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Title: Memorials and Other Papers — Volume 2
Author: De Quincey, Thomas
Language: English
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MEMORIALS, AND OTHER PAPERS, VOL. II.

BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY



CONTENTS.


KLOSTERHEIM
THE SPHINX'S RIDDLE
THE TEMPLARS' DIALOGUES



KLOSTERHEIM [1832.]

CHAPTER I.


The winter of 1633 had set in with unusual severity throughout Suabia
and Bavaria, though as yet scarcely advanced beyond the first week of
November. It was, in fact, at the point when our tale commences, the
eighth of that month, or, in our modern computation, the eighteenth;
long after which date it had been customary of late years, under any
ordinary state of the weather, to extend the course of military
operations, and without much decline of vigor. Latterly, indeed, it had
become apparent that entire winter campaigns, without either formal
suspensions of hostilities, or even partial relaxations, had entered
professedly as a point of policy into the system of warfare which now
swept over Germany in full career, threatening soon to convert its vast
central provinces--so recently blooming Edens of peace and expanding
prosperity--into a howling wilderness; and which had already converted
immense tracts into one universal aceldama, or human shambles, reviving
to the recollection at every step the extent of past happiness in the
endless memorials of its destruction. This innovation upon the old
practice of war had been introduced by the Swedish armies, whose
northern habits and training had fortunately prepared them to receive a
German winter as a very beneficial exchange; whilst upon the less hardy
soldiers from Italy, Spain, and the Southern France, to whom the harsh
transition from their own sunny skies had made the very same climate a
severe trial of constitution, this change of policy pressed with a
hardship that sometimes [Footnote: Of which there is more than one
remarkable instance, to the great dishonor of the French arms, in the
records of _her_ share in the Thirty Years' War.] crippled their
exertions.

It was a change, however, not so long settled as to resist the
extraordinary circumstances of the weather. So fierce had been the cold
for the last fortnight, and so premature, that a pretty confident
anticipation had arisen, in all quarters throughout the poor exhausted
land, of a general armistice. And as this, once established, would
offer a ready opening to some measure of permanent pacification, it
could not be surprising that the natural hopefulness of the human
heart, long oppressed by gloomy prospects, should open with unusual
readiness to the first colorable dawn of happier times. In fact, the
reaction in the public spirits was sudden and universal. It happened
also that the particular occasion of this change of prospect brought
with it a separate pleasure on its own account. Winter, which by its
peculiar severity had created the apparent necessity for an armistice,
brought many household pleasures in its train--associated immemorially
with that season in all northern climates. The cold, which had casually
opened a path to more distant hopes, was also for the present moment a
screen between themselves and the enemy's sword. And thus it happened
that the same season, which held out a not improbable picture of final
restoration, however remote, to public happiness, promised them a
certain foretaste of this blessing in the immediate security of their
homes.

But in the ancient city of Klosterheim it might have been imagined that
nobody participated in these feelings. A stir and agitation amongst the
citizens had been conspicuous for some days; and on the morning of the
eighth, spite of the intense cold, persons of every rank were seen
crowding from an early hour to the city walls, and returning homewards
at intervals, with anxious and dissatisfied looks. Groups of both sexes
were collected at every corner of the wider streets, keenly debating,
or angrily protesting; at one time denouncing vengeance to some great
enemy; at another, passionately lamenting some past or half-forgotten
calamity, recalled to their thoughts whilst anticipating a similar
catastrophe for the present day.

Above all, the great square, upon which the ancient castellated palace
or _schloss_ opened by one of its fronts, as well as a principal
convent of the city, was the resort of many turbulent spirits. Most of
these were young men, and amongst them many students of the university:
for the war, which had thinned or totally dispersed some of the
greatest universities in Germany, under the particular circumstances of
its situation, had greatly increased that of Klosterheim. Judging by
the tone which prevailed, and the random expressions which fell upon
the ear at intervals, a stranger might conjecture that it was no empty
lamentation over impending evils which occupied this crowd, but some
serious preparation for meeting or redressing them. An officer of some
distinction had been for some time observing them from the antique
portals of the palace. It was probable, however, that little more than
their gestures had reached him; for at length he moved nearer, and
gradually insinuated himself into the thickest part of the mob, with
the air of one who took no further concern in their proceedings than
that of simple curiosity. But his martial air and his dress allowed him
no means of covering his purpose. With more warning and leisure to
arrange his precautions, he might have passed as an indifferent
spectator; as it was, his jewel-hilted sabre, the massy gold chain,
depending in front from a costly button and loop which secured it half
way down his back, and his broad crimson scarf, embroidered in a style
of peculiar splendor, announced him as a favored officer of the
Landgrave, whose ambitious pretensions, and tyrannical mode of
supporting them, were just now the objects of general abhorrence in
Klosterheim. His own appearance did not belie the service which he had
adopted. He was a man of stout person, somewhat elegantly formed, in
age about three or four and thirty, though perhaps a year or two of his
apparent age might be charged upon the bronzing effects of sun and
wind. In bearing and carriage he announced to every eye the mixed
carelessness and self-possession of a military training; and as his
features were regular, and remarkably intelligent, he would have been
pronounced, on the whole, a man of winning exterior, were it not for
the repulsive effect of his eye, in which there was a sinister
expression of treachery, and at times a ferocious one of cruelty.

Placed upon their guard by his costume, and the severity of his
countenance, those of the lower rank were silent as he moved along, or
lowered their voices into whispers and inaudible murmurs. Amongst the
students, however, whenever they happened to muster strongly, were many
fiery young men, who disdained to temper the expression of their
feelings, or to moderate their tone. A large group of these at one
corner of the square drew attention upon themselves, as well by the
conspicuous station which they occupied upon the steps of a church
portico, as by the loudness of their voices. Towards them the officer
directed his steps; and probably no lover of _scenes_ would have
had very long to wait for some explosion between parties both equally
ready to take offence, and careless of giving it; but at that moment,
from an opposite angle of the square, was seen approaching a young man
in plain clothes, who drew off the universal regard of the mob upon
himself, and by the uproar of welcome which saluted him occasioned all
other sounds to be stifled. "Long life to our noble leader!"--"Welcome
to the good Max!" resounded through the square. "Hail to our noble
brother!" was the acclamation of the students. And everybody hastened
forward to meet him with an impetuosity which for the moment drew off
all attention from the officer: he was left standing by himself on the
steps of the church, looking down upon this scene of joyous welcome--
the sole spectator who neither fully understood its meaning, nor shared
in its feelings.

The stranger, who wore in part the antique costume of the university of
Klosterheim, except where he still retained underneath a travelling
dress, stained with recent marks of the roads and the weather, advanced
amongst his friends with an air at once frank, kind, and dignified. He
replied to their greetings in the language of cheerfulness; but his
features expressed anxiety, and his manner was hurried. Whether he had
not observed the officer overlooking them, or thought that the
importance of the communications which he had to make transcended all
common restraints of caution, there was little time to judge; so it
was, at any rate, that, without lowering his voice, he entered abruptly
upon his business.

"Friends! I have seen the accursed Holkerstein; I have penetrated
within his fortress. With my own eyes I have viewed and numbered his
vile assassins. They are in strength triple the utmost amount of our
friends. Without help from us, our kinsmen are lost. Scarce one of us
but will lose a dear friend before three nights are over, should
Klosterheim not resolutely do her duty."

"She shall, she shall!" exclaimed a multitude of voices.

"Then, friends, it must be speedily; never was there more call for
sudden resolution. Perhaps, before to-morrow's sun shall set, the sword
of this detested robber will be at their throats. For he has some
intelligence (whence I know not, nor how much) of their approach.
Neither think that Holkerstein is a man acquainted with any touch of
mercy or relenting. Where no ransom is to be had, he is in those
circumstances that he will and must deliver himself from the burden of
prisoners by a general massacre. Infants even will not be spared."

Many women had by this time flocked to the outer ring of the listening
audience. And, perhaps, for _their_ ears in particular it was that
the young stranger urged these last circumstances; adding,

"Will you look down tamely from your city walls upon such another
massacre of the innocents as we have once before witnessed?"

"Cursed be Holkerstein!" said a multitude of voices.

"And cursed be those that openly or secretly support him!" added one of
the students, looking earnestly at the officer.

"Amen!" said the officer, in a solemn tone, and looking round him with
the aspect of one who will not suppose himself to have been included in
the suspicion.

"And, friends, remember this," pursued the popular favorite; "whilst
you are discharging the first duties of Christians and brave men to
those who are now throwing themselves upon the hospitality of your
city, you will also be acquitting yourselves of a great debt to the
emperor."

"Softly, young gentleman, softly," interrupted the officer; "his serene
highness, my liege lord and yours, governs here, and the emperor has no
part in our allegiance. For debts, what the city owes to the emperor
she will pay. But men and horses, I take it--"

"Are precisely the coin which the time demands; these will best please
the emperor, and, perhaps, will suit the circumstances of the city.
But, leaving the emperor's rights as a question for lawyers, you, sir,
are a soldier,--I question not, a brave one,--will you advise his
highness the Landgrave to look down from the castle windows upon a vile
marauder, stripping or murdering the innocent people who are throwing
themselves upon the hospitality of this ancient city?"

"Ay, sir, that will I, be you well assured--the Landgrave is my
sovereign--"

"Since when? Since Thursday week, I think; for so long it is since your
_tertia_ [Footnote: An old Walloon designation for a battalion.]
first entered Klosterheim. But in that as you will, and if it be a
point of honor with you gentlemen Walloons to look on whilst women and
children are butchered. For such a purpose no man is _my_ sovereign;
and as to the Landgrave in particular--"

"Nor ours, nor ours!" shouted a tumult of voices, which drowned the
young student's words about the Landgrave, though apparently part of
them reached the officer. He looked round in quest of some military
comrades who might support him in the _voye du fait_, to which, at
this point, his passion prompted him. But, seeing none, he exclaimed,
"Citizens, press not this matter too far--and you, young man,
especially, forbear,--you tread upon the brink of treason!"

A shout of derision threw back his words.

"Of treason, I say," he repeated, furiously; "and such wild behavior it
is (and I say it with pain) that perhaps even now is driving his
highness to place your city under martial law."

"Martial law! did you hear that?" ran along from mouth to mouth.

"Martial law, gentlemen, I say; how will you relish the little articles
of that code? The provost marshal makes short leave-takings. Two fathom
of rope, and any of these pleasant old balconies which I see around me
(pointing, as he spoke, to the antique galleries of wood which ran
round the middle stories in the Convent of St. Peter), with a
confessor, or none, as the provost's breakfast may chance to allow,
have cut short, to my knowledge, the freaks of many a better fellow
than any I now see before me."

Saying this, he bowed with a mock solemnity all round to the crowd,
which, by this time, had increased in number and violence. Those who
were in the outermost circles, and beyond the distinct hearing of what
he said, had been discussing with heat the alarming confirmation of
their fears in respect to Holkerstein, or listening to the impassioned
narrative of a woman, who had already seen one of her sons butchered by
this ruffian's people under the walls of the city, and was now
anticipating the same fate for her last surviving son and daughter, in
case they should happen to be amongst the party now expected from
Vienna. She had just recited the tragical circumstances of her son's
death, and had worked powerfully upon the sympathizing passions of the
crowd, when, suddenly, at a moment so unseasonable for the officer,
some imperfect repetition of his words about the provost martial and
the rope passed rapidly from mouth to mouth. It was said that he had
threatened every man with instant death at the drum-head, who should
but speculate on assisting his friends outside, under the heaviest
extremities of danger or of outrage. The sarcastic bow and the inflamed
countenance of the officer were seen by glimpses further than his words
extended. Kindling eyes and lifted arms of many amongst the mob, and
chiefly of those on the outside, who had heard his words the most
imperfectly, proclaimed to such as knew Klosterheim and its temper at
this moment the danger in which he stood. Maximilian, the young
student, generously forgot his indignation in concern for his immediate
safety. Seizing him by the hand, he exclaimed,

"Sir, but a moment ago you warned me that I stood on the brink of
treason: look to your own safety at present; for the eyes of some whom
I see yonder are dangerous."

"Young gentleman," the other replied, contemptuously, "I presume that
you are a student; let me counsel you to go back to your books. There
you will be in your element. For myself, I am familiar with faces as
angry as these--and hands something more formidable. Believe me, I see
nobody here," and he affected to speak with imperturbable coolness, but
his voice became tremulous with passion, "whom I can even esteem worthy
of a soldier's consideration."

"And yet, Colonel von Aremberg, there is at least one man here who has
had the honor of commanding men as elevated as yourself." Saying which,
he hastily drew from his bosom, where it hung suspended from his neck,
a large flat tablet of remarkably beautiful onyx, on one side of which
was sculptured a very striking face; but on the other, which he
presented to the gaze of the colonel, was a fine representation of an
eagle grovelling on the dust, and beginning to expand its wings--with
the single word _Resurgam_ by way of motto.

Never was revulsion of feeling so rapidly expressed on any man's
countenance. The colonel looked but once; he caught the image of the
bird trailing its pinions in the dust, he heard the word
_Resurgam_ audibly pronounced; his color fled, his lips grew livid
with passion; and, furiously unsheathing his sword, he sprung, with
headlong forgetfulness of time and place, upon his calm antagonist.
With the advantage of perfect self-possession, Maximilian found it easy
to parry the tempestuous blows of the colonel; and he would, perhaps,
have found it easy to disarm him. But at this moment the crowd, who had
been with great difficulty repressed by the more thoughtful amongst the
students, burst through all restraints. In the violent outrage offered
to their champion and leader, they saw naturally a full confirmation of
the worst impressions they had received as to the colonel's temper and
intention. A number of them rushed forward to execute a summary
vengeance; and the foremost amongst these, a mechanic of Klosterheim,
distinguished for his herculean strength, with one blow stretched Von
Aremberg on the ground. A savage yell announced the dreadful fate which
impended over the fallen officer. And, spite of the generous exertions
made for his protection by Maximilian and his brother students, it is
probable that at that moment no human interposition could have availed
to turn aside the awakened appetite for vengeance, and that he must
have perished, but for the accident which at that particular instant of
time occurred to draw off the attention of the mob.

A signal gun from a watch-tower, which always in those unhappy times
announced the approach of strangers, had been fired about ten minutes
before; but, in the turbulent uproar of the crowd, it had passed
unnoticed. Hence it was, that, without previous warning to the mob
assembled at this point, a mounted courier now sprung into the square
at full gallop on his road to the palace, and was suddenly pulled up by
the dense masses of human beings.

"News, news!" exclaimed Maximilian; "tidings of our dear friends from
Vienna! "This he said with the generous purpose of diverting the
infuriated mob from the unfortunate Von Aremberg, though himself
apprehending that the courier had arrived from another quarter. His
plan succeeded: the mob rushed after the horseman, all but two or three
of the most sanguinary, who, being now separated from all assistance,
were easily drawn off from their prey. The opportunity was eagerly used
to carry off the colonel, stunned and bleeding, within the gates of a
Franciscan convent. He was consigned to the medical care of the holy
fathers; and Maximilian, with his companions, then hurried away to the
chancery of the palace, whither the courier had proceeded with his
despatches.

These were interesting in the highest degree. It had been doubted by
many, and by others a pretended doubt had been raised to serve the
Landgrave's purpose, whether the great cavalcade from Vienna would be
likely to reach the entrance of the forest for a week or more. Certain
news had now arrived, and was published before it could be stifled,
that they and all their baggage, after a prosperous journey so far,
would be assembled at that point on this very evening. The courier had
left the advanced guard about noonday, with an escort of four hundred
of the Black Yagers from the Imperial Guard, and two hundred of
Papenheim's Dragoons, at Waldenhausen, on the very brink of the forest.
The main body and rear were expected to reach the same point in four or
five hours; and the whole party would then fortify their encampment as
much as possible against the night attack which they had too much
reason to apprehend.

This was news which, in bringing a respite of forty-eight hours,
brought relief to some who had feared that even this very night might
present them with the spectacle of their beloved friends engaged in a
bloody struggle at the very gates of Klosterheim; for it was the fixed
resolution of the Landgrave to suffer no diminution of his own military
strength, or of the means for recruiting it hereafter. Men, horses,
arms, all alike were rigorously laid under embargo by the existing
government of the city; and such was the military power at its
disposal, reckoning not merely the numerical strength in troops, but
also the power of sweeping the main streets of the town, and several of
the principal roads outside, that it was become a matter of serious
doubt whether the unanimous insurrection of the populace had a chance
for making head against the government. But others found not even a
momentary comfort in this account. They considered that, perhaps,
Waldenhausen might be the very ground selected for the murderous
attack. There was here a solitary post-house, but no town, or even
village. The forest at this point was just thirty-four miles broad; and
if the bloodiest butchery should be going on under cover of night, no
rumor of it could be borne across the forest in time to alarm the many
anxious friends who would this night be lying awake in Klosterheim.

A slight circumstance served to barb and point the public distress,
which otherwise seemed previously to have reached its utmost height.
The courier had brought a large budget of letters to private
individuals throughout Klosterheim; many of these were written by
children unacquainted with the dreadful catastrophe which threatened
them. Most of them had been long separated, by the fury of the war,
from their parents. They had assembled, from many different quarters,
at Vienna, in order to join what might be called, in Oriental phrase,
_the caravan_. Their parents had also, in many instances, from
places equally dispersed, assembled at Klosterheim; and, after great
revolutions of fortune, they were now going once more to rejoin each
other. Their letters expressed the feelings of hope and affectionate
pleasure suitable to the occasion. They retraced the perils they had
passed during the twenty-six days of their journey,--the great towns,
heaths, and forests, they had traversed since leaving the gates of
Vienna; and expressed, in the innocent terms of childhood, the pleasure
they felt in having come within two stages of the gates of Klosterheim.
"In the forest," said they, "there will be no more dangers to pass; no
soldiers; nothing worse than wild deer."

Letters written in these terms, contrasted with the mournful realities
of the case, sharpened the anguish of fear and suspense throughout the
whole city; and Maximilian with his friends, unable to bear the loud
expression of the public feelings, separated themselves from the
tumultuous crowds, and adjourning to the seclusion of their college
rooms, determined to consult, whilst it was yet not too late, whether,
in their hopeless situation for openly resisting the Landgrave without
causing as much slaughter as they sought to prevent, it might not yet
be possible for them to do something in the way of resistance to the
bloody purposes of Holkerstein.


CHAPTER II.


The travelling party, for whom much anxiety was felt in Klosterheim,
had this evening reached Waldenhausen without loss or any violent
alarm; and, indeed, considering the length of their journey, and the
distracted state of the empire, they had hitherto travelled in
remarkable security. It was now nearly a month since they had taken
their departure from Vienna, at which point considerable numbers had
assembled from the adjacent country to take the benefit of their
convoy. Some of these they had dropped at different turns in their
route, but many more had joined them as they advanced; for in every
considerable city they found large accumulations of strangers, driven
in for momentary shelter from the storm of war as it spread over one
district after another; and many of these were eager to try the chances
of a change, or, upon more considerate grounds, preferred the
protection of a place situated like Klosterheim, in a nook as yet
unvisited by the scourge of military execution. Hence it happened, that
from a party of seven hundred and fifty, with an escort of four hundred
yagers, which was the amount of their numbers on passing through the
gates of Vienna, they had gradually swelled into a train of sixteen
hundred, including two companies of dragoons, who had joined them by
the emperor's orders at one of the fortified posts.

It was felt, as a circumstance of noticeable singularity, by most of
the party, that, after traversing a large part of Germany without
encountering any very imminent peril, they should be first summoned to
unusual vigilance, and all the most jealous precautions of fear, at the
very termination of their journey. In all parts of their route they had
met with columns of troops pursuing their march, and now and then with
roving bands of deserters, who were formidable to the unprotected
traveller. Some they had overawed by their display of military
strength; from others, in the imperial service, they had received
cheerful assistance; and any Swedish corps, which rumor had presented
as formidable by their numbers, they had, with some exertion of
forethought and contrivance, constantly evaded, either by a little
detour, or by a temporary halt in some place of strength. But now it
was universally known that they were probably waylaid by a desperate
and remorseless freebooter, who, as he put his own trust exclusively in
the sword, allowed nobody to hope for any other shape of deliverance.

Holkerstein, the military robber, was one of the many monstrous growths
which had arisen upon the ruins of social order in this long and
unhappy war. Drawing to himself all the malcontents of his own
neighborhood, and as many deserters from the regular armies in the
centre of Germany as he could tempt to his service by the license of
unlimited pillage, he had rapidly created a respectable force; had
possessed himself of various castles in Wirtemberg, within fifty or
sixty miles of Klosterheim; had attacked and defeated many parties of
regular troops sent out to reduce him; and, by great activity and local
knowledge, had raised himself to so much consideration, that the terror
of his name had spread even to Vienna, and the escort of yagers had
been granted by the imperial government as much on his account as for
any more general reason. A lady, who was in some way related to the
emperor's family, and, by those who were in the secret, was reputed to
be the emperor's natural daughter, accompanied the travelling party,
with a suite of female attendants. To this lady, who was known by the
name of the Countess Paulina, the rest of the company held themselves
indebted for their escort; and hence, as much as for her rank, she was
treated with ceremonious respect throughout the journey.

The Lady Paulina travelled with, her suite in coaches, drawn by the
most powerful artillery horses that could be furnished at the various
military posts. [Footnote: Coaches were common in Germany at this time
amongst people of rank. At the reinstatement of the Dukes of
Mecklenburg, by Gustavus Adolphus, though without much notice, more
than four-score of coaches were assembled.] On this day she had been in
the rear; and having been delayed by an accident, she was waited for
with some impatience by the rest of the party, the latest of whom had
reached Waldenhausen early in the afternoon. It was sunset before her
train of coaches arrived; and, as the danger from Holkerstein commenced
about this point, they were immediately applied to the purpose of
strengthening their encampment against a night attack, by chaining
them, together with all the baggage-carts, in a triple line, across the
different avenues which seemed most exposed to a charge of cavalry.
Many other preparations were made; the yagers and dragoons made
arrangements for mounting with ease on the first alarm; strong outposts
were established; sentinels posted all round the encampment, who were
duly relieved every hour, in consideration of the extreme cold; and,
upon the whole, as many veteran officers were amongst them, the great
body of the travellers were now able to apply themselves to the task of
preparing their evening refreshments with some degree of comfort; for
the elder part of the company saw that every precaution had been taken,
and the younger were not aware of any extraordinary danger.

Waldenhausen had formerly been a considerable village. At present there
was no more than one house, surrounded, however, by such a large
establishment of barns, stables, and other outhouses, that, at a little
distance, it wore the appearance of a tolerable hamlet. Most of the
outhouses, in their upper stories, were filled with hay or straw; and
there the women and children prepared their couches for the night, as
the warmest resorts in so severe a season. The house was furnished in
the plainest style of a farmer's; but in other respects it was of a
superior order, being roomy and extensive. The best apartment had been
reserved for the Lady Paulina and her attendants; one for the officers
of most distinction in the escort or amongst the travellers; the rest
had been left to the use of the travellers indiscriminately.

In passing through the hall of entrance, Paulina had noticed a man of
striking and _farouche_ appearance,--hair black and matted, eyes
keen and wild, and beaming with malicious cunning, who surveyed her as
she passed with a mixed look of insolence and curiosity, that
involuntarily made her shrink. He had been half reclining carelessly
against the wall, when she first entered, but rose upright with a
sudden motion as she passed him--not probably from any sentiment of
respect, but under the first powerful impression of surprise on seeing
a young woman of peculiarly splendid figure and impressive beauty,
under circumstances so little according with what might be supposed her
natural pretensions. The dignity of her deportment, and the numbers of
her attendants, sufficiently proclaimed the luxurious accommodations
which her habits might have taught her to expect; and she was now
entering a dwelling which of late years had received few strangers of
her sex, and probably none but those of the lowest rank.

"Know your distance, fellow!" exclaimed one of the waiting-women,
angrily, noticing his rude gaze and the effect upon her mistress.

"Good faith, madam, I would that the distance between us were more; it
was no prayers of mine, I promise you, that brought upon me a troop of
horses to Waldenhausen, enough in one twelve hours to eat me out a
margrave's ransom. Light thanks I reckon on from yagers; and the
payments of dragoons will pass current for as little in the forest, as
a lady's frown in Waldenhausen."

"Churl!" said an officer of dragoons, "how know you that our payments
are light? The emperor takes nothing without payment; surely not from
such as you. But _à propos_ of ransoms, what now might be Holkerstein's
ransom for a farmer's barns stuffed with a three years' crop?"

"How mean you by that, captain? The crop's my own, and never was in
worse hands than my own. God send it no worse luck to-day!"

"Come, come, sir, you understand me better than that; nothing at
Waldenhausen, I take it, is yours or any man's, unless by license from
Holkerstein. And when I see so many goodly barns and garners, with
their jolly charges of hay and corn, that would feed one of
Holkerstein's garrisons through two sieges, I know what to think of him
who has saved them scot-free. He that serves a robber must do it on a
robber's terms. To such bargains there goes but one word, and that is
the robber's. But, come, man, I am not thy judge. Only I would have my
soldiers on their guard at one of Holkerstein's outposts. And thee,
farmer, I would have to remember that an emperor's grace may yet stand
thee instead, when a robber is past helping thee to a rope."

The soldiers laughed, but took their officer's hint to watch the
motions of a man, whose immunity from spoil, in circumstances so
tempting to a military robber's cupidity, certainly argued some
collusion with Holkerstein.

The Lady Paulina had passed on during this dialogue into an inner room,
hoping to have found the quiet and the warmth which were now become so
needful to her repose. But the antique stove was too much out of repair
to be used with benefit; the wood-work was decayed, and admitted
currents of cold air; and, above all, from the slightness of the
partitions, the noise and tumult in a house occupied by soldiers and
travellers proved so incessant, that, after taking refreshments with
her attendants, she resolved to adjourn for the night to her coach;
which afforded much superior resources, both in warmth and in freedom
from noise.

The carriage of the countess was one of those which had been posted at
an angle of the encampment, and on that side terminated the line of
defences; for a deep mass of wood, which commenced where the carriages
ceased, seemed to present a natural protection on that side against the
approach of cavalry; in reality, from the quantity of tangled roots,
and the inequalities of the ground, it appeared difficult for a single
horseman to advance even a few yards without falling. And upon this
side it had been judged sufficient to post a single sentinel.

Assured by the many precautions adopted, and by the cheerful language
of the officer on guard, who attended her to the carriage door,
Paulina, with one attendant, took her seat in the coach, where she had
the means of fencing herself sufficiently from the cold by the weighty
robes of minever and ermine which her ample wardrobe afforded; and the
large dimensions of the coach enabled her to turn it to the use of a
sofa or couch.

Youth and health sleep well; and with all the means and appliances of
the Lady Paulina, wearied besides as she had been with the fatigue of a
day's march, performed over roads almost impassable from roughness,
there was little reason to think that she would miss the benefit of her
natural advantages. Yet sleep failed to come, or came only by fugitive
snatches, which presented her with tumultuous dreams,--sometimes of the
emperor's court in Vienna, sometimes of the vast succession of troubled
scenes and fierce faces that had passed before her since she had
quitted that city. At one moment she beheld the travelling equipages
and far-stretching array of her own party, with their military escort
filing off by torchlight under the gateway of ancient cities; at
another, the ruined villages, with their dismantled cottages,--doors
and windows torn off, walls scorched with fire, and a few gaunt dogs,
with a wolf-like ferocity in their bloodshot eyes, prowling about the
ruins,--objects that had really so often afflicted her heart. Waking
from those distressing spectacles, she would fall into a fitful doze,
which presented her with remembrances still more alarming: bands of
fierce deserters, that eyed her travelling party with a savage rapacity
which did not confess any powerful sense of inferiority; and in the
very fields which they had once cultivated, now silent and tranquil
from utter desolation, the mouldering bodies of the unoffending
peasants, left un-honored with the rites of sepulture, in many places
from the mere extermination of the whole rural population of their
neighborhood. To these succeeded a wild chaos of figures, in which the
dress and tawny features of Bohemian gypsies conspicuously prevailed,
just as she had seen them of late making war on all parties alike; and,
in the person of their leader, her fancy suddenly restored to her a
vivid resemblance of their suspicious host at their present quarters,
and of the malicious gaze with which he had disconcerted her.

A sudden movement of the carriage awakened her, and, by the light of a
lamp suspended from a projecting bough of a tree, she beheld, on
looking out, the sallow countenance of the very man whose image had so
recently infested her dreams. The light being considerably nearer to
him than to herself, she could see without being distinctly seen; and,
having already heard the very strong presumptions against this man's
honesty which had been urged by the officer, and without reply from the
suspected party, she now determined to watch him.


CHAPTER III.


The night was pitch dark, and Paulina felt a momentary terror creep
over her as she looked into the massy blackness of the dark alleys
which ran up into the woods, forced into deeper shade under the glare
of the lamps from the encampment. She now reflected with some alarm
that the forest commenced at this point, stretching away (as she had
been told) in some directions upwards of fifty miles; and that, if the
post occupied by their encampment should be inaccessible on this side
to cavalry, it might, however, happen that persons with the worst
designs could easily penetrate on foot from the concealments of the
forest; in which case she herself, and the splendid booty of her
carriage, might be the first and easiest prey. Even at this moment, the
very worst of those atrocious wretches whom the times had produced
might be lurking in concealment, with their eyes fastened upon the weak
or exposed parts of the encampment, and waiting until midnight should
have buried the majority of their wearied party into the profoundest
repose, in order then to make a combined and murderous attack. Under
the advantages of sudden surprise and darkness, together with the
knowledge which they would not fail to possess of every road and by-
path in the woods, it could scarcely be doubted that they might strike
a very effectual blow at the Vienna caravan, which had else so nearly
completed their journey without loss or memorable privations;--and the
knowledge which Holkerstein possessed of the short limits within which
his opportunities were now circumscribed would doubtless prompt him to
some bold and energetic effort.

Thoughts unwelcome as these Paulina found leisure to pursue; for the
ruffian landlord had disappeared almost at the same moment when she
first caught a glimpse of him. In the deep silence which succeeded, she
could not wean herself from the painful fascination of imagining the
very worst possibilities to which their present situation was liable.
She imaged to herself the horrors of a _camisade_, as she had
often heard it described; she saw, in apprehension, the savage band of
confederate butchers, issuing from the profound solitudes of the
forest, in white shirts drawn over their armor; she seemed to read the
murderous features, lighted up by the gleam of lamps--the stealthy
step, and the sudden gleam of sabres; then the yell of assault, the
scream of agony, the camp floating with blood; the fury, the vengeance,
the pursuit;--all these circumstances of scenes at that time too
familiar to Germany passed rapidly before her mind.

But after some time, as the tranquillity continued, her nervous
irritation gave way to less agitating but profound sensibilities.
Whither was her lover withdrawn from her knowledge? and why? and for
how long a time? What an age it seemed since she had last seen him at
Vienna! That the service upon which he was employed would prove
honorable, she felt assured. But was it dangerous? Alas! in Germany
there was none otherwise. Would it soon restore him to her society? And
why had he been of late so unaccountably silent? Or again, _had_
he been silent? Perhaps his letters had been intercepted,--nothing, in
fact, was more common at that time. The rarity was, if by any accident
a letter reached its destination. From one of the worst solicitudes
incident to such a situation Paulina was, however, delivered by her own
nobility of mind, which raised her above the meanness of jealousy.
Whatsoever might have happened, or into whatever situations her lover
might have been thrown, she felt no fear that the fidelity of his
attachment could have wandered or faltered for a moment; that worst of
pangs the Lady Paulina was raised above, equally by her just confidence
in herself and in her lover. But yet, though faithful to her, might he
not be ill? Might he not be languishing in some one of the many
distresses incident to war? Might he not even have perished?

That fear threw her back upon the calamities and horrors of war; and
insensibly her thoughts wandered round to the point from which they had
started, of her own immediate situation. Again she searched with
penetrating eyes the black avenues of the wood, as they lay forced
almost into strong relief and palpable substance by the glare of the
lamps. Again she fancied to herself the murderous hearts and glaring
eyes which even now might be shrouded by the silent masses of forest
which stretched before her,--when suddenly a single light shot its rays
from what appeared to be a considerable distance in one of the avenues.
Paulina's heart beat fast at this alarming spectacle. Immediately
after, the light was shaded, or in some way disappeared. But this gave
the more reason for terror. It was now clear that human beings were
moving in the woods. No public road lay in that direction; nor, in so
unpopulous a region, could it be imagined that travellers were likely
at that time to be abroad. From their own encampment nobody could have
any motive for straying to a distance on so severe a night, and at a
time when he would reasonably draw upon himself the danger of being
shot by the night-guard.

This last consideration reminded Paulina suddenly, as of a very
singular circumstance, that the appearance of the light had been
followed by no challenge from the sentinel. And then first she
remembered that for some time she had ceased to hear the sentinel's
step, or the rattle of his bandoleers. Hastily looking along the path,
she discovered too certainly that the single sentinel posted on that
side of their encampment was absent from his station. It might have
been supposed that he had fallen asleep from the severity of the cold;
but in that case the lantern which he carried attached to his breast
would have continued to burn; whereas all traces of light had vanished
from the path which he perambulated. The error was now apparent to
Paulina, both in having appointed no more than one sentinel to this
quarter, and also in the selection of his beat. There had been frequent
instances throughout this war in which by means of a net, such as that
carried by the Roman _retiarius_ in the contests of the gladiators,
and dexterously applied by two persons from behind, a sentinel
had been suddenly muffled, gagged, and carried off, without much
difficulty. For such a purpose it was clear that the present
sentinel's range, lying by the margin of a wood from which his minutest
movements could be watched at leisure by those who lay in utter
darkness themselves, afforded every possible facility. Paulina scarcely
doubted that he had been indeed carried off, in some such way, and not
impossibly almost whilst she was looking on.

She would now have called aloud, and have alarmed the camp; but at the
very moment when she let down the glass the savage landlord reappeared,
and, menacing her with a pistol, awed her into silence. He bore upon
his head a moderate-sized trunk, or portmanteau, which appeared, by the
imperfect light, to be that in which some despatches had been lodged
from the imperial government to different persons in Klosterheim. This
had been cut from one of the carriages in her suite; and her anxiety
was great on recollecting that, from some words of the emperor's, she
had reason to believe one, at least, of the letters which it conveyed
to be in some important degree connected with the interests of her
lover. Satisfied, however, that he would not find it possible to
abscond with so burdensome an article in any direction that could save
him from instant pursuit and arrest, she continued to watch for the
moment when she might safely raise the alarm. But great was her
consternation when she saw a dark figure steal from a thicket, receive
the trunk from the other, and instantly retreat into the deepest
recesses of the forest.

Her fears now gave way to the imminence of so important a loss; and she
endeavored hastily to open the window of the opposite door. But this
had been so effectually barricaded against the cold, that she failed in
her purpose, and, immediately turning back to the other side, she
called, loudly,--"Guard! guard!" The press of carriages, however, at
this point, so far deadened her voice, that it was some time before the
alarm reached the other side of the encampment distinctly enough to
direct their motions to her summons. Half a dozen yagers and an officer
at length presented themselves; but the landlord had disappeared, she
knew not in what direction. Upon explaining the circumstances of the
robbery, however, the officer caused his men to light a number of
torches, and advance into the wood. But the ground was so impracticable
in most places, from tangled roots and gnarled stumps of trees, that it
was with difficulty they could keep their footing. They were also
embarrassed by the crossing shadows From the innumerable boughs above
them; and a situation of greater perplexity for effective pursuit it
was scarcely possible to imagine. Everywhere they saw alleys, arched
high overhead, and resembling the aisles of a cathedral, as much in
form as in the perfect darkness which reigned in both at this solemn
hour of midnight, stretching away apparently without end, but more and
more obscure, until impenetrable blackness terminated the long vista.
Now and then a dusky figure was seen to cross at some distance; but
these were probably deer; and when loudly challenged by the yagers, no
sound replied but the vast echoes of the forest. Between these
interminable alleys, which radiated as from a centre at this point,
there were generally thickets interposed. Sometimes the wood was more
open, and clear of all undergrowth--shrubs, thorns, or brambles--for a
considerable distance, so that a single file of horsemen might have
penetrated for perhaps half a mile; but belts of thicket continually
checked their progress, and obliged them to seek their way back to some
one of the long vistas which traversed the woods between the frontiers
of Suabia and Bavaria.

In this perplexity of paths, the officer halted his party to consider
of his further course. At this moment one of the yagers protested that
he had seen a man's hat and face rise above a thicket of bushes,
apparently not more than a hundred and fifty yards from their own
position. Upon that the party were ordered to advance a little, and to
throw in a volley, as nearly as could be judged, into the very spot
pointed out by the soldier. It seemed that he had not been mistaken;
for a loud laugh of derision rose immediately a little to the left of
the bushes. The laughter swelled upon the silence of the night, and in
the next moment was taken up by another on the right, which again was
echoed by a third on the rear. Peal after peal of tumultuous and
scornful laughter resounded from the remoter solitudes of the forest;
and the officer stood aghast to hear this proclamation of defiance from
a multitude of enemies, where he had anticipated no more than the very
party engaged in the robbery.

To advance in pursuit seemed now both useless and dangerous. The
laughter had probably been designed expressly to distract his choice of
road at a time when the darkness and intricacies of the ground had
already made it sufficiently indeterminate. In which direction, out of
so many whence he had heard the sounds, a pursuit could be instituted
with any chance of being effectual, seemed now as hopeless a subject of
deliberation as it was possible to imagine. Still, as he had been made
aware of the great importance attached to the trunk, which might very
probably contain despatches interesting to the welfare of Klosterheim,
and the whole surrounding territory, he felt grieved to retire without
some further attempt for its recovery. And he stood for a few moments
irresolutely debating with himself, or listening to the opinions of his
men.

His irresolution was very abruptly terminated. All at once, upon the
main road from Klosterheim, at an angle about half a mile ahead where
it first wheeled into sight from Waldenhausen, a heavy thundering trot
was heard ringing from the frozen road, as of a regular body of cavalry
advancing rapidly upon their encampment. There was no time to be lost;
the officer instantly withdrew his yagers from the wood, posted a
strong guard at the wood side, sounded the alarm throughout the camp,
agreeably to the system of signals previously concerted, mounted about
thirty men, whose horses and themselves were kept in perfect equipment
during each of the night-watches, and then advancing to the head of the
barriers, prepared to receive the party of strangers in whatever
character they should happen to present themselves.

All this had been done with so much promptitude and decision, that, on
reaching the barriers, the officer found the strangers not yet come up.
In fact, they had halted at a strong outpost about a quarter of a mile
in advance of Waldenhausen; and though one or two patrollers came
dropping in from by-roads on the forest-heath, who reported them as
enemies, from the indistinct view they had caught of their equipments,
it had already become doubtful from their movements whether they would
really prove so.

Two of their party were now descried upon the road, and nearly close up
with the gates of Waldenhausen; they were accompanied by several of the
guard from the outpost; and, immediately on being hailed, they
exclaimed, "Friends, and from Klosterheim!"

He who spoke was a young cavalier, magnificent alike in his person,
dress, and style of his appointments. He was superbly mounted, wore the
decorations of a major-general in the imperial service, and scarcely
needed the explanations which he gave to exonerate himself from the
suspicion of being a leader of robbers under Holkerstein. Fortunately
enough, also, at a period when officers of the most distinguished merit
were too often unfaithful to their engagements, or passed with so much
levity from service to service as to justify an indiscriminate jealousy
of all who were not in the public eye, it happened that the officer of
the watch, formerly, when mounting guard at the imperial palace, had
been familiar with the personal appearance of the cavalier, and could
speak of his own knowledge to the favor which he had enjoyed at the
emperor's court. After short explanations, therefore, he was admitted,
and thankfully welcomed in the camp; and the officer of the guard
departed to receive with honor the generous volunteers at the outpost.

Meantime, the alarm, which was general throughout the camp, had
assembled all the women to one quarter, where a circle of carriages had
been formed for their protection. In their centre, distinguished by her
height and beauty, stood the Lady Paulina, dispensing assistance from
her wardrobe to any who were suffering from cold under this sudden
summons to night air, and animating others, who were more than usually
depressed, by the aids of consolation and of cheerful prospects. She
had just turned her face away from the passage by which this little
sanctuary communicated with the rest of the camp, and was in the act of
giving directions to one of her attendants, when suddenly a well-known
voice fell upon her ear. It was the voice of the stranger cavalier,
whose natural gallantry had prompted him immediately to relieve the
alarm, which, unavoidably, he had himself created; in a few words, he
was explaining to the assembled females of the camp in what character,
and with how many companions, he had come. But a shriek from Paulina
interrupted him. Involuntarily she held out her open arms, and
involuntarily she exclaimed, "Dearest Maximilian!" On his part, the
young cavalier, for a moment or two at first, was almost deprived of
speech by astonishment and excess of pleasure. Bounding forward, hardly
conscious of those who surrounded them, with a rapture of faithful love
he caught the noble young beauty into his arms,--a movement to which,
in the frank innocence of her heart, she made no resistance; folded her
to his bosom, and impressed a fervent kiss upon her lips; whilst the
only words that came to his own were, "Beloved Paulina! 0, most beloved
lady! what chance has brought you hither?"


CHAPTER IV.


In those days of tragical confusion, and of sudden catastrophe, alike
for better or for worse,--when the rendings asunder of domestic
charities were often without an hour's warning, when reunions were as
dramatic and as unexpected as any which are exhibited on the stage, and
too often separations were eternal,--the circumstances of the times
concurred with the spirit of manners to sanction a tone of frank
expression to the stronger passions, which the reserve of modern habits
would not entirely license. And hence, not less than from the noble
ingenuousness of their natures, the martial young cavalier, and the
superb young beauty of the imperial house, on recovering themselves
from their first transports, found no motives to any feeling of false
shame, either in their own consciousness, or in the reproving looks of
any who stood around them. On the contrary, as the grown-up spectators
were almost exclusively female, to whom the evidences of faithful love
are never other than a serious subject, or naturally associated with
the ludicrous, many of them expressed their sympathy with the scene
before them by tears, and all of them in some way or other. Even in
this age of more fastidious manners, it is probable that the tender
interchanges of affection between a young couple rejoining each other
after deep calamities, and standing on the brink of fresh, perhaps
endless separations, would meet with something of the same indulgence
from the least interested witnesses.

Hence the news was diffused through the camp with general satisfaction,
that a noble and accomplished cavalier, the favored lover of their
beloved young mistress, had joined them from Klosterheim, with a chosen
band of volunteers, upon whose fidelity in action they might entirely
depend. Some vague account floated about, at the same time, of the
marauding attack upon the Lady Paulina's carriage. But naturally
enough, from the confusion and hurry incident to a nocturnal
disturbance, the circumstances were mixed up with the arrival of
Maximilian, in a way which ascribed to him the merit of having repelled
an attack, which might else have proved fatal to the lady of his heart.
And this romantic interposition of Providence on a young lady's behalf,
through the agency of her lover, unexpected on her part, and
unconscious on his, proved so equally gratifying to the passion for the
marvellous and the interest in youthful love, that no other or truer
version of the case could ever obtain a popular acceptance in the camp,
or afterwards in Klosterheim. And had it been the express purpose of
Maximilian to found a belief, for his own future benefit, of a
providential sanction vouchsafed to his connection with the Lady
Paulina, he could not, by the best-arranged contrivances, have more
fully attained that end.

It was yet short of midnight by more than an hour; and therefore, on
the suggestion of Maximilian, who reported the roads across the forest
perfectly quiet, and alleged some arguments for quieting the general
apprehension for this night, the travellers and troops retired to rest,
as the best means of preparing them to face the trials of the two next
days. It was judged requisite, however, to strengthen the night-guard
very considerably, and to relieve it at least every two hours. That the
poor sentinel on the forest side of the encampment had been in some
mysterious way trepanned upon his post, was now too clearly
ascertained, for he was missing; and the character of the man, no less
than the absence of all intelligible temptation to such an act, forbade
the suspicion of his having deserted. On this quarter, therefore, a
file of select marksmen were stationed, with directions instantly to
pick off every moving figure that showed itself within their range. Of
these men Maximilian himself took the command; and by this means he
obtained the opportunity, so enviable to one long separated from his
mistress, of occasionally conversing with her, and of watching over her
safety. In one point he showed a distinguished control over his
inclinations; for, much as he had to tell her, and ardently as he
longed for communicating with her on various subjects of common
interest, he would not suffer her to keep the window down for more than
a minute or two in so dreadful a state of the atmosphere. She, on her
part, exacted a promise from him that he would leave his station at
three o'clock in the morning. Meantime, as on the one hand she felt
touched by this proof of her lover's solicitude for her safety, so, on
the other, she was less anxious on his account, from the knowledge she
had of his long habituation to the hardships of a camp, with which,
indeed, he had been familiar from his childish days. Thus debarred from
conversing with her lover, and at the same time feeling the most
absolute confidence in his protection, she soon fell placidly asleep.
The foremost subject of her anxiety and sorrow was now removed; her
lover had been restored to her hopes; and her dreams were no longer
haunted with horrors. Yet, at the same time, the turbulence of joy and
of hope fulfilled unexpectedly had substituted its own disturbances;
and her sleep was often interrupted. But, as often as that happened,
she had the delightful pleasure of seeing her lover's figure, with its
martial equipments, and the drooping plumes of his yager barrette, as
he took his station at her carriage, traced out on the ground in the
bright glare of the flambeaux. She awoke, therefore, continually to the
sense of restored happiness; and at length fell finally asleep, to wake
no more until the morning trumpet, at the break of day, proclaimed the
approaching preparations for the general movement of the camp.

Snow had fallen in the night. Towards four o'clock in the morning,
amongst those who held that watch there had been a strong apprehension
that it would fall heavily. But that state of the atmosphere had passed
off; and it had not in fact fallen sufficiently to abate the cold, or
much to retard their march. According to the usual custom of the camp,
a general breakfast was prepared, at which all, without distinction,
messed together--a sufficient homage being expressed to superior rank
by resigning the upper part of every table to those who had any
distinguished pretensions of that kind. On this occasion Paulina had
the gratification of seeing the public respect offered in the most
marked manner to her lover. He had retired about daybreak to take an
hour's repose,--for she found, from her attendants, with mingled
vexation and pleasure, that he had not fulfilled his promise of
retiring at an earlier hour, in consequence of some renewed appearances
of a suspicious kind in the woods. In his absence, she heard a
resolution proposed and carried, amongst the whole body of veteran
officers attached to the party, that the chief military command should
be transferred to Maximilian, not merely as a distinguished favorite of
the emperor, but also, and much more, as one of the most brilliant
cavalry officers in the imperial service. This resolution was
communicated to him on his taking the place reserved for him, at the
head of the principal breakfast-table; and Paulina thought that he had
never appeared more interesting, or truly worthy of admiration, than
under that exhibition of courtesy and modest dignity with which he
first earnestly declined the honor in favor of older officers, and then
finally complied with what he found to be the sincere wish of the
company, by frankly accepting it. Paulina had grown up amongst military
men, and had been early trained to a sympathy with military merit,--the
very court of the emperor had something of the complexion of a camp,--
and the object of her own youthful choice was elevated in her eyes, if
it were at all possible that he should be so, by this ratification of
his claims on the part of those whom she looked up to as the most
competent judges.

Before nine o'clock the van of the party was in motion; then, with a
short interval, came all the carriages of every description, and the
Papenheim dragoons as a rear-guard. About eleven the sun began to burst
out, and illuminated, with the cheerful crimson of a frosty morning,
those horizontal draperies of mist which had previously stifled his
beams. The extremity of the cold was a good deal abated by this time,
and Paulina, alighting from her carriage, mounted a led horse, which
gave her the opportunity, so much wished for by them both, of
conversing freely with Maximilian. For a long time the interest and
animation of their reciprocal communications, and the magnitude of the
events since they had parted, affecting either or both of them
directly, or in the persons of their friends, had the natural effect of
banishing any dejection which nearer and more pressing concerns would
else have called forth. But, in the midst of this factitious animation,
and the happiness which otherwise so undisguisedly possessed Maximilian
at their unexpected reunion, it shocked Paulina to observe in her lover
a degree of gravity almost amounting to sadness, which argued in a
soldier of his gallantry some overpowering sense of danger. In fact,
upon being pressed to say the worst, Maximilian frankly avowed that he
was ill at ease with regard to their prospects when the hour of trial
should arrive; and that hour he had no hope of evading. Holkerstein, he
well knew, had been continually receiving reports of their condition,
as they reached their nightly stations, for the last three days. Spies
had been round about them, and even in the midst of them, throughout
the darkness of the last night. Spies were keeping pace with them as
they advanced. The certainty of being attacked was therefore pretty
nearly absolute. Then, as to their means of defence, and the relations
of strength between the parties, in numbers it was not impossible that
Holkerstein might triple themselves. The elite of their own men might
be superior to most of his, though counting amongst their number many
deserters from veteran regiments; but the horses of their own party
were in general poor and out of condition,--and of the whole train,
whom Maximilian had inspected at starting, not two hundred could be
pronounced fit for making or sustaining a charge. It was true that by
mounting some of their picked troopers upon the superior horses of the
most distinguished amongst the travellers, who had willingly consented
to an arrangement of this nature for the general benefit, some partial
remedy had been applied to their weakness in that one particular. But
there were others in which Holkerstein had even greater advantages;
more especially, the equipments of his partisans were entirely new,
having been plundered from an ill-guarded armory near Munich, or from
convoys which he had attacked. "Who would be a gentleman," says an old
proverb, "let him storm a town;" and the gay appearance of this
robber's companions threw a light upon its meaning. The ruffian
companions of this marauder were, besides, animated by hopes such as no
regular commander in an honorable service could find the means of
holding out. And, finally, they were familiar with all the forest roads
and innumerable bypaths, on which it was that the best points lay for
surprising an enemy, or for a retreat; whilst, in their own case,
encumbered with the protection of a large body of travellers and
helpless people, whom, under any circumstances, it was hazardous to
leave, they were tied up to the most slavish dependency upon the
weakness of their companions; and had it not in their power either to
evade the most evident advantages on the side of the enemy, or to
pursue such as they might be fortunate enough to create for themselves.

"But, after all." said Maximilian, assuming a tone of gayety, upon
finding that the candor of his explanations had depressed his fair
companion, "the saying of an old Swedish [Footnote: It was the Swedish
General Kniphausen, a favorite of Gustavus, to whom this maxim is
ascribed.] enemy of mine is worth remembering in such cases,--that,
nine times out of ten, a drachm of good luck is worth an ounce of good
contrivance,--and were it not, dearest Paulina, that you are with us, I
would think the risk not heavy. Perhaps, by to-morrow's sunset, we
shall all look back from our pleasant seats in the warm refectories of
Klosterheim, with something of scorn, upon our present apprehensions.--
And see! at this very moment the turn of the road has brought us in
view of our port, though distant from us, according to the windings of
the forest, something more than twenty miles. That range of hills,
which you observe ahead, but a little inclined to the left, overhangs
Klosterheim; and, with the sun in a more favorable quarter, you might
even at this point descry the pinnacles of the citadel, or the loftiest
of the convent towers. Half an hour will bring us to the close of our
day's march."

In reality, a few minutes sufficed to bring them within view of the
chateau where their quarters had been prepared for this night. This was
a great hunting establishment, kept up at vast expense by the two last
and present Landgraves of X----. Many interesting anecdotes were
connected with the history of this building; and the beauty of the
forest scenery was conspicuous even in winter, enlivened as the endless
woods continued to be by the scarlet berries of mountain-ash, or the
dark verdure of the holly and the ilex. Under her present frame of
pensive feeling, the quiet lawns and long-withdrawing glades of these
vast woods had a touching effect upon the feelings of Paulina; their
deep silence, and the tranquillity which reigned amongst them,
contrasting in her remembrance with the hideous scenes of carnage and
desolation through which her path had too often lain. With these
predisposing influences to aid him, Maximilian found it easy to draw
off her attention from the dangers which pressed upon their situation.
Her sympathies were so quick with those whom she loved, that she
readily adopted their apparent hopes or their fears; and so entire was
her confidence in the superior judgment and the perfect gallantry of
her lover, that her countenance reflected immediately the prevailing
expression of his.

Under these impressions Maximilian suffered her to remain. It seemed
cruel to disturb her with the truth. He was sensible that continued
anxiety, and dreadful or afflicting spectacles, had with her, as with
most persons of her sex in Germany at that time, unless protected by
singular insensibility, somewhat impaired the firm tone of her mind. He
was determined, therefore, to consult her comfort, by disguising or
palliating their true situation. But, for his own part, he could not
hide from his conviction the extremity of their danger; nor could he,
when recurring to the precious interests at stake upon the issue of
that and the next day's trials, face with any firmness the afflicting
results to which they tended, under the known barbarity and ruffian
character of their unprincipled enemy.


CHAPTER V.


The chateau of Falkenberg, which the travellers reached with the
decline of light, had the usual dependences of offices and gardens,
which may be supposed essential to a prince's hunting establishment in
that period. It stood at a distance of eighteen miles from Klosterheim,
and presented the sole _oasis_ of culture and artificial beauty
throughout the vast extent of those wild tracts of sylvan ground.

The great central pile of the building was dismantled of furniture; but
the travellers carried with them, as was usual in the heat of war, all
the means of fencing against the cold, and giving even a luxurious
equipment to their dormitories. In so large a party, the deficiencies
of one were compensated by the redundant contributions of another. And
so long as they were not under the old Roman interdict, excluding them
from seeking fire and water of those on whom their day's journey had
thrown them, their own travelling stores enabled them to accommodate
themselves to all other privations. On this occasion, however, they
found more than they had expected; for there was at Falkenberg a store
of all the game in season, constantly kept up for the use of the
Landgrave's household, and the more favored monasteries at Klosterheim.
The small establishment of keepers, foresters, and other servants, who
occupied the chateau, had received no orders to refuse the hospitality
usually practised in the Landgrave's name; or thought proper to
dissemble them in their present circumstances of inability to resist.
And having from necessity permitted so much, they were led by a sense
of their master's honor, or their own sympathy with the condition of so
many women and children, to do more. Rations of game were distributed
liberally to all the messes; wine was not refused by the old
_kellermeister_, who rightly considered that some thanks, and
smiles of courteous acknowledgment, might be a better payment than the
hard knocks with which military paymasters were sometimes apt to settle
their accounts. And, upon the whole, it was agreed that no such evening
of comfort, and even luxurious enjoyment, had been spent since their
departure from Vienna.

One wing of the chateau was magnificently furnished. This, which of
itself was tolerably extensive, had been resigned to the use of
Paulina, Maximilian, and others of the military gentlemen, whose
manners and deportment seemed to entitle them to superior attentions.
Here, amongst many marks of refinement and intellectual culture, there
was a library and a gallery of portraits. In the library some of the
officers had detected sufficient evidences of the Swedish alliances
clandestinely maintained by the Landgrave; numbers of rare books,
bearing the arms of different imperial cities, which, in the several
campaigns of Gustavus, had been appropriated as they fell in his hands,
by way of fair reprisals for the robbery of the whole Palatine library
at Heidelberg, had been since transferred (as it thus appeared) to the
Landgrave, by purchase or as presents; and on either footing argued a
correspondence with the emperor's enemies, which hitherto he had
strenuously disavowed. The picture-gallery, it was very probable, had
been collected in the same manner. It contained little else than
portraits, but these were truly admirable and interesting, being all
recent works from the pencil of Vandyke, and composing a series of
heads and features the most remarkable for station in the one sex, or
for beauty in the other, which that age presented. Amongst them were
nearly all the imperial leaders of distinction, and many of the
Swedish. Maximilian and his brother officers took the liveliest
pleasure in perambulating this gallery with Paulina, and reviewing with
her these fine historical memorials. Out of their joint recollections,
or the facts of their personal experience, they were able to supply any
defective links in that commentary which her own knowledge of the
imperial court would have enabled her in so many instances to furnish
upon this martial register of the age.

The wars of the Netherlands had transplanted to Germany that stock upon
which the camps of the Thirty Years' War were originally raised.
Accordingly, a smaller gallery, at right angles with the great one,
presented a series of portraits from the old Spanish leaders and
Walloon partisans. From Egmont and Horn, the Duke of Alva and Parma,
down to Spinola, the last of that distinguished school of soldiers, no
man of eminence was omitted. Even the worthless and insolent Earl of
Leicester, with his gallant nephew,--that _ultimus Romanorum_ in
the rolls of chivalry,--were not excluded, though it was pretty evident
that a Catholic zeal had presided in forming the collection. For,
together with the Prince of Orange, and _Henri Quatre_, were to be
seen their vile assassins--portrayed with a lavish ostentation of
ornament, and enshrined in a frame so gorgeous as raised them in some
degree to the rank of consecrated martyrs.

From these past generations of eminent persons, who retained only a
traditional or legendary importance in the eyes of most who were now
reviewing them, all turned back with delight to the active spirits of
their own day, many of them yet living, and as warm with life and
heroic aspirations as their inimitable portraits had represented them.
Here was Tilly, the "little corporal" now recently stretched in a
soldier's grave, with his wily and inflexible features. Over against
him was his great enemy, who had first taught him the hard lesson of
retreating, Gustavus Adolphus, with his colossal bust, and "atlantean
shoulders, fit to bear the weight of mightiest monarchies." He also had
perished, and too probably by the double crime of assassination and
private treason; but the public glory of his short career was
proclaimed in the ungenerous exultations of Catholic Rome from Vienna
to Madrid, and the individual heroism in the lamentations of soldiers
under every banner which now floated in Europe. Beyond him ran the long
line of imperial generals,--from Wallenstein, the magnificent and the
imaginative, with Hamlet's infirmity of purpose, De Mercy, etc., down
to the heroes of partisan warfare, Holk, the Butlers, and the noble
Papenheim, or nobler Piccolomini. Below them were ranged Gustavus Horn,
Banier, the Prince of Saxe-Weimar, the Rhinegrave, and many other
Protestant commanders, whose names and military merits were familiar to
Paulina, though she now beheld their features for the first time.
Maximilian was here the best interpreter that she could possibly have
met with. For he had not only seen the greater part of them on the
field of battle, but, as a favorite and confidential officer of the
emperor's, had personally been concerned in diplomatic transactions
with the most distinguished amongst them.

Midnight insensibly surprised them whilst pursuing the many interesting
historical remembrances which the portraits called up. Most of the
company, upon this warning of the advanced hour, began to drop off;
some to rest, and some upon the summons of the military duty which
awaited them in their turn. In this way, Maximilian and Paulina were
gradually left alone, and now at length found a time which had not
before offered for communicating freely all that pressed upon their
hearts. Maximilian, on his part, going back to the period of their last
sudden separation, explained his own sudden disappearance from Vienna.
At a moment's warning, he had been sent off with sealed orders from the
emperor, to be first opened in Klosterheim: the mission upon which he
had been despatched was of consequence to the imperial interests, and
through his majesty's favor would eventually prove so to his own. Thus
it was that he had been peremptorily cut off from all opportunity of
communicating to herself the purpose and direction of his journey
previously to his departure from Vienna; and if his majesty had not
taken that care upon himself, but had contented himself, in the most
general terms, with assuring Paulina that Maximilian was absent on a
private mission, doubtless his intention had been the kind one of
procuring her a more signal surprise of pleasure upon his own sudden
return. Unfortunately, however, that return had become impossible:
things had latterly taken a turn which embarrassed himself, and
continued to require his presence. These perplexities had been for some
time known to the emperor; and, upon reflection, he doubted not that
her own journey, undertaken before his majesty could be aware of the
dangers which would beset its latter end, must in some way be connected
with the remedy which the emperor designed for this difficult affair.
But doubtless she herself was the bearer of sufficient explanations
from the imperial ministers on that head. Finally, whilst assuring her
that his own letters to herself had been as frequent as in any former
absence, Maximilian confessed that he did not feel greatly astonished
at the fact of none at all having reached her, when he recollected that
to the usual adverse accidents of war, daily intercepting all
messengers not powerfully escorted, were to be added, in this case, the
express efforts of private malignity in command of all the forest
passes.

This explanation recalled Paulina to a very painful sense of the
critical importance which might be attached to the papers which she had
lost. As yet, she had found no special opportunity, or, believing it of
less importance, had neglected it, for communicating more than the
general fact of a robbery. She now related the case more
circumstantially; and both were struck with it, as at this moment a
very heavy misfortune. Not only might her own perilous journey, and the
whole purposes of the emperor embarked upon it, be thus rendered
abortive; but their common enemies would by this time be possessed of
the whole information which had been so critically lost to their own
party, and perhaps would have it in their power to make use of
themselves as instruments for defeating their own most important hopes.

Maximilian sighed as he reflected on the probability that a far shorter
and bloodier event might defeat every earthly hope, within the next
twenty-four hours. But he dissembled his feelings; recovered even a
tone of gayety; and, begging of Paulina to dismiss this vexatious
incident from her thoughts, as a matter that after all would probably
be remedied by their first communication with the emperor, and before
any evil had resulted from it, he accompanied her to the entrance of
her own suite of chambers, and then returned to seek a few hours'
repose for himself on one of the sofas he had observed in one of the
small ante-rooms attached to the library.

The particular room which he selected for his purpose, on account of
its small size, and its warm appearance in other respects, was
furnished under foot with layers of heavy Turkey carpets, one laid upon
another (according to a fashion then prevalent in Germany), and on the
walls with tapestry. In this mode of hanging rooms, though sometimes
heavy and sombre, there was a warmth sensible and apparent, as well as
real, which peculiarly fitted it for winter apartments, and a massy
splendor which accorded with the style of dress and furniture in that
gorgeous age. One real disadvantage, however, it had as often employed;
it gave a ready concealment to intruders with evil intentions; and
under the protecting screen of tapestry many a secret had been
discovered, many robberies facilitated, and some celebrated murderers
had been sheltered with circumstances of mystery that forever baffled
investigation.

Maximilian smiled as the sight of the hangings, with their rich colors
glowing in the fire-light, brought back to his remembrance one of those
tales which in the preceding winter had made a great noise in Vienna.
With a soldier's carelessness, he thought lightly of all dangers that
could arise within four walls; and having extinguished the lights which
burned upon a table, and unbuckled his sabre, he threw himself upon a
sofa which he drew near to the fire; and then enveloping himself in a
large horseman's cloak, he courted the approach of sleep. The fatigues
of the day, and of the preceding night, had made this in some measure
needful to him. But weariness is not always the best preface to repose;
and the irritation of many busy anxieties continued for some time to
keep him in a most uneasy state of vigilance. As he lay, he could see
on one side the fantastic figures in the fire composed of wood and
turf; on the other side, looking to the tapestry, he saw the wild
forms, and the _mêlée_, little less fantastic, of human and brute
features in a chase--a boar-chase in front, and a stag-chase on his
left hand. These, as they rose fitfully in bright masses of color and
of savage expression under the lambent flashing of the fire, continued
to excite his irritable state of feeling; and it was not for some time
that he felt this uneasy condition give way to exhaustion. He was at
length on the very point of falling asleep, or perhaps had already
fallen into its very lightest and earliest stage, when the echo of a
distant door awoke him. He had some slight impression that a noise in
his own room had concurred with the other and more distant one to awake
him. But, after raising himself for a moment on his elbow and
listening, he again resigned himself to sleep.

Again, however, and probably before he had slept a minute, he was
roused by a double disturbance. A low rustling was heard in some part
of the room, and a heavy foot upon a neighboring staircase. Housed, at
length, to the prudence of paying some attention to sounds so stealthy,
in a situation beset with dangers, he rose and threw open the door. A
corridor, which ran round the head of the staircase, was lit up with a
brilliant light; and he could command from this station one flight of
the stairs. On these he saw nothing; all was now wrapt in a soft
effulgence of light, and in absolute silence. No sound recurring after
a minute's attention, and indisposed by weariness to any stricter
examination, where all examination from one so little acquainted with
the localities might prove unavailing, he returned to his own room;
but, before again lying down, he judged it prudent to probe the
concealments of the tapestry by carrying his sabre round, and
everywhere pressing the hangings to the wall. In this trial he met with
no resistance at any point; and willingly believing that he had been
deceived, or that his ear had exaggerated some trivial sound, in a
state of imperfect slumber, he again laid down and addressed himself to
sleep. Still there were remembrances which occurred at this moment to
disturb him. The readiness with which they had been received at the
chateau was in itself suspicious. He remembered the obstinate haunting
of their camp on the preceding night, and the robbery conducted with so
much knowledge of circumstances. Jonas Melk, the brutal landlord of
Waldenhausen, a man known to him by repute (though not personally), as
one of the vilest agents employed by the Landgrave, had been actively
engaged in his master's service at their preceding stage. He was
probably one of those who haunted the wood through the night. And he
had been repeatedly informed through the course of the day that this
man in particular, whose features were noticed by the yagers, on
occasion of their officer's reproach to him, had been seen at intervals
in company with others, keeping a road parallel to their own, and
steadily watching their order of advance.

These recollections, now laid together, impressed him with some
uneasiness. But overpowering weariness gave him a strong interest in
dismissing them. And a soldier, with the images of fifty combats fresh
in his mind, does not willingly admit the idea of danger from a single
arm, and in a situation of household security. Pshaw! he exclaimed,
with some disdain, as these martial remembrances rose up before him,
especially as the silence had now continued undisturbed for a quarter
of an hour. In five minutes more he had fallen profoundly asleep; and,
in less than one half-hour, as he afterwards judged, he was suddenly
awakened by a dagger at his throat.

At one bound he sprung upon his feet. The cloak, in which he had been
enveloped, caught upon some of the buckles or ornamented work of his
appointments, and for a moment embarrassed his motions. There was no
light, except what came from the sullen and intermitting gleams of the
fire. But even this was sufficient to show him the dusky outline of two
figures. With the foremost he grappled, and, raising him in his arms,
threw him powerfully upon the floor, with a force that left him stunned
and helpless. The other had endeavored to pinion his arms from behind;
for the body-armor, which Maximilian had not laid aside for the night,
under the many anticipations of service which their situation
suggested, proved a sufficient protection against the blows of the
assassin's poniard. Impatient of the darkness and uncertainty,
Maximilian rushed to the door and flung it violently open. The assassin
still clung to his arms, conscious that if he once forfeited his hold
until he had secured a retreat, he should be taken at disadvantage. But
Maximilian, now drawing a petronel which hung at his belt, cocked it as
rapidly as his embarrassed motions allowed him. The assassin faltered,
conscious that a moment's relaxation of grasp would enable his
antagonist to turn the muzzle over his shoulder. Maximilian, on the
other hand, now perfectly awake, and with the benefit of that self-
possession which the other so entirely wanted, felt the nervous tremor
in the villain's hands; and, profiting by this moment of indecision,
made a desperate effort, released one arm, which he used with so much
effect as immediately to liberate the other, and then intercepting the
passage to the stairs, wheeled round upon his murderous enemy, and,
presenting the petronel to his breast, bade him surrender his arms if
he hoped for quarter.

The man was an athletic, and, obviously, a most powerful ruffian. On
his face he carried more than one large glazed cicatrix, that assisted
the savage expression of malignity impressed by nature upon his
features. And his matted black hair, with its elf locks, completed the
picturesque effect of a face that proclaimed, in every lineament, a
reckless abandonment to cruelty and ferocious passions. Maximilian
himself, familiar as he was with the faces of military butchers in the
dreadful hours of sack and carnage, recoiled for one instant from this
hideous ruffian, who had not even the palliations of youth in his
favor, for he seemed fifty at the least. All this had passed in an
instant of time; and now, as he recovered himself from his momentary
shock at so hateful an expression of evil passions, great was
Maximilian's astonishment to perceive his antagonist apparently
speechless, and struggling with some over-mastering sense of horror,
that convulsed his features, and for a moment glazed his eye.

Maximilian looked around for the object of his alarm; but in vain. In
reality it was himself, in connection with some too dreadful
remembrances, now suddenly awakened, that had thus overpowered the
man's nerves. The brilliant light of a large chandelier, which overhung
the staircase, fell strongly upon Maximilian's features; and the
excitement of the moment gave to them the benefit of their fullest
expression. Prostrate on the ground, and abandoning his dagger without
an effort at retaining it, the man gazed, as if under a rattlesnake's
fascination, at the young soldier before him. Suddenly he recovered his
voice; and, with a piercing cry of unaffected terror, exclaimed, "Save
me, save me, blessed Virgin! Prince, noble prince, forgive me! Will the
grave not hold its own? Jesu Maria! who could have believed it?"

"Listen, fellow!" interrupted Maximilian. "What prince is it you speak
of? For whom do you take me? speak truly, and abuse riot my
forbearance."

"Ha! and his own voice too! and here on this spot! God is just! Yet do
thou, good patron, holy St. Ermengarde, deliver me from the avenger!"

"Man, you rave! Stand up, recover yourself, and answer me to what I
shall ask thee: speak truly, and thou shalt have thy life. Whose gold
was it that armed thy hand against one who had injured neither thee nor
thine?"

But he spoke to one who could no longer hear. The man grovelled on the
ground, and hid his face from a being, whom, in some incomprehensible
way, he regarded as an apparition from the other world.

Multitudes of persons had by this time streamed in, summoned by the
noise of the struggle from all parts of the chateau. Some fancied that,
in the frenzied assassin on the ground, whose panic too manifestly
attested itself as genuine, they recognized one of those who had so
obstinately dogged them by side-paths in the forest. Whoever he were,
and upon whatever mission employed, he was past all rational
examination; at the aspect of Maximilian, he relapsed into convulsive
horrors, which soon became too fit for medical treatment to allow of
any useful judicial inquiry; and for the present he was consigned to
the safe-keeping of the provost-martial.

His companion, meantime, had profited by his opportunity, and the
general confusion, to effect his escape. Nor was this difficult.
Perhaps, in the consternation of the first moment, and the exclusive
attention that settled upon the party in the corridor, he might even
have mixed in the crowd. But this was not necessary. For, on raising
the tapestry, a door was discovered which opened into a private
passage, having a general communication with the rest of the rooms on
that floor. Steps were now taken, by sentries disposed through the
interior of the mansion, at proper points, to secure themselves from
the enemies who lurked within, whom hitherto they had too much
neglected for the avowed and more military assailants who menaced them
from without. Security was thus restored. But a deep impression
accompanied the party to their couches of the profound political
motives, or (in the absence of those) of the rancorous personal
malignity, which could prompt such obstinate persecution; by modes,
also, and by hands, which encountered so many chances of failing; and
which, even in the event of the very completest success for the
present, could not be expected, under the eyes of so many witnesses, to
escape a final exposure. Some enemy, of unusual ferocity, was too
obviously working in the dark, and by agencies as mysterious as his own
purpose.

Meantime, in the city of Klosterheim, the general interest in the
fortunes of the approaching travellers had suffered no abatement, and
some circumstances had occurred to increase the popular irritation. It
was known that Maximilian had escaped with a strong party of friends
from the city; but how, or by whose connivance, could in no way be
discovered. This had drawn upon all persons who were known as active
partisans against the Landgrave, or liable to suspicion as friends of
Maximilian, a vexatious persecution from the military police of the
town. Some had been arrested; many called upon to give security for
their future behavior; and all had been threatened or treated with
harshness. Hence, as well as from previous irritation and alarm on
account of the party from Vienna, the whole town was in a state of
extreme agitation.

Klosterheim, in the main features of its political distractions,
reflected, almost as in a representative picture, the condition of many
another German city. At that period, by very ancient ties of reciprocal
service, strengthened by treaties, by religious faith, and by personal
attachment to individuals of the imperial house, this ancient and
sequestered city was inalienably bound to the interests of the emperor.
Both the city and the university were Catholic. Princes of the imperial
family, and Papal commissioners, who had secret motives for not
appearing at Vienna, had more than once found a hospitable reception
within the walls. And, amongst many acts of grace by which the emperors
had acknowledged these services and marks of attachment, one of them
had advanced a very large sum of money to the city chest for an
indefinite time; receiving in return, as the warmest testimony of
confidential gratitude which the city could bestow, that _jus liberi
ingressus_ which entitled the emperor's armies to a free passage at
all times, and, in case of extremity, to the right of keeping the city
gates and maintaining a garrison in the citadel. Unfortunately,
Klosterheim was not _sui juris_, or on the roll of free cities of
the empire, but of the nature of an appanage in the family of the
Landgrave of X----; and this circumstance had produced a double
perplexity in the politics of the city; for the late Landgrave, who had
been assassinated in a very mysterious manner upon a hunting party,
benefited to the fullest extent both by the political and religious
bias of the city--being a personal friend of the emperor's, a Catholic,
amiable in his deportment, and generally beloved by his subjects. But
the prince who had succeeded him in the Landgraviate, as the next heir,
was everywhere odious for the harshness of his government, no less than
for the gloomy austerity of his character; and to Klosterheim in
particular, which had been pronounced by some of the first
jurisprudents a female appanage, he presented himself under the
additional disadvantages of a very suspicious title, and a Swedish bias
too notorious to be disguised. At a time when the religious and
political attachments of Europe were brought into collisions so
strange, that the foremost auxiliary of the Protestant interest in
Germany was really the most distinguished cardinal in the church of
Rome, it did not appear inconsistent with this strong leaning to the
King of Sweden that the Landgrave was privately known to be a Catholic
bigot, who practised the severest penances, and, tyrant as he showed
himself to all others, grovelled himself as an abject devotee at the
feet of a haughty confessor. Amongst the populace of Klosterheim this
feature of his character, confronted with the daily proofs of his
entire vassalage to the Swedish interest, passed for the purest
hypocrisy; and he had credit for no religion at all with the world at
large. But the fact was otherwise. Conscious from the first that he
held even the Landgraviate by a slender title (for he was no more than
cousin once removed to his immediate predecessor), and that his
pretensions upon Klosterheim had separate and peculiar defects,--
sinking of course with the failure of his claim as Landgrave, but not,
therefore, prospering with its success,--he was aware that none but the
most powerful arm could keep his princely cap upon his head. The
competitors for any part of his possessions, one and all, had thrown
themselves upon the emperor's protection. This, if no other reason,
would have thrown him into the arms of Gustavus Adolphus; and with
this, as it happened, other reasons of local importance had then and
since cooperated. Time, as it advanced, brought increase of weight to
all these motives. Rumors of a dark and ominous tendency, arising no
one knew whence, nor by whom encouraged, pointed injuriously to the
past history of the Landgrave, and to some dreadful exposures which
were hanging over his head. A lady, at present in obscurity, was
alluded to as the agent of redress to others, through her own heavy
wrongs; and these rumors were the more acceptable to the people of
Klosterheim, because they connected the impending punishment of the
hated Landgrave with the restoration of the imperial connection; for,
it was still insinuated, under every version of these mysterious
reports, that the emperor was the ultimate supporter, in the last
resort, of the lurking claims now on the point of coming forward to
challenge public attention. Under these alarming notices, and fully
aware that sooner or later he must be thrown into collision with the
imperial court, the Landgrave had now for some time made up his mind to
found a merit with the Swedish chancellor and general officers, by
precipitating an uncompromising rupture with his Catholic enemies, and
thus to extract the grace of a voluntary act from what, in fact, he
knew to be sooner or later inevitable.

Such was the positive and relative aspect of the several interests
which were now struggling in Klosterheim. Desperate measures were
contemplated by both parties; and, as opportunities should arise, and
proper means should develop themselves, more than one party might be
said to stand on the brink of great explosions. Conspiracies were
moving in darkness, both in the council of the burghers and of the
university. Imperfect notices of their schemes, and sometimes delusive
or misleading notices, had reached the Landgrave. The city, the
university, and the numerous convents, were crowded to excess with
refugees. Malcontents of every denomination and every shade,--
emissaries of all the factions which then agitated Germany; reformado
soldiers, laid aside by their original employers, under new
arrangements, or from private jealousies of new commanders; great
persons with special reasons for courting a temporary seclusion, and
preserving a strict incognito; misers, who fled with their hoards of
gold and jewels to the city of refuge; desolate ladies, from the
surrounding provinces, in search of protection for themselves, or for
the honor of their daughters; and (not least distinguished among the
many classes of fugitives) prophets and enthusiasts of every
description, whom the magnitude of the political events, and their
religious origin, so naturally called forth in swarms; these, and many
more, in connection with their attendants, troops, students, and the
terrified peasantry, from a circle of forty miles radius around the
city as a centre, had swelled the city of Klosterheim, from a total of
about seventeen, to six or seven and thirty thousand. War, with a
slight reserve for the late robberies of Holkerstein, had as yet spared
this favored nook of Germany. The great storm had whistled and raved
around them; but hitherto none had penetrated the sylvan sanctuary
which on every side invested this privileged city. The ground seemed
charmed by some secret spells, and consecrated from intrusion. For the
great tempest had often swept directly upon them, and yet still had
wheeled off, summoned away by some momentary call, to some remoter
attraction. But now at length all things portended that, if the war
should revive in strength after this brief suspension, it would fall
with accumulated weight upon this yet unravaged district.

This was the anticipation which had governed the Landgrave's policy in
so sternly and barbarously interfering with the generous purposes of
the Klosterheimers, for carrying over a safe-conduct to their friends
and visitors, when standing on the margin of the forest. The robber
Holkerstein, if not expressly countenanced by the Swedes, and secretly
nursed up to his present strength by Richelieu, was at any rate
embarked upon a system of aggression which would probably terminate in
connecting him with one or other of those authentic powers. In any
case, he stood committed to a course of continued offence upon the
imperial interests; since in that quarter his injuries and insults were
already past forgiveness. The interest of Holkerstein, then, ran in the
same channel with that of the Landgrave. It was impolitic to weaken
him. It was doubly impolitic to weaken him by a measure which must also
weaken the Landgrave; for any deduction from his own military force, or
from the means of recruiting it, was in that proportion a voluntary
sacrifice of the weight he should obtain with the Swedes on making the
junction, which he now firmly counted on, with their forces. But a
result which he still more dreaded from the cooperation of the
Klosterheimers with the caravan from Vienna, was the probable overthrow
of that supremacy in the city, which even now was so nicely balanced in
his favor that a slight reinforcement to the other side would turn the
scale against him.

In all these calculations of policy, and the cruel measures by which he
supported them, he was guided by the counsels of Luigi Adorni, a subtle
Italian, whom he had elevated from the post of a private secretary to
that of sole minister for the conduct of state affairs. This man, who
covered a temperament of terrific violence with a masque of Venetian
dissimulation and the most icy reserve, met with no opposition, unless
it were occasionally from Father Anselm, the confessor. He delighted in
the refinements of intrigue, and in the most tortuous labyrinths of
political manœuvring, purely for their own sakes; and sometimes
defeated his own purposes by mere superfluity of diplomatic subtlety;
which hardly, however, won a momentary concern from him, in the
pleasure he experienced at having found an undeniable occasion for
equal subtlety in unweaving his own webs of deception. He had been
confounded by the evasion of Maximilian and his friends from the orders
of the Landgrave; and the whole energy of his nature was bent to the
discovery of the secret avenues which had opened the means to this
elopement.

There were, in those days, as is well known to German antiquaries, few
castles or fortresses of much importance in Germany, which did not
communicate by subterraneous passages with the exterior country. In
many instances these passages were of surprising extent, first emerging
to the light in some secluded spot among rocks or woods, at the
distance of two, three, or even four miles. There were cases even in
which they were carried below the beds of rivers as broad and deep as
the Rhine, the Elbe, or the Danube. Sometimes there were several of
such communications on different faces of the fortress; and sometimes
each of these branched, at some distance from the building, into
separate arms, opening at intervals widely apart. And the uses of such
secret communications with the world outside, and beyond a besieging
enemy, in a land like Germany, with its prodigious subdivision of
independent states and free cities, were far greater than they could
have been in any one great continuous principality.

In many fortified places these passages had existed from the middle
ages. In Klosterheim they had possibly as early an origin: but by this
period it is very probable that the gradual accumulation of rubbish,
through a course of centuries, would have unfitted them for use, had
not the Peasants' War, in the time of Luther's reformation, little more
than one hundred years before, given occasion for their use and repair.
At that time Klosterheim had stood a siege, which, from the defect of
artillery, was at no time formidable in a military sense; but as a
blockade, formed suddenly when the citizens were slenderly furnished
with provisions, it would certainly have succeeded, and delivered up
the vast wealth of the convents as a spoil to the peasantry, had it not
been for one in particular of these subterraneous passages, which,
opening on the opposite side of the little river Iltiss, in a thick
_boccage_, where the enemy had established no posts, furnished the
means of introducing a continual supply of fresh provisions, to the
great triumph of the garrison, and the utter dismay of the
superstitious peasants, who looked upon the mysterious supply as a
providential bounty to a consecrated cause.

So memorable a benefit had given to this one passage a publicity and an
historical importance which made all its circumstances, and amongst
those its internal mouth, familiar even to children. But this was
evidently _not_ the avenue by which Maximilian had escaped into
the forest. For it opened externally on the wrong side of the river,
whilst everybody knew that its domestic opening was in one of the
chapels of the _schloss_; and another circumstance, equally
decisive, was, that a long flight of stairs, by which it descended
below the bed of the river, made it impassable to horses.

Every attempt, however, failed to trace out the mode of egress for the
present. By his spies Adorni doubted not to find it soon; and, in the
mean time, that as much as possible the attention of the public might
be abstracted from the travellers and their concerns, a public
proclamation was issued, forbidding all resort of crowds to the walls.
These were everywhere dispersed on the ninth; and for that day were
partially obeyed. But there was little chance that, with any fresh
excitement to the popular interest, they would continue to command
respect.


CHAPTER VI.


The morning of the tenth at length arrived--that day on which the
expected travellers from Vienna, and all whom they had collected on
their progress, ardently looked to rejoin their long-separated friends
in Klosterheim, and by those friends were not less ardently looked for.
On each side there were the same violent yearnings, on each side the
same dismal arid overpowering fears. Each party arose with palpitating
hearts: the one looked out from Falkenberg with longing eyes, to
discover the towers of Klosterheim; the other, from the upper windows
or roofs of Klosterheim, seemed as if they could consume the distance
between themselves and Falkenberg. But a little tract of forest ground
was interposed between friends and friends, parents and children,
lovers and their beloved. Not more than eighteen miles of shadowy
woods, of lawns, and sylvan glades, divided hearts that would either
have encountered death, or many deaths, for the other. These were
regions of natural peace and tranquillity, that in any ordinary times
should have been peopled by no worse inhabitants than the timid hare
scudding homewards to its form, or the wild deer sweeping by with
thunder to their distant lairs. But now from every glen or thicket
armed marauders might be ready to start. Every gleam of sunshine in
some seasons was reflected from the glittering arms of parties
threading the intricacies of the thickets; and the sudden alarum of the
trumpet rang oftentimes in the nights, and awoke the echoes that for
centuries had been undisturbed, except by the hunter's horn, in the
most sequestered haunts of these vast woods.

Towards noon it became known, by signals that had been previously
concerted between Maximilian and his college friends, that the party
were advanced upon their road from Falkenberg, and, therefore, must of
necessity on this day abide the final trial. As this news was dispersed
abroad, the public anxiety rose to so feverish a point, that crowds
rushed from every quarter to the walls, and it was not judged prudent
to measure the civic strength against their enthusiasm. For an hour or
two the nature of the ground and the woods forbade any view of the
advancing party: but at length, some time before the light failed, the
head of the column, and soon after the entire body, was descried
surmounting a little hill, not more than eight miles distant. The black
mass presented by mounted travellers and baggage-wagons was visible to
piercing eyes; and the dullest could distinguish the glancing of arms,
which at times flashed upwards from the more open parts of the forest.

Thus far, then, their friends had made their way without injury; and
this point was judged to be within nine miles' distance. But in thirty
or forty minutes, when they had come nearer by a mile and a half, the
scene had somewhat changed. A heathy tract of ground, perhaps two miles
in length, opened in the centre of the thickest woods, and formed a
little island of clear ground, where all beside was tangled and crowded
with impediments. Just as the travelling party began to deploy out of
the woods upon this area at its further extremity, a considerable body
of mounted troops emerged from the forest, which had hitherto concealed
them, at the point nearest to Klosterheim. They made way rapidly; and
in less than half a minute it became evident, by the motions of the
opposite party, that they had been descried, and that hasty
preparations were making for receiving them. A dusky mass, probably the
black yagers, galloped up rapidly to the front and formed; after which
it seemed to some eyes that the whole party again advanced, but still
more slowly than before.

Every heart upon the walls of Klosterheim palpitated with emotion, as
the two parties neared each other. Many almost feared to draw their
breath, many writhed their persons in the anguish of rueful
expectation, as they saw the moment approach when the two parties would
shock together. At length it came; and, to the astonishment of the
spectators, not more, perhaps, than of the travellers themselves, the
whole cavalcade of strangers swept by, without halting for so much as a
passing salute or exchange of news.

The first cloud, then, which had menaced their friends, was passed off
as suddenly as it had gathered. But this, by some people, was thought
to bear no favorable construction. To ride past a band of travellers
from remote parts on such uncourteous terms argued no friendly spirit;
and many motives might be imagined perfectly consistent with hostile
intentions for passing the travellers unassailed, and thus gaining the
means of coming at any time upon their rear. Prudent persons shook
their heads, and the issue of an affair anticipated with so much
anxiety certainly did not diminish it.

It was now four o'clock: in an hour or less it would be dark; and,
considering the peculiar difficulties of the ground on nearing the
town, and the increasing exhaustion of the horses, it was not judged
possible that a party of travellers, so unequal in their equipments,
and amongst whom the weakest was now become a law for the motion of the
quickest, could reach the gates of Klosterheim before nine o'clock.

Soon after this, and just before the daylight faded, the travellers
reached the nearer end of the heath, and again entered the woods. The
cold and the darkness were now becoming greater at every instant, and
it might have been expected that the great mass of the spectators would
leave their station; but such was the intensity of the public interest,
that few quitted the walls except for the purpose of reinforcing their
ability to stay and watch the progress of their friends. This could be
done with even greater effect as the darkness deepened, for every
second horseman carried a torch; and, as much perhaps by way of signal
to their friends in Klosterheim, as for their own convenience,
prodigious flambeaux were borne aloft on halberds. These rose to a
height which surmounted all the lower bushes, and were visible in all
parts of the woods,--even the smaller lights, in the leafless state of
the trees at this season of the year, could be generally traced without
difficulty; and composing a brilliant chain of glittering points, as it
curved and humored the road amongst the labyrinths of the forest, would
have produced a singularly striking effect to eyes at leisure to enjoy
it.

In this way, for about three hours, the travellers continued to advance
unmolested, and to be traced by their friends in Klosterheim. It was
now considerably after seven o'clock, and perhaps an hour, or, at most,
an hour and a half, would bring them to the city gates. All hearts
began to beat high with expectation, and hopes were loudly and
confidently expressed through every part of the crowd that the danger
might now be considered as past. Suddenly, as if expressly to rebuke
the too presumptuous confidence of those who were thus thoughtlessly
sanguine, the blare of a trumpet was heard from a different quarter of
the forest, and about two miles to the right of the city. Every eye was
fastened eagerly upon the spot from which the notes issued. Probably
the signal had proceeded from a small party in advance of a greater;
for in the same direction, but at a much greater distance, perhaps not
less than three miles in the rear of the trumpet, a very large body of
horse was now descried coming on at a great pace upon the line already
indicated by the trumpet. The extent of the column might be estimated
by the long array of torches, which were carried apparently by every
fourth or fifth man; and that they were horsemen was manifest from the
very rapid pace at which they advanced.

At this spectacle, a cry of consternation ran along the whole walls of
Klosterheim. Here, then, at last, were coming the spoilers and butchers
of their friends; for the road upon which they were advancing issued at
right angles into that upon which the travellers, apparently unwarned
of their danger, were moving. The hideous scene of carnage would
possibly pass immediately below their own eyes; for the point of
junction between the two roads was directly commanded by the eye from
the city walls; and, upon computing the apparent proportions of speed
between the two parties, it seemed likely enough that upon this very
ground, the best fitted of any that could have been selected, in a
scenical sense, as a stage for bringing a spectacle below the eyes of
Klosterheim, the most agitating of spectacles would be exhibited,--
friends and kinsmen engaged in mortal struggle with remorseless
freebooters, under circumstances which denied to themselves any chance
of offering assistance.

Exactly at this point of time arose a dense mist, which wrapped the
whole forest in darkness, and withdrew from the eyes of the agitated
Klosterheimers friends and foes alike. They continued, however, to
occupy the walls, endeavoring to penetrate the veil which now concealed
the fortunes of their travelling friends, by mere energy and intensity
of attention. The mist, meantime, did not disperse, but rather
continued to deepen; the two parties, however, gradually drew so much
nearer, that some judgment could be at length formed of their motions
and position, merely by the ear. From the stationary character of the
sounds, and the continued recurrence of charges and retreats sounded
upon the trumpet, it became evident that the travellers and the enemy
had at length met, and too probable that they were engaged in a
sanguinary combat. Anxiety had now reached its utmost height; and some
were obliged to leave the walls, or were carried away by their friends,
under the effects of overwrought sensibility.

Ten o'clock had now struck, and for some time the sounds had been
growing sensibly weaker; and at last it was manifest that the two
parties had separated, and that one, at least, was moving off from the
scene of action; and, as the sounds grew feebler and feebler, there
could be no doubt that it was the enemy, who was drawing off into the
distance from the field of battle.

The enemy! ay, but how? Under what circumstances? As victor? Perhaps
even as the captor of their friends! Or, if not, and he were really
retreating as a fugitive and beaten foe, with what hideous sacrifices
on the part of their friends might not that result have been purchased?

Long and dreary was the interval before these questions could be
answered. Full three hours had elapsed since the last sound of a
trumpet had been heard; it was now one o'clock, and as yet no trace of
the travellers had been discovered in any quarter. The most hopeful
began to despond; and general lamentations prevailed throughout
Klosterheim.

Suddenly, however, a dull sound arose within a quarter of a mile from
the city gate, as of some feeble attempt to blow a blast upon a
trumpet. In five minutes more a louder blast was sounded close to the
gate. Questions were joyfully put, and as joyfully answered. The usual
precautions were rapidly gone through; and the officer of the watch
being speedily satisfied as to the safety of the measure, the gates
were thrown open, and the unfortunate travellers, exhausted by fatigue,
hardships, and suffering of every description, were at length admitted
into the bosom of a friendly town.

The spectacle was hideous which the long cavalcade exhibited as it
wound up the steep streets which led to the market-place. Wagons
fractured and splintered in every direction, upon which were stretched
numbers of gallant soldiers, with wounds hastily dressed, from which
the blood had poured in streams upon their gay habiliments; horses,
whose limbs had been mangled by the sabre; and coaches, or caleches,
loaded with burthens of dead and dying; these were amongst the objects
which occupied the van in the line of march, as the travellers defiled
through Klosterheim. The vast variety of faces, dresses, implements of
war, or ensigns of rank, thrown together in the confusion of night and
retreat, illuminated at intervals by bright streams of light from
torches or candles in the streets, or at the windows of the houses,
composed a picture which resembled the chaos of a dream, rather than
any ordinary spectacle of human life.

In the market-place the whole party were gradually assembled, and there
it was intended that they should receive the billets for their several
quarters. But such was the pressure of friends and relatives gathering
from all directions, to salute and welcome the objects of their
affectionate anxiety, or to inquire after their fate; so tumultuous was
the conflict of grief and joy (and not seldom in the very same group),
that for a long time no authority could control the violence of public
feeling, or enforce the arrangements which had been adopted for the
night. Nor was it even easy to learn, where the questions were put by
so many voices at once, what had been the history of the night. It was
at length, however, collected, that they had been met and attacked with
great fury by Holkerstein, or a party acting under one of his
lieutenants. Their own march had been so warily conducted after
nightfall, that this attack did not find them unprepared. A barrier of
coaches and wagons had been speedily formed in such an arrangement as
to cripple the enemy's movements, and to neutralize great part of his
superiority in the quality of his horses. The engagement, however, had
been severe; and the enemy's attack, though many times baffled, had
been as often renewed, until, at length, the young general Maximilian,
seeing that the affair tended to no apparent termination, that the
bloodshed was great, and that the horses were beginning to knock up
under the fatigue of such severe service, had brought up the very
_elite_ of his reserve, placed himself at their head, and, making
a dash expressly at their leader, had the good fortune to cut him down.
The desperateness of the charge, added to the loss of their leader, had
intimidated the enemy, who now began to draw off, as from an enterprise
which was likely to cost them more blood than a final success could
have rewarded. Unfortunately, however, Maximilian, disabled by a severe
wound, and entangled by his horse amongst the enemy, had been carried
off a prisoner. In the course of the battle all their torches had been
extinguished; and this circumstance, as much as the roughness of the
road, the ruinous condition of their carriages and appointments, and
their own exhaustion, had occasioned their long delay in reaching
Klosterheim, after the battle was at an end. Signals they had not
ventured to make; for they were naturally afraid of drawing upon their
track any fresh party of marauders, by so open a warning of their
course as the sound of a trumpet.

These explanations were rapidly dispersed through Klosterheim; party
after party drew off to their quarters; and at length the agitated city
was once again restored to peace. The Lady Paulina had been amongst the
first to retire. She was met by the lady abbess of a principal convent
in Klosterheim, to whose care she had been recommended by the emperor.
The Landgrave also had furnished her with a guard of honor; but all
expressions of respect, or even of kindness, seemed thrown away upon
her, so wholly was she absorbed in grief for the capture of Maximilian,
and in gloomy anticipations of his impending fate.


CHAPTER VII.


The city of Klosterheim was now abandoned to itself, and strictly shut
up within its own walls. All roaming beyond those limits was now indeed
forbidden even more effectually by the sword of the enemy than by the
edicts of the Landgrave. War was manifestly gathering in its
neighborhood. Little towns and castles within a range of seventy miles,
on almost every side, were now daily occupied by imperial or Swedish
troops. Not a week passed without some news of fresh military
accessions, or of skirmishes between parties of hostile foragers.
Through the whole adjacent country, spite of the severe weather, bodies
of armed men were weaving to and fro, fast as a weaver's shuttle. The
forest rang with alarums, and sometimes, under gleams of sunshine, the
leafless woods seemed on fire with the restless splendor of spear and
sword, morion and breast-plate, or the glittering equipments of the
imperial cavalry. Couriers, or Bohemian gypsies, which latter were a
class of people at this time employed by all sides as spies or
messengers, continually stole in with secret despatches to the
Landgrave, or (under the color of bringing public news, and the reports
of military movements) to execute some private mission for rich
employers in town; sometimes making even this clandestine business but
a cover to other purposes, too nearly connected with treason, or
reputed treason, to admit of any but oral communication.

What were the ulterior views in this large accumulation of military
force, no man pretended to know. A great battle, for various reasons,
was not expected. But changes were so sudden, and the counsels of each
day so often depended on the accidents of the morning, that an entire
campaign might easily be brought on, or the whole burthen of war for
years to come might be transferred to this quarter of the land, without
causing any very great surprise. Meantime, enough was done already to
give a full foretaste of war and its miseries to this sequestered nook,
so long unvisited by that hideous scourge.

In the forest, where the inhabitants were none, excepting those who
lived upon the borders, and small establishments of the Landgrave's
servants at different points, for executing the duties of the forest or
the chase, this change expressed itself chiefly by the tumultuous
uproar of the wild deer, upon whom a murderous war was kept up by
parties detached daily from remote and opposite quarters, to collect
provisions for the half-starving garrisons, so recently, and with so
little previous preparation, multiplied on the forest skirts. For,
though the country had been yet unexhausted by war, too large a
proportion of the tracts adjacent to the garrisons were in a wild,
sylvan condition to afford any continued supplies to so large and
sudden an increase of the population; more especially as, under the
rumors of this change, every walled town in a compass of a hundred
miles, many of them capable of resisting a sudden _coup-de-main_,
and resolutely closing their gates upon either party, had already
possessed themselves by purchase of all the surplus supplies which the
country yielded. In such a state of things, the wild deer became an
object of valuable consideration to all parties, and a murderous war
was made upon them from every side of the forest. From the city walls
they were seen in sweeping droves, flying before the Swedish cavalry
for a course of ten, fifteen, or even thirty miles, until headed and
compelled to turn by another party breaking suddenly from a covert,
where they had been waiting their approach. Sometimes it would happen
that this second party proved to be a body of imperialists, who were
carried by the ardor of the chase into the very centre of their enemies
before either was aware of any hostile approach. Then, according to
circumstances, came sudden flight or tumultuary skirmish; the woods
rang with the hasty summons of the trumpet; the deer reeled off aslant
from the furious shock, and, benefiting for the moment by those fierce
hostilities, originally the cause of their persecution, fled far away
from the scene of strife; and not unfrequently came thundering beneath
the city walls, and reporting to the spectators above, by their
agitation and affrighted eyes, those tumultuous disturbances in some
remoter part of the forest, which had already reached them in an
imperfect way, by the interrupted and recurring echoes of the points of
war--charges or retreats--sounded upon the trumpet.

But, whilst on the outside of her walls Klosterheim beheld even this
unpopulous region all alive with military license and outrage, she
suffered no violence from either party herself. This immunity she owed
to her peculiar political situation. The emperor had motives for
conciliating the city; the Swedes, for conciliating the Landgrave;
indeed, they were supposed to have made a secret alliance with him, for
purposes known only to the contracting parties. And the difference
between the two patrons was simply this: that the emperor was sincere,
and, if not disinterested, had an interest concurring with that of
Klosterheim in the paternal protection which he offered; whereas the
Swedes, in this, as in all their arrangements, regarding Germany as a
foreign country, looked only to the final advantages of Sweden, or its
German dependences, and to the weight which such alliances would
procure them in a general pacification. And hence, in the war which
both combined to make upon the forest, the one party professed to
commit spoil upon the Landgrave, as distinguished from the city; whilst
the Swedish allies of that prince prosecuted their ravages in the
Landgrave's name, as essential to the support of his cause.

For the present, however, the Swedes were the preponderant party in the
neighborhood; they had fortified the chateau of Falkenberg, and made it
a very strong military post; at the same time, however, sending in to
Klosterheim whatsoever was valuable amongst the furniture of that
establishment, with a care which of itself proclaimed the footing upon
which they were anxious to stand with the Landgrave.

Encouraged by the vicinity of his military friends, that prince now
began to take a harsher tone in Klosterheim. The minor princes of
Germany at that day were all tyrants in virtue of their privileges; and
if in some rarer cases they exercised these privileges in a forbearing
spirit, their subjects were well aware that they were indebted for this
extraordinary indulgence to the temper and gracious nature of the
individual, not to the firm protection of the laws. But the most
reasonable and mildest of the German princes had been little taught at
that day to brook opposition. And the Landgrave was by nature, and the
gloominess of his constitutional temperament, of all men the last to
learn that lesson readily. He had already met with just sufficient
opposition from the civic body and the university interest to excite
his passion for revenge. Ample indemnification he determined upon for
his wounded pride; and he believed that the time and circumstances were
now matured for favoring his most vindictive schemes. The Swedes were
at hand, and a slight struggle with the citizens would remove all
obstacles to their admission into the garrison; though, for some
private reasons, he wished to abstain from this extremity, if it should
prove possible. Maximilian also was absent, and might never return. The
rumor was even that he was killed; and though the caution of Adorni and
the Landgrave led them to a hesitating reliance upon what might be a
political fabrication of the opposite party, yet at all events he was
detained from Klosterheim by some pressing necessity; and the period of
his absence, whether long or short, the Landgrave resolved to improve
in such a way as should make his return unavailing.

Of Maximilian the Landgrave had no personal knowledge; he had not so
much as seen him. But by his spies and intelligencers he was well aware
that he had been the chief combiner and animater of the imperial party
against himself in the university, and by his presence had given life
and confidence to that party in the city which did not expressly
acknowledge him as their head. He was aware of the favor which
Maximilian enjoyed with the emperor, and knew in general, from public
report, the brilliancy of those military services on which it had been
built. That he was likely to prove a formidable opponent, had he
continued in Klosterheim, the Landgrave knew too well; and upon the
advantage over him which he had now gained, though otherwise it should
prove only a temporary one, he determined to found a permanent obstacle
to the emperor's views. As a preliminary step, he prepared to crush all
opposition in Klosterheim; a purpose which was equally important to his
vengeance and his policy.

This system he opened with a series of tyrannical regulations, some of
which gave the more offence that they seemed wholly capricious and
insulting. The students were confined to their college bounds, except
at stated intervals; were subject to a military muster, or calling over
of names, every evening; were required to receive sentinels within the
extensive courts of their own college, and at length a small court of
guard; with numerous other occasional marks, as opportunities offered,
of princely discountenance and anger.

In the university, at that time, from local causes, many young men of
rank and family were collected. Those even who had taken no previous
part in the cause of the Klosterheimers were now roused to a sense of
personal indignity. And as soon as the light was departed, a large body
of them collected at the rooms of Count St. Aldenheim, whose rank
promised a suitable countenance to their purpose, whilst his youth
seemed a pledge for the requisite activity.

The count was a younger brother of the Palsgrave of Birkenfeld, and
maintained a sumptuous establishment in Klosterheim. Whilst the state
of the forest had allowed of hunting, hawking, or other amusements, no
man had exhibited so fine a stud of horses. No man had so large a train
of servants; no man entertained his friends with such magnificent
hospitalities. His generosity, his splendor, his fine person, and the
courtesy with which he relieved the humblest people from the oppression
of his rank, had given him a popularity amongst the students. His
courage had been tried in battle: but, after all, it was doubted
whether he were not of too luxurious a turn to undertake any cause
which called for much exertion; for the death of a rich abbess, who had
left the whole of an immense fortune to the count, as her favorite
nephew, had given him another motive for cultivating peaceful pursuits,
to which few men were, constitutionally, better disposed.

It was the time of day when the count was sure to be found at home with
a joyous party of friends. Magnificent chandeliers shed light upon a
table furnished with every description of costly wines produced in
Europe. According to the custom of the times, these were drunk in cups
of silver or gold; and an opportunity was thus gained, which St.
Aldenheim had not lost, of making a magnificent display of luxury
without ostentation. The ruby wine glittered in the jewelled goblet
which the count had raised to his lips, at the very moment when the
students entered.

"Welcome, friends," said the Count St. Aldenheim, putting down his cup,
"welcome always; but never more than at this hour, when wine and good
fellowship teach us to know the value of our youth."

"Thanks, count, from all of us. But the fellowship we seek at present
must be of another temper; our errand is of business."

"Then, friends, it shall rest until to-morrow. Not for the Papacy, to
which my good aunt would have raised a ladder for me of three steps,--
Abbot, Bishop, Cardinal,--would I renounce the Tokay of to-night for
the business of to-morrow. Come, gentlemen, let us drink my aunt's
health."

"Memory, you would say, count."

"Memory, most learned friend,--you are right. Ah! gentlemen, she was a
woman worthy to be had in remembrance: for she invented a capital
plaster for gunshot wounds; and a jollier old fellow over a bottle of
Tokay there is not at this day in Suabia, or in the Swedish camp. And
that reminds me to ask, gentlemen, have any of you heard that Gustavus
Horn is expected at Falkenberg? Such news is astir; and be sure of
this--that, in such a case, we have cracked crowns to look for. I know
the man. And many a hard night's watching he has cost me; for which, if
you please, gentlemen, we will drink his health."

"But our business, dear count--"

"Shall wait, please God, until to-morrow; for this is the time when man
and beast repose."

"And truly, count, we are like--as you take things--to be numbered with
the last. Fie, Count St. Aldenheim! are you the man that would have us
suffer those things tamely which the Landgrave has begun?"

"And what now hath his serenity been doing? Doth he meditate to abolish
Burgundy? If so, my faith! but we are, as you observe, little above the
brutes. Or, peradventure, will he forbid laughing,--his highness being
little that way given himself?"

"Count St. Aldenheim! it pleases you to jest. But we are assured that
you know as well as we, and relish no better, the insults which the
Landgrave is heaping upon us all. For example, the sentinel at your own
door--doubtless you marked him? How liked you him?--"

"Methought he looked cold and blue. So I sent him a goblet of
Johannisberg."

"You did? and the little court of guard--you have seen _that?_ and
Colonel von Aremberg, how think you of him?"

"Why surely now he's a handsome man: pity he wears so fiery a scarf!
Shall we drink his health, gentlemen?"

"Health to the great fiend first!"

"As you please, gentlemen: it is for you to regulate the precedency.
But at least,

  Here's to my aunt--the jolly old sinner,
  That fasted each day, from breakfast to dinner!
  Saw any man yet such an orthodox fellow,
  In the morning when sober, in the evening when mellow?
        Saw any man yet," etc.

"Count, farewell!" interrupted the leader of the party; and all turned
round indignantly to leave the room.

"Farewell, gentlemen, as you positively will not drink my aunt's
health; though, after all, she was a worthy fellow; and her plaster for
gunshot wounds--"

But with that word the door closed upon the count's farewell words.
Suddenly taking up a hat which lay upon the ground, he exclaimed, "Ah!
behold! one of my friends has left his hat. Truly he may chance to want
it on a frosty night." And, so saying, he hastily rushed after the
party, whom he found already on the steps of the portico. Seizing the
hand of the leader, he whispered,

"Friend! do you know me so little as to apprehend my jesting in a
serious sense? Know that two of those whom you saw on my right hand are
spies of the Landgrave. Their visit to me, I question not, was
purposely made to catch some such discoveries as you, my friends, would
too surely have thrown in their way, but for my determined rattling. At
this time, I must not stay. Come again after midnight--farewell."

And then, in a voice to reach his guests within, he shouted,
"Gentlemen, my aunt, the abbot of Ingelheim,--abbess, I would say,--
held that her spurs were for her heels, and her beaver for her head.
Whereupon, baron, I return you your hat."

Meantime, the two insidious intelligencers of the Landgrave returned to
the palace with discoveries, not so ample as they were on the point of
surprising, but sufficient to earn thanks for themselves, and to guide
the counsels of their master.


CHAPTER VIII.


That same night a full meeting of the most distinguished students was
assembled at the mansion of Count St. Aldenheim. Much stormy discussion
arose upon two points. First, upon the particular means by which they
were to pursue an end upon which all were unanimous. Upon that,
however, they were able for the present to arrive at a preliminary
arrangement with sufficient harmony. This was to repair in a body, with
Count St. Aldenheim at their head, to the castle, and there to demand
an audience of the Landgrave, at which a strong remonstrance was to be
laid before his highness, and their determination avowed to repel the
indignities thrust upon them, with their united forces. On the second
they were more at variance. It happened that many of the persons
present, and amongst them Count St. Aldenheim, were friends of
Maximilian. A few, on the other hand, there were, who, either from
jealousy of his distinguished merit, hated him; or, as good citizens of
Klosterheim, and connected by old family ties with the interests of
that town, were disposed to charge Maximilian with ambitious views of
private aggrandizement, at the expense of the city, grounded upon the
emperor's favor, or upon a supposed marriage with some lady of the
imperial house. For the story of Paulina's and Maximilian's mutual
attachment had transpired through many of the travellers; but with some
circumstances of fiction. In defending Maximilian upon those charges,
his friends had betrayed a natural warmth at the injustice offered to
his character; and the liveliness of the dispute on this point had
nearly ended in a way fatal to their unanimity on the immediate
question at issue. Good sense, however, and indignation at the
Landgrave, finally brought them round again to their first resolution;
and they separated with the unanimous intention of meeting at noon on
the following day, for the purpose of carrying it into effect.

But their unanimity on this point was of little avail; for at an early
hour on the following morning every one of those who had been present
at the meeting was arrested by a file of soldiers, on a charge of
conspiracy, and marched off to one of the city prisons. The Count St.
Aldenheim was himself the sole exception; and this was a distinction
odious to his generous nature, as it drew upon him a cloud of
suspicion. He was sensible that he would be supposed to owe his
privilege to some discovery or act of treachery, more or less, by which
he had merited the favor of the Landgrave. The fact was, that in the
indulgence shown to the count no motive had influenced the Landgrave
but a politic consideration of the great favor and influence which the
count's brother, the Palsgrave, at this moment enjoyed in the camp of
his own Swedish allies. On this principle of policy, the Landgrave
contented himself with placing St. Aldenheim under a slight military
confinement to his own house, under the guard of a few sentinels posted
in his hall.

For _him_, therefore, under the powerful protection which he
enjoyed elsewhere, there was no great anxiety entertained. But for the
rest, many of whom had no friends, or friends who did them the ill
service of enemies, being in fact regarded as enemies by the Landgrave
and his council, serious fears were entertained by the whole city.
Their situation was evidently critical. The Landgrave had them in his
power. He was notoriously a man of gloomy and malignant passions; had
been educated, as all European princes then were, in the notions of a
plenary and despotic right over the lives of his subjects, in any case
where they lifted their presumptuous thoughts to the height of
controlling the sovereign; and, even in circumstances which to his own
judgment might seem to confer much less discretionary power over the
rights of prisoners, he had been suspected of directing the course of
law and of punishment into channels that would not brook the public
knowledge. Darker dealings were imputed to him in the popular opinion.
Gloomy suspicions were muttered at the fireside, which no man dared
openly to avow; and in the present instance the conduct of the
Landgrave was every way fitted to fall in with the worst of the public
fears. At one time he talked of bringing his prisoners to a trial; at
another, he countermanded the preparations which he had made with that
view. Sometimes he spoke of banishing them in a body; and again he
avowed his intention to deal with their crime as treason. The result of
this moody and capricious tyranny was to inspire the most vague and
gloomy apprehensions into the minds of the prisoners, and to keep their
friends, with the whole city of Klosterheim, in a feverish state of
insecurity.

This state of things lasted for nearly three weeks; but at length a
morning of unexpected pleasure dawned upon the city. The prisoners were
in one night all released. In half an hour the news ran over the town
and the university; multitudes hastened to the college, anxious to
congratulate the prisoners on their deliverance from the double
afflictions of a dungeon and of continual insecurity. Mere curiosity
also prompted some, who took but little interest in the prisoners or
their cause, to inquire into the circumstances of so abrupt and
unexpected an act of grace. One principal court in the college was
filled with those who had come upon this errand of friendly interest or
curiosity. Nothing was to be seen but earnest and delighted faces,
offering or acknowledging congratulation; nothing to be heard but the
language of joy and pleasure--friendly or affectionate, according to
the sex or relation of the speaker. Some were talking of procuring
passports for leaving the town; some anticipating that this course
would not be left to their own choice, but imposed, as the price of his
clemency, by the Landgrave. All, in short, was hubbub and joyous
uproar, when suddenly a file of the city guard, commanded by an
officer, made their way rudely and violently through the crowd,
advancing evidently to the spot where the liberated prisoners were
collected in a group. At that moment the Count St. Aldenheim was
offering his congratulations. The friends to whom he spoke were too
confident in his honor and integrity to have felt even one moment's
misgiving upon the true causes which had sheltered him from the
Landgrave's wrath, and had thus given him a privilege so invidious in
the eyes of those who knew him not, and on that account so hateful in
his own. They knew his unimpeachable fidelity to the cause and
themselves, and were anxiously expressing their sense of it by the
warmth of their salutations at the very moment when the city guard
appeared. The count, on his part, was gayly reminding them to come that
evening and fulfil their engagement to drink his aunt of jovial memory
in her own Johannisberg, when the guard, shouldering aside the crowd,
advanced, and, surrounding the group of students, in an instant laid
the hands of summary arrest each upon the gentleman who stood next him.
The petty officer who commanded made a grasp at one of the most
distinguished in dress, and seized rudely upon the gold chain depending
from his neck. St. Aldenheim, who happened at the moment to be in
conversation with this individual, stung with a sudden indignation at
the ruffian eagerness of the men in thus abusing the privileges of
their office, and unable to control the generous ardor of his nature,
met this brutal outrage with a sudden blow at the officer's face,
levelled with so true an aim, that it stretched him at his length upon
the ground. No terrors of impending vengeance, had they been a thousand
times stronger than they were, could at this moment have availed to
stifle the cry of triumphant pleasure--long, loud, and unfaltering--
which indignant sympathy with the oppressed extorted from the crowd.
The pain and humiliation of the blow, exalted into a maddening
intensity by this popular shout of exultation, quickened the officer's
rage into an apparent frenzy. With white lips, and half suffocated with
the sudden revulsion of passion, natural enough to one who had never
before encountered even a momentary overture at opposition to the
authority with which he was armed, and for the first time in his life
found his own brutalities thrown back resolutely in his teeth, the man
rose, and, by signs rather than the inarticulate sounds which he meant
for words, pointed the violence of his party upon the Count St.
Aldenheim. With halberds bristling around him, the gallant young
nobleman was loudly summoned to surrender; but he protested
indignantly, drawing his sword and placing himself in an attitude of
defence, that he would die a thousand deaths sooner than surrender the
sword of his father, the Palsgrave, a prince of the empire, of
unspotted honor, and most ancient descent, into the hands of a jailer.

"Jailer!" exclaimed the officer, almost howling with passion.

"Why, then, captain of jailers, lieutenant, anspessade, or what you
will. What else than a jailer is he that sits watch upon the prison-
doors of honorable cavaliers?" Another shout of triumph applauded St.
Aldenheim; for the men who discharged the duties of the city guard at
that day, or "petty guard," as it was termed, corresponding in many of
their functions to the modern police, were viewed with contempt by all
parties; and most of all by the military, though in some respects
assimilated to them by discipline and costume. They were industriously
stigmatized as jailers; for which there was the more ground, as their
duties did in reality associate them pretty often with the jailer; and
in other respects they were a dissolute and ferocious body of men,
gathered not out of the citizens, but many foreign deserters, or
wretched runagates from the jail, or from the justice of the provost-
marshal in some distant camp. Not a man, probably, but was liable to be
reclaimed, in some or other quarter of Germany, as a capital
delinquent. Sometimes, even, they were actually detected, claimed, and
given up to the pursuit of justice, when it happened that the subjects
of their criminal acts were weighty enough to sustain an energetic
inquiry. Hence their reputation became worse than scandalous: the
mingled infamy of their calling, and the houseless condition of
wretchedness which had made it worth their acceptance, combined to
overwhelm them with public scorn; and this public abhorrence, which at
any rate awaited them, mere desperation led them too often to
countenance and justify by their conduct.

"Captain of jailers! do your worst, I say," again ejaculated St.
Aldenheim. Spite of his blinding passion, the officer hesitated to
precipitate himself into a personal struggle with the count, and thus,
perhaps, afford his antagonist an occasion for a further triumph. But
loudly and fiercely he urged on his followers to attack him. These
again, not partaking in the personal wrath of their leader, even whilst
pressing more and more closely upon St. Aldenheim, and calling upon him
to surrender, scrupled to inflict a wound, or too marked an outrage,
upon a cavalier whose rank was known to the whole city, and of late
most advantageously known for his own interests, by the conspicuous
immunity which it had procured him from the Landgrave. In vain did the
commanding officer insist, in vain did the count defy; menaces from
neither side availed to urge the guard into any outrage upon the person
of one who might have it in his power to retaliate so severely upon
themselves. They continued obstinately at a stand, simply preventing
his escape, when suddenly the tread of horses' feet arose upon the ear,
and through a long vista were discovered a body of cavalry from the
castle coming up at a charging pace to the main entrance of the
college. Without pulling up on the outside, as hitherto they had always
done, they expressed sufficiently the altered tone of the Landgrave's
feelings towards the old chartered interests of Klosterheim, by
plunging through the great archway of the college-gates; and then
making way at the same furious pace through the assembled crowds, who
broke rapidly away to the right and to the left, they reined up
directly abreast of the city guard and their prisoners.

"Colonel von Aremberg!" said St. Aldenheim, "I perceive your errand. To
a soldier I surrender myself; to this tyrant of dungeons, who has
betrayed more men, and cheated more gibbets of their due, than ever he
said _aves_, I will never lend an ear, though he should bear the
orders of every Landgrave in Germany."

"You do well," replied the colonel; "but for this man, count, he bears
no orders from any Landgrave, nor will ever again bear orders from the
Landgrave of X----. Gentlemen, you are all my prisoners; and you will
accompany me to the castle. Count St. Aldenheim, I am sorry that there
is no longer an exemption for yourself. Please to advance. If it will
be any gratification to you, these men" (pointing to the city guard)
"are prisoners also."

Here was a revolution of fortune that confounded everybody. The
detested guardians of the city jail were themselves to tenant it; or,
by a worse fate still, were to be consigned unpitied, and their case
unjudged, to the dark and pestilent dungeons which lay below the
Landgrave's castle. A few scattered cries of triumph were heard from
the crowd; but they were drowned in a tumult of conflicting feelings.
As human creatures, fallen under the displeasure of a despot with a
judicial power of torture to enforce his investigations, even
_they_ claimed some compassion. But there arose, to call off
attention from these less dignified objects of the public interest, a
long train of gallant cavaliers, restored so capriciously to liberty,
in order, as it seemed, to give the greater poignancy and bitterness to
the instant renewal of their captivity. This was the very frenzy of
despotism in its very moodiest state of excitement. Many began to think
the Landgrave mad. If so, what a dreadful fate might be anticipated for
the sons or representatives of so many noble families, gallant soldiers
the greater part of them, with a nobleman of princely blood at their
head, lying under the displeasure of a gloomy and infuriated tyrant,
with unlimited means of executing the bloodiest suggestions of his
vengeance. Then, in what way had the guardians of the jails come to be
connected with any even imaginary offence? Supposing the Landgrave
insane, his agents were not so; Colonel von Aremberg was a man of
shrewd and penetrating understanding; and this officer had clearly
spoken in the tone of one who, whilst announcing the sentence of
another, sympathizes entirely with the justice and necessity of its
harshness.

Something dropped from the miserable leader of the city guard, in his
first confusion and attempt at self-defence, which rather increased
than explained the mystery. "The Masque! the Masque !" This was the
word which fell at intervals upon the ear of the listening crowd, as he
sometimes directed his words in the way of apology and deprecation to
Colonel von Aremberg, who did not vouchsafe to listen, or of occasional
explanation and discussion, as it was partly kept up between himself
and one of his nearest partners in the imputed transgression. Two or
three there might be seen in the crowd, whose looks avowed some nearer
acquaintance with this mysterious allusion than it would have been safe
to acknowledge. But, for the great body of spectators who accompanied
the prisoners and their escort to the gates of the castle, it was
pretty evident by their inquiring looks, and the fixed expression of
wonder upon their features, that the whole affair, and its
circumstances, were to them equally a subject of mystery for what was
past, and of blind terror for what was to come.


CHAPTER IX.


The cavalcade, with its charge of prisoners, and its attendant train of
spectators, halted at the gates of the _schloss_. This vast and
antique pile had now come to be surveyed with dismal and revolting
feelings, as the abode of a sanguinary despot. The dungeons and
labyrinths of its tortuous passages, its gloomy halls of audience, with
the vast corridors which surmounted the innumerable flights of stairs--
some noble, spacious, and in the Venetian taste, capable of admitting
the march of an army--some spiral, steep, and so unusually narrow as to
exclude two persons walking abreast; these, together with the numerous
chapels erected in it to different saints by devotees, male or female,
in the families of forgotten Landgraves through four centuries back;
and, finally, the tribunals, or _gericht-kammern_, for dispensing
justice, criminal or civil, to the city and territorial dependencies of
Klosterheim; all united to compose a body of impressive images,
hallowed by great historical remembrances, or traditional stories, that
from infancy to age dwelt upon the feelings of the Klosterheimers.
Terror and superstitious dread predominated undoubtedly in the total
impression; but the gentle virtues exhibited by a series of princes,
who had made this their favorite residence, naturally enough terminated
in mellowing the sternness of such associations into a religious awe,
not without its own peculiar attractions. But, at present, under the
harsh and repulsive character of the reigning prince, everything took a
new color from his un-genial habits. The superstitious legend, which
had so immemorially peopled the _schloss_ with spectral
apparitions, now revived in its earliest strength. Never was Germany
more dedicated to superstition in every shape than at this period. The
wild, tumultuous times, and the slight tenure upon which all men held
their lives, naturally threw their thoughts much upon the other world;
and communications with that, or its burthen of secrets, by every
variety of agencies, ghosts, divination, natural magic, palmistry, or
astrology, found in every city of the land more encouragement than
ever.

It cannot, therefore, be surprising that the well-known apparition of
the White Lady (a legend which affected Klosterheim through the
fortunes of its Landgraves, no less than several other princely houses
of Germany, descended from the same original stock) should about this
time have been seen in the dusk of the evening at some of the upper
windows in the castle, and once in a lofty gallery of the great chapel
during the vesper service. This lady, generally known by the name of
the White Lady Agnes, or Lady Agnes of Weissemburg, is supposed to have
lived in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and from that time, even
to our own days, the current belief is, that on the eve of any great
crisis of good or evil fortune impending over the three or four
illustrious houses of Germany which trace their origin from her, she
makes her appearance in some conspicuous apartment, great baronial hall
or chapel, of their several palaces, sweeping along in white robes, and
a voluminous train. Her appearance of late in the _schloss_ of
Klosterheim, confidently believed by the great body of the people, was
hailed with secret pleasure, as forerunning some great change in the
Landgrave's family,--which was but another name for better days to
themselves, whilst of necessity it menaced some great evil to the
prince himself. Hope, therefore, was predominant in their prospects,
and in the supernatural intimations of coming changes;--yet awe and
deep religious feeling mingled with their hope. Of chastisement
approaching to the Landgrave they felt assured. Some dim religious
judgment, like that which brooded over the house of Œdipus, was now at
hand,--that was the universal impression. His gloomy asceticism of life
seemed to argue secret crimes: these were to be brought to light; for
these, and for his recent tyranny, prosperous as it had seemed for a
moment, chastisements were now impending; and something of the awe
which belonged to a prince so marked out for doom and fatal catastrophe
seemed to attach itself to his mansion, more especially as it was there
only that the signs and portents of the coming woe had revealed
themselves in the apparition of the White Lady.

Under this superstitious impression, many of the spectators paused at
the entrance of the castle, and lingered in the portal, though
presuming that the chamber of justice, according to the frank old usage
of Germany, was still open to all comers. Of this notion they were
speedily disabused by the sudden retreat of the few who had penetrated
into the first ante-chamber. These persons were harshly repelled in a
contumelious manner, and read to the astonished citizens another lesson
upon the new arts of darkness and concealment with which the Landgrave
found it necessary to accompany his new acts of tyranny.

Von Aremberg and his prisoners, thus left alone in one of the ante-
chambers, waited no long time before they were summoned to the presence
of the Landgrave.

After pacing along a number of corridors, all carpeted so as to return
no sound to their footsteps, they arrived in a little hall, from which
a door suddenly opened, upon a noiseless signal exchanged with an usher
outside, and displayed before them a long gallery, with a table and a
few seats arranged at the further end. Two gentlemen were seated at the
table, anxiously examining papers; in one of whom it was easy to
recognize the wily glance of the Italian minister; the other was the
Landgrave.

This prince was now on the verge of fifty, strikingly handsome in his
features, and of imposing presence, from the union of a fine person
with manners unusually dignified. No man understood better the art of
restraining his least governable impulses of anger or malignity within
the decorums of his rank. And even his worst passions, throwing a
gloomy rather than terrific air upon his features, served less to alarm
and revolt, than to impress the sense of secret distrust. Of late,
indeed, from the too evident indications of the public hatred, his
sallies of passion had become wilder and more ferocious, and his self-
command less habitually conspicuous. But, in general, a gravity of
insidious courtesy disguised from all but penetrating eyes the
treacherous purpose of his heart.

The Landgrave bowed to the Count St. Aldenheim, and, pointing to a
chair, begged him to understand that he wished to do nothing
inconsistent with his regard for the Palsgrave his brother; and would
be content with his parole of honor to pursue no further any conspiracy
against himself, in which he might too thoughtlessly have engaged, and
with his retirement from the city of Klosterheim.

The Count St. Aldenheim replied that he and all the other cavaliers
present, according to his belief, stood upon the same footing: that
they had harbored no thought of conspiracy, unless that name could
attach to a purpose of open expostulation with his highness on the
outraged privileges of their corporation as a university; that he
wished not for any distinction of treatment in a case when all were
equal offenders, or none at all; and, finally, that he believed the
sentence of exile from Klosterheim would be cheerfully accepted by all
or most of those present.

Adorni, the minister, shook his head, and glanced significantly at the
Landgrave, during this answer. The Landgrave coldly replied that if he
could suppose the count to speak sincerely, it was evident that he was
little aware to what length his companions, or some of them, had pushed
their plots. "Here are the proofs!" and he pointed to the papers.

"And now, gentlemen," said he, turning to the students, "I marvel that
you, being cavaliers of family, and doubtless holding yourselves men of
honor, should beguile these poor knaves into certain ruin, whilst
yourselves could reap nothing but a brief mockery of the authority
which you could not hope to evade."

Thus called upon, the students and the city guard told their tale; in
which no contradictions could be detected. The city prison was not
particularly well secured against attacks from without. To prevent,
therefore, any sudden attempt at a rescue, the guard kept watch by
turns. One man watched two hours, traversing the different passages of
the prison; and was then relieved. At three o'clock on the preceding
night, pacing a winding lobby, brightly illuminated, the man who kept
that watch was suddenly met by a person wearing a masque, and armed at
all points. His surprise and consternation were great, and the more so
as the steps of The Masque were soundless, though the floor was a stone
one. The guard, but slightly prepared to meet an attack, would,
however, have resisted or raised an alarm; but The Masque, instantly
levelling a pistol at his head with one hand, with the other had thrown
open the door of an empty cell, indicating to the man by signs that he
must enter it. With this intimation he had necessarily complied; and
The Masque had immediately turned the key upon him. Of what followed he
knew nothing until aroused by his comrades setting him at liberty,
after some time had been wasted in searching for him.

The students had a pretty uniform tale to report. A Masque, armed cap-
a-pie, as described by the guard, had visited each of their cells in
succession; had instructed them by signs to dress, and then, pointing
to the door, by a series of directions all communicated in the same
dumb show, had assembled them together, thrown open the prison door,
and, pointing to their college, had motioned them thither. This motion
they had seen no cause to disobey, presuming their dismissal to be
according to the mode which best pleased his highness; and not ill-
pleased at finding so peaceful a termination to a summons which at
first, from its mysterious shape and the solemn hour of night, they had
understood as tending to some more formidable issue.

It was observed that neither the Landgrave nor his minister treated
this report of so strange a transaction with the scorn which had been
anticipated. Both listened attentively, and made minute inquiries as to
every circumstance of the dress and appointments of the mysterious
Masque. What was his height? By what road, or in what direction, had he
disappeared? These questions answered, his highness and his minister
consulted a few minutes together; and then, turning to Von Aremberg,
bade him for the present dismiss the prisoners to their homes; an act
of grace which seemed likely to do him service at the present crisis;
but at the same time to take sufficient security for their
reappearance. This done, the whole body were liberated.


CHAPTER X.


All Klosterheim was confounded by the story of the mysterious Masque.
For the story had been rapidly dispersed; and on the same day it was
made known in another shape. A notice was affixed to the walls of
several public places in these words:

"Landgrave, beware! henceforth not you, but I, govern in Klosterheim.

(Signed) THE MASQUE."

And this was no empty threat. Very soon it became apparent that some
mysterious agency was really at work to counteract the Landgrave's
designs. Sentinels were carried off from solitary posts. Guards, even
of a dozen men, were silently trepanned from their stations. By and by,
other attacks were made, even more alarming, upon domestic security.
Was there a burgomaster amongst the citizens who had made himself
conspicuously a tool of the Landgrave, or had opposed the imperial
interest? He was carried off in the night-time from his house, and
probably from the city. At first this was an easy task. Nobody
apprehending any special danger to himself, no special preparations
were made to meet it. But as it soon became apparent in what cause The
Masque was moving, every person who knew himself obnoxious to attack,
took means to face it. Guards were multiplied; arms were repaired in
every house; alarm-bells were hung. For a time the danger seemed to
diminish. The attacks were no longer so frequent. Still, wherever they
were attempted, they succeeded just as before. It seemed, in fact, that
all the precautions taken had no other effect than to warn The Masque
of his own danger, and to place him more vigilantly on his guard. Aware
of new defences raising, it seemed that he waited to see the course
they would take; once master of that, he was ready (as it appeared) to
contend with them as successfully as before.

Nothing could exceed the consternation of the city. Those even who did
not fall within the apparent rule which governed the attacks of The
Masque felt a sense of indefinite terror hanging over them. Sleep was
no longer safe; the seclusion of a man's private hearth, the secrecy of
bed-rooms, was no longer a protection. Locks gave way, bars fell, doors
flew open, as if by magic, before him. Arms seemed useless. In some
instances a party of as many as ten or a dozen persons had been removed
without rousing disturbance in the neighborhood. Nor was this the only
circumstance of mystery. Whither he could remove his victims was even
more incomprehensible than the means by which he succeeded. All was
darkness and fear; and the whole city was agitated with panic.

It began now to be suggested that a nightly guard should be
established, having fixed stations or points of rendezvous, and at
intervals parading the streets. This was cheerfully assented to; for,
after the first week of the mysterious attacks, it began to be observed
that the imperial party were attacked indiscriminately with the
Swedish. Many students publicly declared that they had been dogged
through a street or two by an armed Masque; others had been suddenly
confronted by him in unfrequented parts of the city, in the dead of
night, and were on the point of being attacked, when some alarm, or the
approach of distant footsteps, had caused him to disappear. The
students, indeed, more particularly, seemed objects of attack; and as
they were pretty generally attached to the imperial interest, the
motives of The Masque were no longer judged to be political. Hence it
happened that the students came forward in a body, and volunteered as
members of the nightly guard. Being young, military for the most part
in their habits, and trained to support the hardships of night-
watching, they seemed peculiarly fitted for the service; and, as the
case was no longer of a nature to awaken the suspicions of the
Landgrave, they were generally accepted and enrolled; and with the more
readiness, as the known friends of that prince came forward at the same
time.

A night-watch was thus established, which promised security to the
city, and a respite from their mysterious alarms. It was distributed
into eight or ten divisions, posted at different points, whilst a
central one traversed the whole city at stated periods, and overlooked
the local stations. Such an arrangement was wholly unknown at that time
in every part of Germany, and was hailed with general applause.

To the astonishment, however, of everybody, it proved wholly
ineffectual. Houses were entered as before; the college chambers proved
no sanctuary; indeed, they were attacked with a peculiar obstinacy,
which was understood to express a spirit of retaliation for the
alacrity of the students in combining--for the public protection.
People were carried off as before. And continual notices affixed to the
gates of the college, the convents, or the _schloss_, with the
signature of _The Masque_, announced to the public his determination
to persist, and his contempt of the measures organized against him.

The alarm of the citizens now became greater than ever. The danger was
one which courage could not face, nor prudence make provision for, nor
wiliness evade. All alike, who had once been marked out for attack,
sooner or later fell victims to the obstinacy of this mysterious foe.
To have received even an individual warning, availed them not at all.
Sometimes it happened that, having received notice of suspicious
circumstances indicating that The Masque had turned his attention upon
themselves, they would assemble round their dwellings, or in their very
chambers, a band of armed men sufficient to set the danger at defiance.
But no sooner had they relaxed in these costly and troublesome
arrangements, no sooner was the sense of peril lulled, and an opening
made for their unrelenting enemy, than he glided in with his customary
success; and in a morning or two after, it was announced to the city
that they also were numbered with his victims.

Even yet it seemed that something remained in reserve to augment the
terrors of the citizens, and push them to excess. Hitherto there had
been no reason to think that any murderous violence had occurred in the
mysterious rencontres between The Masque and his victims. But of late,
in those houses, or college chambers, from which the occupiers had
disappeared, traces of bloodshed were apparent in some instances, and
of ferocious conflict in others. Sometimes a profusion of hair was
scattered on the ground; sometimes fragments of dress, or splinters of
weapons. Everything marked that on both sides, as this mysterious
agency advanced, the passions increased in intensity; determination and
murderous malignity on the one side, and the fury of resistance on the
other.

At length the last consummation was given to the public panic; for, as
if expressly to put an end to all doubts upon the spirit in which he
conducted his warfare, in one house, where the bloodshed had been so
great as to argue some considerable loss of life, a notice was left
behind in the following terms: "Thus it is that I punish resistance;
mercy to a cheerful submission; but henceforth death to the obstinate!
--THE MASQUE."

What was to be done? Some counselled a public deprecation of his wrath,
addressed to The Masque. But this, had it even offered any chance of
succeeding, seemed too abject an act of abasement to become a large
city. Under any circumstances, it was too humiliating a confession
that, in a struggle with one man (for no more had avowedly appeared
upon the scene), they were left defeated and at his mercy. A second
party counselled a treaty; would it not be possible to learn the
ultimate objects of The Masque; and, if such as seemed capable of being
entertained with honor, to concede to him his demands, in exchange for
security to the city, and immunity from future molestation? It was true
that no man knew where to seek him: personally he was hidden from their
reach; but everybody knew how to find him: he was amongst them; in
their very centre; and whatever they might address to him in a public
notice would be sure of speedily reaching his eye.

After some deliberation, a summons was addressed to The Masque, and
exposed on the college gates, demanding of him a declaration of his
purposes, and the price which he expected for suspending them. The next
day an answer appeared in the same situation, avowing the intention of
The Masque to come forward with ample explanation of his motives at a
proper crisis, till which, "more blood must flow in Klosterheim."


CHAPTER XI.


Meantime the Landgrave was himself perplexed and alarmed. Hitherto he
had believed himself possessed of all the intrigues, plots, or
conspiracies, which threatened his influence in the city. Among the
students and among the citizens he had many spies, who communicated to
him whatsoever they could learn, which was sometimes more than the
truth, and sometimes a good deal less. But now he was met by a terrific
antagonist, who moved in darkness, careless of his power, inaccessible
to his threats, and apparently as reckless as himself of the quality of
his means.

Adorni, with all his Venetian subtlety, was now as much at fault as
everybody else. In vain had they deliberated together, day after day,
upon his probable purposes; in vain had they schemed to intercept his
person, or offered high rewards for tracing his retreats. Snares had
been laid for him in vain; every wile had proved abortive, every plot
had been counterplotted. And both involuntarily confessed that they had
now met with their master.

Vexed and confounded, fears for the future struggling with
mortification for the past, the Landgrave was sitting, late at night,
in the long gallery where he usually held his councils. He was
reflecting with anxiety on the peculiarly unpropitious moment at which
his new enemy had come upon the stage; the very crisis of the struggle
between the Swedish and imperial interest in Klosterheim, which would
ultimately determine his own place and value in the estimate of his new
allies. He was not of a character to be easily duped by mystery. Yet he
could not but acknowledge to himself that there was something
calculated to impress awe, and the sort of fear which is connected with
the supernatural, in the sudden appearances, and vanishings as sudden,
of The Masque. He came, no one could guess whence; retreated, no one
could guess whither; was intercepted, and yet eluded arrest; and if
half the stories in circulation could be credited, seemed inaudible in
his steps, at pleasure to make himself invisible and impalpable to the
very hands stretched out to detain him. Much of this, no doubt, was
wilful exaggeration, or the fictions of fears self-deluded. But enough
remained, after every allowance, to justify an extraordinary interest
in so singular a being; and the Landgrave could not avoid wishing that
chance might offer an opportunity to himself of observing him.

Profound silence had for some time reigned throughout the castle. A
clock which stood in the room broke it for a moment by striking the
quarters; and, raising his eyes, the Landgrave perceived that it was
past two. He rose to retire for the night, and stood for a moment
musing with one hand resting upon the table. A momentary feeling of awe
came across him, as his eyes travelled through the gloom at the lower
end of the room, on the sudden thought, that a being so mysterious, and
capable of piercing through so many impediments to the interior of
every mansion in Klosterheim, was doubtless likely enough to visit the
castle; nay, it would be no ways improbable that he should penetrate to
this very room. What bars had yet been found sufficient to repel him?
And who could pretend to calculate the hour of his visit? This night
even might be the time which he would select. Thinking thus, the
Landgrave was suddenly aware of a dusky figure entering the room by a
door at the lower end. The room had the length and general proportions
of a gallery, and the further end was so remote from the candles which
stood on the Landgrave's table, that the deep gloom was but slightly
penetrated by their rays. Light, however, there was, sufficient to
display the outline of a figure slowly and inaudibly advancing up the
room. It could not be said that the figure advanced stealthily; on the
contrary, its motion, carriage, and bearing, were in the highest degree
dignified and solemn. But the feeling of a stealthy purpose was
suggested by the perfect silence of its tread. The motion of a shadow
could not be more noiseless. And this circumstance confirmed the
Landgrave's first impression, that now he was on the point of
accomplishing his recent wish, and meeting that mysterious being who
was the object of so much awe, and the author of so far-spread a panic.

He was right; it was indeed The Masque, armed cap-a-pie as usual. He
advanced with an equable and determined step in the direction of the
Landgrave. Whether he saw his highness, who stood a little in the shade
of a large cabinet, could not be known; the Landgrave doubted not that
he did. He was a prince of firm nerves by constitution, and of great
intrepidity; yet, as one who shared in the superstitions of his age, he
could not be expected entirely to suppress an emotion of indefinite
apprehension as he now beheld the solemn approach of a being, who, by
some unaccountable means, had trepanned so many different individuals
from so many different houses, most of them prepared for self-defence,
and fenced in by the protection of stone walls, locks, and bars.

The Landgrave, however, lost none of his presence of mind; and, in the
midst of his discomposure, as his eye fell upon the habiliments of this
mysterious person, and the arms and military accoutrements which he
bore, naturally his thoughts settled upon the more earthly means of
annoyance which this martial apparition carried about him. The
Landgrave was himself unarmed; he had no arms even within reach, nor
was it possible for him in his present situation very speedily to
summon assistance. With these thoughts passing rapidly through his
mind, and sensible that, in any view of his nature and powers, the
being now in his presence was a very formidable antagonist, the
Landgrave could not but feel relieved from a burden of anxious tremors,
when he saw The Masque suddenly turn towards a door which opened about
half-way up the room, and led into a picture-gallery at right angles
with the room in which they both were.

Into the picture-gallery The Masque passed at the same solemn pace,
without apparently looking at the Landgrave. This movement seemed to
argue, either that he purposely declined an interview with the
prince,--and _that_ might argue fear,--or that he had not been aware of
his presence. Either supposition, as implying something of human
infirmity, seemed incompatible with supernatural faculties. Partly upon
this consideration, and partly, perhaps, because he suddenly
recollected that the road taken by The Masque would lead him directly
past the apartments of the old seneschal, where assistance might be
summoned, the Landgrave found his spirits at this moment revive. The
consciousness of rank and birth also came to his aid, and that sort of
disdain of the aggressor, which possesses every man, brave or cowardly
alike, within the walls of his own dwelling. Unarmed as he was, he
determined to pursue, and perhaps to speak.

The restraints of high breeding, and the ceremonious decorum of his
rank, involuntarily checked the Landgrave from pursuing with a hurried
pace. He advanced with his habitual gravity of step, so that The Masque
was half-way down the gallery before the prince entered it. This
gallery, furnished on each side with pictures, of which some were
portraits, was of great length. The Masque and the prince continued to
advance, preserving a pretty equal distance. It did not appear by any
sign or gesture that The Masque was aware of the Landgrave's pursuit.
Suddenly, however, he paused, drew his sword, halted; the Landgrave
also halted; then, turning half round, and waving with his hand to the
prince so as to solicit his attention, slowly The Masque elevated the
point of his sword to the level of a picture--it was the portrait of a
young cavalier in a hunting-dress, blooming with youth and youthful
energy. The Landgrave turned pale, trembled, and was ruefully agitated.
The Masque kept his sword in its position for half a minute; then
dropping it, shook his head, and raised his hand with a peculiar
solemnity of expression. The Landgrave recovered himself, his features
swelled with passion, he quickened his step, and again followed in
pursuit.

The Masque, however, had by this time turned out of the gallery into a
passage, which, after a single curve, terminated in the private room of
the seneschal. Believing that his ignorance of the localities was thus
leading him on to certain capture, the Landgrave pursued more
leisurely. The passage was dimly lighted; every image floated in a
cloudy obscurity; and, upon reaching the curve, it seemed to the
Landgrave that The Masque was just on the point of entering the
seneschal's room. No other door was heard to open; and he felt assured
that he had seen the lofty figure of The Masque gliding into that
apartment. He again quickened his steps; a light burned within, the
door stood ajar; quietly the prince pushed it open, and entered with
the fullest assurance that he should here at length overtake the object
of his pursuit.

Great was his consternation upon finding in a room, which presented no
outlet, not a living creature except the elderly seneschal, who lay
quietly sleeping in his arm-chair. The first impulse of the prince was
to awaken him roughly, that he might summon aid and cooperate in the
search. One glance at a paper upon the table arrested his hand. He saw
a name written there, interesting to his fears beyond all others in the
world. His eye was riveted as by fascination to the paper. He read one
instant. That satisfied him that the old seneschal must be overcome by
no counterfeit slumbers, when he could thus surrender a secret of
capital importance to the gaze of that eye from which, above all
others, he must desire to screen it. One moment he deliberated with
himself; the old man stirred, and muttered in his dreams; the Landgrave
seized the paper, and stood irresolute for an instant whether to await
his wakening, and authoritatively to claim what so nearly concerned his
own interest, or to retreat with it from the room before the old man
should be aware of the prince's visit, or his own loss.

But the seneschal, wearied perhaps with some unusual exertion, had but
moved in his chair; again he composed himself to deep slumber, made
deeper by the warmth of a hot fire. The raving of the wind, as it
whistled round this angle of the _schloss_, drowned all sounds
that could have disturbed him. The Landgrave secreted the paper; nor
did any sense of his rank and character interpose to check him in an
act so unworthy of an honorable cavalier. Whatever crimes he had
hitherto committed or authorized, this was, perhaps, the first instance
in which he had offended by an instance of petty knavery. He retired
with the stealthy pace of a robber, anxious to evade detection, and
stole back to his own apartments with an overpowering interest in the
discovery he had made so accidentally, and with an anxiety to
investigate it further, which absorbed for the time all other cares,
and banished from his thoughts even The Masque himself, whose sudden
appearance and retreat had, in fact, thrown into his hands the secret
which now so exclusively disturbed him.


CHAPTER XII.


Meantime, The Masque continued to harass the Landgrave, to baffle many
of his wiles, and to neutralize his most politic schemes. In one of the
many placards which he affixed to the castle gates, he described the
Landgrave as ruling in Klosterheim by day, and himself by night.
Sarcasms such as these, together with the practical insults which The
Masque continually offered to the Landgrave, by foiling his avowed
designs, embittered the prince's existence. The injury done to his
political schemes of ambition at this particular crisis was
irreparable. One after one, all the agents and tools by whom he could
hope to work upon the counsels of the Klosterheim authorities had been
removed. Losing _their_ influence, he had lost every prop of his
own. Nor was this all; he was reproached by the general voice of the
city as the original cause of a calamity which he had since shown
himself impotent to redress. He it was, and his cause, which had drawn
upon the people so fatally trepanned the hostility of the mysterious
Masque. But for his highness, all the burgomasters, captains, city-
officers, &c., would now be sleeping in their beds; whereas, the best
late which could be surmised for the most of them was, that they were
sleeping in dungeons; some, perhaps, in their graves. And thus the
Landgrave's cause not merely lost its most efficient partisans, but,
through their loss, determined the wavering against him, alienated the
few who remained of his own faction, and gave strength and
encouragement to the general dissatisfaction which had so long
prevailed.

Thus it happened that the conspirators, or suspected conspirators,
could not be brought to trial, or to punishment without a trial. Any
spark of fresh irritation falling upon the present combustible temper
of the populace, would not fail to produce an explosion. Fresh
conspirators, and real ones, were thus encouraged to arise. The
university, the city, teemed with plots. The government of the prince
was exhausted with the growing labor of tracing and counteracting them.
And, by little and little, matters came into such a condition, that the
control of the city, though still continuing in the Landgrave's hands,
was maintained by mere martial force, and at the very point of the
sword. And, in no long time, it was feared, that with so general a
principle of hatred to combine the populace, and so large a body of
military students to head them, the balance of power, already
approaching to an equipoise, would be turned against the Landgrave's
government. And, in the best event, his highness could now look for
nothing from their love. All might be reckoned for lost that could not
be extorted by force.

This state of things had been brought about by the dreadful Masque,
seconded, no doubt, by those whom he had emboldened and aroused within;
and, as the climax and crowning injury of the whole, every day unfolded
more and more the vast importance which Klosterheim would soon possess
as the centre and key of the movements to be anticipated in the coming
campaign. An electoral cap would perhaps reward the services of the
Landgrave in the general pacification, if he could present himself at
the German Diet as the possessor _de facto_ of Klosterheim and her
territorial dependences, and with some imperfect possession _de
jure_; still more, if he could plead the merit of having brought
over this state, so important from local situation, as a willing ally
to the Swedish interest. But to this a free vote of the city was an
essential preliminary; and from that, through the machinations of The
Masque, he was now further than ever.

The temper of the prince began to give way under these accumulated
provocations. An enemy forever aiming his blows with the deadliest
effect; forever stabbing in the dark, yet charmed and consecrated from
all retaliation; always met with, never to be found! The Landgrave
ground his teeth, clenched his fists, with spasms of fury. lie
quarrelled with his ministers; swore at the officers; cursed the
sentinels; and the story went through Klosterheim that he had kicked
Adorni.

Certain it was, under whatever stimulus, that Adorni put forth much
more zeal at last for the apprehension of The Masque. Come what would,
he publicly avowed that six days more should not elapse without the
arrest of this "ruler of Klosterheim by night." He had a scheme for the
purpose, a plot baited for snaring him; and he pledged his reputation
as a minister and an intriguer upon its entire success.

On the following day, invitations were issued by Adorni, in his
highness' name, to a masqued ball on that day week. The fashion of
masqued entertainments had been recently introduced from Italy into
this sequestered nook of Germany; and here, as there, it had been
abused to purposes of criminal intrigue.

Spite of the extreme unpopularity of the Landgrave with the low and
middle classes of the city, among the highest his little court still
continued to furnish a central resort to the rank and high blood
converged in such unusual proportion within the walls of Klosterheim.
The _schloss_ was still looked to as the standard and final court
of appeal in all matters of taste, elegance, and high breeding. Hence
it naturally happened that everybody with any claims to such an honor
was anxious to receive a ticket of admission;--it became the test for
ascertaining a person's pretensions to mix in the first circles of
society; and with this extraordinary zeal for obtaining an admission
naturally increased the minister's rigor and fastidiousness in pressing
the usual investigation of the claimant's qualifications. Much offence
was given on both sides, and many sneers hazarded at the minister
himself, whose pretensions were supposed to be of the lowest
description. But the result was, that exactly twelve hundred cards were
issued; these were regularly numbered, and below the device, engraved
upon the card, was impressed a seal, bearing the arms and motto of the
Landgraves of X.

Every precaution was taken for carrying into effect the scheme, with
all its details, as concerted by Adorni; and the third day of the
following week was announced as the day of the expected _fête_.


CHAPTER XIII.


The morning of the important day at length arrived, and all Klosterheim
was filled with expectation. Even those who were not amongst the
invited shared in the anxiety; for a great scene was looked for, and
perhaps some tragical explosion. The undertaking of Adorni was known;
it had been published abroad that he was solemnly pledged to effect the
arrest of The Masque; and by many it was believed that he would so far
succeed, at the least, as to bring on a public collision with that
extraordinary personage. As to the issue most people were doubtful, The
Masque having hitherto so uniformly defeated the best-laid schemes for
his apprehension. But it was hardly questioned that the public
challenge offered to him by Adorni would succeed in bringing him before
the public eye. This challenge had taken the shape of a public notice,
posted up in the places where The Masque had usually affixed his own;
and it was to the following effect: "That the noble strangers now in
Klosterheim, and others invited to the Landgrave's _fête_, who might
otherwise feel anxiety in presenting themselves at the _schloss_, from
an apprehension of meeting with the criminal disturber of the public
peace, known by the appellation of The Masque, were requested by
authority to lay aside all apprehensions of that nature, as the most
energetic measures had been adopted to prevent or chastise upon the
spot any such insufferable intrusion; and for The Masque himself, if he
presumed to disturb the company by his presence, he would be seized
where he stood, and, without further inquiry, committed to the provost-
marshal for instant execution;--on which account, all persons were
warned carefully to forbear from intrusions of simple curiosity, since
in the hurry of the moment it might be difficult to make the requisite
distinctions."

It was anticipated that this insulting notice would not long go without
an answer from The Masque. Accordingly, on the following morning, a
placard, equally conspicuous, was posted up in the same public places,
side by side with that to which it replied. It was couched in the
following terms: "That he who ruled by night in Klosterheim could not
suppose himself to be excluded from a nocturnal _fete_ given by
any person in that city. That he must be allowed to believe himself
invited by the prince, and would certainly have the honor to accept his
highness' obliging summons. With regard to the low personalities
addressed to himself, that he could not descend to notice anything of
that nature, coming from a man so abject as Adorni, until he should
first have cleared himself from the imputation of having been a tailor
in Venice at the time of the Spanish conspiracy in 1618, and banished
from that city, not for any suspicions that could have settled upon him
and his eight journeymen as making up one conspirator, but on account
of some professional tricks in making a doublet for the Doge. For the
rest, he repeated that he would not fail to meet the Landgrave and his
honorable company."

All Klosterheim laughed at this public mortification offered to
Adorni's pride; for that minister had incurred the public dislike as a
foreigner, and their hatred on the score of private character. Adorni
himself foamed at the mouth with rage, impotent for the present, but
which he prepared to give deadly effect to at the proper time. But,
whilst it laughed, Klosterheim also trembled. Some persons, indeed,
were of opinion that the answer of The Masque was a mere sportive
effusion of malice or pleasantry from the students, who had suffered so
much by his annoyances. But the majority, amongst whom was Adorni
himself, thought otherwise. Apart even from the reply, or the insult
which had provoked it, the general impression was, that The Masque
would not have failed in attending a festival, which, by the very
costume which it imposed, offered so favorable a cloak to his own
mysterious purposes. In this persuasion, Adorni took all the
precautions which personal vengeance and Venetian subtlety could
suggest, for availing himself of the single opportunity that would,
perhaps, ever be allowed him for entrapping this public enemy, who had
now become a private one to himself.

These various incidents had furnished abundant matter for conversation
in Klosterheim, and had carried the public expectation to the highest
pitch of anxiety, some time before the great evening arrived. Leisure
had been allowed for fear, and every possible anticipation of the
wildest character, to unfold themselves. Hope, even, amongst many, was
a predominant sensation. Ladies were preparing for hysterics.
Cavaliers, besides the swords which they wore as regular articles of
dress, were providing themselves with stilettoes against any sudden
rencontre hand to hand, or any unexpected surprise. Armorers and
furbishers of weapons were as much in request as the more appropriate
artists who minister to such festal occasions. These again were
summoned to give their professional aid and attendance to an extent so
much out of proportion to their numbers and their natural power of
exertion, that they were harassed beyond all physical capacity of
endurance, and found their ingenuity more heavily taxed to find
personal substitutes amongst the trades most closely connected with
their own, than in any of the contrivances which more properly fell
within the business of their own art. Tailors, horse-milliners,
shoemakers, friseurs, drapers, mercers, tradesmen of every description,
and servants of every class and denomination, were summoned to a
sleepless activity--each in his several vocation, or in some which he
undertook by proxy. Artificers who had escaped on political motives
from Nuremburg and other imperial cities, or from the sack of
Magdeburg, now showed their ingenuity, and their readiness to earn the
bread of industry; and if Klosterheim resembled a hive in the close-
packed condition of its inhabitants, it was now seen that the
resemblance held good hardly less in the industry which, upon a
sufficient excitement, it was able to develop. But, in the midst of all
this stir, din, and unprecedented activity, whatever occupation each
man found for his thoughts or for his hands in his separate
employments, all hearts were mastered by one domineering interest--the
approaching collision of the Landgrave, before his assembled court,
with the mysterious agent who had so long troubled his repose.


CHAPTER XIV


The day at length arrived; the guards were posted in unusual strength;
the pages of honor, and servants in their state-dresses, were drawn up
in long and gorgeous files along the sides of the vast Gothic halls,
which ran in continued succession from the front of the _schloss_
to the more modern saloons in the rear; bands of military music,
collected from amongst the foreign prisoners of various nations at
Vienna, were stationed in their national costume--Italian, Hungarian,
Turkish, or Croatian--in the lofty galleries or corridors which ran
round the halls; and the deep thunders of the kettle-drums, relieved by
cymbals and wind-instruments, began to fill the mazes of the palace as
early as seven o'clock in the evening; for at that hour, according to
the custom then established in Germany, such entertainments commenced.
Repeated volleys from long lines of musketeers, drawn up in the square,
and at the other entrances of the palace, with the deep roar of
artillery, announced the arrival of the more distinguished visitors;
amongst whom it was rumored that several officers in supreme command
from the Swedish camp, already collected in the neighborhood, were this
night coming _incognito_--availing themselves of their masques to
visit the Landgrave, and improve the terms of their alliance, whilst
they declined the risk which they might have brought on themselves by
too open a visit, in their own avowed characters and persons, to a town
so unsettled in its state of feeling, and so friendly to the emperor,
as Klosterheim had notoriously become.

From seven to nine o'clock, in one unbroken line of succession,
gorgeous parties streamed along through the halls, a distance of full
half a quarter of a mile, until they were checked by the barriers
erected at the entrance to the first of the entertaining rooms, as the
station for examining the tickets of admission. This duty was fulfilled
in a way which, though really rigorous in the extreme, gave no
inhospitable annoyance to the visitors; the barriers themselves
concealed their jealous purpose of hostility, and in a manner disavowed
the secret awe and mysterious terror which brooded over the evening, by
the beauty of their external appearance. They presented a triple line
of gilt lattice-work, rising to a great altitude, and connected with
the fretted roof by pendent draperies of the most magnificent velvet,
intermingled with banners and heraldic trophies suspended from the
ceiling, and at intervals slowly agitated in the currents which now and
then swept these aerial heights. In the centre of the lattice opened a
single gate, on each side of which were stationed a couple of sentinels
armed to the teeth; and this arrangement was repeated three times, so
rigorous was the vigilance employed. At the second of the gates, where
the bearer of a forged ticket would have found himself in a sort of
trap, with absolutely no possibility of escape, every individual of
each successive party presented his card of admission, and, fortunately
for the convenience of the company, in consequence of the particular
precaution used, one moment's inspection sufficed. The cards had been
issued to the parties invited not very long before the time of
assembling; consequently, as each was sealed with a private seal of the
Landgrave's, sculptured elaborately with his armorial bearings, forgery
would have been next to impossible.

These arrangements, however, were made rather to relieve the company
from the too powerful terrors which haunted them, and to possess them
from the first with a sense of security, than for the satisfaction of
the Landgrave or his minister. They were sensible that The Masque had
it in his power to command an access from the interior--and this it
seemed next to impossible altogether to prevent; nor was _that_
indeed the wish of Adorni, but rather to facilitate his admission, and
afterwards, when satisfied of his actual presence, to bar up all
possibility of retreat. Accordingly, the interior arrangements, though
perfectly prepared, and ready to close up at the word of command, were
for the present but negligently enforced.

Thus stood matters at nine o'clock, by which time upwards of a thousand
persons had assembled; and in ten minutes more an officer reported that
the whole twelve hundred were present, without one defaulter.

The Landgrave had not yet appeared, his minister having received the
company; nor was he expected to appear for an hour--in reality, he was
occupied in political discussion with some of the illustrious
_incognitos_. But this did not interfere with the progress of the
festival; and at this moment nothing could be more impressive than the
far-stretching splendors of the spectacle.

In one immense saloon, twelve hundred cavaliers and ladies, attired in
the unrivalled pomp of that age, were arranging themselves for one of
the magnificent Hungarian dances, which the emperor's court at Vienna
had transplanted to the camp of Wallenstein, and thence to all the
great houses of Germany. Bevies of noble women, in every variety of
fanciful costume, but in each considerable group presenting deep masses
of black or purple velvet, on which, with the most striking advantage
of radiant relief, lay the costly pearl ornaments, or the sumptuous
jewels, so generally significant in those times of high ancestral
pretensions, intermingled with the drooping plumes of martial
cavaliers, who presented almost universally the soldierly air of
frankness which belongs to active service, mixed with the Castilian
_grandezza_ that still breathed through the camps of Germany,
emanating originally from the magnificent courts of Brussels, of
Madrid, and of Vienna, and propagated to this age by the links of
Tilly, the Bavarian commander, and Wallenstein, the more than princely
commander for the emperor. Figures and habiliments so commanding were
of themselves enough to fill the eye and occupy the imagination; but,
beyond all this, feelings of awe and mystery, under more shapes than
one, brooded over the whole scene, and diffused a tone of suspense and
intense excitement throughout the vast assembly. It was known that
illustrious strangers were present _incognito_. There now began to
be some reason for anticipating a great battle in the neighborhood. The
men were now present, perhaps, the very hands were now visibly
displayed for the coming dance, which in a few days, or even hours (so
rapid were the movements at this period), were to wield the truncheon
that might lay the Catholic empire prostrate, or might mould the
destiny of Europe for centuries. Even this feeling gave way to one
still more enveloped in shades--The Masque! Would he keep his promise,
and appear? might he not be there already? might he not even now be
moving amongst them? may he not, even at this very moment, thought each
person, secretly be near me--or even touching myself--or haunting my
own steps?

Yet again thought most people (for at that time hardly anybody affected
to be incredulous in matters allied to the supernatural), was this
mysterious being liable to touch? Was he not of some impassive nature,
inaudible, invisible, impalpable? Many of his escapes, if truly
reported, seemed to argue as much. If, then, connected with the
spiritual world, was it with the good or the evil in that inscrutable
region? But, then, the bloodshed, the torn dresses, the marks of deadly
struggle, which remained behind in some of those cases where mysterious
disappearances had occurred,--these seemed undeniable arguments of
murder, foul and treacherous murder. Every attempt, in short, to
penetrate the mystery of this being's nature, proved as abortive as the
attempts to intercept his person; and all efforts at applying a
solution to the difficulties of the case made the mystery even more
mysterious.

These thoughts, however, generally as they pervaded the company, would
have given way, for a time at least, to the excitement of the scene;
for a sudden clapping of hands from some officers of the household, to
enforce attention, and as a signal to the orchestra in one of the
galleries, at this moment proclaimed that the dances were on the point
of commencing in another half-minute, when suddenly a shriek from a
female, and then a loud, tumultuous cry from a multitude of voices,
announced some fearful catastrophe; and in the next moment a shout of
"Murder!" froze the blood of the timid amongst the company.


CHAPTER XV.


So vast was the saloon, that it had been impossible, through the maze
of figures, the confusion of colors, and the mingling of a thousand
voices, that anything should be perceived distinctly at the lower end
of all that was now passing at the upper. Still, so awful is the
mystery of life, and so hideous and accursed in man's imagination is
every secret extinction of toat consecrated lamp, that no news thrills
so deeply, or travels so rapidly. Hardly could it be seen in what
direction, or through whose communication, yet in less than a minute a
movement of sympathizing horror, and uplifted hands, announced that the
dreadful news had reached them. A murder, it was said, had been
committed in the palace. Ladies began to faint; others hastened away in
search of friends; others to learn the news more accurately; and some
of the gentlemen, who thought themselves sufficiently privileged by
rank, hurried off with a stream of agitated inquirers to the interior
of the castle, in search of the scene itself. A few only passed the
guard in the first moments of confusion, and penetrated, with the
agitated Adorni, through the long and winding passages, into the very
scene of the murder. A rumor had prevailed for a moment that the
Landgrave was himself the victim; and as the road by which the agitated
household conducted them took a direction towards his highness' suite
of rooms, at first Adorni had feared that result. Recovering his self-
possession, however, at length, he learned that it was the poor old
seneschal upon whom the blow had fallen. And he pressed on with more
coolness to the dreadful spectacle.

The poor old man was stretched at his length on the floor. It did not
seem that he had struggled with the murderer. Indeed, from some
appearances, it seemed probable that he had been attacked whilst
sleeping; and though he had received three wounds, it was pronounced by
a surgeon that one of them (and _that_, from circumstances, the
first) had been sufficient to extinguish life. He was discovered by his
daughter, a woman who held some respectable place amongst the servants
of the castle; and every presumption concurred in fixing the time of
the dreadful scene to about one hour before.

"Such, gentlemen, are the acts of this atrocious monster, this Masque,
who has so long been the scourge of Klosterheim," said Adorni to the
strangers who had accompanied him, as they turned away on their return
to the company; "but this very night, I trust, will put a bridle in his
mouth."

"God grant it may be so!" said some. But others thought the whole case
too mysterious for conjectures, and too solemn to be decided by
presumptions. And in the midst of agitated discussions on the scene
they had just witnessed, as well as the whole history of The Masque,
the party returned to the saloon.

Under ordinary circumstances, this dreadful event would have damped the
spirits of the company; as it was, it did but deepen the gloomy
excitement which already had possession of all present, and raise a
more intense expectation of the visit so publicly announced by The
Masque. It seemed as though he had perpetrated this recent murder
merely by way of reviving the impression of his own dreadful character
in Klosterheim, which might have decayed a little of late, in all its
original strength and freshness of novelty; or, as though he wished to
send immediately before him an act of atrocity that should form an
appropriate herald or harbinger of his own entrance upon the scene.

Dreadful, however, as this deed of darkness was, it seemed of too
domestic a nature to exercise any continued influence upon so
distinguished an assembly, so numerous, so splendid, and brought
together at so distinguished a summons. Again, therefore, the masques
prepared to mingle in the dance; again the signal was given; again the
obedient orchestra preluded to the coming strains. In a moment more,
the full tide of harmony swept along. The vast saloon, and its echoing
roof, rang with the storm of music. The masques, with their floating
plumes and jewelled caps, glided through the fine mazes of the
Hungarian dances. All was one magnificent and tempestuous confusion,
overflowing with the luxury of sound and sight, when suddenly, about
midnight, a trumpet sounded, the Landgrave entered, and all was hushed.
The glittering crowd arranged themselves in a half-circle at the upper
end of the room; his highness went rapidly round, saluting the company,
and receiving their homage in return. A signal was again made; the
music and the dancing were resumed; and such was the animation and the
turbulent delight amongst the gayer part of the company, from the
commingling of youthful blood with wine, lights, music, and festal
conversation, that, with many, all thoughts of the dreadful Masque, who
"reigned by night in Klosterheim," had faded before the exhilaration of
the moment. Midnight had come; the dreadful apparition had not yet
entered; young ladies began timidly to jest upon the subject, though as
yet but faintly, and in a tone somewhat serious for a jest; and young
cavaliers, who, to do them justice, had derived most part of their
terrors from the superstitious view of the case, protested to their
partners that if The Masque, on making his appearance, should conduct
himself in a manner unbecoming a cavalier, or offensive to the ladies
present, they should feel it their duty to chastise him; "though," said
they, "with respect to old Adorni, should The Masque think proper to
teach him better manners, or even to cane him, we shall not find it
necessary to interfere."

Several of the very young ladies protested that, of all things, they
should like to see a battle between old Adorni and The Masque, "such a
love of a quiz that old Adorni is!" whilst others debated whether The
Masque would turn out a young man or an old one; and a few elderly
maidens mooted the point whether he were likely to be a "single"
gentleman, or burdened with a "wife and family." These and similar
discussions were increasing in vivacity, and kindling more and more
gayety of repartee, when suddenly, with the effect of a funeral knell
upon their mirth, a whisper began to circulate that _there was one
Masque too many in company_. Persons had been stationed by Adorni in
different galleries, with instructions to note accurately the dress of
every person in the company; to watch the motions of every one who gave
the slightest cause for suspicion, by standing aloof from the rest of
the assembly, or by any other peculiarity of manner; but, above all, to
count the numbers of the total assembly. This last injunction was more
easily obeyed than at first sight seemed possible. At this time the
Hungarian dances, which required a certain number of partners to
execute the movements of the figure, were of themselves a sufficient
register of the precise amount of persons engaged in them. And, as
these dances continued for a long time undisturbed, this calculation
once made, left no further computation necessary, than simply to take
the account of all who stood otherwise engaged. This list, being much
the smaller one, was soon made; and the reports of several different
observers, stationed in different galleries, and checked by each other,
all tallied in reporting a total of just _twelve hundred and one
persons_, after every allowance was made for the known members of
the Landgrave's suite, who were all unmasqued.

This report was announced with considerable trepidation, in a very
audible whisper, to Adorni and the Landgrave. The buzz of agitation
attracted instant attention; the whisper was loud enough to catch the
ears of several; the news went rapidly kindling through the room that
the company was too many by one: all the ladies trembled, their knees
shook, their voices failed, they stopped in the very middle of
questions, answers halted for their conclusion, and were never more
remembered by either party; the very music began to falter, the lights
seemed to wane and sicken; for the fact was new too evident that The
Masque had kept his appointment, and was at this moment in the room "to
meet the Landgrave and his honorable company."

Adorni and the Landgrave now walked apart from the rest of the
household, and were obviously consulting together on the next step to
be taken, or on the proper moment for executing one which had already
been decided on. Some crisis seemed approaching, and the knees of many
ladies knocked together, as they anticipated some cruel or bloody act
of vengeance. "O poor Masque!" sighed a young lady, in her tender-
hearted concern for one who seemed now at the mercy of his enemies: "do
you think, sir," addressing her partner, "they will cut him to
pieces?"--"O, that wicked old Adorni!" exclaimed another; "I know he
will stick the poor Masque on one side and somebody else will stick him
on the other; I know he will, because The Masque called him a tailor;
do you think he _was_ a tailor sir?"--"Why, really, madam, he
walks like a tailor; but, then he must be a very bad one, considering
how ill his own clothes are made; and _that_, you know, is next
door to being none at all. But, see, his highness is going to stop the
music."

In fact, at that moment the Landgrave made a signal to the orchestra:
the music ceased abruptly; and his highness, advancing to the company,
who stood eagerly awaiting his words, said: "Illustrious and noble
friends! for a very urgent and special cause I will request of you all
to take your seats."

The company obeyed, every one sought the chair next to him, or, if a
lady, accepted that which was offered by the cavalier at her side. The
standers continually diminished. Two hundred were left, one hundred and
fifty, eighty, sixty, twenty, till at last they were reduced to two,--
both gentlemen, who had been attending upon ladies. They were suddenly
aware of their own situation. One chair only remained out of twelve
hundred. Eager to exonerate himself from suspicion, each sprang
furiously to this seat; each attained it at the same moment, and each
possessed himself of part at the same instant. As they happened to be
two elderly, corpulent men, the younger cavaliers, under all the
restraints of the moment, the panic of the company, and the Landgraves
presence, could not forbear laughing; and the more spirited amongst the
young ladies caught the infection.

His highness was little in a temper to brook this levity, and hastened
to relieve the joint occupants of the chair from the ridicule of their
situation. "Enough!" he exclaimed, "enough! All my friends are
requested to resume the situation most agreeable to them; my purpose is
answered." The prince was himself standing with all his household, and,
as a point of respect, all the company rose. ("_As you were_,"
whispered the young soldiers to their fair companions.)

Adorni now came forward. "It is known," said he, "by trials more than
sufficient, that some intruder, with the worst intentions, has crept
into this honorable company. The ladies present will therefore have the
goodness to retire apart to the lower end of the saloon, whilst the
noble cavaliers will present themselves in succession to six officers
of his highness' household, to whom they will privately communicate
their names and quality."

This arrangement was complied with,--not, however, without the exchange
of a few flying jests on the part of the younger cavaliers and their
fair partners, as they separated for the purpose. The cavaliers, who
were rather more than five hundred in number, went up as they were
summoned by the number marked upon their cards of admission, and,
privately communicating with some one of the officers appointed, were
soon told off, and filed away to the right of the Landgrave, waiting
for the signal which should give them permission to rejoin their
parties.

All had been now told off, within a score. These were clustered
together in a group; and in that group undoubtedly was The Masque.
Every eye was converged upon this small knot of cavaliers; each of the
spectators, according to his fancy, selected the one who came nearest
in dress, or in personal appearance, to his preconceptions of that
mysterious agent. Not a word was uttered, not a whisper; hardly a robe
was heard to rustle, or a feather to wave.

The twenty were rapidly reduced to twelve, these to six, the six to
four--three--two; the tale of the invited was complete, and one man
remained behind. That was, past doubting, The Masque!


CHAPTER XVI.


"There stands he that governs Klosterheim by night!" thought every
cavalier, as he endeavored to pierce the gloomy being's concealment
with penetrating eyes, or, by scrutiny ten times repeated, to unmasque
the dismal secrets which lurked beneath his disguise. "There stands the
gloomy murderer!" thought another. "There stands the poor detected
criminal," thought the pitying young ladies, "who in the next moment
must lay bare his breast to the Landgrave's musketeers."

The figure, meantime, stood tranquil and collected, apparently not in
the least disturbed by the consciousness of his situation, or the
breathless suspense of more than a thousand spectators of rank and
eminent station, all bending their looks upon himself. He had been
leaning against a marble column, as if wrapped up in revery, and
careless of everything about him. But when the dead silence announced
that the ceremony was closed, that he only remained to answer for
himself, and upon palpable proof--evidence not to be gainsayed--
incapable of answering satisfactorily; when, in fact, it was beyond
dispute that here was at length revealed, in bodily presence, before
the eyes of those whom he had so long haunted with terrors, The Masque
of Klosterheim,--it was naturally expected that now, at least, he would
show alarm and trepidation; that he would prepare for defence, or
address himself to instant flight.

Far otherwise! Cooler than any one person beside in the saloon, he
stood, like the marble column against which he had been reclining,
upright, massy, and imperturbable. He was enveloped in a voluminous
mantle, which, at this moment, with a leisurely motion, he suffered to
fall at his feet, and displayed a figure in which the grace of an
Antinous met with the columnar strength of a Grecian Hercules,--
presenting, in its _tout ensemble_, the majestic proportions of a
Jupiter. He stood--a breathing statue of gladiatorial beauty, towering
above all who were near him, and eclipsing the noblest specimens of the
human form which the martial assembly presented. A buzz of admiration
arose, which in the following moment was suspended by the dubious
recollections investing his past appearances, and the terror which
waited even on his present movements. He was armed to the teeth; and he
was obviously preparing to move.

Not a word had yet been spoken; so tumultuous was the succession of
surprises, so mixed and conflicting the feelings, so intense the
anxiety. The arrangement of the groups was this: At the lower half of
the room, but starting forward in attitudes of admiration or suspense,
were the ladies of Klosterheim. At the upper end, in the centre, one
hand raised to bespeak attention, was The Masque of Klosterheim. To his
left, and a little behind him, with a subtle Venetian countenance, one
hand waving back a half file of musketeers, and the other raised as if
to arrest the arm of The Masque, was the wily minister Adorni, creeping
nearer and nearer with a stealthy stride. To his right was the great
body of Klosterheim cavaliers, a score of students and young officers
pressing forward to the front; but in advance of the whole, the
Landgrave of X----, haughty, lowering, and throwing out looks of
defiance. These were the positions and attitudes in which the first
discovery of The Masque had surprised them; and these they still
retained. Less dignified spectators were looking downwards from the
galleries.

"Surrender!" was the first word by which silence was broken; it came
from the Landgrave.

"Or die!" exclaimed Adorni.

"He dies in any case," rejoined the prince.

The Masque still raised his hand with the action of one who bespeaks
attention. Adorni he deigned not to notice. Slightly inclining his head
to the Landgrave, in a tone to which it might be the headdress of
elaborate steel work that gave a sepulchral tone, he replied:

"The Masque, who rules in Klosterheim by night, surrenders not. He can
die. But first he will complete the ceremony of the night; he will
reveal himself."

"That is superfluous," exclaimed Adorni; "we need no further
revelations. Seize him, and lead him out to death!"

"Dog of an Italian!" replied The Masque, drawing a dag [Footnote:
_Dag_, a sort of pistol or carbine.] from his belt, "die first
yourself!" And so saying, he slowly turned and levelled the barrel at
Adorni, who fled with two bounds to the soldiers in the rear. Then,
withdrawing the weapon hastily, he added, in a tone of cool contempt,
"Or bridle that coward's tongue."

But this was not the minister's intention. "Seize him!" he cried again
impetuously to the soldiers, laying his hand on the arm of the
foremost, and pointing them forward to their prey.

"No!" said the Landgrave, with a commanding voice; "halt! I bid you."
Something there was in the tone, or it might be that there was
something in his private recollections, or something in the general
mystery, which promised a discovery that he feared to lose by the too
precipitate vengeance of the Italian. "What is it, mysterious being,
that you would reveal? Or who is it that you now believe interested in
your revelations?"

"Yourself.--Prince, it would seem that you have me at your mercy:
wherefore, then, the coward haste of this Venetian hound? I am one; you
are many. Lead me, then, out; shoot me. But no: freely I entered this
hall; freely I will leave it. If I must die, I will die as a soldier.
Such I am; and neither runagate from a foreign land, nor "--turning to
Adorni-"a base mechanic."

"But a murderer!" shrieked Adorni: "but a murderer; and with hands yet
reeking from innocent blood!"

"Blood, Adorni, that I will yet avenge.--Prince, you demand the nature
of my revelations. I will reveal my name, my quality, and my mission."

"And to whom?"

"To yourself, and none beside. And, as a pledge for the sincerity of my
discoveries, I will first of all communicate a dreadful secret, known,
as you fondly believe, to none but your highness. Prince, dare you
receive my revelations?"

Speaking thus, The Masque took one step to the rear, turning his back
upon the room, and by a gesture signified his wish that the Landgrave
should accompany him. But at this motion ten or a dozen of the foremost
among the young cavaliers started forward in advance of the Landgrave,
in part forming a half-circle about his person, and in part commanding
the open doorway.

"He is armed!" they exclaimed; "and trebly armed: will your highness
approach him too nearly?"

"I fear him not," said the Landgrave, with something of a contemptuous
tone.

"Wherefore should you fear me?" retorted The Masque, with a manner so
tranquil and serene as involuntarily to disarm suspicion. "Were it
possible that I should seek the life of any man here in particular, in
that case (pointing to the fire-arms in his belt), why should I need to
come nearer? Were it possible that any should find in my conduct here a
motive to a personal vengeance upon myself, which of you is not near
enough? Has your highness the courage to trample on such terrors?"

Thus challenged, as it were, to a trial of his courage before the
assembled rank of Klosterheim, the Landgrave waved off all who would
have stepped forward officiously to his support. If he felt any
tremors, he was now sensible that pride and princely honor called upon
him to dissemble them. And, probably, that sort of tremors which he
felt in reality did not point in a direction to which physical support,
such as was now tendered, could have been available. He hesitated no
longer, but strode forward to meet The Masque. His highness and The
Masque met near the archway of the door, in the very centre of the
groups.

With a thrilling tone, deep, piercing, full of alarm, The Masque began
thus:

"To win your confidence, forever to establish credit with your
highness, I will first of all reveal the name of that murderer who this
night dared to pollute your palace with an old man's blood. Prince,
bend your ear a little this way."

With a shudder, and a visible effort of self-command, the Landgrave
inclined his ear to The Masque, who added,--

"Your highness will be shocked to hear it:" then, in a lower tone, "Who
could have believed it?--It was----." All was pronounced clearly and
strongly, except the last word--the name of the murderer; _that_ was
made audible only to the Landgrave's ear.

Sudden and tremendous was the effect upon the prince: he reeled a few
paces off; put his hand to the hilt of his sword; smote his forehead;
threw frenzied looks upon The Masque,--now half imploring, now dark
with vindictive wrath. Then succeeded a pause of profoundest silence,
during which all the twelve hundred visitors, whom he had himself
assembled as if expressly to make them witnesses of this extraordinary
scene, and of the power with which a stranger could shake him to and
fro in a tempestuous strife of passions, were looking and hearkening
with senses on the stretch to pierce the veil of silence and of
distance. At last the Landgrave mastered his emotion sufficiently to
say, "Well, sir, what next?"

"Next comes a revelation of another kind; and I warn you, sir, that it
will not be less trying to the nerves. For this first I needed your
ear; now I shall need your eyes. Think again, prince, whether you will
stand the trial."

"Pshaw! sir, you trifle with me; again I tell you--" But here the
Landgrave spoke with an affectation of composure, and with an effort
that did not escape notice;--"again I tell you that I fear you not. Go
on."

"Then come forward a little, please your highness, to the light of this
lamp." So saying, with a step or two in advance, he drew the prince
under the powerful glare of a lamp suspended near the great archway of
entrance from the interior of the palace. Both were now standing with
their faces entirely averted from the spectators. Still more
effectually, however, to screen himself from any of those groups on the
left, whose advanced position gave them somewhat more the advantage of
an oblique aspect, The Masque, at this moment, suddenly drew up, with
his left hand, a short Spanish mantle which depended from his
shoulders, and now gave him the benefit of a lateral screen. Then, so
far as the company behind them could guess at his act, unlocking with
his right hand and raising the masque which shrouded his mysterious
features, he shouted aloud, in a voice that rang clear through every
corner of the vast saloon, "Landgrave, for crimes yet unrevealed, I
summon you, in twenty days, before a tribunal where there is no shield
but innocence" and at that moment turned his countenance full upon the
prince.

With a yell, rather than a human expression of terror, the Landgrave
fell, as if shot by a thunderbolt, stretched at his full length upon
the ground, lifeless apparently, and bereft of consciousness or
sensation. A sympathetic cry of horror arose from the spectators. All
rushed towards The Masque. The young cavaliers, who had first stepped
forward as volunteers in the Landgrave's defence, were foremost, and
interposed between The Masque and the outstretched arms of Adorni, as
if eager to seize him first. In an instant a sudden and dense cloud of
smoke arose, nobody knew whence. Repeated discharges of fire-arms were
heard resounding from the doorway and the passages; these increased the
smoke and the confusion. Trumpets sounded through the corridors. The
whole archway, under which The Masque and the Landgrave had been
standing, became choked up with soldiery, summoned by the furious
alarms that echoed through the palace. All was one uproar and chaos of
masques, plumes, helmets, halberds, trumpets, gleaming sabres, and the
fierce faces of soldiery forcing themselves through the floating
drapery of smoke that now filled the whole upper end of the saloon.
Adorni was seen in the midst, raving fruitlessly. Nobody heard, nobody
listened. Universal panic had seized the household, the soldiery, and
the company. Nobody understood exactly for what purpose the tumult had
commenced--in what direction it tended. Some tragic catastrophe was
reported from mouth to mouth: nobody knew what. Some said the Landgrave
had been assassinated; some, The Masque; some asserted that both had
perished under reciprocal assaults. More believed that The Masque had
proved to be of that supernatural order of beings, with which the
prevailing opinions of Klosterheim had long classed him; and that, upon
raising his disguise, he had revealed to the Landgrave the fleshless
skull of some forgotten tenant of the grave. This indeed seemed to many
the only solution that, whilst it fell in with the prejudices and
superstitions of the age, was of a nature to account for that
tremendous effect which the discovery had produced upon the Landgrave.
But it was one that naturally could be little calculated to calm the
agitations of the public prevailing at this moment. This spread
contagiously. The succession of alarming events,--the murder, the
appearance of The Masque, his subsequent extraordinary behavior, the
overwhelming impression upon the Landgrave, which had formed the
catastrophe of this scenical exhibition,--the consternation of the
great Swedish officers, who were spending the night in Klosterheim, and
reasonably suspected that the tumult might be owing to the sudden
detection of their own _incognito_, and that, in consequence, the
populace of this imperial city were suddenly rising to arms; the
endless distraction and counter-action of so many thousand persons--
visitors, servants, soldiery, household--all hurrying to the same
point, and bringing assistance to a danger of which nobody knew the
origin, nobody the nature, nobody the issue; multitudes commanding
where all obedience was forgotten, all subordination had gone to
wreck;--these circumstances of distraction united to sustain a scene of
absolute frenzy in the castle, which, for more than half an hour, the
dense columns of smoke aggravated alarmingly, by raising, in many
quarters, additional terrors of fire. And when, at last, after infinite
exertions, the soldiery had deployed into the ball-room and the
adjacent apartments of state, and had succeeded, at the point of the
pike, in establishing a safe egress for the twelve hundred visitors, it
was then first ascertained that all traces of The Masque had been lost
in the smoke and subsequent confusion; and that, with his usual good
fortune, he had succeeded in baffling his pursuers.


CHAPTER XVII.


Meantime the Lady Paulina had spent her time in secret grief,
inconsolable for the supposed tragical fate of Maximilian. It was
believed that he had perished. This opinion had prevailed equally
amongst his friends, and the few enemies whom circumstances had made
him. Supposing even that he had escaped with life from the action, it
seemed inevitable that he should have fallen into the hands of the
bloody Holkerstein; and under circumstances which would point him out
to the vengeance of that cruel ruffian as having been the leader in the
powerful resistance which had robbed him of his prey.

Stung with the sense of her irreparable loss, and the premature grief
which had blighted her early hopes, Paulina sought her refuge in
solitude, and her consolations in religion. In the convent where she
had found a home, the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic service were
maintained with the strictness and the pomp suitable to its ample
endowments. The emperor had himself, as well as several of his
progenitors, been a liberal benefactor to this establishment. And a
lady of his house, therefore, recommended by a special introduction
from the emperor to the attentions of the lady abbess, was sure of
meeting kindness and courtesy in every possible shape which could avail
to mitigate her sorrow. The abbess, though a bigot, was a human being,
with strong human sensibilities; and in both characters she was greatly
pleased with the Lady Paulina. On the one hand, her pride, as the head
of a religious establishment, was flattered by the extreme regularity
of the Lady Paulina in conforming to the ritual of her house; this
example of spiritual obedience and duty seemed peculiarly edifying in a
person of such distinguished rank. On the other hand, her womanly
sensibilities were touched by the spectacle of early and unmerited
sorrow in one so eminent for her personal merits, for her extreme
beauty, and the winning sweetness of her manners. Hence she readily
offered to the young countess all the attentions and marks of sympathy
which her retiring habits permitted, and every species of indulgence
compatible with the spirit of the institution.

The whole convent, nuns as well as strangers, taking their tone from
the abbess, vied with each other in attentions to Paulina. But, whilst
acknowledging their kindness, she continued to shrink from all general
intercourse with the society about her. Her attendance was constant at
the matins and at vespers; not unfrequently even at the midnight
service; but dejection was too rooted in her heart, to allow her any
disposition to enter into the amusements or mixed society which the
convent at that time offered.

Many noble strangers had been allowed to take up their quarters in the
convent. With some of these the abbess was connected by blood; with
others, by ties of ancient friendship. Most of this party composed a
little society apart from the rest, and continued to pursue those
amusements or occupations which properly belonged to their stations and
quality, but by their too worldly nature were calculated to exclude the
religious members of the institution from partaking in them. To this
society Paulina received frequent invitations; which, however, she
declined so uniformly, that at length all efforts ceased to draw her
from the retirement which she so manifestly adhered to from choice. The
motives of her dejection became known throughout the convent, and were
respected; and it was now reported amongst them, from her aversion to
society as well as her increasing devotion, that the Lady Paulina would
soon take the veil.

Amongst the strangers was one, a lady of mature age, with beauty still
powerful enough to fascinate all beholders, who seemed to survey
Paulina with an interest far beyond that of curiosity or simple
admiration. Sorrow might be supposed the common bond which connected
them; for there were rumors amongst the sisterhood of St. Agnes that
this lady had suffered afflictions heavier than fell to an ordinary lot
in the course of the war which now desolated Germany. Her husband (it
was said), of whom no more was known than that he was some officer of
high rank, had perished by the hand of violence; a young daughter, the
only child of two or three who remained to her, had been carried off in
infancy, and no traces remained of her subsequent fate. To these
misfortunes was added the loss of her estates and rank, which, in some
mysterious way, were supposed to be withheld from her by one of those
great oppressors whom war and the policy of great allies had
aggrandized. It was supposed even that for the means of subsistence to
herself, and a few faithful attendants, she was indebted to the
kindness of the lady abbess, with whom she was closely connected by
ancient friendship.

In this tale there were many inaccuracies mixed up with the truth. It
was true that, in some one of the many dire convulsions which had
passed from land to land since the first outbreak of the Bohemian
troubles, in 1618, and which had covered with a veil of political
pretexts so many local acts of private family feud and murderous
treason, this lady had been deprived of her husband by a violent death
under circumstances which still seemed mysterious. But the fate of her
children, if any had survived the calamity which took off her husband,
was unknown to everybody except her confidential protectress, the lady
abbess. By permission of this powerful friend, who had known her from
infancy, and through the whole course of her misfortunes, she was
permitted to take up her abode in the convent, under special
privileges, and was there known by the name of Sister Madeline.

The intercourse of the Sister Madeline with the lady abbess was free
and unreserved. At all hours they entered each other's rooms with the
familiarity of sisters; and it might have been thought that in every
respect they stood upon the equal footing of near relatives, except
that occasionally in the manners of the abbess was traced, or imagined,
a secret air of deference towards the desolate Sister Madeline, which,
as it was not countenanced at all by their present relations to each
other, left people at liberty to build upon it a large superstructure
of romantic conjectures.

Sister Madeline was as regular in her attendance upon prayers as
Paulina. There, if nowhere else, they were sure of meeting; and in no
long time it became evident that the younger lady was an object of
particular interest to the elder. When the sublime fugues of the old
composers for the organ swelled upon the air, and filled the vast
aisles of the chapel with their floating labyrinths of sound, attention
to the offices of the church service being suspended for the time, the
Sister Madeline spent the interval in watching the countenance of
Paulina. Invariably at this period her eyes settled upon the young
countess, and appeared to court some return of attention, by the tender
sympathy which her own features expressed with the grief too legibly
inscribed upon Paulina's. For some time Paulina, absorbed by her own
thoughts, failed to notice this very particular expression of attention
and interest. Accustomed to the gaze of crowds, as well on account of
her beauty as her connection with the imperial house, she found nothing
new or distressing in this attention to herself. After some time,
however, observing herself still haunted by the sister's furtive
glances, she found her own curiosity somewhat awakened in return. The
manners of Sister Madeline were too dignified, and her face expressed
too much of profound feeling, and traces too inextinguishable of the
trials through which she had passed, to allow room for any belief that
she was under the influence of an ordinary curiosity. Paulina was
struck with a confused feeling, that she looked upon features which had
already been familiar to her heart, though disguised in Sister Madeline
by age, by sex, and by the ravages of grief. She had the appearance of
having passed her fiftieth year; but it was probable that, spite of a
brilliant complexion, secret sorrow had worked a natural effect in
giving to her the appearance of age more advanced by seven or eight
years than she had really attained. Time, at all events, if it had
carried off forever her youthful graces, neither had nor seemed likely
to destroy the impression of majestic beauty under eclipse and wane. No
one could fail to read the signs by which the finger of nature
announces a great destiny, and a mind born to command.

Insensibly the two ladies had established a sort of intercourse by
looks; and at length, upon finding that the Sister Madeline mixed no
more than herself in the general society of Klosterheim, Paulina had
resolved to seek the acquaintance of a lady whose deportment announced
that she would prove an interesting acquaintance, whilst her melancholy
story and the expression of her looks were a sort of pledges that she
would be found a sympathizing friend.

She had already taken some steps towards the attainment of her wishes,
when, unexpectedly, on coming out from the vesper service, the Sister
Madeline placed herself by the side of Paulina, and they walked down
one of the long side-aisles together. The saintly memorials about them,
the records of everlasting peace which lay sculptured at their feet,
and the strains which still ascended to heaven from the organ and the
white-robed choir,--all speaking of a rest from trouble so little to be
found on earth, and so powerfully contrasting with the desolations of
poor, harassed Germany,--affected them deeply, and both burst into
tears. At length the elder lady spoke.

"Daughter, you keep your faith piously with him whom you suppose dead."

Paulina started. The other continued--

"Honor to young hearts that are knit together by ties so firm that even
death has no power to dissolve them! Honor to the love which can breed
so deep a sorrow! Yet, even in this world, the good are not
_always_ the unhappy. I doubt not that, even now at vespers, you
forgot not to pray for him that would willingly have died for you."

"0, gracious lady! when--when have I forgot that? What other prayer,
what other image, is ever at my heart?"

"Daughter, I could not doubt it; and Heaven sometimes sends answers to
prayers when they are least expected; and to yours it sends this
through me."

With these words she stretched out a letter to Paulina, who fainted
with sudden surprise and delight, on recognizing the hand of
Maximilian.


CHAPTER XVIII.


It was, indeed, the handwriting of her lover; and the first words of
the letter, which bore a recent date, announced his safety and his
recovered health. A rapid sketch of all which had befallen him since
they had last parted informed her that he had been severely wounded in
the action with Holkerstein's people, and probably to that misfortune
had been indebted for his life; since the difficulty of transporting
him on horseback, when unable to sit upright, had compelled the party
charged with his care to leave him for the night at Waldenhausen. From
that place he had been carried off in the night-time to a small
imperial garrison in the neighborhood by the care of two faithful
servants, who had found little difficulty in first intoxicating, and
then overpowering, the small guard judged sufficient for a prisoner so
completely disabled by his wounds. In this garrison he had recovered;
had corresponded with Vienna; had concerted measures with the emperor;
and was now on the point of giving full effect to their plans, at the
moment when certain circumstances should arise to favor the scheme.
What these were, he forbore designedly to say in a letter which ran
some risk of falling into the enemy's hands; but he bade Paulina
speedily to expect a great change for the better, which would put it in
their power to meet without restraint or fear; and concluded by giving
utterance in the fondest terms to a lover's hopes and tenderest
anxieties.

Paulina had scarcely recovered from the tumultuous sensations of
pleasure, and sudden restoration to hope, when she received a shock in
the opposite direction, from a summons to attend the Landgrave. The
language of the message was imperative, and more peremptory than had
ever before been addressed to herself, a lady of the imperial family.
She knew the Landgrave's character and his present position; both these
alarmed her, when connected with the style and language of his summons.
For _that_ announced distinctly enough that his resolution had
been now taken to commit himself to a bold course; no longer to hang
doubtfully between two policies, but openly to throw himself into the
arms of the emperor's enemies. In one view, Paulina found a benefit to
her spirits from this haughtiness of the Landgrave's message. She was
neither proud, nor apt to take offence. On the contrary, she was gentle
and meek; for the impulses of youth and elevated birth had in her been
chastened by her early acquaintance with great national calamities, and
the enlarged sympathy which that had bred with her fellow-creatures of
every rank. But she felt that, in this superfluous expression of
authority, the Landgrave was at the same time infringing the rights of
hospitality, and her own privileges of sex. Indignation at his unmanly
conduct gave her spirits to face him, though she apprehended a scene of
violence, and had the more reason to feel the trepidations of
uncertainty, because she very imperfectly comprehended his purposes as
respected herself.

These were not easily explained. She found the Landgrave pacing the
room with violence. His back was turned towards her as she entered;
but, as the usher announced loudly, on her entrance, "The Countess
Paulina of Hohenhelder," he turned impetuously, and advanced to meet
her. With the Landgrave, however irritated, the first impulse was to
comply with the ceremonious observances that belonged to his rank. He
made a cold obeisance, whilst an attendant placed a seat; and then
motioning to all present to withdraw, began to unfold the causes which
had called for Lady Paulina's presence.

So much art was mingled with so much violence, that for some time
Paulina gathered nothing of his real purposes. Resolved, however, to do
justice to her own insulted dignity, she took the first opening which
offered, to remonstrate with the Landgrave on the needless violence of
his summons. His serene highness wielded the sword in Klosterheim, and
could have no reason for anticipating resistance to his commands.

"The Lady Paulina, then, distinguishes between the power and the right?
I expected as much."

"By no means; she knew nothing of the claimants to either. She was a
stranger, seeking only hospitality in Klosterheim, which apparently was
violated by unprovoked exertions of authority."

"But the laws of hospitality," replied the Landgrave, "press equally on
the guest and the host. Each has his separate duties. And the Lady
Paulina, in the character of guest, violated hers from the moment when
she formed cabals in Klosterheim, and ministered to the fury of
conspirators."

"Your ear, sir, is abused; I have not so much as stepped beyond the
precincts of the convent in which I reside, until this day in paying
obedience to your highness' mandate."

"That may be; and that may argue only the more caution and subtlety.
The personal presence of a lady, so distinguished in her appearance as
the Lady Paulina, at any resort of conspirators or intriguers, would
have published too much the suspicions to which such a countenance
would be liable. But in writing have you dispersed nothing calculated
to alienate the attachment of my subjects?"

The Lady Paulina shook her head; she knew not even in what direction
the Landgrave's suspicions pointed.

"As, for example, this--does the Lady Paulina recognize this particular
paper?"

Saying this, he drew forth from a portfolio a letter or paper of
instructions, consisting of several sheets, to which a large official
seal was attached. The countess glanced her eye over it attentively; in
one or two places the words _Maximilian_ and _Klosterheim_ attracted
her attention; but she felt satisfied at once that she now saw it for
the first time.

"Of this paper," she said, at length, in a determined tone, "I know
nothing. The handwriting I believe I may have seen before. It resembles
that of one of the emperor's secretaries. Beyond that, I have no means
of even conjecturing its origin."

"Beware, madam, beware how far you commit yourself. Suppose now this
paper were actually brought in one of your ladyship's mails, amongst
your own private property."

"That may very well be," said Lady Paulina, "and yet imply no falsehood
on my part. Falsehood! I disdain such an insinuation; your highness has
been the first person who ever dared to make it." At that moment she
called to mind the robbery of her carriage at Waldenhausen. Coloring
deeply with indignation, she added, "Even in the case, sir, which you
have supposed, as unconscious bearer of this or any other paper, I am
still innocent of the intentions which such an act might argue in some
people. I am as incapable of offending in that way, as I shall always
be of disavowing any of my own acts, according to your ungenerous
insinuation. But now, sir, tell me how far those may be innocent who
have possessed themselves of a paper carried, as your highness alleges,
among my private baggage. Was it for a prince to countenance a robbery
of that nature, or to appropriate its spoils?"

The blood rushed to the Landgrave's temples. "In these times, young
lady, petty rights of individuals give way to state necessities.
Neither are there any such rights of individuals in bar of such an
inquisition. They are forfeited, as I told you before, when the guest
forgets his duties. But (and here he frowned), it seems to me,
countess, that you are now forgetting your situation; not I, remember,
but yourself, are now placed on trial."

"Indeed!" said the countess, "of that I was certainly not aware. Who,
then, is my accuser, who my judge? Or is it in your serene highness
that I see both?"

"Your accuser, Lady Paulina, is the paper I have shown you, a
treasonable paper. Perhaps I have others to bring forward of the same
bearing. Perhaps this is sufficient."

The Lady Paulina grew suddenly sad and thoughtful. Here was a tyrant,
with matter against her, which, even to an unprejudiced judge, might
really wear some face of plausibility. The paper had perhaps really
been one of those plundered from her carriage. It might really contain
matter fitted to excite disaffection against the Landgrave's
government. Her own innocence of all participation in the designs which
it purposed to abet might find no credit; or might avail her not at all
in a situation so far removed from the imperial protection. She had in
fact unadvisedly entered a city, which, at the time of her entrance,
might be looked upon as neutral, but since then had been forced into
the ranks of the emperor's enemies, too abruptly to allow of warning or
retreat. This was her exact situation. She saw her danger; and again
apprehended that, at the very moment of recovering her lover from the
midst of perils besetting _his_ situation, she might lose him by
the perils of her own.

The Landgrave watched the changes of her countenance, and read her
thoughts.

"Yes," he said, at length, "your situation is one of peril. But take
courage. Confess freely, and you have everything to hope for from my
clemency."

"Such clemency," said a deep voice, from some remote quarter of the
room, "as the wolf shows to the lamb."

Paulina started, and the Landgrave looked angry and perplexed. "Within,
there!" he cried loudly to the attendants in the next room. "I will no
more endure these insults," he exclaimed. "Go instantly, take a file of
soldiers; place them at all the outlets, and search the rooms
adjoining--above, and below. Such mummery is insufferable."

The voice replied again, "Landgrave, you search in vain. Look to
yourself! young Max is upon you!"

"This babbler," said the Landgrave, making an effort to recover his
coolness, "reminds me well; that adventurer, young Maximilian--who is
he? whence comes he? by whom authorized?"

Paulina blushed; but, roused by the Landgrave's contumelious
expressions applied to her lover, she replied, "He is no adventurer;
nor was ever in that class; the emperor's favor is not bestowed upon
such."

"Then, what brings him to Klosterheim? For what is it that he would
trouble the repose of this city?"

Before Paulina could speak in rejoinder, the voice, from a little
further distance, replied, audibly, "For his rights! See that you,
Landgrave, make no resistance."

The prince arose in fury; his eyes flashed fire, he clenched his hands
in impotent determination. The same voice had annoyed him on former
occasions, but never under circumstances which mortified him so deeply.
Ashamed that the youthful countess should be a witness of the insults
put upon him, and seeing that it was in vain to pursue his conversation
with her further in a situation which exposed him to the sarcasms of a
third person, under no restraint of fear or partiality, he adjourned
the further prosecution of his inquiry to another opportunity, and for
the present gave her leave to depart; a license which she gladly
availed herself of, and retired in fear and perplexity.


CHAPTER XIX.


It was dark as Paulina returned to her convent. Two servants of the
Landgrave's preceded her with torches to the great gates of St. Agnes,
which was at a very short distance. At that point she entered within
the shelter of the convent gates, and the prince's servants left her at
her own request. No person was now within call but a little page of her
own, and perhaps the porter at the convent. But after the first turn in
the garden of St. Agnes, she might almost consider herself as left to
her own guardianship; for the little boy, who followed her, was too
young to afford her any effectual help. She felt sorry, as she surveyed
the long avenue of ancient trees, which was yet to be traversed before
she entered upon the cloisters, that she should have dismissed the
servants of the Landgrave. These gardens were easily scaled from the
outside, and a ready communication existed between the remotest parts
of this very avenue and some of the least reputable parts of
Klosterheim. The city now overflowed with people of every rank; and
amongst them were continually recognized, and occasionally challenged,
some of the vilest deserters from the imperial camps. Wallenstein
himself, and other imperial commanders, but, above all, Holk, had
attracted to their standards the very refuse of the German jails; and,
allowing an unlimited license of plunder during some periods of their
career, had themselves evoked a fiendish spirit of lawless aggression
and spoliation, which afterwards they had found it impossible to
exorcise within its former limits. People were everywhere obliged to be
on their guard, not alone (as heretofore) against the military tyrant
or freebooter, but also against the private servants whom they hired
into their service. For some time back, suspicious persons had been
seen strolling at dusk in the gardens of St. Agnes, or even intruding
into the cloisters. Then the recollection of The Masque, now in the
very height of his mysterious career, flashed upon Paulina's thoughts.
Who knew his motives, or the principle of his mysterious warfare--
which, at any rate, in its mode had latterly been marked by bloodshed?
As these things came rapidly into her mind, she trembled more from fear
than from the wintry wind, which now blew keenly and gustily through
the avenue.

The gardens of St. Agnes were extensive, and Paulina yet wanted two
hundred yards of reaching the cloisters, when she observed a dusky
object stealing along the margin of a little pool, which in parts lay
open to the walk, whilst in others, where the walk receded from the
water, the banks were studded with thickets of tall shrubs. Paulina
stopped and observed the figure, which she was soon satisfied must be
that of a man. At times he rose to his full height; at times he cowered
downwards amongst the bushes. That he was not merely seeking a retreat
became evident from this, that the best road for such a purpose lay
open to him in the opposite direction; that he was watching herself,
also, became probable from the way in which he seemed to regulate his
own motions by hers. At length, whilst Paulina hesitated, in some
perplexity whether to go forward or to retreat towards the porter's
lodge, he suddenly plunged into the thickest belt of shrubs, and left
the road clear. Paulina seized the moment, and, with a palpitating
heart, quickened her steps towards the cloister.

She had cleared about one half of the way without obstruction, when
suddenly a powerful grasp seized her by the shoulder.

"Stop, lady!" said a deep, coarse voice; "stop! I mean no harm. Perhaps
I bring your ladyship what will be welcome news."

"But why here?" exclaimed Paulina; "wherefore do you alarm me thus? 0,
heavens! your eyes are wild and fierce; say, is it money that you
want?"

"Perhaps I do. To the like of me, lady, you may be sure that money
never comes amiss; but that is not my errand. Here is what will make
all clear;" and, as he spoke, he thrust his hand into the huge pocket
within the horseman's cloak which enveloped him. Instead of the pistol
or dag, which Paulina anticipated, he drew forth a large packet,
carefully sealed. Paulina felt so much relieved at beholding this
pledge of the man's pacific intentions, that she eagerly pressed her
purse into his hand, and was hastening to leave him, when the man
stopped her to deliver a verbal message from his master, requesting
earnestly that, if she concluded to keep the appointment arranged in
the letter, she would not be a minute later than the time fixed.

"And who," said Paulina, "is your master?"

"Surely, the general, madam--the young General Maximilian. Many a time
and oft have I waited on him when visiting your ladyship at the
Wartebrunn. But here I dare not show my face. Der Henker! if the
Landgrave knew that Michael Klotz was in Klosterheim, I reckon that all
the ladies in St. Agnes could not beg him a reprieve till to-morrow
morning!"

"Then, villain!" said the foremost of two men, who rushed hastily from
the adjoining shrubs, "be assured that the Landgrave does know it. Let
this be your warrant!" With these words he fired, and, immediately
after, his comrade. Whether the fugitive were wounded could not be
known; for he instantly plunged into the water, and, after two or three
moments, was heard upon the opposite margin. His pursuers seemed to
shrink from this attempt, for they divided and took the opposite
extremities of the pool, from the other bank of which they were soon
heard animating and directing each other through the darkness.

Paulina, confused and agitated, and anxious above all to examine her
letters, took the opportunity of a clear road, and fled in trepidation
to the convent.


CHAPTER XX.


The countess had brought home with her a double subject of anxiety. She
knew not to what result the Landgrave's purposes were tending; she
feared, also, from this sudden and new method of communication opened
with herself so soon after his previous letter, that some unexpected
bad fortune might now be threatening her lover. Hastily she tore open
the packet, which manifestly contained something larger than letters.
The first article which presented itself was a nun's veil, exactly on
the pattern of those worn by the nuns of St. Agnes. The accompanying
letter sufficiently explained its purpose.

It was in the handwriting, and bore the signature, of Maximilian. In a
few words he told her that a sudden communication, but from a quarter
entirely to be depended on, had reached him of a great danger impending
over her from the Landgrave; that, in the present submission of
Klosterheim to that prince's will, instant flight presented the sole
means of delivering her; for which purpose he would himself meet her in
disguise on the following morning, as early as four o'clock; or, if
that should prove impossible under the circumstances of the case, would
send a faithful servant; that one or other of them would attend at a
particular station, easily recognized by the description added, in a
ruinous part of the boundary wall, in the rear of the convent garden. A
large travelling cloak would be brought, to draw over the rest of her
dress; but meanwhile, as a means of passing unobserved through the
convent grounds, where the Landgrave's agents were continually watching
her motions, the nun's veil was almost indispensable. The other
circumstances of the journey would be communicated to her upon meeting.
In conclusion, the writer implored Paulina to suffer no scruples of
false delicacy to withhold her from a step which had so suddenly become
necessary to her preservation; and cautioned her particularly against
communicating her intentions to the lady abbess, whose sense of decorum
might lead her to urge advice at this moment inconsistent with her
safety.

Again and again did Paulina read this agitating letter; again and again
did she scrutinize the handwriting, apprehensive that she might be
making herself a dupe to some hidden enemy. The handwriting,
undoubtedly, had not all the natural freedom which characterized that
of Maximilian; it was somewhat stiff in its movement, but not more so
than that of his previous letter, in which he had accounted for the
slight change from a wound not perfectly healed in his right hand. In
other respects the letter seemed liable to no just suspicion. The
danger apprehended from the Landgrave tallied with her own knowledge.
The convent grounds were certainly haunted, as the letter alleged, by
the Landgrave's people; of that she had just received a convincing
proof; for, though the two strangers had turned off in pursuit of the
messenger who bore Maximilian's letter, yet doubtless their original
object of attention had been herself; they were then posted to watch
her motions, and they had avowed themselves in effect the Landgrave's
people. That part of the advice, again, which respected the lady
abbess, seemed judicious, on considering the character of that lady,
however much at first sight it might warrant some jealousy of the
writer's purposes to find him warning her against her best friends.
After all, what most disturbed the confidence of Paulina was the
countenance of the man who presented the letter. If this man were to be
the representative of Maximilian on the following morning, she felt,
and was persuaded that she would continue to feel, an invincible
repugnance to commit her safety to any such keeping. Upon the whole,
she resolved to keep the appointment, but to be guided in her further
conduct by circumstances as they should arise at the moment.

That night Paulina's favorite female attendant employed herself in
putting into as small a compass as possible the slender wardrobe which
they would be able to carry with them. The young countess herself spent
the hours in writing to the lady abbess and Sister Madeline,
acquainting them with all the circumstances of her interview with the
Landgrave, the certain grounds she had for apprehending some great
danger in that quarter, and the proposals so unexpectedly made to her
on the part of Maximilian for evading it. To ask that they should feel
no anxiety on her account, in times which made even a successful escape
from danger so very hazardous, she acknowledged would be vain; but, in
judging of the degree of prudence which she had exhibited on this
occasion, she begged them to reflect on the certain dangers which
awaited her from the Landgrave; and finally, in excuse for not having
sought the advice of so dear a friend as the lady abbess, she enclosed
the letter upon which she had acted.

These preparations were completed by midnight, after which Paulina
sought an hour or two of repose. At three o'clock were celebrated the
early matins, attended by the devouter part of the sisterhood, in the
chapel. Paulina and her maid took this opportunity for leaving their
chamber, and slipping unobserved amongst the crowd who were hurrying on
that summons into the cloisters. The organ was pealing solemnly through
the labyrinth of passages which led from the interior of the convent;
and Paulina's eyes were suffused with tears, as the gentler
recollections of her earlier days, and the peace which belongs to those
who have abjured this world and its treacherous promises, arose to her
mind, under the influence of the sublime music, in powerful contrast
with the tempestuous troubles of Germany--now become so comprehensive,
in their desolating sweep, as to involve even herself, and others of
station as elevated.


CHAPTER XXI.


The convent clock, chiming the quarters, at length announced that they
had reached the appointed hour. Trembling with fear and cold, though
muffled up in furs, Paulina and her attendant, with their nuns' veils
drawn over their head-dress, sallied forth into the garden. All was
profoundly dark, and overspread with the stillness of the grave. The
lights within the chapel threw a rich glow through the painted windows;
and here and there, from a few scattered casements in the vast pile of
St. Agnes, streamed a few weak rays from a taper or a lamp, indicating
the trouble of a sick bed, or the peace of prayer. But these rare
lights did but deepen the massy darkness of all beside; and Paulina,
with her attendant, had much difficulty in making her way to the
appointed station. Having reached the wall, however, they pursued its
windings, certain of meeting no important obstacles, until they
attained a part where their progress was impeded by frequent
dilapidations. Here they halted, and in low tones communicated their
doubts about the precise locality of the station indicated in the
letter, when suddenly a man started up from the ground, and greeted
them with the words "St. Agnes! all is right," which had been
preconcerted as the signal in the letter. This man was courteous and
respectful in his manner of speaking, and had nothing of the ruffian
voice which belonged to the bearer of the letter. In rapid terms he
assured Paulina that "the young general" had not found circumstances
favorable for venturing within the walls, but that he would meet her a
few miles beyond the city gates; and that at present they had no time
to lose. Saying this, he unshaded a dark lantern, which showed them a
ladder of ropes, attached to the summit of a wall, which at this point
was too low to occasion them much uneasiness or difficulty in
ascending. But Paulina insisted previously on hearing something more
circumstantial of the manner and style of their escape from the city
walls, and in what company their journey would be performed. The man
had already done something to conciliate Paulina's confidence by the
propriety of his address, which indicated a superior education, and
habits of intercourse with people of rank. He explained as much of the
plan as seemed necessary for the immediate occasion. A convoy of arms
and military stores was leaving the city for the post at Falkenstein.
Several carriages, containing privileged persons, to whom the Landgrave
or his minister had granted a license, were taking the benefit of an
escort over the forest; and a bribe in the proper quarter had easily
obtained permission, from the officer on duty at the gates, to suffer
an additional carriage to pass as one in a great lady's suite, on the
simple condition that it should contain none but females; as persons of
that sex were liable to no suspicion of being fugitives from the wrath
which was now supposed ready to descend upon the conspirators against
the Landgrave.

This explanation reconciled Paulina to the scheme. She felt cheered by
the prospect of having other ladies to countenance the mode of her
nocturnal journey; and at the worst, hearing this renewed mention of
conspirators and punishment, which easily connected itself with all
that had passed in her interview with the Landgrave, she felt assured,
at any rate, that the dangers she fled from transcended any which she
was likely to incur on her route. Her determination was immediately
taken. She passed over the wall with her attendant; and they found
themselves in a narrow lane, close to the city walls, with none but a
few ruinous outhouses on either side. A low whistle from the man was
soon answered by the rumbling of wheels; and from some distance, as it
seemed, a sort of caleche advanced, drawn by a pair of horses. Paulina
and her attendant stepped hastily in, for at the very moment when the
carriage drew up a signal-gun was heard; which, as their guide assured
them, proclaimed that the escort and the whole train of carriages were
at that moment defiling from the city gate. The driver, obeying the
directions of the other man, drove off as rapidly as the narrow road
and the darkness would allow. A few turns brought them into the great
square in front of the _schloss_; from which a few more open
streets, traversed at full gallop, soon brought them into the rear of
the convoy, which had been unexpectedly embarrassed in its progress to
the gate. From the rear, by dexterous management, they gradually
insinuated themselves into the centre; and, contrary to their
expectations, amongst the press of baggage-wagons, artillery, and
travelling equipages, all tumultuously clamoring to push on, as the
best chance of evading Holkerstein in the forest, their own
unpretending vehicle passed without other notice than a curse from the
officer on duty; which, however, they could not presume to appropriate,
as it might be supposed equitably distributed amongst all who stopped
the road at the moment.

Paulina shuddered as she looked out upon the line of fierce faces,
illuminated by the glare of torches, and mingling with horses' heads,
and the gleam of sabres; all around her, the roar of artillery wheels;
above her head the vast arch of the gates, its broad massy shadows
resting below; and in the vista beyond, which the archway defined, a
mass of blackness, in which she rather imagined than saw the
interminable solitudes of the forest. Soon the gate was closed; their
own carriage passed the tardier parts of the convoy; and, with a dozen
or two of others, surrounded by a squadron of dragoons, headed the
train. Happy beyond measure at the certainty that she had now cleared
the gates of Klosterheim, that she was in the wide, open forest, free
from a detested tyrant, and on the same side of the gates as her lover,
who was doubtless advancing to meet her, she threw herself back in her
carriage, and resigned herself to a slumber, which the anxieties and
watchings of the night had made more than usually welcome.  The city
clocks were now heard in the forest, solemnly knelling out the hour of
four. Hardly, however, had Paulina slept an hour, when she was gently
awaked by her attendant, who had felt it to be her duty to apprise her
lady of the change which had occurred in their situation. They had
stopped, it seemed, to attach a pair of leaders to their wheel-horses,
and were now advancing at a thundering pace, separated from the rest of
the convoy, and surrounded by a small escort of cavalry. The darkness
was still intense; and the lights of Klosterheim, which the frequent
windings of the road brought often into view, were at this moment
conspicuously seen. The castle, from its commanding position, and the
Convent of St. Agnes, were both easily traced out by means of the
lights gleaming from their long ranges of upper windows. A particular
turret, which sprung to an almost aerial altitude above the rest of the
building, in which it was generally reported that the Landgrave slept,
was more distinguishable than any other part of Klosterheim, from one
brilliant lustre which shot its rays through a large oriel window.
There at this moment was sleeping that unhappy prince, tyrannical and
self-tormenting, whose unmanly fears had menaced her own innocence with
so much indefinite danger; whom, in escaping, she knew not if she
_had_ escaped; and whose snares, as a rueful misgiving began to
suggest, were perhaps gathering faster about her, with every echo which
the startled forest returned to the resounding tread of their flying
cavalcade. She leaned back again in the carriage; again she fell
asleep; again she dreamed. But her sleep was un-refreshing; her dreams
were agitated, confused, and haunted by terrific images. And she awoke
repeatedly with her cheerful anticipation continually decaying of
speedily (perhaps ever again) rejoining her gallant Maximilian. There
was indeed yet a possibility that she might be under the superintending
care of her lover. But she secretly felt that she was betrayed. And she
wept when she reflected that her own precipitance had facilitated the
accomplishment of the plot which had perhaps forever ruined her
happiness.


CHAPTER XXII.


Meantime, Paulina awoke from the troubled slumbers into which her
fatigues had thrown her, to find herself still flying along as rapidly
as four powerful horses could draw their light burden, and still
escorted by a considerable body of the Landgrave's dragoons. She was
undoubtedly separated from all the rest of the convoy with whom she had
left Klosterheim. It was now apparent, even to her humble attendant,
that they were betrayed; and Paulina reproached herself with having
voluntarily cooperated with her enemy's stratagems. Certainly the
dangers from which she fled were great and imminent; yet still, in
Klosterheim, she derived some protection from the favor of the lady
abbess. That lady had great powers of a legal nature throughout the
city, and still greater influence with a Roman Catholic populace at
this particular period, when their prince had laid himself open to
suspicions of favoring Protestant allies; and Paulina bitterly bewailed
the imprudence which, in removing her from the Convent of St. Agnes,
had removed her from her only friends.

It was about noon when the party halted at a solitary house for rest
and refreshments. Paulina had heard nothing of the route which they had
hitherto taken, nor did she find it easy to collect, from the short and
churlish responses of her escort to the few questions she had yet
ventured to propose, in what direction their future advance would
proceed. A hasty summons bade her alight; and a few steps, under the
guidance of a trooper, brought her into a little gloomy wainscoted
room, where some refreshments had been already spread upon a table.
Adjoining was a small bed-room. And she was desired, with something
more civility than she had yet experienced, to consider both as
allotted for the use of herself and servant during the time of their
stay, which was expected, however, not to exceed the two or three hours
requisite for resting the horses.

But that was an arrangement which depended as much upon others as
themselves. And, in fact, a small party, whom the main body of the
escort had sent on to patrol the roads in advance, soon returned with
the unwelcome news that a formidable corps of imperialists were out
reconnoitring in a direction which might probably lead them across
their own line of march, in the event of their proceeding instantly.
The orders already issued for advance were therefore countermanded; and
a resolution was at length adopted by the leader of the party for
taking up their abode during the night in their present very tolerable
quarters.

Paulina, wearied and dejected, and recoiling naturally from the
indefinite prospects of danger before her, was not the least rejoiced
at this change in the original plan, by which she benefited at any rate
to the extent of a quiet shelter for one night more,--a blessing which
the next day's adventures might deny her,--and still more by that
postponement of impending evil which is so often welcome to the very
firmest minds, when exhausted by toil and affliction. Having this
certainty, however, of one night's continuance in her present abode,
she requested to have the room made a little more comfortable by the
exhilarating blaze of a fire. For this indulgence there were the
principal requisites in a hearth and spacious chimney. And an aged
crone, probably the sole female servant upon the premises, speedily
presented herself with a plentiful supply of wood, and the two
supporters, or _andirons_ (as they were formerly called), for
raising the billets so as to allow the air to circulate from below.
There was some difficulty at first in kindling the wood; and the old
servant resorted once or twice, after some little apologetic muttering
of doubts with herself, to a closet, containing, as Paulina could
observe, a considerable body of papers.

The fragments which she left remained strewed upon the ground; and
Paulina, taking them up with a careless air, was suddenly transfixed
with astonishment on observing that they were undoubtedly in a
handwriting familiar to her eye--the handwriting of the most
confidential amongst the imperial secretaries. Other recollections now
rapidly associated themselves together, which led her hastily to open
the closet door; and there, as she had already half expected, she saw
the travelling mail stolen from her own carriage, its lock forced, and
the remaining contents (for everything bearing a money value had
probably vanished on its first disappearance) lying in confusion.
Having made this discovery, she hastily closed the door of the closet,
resolved to prosecute her investigations in the night-time; but at
present, when she was liable to continual intrusions, to give no
occasion for those suspicions, which, once aroused, might end in
baffling her design.

Meantime, she occupied herself in conjectures upon the particular
course of accident which could have brought the trunk and papers into
the situation where she had been fortunate enough to find them. And,
with the clue already in her possession, she was not long in making
another discovery. She had previously felt some dim sense of
recognition, as her eyes wandered over the room, but had explained it
away into some resemblance to one or other of the many strange scenes
which she had passed through since leaving Vienna. But now, on
retracing the furniture and aspect of the two rooms, she was struck
with her own inattention, in not having sooner arrived at the discovery
that it was their old quarters of Waldenhausen, the very place in which
the robbery had been effected, where they had again the prospect of
spending the night, and of recovering in part the loss she had
sustained.

Midnight came, and the Lady Paulina prepared to avail herself of her
opportunities. She drew out the parcel of papers, which was large and
miscellaneous in its contents. By far the greater part, as she was
happy to observe, were mere copies of originals in the chancery at
Vienna; those related to the civic affairs of Klosterheim, and were
probably of a nature not to have been acted upon during the
predominance of the Swedish interest in the counsels and administration
of that city. With the revival of the imperial cause, no doubt these
orders would be repeated, and with the modifications which new
circumstances and the progress of events would then have rendered
expedient. This portion of the papers, therefore, Paulina willingly
restored to their situation in the closet. No evil would arise to any
party from their present detention in a place where they were little
likely to attract notice from anybody but the old lady in her
ministries upon the fire. Suspicion would be also turned aside from
herself in appropriating the few papers which remained. These contained
too frequent mention of a name dear to herself, not to have a
considerable value in her eyes; she was resolved, if possible, to carry
them off by concealing them within her bosom; but, at all events, in
preparation for any misfortune that might ultimately compel her to
resign them, she determined, without loss of time, to make herself
mistress of their contents.

One, and the most important of these documents, was a long and
confidential letter from the emperor to the town council and the chief
heads of conventual houses in Klosterheim. It contained a rapid summary
of the principal events in her lover's life, from his infancy, when
some dreadful domestic tragedy had thrown him upon the emperor's
protection, to his present period of early manhood, when his own sword
and distinguished talents had raised him to a brilliant name and a high
military rank in the imperial service. What were the circumstances of
that tragedy, as a case sufficiently well known to those whom he
addressed, or to be collected from accompanying papers, the emperor did
not say. But he lavished every variety of praise upon Maximilian, with
a liberality that won tears of delight from the solitary young lady, as
she now sat at midnight looking over these gracious testimonies to her
lover's merit. A theme so delightful to Paulina could not be
unseasonable at any time; and never did her thoughts revert to him more
fondly than at this moment, when she so much needed his protecting arm.
Yet the emperor, she was aware, must have some more special motive for
enlarging upon this topic than his general favor to Maximilian. What
this could be, in a case so closely connecting the parties to the
correspondence on both sides with Klosterheim, a little interested her
curiosity. And, on looking more narrowly at the accompanying documents,
in one which had been most pointedly referred to by the emperor she
found some disclosures on the subject of her lover's early misfortunes,
which, whilst they filled her with horror and astonishment, elevated
the natural pretensions of Maximilian in point of birth and descent
more nearly to a level with the splendor of his self-created
distinctions; and thus crowned him, who already lived in her
apprehension as the very model of a hero, with the only advantages that
he had ever been supposed to want--the interest which attaches to
unmerited misfortunes, and the splendor of an illustrious descent.

As she thus sat, absorbed in the story of her lover's early
misfortunes, a murmuring sound of talking attracted her ear, apparently
issuing from the closet. Hastily throwing open the door, she found that
a thin wooden partition, veined with numerous chinks, was the sole
separation between the closet and an adjoining bed-room. The words were
startling, incoherent, and at times raving. Evidently they proceeded
from some patient stretched on a bed of sickness, and dealing with a
sort of horrors in his distempered fancy, worse, it was to be hoped,
than any which the records of his own remembrance could bring before
him. Sometimes he spoke in the character of one who chases a deer in a
forest; sometimes he was close upon the haunches of his game; sometimes
it seemed on the point of escaping him. Then the nature of the game
changed utterly, and became something human; and a companion was
suddenly at his side. With him he quarrelled fiercely about their share
in the pursuit and capture. "O, my lord, you must not deny it. Look,
look! your hands are bloodier than mine. Fie! fie! is there no running
water in the forest?--So young as he is, and so noble!--Stand off! he
will cover us all with his blood!--O, what a groan was that! It will
have broke somebody's heart-strings, I think! It would have broken mine
when I was younger. But these wars make us all cruel. Yet you are worse
than I am."

Then again, after a pause, the patient seemed to start up in bed, and
he cried out, convulsively, "Give me my share, I say. Wherefore must my
share be so small? There he comes past again. Now strike--now, now,
now! Get his head down, my lord.--He's off, by G--! Now, if he gets out
of the forest, two hours will take him to Vienna. And we must go to
Rome: where else could we get absolution? 0, Heavens! the forest is
full of blood; well may our hands be bloody. I see flowers all the way
to Vienna: but there is blood below: 0, what a depth! what a depth!--O!
heart, heart!--See how he starts up from his lair!--O! your highness
has deceived me! There are a thousand upon one man!"

In such terms he continued to rave, until Paulina's mind was so much
harassed with the constant succession of dreadful images and frenzied
ejaculations, all making report of a life passed in scenes of horror,
bloodshed, and violence, that at length, for her own relief, she was
obliged to close the door; through which, however, at intervals,
piercing shrieks or half-stifled curses still continued to find their
way. It struck her as a remarkable coincidence, that something like a
slender thread of connection might be found between the dreadful story
narrated in the imperial document, and the delirious ravings of this
poor, wretched creature, to whom accident had made her a neighbor for a
single night.

Early the next morning Paulina and her servant were summoned to resume
their journey; and three hours more of rapid travelling brought them to
the frowning fortress of Lovenstein. Their escort, with any one of whom
they had found but few opportunities of communicating, had shown
themselves throughout gloomy and obstinately silent. They knew not,
therefore, to what distance their journey extended. But, from the
elaborate ceremonies with which they were here received, and the formal
receipt for their persons, which was drawn up and delivered by the
governor to the officer commanding their escort, Paulina judged that
the castle of Lovenstein would prove to be their final destination.


CHAPTER XXIII.


Two days elapsed without any change in Paulina's situation, as she
found it arranged upon her first arrival at Lovenstein. Her rooms were
not incommodious; but the massy barricades at the doors, the grated
windows, and the sentinels who mounted guard upon all the avenues which
led to her apartments, satisfied her sufficiently that she was a
prisoner.

The third morning after her arrival brought her a still more unwelcome
proof of this melancholy truth, in the summons which she received to
attend a court of criminal justice on the succeeding day, connected
with the tenor of its language. Her heart died within her as she found
herself called upon to answer as a delinquent on a charge of
treasonable conspiracy with various members of the university of
Klosterheim, against the sovereign prince, the Landgrave of X----.
Witnesses in exculpation, whom could she produce? Or how defend herself
before a tribunal where all alike--judge, evidence, accuser---were in
effect one and the same malignant enemy? In what way she could have
come to be connected in the Landgrave's mind with a charge of treason
against his princely rights, she found it difficult to explain, unless
the mere fact of having carried the imperial despatches in the trunks
about her carriages were sufficient to implicate her as a secret
emissary or agent concerned in the imperial diplomacy. But she strongly
suspected that some deep misapprehension existed in the Landgrave's
mind; and its origin, she fancied, might be found in the refined
knavery of their ruffian host at Waldenhausen, in making his market of
the papers which he had purloined. Bringing them forward separately and
by piecemeal, he had probably hoped to receive so many separate
rewards. But, as it would often happen that one paper was necessary in
the way of explanation to another, and the whole, perhaps, were almost
essential to the proper understanding of any one, the result would
inevitably be grievously to mislead the Landgrave. Further
communications, indeed, would have tended to disabuse the prince of any
delusions raised in this way. But it was probable, as Paulina had
recently learned in passing through Waldenhausen, that the ruffian's
illness and delirium had put a stop to any further communication of
papers; and thus the misconceptions which he had caused were
perpetuated in the Landgrave's mind.

It was on the third day after Paulina's arrival that she was first
placed before the court. The presiding officer in this tribunal was the
governor of the fortress, a tried soldier, but a ruffian of low habits
and cruel nature. He had risen under the Landgrave's patronage, as an
adventurer of desperate courage, ready for any service, however
disreputable, careless alike of peril or of infamy. In common with many
partisan officers, who had sprung from the ranks in this adventurous
war, seeing on every side and in the highest quarters, princes as well
as supreme commanders, the uttermost contempt of justice and moral
principle, he had fought his way to distinction and fortune, through
every species of ignoble cruelty. He had passed from service to
service, as he saw an opening for his own peculiar interest or merit,
everywhere valued as a soldier of desperate enterprise, everywhere
abhorred as a man.

By birth a Croatian, he had exhibited himself as one of the most savage
leaders of that order of barbarians in the sack of Magdeburgh, where he
served under Tilly; but, latterly, he had taken service again under his
original patron, the Landgrave, who had lured him back to his interest
by the rank of general and the governorship of Lovenstein.

This brutal officer, who had latterly lived in a state of continual
intoxication, was the judge before whom the lovely and innocent Paulina
was now arraigned on a charge affecting her life. In fact, it became
obvious that the process was not designed for any other purpose than to
save appearances, and, if that should seem possible, to extract further
discoveries from the prisoner. The general acted as supreme arbiter in
every question of rights and power that arose to the court in the
administration of their almost unlimited functions. Doubts he allowed
of none; and cut every knot of jurisprudence, whether form or
substance, by his Croatian sabre. Two assessors, however, he willingly
received upon his bench of justice, to relieve him from the fatigue and
difficulty of conducting a perplexed examination.

These assessors were lawyers of a low class, who tempered the exercise
of their official duties with as few scruples of justice, and as little
regard to the restraints of courtesy, as their military principal. The
three judges were almost equally ferocious, and tools equally abject of
the unprincipled sovereign whom they served.

A sovereign, however, he was; and Paulina was well aware that in his
own states he had the power of life and death. She had good reason to
see that her own death was resolved on; still she neglected no means of
honorable self-defence. In a tone of mingled sweetness and dignity she
maintained her innocence of all that was alleged against her; protested
that she was unacquainted with the tenor of any papers which might have
been found in her trunks; and claimed her privilege, as a subject of
the emperor, in bar of all right on the Landgrave's part to call her to
account. These pleas were overruled, and when she further acquainted
the court that she was a near relative of the emperor's, and ventured
to hint at the vengeance with which his imperial majesty would not fail
to visit so bloody a contempt of justice, she was surprised to find
this menace treated with mockery and laughter. In reality, the long
habit of fighting for and against all the princes of Germany had given
to the Croatian general a disregard for any of them, except on the
single consideration of receiving his pay at the moment; and a single
circumstance, unknown to Paulina, in the final determination of the
Landgrave, to earn a merit with his Swedish allies by breaking off all
terms of reserve and compromise with the imperial court, impressed a
savage desperation on the tone of that prince's policy at this
particular time. The Landgrave had resolved to stake his all upon a
single throw. A battle was now expected, which, if favorable to the
Swedes, would lay open the road to Vienna. The Landgrave was prepared
to abide the issue; not, perhaps, wholly uninfluenced to so extreme a
course by the very paper which had been robbed from Paulina. His policy
was known to his agents, and conspicuously influenced their manner of
receiving her menace.

Menaces, they informed her, came with better grace from those who had
the power to enforce them; and, with a brutal scoff, the Croatian bade
her merit their indulgence by frank discoveries and voluntary
confessions. He insisted on knowing the nature of the connection which
the imperial colonel of horse, Maximilian, had maintained with the
students of Klosterheim; and upon other discoveries, with respect to
most of which Paulina was too imperfectly informed herself to be
capable of giving any light. Her earnest declarations to this effect
were treated with disregard. She was dismissed for the present, but
with an intimation that on the morrow she must prepare herself with a
more complying temper, or with a sort of firmness in maintaining her
resolution, which would not, perhaps, long resist those means which the
law had placed at their disposal for dealing with the refractory and
obstinate.


CHAPTER XXIII.


Paulina meditated earnestly upon the import of this parting threat. The
more she considered it, the less could she doubt that these fierce
inquisitors had meant to threaten her with torture. She felt the whole
indignity of such a threat, though she could hardly bring herself to
believe them in earnest.

On the following morning she was summoned early before her judges. They
had not yet assembled; but some of the lower officials were pacing up
and down, exchanging unintelligible jokes, looking sometimes at
herself, sometimes at an iron machine, with a complex arrangement of
wheels and screws. Dark were the suspicions which assaulted Paulina as
this framework or couch of iron first met her eyes; and perhaps some of
the jests circulating amongst the brutal ministers of her brutal judges
would have been intelligible enough, had she condescended to turn her
attention in that direction. Meantime her doubts were otherwise
dispersed. The Croatian officer now entered the room alone, his
assessors having probably declined participation in that part of the
horrid functions which remained under the Landgrave's commission.

This man, presenting a paper with a long list of interrogatories to
Paulina, bade her now rehearse verbally the sum of the answers which
she designed to give. Running rapidly through them, Paulina replied,
with dignity, yet trembling and agitated, that these were questions
which in any sense she could not answer; many of them referring to
points on which she had no knowledge, and none of them being consistent
with the gratitude and friendship so largely due on her side to the
persons implicated in the bearing of these questions.

"Then you refuse?"

"Certainly; there are three questions only which it is in my power to
answer at all--even these imperfectly. Answers such as you expect would
load me with dishonor."

"Then you refuse?"

"For the reasons I have stated, undoubtedly I do."

"Once more--you refuse?"

"I refuse, certainly; but do me the justice to record my reasons."

"Reasons!--ha! ha! they had need to be strong ones if they will hold
out against the arguments of this pretty plaything," laying his hand
upon the machine. "However, the choice is yours, not mine."

So saying, he made a sign to the attendants. One began to move the
machine, and work the screws, or raise the clanking grates and
framework, with a savage din; two others bared their arms. Paulina
looked on motionless with sudden horror, and palpitating with fear.

The Croatian nodded to the men; and then, in a loud, commanding voice,
exclaimed: "The question in the first degree!"

At this moment Paulina recovered her strength, which the first panic
had dispelled. She saw a man approach her with a ferocious grin of
exultation. Another, with the same horrid expression of countenance,
carried a large vase of water.

The whole indignity of the scene flashed full upon her mind. She, a
lady of the imperial house, threatened with torture by the base agent
of a titled ruffian! She, who owed him no duty,--had violated no claim
of hospitality, though in her own person all had been atrociously
outraged!

Thoughts like these flew rapidly through her brain, when suddenly a
door opened behind her. It was an attendant with some implements for
tightening or relaxing bolts. The bare-armed ruffian at this moment
raised his arm to seize hers. Shrinking from the pollution of his
accursed touch, Paulina turned hastily round, darted through the open
door, and fled, like a dove pursued by vultures, along the passages
which stretched before her. Already she felt their hot breathing upon
her neck, already the foremost had raised his hand to arrest her, when
a sudden turn brought her full upon a band of young women, tending upon
one of superior rank, manifestly their mistress.

"0, madam!" exclaimed Paulina, "save me! save me!" and with these words
fell exhausted at the lady's feet.

This female--young, beautiful, and with a touching pensiveness of
manners--raised her tenderly in her arms, and with a sisterly tone of
affection bade her fear nothing; and the respectful manner in which the
officials retired at her command satisfied Paulina that she stood in
some very near relation to the Landgrave,--in reality, she soon spoke
of him as her father. "Is it possible," thought Paulina to herself,
"that this innocent and lovely child (for she was not more than
seventeen, though with a prematurity of womanly person that raised her
to a level with Paulina's height) should owe the affection of a
daughter to a tyrant so savage as the Landgrave?"

She found, however, that the gentle Princess Adeline owed to her own
childlike simplicity the best gift that one so situated could have
received from the bounty of Heaven. The barbarities exercised by the
Croatian governor she charged entirely upon his own brutal nature; and
so confirmed was she in this view by Paulina's own case, that she now
resolved upon executing a resolution she had long projected. Her
father's confidence was basely abused; this she said, and devoutly
believed. "No part of the truth ever reached him; her own letters
remained disregarded in a way which was irreconcilable with the
testimonies of profound affection to herself, daily showered upon her
by his highness."

In reality, this sole child of the Landgrave was also the one sole
jewel that gave a value in his eyes to his else desolate life.
Everything in and about the castle of Lovenstein was placed under her
absolute control; even the brutal Croatian governor knew that no plea
or extremity of circumstances would atone for one act of disobedience
to her orders; and hence it was that the ministers of this tyrant
retired with so much prompt obedience to her commands.

Experience, however, had taught the princess that, not unfrequently,
orders apparently obeyed were afterwards secretly evaded; and the
disregard paid of late to her letters of complaint satisfied her that
they were stifled and suppressed by the governor. Paulina, therefore,
whom a few hours of unrestrained intercourse had made interesting to
her heart, she would not suffer even to sleep apart from herself. Her
own agitation on the poor prisoner's behalf became greater even than
that of Paulina; and as fresh circumstances of suspicion daily arose in
the savage governor's deportment, she now took in good earnest those
measures for escape to Klosterheim which she had long arranged. In this
purpose she was greatly assisted by the absolute authority which her
father had conceded to her over everything but the mere military
arrangements in the fortress. Under the color of an excursion, such as
she had been daily accustomed to take, she found no difficulty in
placing Paulina, sufficiently disguised, amongst her own servants. At a
proper point of the road, Paulina and a few attendants, with the
princess herself, issued from their coaches, and, bidding them await
their return in half an hour's interval, by that time were far advanced
upon their road to the military post of Falkenberg.


CHAPTER XXIV.


In twenty days the mysterious Masque had summoned the Landgrave "to
answer for crimes unatoned, before a tribunal where no power but that
of innocence could avail him." These days were nearly expired. The
morning of the twentieth had arrived.

There were two interpretations of this summons. By many it was believed
that the tribunal contemplated was that of the emperor; and that, by
some mysterious plot, which could not be more difficult of execution
than others which had actually been accomplished by The Masque, on this
day the Landgrave would be carried off to Vienna. Others, again,
understanding by the tribunal, in the same sense, the imperial chamber
of criminal justice, believed it possible to fulfil the summons in some
way less liable to delay or uncertainty than by a long journey to
Vienna, through a country beset with enemies. But a third party,
differing from both the others, understood by the tribunal where
innocence was the only shield the judgment-seat of heaven; and believed
that on this day justice would be executed on the Landgrave, for crimes
known and unknown, by a public and memorable death. Under any
interpretation, however, nobody amongst the citizens could venture
peremptorily to deny, after the issue of the masqued ball, and of so
many other public denunciations, that The Masque would keep his word to
the letter.

It followed, of necessity, that everybody was on the tiptoe of
suspense, and that the interest hanging upon the issue of this night's
events swallowed up all other anxieties, of whatsoever nature. Even the
battle which was now daily expected between the imperial and Swedish
armies ceased to occupy the hearts and conversation of the citizens.
Domestic and public concerns alike gave way to the coming catastrophe
so solemnly denounced by The Masque.

The Landgrave alone maintained a gloomy reserve, and the expression of
a haughty disdain. He had resolved to meet the summons with the
liveliest expression of defiance, by fixing this evening for a second
masqued ball, upon a greater scale than the first. In doing this he
acted advisedly, and with the counsel of his Swedish allies. They
represented to him that the issue of the approaching battle might be
relied upon as pretty nearly certain; all the indications were indeed
generally thought to promise a decisive turn in their favor; but, in
the worst case, no defeat of the Swedish army in this war had ever been
complete; that the bulk of the retreating army, if the Swedes should be
obliged to retreat, would take the road to Klosterheim, and would
furnish to himself a garrison capable of holding the city for many
months to come (and _that_ would not fail to bring many fresh
chances to all of them), whilst to his new and cordial allies this
course would offer a secure retreat from pursuing enemies, and a
satisfactory proof of his own fidelity. This even in the worst case;
whereas in the better and more probable one, of a victory to the
Swedes, to maintain the city but for a day or two longer against
internal conspirators, and the secret cooperators outside, would be in
effect to ratify any victory which the Swedes might gain by putting
into their hands at a critical moment one of its most splendid trophies
and guarantees.

These counsels fell too much into the Landgrave's own way of thinking
to meet with any demurs from him. It was agreed, therefore, that as
many Swedish troops as could at this important moment be spared should
be introduced into the halls and saloons of the castle, on the eventful
evening, disguised as masquers. These were about four hundred; and
other arrangements were made, equally mysterious, and some of them
known only to the Landgrave.

At seven o'clock, as on the former occasion, the company began to
assemble. The same rooms were thrown open; but, as the party was now
far more numerous, and was made more comprehensive in point of rank, in
order to include all who were involved in the conspiracy which had been
some time maturing in Klosterheim, fresh suites of rooms were judged
necessary, on the pretext of giving fuller effect to the princely
hospitalities of the Landgrave. And, on this occasion, according to an
old privilege conceded in the case of coronations or galas of
magnificence, by the lady abbess of St. Agnes, the partition walls were
removed between the great hall of the _schloss_ and the refectory
of that immense convent; so that the two vast establishments, which on
one side were contiguous to each other, were thus laid into one.

The company had now continued to pour in for two hours. The palace and
the refectory of the convent were now overflowing with lights and
splendid masques; the avenues and corridors rang with music; and,
though every heart was throbbing with fear and suspense, no outward
expression was wanting of joy and festal pleasure. For the present, all
was calm around the slumbering volcano.

Suddenly, the Count St. Aldenheim, who was standing with arms folded,
and surveying the brilliant scene, felt some one touch his hand, in the
way concerted amongst the conspirators as a private signal of
recognition. He turned, and recognized his friend the Baron Adelort,
who saluted him with three emphatic words--"We are betrayed!"--Then,
after a pause, "Follow me."

St. Aldenheim made his way through the glittering crowds, and pressed
after his conductor into one of the most private corridors.

"Fear not," said the other, "that we shall be watched. Vigilance is no
longer necessary to our crafty enemy. He has already triumphed. Every
avenue of escape is barred and secured against us; every outlet of the
palace is occupied by the Landgrave's troops. Not a man of us will
return alive."

"Heaven forbid we should prove ourselves such gulls! You are but
jesting, my friend."

"Would to God I were! my information is but too certain. Something I
have overheard by accident; something has been told me; and something I
have seen. Come you, also, count, and see what I will show you: then
judge for yourself."

So saying, he led St. Aldenheim by a little circuit of passages to a
doorway, through which they passed into a hall of vast proportions; to
judge by the catafalques, and mural monuments, scattered at intervals
along the vast expanse of its walls, this seemed to be the ante-chapel
of St. Agnes. In fact it was so; a few faint lights glimmered through
the gloomy extent of this immense chamber, placed (according to the
Catholic rite) at the shrine of the saint. Feeble as it was, however,
the light was powerful enough to display in the centre a pile of
scaffolding covered with black drapery. Standing at the foot, they
could trace the outlines of a stage at the summit, fenced in with a
railing, a block, and the other apparatus for the solemnity of a public
execution, whilst the saw-dust below their feet ascertained the spot in
which the heads were to fall.

"Shall we ascend and rehearse our parts?" asked the count: "for
methinks everything is prepared, except the headsman and the
spectators. A plague on the inhospitable knave!"

"Yes, St. Aldenheim, all is prepared--even to the sufferers. On that
list you stand foremost. Believe me, I speak with knowledge; no matter
where gained. It is certain."

"Well, _necessitas non habet legem_; and he that dies on Tuesday
will never catch cold on Wednesday. But, still, that comfort is
something of the coldest. Think you that none better could be had?"

"As how?"

"Revenge, _par exemple_; a little revenge. Might one not screw the
neck of this base prince, who abuses the confidence of cavaliers so
perfidiously? To die I care not; but to be caught in a trap, and die
like a rat lured by a bait of toasted cheese--Faugh! my countly blood
rebels against it!"

"Something might surely be done, if we could muster in any strength.
That is, we might die sword in hand; but--"

"Enough! I ask no more. Now let us go. We will separately pace the
rooms, draw together as many of our party as we can single out, and
then proclaim ourselves. Let each answer for one victim. I'll take his
highness for my share."

With this purpose, and thus forewarned of the dreadful fate at hand,
they left the gloomy ante-chapel, traversed the long suite of
entertaining rooms, and collected as many as could easily be detached
from the dances without too much pointing out their own motions to the
attention of all present. The Count St. Aldenheim was seen rapidly
explaining to them the circumstances of their dreadful situation;
whilst hands uplifted, or suddenly applied to the hilt of the sword,
with other gestures of sudden emotion, expressed the different
impressions of rage or fear, which, under each variety of character,
impressed the several hearers. Some of them, however, were too
unguarded in their motions; and the energy of their gesticulations had
now begun to attract the attention of the company.

The Landgrave himself had his eye upon them. But at this moment his
attention was drawn off by an uproar of confusion in an ante-chamber,
which argued some tragical importance in the cause that could prompt so
sudden a disregard for the restraints of time and place.


CHAPTER XXV.


His highness issued from the room in consternation, followed by many of
the company. In the very centre of the ante-room, booted and spurred,
bearing all the marks of extreme haste, panic, and confusion, stood a
Swedish officer, dealing forth hasty fragments of some heart-shaking
intelligence. "All is lost!" said he; "not a regiment has escaped!"
"And the place?" exclaimed a press of inquirers. "Nordlingen." "And
which way has the Swedish army retreated?" demanded a masque behind
him.

"Retreat!" retorted the officer, "I tell you there is no retreat. All
have perished. The army is no more. Horse, foot, artillery--all is
wrecked, crushed, annihilated. Whatever yet lives is in the power of
the imperialists."

At this moment the Landgrave came up, and in every way strove to check
these too liberal communications. He frowned; the officer saw him not.
He laid his hand on the officer's arm, but all in vain. He spoke, but
the officer knew not, or forgot his rank. Panic and immeasurable sorrow
had crushed his heart; he cared not for restraints; decorum and
ceremony were become idle words. The Swedish army had perished. The
greatest disaster of the whole 'Thirty Years' War had fallen upon his
countrymen. His own eyes had witnessed the tragedy, and he had no power
to check or restrain that which made his heart overflow.

The Landgrave retired. But in half an hour the banquet was announced;
and his highness had so much command over his own feelings that he took
his seat at the table. He seemed tranquil in the midst of general
agitation; for the company were distracted by various passions. Some
exulted in the great victory of the imperialists, and the approaching
liberation of Klosterheim. Some, who were in the secret, anticipated
with horror the coming tragedy of vengeance upon his enemies which the
Landgrave had prepared for this night. Some were filled with suspense
and awe on the probable fulfilment in some way or other, doubtful as to
the mode, but tragic (it was not doubted) for the result, of The
Masque's mysterious denunciation.

      *       *       *       *       *

Under such circumstances of universal agitation and suspense,--for on
one side or other it seemed inevitable that this night must produce a
tragical catastrophe,--it was not extraordinary that silence and
embarrassment should at one moment take possession of the company, and
at another that kind of forced and intermitting gayety which still more
forcibly proclaimed the trepidation which really mastered the spirits
of the assemblage. The banquet was magnificent; but it moved heavily
and in sadness. The music, which broke the silence at intervals, was
animating and triumphant; but it had no power to disperse the gloom
which hung over the evening, and which was gathering strength
conspicuously as the hours advanced to midnight.

As the clock struck eleven, the orchestra had suddenly become silent;
and, as no buzz of conversation succeeded, the anxiety of expectation
became more painfully irritating. The whole vast assemblage was hushed,
gazing at the doors, at each other, or watching, stealthily, the
Landgrave's countenance. Suddenly a sound was heard in an ante-room; a
page entered with a step hurried and discomposed, advanced to the
Landgrave's seat, and, bending downwards, whispered some news or
message to that prince, of which not a syllable could be caught by the
company. Whatever were its import, it could not be collected, from any
very marked change on the features of him to whom it was addressed,
that he participated in the emotions of the messenger, which were
obviously those of grief or panic--perhaps of both united. Some even
fancied that a transient expression of malignant exultation crossed the
Landgrave's countenance at this moment. But, if that were so, it was
banished as suddenly; and, in the next instant, the prince arose with a
leisurely motion; and, with a very successful affectation (if such it
were) of extreme tranquillity, he moved forwards to one of the ante-
rooms, in which, as it now appeared, some person was awaiting his
presence.

Who, and on what errand? These were the questions which now racked the
curiosity of those among the company who had least concern in the final
event, and more painfully interested others, whose fate was consciously
dependent upon the accidents which the next hour might happen to bring
up. Silence still continuing to prevail, and, if possible, deeper
silence than before, it was inevitable that all the company, those even
whose honorable temper would least have brooked any settled purpose of
surprising the Landgrave's secrets, should, in some measure, become a
party to what was now passing in the ante-room.

The voice of the Landgrave was heard at times, briefly and somewhat
sternly in reply, but apparently in the tone of one who is thrown upon
the necessity of self-defence. On the other side, the speaker was
earnest, solemn, and (as it seemed) upon an office of menace or
upbraiding. For a time, however, the tones were low and subdued; but,
as the passion of the scene advanced, less restraint was observed on
both sides; and at length many believed that in the stranger's voice
they recognized that of the lady abbess; and it was some corroboration
of this conjecture, that the name of Paulina began now frequently to be
caught, and in connection with ominous words, indicating some dreadful
fate supposed to have befallen her.

A few moments dispersed all doubts. The tones of bitter and angry
reproach rose louder than before; they were, without doubt, those of
the abbess. She charged the blood of Paulina upon the Landgrave's head;
denounced the instant vengeance of the emperor for so great an
atrocity; and, if that could be evaded, bade him expect certain
retribution from Heaven for so wanton and useless an effusion of
innocent blood.

The Landgrave replied in a lower key; and his words were few and rapid.
That they were words of fierce recrimination, was easily collected from
the tone; and in the next minute the parties separated with little
ceremony (as was sufficiently evident) on either side, and with mutual
wrath. The Landgrave reentered the banqueting-room; his features
discomposed and inflated with passion; but such was his self-command,
and so habitual his dissimulation, that, by the time he reached his
seat, all traces of agitation had disappeared; his countenance had
resumed its usual expression of stern serenity, and his manners their
usual air of perfect self-possession.

       *       *       *       *       *

The clock of St. Agnes struck twelve. At that sound the Landgrave rose.
"Friends and illustrious strangers!" said he, "I have caused one seat
to be left empty for that blood-stained Masque, who summoned me to
answer on this night for a crime which he could not name, at a bar
which no man knows. His summons you heard. Its fulfilment is yet to
come. But I suppose few of us are weak enough to expect--"

"That The Masque of Klosterheim will ever break his engagements," said
a deep voice, suddenly interrupting the Landgrave. All eyes were
directed to the sound; and, behold! there stood The Masque, and seated
himself quietly in the chair which had been left vacant for his
reception.

"It is well!" said the Landgrave; but the air of vexation and panic
with which he sank back into his seat belied his words. Rising again,
after a pause, with some agitation, he said, "Audacious criminal! since
last we met, I have learned to know you, and to appreciate your
purposes. It is now fit they should be known to Klosterheim. A scene of
justice awaits you at present, which will teach this city to understand
the delusions which could build any part of her hopes upon yourself.
Citizens and friends, not I, but these dark criminals and interlopers
whom you will presently see revealed in their true colors, are
answerable for that interruption to the course of our peaceful
festivities, which will presently be brought before you. Not I, but
they are responsible."

So saying, the Landgrave arose, and the whole of the immense audience,
who now resumed their masques, and prepared to follow whither his
highness should lead. With the haste of one who fears he may be
anticipated in his purpose, and the fury of some bird of prey,
apprehending that his struggling victim may be yet torn from his
talons, the prince hurried onwards to the ante-chapel. Innumerable
torches now illuminated its darkness; in other respects it remained as
St. Aldenheim had left it.

The Swedish masques had many of them withdrawn from the gala on hearing
the dreadful day of Nordlingen. But enough remained, when strengthened
by the body-guard of the Landgrave, to make up a corps of nearly five
hundred men. Under the command of Colonel von Aremberg, part of them
now enclosed the scaffold, and part prepared to seize the persons who
were pointed out to them as conspirators. Amongst these stood foremost
The Masque.

Shaking off those who attempted to lay hands upon him, he strode
disdainfully within the ring; and then, turning to the Landgrave, he
said--

"Prince, for once be generous; accept me as a ransom for the rest."

The Landgrave smiled sarcastically. "That were an unequal bargain,
methinks, to take a part in exchange for the whole."

"The whole? And where is, then, your assurance of the whole?"

"Who should now make it doubtful? There is the block; the headsman is
at hand. What hand can deliver from this extremity even you, Sir
Masque?"

"That which has many times delivered me from a greater. It seems,
prince, that you forget the last days in the history of Klosterheim. He
that rules by night in Klosterheim may well expect a greater favor than
this when he descends to sue for it."

The Landgrave smiled contemptuously. "But, again I ask you, sir, will
you on any terms grant immunity to these young men?"

"You sue as vainly for others as you would do for yourself."

"Then all grace is hopeless?" The Landgrave vouchsafed no answer, but
made signals to Von Aremberg.

"Gentlemen, cavaliers, citizens of Klosterheim, you that are not
involved in the Landgrave's suspicions," said The Masque, appealingly,
"will you not join me in the intercession I offer for these young
friends, who are else to perish unjudged, by blank edict of martial
law?"

The citizens of Klosterheim interceded with ineffectual supplication.
"Gentlemen, you waste your breath; they die without reprieve," replied
the Landgrave.

"Will your highness spare none?"

"Not one," he exclaimed, angrily,--"not the youngest amongst them."

"Nor grant a day's respite to him who may appear, on examination, the
least criminal of the whole?"

"A day's respite? No, nor half an hour's. Headsman, be ready. Soldiers,
lay the heads of the prisoners ready for the axe."

"Detested prince, now look to your own!"

With a succession of passions flying over his face,--rage, disdain,
suspicion,--the Landgrave looked round upon The Masque as he uttered
these words, and, with pallid, ghastly consternation, beheld him raise
to his lips a hunting-horn which depended from his neck. He blew a
blast, which was immediately answered from within. Silence as of the
grave ensued. All eyes were turned in the direction of the answer.
Expectation was at its summit; and in less than a minute solemnly
uprose the curtain, which divided the chapel from the ante-chapel,
revealing a scene that smote many hearts with awe, and the consciences
of some with as much horror as if it had really been that final
tribunal which numbers believed The Masque to have denounced.


CHAPTER XXVI.


The great chapel of St. Agnes, the immemorial hall of coronation for
the Landgraves of X----, was capable of containing with ease from seven
to eight thousand spectators. Nearly that number was now collected in
the galleries, which, on the recurrence of that great occasion, or of a
royal marriage, were usually assigned to the spectators. These were all
equipped in burnished arms, the very _élite_ of the imperial army.
Resistance was hopeless; in a single moment the Landgrave saw himself
dispossessed of all his hopes by an overwhelming force; the advanced
guard, in fact, of the victorious imperialists, now fresh from
Nordlingen.

On the marble area of the chapel, level with their own position, were
arranged "a brilliant staff of officers; and, a little in advance of
them, so as almost to reach the ante-chapel, stood the imperial legate
or ambassador. This nobleman advanced to the crowd of Klosterheimers,
and spoke thus:

"Citizens of Klosterheim, I bring you from the emperor your true and
lawful Landgrave, Maximilian, son of your last beloved prince."

Both chapels resounded with acclamations; and the troops presented
arms.

"Show us our prince! let us pay him our homage!" echoed from every
mouth.

"This is mere treason!" exclaimed the usurper. "The emperor invites
treason against his own throne, who undermines that of other princes.
The late Landgrave had no son; so much is known to you all."

"None that was known to his murderer," replied The Masque, "else had he
met no better fate than his unhappy father."

"Murderer! And what art thou, blood-polluted Masque, with hands yet
reeking from the blood of all who refused to join the conspiracy
against your lawful prince?"

"Citizens of Klosterheim," said the legate, "first let the emperor's
friend be assoiled from all injurious thoughts. Those whom ye believe
to have been removed by murder are here to speak for themselves."

Upon this the whole line of those who had mysteriously disappeared from
Klosterheim presented themselves to the welcome of their astonished
friends.

"These," said the legate, "quitted Klosterheim, even by the same secret
passages which enabled us to enter it, and for the self-same purpose,--
to prepare the path for the restoration of the true heir, Maximilian
the Fourth, whom in this noble prince you behold, and whom may God long
preserve!"

Saying this, to the wonder of the whole assembly, he led forward The
Masque, whom nobody had yet suspected for more than an agent of the
true heir.

The Landgrave, meantime, thus suddenly denounced as a tyrant, usurper,
murderer, had stood aloof, and had given but a slight attention to the
latter words of the legate. A race of passions had traversed his
countenance, chasing each other in flying succession. But by a
prodigious effort he recalled himself to the scene before him; and,
striding up to the crowd, of which the legate was the central figure,
he raised his arm with a gesture of indignation, and protested
vehemently that the assassination of Maximilian's father had been
iniquitously charged upon himself.--"And yet," said he, "upon that one
gratuitous assumption have been built all the other foul suspicions
directed against my person."

"Pardon me, sir," replied the legate, "the evidences were such as
satisfied the emperor and his council; and he showed it by the
vigilance with which he watched over the Prince Maximilian, and the
anxiety with which he kept him from approaching your highness, until
his pretensions could be established by arms. But, if more direct
evidence were wanting, since yesterday we have had it in the dying
confession of the very agent employed to strike the fatal blow. That
man died last night, penitent and contrite, having fully unburdened his
conscience, at Waldenhausen. With evidence so overwhelming, the emperor
exacts no further sacrifice from your highness than that of retirement
from public life, to any one of your own castles in your patrimonial
principality of Oberhornstein.--But, now for a more pleasing duty.
Citizens of Klosterheim, welcome your young Landgrave in the emperor's
name: and to-morrow you shall welcome also your future Landgravine, the
lovely Countess Paulina, cousin to the emperor, my master, and cousin
also to your noble young Landgrave."

"No!" exclaimed the malignant usurper, "her you shall never see alive;
for that, be well assured, I have taken care."

"Vile, unworthy prince!" replied Maximilian, his eyes kindling with
passion, "know that your intentions, so worthy of a fiend, towards that
most innocent of ladies, have been confounded and brought to nothing by
your own gentle daughter, worthy of a far nobler father."

"If you speak of my directions for administering the torture,--a matter
in which I presume that I exercised no unusual privilege amongst German
sovereigns,--you are right. But it was not that of which I spoke."

"Of what else, then?--The Lady Paulina has escaped."

"True, to Falkenberg. But, doubtless, young Landgrave, you have heard
of such a thing as the intercepting of a fugitive prisoner; in such a
case, you know the punishment which martial law awards. The governor at
Falkenberg had his orders." These last significant words he uttered in
a tone of peculiar meaning. His eye sparkled with bright gleams of
malice and of savage vengeance, rioting in its completion.

"O, heart--heart!" exclaimed Maximilian, "can this be possible?"

The imperial legate and all present crowded around him to suggest such
consolation as they could. Some offered to ride off express to
Falkenberg; some argued that the Lady Paulina had been seen within the
last hour. But the hellish exulter in ruined happiness destroyed that
hope as soon as it dawned.

"Children!" said he, "foolish children! cherish not such chimeras. Me
you have destroyed, Landgrave, and the prospects of my house. Now
perish yourself.--Look there: is that the form of one who lives and
breathes?"

All present turned to the scaffold, in which direction he pointed, and
now first remarked, covered with a black pall, and brought hither
doubtless to aggravate the pangs of death to Maximilian, what seemed
but too certainly a female corpse. The stature, the fine swell of the
bust, the rich outline of the form, all pointed to the same conclusion;
and, in this recumbent attitude, it seemed but too clearly to present
the magnificent proportions of Paulina.

There was a dead silence. Who could endure to break it? Who make the
effort which was forever to fix the fate of Maximilian?

He himself could not. At last the deposed usurper, craving for the
consummation of his vengeance, himself strode forward; with one savage
grasp he tore away the pall, and below it lay the innocent features,
sleeping in her last tranquil slumber, of his own gentle-minded
daughter!

       *       *       *       *       *

No heart was found savage enough to exult; the sorrow even of such a
father was sacred. Death, and through his own orders, had struck the
only being whom he had ever loved; and the petrific mace of the fell
destroyer seemed to have smitten his own heart, and withered its hopes
forever.

Everybody comprehended the mistake in a moment. Paulina had lingered at
Waldenhausen under the protection of an imperial corps, which she had
met in her flight. The tyrant, who had heard of her escape, but
apprehended no necessity for such a step on the part of his daughter,
had issued sudden orders to the officer commanding the military post at
Falkenberg, to seize and shoot the female prisoner escaping from
confinement, without allowing any explanations whatsoever, on her
arrival at Falkenberg. This precaution he had adopted in part to
intercept any denunciation of the emperor's vengeance which Paulina
might address to the officer. As a rude soldier, accustomed to obey the
letter of his orders, this commandant had executed his commission; and
the gentle Adeline, who had naturally hastened to the protection of her
father's chateau, surrendered her breath meekly and with resignation to
what she believed a simple act of military violence; and this she did
before she could know a syllable of her father's guilt or his fall, and
without any the least reason for supposing him connected with the
occasion of her early death.

At this moment Paulina made her appearance unexpectedly, to reassure
the young Landgrave by her presence, and to weep over her young friend,
whom she had lost almost before she had come to know her. The scaffold,
the corpse, and the other images of sorrow, were then withdrawn; seven
thousand imperial troops presented arms to the youthful Landgrave and
the future Landgravine, the brilliant favorites of the emperor; the
immense area of St. Agnes resounded with the congratulations of
Klosterheim; and as the magnificent cortege moved off to the interior
of the _schloss_, the swell of the coronation anthem rising in
peals upon the ear from the choir of St. Agnes, and from the military
bands of the imperial troops, awoke the promise of happier days, and of
more equitable government, to the long-harassed inhabitants of
Klosterheim.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Klosterheimers knew enough already, personally or by questions
easily answered in every quarter, to supply any links which were
wanting in the rapid explanations of the legate. Nevertheless, that
nothing might remain liable to misapprehension or cavil, a short
manifesto was this night circulated by the new government, from which
the following facts are abstracted:

The last rightful Landgrave, whilst yet a young man, had been
assassinated in the forest when hunting. A year or two before this
catastrophe he had contracted what, from the circumstances, was
presumed, at the time, to be a _morganatic_ or left-handed
marriage, with a lady of high birth, nearly connected with the imperial
house. The effect of such a marriage went to incapacitate the children
who might be born under it, male or female, from succeeding. On that
account, as well as because current report had represented her as
childless, the widow lady escaped all attempts from the assassin.
Meantime this lady, who was no other than Sister Madeline, had been
thus indebted for her safety to two rumors, which were in fact equally
false. She soon found means of convincing the emperor, who had been the
bosom friend of her princely husband, that her marriage was a perfect
one, and conferred the fullest rights of succession upon her infant son
Maximilian, whom at the earliest age, and with the utmost secrecy, she
had committed to the care of his imperial majesty. This powerful
guardian had in every way watched over the interests of the young
prince. But the Thirty Years' War had thrown all Germany into
distractions, which for a time thwarted the emperor, and favored the
views of the usurper. Latterly, also, another question had arisen on
the city and dependences of Klosterheim, as distinct from the
Landgraviate. These, it was now affirmed, were a female appanage, and
could only pass back to the Landgraves of X---- through a marriage with
the female inheretrix. To reconcile all claims, therefore, on finding
this bar in the way, the emperor had resolved to promote a marriage for
Maximilian with Paulina, who stood equally related to the imperial
house and to that of her lover. In this view he had despatched Paulina
to Klosterheim, with proper documents to support the claims of both
parties. Of these documents she had been robbed at Waldenhausen; and
the very letter which was designed to introduce Maximilian as "the
child and sole representative of the late murdered Landgrave," falling
in this surreptitious way into the usurper's hand, had naturally
misdirected his attacks to the person of Paulina.

For the rest, as regarded the mysterious movements of The Masque, these
were easily explained. Fear, and the exaggerations of fear, had done
one half the work to his hands, by preparing people to fall easy dupes
to the plans laid, and by increasing the romantic wonders of his
achievements. Coöperation, also, on the part of the very students and
others, who stood forward as the night-watch for detecting him, had
served The Masque no less powerfully. The appearances of deadly
struggles had been arranged artificially to countenance the plot and to
aid the terror. Finally, the secret passages which communicated between
the forest and the chapel of St. Agnes (passages of which many were
actually applied to that very use in the Thirty Years' War) had been
unreservedly placed at their disposal by the lady abbess, an early
friend of the unhappy Landgravine, who sympathized deeply with that
lady's unmerited sufferings.

One other explanation followed, communicated in a letter from
Maximilian to the legate; this related to the murder of the old
seneschal,--a matter in which the young prince took some blame to
himself, as having unintentionally drawn upon that excellent servant
his unhappy fate. "The seneschal," said the writer, "was the faithful
friend of my family, and knew the whole course of its misfortunes. He
continued his abode at the _schloss_, to serve my interest; and in
some measure I may fear that I drew upon him his fate. Traversing late
one evening a suite of rooms, which his assistance and my own
mysterious disguise laid open to my passage at all hours, I came
suddenly upon the prince's retirement. He pursued me, but with
hesitation. Some check I gave to his motions by halting before a
portrait of my unhappy father, and emphatically pointing his attention
to it. Conscience, I well knew, would supply a commentary to my act. I
produced the impression which I had anticipated, but not so strongly as
to stop his pursuit. My course necessarily drew him into the
seneschal's room. The old man was sleeping; and this accident threw
into the prince's hands a paper, which, I have reason to think, shed
some considerable light upon my own pretensions, and, in fact, first
made my enemy acquainted with my existence and my claims. Meantime, the
seneschal had secured the prince's vengeance upon himself. He was now
known as a faithful agent in my service. That fact signed his death-
warrant. There is a window in a gallery which commands the interior of
the seneschal's room. On the evening of the last _fête_,
waiting there for an opportunity of speaking securely with this
faithful servant, I heard a deep groan, and then another, and another;
I raised myself, and, with an ejaculation of horror, looked down upon
the murderer, then surveying his victim with hellish triumph. My loud
exclamation drew the murderer's eye upwards: under the pangs of an
agitated conscience, I have reason to think that he took me for my
unhappy father, who perished at my age, and is said to have resembled
me closely. Who that murderer was, I need not say more directly. He
fled with the terror of one who flies from an apparition. Taking a
lesson from this incident, on that same night, by the very same sudden
revelation of what passed, no doubt, for my father's countenance, aided
by my mysterious character, and the proof I had announced to him
immediately before my acquaintance with the secret of the seneschal's
murder, in this and no other way it was that I produced that powerful
impression upon the prince which terminated the festivities of that
evening, and which all Klosterheim witnessed. If not, it is for the
prince to explain in what other way I did or could affect him so
powerfully."

This explanation of the else unaccountable horror manifested by the ex-
Landgrave on the sudden exposure of The Masque's features, received a
remarkable confirmation from the confession of the miserable assassin
at Waldenhausen. This man's illness had been first brought on by the
sudden shock of a situation pretty nearly the same, acting on a
conscience more disturbed, and a more superstitious mind. In the very
act of attempting to assassinate or rob Maximilian, he had been
suddenly dragged by that prince into a dazzling light; and this
settling full upon features which too vividly recalled to the
murderer's recollection the last unhappy Landgrave, at the very same
period of blooming manhood, and in his own favorite hunting palace, not
far from which the murder had been perpetrated, naturally enough had
for a time unsettled the guilty man's understanding, and, terminating
in a nervous fever, had at length produced his penitential death.

A death, happily of the same character, soon overtook the deposed
Landgrave. He was laid by the side of his daughter, whose memory, as
much even as his own penitence, availed to gather round his final
resting-place the forgiving thoughts even of those who had suffered
most from his crimes. Klosterheim in the next age flourished greatly,
being one of those cities which benefited by the peace of Westphalia.
Many changes took place in consequence, greatly affecting the
architectural character of the town and its picturesque antiquities;
but, amidst all revolutions of this nature, the secret passages still
survive, and to this day are shown occasionally to strangers of rank
and consideration, by which, more than by any other of the advantages
at his disposal, The Masque of Klosterheim was enabled to replace
himself in his patrimonial rights, and at the same time to liberate
from a growing oppression his own compatriots and subjects.



THE SPHINX'S RIDDLE.


The most ancient [Footnote: That is, amongst stories not wearing a
_mythologic_ character, such as those of Prometheus, Hercules, &c.
The era of Troy and its siege is doubtless by some centuries older than
its usual chronologic date of nine centuries before Christ. And
considering the mature age of Eteocles and Polynices, the two sons of
Œdipus, at the period of the "_Seven against Thebes_," which seven
were contemporary with the _fathers_ of the heroes engaged in the
Trojan war, it becomes necessary to add sixty or seventy years to the
Trojan date, in order to obtain that of Œdipus and the Sphinx. Out of
the Hebrew Scriptures, there is nothing purely historic so old as
this.] story in the Pagan records, older by two generations than the
story of Troy, is that of Œdipus and his mysterious fate, which wrapt
in ruin both himself and all his kindred. No story whatever continued
so long to impress the Greek sensibilities with religious awe, or was
felt by the great tragic poets to be so supremely fitted for scenical
representation. In one of its stages, this story is clothed with the
majesty of darkness; in another stage, it is radiant with burning
lights of female love, the most faithful and heroic, offering a
beautiful relief to the preternatural malice dividing the two sons of
Œdipus. This malice was so intense, that when the corpses of both
brothers were burned together on the same funeral pyre (as by one
tradition they were), the flames from each parted asunder, and refused
to mingle. This female love was so intense, that it survived the death
of its object, cared not for human praise or blame, and laughed at the
grave which waited in the rear for itself, yawning visibly for
immediate retribution. There are four separate movements through which
this impassioned tale devolves; all are of commanding interest; and all
wear a character of portentous solemnity, which fits them for
harmonizing with the dusky shadows of that deep antiquity into which
they ascend.

One only feature there is in the story, and this belongs to its second
stage (which is also its sublimest stage), where a pure taste is likely
to pause, and to revolt as from something not perfectly reconciled with
the general depth of the coloring. This lies in the Sphinx's riddle,
which, as hitherto explained, seems to us deplorably below the grandeur
of the occasion. Three thousand years, at the least, have passed away
since that riddle was propounded; and it seems odd enough that the
proper solution should not present itself till November of 1849. That
is true; it seems odd, but still it is possible, that we, in _anno
domini_ 1849, may see further through a mile-stone than Œdipus, the
king, in the year B. c. twelve or thirteen hundred. The long interval
between the enigma and its answer may remind the reader of an old story
in Joe Miller, where a traveller, apparently an inquisitive person, in
passing-through a toll-bar, said to the keeper, "How do you like your
eggs dressed?" Without waiting for the answer, he rode off; but twenty-
five years later, riding through the same bar, kept by the same man,
the traveller looked steadfastly at him, and received the monosyllabic
answer, "_Poached_." A long parenthesis is twenty-five years; and
we, gazing back over a far wider gulf of time, shall endeavor to look
hard at the Sphinx, and to convince that mysterious young lady,--if our
voice can reach her,--that she was too easily satisfied with the answer
given; that the true answer is yet to come; and that, in fact, Œdipus
shouted before he was out of the wood.

But, first of all, let us rehearse the circumstances of this old
Grecian story. For in a popular journal it is always a duty to assume
that perhaps three readers out of four may have had no opportunity, by
the course of their education, for making themselves acquainted with
classical legends. And in this present case, besides the
indispensableness of the story to the proper comprehension of our own
improved answer to the Sphinx, the story has a separate and independent
value of its own; for it illustrates a profound but obscure idea of
Pagan ages, which is connected with the elementary glimpses of man into
the abysses of his higher relations, and lurks mysteriously amongst
what Milton so finely calls "the dark foundations" of our human nature.
This notion it is hard to express in modern phrase, for we have no idea
exactly corresponding to it; but in Latin it was called _piacularity_.
The reader must understand upon our authority, _nostro periculo_, and
in defiance of all the false translations spread through books, that
the ancients (meaning the Greeks and Romans before the time of
Christianity) had no idea, not by the faintest vestige, of what in the
scriptural system is called _sin_. The Latin word _peccatum_, the Greek
word _amartia_, are translated continually by the word _sin_; but
neither one word nor the other has any such meaning in writers
belonging to the pure classical period. When baptized into new meaning
by the adoption of Christianity, these words, in common with many
others, transmigrated into new and philosophic functions. But
originally they tended towards no such acceptations, nor _could_ have
done so; seeing that the ancients had no avenue opened to them through
which the profound idea of _sin_ would have been even dimly
intelligible. Plato, four hundred years before Christ, or Cicero, more
than three hundred years later, was fully equal to the idea of _guilt_
through all its gamut; but no more equal to the idea of _sin_, than a
sagacious hound to the idea of gravitation, or of central forces. It is
the tremendous postulate upon which this idea reposes that constitutes
the initial moment of that revelation which is common to Judaism and to
Christianity. We have no intention of wandering into any discussion
upon this question. It will suffice for the service of the occasion if
we say that guilt, in all its modifications, implies only a defect or a
wound in the individual. Sin, on the other hand, the most mysterious,
and the most sorrowful of all ideas, implies a taint not in the
individual but in the race--_that_ is the distinction; or a taint
in the individual, not through any local disease of his own, but
through a scrofula equally diffused through the infinite family of man.
We are not speaking controversially, either as teachers of theology or
of philosophy; and we are careless of the particular construction by
which the reader interprets to himself this profound idea. What we
affirm is, that this idea was utterly and exquisitely inappreciable by
Pagan Greece and Rome; that various translations from Pindar,
[Footnote: And when we are speaking of this subject, it may be proper
to mention (as the very extreme anachronism which the case admits of)
that Mr. Archdeacon W. has absolutely introduced the idea of sin into
the "Iliad;" and, in a regular octavo volume, has represented it as the
key to the whole movement of the fable. It was once made a reproach to
Southey that his Don Roderick spoke, in his penitential moods, a
language too much resembling that of Methodism; yet, after all, that
prince was a Christian, and a Christian amongst Mussulmans. But what
are we to think of Achilles and Patroclus, when described as being (or
_not_ being) "under convictions of sin"?] from Aristophanes, and
from the Greek tragedians, embodying at intervals this word _sin_,
are more extravagant than would be the word _category_ introduced
into the harangue of an Indian sachem amongst the Cherokees; and
finally that the very nearest approach to the abysmal idea which we
Christians attach to the word sin--(an approach, but to that which
never can be touched--a writing as of palmistry upon each man's hand,
but a writing which "no man can read")--lies in the Pagan idea of
_piacularity_; which is an idea thus far like hereditary sin, that
it expresses an evil to which the party affected has not consciously
concurred; which is thus far _not_ like hereditary sin, that it
expresses an evil personal to the individual, and not extending itself
to the race.

This was the evil exemplified in Œdipus. He was loaded with an
insupportable burthen of pariah participation in pollution and misery,
to which his will had never consented. He seemed to have committed the
most atrocious crimes; he was a murderer, he was a parricide, he was
doubly incestuous, and yet how? In the case where he might be thought a
murderer, he had stood upon his self-defence, not benefiting by any
superior resources, but, on the contrary, fighting as one man against
three, and under the provocation of insufferable insolence. Had he been
a parricide? What matter, as regarded the moral guilt, if his father
(and by the fault of that father) were utterly unknown to him?
Incestuous had he been? but how, if the very oracles of fate, as
expounded by events and by mysterious creatures such as the Sphinx, had
stranded him, like a ship left by the tide, upon this dark unknown
shore of a criminality unsuspected by himself? All these treasons
against the sanctities of nature had Œdipus committed; and yet was this
Œdipus a thoroughly good man, no more dreaming of the horrors in which
he was entangled, than the eye at noonday in midsummer is conscious of
the stars that lie far behind the daylight. Let us review rapidly the
incidents of his life.

Laius, King of Thebes, the descendant of Labdacus, and representing the
illustrious house of the Labdacidae, about the time when his wife,
Jocasta, promised to present him with a child, had learned from various
prophetic voices that this unborn child was destined to be his
murderer. It is singular that in all such cases, which are many, spread
through classical literature, the parties menaced by fate believe the
menace; else why do they seek to evade it? and yet believe it not; else
why do they fancy themselves able to evade it? This fatal child, who
was the Œdipus of tragedy, being at length born, Laius committed the
infant to a slave, with orders to expose it on Mount Cithæron. This was
done; the infant was suspended, by thongs running through the fleshy
parts of his feet, to the branches of a tree, and he was supposed to
have perished by wild beasts. But a shepherd, who found him in this
perishing state, pitied his helplessness, and carried him to his master
and mistress, King and Queen of Corinth, who adopted and educated him
as their own child. That he was _not_ their own child, and that in
fact he was a foundling of unknown parentage, Œdipus was not slow of
finding from the insults of his schoolfellows; and at length, with the
determination of learning his origin and his fate, being now a full-
grown young man, he strode off from Corinth to Delphi. The oracle at
Delphi, being as usual in collusion with his evil destiny, sent him off
to seek his parents at Thebes. On his journey thither, he met, in a
narrow part of the road, a chariot proceeding in the counter direction
from Thebes to Delphi. The charioteer, relying upon the grandeur of his
master, insolently ordered the young stranger to clear the road; upon
which, under the impulse of his youthful blood, Œdipus slew him on the
spot. The haughty grandee who occupied the chariot rose up in fury to
avenge this outrage, fought with the young stranger, and was himself
killed. One attendant upon the chariot remained; but he, warned by the
fate of his master and his fellow-servant, withdrew quietly into the
forest that skirted the road, revealing no word of what had happened,
but reserved, by the dark destiny of Œdipus, to that evil day on which
_his_ evidence, concurring with other circumstantial exposures,
should convict the young Corinthian emigrant of parricide. For the
present, Œdipus viewed himself as no criminal, but much rather as an
injured man, who had simply used his natural powers of self-defence
against an insolent aggressor. This aggressor, as the reader will
suppose, was Laius. The throne therefore was empty, on the arrival of
Œdipus in Thebes; the king's death was known, but not the mode of it;
and that Œdipus was the murderer could not reasonably be suspected
either by the people of Thebes, or by Œdipus himself. The whole affair
would have had no interest for the young stranger; but, through the
accident of a public calamity then desolating the land, a mysterious
monster, called the Sphinx, half woman and half lion, was at that time
on the coast of Boeotia, and levying a daily tribute of human lives
from the Boeotian territory. This tribute, it was understood, would
continue to be levied from the territories attached to Thebes, until a
riddle proposed by the monster should have been satisfactorily solved.
By way of encouragement to all who might feel prompted to undertake so
dangerous an adventure, the authorities of Thebes offered the throne
and the hand of the widowed Jocasta as the prize of success; and
Œdipus, either on public or on selfish motives, entered the lists as a
competitor.

The riddle proposed by the Sphinx ran in these terms: "What creature is
that which moves on four feet in the morning, on two feet at noonday,
and on three towards the going down of the sun?" Œdipus, after some
consideration, answered that the creature was MAN, who creeps on the
ground with hands and feet when an infant, walks upright in the vigor
of manhood, and leans upon a staff in old age. Immediately the dreadful
Sphinx confessed the truth of his solution by throwing herself headlong
from a point of rock into the sea; her power being overthrown as soon
as her secret had been detected. Thus was the Sphinx destroyed; and,
according to the promise of the proclamation, for this great service to
the state Œdipus was immediately recompensed. He was saluted King of
Thebes, and married to the royal widow Jocasta. In this way it
happened, but without suspicion either in himself or others, pointing
to the truth, that Œdipus had slain his father, had ascended his
father's throne, and had married his own mother.

Through a course of years all these dreadful events lay hushed in
darkness; but at length a pestilence arose, and an embassy was
despatched to Delphi, in order to ascertain the cause of the heavenly
wrath, and the proper means of propitiating that wrath. The embassy
returned to Thebes armed with a knowledge of the fatal secrets
connected with Œdipus, but under some restraints of prudence in making
a publication of what so dreadfully affected the most powerful
personage in the state. Perhaps, in the whole history of human art as
applied to the evolution of a poetic fable, there is nothing more
exquisite than the management of this crisis by Sophocles. A natural
discovery, first of all, connects Œdipus with the death of Laius. That
discovery comes upon him with some surprise, but with no shock of fear
or remorse. That he had killed a man of rank in a sudden quarrel, he
had always known; that this man was now discovered to be Laius, added
nothing to the reasons for regret. The affair remained as it was. It
was simply a case of personal strife on the high road, and one which
had really grown out of aristocratic violence in the adverse party.
Œdipus had asserted his own rights and dignity only as all brave men
would have done in an age that knew nothing of civic police.

It was true that this first discovery--the identification of himself as
the slayer of Laius--drew after it two others, namely, that it was the
throne of his victim on which he had seated himself, and that it was
_his_ widow whom he had married. But these were no offences; and,
on the contrary, they were distinctions won at great risk to himself,
and by a great service to the country. Suddenly, however, the
reappearance and disclosures of the shepherd who had saved his life
during infancy in one moment threw a dazzling but funereal light upon
the previous discoveries that else had seemed so trivial. In an instant
everything was read in another sense. The death of Laius, the marriage
with his widow, the appropriation of his throne, all towered into
colossal crimes, illimitable, and opening no avenues to atonement.
Œdipus, in the agonies of his horror, inflicts blindness upon himself;
Jocasta commits suicide; the two sons fall into fiery feuds for the
assertion of their separate claims on the throne, but previously unite
for the expulsion of Œdipus, as one who had become a curse to Thebes.
And thus the poor, heart-shattered king would have been turned out upon
the public roads, aged, blind, and a helpless vagrant, but for the
sublime piety of his two daughters, but especially of Antigone, the
elder. They share with their unhappy father the hardships and perils of
the road, and do not leave him until the moment of his mysterious
summons to some ineffable death in the woods of Colonus. The expulsion
of Polynices, the younger son, from Thebes; his return with a
confederate band of princes for the recovery of his rights; the death
of the two brothers in single combat; the public prohibition of funeral
rights to Polynices, as one who had levied war against his native land;
and the final reappearance of Antigone, who defies the law, and secures
a grave to her brother at the certain price of a grave to herself--
these are the sequels and arrears of the family overthrow accomplished
through the dark destiny of Œdipus.

And now, having reviewed the incidents of the story, in what respect is
it that we object to the solution of the Sphinx's riddle? We do not
object to it as _a_ solution of the riddle, and the only one
possible at the moment; but what we contend is, that it is not
_the_ solution. All great prophecies, all great mysteries, are
likely to involve double, triple, or even quadruple interpretations--
each rising in dignity, each cryptically involving another. Even
amongst natural agencies, precisely as they rise in grandeur, they
multiply their final purposes. Rivers and seas, for instance, are
useful, not merely as means of separating nations from each other, but
also as means of uniting them; not merely as baths and for all purposes
of washing and cleansing, but also as reservoirs of fish, as high-roads
for the conveyance of commodities, as permanent sources of agricultural
fertility, &c. In like manner, a mystery of any sort, having a public
reference, may be presumed to couch within it a secondary and a
profounder interpretation. The reader may think that the Sphinx ought
to have understood her own riddle best; and that, if _she_ were
satisfied with the answer of Œdipus, it must be impertinent in us at
this time of day to censure it. To censure, indeed, is more than we
propose. The solution of Œdipus was a true one; and it was all that he
_could_ have given in that early period of his life. But, perhaps,
at the moment of his death amongst the gloomy thickets of Attica, he
might have been able to suggest another and a better. If not, then we
have the satisfaction of thinking ourselves somewhat less dense than
Œdipus; for, in our opinion, the full and _final_ answer to the
Sphinx's riddle lay in the word ŒDIPUS. Œdipus himself it was that
fulfilled the conditions of the enigma. He it was, in the most pathetic
sense, that went upon four feet when an infant; for the general
condition of helplessness attached to all mankind in the period of
infancy, and which is expressed symbolically by this image of creeping,
applied to Œdipus in a far more significant manner, as one abandoned by
all his natural protectors, thrown upon the chances of a wilderness,
and upon the mercies of a slave. The allusion to this general
helplessness had, besides, a special propriety in the case of Œdipus,
who drew his very name (_Swollen-foot_) from the injury done to
his infant feet. He, again, it was that, in a more emphatic sense than
usual, asserted that majestic self-sufficientness and independence of
all alien aid, which is typified by the act of walking upright at
noonday upon his own natural basis. Throwing off all the power and
splendor borrowed from his royal protectors at Corinth, trusting
exclusively to his native powers as a man, he had fought his way
through insult to the presence of the dreadful Sphinx; her he had
confounded and vanquished; he had leaped into a throne,--the throne of
him who had insulted him,--without other resources than such as he drew
from himself, and he had, in the same way, obtained a royal bride. With
good right, therefore, he was foreshadowed in the riddle as one who
walked upright by his own masculine vigor, and relied upon no gifts but
those of nature. Lastly, by a sad but a pitying image, Œdipus is
described as supporting himself at nightfall on three feet; for Œdipus
it was that by his cruel sons would have been rejected from Thebes,
with no auxiliary means of motion or support beyond his own languishing
powers: blind and broken-hearted, he must have wandered into snares and
ruin; his own feet must have been supplanted immediately: but then came
to his aid another foot, the holy Antigone. She it was that guided and
cheered him, when all the world had forsaken him; she it was that
already, in the vision of the cruel Sphinx, had been prefigured dimly
as the staff upon which Œdipus should lean, as the _third_ foot
that should support his steps when the deep shadows of his sunset were
gathering and settling about his grave.

In this way we obtain a solution of the Sphinx's riddle more
commensurate and symmetrical with the other features of the story,
which are all clothed with the grandeur of mystery. The Sphinx herself
is a mystery. Whence came her monstrous nature, that so often renewed
its remembrance amongst men of distant lands, in Egyptian or Ethiopian
marble? Whence came her wrath against Thebes? This wrath, how durst it
tower so high as to measure itself against the enmity of a nation? This
wrath, how came it to sink so low as to collapse at the echo of a word
from a friendless stranger? Mysterious again is the blind collusion of
this unhappy stranger with the dark decrees of fate. The very
misfortunes of his infancy had given into his hands one chance more for
escape: these misfortunes had transferred him to Corinth, and staying
_there_ he was safe. But the headstrong haughtiness of youthful
blood causes him to recoil unknowingly upon the one sole spot of all
the earth where the coefficients for ratifying his destruction are
waiting and lying in ambush. Heaven and earth are silent for a
generation; one might fancy that they are _treacherously_ silent,
in order that Œdipus may have time for building up to the clouds the
pyramid of his mysterious offences. His four children, incestuously
born, sons that are his brothers, daughters that are his sisters, have
grown up to be men and women, before the first mutterings are becoming
audible of that great tide slowly coming up from the sea, which is to
sweep away himself and the foundations of his house. Heaven and earth
must now bear joint witness against him. Heaven speaks first: the
pestilence that walketh in darkness is made the earliest minister of
the discovery,--the pestilence it is, scourging the seven-gated Thebes,
as very soon the Sphinx will scourge her, that is appointed to usher
in, like some great ceremonial herald, that sad drama of Nemesis,--that
vast procession of revelation and retribution which the earth, and the
graves of the earth, must finish. Mysterious also is the pomp of ruin
with which this revelation of the past descends upon that ancient house
of Thebes. Like a shell from modern artillery, it leaves no time for
prayer or evasion, but shatters by the same explosion all that stand
within its circle of fury. Every member of that devoted household, as
if they had been sitting--not around a sacred domestic hearth, but
around the crater of some surging volcano--all alike, father and
mother, sons and daughters, are wrapt at once in fiery whirlwinds of
ruin. And, amidst this general agony of destroying wrath, one central
mystery, as a darkness within a darkness, withdraws itself into a
secrecy unapproachable by eyesight, or by filial love, or by guesses of
the brain--and _that_ is the death of Œdipus. _Did_ he die? Even
_that_ is more than we can say. How dreadful does the sound fall
upon the heart of some poor, horror-stricken criminal, pirate or
murderer, that has offended by a mere human offence, when, at
nightfall, tempted by the sweet spectacle of a peaceful hearth, he
creeps stealthily into some village inn, and hopes for one night's
respite from his terror, but suddenly feels the touch, and hears the
voice, of the stern officer, saying, "Sir, you are wanted." Yet that
summons is but too intelligible; it shocks, but it bewilders not; and
the utmost of its malice is bounded by the scaffold. "Deep," says the
unhappy man, "is the downward path of anguish which I am called to
tread; but it has been trodden by others." For Œdipus there was no such
comfort. What language of man or trumpet of angel could decipher the
woe of that unfathomable call, when, from the depth of ancient woods, a
voice that drew like gravitation, that sucked in like a vortex, far off
yet near, in some distant world yet close at hand, cried, "Hark,
Œdipus! King Œdipus! come hither! thou art wanted!" _Wanted!_ for
what? Was it for death? was it for judgment? was it for some wilderness
of pariah eternities? No man ever knew. Chasms opened in the earth;
dark gigantic arms stretched out to receive the king; clouds and vapor
settled over the penal abyss; and of him only, though the neighborhood
of his disappearance was known, no trace or visible record survived--
neither bones, nor grave, nor dust, nor epitaph.

Did the Sphinx follow with her cruel eye this fatal tissue of calamity
to its shadowy crisis at Colonus? As the billows closed over her head,
did she perhaps attempt to sting with her dying words? Did she say, "I,
the daughter of mystery, am _called_; I am _wanted_. But, amidst the
uproar of the sea, and the clangor of sea-birds, high over all I hear
another though a distant summons. I can hear that thou, Œdipus, the son
of mystery, art _called_ from afar: thou also wilt be _wanted_." Did
the wicked Sphinx labor in vain, amidst her parting convulsions, to
breathe this freezing whisper into the heart of him that had overthrown
her?

Who can say? Both of these enemies were pariah mysteries, and may have
faced each other again with blazing malice in some pariah world. But
all things in this dreadful story ought to be harmonized. Already in
itself it is an ennobling and an idealizing of the riddle, that it is
made a double riddle; that it contains an exoteric sense obvious to all
the world, but also an esoteric sense--now suggested conjecturally
after thousands of years--_possibly_ unknown to the Sphinx, and
_certainly_ unknown to Œdipus; that this second riddle is hid
within the first; that the one riddle is the secret commentary upon the
other; and that the earliest is the hieroglyphic of the last. Thus far
as regards the riddle itself; and, as regards Œdipus in particular, it
exalts the mystery around him, that in reading this riddle, and in
tracing the vicissitudes from infancy to old age, attached to the
general destiny of his race, unconsciously he was tracing the dreadful
vicissitudes attached specially and separately to his own.



THE TEMPLARS' DIALOGUES.


DIALOGUES.

ORIGINAL ADVERTISEMENT, IN APRIL, 1824.


I have resolved to fling my analysis of Mr. Ricardo's system into the
form of Dialogues. A few words will suffice to determine the principles
of criticism which can fairly be applied to such a form of composition
on such a subject. It cannot reasonably be expected that dialogues on
Political Economy should pretend to the appropriate beauty of dialogues
_as_ dialogues, by throwing any dramatic interest into the parts
sustained by the different speakers, or any characteristic distinctions
into their style. Elegance of this sort, if my time had allowed of it,
or I had been otherwise capable of producing it, would have been here
misplaced. Not that I would say even of Political Economy, in the words
commonly applied to such subjects, that "_Ornari res ipsa negat,
contenta doceri:_" for all things have their peculiar beauty and
sources of ornament--determined by their ultimate ends, and by the
process of the mind in pursuing them. Here, as in the processes of
nature and in mathematical demonstrations, the appropriate elegance is
derived from the simplicity of the means employed, as expressed in the
"Lex Parcimoniæ" ("Frustra fit per plura, quod fieri fas erat per
pauciora"), and other maxims of that sort. This simplicity, however,
must be looked for in the order and relation of the thoughts, and in
the steps through which they are trained to lead into each other,
rather than in any anxious conciseness as to words; which, on the
contrary, I have rather sought to avoid in the earlier Dialogues, in
order that I might keep those distinctions longer before the reader
from which all the rest were to be derived. For he who has fully
mastered the doctrine of Value is already a good political economist.
Now, if any man should object, that in the following dialogues I have
uniformly given the victory to myself, he will make a pleasant logical
blunder: for the true logic of the case is this: Not that it is myself
to whom I give the victory; but that he to whom I give the victory (let
me call him by what name I will) is of necessity myself; since I cannot
be supposed to have put triumphant arguments into any speaker's mouth,
unless they had previously convinced my own understanding. Finally, let
me entreat the reader not to be impatient under the disproportionate
length (as he may fancy it) of the opening discussions on Value: even
for its own sake, the subject is a matter of curious speculation; but
in relation to Political Economy it is all in all; for most of the
errors (and, what is much worse than errors, most of the perplexities)
prevailing in this science take their rise from this source. Mr.
Ricardo is the first writer who has thrown light on the subject; and
even he, in the last edition of his book, still found it a "difficult"
one (see the Advertisement to the Third Edition). What a Ricardo has
found difficult, cannot be adequately discussed in few words; but, if
the reader will once thoroughly master this part of the science, all
the rest will cost him hardly any effort at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

INTRODUCTORY DIALOGUE.

(SPEAKERS THROUGHOUT THE DIALOGUES ARE PHÆDRUS, PHILEBUS, AND X. Y. Z.)


_Phædrus_. This, Philebus, is my friend X. Y. Z., whom I have long
wished to introduce to you; he has some business which calls him into
this quarter of the town for the next fortnight; and during that time
he has promised to dine with me; and we are to discuss together the
modern doctrines of Political Economy; most of which, he tells me, are
due to Mr. Ricardo. Or rather, I should say, that I am to become his
pupil; for I pretend to no regular knowledge of Political Economy,
having picked up what little I possess in a desultory way amongst the
writers of the old school; and, out of that little, X. obligingly tells
me that three fourths are rotten. I am glad, therefore, that you are in
town at this time, and can come and help me to contradict him. Meantime
X. has some right to play the tutor amongst us; for he has been a
regular student of the science: another of his merits is, that he is a
Templar as well as ourselves, and a good deal senior to either of us.

_Philebus_. And for which of his merits is it that you would have
me contradict him?

_Phæd_. O, no matter for his merits, which doubtless are past all
computation, but generally as a point of hospitality. For I am of the
same opinion as M----, a very able friend of mine in Liverpool, who
looks upon it as criminal to concede anything a man says in the process
of a disputation: the nefarious habit of assenting (as he justly says)
being the pest of conversation, by causing it to stagnate. On this
account he often calls aside the talking men of the party before
dinner, and conjures them with a pathetic earnestness not to agree with
him in anything he may advance during the evening; and at his own
table, when it has happened that strangers were present who indulged
too much in the habit of politely assenting to anything which seemed to
demand no particular opposition, I have seen him suddenly pause with
the air of the worst-used man in the world, and exclaim, "Good heavens!
is there to be no end to this? Am I _never_ to be contradicted? I
suppose matters will soon come to that pass that my nearest relations
will be perfidiously agreeing with me; the very wife of my bosom will
refuse to contradict me; and I shall not have a friend left on whom I
can depend for the consolations of opposition."

_Phil_. Well, Phædrus, if X. Y. Z. is so much devoted as you
represent to the doctrines of Mr. Ricardo, I shall perhaps find myself
obliged to indulge your wishes in this point more than my own taste in
conversation would lead me to desire.

_X_. And what, may I ask, is the particular ground of your
opposition to Mr. Ricardo?

_Phæd_. I suppose that, like the man who gave his vote against
Aristides, because it wearied him to hear any man surnamed _the
just_, Philebus is annoyed by finding that so many people look up to
Mr. Ricardo as an oracle.

_Phil_. No: for the very opposite reason; it is because I hear him
generally complained of as obscure, and as ambitiously paradoxical; two
faults which I cannot tolerate: and the extracts from his writings
which I have seen satisfy me that this judgment is a reasonable one.

_Phæd_. In addition to which, Philebus, I now recollect something
which perhaps weighs with you still more, though you have chosen to
suppress it; and _that_ is, that you are a disciple of Mr. Malthus,
every part of whose writings, since the year 1816 (I am assured), have
had one origin--jealousy of Mr. Ricardo, "quem si non aliqua nocuisset,
mortuus esset."

_X_. No, no, Phædrus; we must not go so far as _that_; though
undoubtedly it is true that Mr. Malthus has often conducted his
opposition in a most vexatious and disingenuous manner.

_Phil_. How so? In what instance? In what instance?

_X_. In this, for one. Mr. Malthus, in his "Political Economy"
(1820), repeatedly charged Mr. Ricardo with having confounded the two
notions of "cost" and "value:" I smile, by the way, when I repeat such
a charge, as if it were the office of a Ricardo to confound, or of a
Malthus to distinguish: but

  "Non usque adeo permiscuit imis
  Longus summa dies, ut non--si voce Metelli
  Serventur leges--malint a Cæsare tolli."

[Footnote: For the sake of the unclassical reader, I add a prose
translation:--Not to such an extent has the lapse of time confounded
things highest with things lowest, as that--if the laws can be saved
only by the voice of a Metellus--they would not rather choose to be
abolished by a Cæsar.]

_Phil_. "Imis!" Why, I hope, if Mr. Ricardo may do for the Cæsar
of the case, Mr. Malthus is not therefore to be thought the Metellus.
"Imis," indeed!

_X_. As to _this_, he is: his general merits of good sense and
ingenuity we all acknowledge; but for the office of a distinguisher, or
any other which demands logic in the first place, it is impossible to
conceive any person below him. To go on, however, with my instance:--
this objection of Mr. Malthus' about "cost" and "value" was founded
purely on a very great blunder of his own--so great, that (as I shall
show in its proper place) even Mr. Ricardo did not see the whole extent
of his misconception: thus much, however, was plain, that the meaning
of Mr. Malthus was, that the new doctrine of value allowed for wages,
but did _not_ allow for profits; and thus, according to the
Malthusian terminology, expressed the cost but not the value of a
thing. What was Mr. Ricardo's answer? In the third edition of his book
(p. 46), he told Mr. Malthus that, if the word "cost" were understood
in any sense which _excluded_ profits, then he did not assert the
thing attributed to him; on the other hand, if it were understood in a
sense which _included_ profits, then of course he did assert it;
but, then, in that sense Mr. Malthus himself did not deny it. This
plain answer was published in 1821. Will it be believed that two years
after (namely, in the spring of 1823), Mr. Malthus published a
pamphlet, in which he repeats the same objection over and over again,
without a hint that it had ever met with a conclusive explanation which
it was impossible to misunderstand? Neither must it be alleged that Mr.
Malthus might not have seen this third edition; for it is the very
edition which he constantly quotes in that pamphlet.

_Phæd_. What say you to this, my dear Philebus? You seem to be in
perplexity.

_X_. But an instance of far greater disingenuousness is this: Mr.
Ricardo, after laying down the general law of value, goes on to state
three cases in which that law will be modified; and the extraordinary
sagacity with which he has detected and stated these modifications, and
the startling consequences to which they lead, have combined to make
this one of the most remarkable chapters in his books. Now, it is a
fact, gentlemen, that these very restrictions of his own law--so openly
stated as restrictions by Mr. Ricardo--are brought forward by Mr.
Malthus as so many objections of his own to upset that law. The logic,
as usual, is worthy of notice; for it is as if, in a question about the
force of any projectile, a man should urge the resistance of the air,
not as a limitation of that force, but as a capital objection to it.
What I here insist on, however, is its extreme disingenuousness. But
this is a subject which it is unpleasant to pursue; and the course of
our subject will of itself bring us but too often across the blunders
and misstatements of Mr. Malthus. To recur, therefore, to what you
objected about Mr. Ricardo--that he was said to be paradoxical and
obscure--I presume that you use the word "paradoxical" in the common
and improper sense, as denoting what has a specious air of truth and
subtlety, but is in fact false; whereas I need not tell _you_ that
a paradox is the very opposite of this--meaning in effect what has a
specious air of falsehood, though possibly very true; for a paradox,
you know, is simply that which contradicts the popular opinion--which
in too many cases is the false opinion; and in none more inevitably
than in cases as remote from the popular understanding as all questions
of severe science. However, use the word in what sense you please, Mr.
Ricardo is no ways interested in the charge. Are my doctrines true, are
they demonstrable? is the question for him; if not, let them be
overthrown; if _that_ is beyond any man's power, what matters it
to him that the slumbering intellect of the multitude regards them as
strange? As to obscurity, in general it is of two kinds--one arising
out of the writer's own perplexity of thought; which is a vicious
obscurity; and in this sense the opponents of Mr. Ricardo are the
obscurest of all economists. Another kind--

_Phæd_. Ay, now let us hear what is a virtuous obscurity.

_X_. I do not say, Phædrus, that in any case it can be meritorious
to be obscure; but I say that in many cases it is very natural to be
so, and pardonable in profound thinkers, and in some cases inevitable.
For the other kind of obscurity which I was going to notice is that
which I would denominate elliptical obscurity; arising, I mean, out of
the frequent ellipsis or suppression of some of the links in a long
chain of thought; these are often involuntarily suppressed by profound
thinkers, from the disgust which they naturally feel at overlaying a
subject with superfluous explanations. So far from seeing too dimly, as
in the case of perplexed obscurity, their defect is the very reverse;
they see too clearly; and fancy that others see as clearly as
themselves. Such, without any tincture of confusion, was the obscurity
of Kant (though in him there was also a singular defect of the art of
communicating knowledge, as he was himself aware); such was the
obscurity of Leibnitz (who otherwise was remarkable for his felicity in
explaining himself); such, if any, is the obscurity of Ricardo; though,
for my own part, I must acknowledge that I could never find any; to me
he seems a model of perspicuity. But I believe that the very ground of
his perspicuity to me is the ground of his apparent obscurity to some
others, and _that_ is--his inexorable consistency in the use of
words; and this is one of the cases which I alluded to in speaking of
an "inevitable obscurity;" for, wherever men have been accustomed to
use a word in two senses, and have yet supposed themselves to use it
but in one, a writer, who corrects this lax usage, and forces them to
maintain the unity of the meaning, will always appear obscure; because
he will oblige them to deny or to affirm consequences from which they
were hitherto accustomed to escape under a constant though unconscious
equivocation between the two senses. Thus, for example, Mr. Ricardo
sternly insists on the _true_ sense of the word Value, and (what
is still more unusual to most men) insists on using it but in
_one_ sense; and hence arise consequences which naturally appear
at once obscure and paradoxical to M. Say, to Mr. Malthus, to the
author of an Essay on Value; [Footnote: I forget the exact title; but
it was printed for Hunter, St. Paul's Church-yard.] and to all other
lax thinkers, who easily bend their understandings to the infirmity of
the popular usage. Hence, it is not surprising to find Mr. Malthus
complaining ("Polit. Econ.," p. 214) of "the _unusual_ application
of common terms" as having made Mr. Ricardo's work "difficult to be
understood by many people;" though, in fact, there is nothing at all
unusual in his application of any term whatever, but only in the
steadiness with which he keeps to the same application of it.

_Phil_. These distinctions of yours on the subject of obscurity I
am disposed to think reasonable; and, unless the contrary should appear
in the course of our conversations, I will concede them to be
applicable to the case of Mr. Ricardo; his obscurity may be venial, or
it may be inevitable, or even none at all (if you will have it so). But
I cannot allow of the cases of Kant and Leibnitz as at all relevant to
that before us. For, the obscurity complained of in metaphysics, etc.,
is inherent in the very _objects_ contemplated, and is independent
of the particular mind contemplating, and exists in defiance of the
utmost talents for diffusing light; whereas the objects about which
Political Economy is concerned are acknowledged by all persons to be
clear and simple enough, so that any obscurity which hangs over them,
must arise from imperfections in the art of arranging and conveying
ideas on the part of him who undertakes to teach it.

_X_. This I admit: any obscurity which clouds Political Economy,
unless where it arises from want of sufficient facts, must be
subjective; whereas the main obscurity which besets metaphysics is
objective; and such an obscurity is in the fullest sense inevitable.
But this I did not overlook; for an objective obscurity it is in the
power of any writer to aggravate by his own perplexities; and I alleged
the cases of Kant and Leibnitz no further than as they were said to
have done so; contending that, if Mr. Ricardo were at all liable to the
same charge, he was entitled to the same apology; namely, that he is
never obscure from any confusion of thought, but, on the contrary, from
too keen a perception of the truth, which may have seduced him at times
into too elliptic a development of his opinions, and made him impatient
of the tardy and continuous steps which are best adapted to the
purposes of the teacher. For the fact is, that the _laborers of the
Mine_ (as I am accustomed to call them), or those who dig up the
metal of truth, are seldom fitted to be also _laborers of the
Mint_--that is, to work up the metal for current use. Besides which,
it must not be forgotten that Mr. Ricardo did not propose to deliver an
entire system of Political Economy, but only an investigation of such
doctrines as had happened to be imperfectly or erroneously stated. On
this account, much of his work is polemic; and presumes, therefore, in
the reader an acquaintance with the writers whom he is opposing.
Indeed, in every chapter there is an under reference, not to this or
that author only, but to the whole current of modern opinions on the
subject, which demands a learned reader who is already master of what
is generally received for truth in Political Economy.

_Phil_. Upon this statement it appears at any rate that Mr.
Ricardo's must be a most improper book as an elementary one. But, after
all, you will admit that even amongst Mr. Ricardo's friends there is a
prevailing opinion that he is too subtle (or, as it is usually
expressed, too theoretic) a writer to be safely relied on for the
practical uses of legislation.

_X_. Yes. And, indeed, we are all so deeply indebted to English
wisdom on matters where theories really _are_ dangerous, that we
ought not to wonder or to complain if the jealousy of all which goes
under that name be sometimes extended to cases in which it is idle to
suppose any opposition possible between the _true_ theory and the
practice. However, on the whole question which has been moved in regard
to Mr. Ricardo's obscurity or tendency to paradox or to over refinement
and false subtlety, I am satisfied if I have won you to any provisional
suspension of your prejudices; and will now press it no further--
willingly leaving the matter to be settled by the result of our
discussions.

_Phæd_. Do so, X.; and especially because my watch informs me that
dinner--an event too awfully practical to allow of any violation from
mere sublunary disputes--will be announced in six minutes; within which
space of time I will trouble you to produce the utmost possible amount
of truth with the least possible proportion of obscurity, whether
"subjective" or "objective," that may be convenient.

_X_. As the time which you allow us is so short, I think that I
cannot better employ it than in reading a short paper which I have
drawn up on the most general distribution of Mr. Ricardo's book;
because this may serve to guide us in the course of our future
discussions.

Mr. Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy consisted in the second
edition of thirty-one chapters, to which, in the third edition, was
added another, making thirty-two. These thirty-two chapters fall into
the following classification:--Fourteen are on the subject of Taxation,
namely, the eighth to the eighteenth, [Footnote: The eleventh is on
Tithes; and the eighteenth on Poor Rates; but these of course belong to
the subject of Taxation properly defined. The present Lord Chancellor
(late Earl of Eldon) said on some cause which came before him about a
year ago, that Tithes were unjustly called a Tax; meaning only that
Tithes were not any arbitrary imposition of the government, but claimed
by as good a tenure as any other sort of property. In this doctrine no
doubt the Chancellor was perfectly right; and only wrong in supposing
that any denial of that doctrine is implied by the Political Economists
in calling Tithes a Tax; which, on the true definition of a Tax (as I
shall show hereafter), they certainly are.] inclusively, the twenty-
second, twenty-third, and twenty-ninth; and these may be entirely
omitted by the student, and ought at any rate to be omitted on his
first examination of the work. For, though Mr. Ricardo has really been
not the chief so much as the sole author of any important truths on the
subject of Taxation, and though his fourteen chapters on that head are
so many inestimable corollaries from his general doctrines, and could
never have been obtained without them, yet these general doctrines have
no sort of reciprocal dependency upon what concerns Taxation.
Consequently, it will greatly lighten the burden to a student if these
fourteen chapters are sequestered from the rest of the work, and
reserved for a separate and after investigation, which may furnish a
commentary on the first. The chapters on Taxation deducted, there
remain, therefore, seventeen in the second edition, or eighteen in the
third. These contain the general principles, but also something more--
which may furnish matter for a second subtraction. For, in most
speculations of this nature it usually happens that, over and above the
direct positive communication of new truths, a writer finds it
expedient (or, perhaps, necessary in some cases, in order to clear the
ground for himself) to address part of his efforts to the task of
meeting the existing errors; hence arises a division of his work into
the doctrinal or _affirmative_ part, and the polemic [Footnote:
_Polemic_.--There is an occasional tendency in the use and practice
of the English language capriciously to limit the use of certain words.
Thus, for instance, the word _condign_ is used only in connection with
the word _punishment_; the word _implicit_ is used only (unless by
scholars, like Milton) in connection with _faith_, or _confidence_. So
also _putative_ is restricted most absurdly to the one sole word,
_father_, in a question of doubtful affiliation. These and other words,
if unlocked from their absurd imprisonment, would become extensively
useful. We should say, for instance, "condign honors," "condign rewards,"
"condign treatment" (treatment appropriate to the merits)--thus at once
realizing two rational purposes: namely, giving a useful function to a
word, which at present has none; and also providing an intelligible
expression for an idea which otherwise is left without means of
uttering itself, except through a ponderous circumlocution. Precisely
in the same circumstances of idle and absurd sequestration stands the
term _polemic_. At present, according to the popular usage, this
word has some fantastic inalienable connection with controversial
theology. There cannot be a more childish chimera. No doubt there is a
polemic side or aspect of theology; but so there is of _all_
knowledge; so there is of _every_ science. The radical and
characteristic idea concerned in this term _polemic_ is found in
our own parliamentary distinction of _the good speaker_, as
contrasted with _the good debater_. The good speaker is he who
unfolds the whole of a question in its affirmative aspects, who
presents these aspects in their just proportions, and according to
their orderly and symmetrical deductions from each other. But _the
good debater_ is he who faces the negative aspects of the question,
who meets sudden objections, has an answer for any momentary summons of
doubt or difficulty, dissipates seeming inconsistencies, and reconciles
the geometrical smoothness of _a priori_ abstractions with the
coarse angularities of practical experience. The great work of Ricardo
is of necessity, and almost in every page, polemic; whilst very often
the particular objections or difficulties to which it replies are not
indicated at all--being spread through entire systems, and assumed as
_precognita_ that are familiar to the learned student.] or
_negative_ part. In Mr. Ricardo's writings, all parts (as I have
already observed) have a latent polemic reference; but some, however,
are more directly and formally polemic than the rest; and these may be
the more readily detached from the main body of the work, because (like
the chapters on Taxation) they are all corollaries from the general
laws, and in no case introductory to them. Divided on this principle,
the eighteen chapters fall into the following arrangement:

Chap.   Affirmative Chapters.
1.
4.      on Value;
30.

2.      on Rent;
3.

5.      on Wages;
6.      on Profits;
7.      on Foreign Trade;
19.     on Sudden Changes in Trade;
21.     on Accumulation;
25.     on Colonial Trade;
27.     on Currency and Banks;
31.     on Machinery.

Chap.   Negative (or Polemic) Chapters.
20.     on Value and Riches: against Adam Smith, Lord Lauderdale,
        M. Say;
24.     Rent of Land: against Adam Smith;
26.     Gross and Net Revenue: against Adam Smith;
28.     Relations of Gold, Corn, and Labor, under certain
        circumstances: against A. Smith;
32.     Rent: against Mr. Malthus.

Deducting the polemic chapters, there remain thirteen affirmative or
doctrinal chapters; of which one (the twenty-seventh), on Currency,
&c., ought always to be insulated from all other parts of Political
Economy. And thus, out of the whole thirty-two chapters, twelve only
are important to the student on his first examination; and to these I
propose to limit our discussions.

_Phæd_. Be it so, and now let us adjourn to more solemn duties.

       *       *       *       *       *

DIALOGUE THE FIRST.

ON THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY.


_Phæd_. To cut the matter short, X. Y. Z., and to begin as near as
possible to the end--is there any one principle in Political Economy
from which all the rest can be deduced? A principle, I mean, which all
others presuppose; but which itself presupposes none.

_X_. There is, Phædrus; such a principle exists in the doctrine of
Value--truly explained. The question from which all Political Economy
will be found to move--the question to which all its difficulties will
be found reducible--is this: _What is the ground of exchangeable
value_? My hat, for example, bears the same value as your umbrella;
double the value of my shoes; four times the value of my gloves; one
twentieth of the value of this watch. Of these several relations of
value, what is the sufficient cause? If they were capricious, no such
science as that of Political Economy could exist; not being capricious,
they must have an assignable cause; this cause--what is it?

_Phæd_. Ay, what is it?

_X_. It is this, Phædrus; and the entire merit of the discovery
belongs to Mr. Ricardo. It is this; and listen with your whole
understanding: _the ground of the value of all things lies in the
quantity_ (but mark well that word "quantity") _of labor which
produces them_. Here is that great principle which is the corner-
stone of all tenable Political Economy; which granted or denied, all
Political Economy stands or falls. Grant me this one principle, with a
few square feet of the sea-shore to draw my diagrams upon, and I will
undertake to deduce every other truth in the science.

_Phæd_. Take it and welcome. It would be impossible for most
people to raise a cabbage out of the sea-shore, though the sand were
manured by principles the noblest. You, therefore, my dear friend, that
promise to raise from it, not a cabbage, but a system of Political
Economy, are doubly entitled to your _modicum_ of sand, and to
your principle beside; which last is, I dare say, a very worthy and
respectable principle, and not at all the worse for being as old as my
great-grandfather.

_X_. Pardon me, Phædrus; the principle is no older than the first
edition of Mr. Ricardo's book; and when you make me this concession so
readily under the notion that you are conceding nothing more than has
long been established, I fear that you will seek to retract it, as soon
as you are aware of its real import and consequences.

_Phæd_. In most cases, X., I should hesitate to contradict you
peremptorily upon a subject which you have studied so much more closely
than myself; but here I cannot hesitate; for I happen to remember the
very words of Adam Smith, which are--

_X_. Substantially the same, you will say, as those which I have
employed in expressing the great principle of Mr. Ricardo: this is your
meaning, Phædrus; and excuse me for interrupting you; I am anxious to
lose no time; and therefore let me remind you, as soon as possible,
that "the words" of Adam Smith cannot prove any agreement with Mr.
Ricardo, if it appears that those words are used as equivalent and
convertible at pleasure with certain other words not only
irreconcilable with Mr. Ricardo's principle, but expressing the very
doctrine which Mr. Ricardo does, and must in consistency, set himself
to oppose. Mr. Ricardo's doctrine is, that A and B are to each other in
value as the _quantity_ of labor is which produces A to the
quantity which produces B; or, to express it in the very shortest
formula by substituting the term _base_, as synonymous with the
term _producing labor, All things are to each other in value as their
bases are in quantity_. This is the Ricardian law: you allege that
it was already the law of Adam Smith; and in some sense you are right;
for such a law is certain to be found in the "Wealth of Nations." But,
if it is _ex_plicitly affirmed in that work, it is also _im_plicitly
denied: formally asserted, it is virtually withdrawn. For Adam Smith
everywhere uses, as an equivalent formula, that A and B are to each
other in value as the _value_ of the labor which produces A to the
_value_ of the labor which produces B.

_Phæd_. And the formula for Mr. Ricardo's law is, if I understand
you, that A and B are to each other in value not as the _value_,
but as the _quantity_ of the labor which produces A to the
_quantity_ which produces B.

_X_. It is.

_Phæd_. And is it possible that any such mighty magic can lurk in
the simple substitution of _quantity_ for _value_? Surely, X., you are
hair-splitting a little in this instance, and mean to amuse yourself
with my simplicity, by playing off some logical legerdemain upon me
from the "seraphic" or "angelic" doctors.

_X_. The earnestness and good faith of my whole logic and reasoning
will soon become a pledge for me that I am incapable of what you
call hair-splitting; and in this particular instance I might appeal
to Philebus, who will tell you that Mr. Malthus has grounded his entire
opposition to Mr. Ricardo on the very distinction which you are now
treating as aërial. But the fact is, you do not yet perceive to what
extent this distinction goes; you suppose me to be contending for some
minute and subtle shades of difference; so far from _that_, I mean
to affirm that the one law is the direct, formal, and diametrical
negation of the other: I assert in the most peremptory manner that he
who says, "The value of A is to the value of B as the _quantity_
of labor producing A is to the _quantity_ of labor producing B,"
does of necessity deny by implication that the relations of value
between A and B are governed by the _value_ of the labor which
severally produces them.

_Phil_. X. is perfectly right in his distinction. You know, Phædrus, or
you soon will know, that I differ from X. altogether on the choice
between the two laws: he contends that the value of all things is
determined by the _quantity_ of the producing labor; I, on the other
hand, contend that the value of all things is determined by the _value_
of the producing labor. Thus far you will find us irreconcilable in our
difference; but this very difference implies that we are agreed on the
distinction which X. is now urging. In fact, so far are the two
formulae from presenting merely two different expressions of the same
law, that the very best way of expressing negatively Mr. Ricardo's law
(namely, A is to B in value as the _quantities_ of the producing labor)
would be to say, A is _not_ to B in value as the _values_ of the
producing labor.

_Phæd_. Well, gentlemen, I suppose you must be right; I am sure
you are by the logic of kings, and "according to the flesh;" for you
are two to one. Yet, to my poor glimmering understanding, which is all
I have to guide me in such cases, I must acknowledge that the whole
question seems to be a mere dispute about words.

_X_. For once, Phædrus, I am not sorry to hear you using a phrase
which in general is hateful to my ears. "A mere dispute about words" is
a phrase which we hear daily; and why? Is it a case of such daily
occurrence to hear men disputing about mere verbal differences? So far
from it, I can truly say that I never happened to witness such a
dispute in my whole life, either in books or in conversation; and
indeed, considering the small number of absolute synonymes which any
language contains, it is scarcely possible that a dispute on words
should arise which would not also be a dispute about ideas (that is,
about realities). Why, then, is the phrase in every man's mouth, when
the actual occurrence must be so very uncommon? The reason is this,
Phædrus: such a plea is a "sophisma pigri intellectus," which seeks to
escape from the effort of mind necessary for the comprehending and
solving of any difficulty under the colorable pretext that it is a
question about shadows, and not about substances, and one therefore
which it is creditable to a man's good sense to decline; a pleasant
sophism this, which at the same time flatters a man's indolence and his
vanity. For once, however, I repeat that I am not sorry to hear such a
phrase in your mouth, Phædrus: I have heard it from you before; and I
will frankly tell you that you ought to be ashamed of such a plea,
which is becoming to a slothful intellect, but very unbecoming to
yours. On this account, it gives me pleasure that you have at length
urged it in a case where you will be obliged to abandon it. If that
should happen, remember what I have said; and resolve never more to
shrink effeminately from the toil of an intellectual discussion under
any pretence that it is a verbal dispute. In the present case, I shall
drive you out of that conceit in less time than it cost you to bring it
forward. For now, Phædrus, answer me to one or two little questions
which I will put. You fancy that between the expressions "_quantity_ of
producing labor" and "_value_ of producing labor" there is none but a
verbal difference. It follows, therefore, that the same effect ought to
take place whether the value of the producing labor be altered or its
quantity.

_Phæd_. It does.

_X_. For instance, the production of a hat such as mine has
hitherto cost (we will suppose) four days' labor, at three shillings a
day: now, without any change whatsoever in the _quantity_ of labor
required for its production, let this labor suddenly increase in value
by twenty-five per cent. In this case, four days' labor will produce a
hat as heretofore; but the value of the producing labor being now
raised from three shillings a day to three shillings and nine pence,
the value of the total labor necessary for the production of a hat will
now be raised from twelve shillings to fifteen shillings. Thus far, you
can have nothing to object?

_Phæd_. Nothing at all, X. But what next?

_X_. Next, let us suppose a case in which the labor of producing
hats shall increase, not in value (as in the preceding case), but in
quantity. Labor is still at its old value of three shillings a day;
but, from increased difficulty in any part of the process, five days'
labor are now spent on the production of a hat instead of four. In this
second case, Phædrus, how much will be paid to the laborer?

_Phæd_. Precisely as much as in the first case: that is, fifteen
shillings.

_X_. True: the laborer on hats receives fifteen shillings in the
second case as well as in the first; but in the first case for four
days' labor, in the second for five: consequently, in the second case,
wages (or the value of labor) have not risen at all, whereas in the
first case wages have risen by twenty-five per cent.

_Phæd_. Doubtless: but what is your inference?

_X_. My inference is as follows: according to yourself and Adam
Smith, and all those who overlook the momentous difference between the
quantity and the value of labor, fancying that these are mere varieties
of expression for the same thing, the price of hats ought, in the two
cases stated, to be equally raised, namely, three shillings in each
case. If, then, it be utterly untrue that the price of hats would be
equally raised in the two cases, it will follow that an alteration in
the value of the producing labor, and an alteration in its quantity,
must terminate in a very different result; and, consequently, the one
alteration cannot be the same as the other, as you insisted.

_Phæd_. Doubtless.

_X_. Now, then, let me tell you, Phædrus, that the price of hats
would _not_ be equally raised in the two cases: in the second
case, the price of a hat will rise by three shillings, in the first
case it will not rise at all.

_Phæd_. How so, X.? How so? Your own statement supposes that the
laborer receives fifteen shillings for four days, instead of twelve
shillings; that is, three shillings more. Now, if the price does not
rise to meet this rise of labor, I demand to know whence the laborer is
to obtain this additional three shillings. If the buyers of hats do not
pay him in the price of hats, I presume that the buyers of shoes will
not pay him. The poor devil must be paid by somebody.

_X_. You are facetious, my friend. The man must be paid, as you
say; but not by the buyers of hats any more than by the buyers of
shoes: for the price of hats cannot possibly rise in such a case, as I
have said before. And, that I may demonstrate this, let us assume that
when the labor spent on a hat cost twelve shillings, the rate of
profits was fifty per cent.; it is of no consequence what rate be fixed
on: assuming this rate, therefore, the price of a hat would, at that
time, be eighteen shillings. Now, when the _quantity_ of labor
rose from four to five days, this fifth day would add three shillings
to the amount of wages; and the price of a hat would rise in
consequence from eighteen shillings to a guinea. On the other hand,
when the _value_ of labor rose from twelve shillings to fifteen
shillings, the price of a hat would not rise by one farthing, but would
still continue at eighteen shillings.

_Phæd_. Again I ask, then, who is to pay the three shillings?

_X_. The three shillings will be paid out of profits.

_Phæd_. What, without reimbursement?

_X_. Assuredly, without a farthing of reimbursement: it is Mr.
Ricardo's doctrine that no variation in either profits or wages can
ever affect the price; if wages rise or fall, the only consequence is,
that profits must fall or rise by the same sum; so again, if profits
rise or fall, wages must fall or rise accordingly.

_Phæd_. You mean, then, to assert that, when the value of the
labor rises (as in the first of your two cases) by three shillings,
this rise must be paid out of the six shillings which had previously
gone to profits.

_X_. I do; and your reason for questioning this opinion is, I am
sure, because you think that no capitalist would consent to have his
profits thus diminished, but would liberate himself from this increased
expense by charging it upon the price. Now, if I prove that he cannot
liberate himself in this way, and that it is a matter of perfect
indifference to him whether the price rises or not, because in either
case he must lose the three shillings, I suppose that I shall have
removed the sole ground you have for opposing me.

_Phæd_. You are right: prove this, X., "et eris mihi magnus
Apollo."

_X_. Tell me, then, Phædrus, when the value of labor rises--in
other words, when wages rise--what is it that causes them to rise?

_Phæd_. Ay, what is it that causes them, as you say? I should be
glad to hear your opinion on that subject.

_X_. My opinion is, that there are only two [Footnote: There is
another case in which wages have a constant tendency to rise--namely,
when the population increases more slowly than the demand for labor.
But this case it is not necessary to introduce into the dialogue:
first, because it is gradual and insensible in its operation; secondly,
because, if it were otherwise, it would not disturb any part of the
argument.] great cases in which wages rise, or seem to rise:

1. When money sinks in value; for then, of course, the laborer must
have more wages nominally, in order to have the same virtually. But
this is obviously nothing more than an apparent rise.

2. When those commodities rise upon which wages are spent. A rise in
port wine, in jewels, or in horses, will not affect wages, because
these commodities are not consumed by the laborer; but a rise in
manufactured goods of certain kinds, upon which perhaps two fifths of
his wages are spent, will tend to raise wages: and a rise in certain
kinds of food, upon which perhaps the other three fifths are spent,
will raise them still more. Now, the first case being only an apparent
rise, this is the only case in which wages can be said really to rise.

_Phæd_. You are wrong, X.; I can tell you of a third case which
occurs to me whilst you are speaking. Suppose that there were a great
deficiency of laborers in any trade,--as in the hatter's trade, for
instance,--that would be a reason why wages should rise in the hatter's
trade.

_X_. Doubtless, until the deficiency were supplied, which it soon
would be by the stimulus of higher wages. But this is a case of market
value, when the supply happens to be not on a level with the demand:
now, throughout the present conversation I wish studiously to keep
clear of any reference to market value, and to consider exclusively
that mode of exchangeable value which is usually called natural value--
that is, where value is wholly uninfluenced by any redundancy or
deficiency of the quantity. Waiving this third case, therefore, as not
belonging to the present discussion, there remains only the second; and
I am entitled to say that no cause can really and permanently raise
wages but a rise in the price of those articles on which wages are
spent. In the instance above stated, where the hatter's wages rose from
three shillings to three shillings and nine pence a day, some commodity
must previously have risen on which the hatter spent his wages. Let
this be corn, and let corn constitute one half of the hatter's
expenditure; on which supposition, as his wages rose by twenty-five per
cent., it follows that corn must have risen by fifty per cent. Now,
tell me, Phædrus, will this rise in the value of corn affect the
hatter's wages only, or will it affect wages in general?

_Phæd_. Wages in general, of course: there can be no reason why
hatters should eat more corn than any other men.

_X_. Wages in general, therefore, will rise by twenty-five per
cent. Now, when the wages of the hatter rose in that proportion, you
contended that this rise must be charged upon the price of hats; and
the price of a hat having been previously eighteen shillings, you
insisted that it must now be twenty-one shillings; in which case a rise
in wages of twenty-five per cent, would have raised the price of hats
about sixteen and one half per cent. And, if this were possible, two
great doctrines of Mr. Ricardo would have been overthrown at one blow:
1st, that which maintains that no article can increase in price except
from a previous increase in the quantity of labor necessary to its
production: for here is no increase in the _quantity_ of the
labor, but simply in its value; 2d, that no rise in the value of labor
can ever settle upon price; but that all increase of wages will be paid
out of profits, and all increase of profits out of wages. I shall now,
however, extort a sufficient defence of Mr. Ricardo from your own
concessions. For you acknowledge that the same cause which raises the
wages of the hatter will raise wages universally, and in the same
ratio--that is, by twenty-five per cent. And, if such a rise in wages
could raise the price of hats by sixteen and one half per cent., it
must raise all other commodities whatsoever by sixteen and one half per
cent. Now, tell me, Phædrus, when all commodities without exception are
raised by sixteen arid one half per cent., in what proportion will the
power of money be diminished under every possible application of it?

_Phæd_. Manifestly by sixteen and one half per cent.

_X_. If so, Phædrus, you must now acknowledge that it is a matter
of perfect indifference to the hatter whether the price of hats rise or
not, since he cannot under any circumstances escape the payment of the
three shillings. If the price should _not_ rise (as assuredly it
will not), he pays the three shillings directly; if the price were to
rise by three shillings, this implies of necessity that prices rise
universally  (for it would answer no purpose of your argument to
suppose that hatters escaped an evil which affected all other trades).
Now, if prices rise universally, the hatter undoubtedly escapes the
direct payment of the three shillings, but he pays it indirectly;
inasmuch as one hundred and sixteen pounds and ten shillings is now
become necessary to give him the same command of labor and commodities
which was previously given by one hundred pounds. Have you any answer
to these deductions?

_Phæd_. I must confess I have none.

_X_. If so, and no answer is possible, then I have here given you
a demonstration of Mr. Ricardo's great law: That no product of labor
whatsoever can be affected in value by any variations in the
_value_ of the producing labor. But, if not by variations in its
value, then of necessity by variations in its quantity, for no other
variations are possible.

_Phæd_. But at first sight, you know, variations in the
_value_ of labor appear to affect the value of its product: yet
you have shown that the effect of such variations is defeated, and
rendered nugatory in the end. Now, is it not possible that some such
mode of argument may be applied to the case of variations in the
_quantity_ of labor?

_X_. By no means: the reason why all variations in the _value_
of labor are incapable of transferring themselves to the value
of its product is this: that these variations extend to all kinds
of labor, and therefore to all commodities alike. Now, that which
raises or depresses all things equally leaves their relations to each
other undisturbed. In order to disturb the relations of value between
A, B, and C, I must raise one at the same time that I do _not_
raise another; depress one, and _not_ depress another; raise or
depress them unequally. This is necessarily done by any variations in
the _quantity_ of labor. For example, when more or less labor
became requisite for the production of hats, that variation could not
fail to affect the value of hats, for the variation was confined
exclusively to hats, and arose out of some circumstance peculiar to
hats; and no more labor was on that account requisite for the
production of gloves, or wine, or carriages. Consequently, these and
all other articles remaining unaffected, whilst hats required twenty-
five per cent more labor, the previous relation between hats and all
other commodities was disturbed; that is, a _real_ effect was
produced on the value of hats. Whereas, when hats, without requiring a
greater quantity of labor, were simply produced by labor at a higher
value, this change could not possibly disturb the relation between hats
and any other commodities, because they were all equally affected by
it. If, by some application of any mechanic or chemical discovery to
the process of making candles, the labor of that process were
diminished by one third, the value of candles would fall; for the
relation of candles to all other articles, in which no such abridgment
of labor had been effected, would be immediately altered: two days'
labor would now produce the same quantity of candles as three days'
labor before the discovery. But if, on the other hand, the wages of
three days had simply fallen in value to the wages of two days,--that
is, if the laborer received only six shillings for three days, instead
of nine shillings,--this could not affect the value of candles; for the
fall of wages, extending to all other things whatsoever, would leave
the relations between them all undisturbed; everything else which had
required nine shillings' worth of labor would now require six
shillings' worth; and a pound of candles would exchange for the same
quantity of everything as before. Hence, it appears that no cause can
possibly affect the value of anything--that is, its exchangeable
relation to other things--but an increase or diminution in the quantity
of labor required for its production: and the prices of all things
whatsoever represent the quantity of labor by which they are severally
produced; and the value of A is to the value of B universally as the
quantity of labor which produces A to the quantity of labor which
produces B.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, then, is the great law of value as first explained by Mr.
Ricardo. Adam Smith uniformly takes it for granted that an alteration
in the quantity of labor, and an alteration in wages (that is, the
value of labor), are the same thing, and will produce the same effects;
and, hence, he never distinguishes the two cases, but everywhere uses
the two expressions as synonymous. If A, which had hitherto required
sixteen shillings' worth of labor for its production, should to-morrow
require only twelve shillings' worth, Adam Smith would have treated it
as a matter of no importance whether this change had arisen from some
discovery in the art of manufacturing A, which reduced the quantity of
labor required from four days to three, or simply from some fall in
wages which reduced the value of a day's labor from four shillings to
three shillings. Yet, in the former case, A would fall considerably in
price as soon as the discovery ceased to be monopolized; whereas, in
the latter case, we have seen that A could not possibly vary in price
by one farthing.

_Phæd_. In what way do you suppose that Adam Smith came to make so
great an oversight, as I now confess it to be?

_X_. Mr. Malthus represents Adam Smith as not having sufficiently
explained himself on the subject. "He does not make it quite clear,"
says Mr. Malthus, "whether he adopts for his principle of value the
quantity of the producing labor or its value." But this is a most
erroneous representation. There is not a chapter in the "Wealth of
Nations" in which it is not made redundantly clear that Adam Smith
adopts both laws as mere varieties of expression for one and the same
law. This being so, how could he possibly make an election between two
things which he constantly confounded and regarded as identical? The
truth is, Adam Smith's attention was never directed to the question: he
suspected no distinction; no man of his day, or before his day, had
ever suspected it; none of the French or Italian writers on Political
Economy had ever suspected it; indeed, none of them have suspected it
to this hour. One single writer before Mr. Ricardo has insisted on the
_quantity_ of labor as the true ground of value; and, what is very
singular, at a period when Political Economy was in the rudest state,
namely, in the early part of Charles II's reign. This writer was Sir
William Petty, a man who would have greatly advanced the science if he
had been properly seconded by his age. In a remarkable passage, too
long for quotation, he has expressed the law of value with a Ricardian
accuracy: but it is scarcely possible that even he was aware of his own
accuracy; for, though he has asserted that the reason why any two
articles exchange for each other (as so much corn of Europe, suppose,
for so much silver of Peru) is because the same quantity of labor has
been employed on their production; and, though he has certainly not
vitiated the purity of this principle by the usual heteronomy (if you
will allow me a learned word),--that is, by the introduction of the
other and opposite law derived from the _value_ of this labor,--
yet, it is probable that in thus abstaining he was guided by mere
accident, and not by any conscious purpose of contradistinguishing the
one law from the other; because, had _that_ been his purpose, he
would hardly have contented himself with forbearing to affirm, but
would formally have denied the false law. For it can never be
sufficiently impressed upon the student's mind, that it brings him not
one step nearer to the truth to say that the value of A is determined
by the quantity of labor which produces it, unless by that proposition
he means that it is _not_ determined by the _value_ of the
labor which produces it.

To return to Adam Smith: not only has he "made it quite clear" that he
confounded the two laws, and had never been summoned to examine whether
they led to different results, but I go further, and will affirm that
if he had been summoned to such an examination, he could not have
pursued it with any success until the discovery of the true law of
Profits. For, in the case of the hats, as before argued, he would have
said, "The wages of the hatter, whether they have been augmented by
increased quantity of labor, or by increased value of labor, must, in
any case, be paid." Now, what is the answer? They must be paid, but
from what fund? Adam Smith knew of no fund, nor could know of any,
until Mr. Ricardo had ascertained the true law of Profits, except
Price: in either case, therefore, as Political Economy then stood, he
was compelled to conclude that the fifteen shillings would be paid out
of the price,--that is, that the whole difference between the twelve
shillings and the fifteen shillings would settle upon the purchaser.
But we now know that this will happen only in the case when the
difference has arisen from increased labor; and that every farthing of
the difference which arises from increased value of labor will be paid
out of another fund, namely, Profits. But this conclusion could not be
arrived at without the new theory of Profits (as will be seen more
fully when we come to that theory); and thus one error was the
necessary parent of another.

Here I will pause, and must beg you to pardon my long speeches in
consideration of the extreme importance of the subject; for everything
in Political Economy depends, as I said before, on the law of value;
and I have not happened to meet with one writer who seemed fully to
understand Mr. Ricardo's law, and still less who seemed to perceive the
immense train of consequences which it involves.

_Phæd_. I now see enough to believe that Mr. Ricardo is right;
and, if so, it is clear that all former writers are wrong. Thus far I
am satisfied with your way of conducting the argument, though some
little confusion still clouds my view. But, with regard to the
consequences you speak of, how do you explain that under so fundamental
an error (as you represent it) many writers, but above all Adam Smith,
should have been able to deduce so large a body of truth, that we
regard him as one of the chief benefactors to the science?

_X_. The fact is, that his good sense interfered everywhere to
temper the extravagant conclusions into which a severe logician could
have driven him. [Footnote: The "Wealth of Nations" has never yet been
ably reviewed, nor satisfactorily edited. The edition of Mr. Buchanan
is unquestionably the best, and displays great knowledge of Political
Economy as it stood before the revolution effected by Mr. Ricardo. But
having the misfortune to appear immediately before that revolution, it
is already to some degree an obsolete book. Even for its own date,
however, it was not good as an edition of Adam Smith, its value lying
chiefly in the body of original disquisitions which composed the fourth
volume; for the notes not only failed to correct the worst errors of
Adam Smith (which, indeed, in many cases is saying no more than that
Mr. Buchanan did not forestall Mr. Ricardo), but were also deficient in
the history of English finance, and generally in the knowledge of
facts. How much reason there is to call for a new edition, with a
commentary adapted to the existing state of the science, will appear on
this consideration: the "Wealth of Nations" is the text-book resorted
to by all students of Political Economy. One main problem of this
science, if not the main problem (as Mr. Ricardo thinks), is to
determine the laws which regulate Rents, Profits, and Wages; but
everybody who is acquainted with the present state of the science must
acknowledge that precisely on these three points it affords "very
little satisfactory information." These last words are the gentle
criticism of Mr. Ricardo: but the truth is, that not only does it
afford very little information on the great heads of Rent, Profits, and
Wages, but (which is much worse) it gives very false and misleading
information.

P. S. _September_ 27, 1854.--It is suggested to me by a friend,
that in this special notice of Mr. Buchanan's edition, I shall be
interpreted as having designed some covert reflection upon the edition
of Adam Smith published by Mr. M'Culloch. My summary answer to any such
insinuation is, that this whole paper was written in the spring of
1824, that is, thirty and a half years ago: at which time, to the best
of my knowledge, Mr. M'Culloch had not so much as meditated any such
edition. Let me add, that if I had seen or fancied any reason for a
criticism unfriendly to Mr. M'Culloch, or to any writer whatever, I
should not have offered it indirectly, but openly, frankly, and in the
spirit of liberal candor due to an honorable contemporary.] At this
very day, a French and an English economist have reared a Babel of far
more elaborate errors on this subject; M. Say, I mean, and Mr. Malthus:
both ingenious writers, both eminently illogical,--especially the
latter, with whose "confusion worse confounded" on the subject of
Value, if reviewed by some unsparing Rhadamanthus of logical justice, I
believe that chaos would appear a model of order and light. Yet the
very want of logic, which has betrayed these two writers into so many
errors, has befriended them in escaping from their consequences; for
they leap with the utmost agility over all obstacles to any conclusions
which their good sense points out to them as just, however much at war
with their own premises. With respect to the confusion which you
complain of as still clinging to the subject, this naturally attends
the first efforts of the mind to disjoin two ideas which have
constantly been regarded as one. But, as we advance in our discussions,
illustration and proof will gradually arise from all quarters, to the
great principle of Mr. Ricardo which we have just been considering;
besides which, this principle is itself so much required for the
illustration and proof of other principles, that the mere practice of
applying it will soon sharpen your eye to a steady familiarity with all
its aspects.

       *       *       *       *       *

DIALOGUE THE SECOND.

REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM.


_Phil_. X., I see, is not yet come: I hope he does not mean to
break his appointment, for I have a design upon him. I have been
considering his argument against the possibility of any change in price
arising out of a change in the value of labor, and I have detected a
flaw in it which he can never get over. I have him, sir--I have him as
fast as ever spider had a fly.

_Phæd_. Don't think it, my dear friend: you are a dexterous
_retiarius_; but a gladiator who is armed with Ricardian weapons
will cut your net to pieces. He is too strong in his cause, as I am
well satisfied from what passed yesterday. He'll slaughter you,--to use
the racy expression of a friend of mine in describing the redundant
power with which one fancy boxer disposed of another,--he'll slaughter
you "with ease and affluence." But here he comes.--Well, X., you're
just come in time. Philebus says that you are a fly, whilst _he_
is a murderous spider, and that he'll slaughter you with "ease and
affluence;" and, all things considered, I am inclined to think he will.

_Phil_. Phædrus does not report the matter quite accurately;
however, it is true that I believe myself to have detected a fatal
error in your argument of yesterday on the case of the hat; and it is
this: When the value of labor rose by twenty-five per cent., you
contended that this rise would be paid out of profits. Now, up to a
certain limit this may be possible; beyond that it is impossible. For
the price of the hat was supposed to be eighteen shillings: and the
price of the labor being assumed originally at twelve shillings;--
leaving six shillings for profits,--it is very possible that a rise in
wages of no more than three shillings may be paid out of these profits.
But, as this advance in wages increases, it comes nearer and nearer to
that point at which it will be impossible for profits to pay it; since,
let the advance once reach the whole six shillings, and all motive for
producing hats will be extinguished; and let it advance to seven
shillings, there will in that case be no fund at all left out of which
the seventh shilling can be paid, even if the capitalist were disposed
to relinquish all his profits. Now, seriously, you will hardly maintain
that the hat could not rise to the price of nineteen shillings--or of
any higher sum?

_X_. Recollect, Philebus, what it is that I maintain; assuredly
the hat may rise to the price of nineteen shillings, or of any higher
sum, but not as a consequence of the cause you assign. Taking your
case, I _do_ maintain that it is impossible the hat should exceed,
or even reach, eighteen shillings. When I say eighteen shillings,
however, you must recollect that the particular sum of twelve shillings
for labor, and six shillings for profits, were taken only for the sake
of illustration; translating the sense of the proposition into
universal forms, what I assert is, that the rise in the value of the
labor can go no further than the amount of profits will allow it:
profits swallowed up, there will remain no fund out of which an
increase of wages can be paid, and the production of hats will cease.

_Phil_. This is the sense in which I understood you; and in this
sense I wish that you would convince me that the hat could not, under
the circumstances supposed, advance to nineteen shillings or twenty
shillings.

_X_. Perhaps, in our conversation on _Wages_, you will see
this more irresistibly; you yourself will then shrink from affirming
the possibility of such an advance as from an obvious absurdity;
meantime, here is a short demonstration of it, which I am surprised
that Mr. Ricardo did not use as the strongest and most compendious mode
of establishing his doctrine.

Let it be possible that the hat may advance to nineteen shillings; or,
to express this more generally, from _x_ (or eighteen shillings)--
which it was worth before the rise in wages--to _x_ + _y_;
that is to say, the hat will now be worth _x_ + _y_ quantity
of money--having previously been worth no more than _x_. That is
your meaning?

_Phil_. It is.

_X_. And if in money, of necessity in everything else; because
otherwise, if the hat were worth more money only, but more of nothing
besides, that would simply argue that money had fallen in value; in
which case undoubtedly the hat might rise in any proportion that money
fell; but, then, without gaining any increased value, which is
essential to your argument.

_Phil_. Certainly; if in money, then in everything else.

_X_. Therefore, for instance, in gloves; having previously been
worth four pair of buckskin gloves, the hat will now be worth four pair
+ _y_?

_Phil_. It will.

_X_. But, Philebus, either the rise in wages is universal or it is
not universal. If not universal, it must be a case of accidental rise
from mere scarcity of hands; which is the case of a rise in
_market_ value; and that is not the case of Mr. Ricardo, who is
laying down the laws of _natural_ value. It is, therefore,
universal; but, if universal, the gloves from the same cause will have
risen from the value of _x_ to _x_ + _y_.

Hence, therefore, the price of the hat, estimated in gloves, is =
_x_ + _y_.

And again, the price of the gloves, estimated in hats, is = _x_ +
_y_.

In other words, H - _y_ = _x_.
                H + _y_ = _x_.
That is to say, H - _y_ = H + _y_.

_Phæd_. Which, I suppose, is an absurdity; and, in fact, it turns
out, Philebus, that he has slaughtered you with "ease and affluence."

_X_. And this absurdity must be eluded by him who undertakes to
show that a rise in the wages of labor can be transferred to the value
of its product.

       *       *       *       *       *

DIALOGUE THE THIRD.

[Et æquiori sane animo feres, cum hic de primis agatur principiis, si
superstitiose omnia examinavi,--viamque quasi palpando singulaque
curiosius contrectando, lente me promovi et testudineo gradu. Video
enim ingenium humanum ita comparatum esse--ut facilius longe quid
_consequens_ sit dispiciat, quam quid in naturà _primo_
verum; nostramque omnium conditionem non multum ab illà Archimedis
abludere--_Aos æe so kai koiso tæn gæn_. Ubi primum figamus pedem,
inveniro multo magis satagimus, quam (ubi inveninius) ulterius
progredi.--_Henricus Morus in Epist. ad Cartesium._]

PRINCIPLE OF VALUE CONTINUED.


_Phæd_. In our short conversation of yesterday, X., you parried an
objection brought forward by Philebus in a way which I thought
satisfactory. You reduced him to an absurdity, or what seemed such. In
fact, I did verily believe that you had slaughtered Philebus; and so I
told him. But we have since reconsidered the matter, and have settled
it between ourselves that your answer will not do; that your
"absurdity," in fact, is a very absurd absurdity. Philebus will tell
you why. I, for my part, shall have enough to do to take care of a
little argument of my own, which is designed to meet something that
passed in our first dialogue. Now, my private conviction is, that both
I and Philebus shall be cudgelled; I am satisfied that such will be the
issue of the business. And my reason for thinking so is this,--that I
already see enough to discern a character of boldness and determination
in Mr. Ricardo's doctrines which needs no help from sneaking
equivocations, and this with me is a high presumption that he is in the
right. In whatever rough way his theories are tossed about, they seem
always, like a cat, to light upon their legs. But, notwithstanding
this, as long as there is a possibility that he may be in the wrong, I
shall take it for granted that he is, and do my best to prove him so.

_X_. For which, Phædrus, I shall feel greatly indebted to you. We
are told of Trajan, that, in the camp exercises, he not only tolerated
hard blows, but courted them; "alacer virtute militum, et lætus quoties
aut cassidi suæ aut clypeo gravior ictus incideret. Laudabat quippe
ferientes, hortabaturque ut auderent." When one of our theatres let
down an iron curtain upon the stage as a means of insulating the
audience from any fire amongst the scenery, and sent men to prove the
strength of this curtain by playing upon it with sledge-hammers in the
sight and hearing of the public, who would not have laughed at the
hollowness of the mummery, if the blows had been gentle, considerate,
and forbearing? A "make-believe" blow would have implied a "make-
believe" hammer and a "make-believe" curtain. No!--hammer away, like
Charles Martel; "fillip me with a three-man beetle;" be to me a
_malleus hæreticorum_; come like Spenser's Talus--an iron man with
an iron flail, and thresh out the straw of my logic; rack me; put me to
the question; get me down; jump upon me; kick me; throttle me; put an
end to me in any way you can.

_Phæd_. I will, I will, my dear friend; anything to oblige you;
anything for peace. So now tie yourself to the stake, whilst we bait
you. And you begin, Philebus; unmuzzle.

_Phil_. I shall be brief. The case of the hat is what I stand
upon; and, by the way, I am much obliged to you, X., for having stated
the question in that shape; it has furnished me with a very manageable
formula for recalling the principle at issue. The wages alter from two
different causes--in one case, because there is the same quantity of
labor at a different rate; in another case, because there is a
different quantity at the same rate. In the latter case, it is agreed
that the alteration settles upon price; in the former case you affirm
that it will _not_: I affirm that it will. I bring an argument to
prove it; which argument you attempt to parry by another. But in this
counter argument of yours it strikes me that there lurks a _petitio
principii_. Indeed, I am sure of it. For observe the course of our
reasoning. I charge it upon your doctrine as an absurd consequence--
that, if the increase of wages must be paid out of profits, then this
fund will at length be eaten out; and as soon as it is, there will be
no fund at all for paying any further increase; and the production must
cease. Now, what in effect is your answer? Why, that as soon as profits
are all eaten up, the production _will_ cease. And this you call
reducing me to an absurdity. But where is the absurdity? Your answer
is, in fact, an identical proposition; for, when you say, "_As soon
as_ profits are absorbed," I retort, Ay, no doubt "_as soon_"
as they are; but when will that be? It requires no Ricardo to tell us
that, _when_ profits are absorbed, they will be absorbed; what I
deny is, that they ever _can_ be absorbed. For, as fast as wages
increase, what is to hinder price from increasing _pari passu_? In
which case profits will _never_ be absorbed. It is easy enough to
prove that price will not increase, if you may assume that profits will
not remain stationary. For then you have assumed the whole point in
dispute; and after _that_, of course you have the game in your own
hands; since it is self-evident that if anybody is made up of two parts
P and W, so adjusted that all which is gained by either must be lost by
the other, then _that_ body can never increase.

_Phæd_. Nor decrease.

_Phil_. No, nor decrease. If my head must of necessity lose as
much weight as my trunk gains, and _vice versa_, then it is a
clear case that I shall never be heavier. But why cannot my head remain
stationary, whilst my trunk grows heavier? This is what you had to
prove, and you have not proved it.

_Phæd_. O! it's scandalous to think how he has duped us; his
"_reductio_" turns out to the merest swindling.

_X_. No, Phædrus, I beg your pardon. It is very true I did not
attempt to prove that your head might not remain stationary; I could
not have proved this _directly_, without anticipating a doctrine
out of its place; but I proved it _indirectly_, by showing that,
if it were supposed possible, an absurdity would follow from that
supposition. I said, and I say again, that the doctrine of wages will
show the very supposition itself to be absurd; but, until we come to
that doctrine, I content myself with proving that, let that supposition
seem otherwise ever so reasonable (the supposition, namely, that
profits may be stationary whilst wages are advancing), yet it draws
after it one absurd consequence, namely, that a thing may be bigger
than that to which it is confessedly equal. Look back to the notes of
our conversation, and you will see that this is as I say. You say,
Philebus, that I prove profits in a particular case to be incapable of
remaining stationary, by assuming that price cannot increase; or, if I
am called upon to prove that assumption--namely, that price cannot
increase--I do it only by assuming that profits in that case are
incapable of remaining stationary. But, if I had reasoned thus, I
should not only have been guilty of a _petitio principii_ (as you
alleged), but also of a circle. Here, then, I utterly disclaim and
renounce either assumption: I do not ask you to grant me that price
must continue stationary in the case supposed; I do not ask you to
grant me that profits must recede in the case supposed. On the
contrary, I will not have them granted to me; I insist on your refusing
both of these principles.

_Phil_. Well, I _do_ refuse them.

_Phæd_. So do I. I'll do anything in reason as well as another.
"If one knight give a testril--" [Footnote: Sir Andrew Aguecheek, in
"Twelfth Night."]

_X_. Then let us suppose the mines from which we obtain our silver
to be in England.

_Phæd_. What for? Why am I to suppose this? I don't know but you
have some trap in it.

_X_. No; a Newcastle coal-mine, or a Cornwall tin-mine, will
answer the purpose of my argument just as well. But it is more
convenient to use silver as the illustration; and I suppose it to be in
England simply to avoid intermixing any question about foreign trade.
Now, when the hat sold for eighteen shillings, on Mr. Ricardo's
principle why did it sell for that sum?

_Phil_. I suppose, because the quantity of silver in that sum is
assumed to be the product of four days' labor in a silver-mine.

_X_. Certainly; because it is the product of the same quantity of
labor as that which produced the hat. Calling twenty shillings,
therefore, four ounces of silver, the hat was worth nine tenths of four
ounces. Now, when wages advance from twelve shillings to fourteen
shillings, profits (you allege) will not pay this advance, but price.
On this supposition the price of the hat will now be--what?

_Phil_. Twenty shillings; leaving, as before, six shillings for
profit.

_X_. Six shillings upon fourteen shillings are not the same
_rate_ of profit as six shillings upon twelve shillings; but no
matter; it does not affect the argument. The hat is now worth four
entire ounces of silver, having previously been worth four ounces
_minus_ a tenth of four ounces. But the product of four days'
labor in a silver-mine must also advance in value, for the same cause.
Four ounces of silver, which is that product, will now have the same
power or value as 22.22_s_. had before. Consequently the four
ounces of silver, which had previously commanded in exchange a hat and
the ninth of a hat, will now command a hat and two ninths, fractions
neglected. Hence, therefore, a hat will, upon any Anti-Ricardian
theory, manifestly buy four ounces of silver; and yet, at the same
time, it will not buy four ounces by one fifth part of four ounces.
Silver and the denominations of its qualities, being familiar, make it
more convenient to use that metal; but substitute lead, iron, coal, or
anything whatsoever--the argument is the same, being in fact a
universal demonstration that variations in wages cannot produce
corresponding variations in price.

_Phæd_. Say no more, X.; I see that you are right; and it's all
over with our cause; unless I retrieve it. To think that the whole
cause of the Anti-Ricardian economy should devolve upon me! that fate
should ordain me to be the Atlas on whose unworthy shoulders the whole
system is to rest! This being my destiny, I ought to have been built a
little stronger. However, no matter. I heartily pray that I may prove
too strong for you; though, at the same time, I am convinced I shall
not. Remember, therefore, that you have no right to exult if you toss
and gore me, for I tell you beforehand that you will. And, if you do,
that only proves me to be in the right, and a very sagacious person;
since my argument has all the appearance of being irresistible, and yet
such is my discernment that I foresee most acutely that it will turn
out a most absurd one. It is this: your answer to Philebus issues in
this--that a thing A is shown to be at once more valuable and yet not
more valuable than the same thing B. Now, this answer I take by the
horns; it is possible for A to be more and yet not more valuable than
the same thing. For example, my hat shall be more valuable than the
gloves; more valuable, that is, than the gloves were: and yet not more
valuable than the gloves; not more valuable, that is, than the gloves
now are. So of the wages; all things preserve their former relations,
because all are equally raised. This is my little argument. What do you
think of it? Will it do?

_X_. No.

_Phæd_. Why, so I told you.

_X_. I have the pleasure, then, to assure you that you were
perfectly right. It will _not_ do. But I understand you perfectly.
You mean to evade my argument that the increase of wages shall settle
upon profits; according to this argument, it will settle upon price,
and not upon profits; yet again on price in such a way as to escape the
absurdity of two relations of value existing between the very same
things. But, Phædrus, this rise will be a mere metaphysical one, and no
real rise. The hat, you say, has risen; but still it commands no more
of the gloves, because they also have risen. How, then, has either
risen? The rise is purely ideal.

_Phæd_. It is so, X.; but that I did not overlook; for tell me--on
Mr. Ricardo's principle, will not all things double their value
simultaneously, if the quantity of labor spent in producing all should
double simultaneously?

_X_. It will, Phædrus.

_Phæd_. And yet nothing will exchange for more or less than
before.

_X_. True; but the rise is not ideal, for all that, but will
affect everybody. A pound of wheat, which previously bought three
pounds of salt, will still buy three pounds; but, then, the salt-maker
and the wheat-maker will have only one pound of those articles where
before he had two. However, the difference between the two cases cannot
fully be understood, without a previous examination of certain
distinctions, which I will make the subject of our next dialogue; and
the rather, because, apart from our present question, at every step we
should else be embarrassed, as all others have been, by the perplexity
attending these distinctions. Meantime, as an answer to your argument,
the following consideration will be quite sufficient. The case which
your argument respects is that in which wages are supposed to rise?
Why? In consequence of a _real_ rise in corn or something else. As
a means of meeting this rise, wages rise; but the increased value of
wages is only a means to an end, and the laborer cares about the rise
only in that light. The end is--to give him the same quantity of corn,
suppose. That end attained, he cares nothing about the means by which
it is attained. Now, your ideal rise of wages does not attain this end.
The corn has _really_ risen; this is the first step. In
consequence of this, an ideal rise follows in all things, which evades
the absurdities of a real rise--and evades the Ricardian doctrine of
profits; but, then, only by also evading any real rise in wages, the
necessity of which (in order to meet the real rise in corn) first led
to the whole movement of price. But this you will more clearly see
after our next dialogue.

       *       *       *       *       *

DIALOGUE THE FOURTH.

ON THE USE AND ABUSE OF TWO CELEBRATED DISTINCTIONS IN THE THEORY OF
VALUE.


_X_. Now, gentlemen, I come to a question which on a double
account is interesting: first, because it is indispensable to the
fluency of our future progress that this question should be once for
all decided; secondly, because it furnishes an _experimentum
crucis_ for distinguishing a true knowledge of Mr. Ricardo's theory
from a spurious or half-knowledge. Many a man will accompany Mr.
Ricardo thus far, and will keep his seat pretty well until he comes to
the point which we have now reached--at which point scarcely one in a
thousand will escape being unhorsed.

_Phæd_. Which one most assuredly will not be myself. For I have a
natural alacrity in losing my seat, and gravitate so determinately to
the ground, that (like a Roman of old) I ride without stirrups, by way
of holding myself in constant readiness for projection; upon the least
hint, anticipating my horse's wishes on that point, and throwing myself
off as fast as possible; for what's the use of taking the negative side
in a dispute where one's horse takes the affirmative? So I leave it to
Philebus to ride through the steeple-chase you will lead him; his be
the honor of the day--and his the labor.

_X_. But _that_ cannot be; Philebus is bound in duty to be dismounted,
for the sake of keeping Mr. Malthus with many others in countenance.
For at this point, Phædrus, more than at any other almost, there is a
sad confusion of lords and gentlemen that I could name thrown out of
the saddle pell-mell upon their mother earth.

_Phil_.
  "So they among themselves in pleasant vein
  Stood scoffing."

I suppose I may add--

  "Heightened in their thoughts beyond
  All doubts of victory."

Meantime, what is it you allude to?

_X_. You are acquainted, I doubt not, Philebus, with the common
distinction between _real_ and _nominal_ value; and in your judgment
upon that distinction I presume that you adopt the doctrine of Mr.
Malthus.

_Phil_. I do; but I know not why you should call it the doctrine
of Mr. Malthus; for, though he has reurged it against Mr. Ricardo, yet
originally it belongs to Adam Smith.

_X_. Not so, Philebus; _a_ distinction between real and nominal value
was made by Adam Smith, but not altogether _the_ distinction of Mr.
Malthus. It is true that Mr. Malthus tells us ("Polit. Econ.," p. 63)
that the distinction is "exactly the same." But in this he is
inaccurate; for neither is it exactly the same; nor, if it had been,
could Mr. Malthus have urged it in his "Political Economy" with the
same consistency as its original author. This you will see hereafter.
But no matter; how do you understand the distinction?

_Phil_. "I continue to think," with Mr. Malthus, and in his words,
"that the most proper definition of real value in exchange, in
contradistinction to nominal value in exchange, is the power of
commanding the necessaries and conveniences of life, including labor,
as distinguished from the power of commanding the precious metals."

_X_. You think, for instance, that if the wages of a laborer should in
England be at the rate of five shillings a day, and in France of no
more than one shilling a day, it could not, therefore, be inferred that
wages were at a high real value in England, or a low real value in
France. Until we know how much food, &c., could be had for the five
shillings in England, and how much in France for the one shilling,
all that we could fairly assert would be, that wages were at a high
_nominal_ value in England and at a low _nominal_ value in France; but
the moment it should be ascertained that the English wages would
procure twice as much comfort as the French, or the French twice
as much as the English, we might then peremptorily affirm that wages
were at a high _real_ value in England on the first supposition,
or in France on the second:--this is what you think?

_Phil_. It is, and very fairly stated, I think this, in common
with Mr. Malthus; and can hold out but little hope that I shall ever
cease to think it.

_X_.
  "Why, then, know this,
  Thou think'st amiss;
  And, to think right, thou must think o'er again."
  [Footnote: Suckling's well-known song.]

_Phæd_. But is it possible that Mr. Ricardo can require me to
abjure an inference so reasonable as this? If so, I must frankly
acknowledge that I am out of the saddle already.

_X_. Reasonable inference? So far from _that_, there is an end
of all logic if such an inference be tolerated. _That_ man may
rest assured that his vocation in this world is not logical, who feels
disposed (after a few minutes' consideration) to question the following
proposition,--namely: That it is very possible for A continually to
increase in value--in _real_ value, observe--and yet to command a
continually decreasing quantity of B; in short, that A may acquire a
thousand times higher value, and yet exchange for ten thousand times
less of B.

_Phæd_. Why, then, "chaos is come again!" Is this the unparadoxical
Ricardo?

_X_. Yes, Phædrus; but lay not this unction to your old prejudices,
which you must now prepare to part with forever, that it is any
spirit of wilful paradox which is now speaking; for get rid of Mr.
Ricardo, if you can, but you will not, therefore, get rid of this
paradox. On any other theory of value whatsoever, it will still
continue to be an irresistible truth, though it is the Ricardian theory
only which can consistently explain it. Here, by the way, is a specimen
of paradox in the true and laudable sense--in that sense according to
which Boyle entitled a book "Hydrostatical Paradoxes;" for, though it
wears a _primâ facie_ appearance of falsehood, yet in the end you
will be sensible that it is not only true, but true in that way and
degree which will oblige him who denies it to maintain an absurdity.
Again, therefore, I affirm that, when the laborer obtains a large
quantity of corn, for instance, it is so far from being any fair
inference that wages are then at a high real value, that in all
probability they are at a very low real value; and inversely I affirm,
that when wages are at their very highest real value, the laborer will
obtain the very smallest quantity of corn. Or, quitting wages
altogether (because such an illustration would drive me into too much
anticipation), I affirm universally of Y (that is, of any assignable
thing whatsoever), that it shall grow more valuable _ad infinitum_,
and yet by possibility exchange for less and less _ad infinitum_ of Z
(that is, of any other assignable thing).

_Phæd_. Well, all I shall say is this,--am I in a world where men
stand on their heads or on their feet? But there is some trick in all
this; there is some snare. And now I consider--what's the meaning of
your saying "by possibility"? If the doctrine you would force upon me
be a plain, broad, straightforward truth, why fetter it with such a
suspicious restriction?

_X_. Think, for a moment, Phædrus, what doctrine it is which I
would force upon you; not, as you seem to suppose, that the quantity
obtained by Y is in the _inverse_ ratio of the value of Y; on the
contrary, if that were so, it would still remain true that an
irresistible inference might be drawn from the quantity purchased to
the value of the thing purchasing, and _vice versa_, from the
value of the thing purchasing to the quantity which it would purchase.
There would still be a connection between the two; and the sole
difference between my doctrine and the old doctrine would be this--that
the connection would be no longer _direct_ (as by your doctrine),
but _inverse_. This would be the difference, and the sole difference.
But what is it that I assert? Why, that there is no connection at all,
or of any kind, direct or inverse, between the quantity commanded and
the value commanding. My object is to get rid of your inference, not to
substitute any new inference of my own. I put, therefore, an extreme
case. This case ought by your doctrine to be impossible. If, therefore,
it be _not_ impossible, your doctrine is upset. Simply as a possible
case, it is sufficient to destroy _you_. But, if it were more than a
possible case, it would destroy _me_. For if, instead of demonstrating
the possibility of such a case, I had attempted to show that it were a
universal and necessary case, I should again be introducing the notion
of a connection between the quantity obtained and the value obtaining,
which it is the very purpose of my whole argument to exterminate. For
my thesis is, that no such connection subsists between the two as
warrants any inference that the real value is great because the
quantity it buys is great, or small because the quantity it buys is
small; or, reciprocally, that, because the real value is great or
small, therefore the quantities bought shall be great or small. From,
or to, the real value in these cases, I contend that there is no more
valid inference, than from, or to, the nominal value with which it is
contrasted.

_Phil_. Your thesis, then, as I understand it, is this: that if A
double its value, it will not command double the quantity of B. I have
a barouche which is worth about six hundred guineas at this moment.
Now, if I should keep this barouche unused in my coach-house for five
years, and at the end of this term it should happen from any cause that
carriages had doubled in value, _my_ understanding would lead me
to expect double the quantity of any commodity for which I might then
exchange it, whether _that_ were money, sugar, besoms, or anything
whatsoever. But _you_ tell me--no. And _vice versa_, if I found
that my barouche at the end of five years obtained for me double
the quantity of sugar, or besoms, or political economists, which it
would now obtain, I should think myself warranted in drawing an
inference that carriages had doubled their value. But you tell me--no;
"non valet consequentia."

_X_. You are in the right, Phædrus; I _do_ tell you so. But
you do not express my thesis quite accurately, which is, that if A
double its value, it will not _therefore_ command double the
former quantity of B. It may do so; and it may also command five
hundred times more, or five hundred times less.

_Phæd_. O tempora! O mores! Here is my friend X., that in any
other times would have been a man of incorruptible virtue; and yet, in
our unprincipled age, he is content to barter the interests of truth
and the "majesty of plain-dealing" for a brilliant paradox, or (shall I
say?) for the glory of being reputed an accomplished disputant.

_X_. But, Phædrus, there could be little brilliancy in a paradox
which in the way you understand it will be nothing better than a bold
defiance of common sense. In fact, I should be ashamed to give the air
of a paradox to so evident a truth as that which I am now urging, if I
did not continually remind myself that, evident as it may appear, it
yet escaped Adam Smith. This consideration, and the spectacle of so
many writers since his day thrown out and at a fault precisely at this
point of the chase, make it prudent to present it in as startling a
shape as possible; in order that, the attention being thoroughly
roused, the final assent may not be languid or easily forgotten. Suffer
me, therefore, Phædrus, in a Socratic way, to extort an assent from
your own arguments--allow me to drive you into an absurdity.

_Phæd_. With all my heart; if our father Adam is wrong, I am sure
it would be presumptuous in me to be right; so drive me as fast as
possible.

_X_. You say that A, by doubling its own value, shall command a
double quantity of B. Where, by A, you do not mean some one thing in
particular, but generally any assignable thing whatever. Now, B is some
assignable thing. Whatever, therefore, is true of A, will be true of B?

_Phæd_. It will.

_X_. It will be true, therefore, of B, that, by doubling its own
value, it will command a double quantity of A?

_Phæd_. I cannot deny it.

_X_. Let A be your carriage; and let B stand for six hundred
thousands of besoms, which suppose to express the value of your
carriage in that article at this present moment. Five years hence, no
matter why, carriages have doubled in value; on which supposition you
affirm that in exchange for your barouche you will be entitled to
receive no less than twelve hundred thousands of besoms.

_Phæd_. I do; and a precious bargain I shall have of it; like
Moses with his gross of shagreen spectacles. But sweep on, if you
please; brush me into absurdity.

_X_. I will. Because barouches have altered in value, that is no
reason why besoms should _not_ have altered?

_Phæd_. Certainly; no reason in the world.

_X_. Let them have altered; for instance, at the end of the five
years, let them have been doubled in value. Now, because your assertion
is this--simply by doubling in value, B shall command a double quantity
of A--it follows inevitably, Phædrus, that besoms, having doubled their
value in five years, will at the end of that time command a double
quantity of barouches. The supposition is, that six hundred thousand,
at present, command one barouche; in five years, therefore, six hundred
thousand will command two barouches?

_Phæd_. They will.

_X_. Yet, at the very same time, it has already appeared from your
argument that twelve hundred thousand will command only one barouche;
that is, a barouche will at one and the same time be worth twelve
hundred thousand besoms, and worth only one fourth part of that
quantity. Is this an absurdity, Phædrus?

_Phæd_. It seems such.

_X_. And, therefore, the argument from which it flows, I presume,
is false?

_Phæd_. Scavenger of bad logic! I confess that it looks so.

_Phil_. You confess? So do not I. You die "soft," Phædrus; give me
the cudgels, and I'll die "game," at least. The flaw in your argument,
X., is this: you summoned Phædrus to invert his proposition, and then
you extorted an absurdity from this inversion. But that absurdity
follows only from the particular form of expression into which you
threw the original proposition. I will express the same proposition in
other terms, unexceptionable terms, which shall evade the absurdity.
Observe. A and B are at this time equal in value; that is, they now
exchange quantity for quantity. Or, if you prefer your own case, I say
that one barouche exchanges for six hundred thousand besoms. I choose,
however, to express this proposition thus: A (one barouche) and B (six
hundred thousand besoms) are severally equal in value to C. When,
therefore, A doubles its value, I say that it shall command a double
quantity of C. Now, mark how I will express the inverted case. When B
doubles its value, I say that it shall command a double quantity of C.
But these two cases are very reconcilable with each other. A may
command a double quantity of C at the same time that B commands a
double quantity of C, without involving any absurdity at all. And, if
so, the disputed doctrine is established, that a double value implies a
double command of quantity; and reciprocally, that from a doubled
command of quantity we may infer a doubled value.

_X_. A, and B, you say, may simultaneously command a double
quantity of C, in consequence of doubling their value; and this they
may do without absurdity. But how shall I know _that_, until I
know what you cloak under the symbol of C? For if the same thing shall
have happened to C which my argument assumes to have happened to B
(namely, that its value has altered), then the same demonstration will
hold; and the very same absurdity will follow any attempt to infer the
quantity from the value, or the value from the quantity.

_Phil_. Yes, but I have provided against _that_; for by C I
mean any assignable thing which has _not_ altered its own value. I
assume C to be stationary in value.

_X_. In that case, Philebus, it is undoubtedly true that no
absurdity follows from the inversion of the proposition as it is
expressed by you. But then the short answer which I return is this:
your thesis avoids the absurdity by avoiding the entire question in
dispute. Your thesis is not only not the same as that which we are now
discussing; not only different in essence from the thesis which is
_now_ disputed; but moreover it affirms only what _never_ was
disputed by any man. No man has ever denied that A, by doubling its own
value, will command a double quantity of all things which have been
stationary in value. Of things in that predicament, it is self-evident
that A will command a double quantity. But the question is, whether
universally, from doubling its value, A will command a double quantity:
and inversely, whether universally, from the command of a double
quantity, it is lawful to infer a double value. This is asserted by
Adam Smith, and is essential to his distinction of nominal and real
value; this is peremptorily denied by us. We offer to produce cases in
which from double value it shall not be lawful to infer double
quantity. We offer to produce cases in which from double quantity it
shall _not_ be lawful to infer double value. And thence we argue,
that _until_ the value is discovered in some other way, it will be
impossible to discover whether it be high or low from any consideration
of the quantity commanded; and again, with respect to the quantity
commanded--that, _until_ known in some other way, it shall never
be known from any consideration of the value commanding. This is what
we say; now, your "C" contradicts the conditions; "_until_ the
value is discovered in some other way, it shall never be learned from
the quantity commanded." But in your "C" the value is already
discovered; for you assume it; you postulate that C is stationary in
value: and hence it is easy indeed to infer that, because A commands
double quantity of "C," it shall therefore be of double value; but this
inference is not obtained from the single consideration of double
quantity, but from _that_ combined with the assumption of
unaltered value in C, without which assumption you shall never obtain
that inference.

_Phæd_. The matter is clear beyond what I require; yet, X., for
the satisfaction of my "game" friend Philebus, give us a proof or two
_ex abundanti_ by applying what you have said to cases in Adam
Smith or others.

_X_. In general it is clear that, if the value of A increases in a
duplicate ratio, yet if the value of B increases in a triplicate ratio,
so far from commanding a greater quantity of B, A shall command a
smaller quantity; and if A continually goes on squaring its former
value, yet if B continually goes on cubing its former value, then,
though A will continually augment in value, yet the quantity which it
will command of B shall be continually less, until at length it shall
become practically equal to nothing. [Footnote: The reader may imagine
that there is one exception to this case: namely, if the values of A
and B were assumed at starting to be = 1; because, in that case, the
squares, cubes, and all other powers alike, would be = I; and thus,
under any apparent alteration, the real relations of A and B would
always remain the same. But this is an impossible and unmeaning case in
Political Economy, as might easily be shown.] Hence, therefore, I
deduce,

1. That when I am told by Adam Smith that the money which I can obtain
for my hat expresses only its _nominal_ value, but that the labor
which I can obtain for it expresses its _real_ value--I reply,
that the quantity of labor is no more any expression of the real value
than the quantity of money; both are equally fallacious expressions,
because equally equivocal. My hat, it is true, now buys me _x_
quantity of labor, and some years ago it bought _x/2_ quantity of
labor. But this no more proves that my hat has advanced in real value
according to that proportion, than a double _money_ price will
prove it. For how will Adam Smith reply to him who urges the double
money value as an argument of a double real value? He will say--No; non
valet consequentia. Your proof is equivocal; for a double quantity of
money will as inevitably arise from the sinking of money as from the
rising of hats. And supposing money to have sunk to one fourth of its
former value, in that case a double money value--so far from proving
hats to have risen in real value--will prove that hats have absolutely
fallen in real value by one half; and they will be seen to have done so
by comparison with all things which have remained stationary; otherwise
they would obtain not double merely, but four times the quantity of
money price. This is what Adam Smith will reply in effect. Now, the
very same objection I make to labor as any test of real value. My hat
now obtains _x_ labor; formerly it obtained only one half of
_x_. Be it so; but the whole real change may be in the labor;
labor may now be at one half its former value; in which case my hat
obtains the same real price; double the quantity of labor being now
required to express the same value. Nay, if labor has fallen to one
tenth of its former value, so far from being proved to have risen one
hundred per cent. in real value by now purchasing a double quantity of
labor, my hat is proved to have fallen to one fifth of its former
value; else, instead of buying me only _x_ labor, which is but the
double of its former value (_x/2_), it would buy me 5 _x_, or
ten times its former value.

_Phil_. Your objection, then, to the labor price, as any better
expression of the _real_ value than the money price, would be that
it is an equivocal expression, leaving it doubtful on which side of the
equation the disturbance had taken place, or whether on both sides. In
which objection, as against others, you may be right; but you must not
urge this against Adam Smith; because, on his theory, the expression is
not equivocal; the disturbance can be only on one side of the equation,
namely, in your hat. For as to the other side (the labor), _that_ is
secured from all disturbance by his doctrine that labor is always of
the same value. When, therefore, your hat will purchase _x_ quantity of
labor instead of half _x_, the inference is irresistible that your hat
has doubled its value. There lies no appeal from this; it cannot be
evaded by alleging that the labor may have fallen, for the labor cannot
fall.

_X_. On the Smithian theory it cannot; and therefore it is that I
make a great distinction between the error of Adam Smith and of other
later writers. He, though wrong, was consistent. That the value of
labor is invariable, is a principle so utterly untenable, that many
times Adam Smith abandoned it himself implicitly, though not
explicitly. The demonstration of its variable value indeed follows
naturally from the laws which govern wages; and, therefore, I will not
here anticipate it. Meantime, having once adopted that theory of the
unalterable value of labor, Adam Smith was in the right to make it the
expression of real value. But this is not done with the same
consistency by Mr. Malthus at the very time when he denies the
possibility of any invariable value.

_Phil_. How so? Mr. Malthus asserts that there is one article of
invariable value; what is more, this article is labor,--the very same
as that formerly alleged for such by Adam Smith; and he has written a
book to prove it.

_X_. True, Philebus, he has done so; and he _now_ holds that
labor is invariable, supposing that his opinions have not altered
within the last twelve months. But he was so far from holding this in
1820 (at which time it was that he chiefly insisted on the distinction
between nominal and real value), that he was not content with the true
arguments against the possibility of an invariable value, but made use
of one, as I shall soon show you, which involves what the
metaphysicians call a _non-ens_--or an idea which includes
contradictory and self-destroying conditions. Omitting, however, the
inconsistency in the idea of _real_ value as conceived by Mr.
Malthus, there is this additional error engrafted upon the Smithian
definition, that it is extended to "the necessaries and conveniences of
life" in general, and no longer confined exclusively to labor. I shall,
therefore, as another case for illustrating and applying the result of
our dispute,

2. Cite a passage from Mr. Malthus' "Political Economy" (p. 59): "If we
are told that the wages of day-labor in a particular country are, at
the present time, fourpence a day, or that the revenue of a particular
sovereign, seven or eight hundred years ago, was four hundred thousand
pounds a year, these statements of nominal value convey no sort of
information respecting the condition of the lower class of people in
the one case, or the resources of the sovereign in the other. Without
further knowledge on the subject, we should be quite at a loss to say
whether the laborers in the country mentioned were starving or living
in great plenty; whether the king in question might be considered as
having a very inadequate revenue, or whether the sum mentioned was so
great as to be incredible. [Footnote: Hume very reasonably doubts the
possibility of William the Conqueror's revenue being four hundred
thousand pounds a year, as represented by an ancient historian, and
adopted by subsequent writers.--Note of Mr. Malthus.] It is quite
obvious that in cases of this kind,--and they are of constant
recurrence,--the value of wages, incomes, or commodities, estimated in
the precious metals, will be of little use to us alone. What we want
further is some estimate of a kind which may be denominated real value
in exchange, implying the quantity of the necessaries and conveniences
of life which those wages, incomes, or commodities, will enable the
possessor of them to command."

In this passage, over and above the radical error about real value,
there is also apparent that confusion, which has misled so many
writers, between _value_ and _wealth_; a confusion which Mr.
Ricardo first detected and cleared up. That we shall not be able to
determine, from the mere money wages, whether the laborers were
"starving or living in great plenty," is certain; and that we
_shall_ be able to determine this as soon as we know the quantity
of necessaries, etc., which those wages commanded, is equally certain;
for, in fact, the one knowledge is identical with the other, and but
another way of expressing it; we must, of course, learn that the
laborer lived in plenty, if we should learn that his wages gave him a
great deal of bread, milk, venison, salt, honey, etc. And as there
could never have been any doubt whether we should learn _this_
from what Mr. Malthus terms the real value, and that we should
_not_ learn it from what he terms the money value, Mr. Malthus may
be assured that there never can have been any dispute raised on that
point. The true dispute is, whether, after having learned that the
laborer lived in American plenty, we shall have at all approximated to
the appreciation of his wages as to real value: this is the question;
and it is plain that we shall not. What matters it that his wages gave
him a great deal of corn, until we know whether corn bore a high or a
low value? A great deal of corn at a high value implies wages of a high
value; but a great deal of corn at a low value is very consistent with
wages at a low value. Money wages, it is said, leave us quite in the
dark as to real value. Doubtless; nor are we at all the less in the
dark for knowing the corn wages, the milk wages, the grouse wages, etc.
_Given_ the value of corn, _given_ the value of milk, _given_ the value
of grouse, we shall know whether a great quantity of those articles
implies a high value, or is compatible with a low value, in the wages
which commanded them; but, _until_ that is given, it has been already
shown that the quantity alone is an equivocal test, being equally
capable of coexisting with high wages or low wages.

_Phil_. Why, then, it passes my comprehension to understand what
test remains of real value, if neither money price nor commodity price
expresses it. When are wages, for example, at a high real value?

_X_. Wages are at a high real value when it requires much labor to
produce wages; and at a low real value when it requires little labor to
produce wages: and it is perfectly consistent with the high real value
that the laborer should be almost starving; and perfectly consistent
with the low real value that the laborer should be living in great ease
and comfort.

_Phil_. Well, this may be true; but you must allow that it sounds
extravagant.

_X_. Doubtless it sounds extravagant, to him who persists in
slipping under his notion of value another and heterogeneous notion,
namely, that of wealth. But, let it sound as it may, all the
absurdities (which are neither few nor slight) are on the other side.
These will discover themselves as we advance. Meantime, I presume that
in your use, and in everybody's use, of the word value, a high value
ought to purchase a high value, and that it will be very absurd if it
should not. But, as to purchasing a great quantity, that condition is
surely not included in any man's idea of value.

_Phil_. No, certainly; because A is of high value, it does not
follow that it must purchase a great quantity; that must be as various
as the nature of the thing with which it is compared. But having once
assumed any certain thing, as B, it does seem to follow that, however
small a quantity A may purchase of this (which I admit may be very
small, though the value of A should be very great), yet it does seem to
follow, from everybody's notion of value, that this quantity of B,
however small at first, must continually increase, if the value of A be
supposed continually to increase.

_X_. This may "seem" to follow; but it has been shown that it does
not follow; for if A continually double its value, yet let B
continually triple or quadruple its value, and the quantity of B will
be so far from increasing, that it will finally become evanescent. In
short, once for all, the formula is this: Let A continually increase in
value, and it shall purchase continually more and more in quantity--
than what? More than it did? By no means; but more than it would have
done, but for that increase in value. A has doubled its value. Does it
_therefore_ purchase more than it did before of B? No; perhaps it
purchases much less; suppose only one fourth part as much of B as it
did before; but still the doubling of A's value has had its full
effect; for B, it may happen, has increased in value eight-fold; and,
but for the doubling of A, it would, instead of one fourth, have bought
only one eighth of the former quantity. A, therefore, by doubling in
value, has bought not double in quantity of what it bought before, but
double in quantity of what it would else have bought.

The remainder of this dialogue related to the distinction between
"relative" value, as it is termed, and "absolute" value; clearing up
the true use of that distinction. But, this being already too long, the
amount of it will be given hereafter, with a specimen of the errors
which have arisen from the abuse of this distinction.

       *       *       *       *       *

DIALOGUE THE FIFTH.

ON THE IMMEDIATE USES OF THE NEW THEORY OF VALUE.


_X_. The great law which governs exchangeable value has now been
stated and argued. Next, it seems, we must ask, what are its uses? This
is a question which you or I should not be likely to ask; for with what
color of propriety could a doubt be raised about the use of any truth
in any science? still less, about the use of a leading truth? least of
all, about the use of _the_ leading truth? Nevertheless, such a
doubt _has_ been raised by Mr. Malthus.

_Phæd_. On what ground or pretence.

_X_. Under a strange misconception of Mr. Ricardo's meaning. Mr.
Malthus has written a great deal, as you may have heard, against Mr.
Ricardo's principle of value; his purpose is to prove that it is a
false principle; independently of which, he contends that, even if it
were a true principle, it would be of little use. [Footnote: _Vide_ the
foot-note to p. 54 of "The Measure of Value."]

_Phæd_. Little use? In relation to what?

_X_. Ay, _there_ lies the inexplicable mistake: of little use
as a _measure_ of value. Now, this is a mistake for which there
can be no sort of apology; for it supposes Mr. Ricardo to have brought
forward his principle of value as a standard or measure of value;
whereas, Mr. Ricardo has repeatedly informed his reader that he utterly
rejects the possibility of any such measure. Thus (at p. 10, edit. 2d),
after laying down the _conditio sine quâ non_ under which any
commodity could preserve an unvarying value, he goes on to say: "of
such a commodity we have no knowledge, and consequently are unable to
fix on any standard of value." And, again (at p. 343 of the same
edition), after exposing at some length the circumstances which
disqualify "any commodity, or all commodities together," from
performing the office of a standard of value, he again states the
indispensable condition which must be realized in that commodity which
should pretend to such an office; and again he adds, immediately, "of
such a commodity we have no knowledge." But what leaves this mistake
still more without excuse is, that in the third edition of his book Mr.
Ricardo has added an express section (the sixth) to his chapter on
value, having for its direct object to expose the impossibility of any
true measure of value. Setting aside, indeed, these explicit
declarations, a few words will suffice to show that Mr. Ricardo could
not have consistently believed in any standard or measure of value.
What does a standard mean?

_Phæd_. A standard is that which stands still whilst other things
move, and by this means serves to indicate or measure the degree in
which those other things have advanced or receded.

_X_. Doubtless; and a standard of value must itself stand still or
be stationary in value. But nothing could possibly be stationary in
value upon Mr. Ricardo's theory, unless it were always produced by the
same quantity of labor; since any alteration in the quantity of the
producing labor must immediately affect the value of the product. Now,
what is there which can always be obtained by the same quantity of
labor? Raw materials (for reasons which will appear when we consider
Rent) are constantly tending to grow dearer [Footnote: "Constantly
tending to grow dearer"--To the novice in Political Economy, it will
infallibly suggest itself that the direct contrary is the truth; since,
even in rural industry, though more tardily improving its processes
than manufacturing industry, the tendency is always in that direction:
agriculture, as an art benefiting by experience, has never yet been
absolutely regressive, though not progressive by such striking leaps or
sudden discoveries as manufacturing art. But, for all that, it still
remains true, as a general principle, that raw materials won from the
soil are constantly tending to grow dearer, whilst these same materials
as worked up for use by manufacturing skill are constantly travelling
upon an opposite path. The reason is, that, in the case of
manufacturing improvements, no conquest made is ever lost. The course
is never retrogressive towards the worse machinery, or towards the more
circuitous process; once resigned, the inferior method is resigned
forever. But in the industry applied to the soil this is otherwise.
Doubtless the farmer does not, with his eyes open, return to methods
which have experimentally been shown to be inferior, unless, indeed,
where want of capital may have forced him to do so; but, as population
expands, he is continually forced into descending upon inferior soils;
and the product of these inferior soils it is which gives the ruling
price for the whole aggregate of products. Say that soils Nos. 1, 2, 3,
4, had been hitherto sufficient for a nation, where the figures express
the regular graduation downwards in point of fertility; then, when No.
5 is called for (which, producing less by the supposition, costs,
therefore, more upon any given quantity), the price upon this last, No.
5, regulates the price upon all the five soils. And thus it happens
that, whilst always progressive, rural industry is nevertheless always
travelling towards an increased cost. The product of Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4,
is continually tending to be cheaper; but when the cost of No. 5 (and
so on forever as to the fresh soils required to meet a growing
population) is combined with that of the superior soils, the quotient
from the entire dividend, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, is always tending gradually to
a higher expression.] by requiring more labor for their production;
manufactures, from the changes in machinery, which are always
progressive and never retrograde, are constantly tending to grow
cheaper by requiring less; consequently, there is nothing which, upon
Mr. Ricardo's theory, can long continue stationary in value. If,
therefore, he had proposed any measure of value, he must have forgotten
his own principle of value.

_Phil_. But allow me to ask; if that principle is not proposed as
a measure of value, in what character _is_ it proposed?

_X_. Surely, Philebus, as the _ground_ of value; whereas a measure of
value is no more than a _criterion_ or test of value. The last is
simply a _principium cognoscendi_, whereas the other is a _principium
essendi_.

_Phil_. But wherein lies the difference?

_X_. Is it possible that you can ask such a question? A
thermometer measures the temperature of the air; that is, it furnishes
a criterion for ascertaining its varying degrees of heat; but you
cannot even imagine that a thermometer furnishes any _ground_ of
this heat. I wish to know whether a day's labor at the time of the
English Revolution bore the same value as a hundred years after at the
time of the French Revolution; and, if not the same value, whether a
higher or a lower. For this purpose, if I believe that there is any
commodity which is immutable in value, I shall naturally compare a
day's labor with that commodity at each period. Some, for instance,
have imagined that corn is of invariable value; and, supposing one to
adopt so false a notion, we should merely have to inquire what quantity
of corn a day's labor would exchange for at each period, and we should
then have determined the relations of value between labor at the two
periods. In this case, I should have used corn as the _measure_ of
the value of labor; but I could not rationally mean to say that corn
was the _ground_ of the value of labor; and, if I said that I made
use of corn to _determine_ the value of labor, I should employ the
word "determine" in the same sense as when I say that the thermometer
determines the heat--namely, that it ascertains it, or determines it to
my knowledge (as a _principium cognoscendi_). But, when Mr. Ricardo
says that the quantity of labor employed on A determines the value of
A, he must of course be understood to mean that it _causes_ A to be of
this value, that it is the _ground_ of its value, the _principium
essendi_ of its value; just as when, being asked what determines a
stone to fall downwards rather than upwards, I answer that it is the
earth's attraction, or the principle of gravitation, meaning that this
principle _causes_ it to fall downwards; and if, in this case, I say
that gravitation "_determines_" its course downwards, I no longer use
that word in the sense of _ascertain_; I do not mean that gravitation
_ascertains_ it to have descended; but that gravitation has
_causatively_ impressed that direction on its course; in other
words, I make gravitation the _principium essendi_ of its descent.

_Phæd_. I understand your distinction; and in which sense do you
say that Mr. Malthus has used the term Measure of Value--in the sense
of a ground, or of a criterion?

_X_. In both senses; he talks of it as "_accounting for_" the
value of A, in which case it means a ground of value; and as
"_estimating_" the value of A, in which case it means a criterion
of value. I mention these expressions as instances; but, the truth is,
that, throughout his essay entitled "The Measure of Value Stated and
Illustrated" and throughout his "Political Economy" (but especially in
the second chapter, entitled "The Nature and Measures of Value"), he
uniformly confounds the two ideas of a ground and a criterion of value
under a much greater variety of expressions than I have time to
enumerate.

_Phil_. But, admitting that Mr. Malthus has proceeded on the
misconception you state, what is the specific injury which has thence
resulted to Mr. Ricardo?

_X_. I am speaking at present of the uses to be derived from Mr.
Ricardo's principle of value. Now, if it had been proposed as a measure
of value, we might justly demand that it should be "ready and easy of
application," to adopt the words of Mr. Malthus ("Measure of Value," p.
54); but it is manifestly not so; for the quantity of labor employed in
producing A "could not in many cases" (as Mr. Malthus truly objects)
"be ascertained without considerable difficulty;" in most cases,
indeed, it could not be ascertained at all. A measure of value,
however, which cannot be practically applied, is worthless; as a
measure of value, therefore, Mr. Ricardo's law of value is worthless;
and if it had been offered as such by its author, the blame would have
settled on Mr. Ricardo; as it is, it settles on Mr. Malthus, who has
grounded an imaginary triumph on his own gross misconception. For Mr.
Ricardo never dreamed of offering a standard or fixed measure of value,
or of tolerating any pretended measure of that sort, by whomsoever
offered.

Thus much I have said for the sake of showing what is not the use of
Mr. Ricardo's principle in the design of its author; in order that he
may be no longer exposed to the false criticism of those who are
looking for what is not to be found, nor ought to be found, [Footnote:
At p. 36 of "The Measure of Value" (in the footnote), this
misconception as to Mr. Ricardo appears in a still grosser shape; for
not only does Mr. Malthus speak of a "concession" (as he calls it) of
Mr. Ricardo as being "quite fatal" to the notion of a standard of
value,--as though it were an object with Mr. Ricardo to establish such
a standard,--but this standard, moreover, is now represented as being
gold. And what objection does Mr. Malthus make to gold as a standard?
The identical objection which Mr. Ricardo had himself insisted on in
that very page of his third edition to which Mr. Malthus refers.] in
his work. On quitting this part of the subject, I shall just observe
that Mr. Malthus, in common with many others, attaches a most
unreasonable importance to the discovery of a measure of value. I
challenge any man to show that the great interests of Political Economy
have at all suffered for want of such a measure, which at best would
end in answering a few questions of unprofitable curiosity; whilst, on
the other hand, without a knowledge of the ground on which value
depends, or without some approximation to it, Political Economy could
not exist at all, except as a heap of baseless opinions.

_Phæd_. Now, then, having cleared away the imaginary uses of Mr.
Ricardo's principle, let us hear something of its real uses.

_X_. The most important of these I expressed in the last words I
uttered: _That_ without which a science cannot exist is commensurate in
use with the science itself; being the fundamental law, it will testify
its own importance in the changes which it will impress on all the
derivative laws. For the main use of Mr. Ricardo's principle, I refer
you therefore to all Political Economy. Meantime, I will notice here
the immediate services which it has rendered by liberating the student
from those perplexities which previously embarrassed him on his first
introduction to the science; I mention two cases by way of specimen.

1. When it was asked by the student what determined the value of all
commodities, it was answered that this value was chiefly determined by
wages. When again it was asked what determined wages, it was
recollected that wages must generally be adjusted to the value of the
commodities upon which they were spent; and the answer was in effect
that wages were determined by the value of commodities. And thus the
mind was entangled in this inextricable circle--that the price of
commodities was determined by wages, and wages determined by the price
of commodities. From this gross _Diallælos_ (as the logicians call
it), or see-saw, we are now liberated; for the first step, as we are
now aware, is false: the value of commodities is _not_ determined
by wages; since wages express the value of labor; and it has been
demonstrated that not the _value_ but the _quantity_ of labor
determines the value of its products.

2. A second case, in which Mr. Ricardo's law has introduced a
simplicity into the science which had in vain been sought for before,
is this: all former economists, in laying down the component parts of
price, had fancied it impossible to get rid of what is termed the
_raw material_ as one of its elements. This impossibility was
generally taken for granted: but an economist of our times, the late
Mr. Francis Horner, had (in the _Edinburgh Review_) expressly set
himself to prove it. "It is not true," said Mr. Horner, "that the thing
purchased in every bargain is merely so much labor: the value of the
raw material can neither be rejected as nothing, nor estimated as a
constant quantity." Now, this refractory element is at once, and in the
simplest way possible, exterminated by Mr. Ricardo's reformed law of
value. Upon the old system, if I had resolved the value of my hat into
wages and profits, I should immediately have been admonished that I had
forgotten one of the elements: "wages, profits, and raw material, you
mean," it would have been said. Raw material! Well, but on what
separate principle can this raw material be valued? or on what other
principle than that on which the hat itself was valued? Like any other
product of labor, its value is determined by the quantity of labor
employed in obtaining it; and the amount of this product is divided
between wages and profits as in any case of a manufactured commodity.
The raw material of the hat suppose to be beaver: if, then, in order to
take the quantity of beavers which are necessary to furnish materials
for a thousand hats, four men have been employed for twenty-five days,
then it appears that the raw material of a thousand hats has cost a
hundred days' labor, which will be of the same value in exchange as the
product of a hundred days' labor  (previously equated and discounted as
to its _quality_) in any other direction; as, for example, if a
hundred days' labor would produce two thousand pairs of stockings of a
certain quality, then it follows that the raw material of my hat is
worth two pairs of such stockings. And thus it turns out that an
element of value (which Mr. Horner and thousands of others have
supposed to be of a distinct nature, and to resist all further
analysis) gives way before Mr. Ricardo's law, and is eliminated; an
admirable simplification, which is equal in merit and use to any of the
rules which have been devised, from time to time, for the resolution of
algebraic equations.

Here, then, in a hasty shape, I have offered two specimens of the uses
which arise from a better law of value; again reminding you, however,
that the main use must lie in the effect which it will impress on all
the other laws of Political Economy. And reverting for one moment,
before we part, to the difficulty of Philebus about the difference
between this principle as a _principium cognoscendi_ or measure,
and a _principium essendi_ or determining ground, let me desire
you to consider these two _essential_ marks of distinction: 1.
that by all respectable economists any true measure of value has been
doubted or denied as a possibility: but no man can doubt the existence
of a ground of value; 2. that a measure is posterior to the value; for,
before a value can be measured or estimated, it must exist: but a
ground of value must be antecedent to the value, like any other cause
to its effect.

       *       *       *       *       *

DIALOGUE THE SIXTH.

ON THE OBJECTIONS TO THE NEW LAW OF VALUE.


_X_. The two most eminent economists [Footnote: The reader must
continue to remember that this paper was written in 1824.] who have
opposed the Ricardian doctrines are Mr. Malthus and Colonel Torrens. In
the spring of 1820 Mr. Malthus published his "Principles of Political
Economy," much of which was an attack upon Mr. Ricardo; and the entire
second chapter of eighty-three pages, "On the Nature and Measures of
Value," was one continued attempt to overthrow Mr. Ricardo's theory of
value. Three years afterwards he published a second attack on the same
theory in a distinct essay of eighty-one pages, entitled, "The Measure
of Value Stated and Illustrated." In this latter work, amongst other
arguments, he has relied upon one in particular, which he has chosen to
exhibit in the form of a table. As it is of the last importance to
Political Economy that this question should be settled, I will shrink
from nothing that wears the semblance of an argument: and I will now
examine this table; and will show that the whole of the inferences
contained in the seventh, eighth, and ninth columns are founded on a
gross blunder in the fifth and sixth; every number in which columns is
falsely assigned.

MR. MALTHUS' TABLE ILLUSTRATING THE INVARIABLE VALUE OF LABOR AND ITS
RESULTS.

(From p. 38 of "The Measure of Value Stated and Illustrated." London:
1823.)

N. B.--The sole change which has been made in this reprint of the
original Table is the assigning of names (_Alpha, Beta_, etc.) to
the several cases, for the purpose of easier reference and distinction.

CASE.     1    2   3     4     5     6    7     8       9

Alpha... 150  12  120  25     8     2     10   8.33   12.5
Beta.... 150  13  130  15.38  8.66  1.34  10   7.7    11.53
Gamma... 150  10  100  50     6.6   3.4   10  10      15
Delta... 140  12  120  16.66  8.6   1.4   10   7.14*  11.6
Epsilon. 140  11  110  27.2   7.85  2.15  10   9.09   12.7
Zeta.... 130  12  120   8.3   9.23  0.77  10   8.33   10.8
Eta..... 130  10  100  30     7.7   2.3   10  10      13
Theta... 120  11  110   9     9.17  0.83  10   9.09   10.9
Iota.... 120  10  100  20     8.33  1.67  10  10      12
Kappa... 110  10  100  10     9.09  0.91  10  10      11
Lambda.. 110   9   90  22.2   8.18  1.82  10  11.1    12.2
My...... 100   9   90  11.1   9     1     10  11.1    11.1
Ny...... 100   8   80  25     8     2     10  12.5    12.5
Xi......  90   8   80  12.5   8.88  1.12  10  12.5    11.25

1.--Quarters of Corn produced by Ten Men.
2.--Yearly Corn Wages to each Laborer.
3.--Yearly Corn Wages of the whole Ten Men.
4.--Rate of Profits under the foregoing Circumstances.
5.--Quantity of Labor required to produce the Wages of Ten Men.
6.--Quantity of Profits on the Advance of Labor.
7.--Invariable Value of the Wages of a given Number of Men.
8.--Value of 100 Quarters of Corn under the varying
    Circumstances supposed.
9.--Value of the Product of the Labor of Ten Men under the
    Circumstances supposed.

[Footnote: *This is an oversight on the part of Mr. Malthus, and not an
error of the press; for 7.14 would be the value of the 100 quarters on
the supposition that the entire product of the ten men (namely, 140
quarters) went to wages; but the wages in this case (Delta) being 120
quarters, the true value on the principle of this table is manifestly
8.33.]


SECTION I.


_Phæd_. Now, X., you know that I abhor arithmetical calculations;
besides which, I have no faith in any propositions of a political
economist which he cannot make out readily without all this elaborate
machinery of tables and figures. Under these circumstances, I put it to
you, as a man of feeling, whether you ought to inflict upon me this
alarming pile of computations; which, by your gloomy countenance, I see
that you are meditating.

_X_. Stop, recollect yourself: not I it is, remember, that impose
this elaborate "table" upon you, but Mr. Malthus. The yoke is his. I am
the man sent by Providence to lighten this yoke. Surrender yourself,
therefore, to my guidance, Phædrus, and I will lead you over the hill
by so easy a road that you shall never know you have been climbing. You
see that there are nine columns; _that_, I suppose, does not pass
your skill in arithmetic. Now, then, to simplify the matter, begin by
dismissing from your attention every column but the first and the last;
fancy all the rest obliterated.

_Phæd_. Most willingly; it is a heavenly fancy.

_X_. Next look into the first column, and tell me what you see
there.

_Phæd_. I see "lots" of 150s and 140s, and other ill-looking
people of the same description.

_X_. Well, these numbers express the products of the same labor on
land of different qualities. The quantity of labor is assumed to be
always the same; namely, the labor of ten men for a year (or one man
for ten years, or twenty men for half a year, etc.). The producing
labor, I say, is always the same; but the product is constantly
varying. Thus, in the case Alpha the product is one hundred and fifty
quarters; in the cases Delta and Epsilon, when cultivation has been
compelled by increasing population to descend upon inferior land, the
product of equal labor is no more than one hundred and forty quarters;
and in the case Iota it has fallen to one hundred and twenty quarters.
Now, upon Mr. Ricardo's principle of valuation, I demand to know what
ought to be the price of these several products which vary so much in
quantity.

_Phæd_. Why, since they are all the products of the same quantity
of labor, they ought all to sell for the same price.

_X_. Doubtless; not, however, of necessity for the same money
price, since money may itself have varied, in which case the same money
price would be really a very different price; but for the same price in
all things which have _not_ varied in value. The Xi product,
therefore, which is only ninety quarters, will fetch the same real
price as the Alpha or Gamma products, which are one hundred and fifty.
But, by the way, in saying this, let me caution you against making the
false inference that corn is at the same price in the case Xi as in the
case Alpha or Gamma; for the inference is the very opposite; since, if
ninety quarters cost as much as one hundred and fifty, then each
individual quarter of the ninety costs a great deal more. Thus, suppose
that the Alpha product sold at four pounds a quarter, the price of the
whole would be six hundred pounds. Six hundred pounds, therefore, must
be the price of Xi, or the ninety quarters; but _that_ is six
pounds, thirteen shillings, four pence, a quarter. This ought to be a
needless caution; yet I have known economists of great name stand much
in need of it.

_Phæd_. I am sure _I_ stand in need of it, and of all sort of
assistance, for I am "ill at these numbers." But let us go on; what you
require my assent to, I understand to be this: that all the different
quantities of corn expressed in the first column will be of the same
value, because they are all alike the product of ten men's labor. To
this I _do_ assent; and what next? Does anybody deny it?

_X_. Yes, Mr. Malthus: he asserts that the value will not be
always the same; and the purpose of the ninth column is to assign the
true values; which, by looking into that column, you may perceive to be
constantly varying: the value of Alpha, for instance, is twelve and
five tenths; the value of Epsilon is twelve and seven tenths; of Iota,
twelve; and of Xi, eleven and twenty-five one-hundredths.

_Phæd_. But of what? Twelve and five tenths of what?

_X_. Of anything which, though variable, has in fact happened to
be stationary in value; or, if you choose, of anything which is not
variable in value.

_Phæd_. Not variable! But there is no such thing.

_X_. No! Mr. Malthus, however, says there is; labor, he asserts,
is of unalterable value.

_Phæd_. What! does he mean to say, then, that the laborer always
obtains the same wages?

_X_. Yes, the same real wages; all differences being only apparently in
the wages, but really in the commodity in which the wages are paid. Let
that commodity be wheat; then, if the laborer receives ten quarters of
wheat in 1800, and nine in 1820, that would imply only that wheat was
about eleven per cent, dearer in the latter year. Or let money be that
commodity; then, if the laborer receives this century two shillings,
and next century three shillings, this simply argues that money has
fallen in value by fifty per cent.

_Phæd_. Why, so it may; and the whole difference in wages may have
arisen in that way, and be only apparent. But, then, it may also have
arisen from a change in the _real_ value of wages; that is, on the
Ricardian principle, in the quantity of labor necessary to produce
wages. And this latter must have been the nature of the change, if
Alpha, Iota, Xi, etc., should be found to purchase more labor; in which
case Mr. Ricardo's doctrine is not disturbed; for he will say that Iota
in 1700 exchanges for twelve, and Kappa in 1800 for eleven, not because
Kappa has fallen in that proportion (for Kappa, being the product of
the same labor as Iota, _cannot_ fall below the value of Iota),
but because the commodity for which they are exchanged has risen in
that proportion.

_X_. He will; but Mr. Malthus attempts to bar that answer in this
case, by alleging that it is impossible for the commodity in question
(namely, labor) to rise or to fall in that or in any other proportion.
If, then, the change cannot be in the labor, it must be in Alpha, Beta,
etc.; in which case Mr. Ricardo will be overthrown; for they are the
products of the same quantity of labor, and yet have not retained the
same value.

_Phæd_. But, to bar Mr. Ricardo's answer, Mr. Malthus must not
allege this merely; he must prove it.

_X_. To be sure; and the first seven columns of this table are
designed to prove it. Now, then, we have done with the ninth column,
and also with the eighth; for they are both mere corollaries from all
the rest, and linked together under the plain rule of three. Dismiss
these altogether; and we will now come to the argument.


SECTION II.


The table is now reduced to seven columns, and the logic of it is this:
the four first columns express the conditions under which the three
following ones are deduced as consequences; and they are to be read
thus, taking the case Alpha by way of example: Suppose that (by
_column one_) the land cultivated is of such a quality that ten
laborers produce me one hundred and fifty quarters of corn; and that
(by _column two_) each laborer receives for his own wages twelve
quarters; in which case (by _column three_) the whole ten receive
one hundred and twenty quarters; and thus (by _column four_) leave
me for my profit thirty quarters out of all that they have produced;
that is, twenty-five per cent. Under these conditions, I insist (says
Mr. Malthus) that the wages of ten men, as stated in column three, let
them be produced by little labor or much labor, shall never exceed or
fall below one invariable value expressed in column seven; and,
accordingly, by looking down that column, you will perceive one uniform
valuation of 10. Upon this statement, it is manifest that the whole
force of the logic turns upon the accuracy with which column three is
valued in column seven. If that valuation be correct, then it follows
that, under all changes in the quantity of labor which produces them,
wages never alter in real value; in other words, the value of labor is
invariable.

_Phæd_. But of course you deny that the valuation is correct?

_X_. I do, Phædrus; the valuation is wrong, even on Mr. Malthus'
or any other man's principles, in every instance; the value is not
truly assigned in a single case of the whole fourteen. For how does Mr.
Malthus obtain this invariable value of ten? He resolves the value of
the wages expressed in column three into two parts; one of which, under
the name "_labor_," he assigns in column five; the other, under
the name "_profits_," he assigns in column six; and column seven
expresses the sum of these two parts; which are always kept equal to
ten by always compensating each other's excesses and defects. Hence,
Phædrus, you see that--as column seven simply expresses the sum of
columns five and six--if those columns are right, column seven cannot
be wrong. Consequently, it is in columns five and six that we are to
look for the root of the error; which is indeed a very gross one.

_Phil_. Why, now, for instance, take the case Alpha, and what is
the error you detect in that?

_X_. Simply, this--that in column five, instead of eight, the true
value is 6.4; and in column six, instead of two, the true value is 1.6;
the sum of which values is not ten, but eight; and that is the figure
which should have stood in column seven.

_Phil_. How so, X.? In column five Mr. Malthus undertakes to
assign the quantity of labor necessary (under the conditions of the
particular case) to produce the wages expressed in column three, which
in this case Alpha are one hundred and twenty quarters. Now, you cannot
deny that he has assigned it truly; for, when ten men produce one
hundred and fifty (by column one)--that is, each man fifteen--it must
require eight to produce one hundred and twenty; for one hundred and
twenty is eight times fifteen. Six men and four tenths of a man, the
number you would substitute, could produce only ninety-six quarters.

_X_. Very true, Philebus; eight men are necessary to produce the
one hundred and twenty quarters expressed in column three. And now
answer me: what part of their own product will these eight producers
deduct for their own wages?

_Phil_. Why (by column two), each man's wages in this case are
twelve quarters; therefore the wages of the eight men will be ninety-
six quarters.

_X_. And what quantity of labor will be necessary to produce these
ninety-six quarters?

_Phil_. Each man producing fifteen, it will require six men's
labor, and four tenths of another man's labor.

_X_. Very well; 6.4 of the eight are employed in producing the
wages of the whole eight. Now tell me, Philebus, what more than their
own wages do the whole eight produce?

_Phil_. Why, as they produce in all one hundred and twenty
quarters, and their own deduction is ninety-six, it is clear that they
produce twenty-four quarters besides their own wages.

_X_. And to whom do these twenty-four quarters go?

_Phil_. To their employer, for his profit.

_X_. Yes; and it answers the condition expressed in column four;
for a profit of twenty-four quarters on ninety-six is exactly twenty-
five per cent. But to go on--you have acknowledged that the ninety-six
quarters for wages would be produced by the labor of 6.4 men. Now, how
much labor will be required to produce the remaining twenty-four
quarters for profits?

_Phil_. Because fifteen quarters require the labor of one man (by
column one), twenty-four will require the labor of 1.6.

_X_. Right; and thus, Philebus, you have acknowledged all I wish.
The object of Mr. Malthus is to ascertain the cost in labor of
producing ten men's wages (or one hundred and twenty quarters) under
the conditions of this case Alpha. The cost resolves itself, even on
Mr. Malthus' principles, into so much wages to the laborers, and so
much profit to their employer. Now, you or I will undertake to furnish
Mr. Malthus the one hundred and twenty quarters, not (as he says) at a
cost of ten men's labor (for at that cost we could produce him one
hundred and fifty quarters by column one), but at a cost of eight. For
six men and four tenths will produce the whole wages of the eight
producers; and one man and six tenths will produce our profit of
twenty-five per cent.

_Phæd_. The mistake, then, of Mr. Malthus, if I understand it, is
egregious. In column five he estimates the labor necessary to produce
the entire one hundred and twenty quarters--which, he says, is the
labor of eight men; and so it is, if he means by labor what produces
both wages and profits; otherwise, not. Of necessity, therefore, he has
assigned the value both of wages and profits in column five. Yet in
column six he gravely proceeds to estimate profits a second time.

_X_. Yes; and, what is still worse, in estimating these profits a
second time over, he estimates them on the whole one hundred and
twenty; that is, he allows for a second profit of thirty quarters; else
it could not cost two men's labor (as by his valuation it does); for
each man in the case Alpha produces fifteen quarters. Now, thirty
quarters added to one hundred and twenty, are one hundred and fifty.
But this is the _product_ of ten men, and not the _wages_ of
ten men; which is the amount offered for valuation in column three, and
which is all that column seven professes to have valued.


SECTION III.


_Phæd_. I am satisfied, X. But Philebus seems perplexed. Make all
clear, therefore, by demonstrating the same result in some other way.
With your adroitness, it can cost you no trouble to treat us with a
little display of dialectical skirmishing. Show us a specimen of
manoeuvring; enfilade him; take him in front and rear; and do it
rapidly, and with a light-horseman's elegance.

_X_. If you wish for variations, it is easy to give them. In the
first argument, what I depended on was this--that the valuation was
inaccurate. Now, then, _secondly_, suppose the valuation to be
accurate, in this case we must still disallow it to Mr. Malthus; for,
in columns five and six, he values by the quantity of producing labor;
but that is the Ricardian principle of valuation, which is the very
principle that he writes to overthrow.

_Phæd_. This may seem a good _quoad hominem_ argument. Yet
surely any man may use the principle of his antagonist, in order to
extort a particular result from it?  _X_. He may; but in that case
will the result be true, or will it not be true?

_Phæd_. If he denies the principle, he is bound to think the
result not true; and he uses it as a _reductio ad absurdum_.

_X_. Right; but now in this case Mr. Malthus presents the result
as a truth.

_Phil_. Yes, X.; but observe, the result is the direct
contradiction of Mr. Ricardo's result. The quantities of column first
vary in value by column the last; but the result, in Mr. Ricardo's
hands, is--that they do not vary in value.

_X_. Still, if in Mr. Malthus' hands the principle is made to
yield a truth, then at any rate the principle is itself true; and all
that will be proved against Mr. Ricardo is, that he applied a sound
principle unskilfully. But Mr. Malthus writes a book to prove that the
principle is _not_ sound.

_Phæd_. Yes, and to substitute another.

_X_. True; which other, I go on _thirdly_ to say, is actually
employed in this table. On which account it is fair to say that Mr.
Malthus is a _third_ time refuted. For, if two inconsistent
principles of valuation be employed, then the table will be vicious,
because heteronymous.

_Phil_. _Negatur minor._

_X_. I prove the minor (namely, that two inconsistent principles
_are_ employed) by column the ninth; and thence, also, I deduct a
_fourth_ and a _fifth_ refutation of the table.

_Phæd_. _Euge!_ Now, this is a pleasant skirmishing.

_X_. For, in column the last, I say that the principle of
valuation employed is different from that employed in columns five and
six. Upon which I offer you this dilemma: it is--or it is not; choose.

_Phil_. Suppose I say, it is?

_X_. In that case, the result of this table is a case of _idem
per idem_; a pure childish tautology.

_Phil_. Suppose I say, it is not?

_X_. In that case, the result of this table is false.

_Phil_. Demonstrate.

_X_. I say, that the principle of valuation employed in column
nine is, not the quantity of _producing_ labor, but the quantity
of labor _commanded_. Now, if it is, then the result is childish
tautology, as being identical with the premises. For it is already
introduced into the premises as one of the conditions of the case Alpha
(namely, into column two), that twelve quarters of corn shall command
the labor of one man; which being premised, it is a mere variety of
expression for the very same fact to tell us, in column nine, that the
one hundred and fifty quarters of column the first shall command twelve
men and five tenths of a man; for one hundred and forty-four, being
twelve times twelve, will of course command twelve men, and the
remainder of six quarters will of course command the half of a man. And
it is most idle to employ the elaborate machinery of nine columns to
deduce, as a learned result, what you have already put into the
premises, and postulated amongst the conditions.

_Phæd_. This will, therefore, destroy Mr. Malthus' theory a fourth
time.

_X_. Then, on the other hand, if the principle of valuation
employed in column nine is the same as that employed in columns five
and six, this principle must be the quantity of producing labor, and
not the quantity of labor commanded. But, in that case, the result will
be false. For column nine values column the first. Now, if the one
hundred and fifty quarters of case Alpha are truly valued in column
first, then they are falsely valued in column the last; and, if truly
valued in column the last, then falsely valued in column the first.
For, by column the last, the one hundred and fifty quarters are
produced by the labor of twelve and a half men; but it is the very
condition of column the first, that the one hundred and fifty quarters
are produced by ten men.

_Phæd_. (Laughing). This is too hot to last. Here we have a fifth
refutation. Can't you give us a sixth, X.?

_X_. If you please. Supposing Mr. Malthus' theory to be good, it
shall be impossible for anything whatsoever at any time to vary in
value. For how shall it vary? Because the _quantity_ of producing
labor varies? But _that_ is the very principle which he is writing
to overthrow. Shall it vary, then, because the _value_ of the
producing labor varies? But _that_ is impossible on the system of
Mr. Malthus; for, according to this system, the value of labor is
invariable.

_Phil_. Stop! I've thought of a dodge. The thing shall vary
because the _quantity_ of labor commanded shall vary.

_X_. But how shall _that_ vary? A can never command a greater
quantity of labor, or of anything which is presumed to be of invariable
value, until A itself be of a higher value. To command an altered
quantity of labor, which (_on any theory_) must be the _consequence_
of altered value, can never be the _cause_ of altered value. No
alterations of labor, therefore, whether as to quantity or value,
shall ever account for the altered value of A; for, according to Mr.
Malthus, they are either insufficient on the one hand, or impossible
on the other.

_Phil_. Grant this, yet value may still vary; for suppose labor to
be invariable, still profits may vary.

_X_. So that, if A rise, it will irresistibly argue profits to
have risen?

_Phil_. It will; because no other element _can_ have risen.

_X_. But now column eight assigns the value of a uniform quantity
of corn--namely, one hundred quarters. In case Alpha, one hundred
quarters are worth 8.33. What are one hundred quarters worth in the
case Iota?

_Phil_. They are worth ten.

_X_. And _that_ is clearly more. Now, if A have risen, by
your own admission I am entitled to infer that profits have risen: but
what are profits in the case Iota?

_Phil_. By column four they are twenty per cent.

_X_. And what in the case Alpha?

_Phil_. By column four, twenty-five per cent.

_X_. Then profits have fallen in the case Iota, but, because
_L_ has risen in case Iota from 8.33 to ten, it is an irresistible
inference, on your theory, that profits ought to have risen.

_Phæd. (Laughing)_. Philebus, this is a sharp practice; go on, X.,
and skirmish with him a little more in this voltigeur style.


N.B.--With respect to "The Templars' Dialogues," it may possibly be
complained, that this paper is in some measure a fragment. My answer
is, that, although fragmentary in relation to the entire _system_
of Ricardo, and that previous _system_ which he opposed, it is no
fragment in relation to the radical _principle_ concerned in those
systems. The conflicting systems are brought under review simply at the
_locus_ of collision: just as the reader may have seen the
chemical theory of Dr. Priestley, and the counter-theory of his anti-
phlogistic opponents, stated within the limits of a single page. If the
principle relied on by either party can be shown to lead into
inextricable self-contradiction, _that_ is enough. So much is
accomplished in that case as was proposed from the beginning--namely,
not to exhaust the _positive_ elements of this system or that, but
simply to settle the central logic of their several polemics; to
settle, in fact, not the matter of what is evolved, but simply the
principle of evolution.





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