the
Strahower Gate to the Hradschin, William of Lobkowiz, and five other
Bohemian nobles came to meet him, wished him joy of the victory that he
had won, and begged, as the chronicles declare, in a long speech
interspersed with much weeping, pardon for their revolt, the
maintenance of their liberties and mercy for the city. Maximilian
answered benignantly that he would do all that he was able, and that
the city should not be injured; with regard to the other points,
he had no full powers. For himself he advised them to surrender
unconditionally to the Emperor.--The Alt- and Neu-stadters had sent at
the same time a deputation to the Duke, with a request, that he would
grant them three days to draw up the conditions, under which they were
willing to surrender. Maximilian refused this delay, and they
immediately took an oath of obedience and fidelity to the Emperor and
delivered up their arms to the duke.--The news of the duke's successful
entry had evoked the most joyous excitement in the Jews-town, which
like the Kleinseiters had ever been well disposed towards the Emperor.
The overseer invited the elders and members of the college of Rabbis to
an extraordinary conference at the Rathhaus, and it was unanimously
decided, to present a congratulating address to the Duke Maximilian, as
victor, in the name of the Jewish community at Prague. The meeting was
just at an end, when the grave-diggers accompanied by Cobbler Abraham
urgently begged to be admitted. In the morning at a funeral two dead
bodies had been found in the burial ground, that held one another close
clasped even in death. The two corpses had assumed in death an
extraordinary likeness, a likeness such as one only meets with between
father and son, both namely bore upon their forehead a similar blue
streak. The mad Jacob had been known to everyone, but with regard to
the other body only one of the persons who happened to be present at
the funeral, could give accurate information. Cobbler Abraham to wit,
declared that he had been acquainted with the young man, who had only
lately arrived at Prague, and that immediately on his arrival he had
recommended him to a lodging at Reb Schlome Sachs', the upper attendant
of the Old-Synagogue. In answer to enquiries made of the last mentioned
person later on, he had learnt that the stranger was called Gabriel
Mar, and was a clever student from upper Germany. The gravediggers
thought it their duty to make a report of this strange occurrence to
the college of Rabbis and the overseers of the community, and Cobbler
Abraham once again repeated his depositions with respect to the corpse
of the young man.

The assembled authorities accounted this matter of sufficient
importance to justify their casting a look over the letters which had
been found in the clothes of the deceased. The superscription at once
excited universal surprise, the letters were addressed to Major-General
Otto Bitter and signed Ernest of Mannsfield, General and Field Marshal;
their contents referred to the operations of the war and secret
plans.... No one knew what to think about it. Some were inclined to
believe that Gabriel Mar was a messenger of Mannsfield's, others
doubted, for if so, Mannsfield would not have signed his name in full,
and held Gabriel to be a spy of the Imperialists, who had somehow or
other got possession of these letters; others again believed simply
that Gabriel Mar, and Major-General Otto Bitter were one and the same
person. They had just got into a lively discussion on this point, when
the door of the council-room was suddenly opened and Reb Schlome Sachs
and Reb Michoel Glogau entered unannounced.

"You come at the right time," cried the overseer to him--"perhaps you
can give us some information about your lodger, who...."

"We come for that very purpose, Reb Gadel!" interposed Reb Schlome....
"but I am too much overcome with what I have just heard. Do you tell
them, Reb Michoel, I pray you, you are more composed than I."

The attention of the whole assembly was now directed to Michoel Glogau.

"Yesterday," he began, as concisely as possible, "I saw and conversed
for the first time with Gabriel Mar, whose body was found this morning
in the graveyard. By a chance concurrence of circumstances I was led to
suspect that Gabriel Mar might be one and the same person as Gabriel
Süss, who disappeared some years ago. This suspicion became certainty,
when I shortly afterwards, hidden behind an angle of the wall, called
out his name, and he as if from force of an old habit turned his head
and looked about as if he sought the caller; and then as though fearing
to betray himself, hurried off. His disguise, his presence in the Jews'
quarter might have one of two objects, either to inflict some injury on
his former brethren, or to rejoin them and repentantly be reconverted
to the faith of his childhood. I resolved to speak with Gabriel Mar
before my speedy departure. My words, I know not why, had made a deep
impression upon him, I determined to attempt to learn his designs; if
they were evil, to thwart them, if good as far as my weak strength
permitted, to support them....

"I enquired where he lodged, and some hours afterwards found myself at
Reb Schlome Sachs'. He received my communications at first very
incredulously; but gradually remembered many peculiarities which had at
first struck him in the behaviour of his guest.... His wife some days
after his arrival had found him, sunk in deep reflection over a map;
she had on the same day seen an officer who strikingly resembled
Gabriel, riding out with the young Count Thurn! He himself had heard
him talking so strangely in his sleep, that he did not at the time know
what to make of it; his whole behaviour had been puzzling.... Reb
Schlome Sachs was extraordinarily put out, and asked me what I proposed
to do.... I requested him to accompany me to Gabriel's room; I would
speak with him at once. Without knowing why, it seemed to me as if
every minute that was lost was irrecoverably lost.... We went to his
room, it was open, but Gabriel was not in the house. By the light of a
lamp that was slowly going out, which he had left standing on the
table, we saw a bureau that had been violently broken open, and in it
arms; on the ground some old papers were scattered about. Reb Schlome
shook violently as he took them up; ... they contained the memorial of
his father-in-law, the history of his life.... We noticed the marks of
recent tears on some passages.... the manuscripts had lain for years
locked up in the bureau, there could not be the slightest doubt, that
by some curious coincidence Gabriel had got possession of them.
Gabriel, none other, could have read these manuscripts, their contents
must have moved him to tears, have made a violent impression on him, at
one point indeed he must have flung the papers far away from him: so it
seemed to both of us, and the contents of the manuscript proved that we
were not mistaken. The manuscript, which we both, Reb Schlome Sachs and
I, read throught with the most high wrought attention, revealed
astonishing events to us.... Mad Jacob was the father of Gabriel Süss,
was a brother of Rabbi Mosche's, a son of the great Rabbi Jizchok
Meduro, an uncle of Rabbi Schlome's wife.... A wonderful Providence had
conducted Gabriel Süss to the house, where he was to learn his father's
history.... a wonderful impenetrable providence brought about his death
in the same night in his father's arms, at his grandfather's grave!..."

Michoel was compelled to stop from deep emotion, and handed over Rabbi
Mosche's Biography to the assembly.

"This is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes," said Rabbi
Lippmann Heller, who had taken part in the meeting as assessor to the
college of Rabbis, at last after a long pause....

"But are you also aware that Gabriel Süss and Major-General Otto Bitter
are one and the same person?" he went on to ask....

"Yes," answered Michoel: "while Reb Schlome was unable from deep
feeling to tear himself away from the handwriting of his father-in-law;
I carefully examined the room. I found several letters from Count
Mannsfield to Major-General Otto Bitter, in one of them he wrote that
he sent him, Hebrew letters to look over.... among these I found
several letters in German, but written in Hebrew characters. These
letters were written from Prague by Blume Rottenberg and directed to
her husband.... If I rightly remember, and Gabriel Süss' history was
correctly related to me, his intended bride was called Blume
Rottenberg, and she married her cousin, her father's brother's son....
Blume Rottenberg must be residing in Prague: so please you, my wise men
and reverend teachers, she might be summoned, perhaps she will be able
to solve the mysterious obscurity that hovers over the life, and still
more remarkably over the death of Gabriel Süss, perhaps she will be
able to supply information as to the object of his presence in Prague,
and of his disguise."

Michoel's proposition was received with general applause--Blume
Rottenberg had lived a retired life in Prague and under an assumed
name. Only one person, the owner of the dilapidated house which she
inhabited, knew her real name and was able to give information as to
where she resided. He happened to be present. Blume Rottenberg was
requested to betake herself to the house of the Assessor Reb Lippmann
Heller, who was to receive her depositions in the presence of the chief
overseer.

Both of them returned two hours afterwards much agitated to the
meeting. The whole life of Gabriel Süss, all his past was now laid
clear before their eyes.... and Gabriel Süss had died repentant in his
father's arms!

It was unanimously decided, to bury them both, father and son, close
together by the graves of their family.

It was formerly a custom in Israel, to bury the dead as soon as
possible. Jacob and his son were to be immediately laid in the grave.
All present, deeply moved by the manifest Providence which had brought
about everything so wonderfully, determined to attend the funeral
obsequies, and were about to repair to the burial ground. They were
just issuing from the Rathhaus, when two horsemen on foam-covered
steeds galloped up and halted before it. It was a Captain in the
Imperial army accompanied by a younger officer.

"Can I speak with the overseer of your community?" asked the Captain.
"Do not be alarmed," he went on to say in a friendly voice, seeing that
they had become pale with terror, "no harm will happen to the Jewish
community; we know that you are well affected to the Emperor and cleave
to your Imperial master with firm unchangeable fidelity, ... but
unknown to yourselves, an apostate from your faith, an outlaw, an enemy
of the Emperor and Empire, the Mannsfieldian General Otto Bitter has
been living for the last few days among you in the Jews-town. He did
not escape with the Palatine.--We have every reason for believing that
he is here in your town. He is Mannsfield's right hand-man and
acquainted with all his plans.... I beseech you, make every effort to
deliver him alive into our hands."

"That is impossible," answered the chief overseer after a short pause.
"He whom ye seek, by God's wonderful dispensation died this day about
midnight full of repentance in the arms of his recovered father. We
were just about to lay him in the grave: if it pleases you, Sir
Captain! will you not go with us to the burial ground.... to convince
yourself that Otto Bitter will never again fight against his Imperial
master.... you know him by sight?"

"Of course I do? was I not standing by yesterday, when the most
accomplished knight of our army. Count Pappenheim, fell badly wounded
by his sword...."

On the short way to the burial ground the chief overseer recounted the
history of Gabriel's storm tossed life to the Captain, and the strange
events that had suddenly rent the mysterious veil that enveloped it....

                           *   *   *   *   *

The two corpses still locked in a fast embrace lay upon the same bier.
It was a most striking sight. The two officers uncovered their
heads.--The Captain cast a scrutinizing look over Gabriel's body.
"There is no doubt, it is he," he said; then drew a paper out of his
breast pocket, which he carefully read over and once more from time to
time examined the body with the greatest attention....

"I have said so," he repeated, "there is no doubt, the dead man is Otto
Bitter...."

"What are your orders with respect to the corpse?" asked the younger
officer, "shall it be transported to the castle that the duke...."

"We fight with the living alone, the dead no more belongs to this
world," answered the Captain earnestly. "Otto Bitter was a rebel, an
enemy of the Emperor and Empire.... but he was a gallant hero.... May
God pardon his sins.... overseer! Give me the letters found upon him,
and lay your dead in the grave!"

                           *   *   *   *   *

At twilight on the same day two women, like kind angels, prayed
kneeling at Gabriel's grave. Both of them were equally nearly related
to the departed. The one was Blume Rottenberg, the woman that he had
once madly loved, his mother's sister's daughter, the other Schöndel
Sachs, his uncle's daughter.

                               *   *   *

Blume Rottenberg had suffered fearfully for eight days. She was firmly
resolved to sacrifice her life rather than her duty.... She had been
saved by a miracle. Her trust in God had been thereby still more
exalted. She had remained four months without tidings of her husband,
and yet looked forward full of trust and hope to the future.... she had
not deceived herself. On the 26th of March 1621 the Mannsfieldian
commanders surrendered the city of Pilsen to General Tilly and eight
days afterwards Aaron Rottenberg returned to the arms of his wife
happy, and uninjured.... on his arrival he was surprised by joyful
news. Important intelligence for him had come in from Worms. The
patrician, who had had that law-suit so full of evil consequences with
the Rottenberg family, was dead. Sorely tormented by the stings of
conscience he had declared upon his death bed in the presence of his
confessor and an officer of justice, that the claim of the Rottenbergs
against him was perfectly well grounded, and that the acknowledgment,
that he had declared to be forged, was genuine. He further confessed
that the heads of the trades had intended to force the Rottenbergs at
all hazards to admit that the acknowledgment was forged. This admission
was to have been the signal for a general bloody persecution and
plundering of the Jews. The reckless project had miscarried owing to
the noble firmness of the Rottenbergs. The occasion was seized for an
act of private revenge, if illegal at any rate apparently of common
advantage, and if the insurgents had succeeded in stirring up the wild
fury of a populace eager for plunder, the innocent Jews could at least
reckon upon the assistance of the Prince and the sympathy of every
right thinking person.... after the dying man had once more solemnly
declared, that all his possessions were in justice the property of
Aaron Rottenberg, he implored those who were present, with hot tears
and in the most moving terms to hunt out the traces of Aaron
Rottenberg, not only to put him in possession of his property, but also
to tell him that they had been witnesses of the deep contrition and
earnest repentance which had embittered his last hours: thus he hoped
to obtain pardon from the Rottenbergs, whom his covetousness had
plunged in unutterable misery....

Those who had been present at the patrician's death-bed immediately
imparted his confession to the authorities of the Jewish community in
Worms. This event caused immense excitement there, now for the first
time they saw how falsely, how unjustly they had interpreted the noble
behaviour of the Rottenbergs, for what heavy injustice they had to ask
forgiveness of them. In a meeting of the elders it was unanimously
decided to search out Aaron Rottenberg, to ask in the name of the
community his forgiveness of the injuries it had inflicted upon him,
and urgently to beg him to return to his paternal city, and again to
accept the office of an overseer, which his father formerly, and
afterwards he himself had filled.

The letter of the Worms community that put him in possession of all
these facts, made a most pleasing impression upon Rottenberg. The
profound regret, the sorrowful repentance which the community expressed
in earnest words, made it impossible for him to oppose their request.
He set out on the journey to Worms with a heart full of thankfulness.
He was received in his native city with loud rejoicing and trod its
streets with tears of emotion....

A long series of happy years effaced from the memory of the Rottenberg
family the sorrows of their past life, but not the miracle which the
Lord had vouchsafed to them.

Cobbler Abraham looked upon himself with no small pride as an
instrument of divine Providence. It was he who had first accosted
Gabriel Süss on his arrival in the Jews-town. It was he who had shown
him the way to Reb Schlome Sachs, where Gabriel had at last found the
solution of the mystery of his life; a solution that had affected him
so profoundly, had agitated the inmost depths of his being.--Even fifty
years later, when old as Methusalem but still vigorous, Cobbler Abraham
was always ready to recount the history of Gabriel Süss to whoever
wished it, and only regretted that he could no longer introduce
his two former neighbours, Hirsch, the fish-monger, and Mindel, the
liver-vender, who had predeceased him, as witnesses to the accuracy and
truthfulness with which he described his first meeting with Süss.

Reb Schlome Sachs and his wife lived as before peaceful and contented,
and when Schöndel after ten years of childless wedlock was brought to
bed of a boy, and so the profoundest, if silent, wish of her heart was
fulfilled; nothing was wanting to her perfect happiness....

Michoel Glogau went to Breslau, and taught the word of God there.



                                THE END.



                           *   *   *   *   *
                   PRINTING OFFICE OF THE PUBLISHER.
                           *   *   *   *   *





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