« VorigeDoorgaan »
of his apparatus, our botanizing friend most religiously guarded under seven set out to execute strictly, according to locks, the keys of which she constantly ; the prescribed formula, the ceremony wore about her person by way of an which was to put him in possession of amulet. Not having been allowed to the mystic plant. All proceeded exact- hold a committee of enquiry into the ly as neighbour Blas had predicted ; state of his wife's financial arrangeand, when the Black woodpecker came ments, Peter was altogether ignorant of Aying back to the tree with the root in these private funds, although he had his mouth, Master Peter suddenly ad- some suspicion that a secret hoard exvanced from behind the tree, and per- isted: as soon, therefore, as this cabinet formed his manœuvre with such rapidi- met his eye, his heart acted the part of ty and dexterity, that, in its terror at a divining rod. With a bosom throbsight of the fame-coloured mantle, the bing with anxious expectation for the bird let fall the root, and, at the same success of the experiment he was about time that which would have restored to make, he took out the root, and the good man to his eyesight, like the touched the door of the shrine. To bis aged Tobias. The project was now rapturous astonishment the seven locks happily accomplished, and thereby was immediateiy unbolted of themselves, obtained the magic root, that, by acting and the door flying open with a crash, as a master-key to every door, threw its displayed to his greedy gaze the store possessor into an extacy of ineffable of bright seducing mammon, from joy. He failed not to wrap it up in a whose snare his pious partner took such whole bunch of christ-thorn, and pro- pains to secure bim. At first, he hardceeded homewards as overjoyed as if he ly knew whether to be more delighted had been already in possession of the at the proved efficacy of the magic
or at the treasure which he had discoOf course, he could no longer conti- | vered, but stood himself rooted to the nue at home; but all his thoughts and spot, as if the secret spell had transwishes being directed towards the formed him to a statue. At length, he Brocken, he made as hasty preparations bethought himself in earnest of his as possible to decamp privately. His intended pilgrimage, and providently travelling equipage was soon put in rea- furnished himself with this treasure as diness, being only a sturdy staff, and a a viaticum on his journey, considering stout wallet. It happened fortunately it as a lucky augury of his farther sucthat, on the day fixed for his emigration, cess in his new trade of treasure-finding. both Dame Ilse and her daughter were Having completely emptied the shrine gone to a convent of Urselines, where a of its valuable relics, he carefully fastennun was to take the veil ; goodman ed again all the locks, like Master NiPeter availed himself of this opportuni- cholas the thief who stole the goldty to desert his post, he having been en tables at Lünenburg, and forthwith placed sentinel during the absence of departed on his expedition of discovery, the female part of the garrison.
in the highest spirits. Just as he was about to bestow his On their return from their more departing benediction on his household votional exeursion, the females greatly deities, it occurred to him that it would wondered to find the house shut up, and not be at all imprudent, were he first of the trusty sentinel nowhere to be found. all to take a preparatory lesson on his To all their knocking and calling no talisman, in order to satisfy himself, reply was returned, except by the mewbeyond all doubt, of its efficacy. His ing of a cat. Not being provided with worthy Dame had in her chamber a so expeditious a "passe par-tout" as cabinet built into the wall, in which the spring-root, the Dame was obliged shrine she kept certain golden relics, to have recourse to less supernatural
means, and to apply to a locksmith. consoling herself with the prudent reWhile the smith was employed in open- fection, that it was not now probable ing the door, the pious Dame was that she should ever see her husband equally busied in sundry ejaculations, hanged, as she had so often predicted; and in preparing a terrible philippic nor were the expences of his funeral (in which the figure Epanorthosis was by likely to be incurred. All, therefore, no means spared) wherewith she in- that now remained to be done, was intended to salute the unfortunate wight stantly to look out for a successor to whom she still deemed to be sleeping Master Peter in his asinine duties, and at his post, for, in the bitterness of her to purchase a fore-footed beast of burspirit, she exclaimed, “Baal sleepeth." then to replace the biped. Having met However, after the strictest search had with one to her satisfaction, and settled been made from the cellar to the very the price, she went to draw the sum house-top, no Baal was found. “Who upon her treasure, and for this purpose knows," thought she, “ but that the unlocked its well-secured door. 'But fake loon has hied him to some of bis what could equal her horror at perceivtippling haunts .” And struck with ing the dreary scene it displayed! For sudden alarm at the suspicions awaken- some minutes did she stand as in a mute ed by this idea, she instantly felt for trance ; at length the dreadful conviction her keys, thinking that her sacred amu- flashed upon her mind. Of what nature let might have fallen into unholy hands. were the exclamations and apostrophes She was, however, tangibly satisfied that now rolled in full torrent from her that it was quite secure; the cabinet too tongue, it is easy to divine. looked so very composedly that her About a month after this domestic suspicions were again removed. catastrophe, a knock at the door an
Mid-day, evening, and midnight nounced some one's arrival ; Dame Ilse came in succession : still they brought hastened to open it in the expectation not Peter Block. The business now of a customer, when there entered a grew serious, and mother and daughter young man, apparently a person of held a solemn council as to the causes some consequence, and of prepossessing of this sudden absconding. The strang- address; and his attire was that of a est conjectures were made ; and, as that country gentleman of some note. With gloomy hour naturally suggested more a courteous salutation the youth exalarming and mournful ideas, even pressed his joy at seeing her so well, Dame Ilse felt some compunctious visit- and enquired very kindly after her ings of conscience.“ Alas !” exclaim- daughter, although the Dame could not ed she, wringing her hands, “ I fear, recollect ever to have seen him before. Gertrude, thy father has made an un- Notwithstanding that she found the vitimely end of himself.”
sit intended rather for the latter than A fresh search was now made ; and herself, she invited the stranger into the they carefully examined every beam and room, and, having offered him a seat, hook on the premises, on which it was enquired his business. With a myste possible that the unfortunate wight rious air, he now requested permission might have been tempted to render him to speak with the fair needle-woman self " dependent," but they were satis- of whose delicate work report spoke so fied that he had not travelled out of the exceedingly high, having a commission world by a hempen road. All the to deliver to her. Dame Ilse had cerditches, and ponds, not forgetting the tain shrewd conjectures as to the purport milldam-were then scrutinized, and of this commission which the youthful still no trace of the lost sheep. So that, stranger seemed anxious to communiat length, the good Dame piously re- cate to the fair damsel ; yet, as the insigned herself to her widowed state, | terview would be in her own presence, she summoned the industrious maiden Before she could finish her mental from her task. On perceiving the visi- comments on this strange discovery, tor, the modest Gertrude blushed, and the suitor produced the most sufficierit bent her eye to the ground. Familiarly authority for his boldness, by spreading taking the hand which she would fain out on a table a heap of sparkling gold have withheld, the youth cast on her a pieces, whose brilliancy so dazzled the gaze of tenderness that by no means vision of the discreet matron, both cordissipated her confusion : nevertheless, poreal and intellectual, that she could anticipating his salutation, she exclaim- no longer see either the lovers themed, "Ah Frederick !" how came you selves, or the harm they had committed. here? I deemed that you were now Gertrude was now quite relieved from a hundred miles from hence. You the apprehension of witnessing her know my sentiments, and are returned lover exorcised as an unclean spirit, and to disturb me again.” “No, my dear doomed to repass the threshold. With girl, say rather that I am come to ensure most lamb-like patience the good wife the felicity of us both. My destiny is considered that beauty is an article not now altered, I am no longer the poor greatly improved by keeping; that
, wight that I formerly was. A wealthy therefore, for such fading ware, it is relation is lately dead; I am the inhe- better to take the first good customer ritor of all his possessions, and have that offers. She opined also that a now store of riches; I need not there marriageble daughter was to the full
, fore any longer apprehend your mother's as safe under a husband's guardianship refusal. That I love thee I feel full well : as her own. She had therefore already that thou lovest me, I venture to hope. prepared her maternal consent, fit to The first is certain, and, therefore, am I be produced as soon as the suitor should come to woo thee; should I find the solicit it: and very readily responded other equally so, I shall be transported her yea and amen to the proposals of
the wealthy wooer. During this speech the maiden's blue In short, the treaty of the mareyes assumed a livelier expression, and, riage was far more expeditiously arat the last sentence, her beautiful mouth ranged than that had been which redisplayed a faint smile; at the same lated to the ass. Upon being accepted time she stole a glance at her mother to as such, the joyous-bridegroom, sweeplearn what were her thouglits on the ing half the gold into his hat, threw subject. She seemed wrapt in thought, it into the lap of the bride, as her so great was her astonishment to disco- marriage portion ;. the other half ver that the bashful girl had been car- he as liberally scattered in a golden rying on a love affair, without her hav- shower into the bosom of the greedy ing the least suspicion of it. The crone, whose dry countenance instan:ly maiden never went abroad, save accom- acknowledged its influence. This bepanied by herself, and, at home, under ing done, he requested a more private her Argus eye, there was no opportu- audience with his betrothed, of which nity for an intrigue ; accordingly, the he now claimed the privilege as a legal good Dame was perfectly well satisfied tête-à-tête. The mother, in the interim, that not even the wiles of the most softened, if not by the present she had scheming gallant would be able to gain received, by the dreams of future access to Gertrude. The event how wealth, spared no cost in making due ever proved to the contrary ; and Dame provision for the entertainment of so Ilse now learnt that the hcart of a hand
welcome a guest some daughter, though so well guarded The preparations, now every where by her caution and experience, was no to be seen going on, announced a safer than a hoard of gold secured by speedy approach of the nuptials. The soven locks.
report of Gertrude's espousals spread The eve of the wedding day was now like wild-fire among all the gossips, as arrived, when lo! some one stopped the standing subject of the discussion before the house with a barrow, and for the day. Whenever the wealthy knocked at the door. The bride openbridegroom went abroad, there never ed the window to enquire what the failed to appear a fine show of heads stranger wanted, and, to her surprise, at every window; and many a curious discovered that it was even Father Pegroup too discussed with eloquence the ter himself. All now was tumultuous important affair of this courtship. Some joy : Gertrude rushed down and threw rejoiced that so worthy a wench as herself upon his neck; even Dame Ilse Gertrude was so fortunate; and although reached out her hand in token of forthere was not in all Rottenburg a gallant giveness of the theft he had committed, of more comely appearance or display- adding, at the same time, a significant ing more bravery of dress than Frede- hint as she said. “ Sirrah, mend your rick, still the jealous criticism of the manners !" At length the bridegroom maidens detected many defects in him; saluted him in his turn, while both moone censured him as being too tall, an- ther and daughter expatiated at the other as too short, a third as too stout, same time on his merits, as a suitor : while a fourth declared that he display- for Master Peter seemed to scrutinize ed a bad taste in dress. Some censured his person, with an eye of eager inquihim as a braggart, others as a coxcomb; ry. "No sooner, however, was he inwhile the greater part charitably prog- formed of the pretensions of the gallant, posticated that this fine fortune would and the manner in which he had acnot last long, but that he was a mere quired his right to such intimate hos bird of passage who built his nest there pitality, than he appeared to be well for a season, and would then fly away. satisfied with his future son-in-law, and They soon perceived, however, that, was soon as familiar with him as though considering the prophecied shortness he had long been acquainted with him. of his stay, he intended to furnish his After having first brought him some nest more abundantly than should seem refreshment, the Dame expressed her necessary, since the arrival of severa! curiosity to hear his adventures, and heavy packages of furniture from Nu- all that had happened to him in his remburg indicated somewhat more than peregrinations. a temporary sojourning.
“ Heaven keep me, after all, in my At length the marriage day was fixed, native land,” replied he, “I have traand half the town received invitations velled far and wide, tried my hands at to the wedding feast, which it was de- all kinds of trades, and at length am termined to celebrate in the best apart- became a dealer in hardware ; but have meat which the Golden Lamb afforded. laid out more than I have gained. All As Gertrude was trying on her bridal my wealth now consists in this cask of wreath, she could not help observing : nails of which I intend to make a pre- This wreath would delight me, in- sent to the young folks here to begin deed, were but my good father here to housekeeping with.” Mother Ilse, now conduct me to church. Would to hea-' | vented herself in so many reproaches, ven he were here with us again. While that the bridegroom, little pleased at we now, enjoy all the blessings of Pro- this specimen of female eloquence, was vidence, he is suffering of hunger !" obliged to interfere, assuring her that Even Dame Ilse could not now help 1 he was well satisfied with the offer. expressing some regret, although some Peace being restored, Gertrude reof it might probably arise from the quested that her father might conduct want she experienced of having some her the following morning to the church: one on whom to vent her spleen. accordingly Master Peter appeared dress
ed out like a burgomaster, in honour of er acted with effect. He wandered in the ceremony, which was celebrated various directions, yet no man could with no ordinary splendour. Soon af- inform him whereabout the Morgenter this happy event, the young couple brod's Vailey was situated. At length, set up a separate establishment, the he got, quite by chance, into the right bridegroom having purchased a noble | track ; discovered St. Andrew's Mount, mansion, where he resided in the style and the little stream named the Duder, of an opulent citizen. Peter, in the from which he quaffed a draught more meanwhile, set himself down at his inspiring to his imagination than one ease, which it was believed the liberali- from Hippocrene ever yet proved to a ty of his new-made son enabled him to son of Apollo ; he discovered also the do, no one suspecting that the cask of cave, and was so fortunate as to solve nails was a real cornucopiæ, whence the problem proposed by mine host of flowed his abundance of milk and honey. the Golden Lamb. In short, he enter
He had, totally unknown to any one, ed the cavern; the spring-root peraccomplished his journey to the Brocks- formed its office ; he found the treasure, berg, with the greatest success, although and filled his wallet with as much gold certainly not altogether with the celeri- as he could carry, which sum was quite ty with which the wizards ride thither sufficient for him to live the remainder on the Walpurgis night, in order to hold of his days in wealth, and to bestow a their sabbath there; his manner of tra- | large dowry on his dear Gertrude. Alvelling, however, was quite as safe, and though the burthen which he now bore certainly quite as pleasant. He visited was heavier than any sack of four, yet each house with a sign attached to it, the seventy-two steps which he ascendwith as much devotion as a pilgrim of ed bearing it on his shoulders, did not another description would have stopped weary him so much as those leading to at every oratory, cross, or chapel on his the mill. journey; or with as much punctuality When he again beheld the light of as if he had been employed in taking day on his return from the cave, he felt a census of all the houses of entertain- like a mariner who had just escaped ment, and in ascertaining that their from shipwreck, has been combating cellars were well stocked, and their in the midst of the watery element with larders well furnished. In sooth, dur- all the horrors of death, and now again ing this expedition he passed as much presses once again the firm earth as he time in the former places as he did exultingly scales the cliff. Notwithstandelsewhere, so that one might suppose, ing the assurances that he had received by his frequent visits to these subterra- of perfect security, it was not without neous repositories, that he was anxious- certain apprehensions of mischief from ly rehearsing his descent into the cave the spirit of the mine, that he performof treasures. But at length the blue ed his subterraneous journey; he feared distance of the landscape shewed the lest the stern guardian of the treasure mountains of the Harz: and as the near should again appear in his terrific form, approach to the scene of action, requir- and either throw him into a mortal ed all the powers both of body and mind dread, or even plunder him of the rich to be well fortified for the enterprize, fruit of his daring enterprize. His he heroically put in practice the duty flesh shuddered, and his air stood on of self-denial, and imposed upon him- end as he descended the stair hewed self a rigorous fast.
in the rock, and so little did he venture Until he began to ascend the Brocken to examine the vault wherein the treahis nose had served him as a faithful
sure was deposited, that he could not compass, but he now found himself in afterwards say whether the walls and pila latitude in which this magnet no long-lars glittered with precious stones or not,