cited by all that was reported of the that she would by no means be sorry appearance, and the nature of it was to hear how much greater were the obafter a time ascertained. Thus at length ligations she owed to Storkenheim, it was evident that Wingerode might than those upon which her disturbed bave seen a gigantic figure, aërial in its fancy had delighted to dwell. nature; but since the whole truth of Before, therefore, the public was Molziewitz's story was not then known, made acquainted with so much of the though it probably was him that he truth as they were destined to partake saw, as he was in the valley of rocks in, the count took an opportunity of long before sunrise on the morning engaging the lady Frederica to come to when he went to meet Storkenheim and his apartments by herself, under the make his confession to him,-as this pretence of wanting some information was not then known, Wingerode had from her relative to her deceased brostill the credit of having clothed his own ther. By degrees he now artfully led figure with the form by which his ima- on the conversation from point to point; gination was haunted; and of this he till being at length convinced that her was at length himself persuaded. Thus mind was in a state capable of bearing all the supernatural appearances being the truth, he ventured fully to disclose naturally accounted for, even Birken- it to her. When he concluded, she thal was fually compelled to yield up poured out her heart in the warmest efthe cause he had so long ably defended, fusions of gratitude for the communicaand to be contented thenceforward with tion ; adding some pretty forcible exenjoying the society of corporeal beings pressions, when she adverted to Storklike himself, without alarming his ima- enheim's conduct, which showed the gination with the idea of incorporeal count plainly that the actions were not ones. Happily for young Molziewitz, the less grateful to her in considering all these things had been explained, by whom they were performed. “Count and the explanations canvassed over Lowenstein,” she said, “you have retill the subject was exhausted, before lieved my mind from a heavy burthen. he arrived at Presburg ; so that he might While my reason was unfortunateappear with safety in company, nor ly under a shade, I was satisfied with incur any danger of his mind being the letter I received from captain Storkharassed by listening to commentaries enheim. I had formerly had the pleaupon a subject so painful to him.

sure of knowing him ; I thought him The conclusion of the story is soon pleasing and amiable, and my brother told, cont Lowenstein, in the first Adolphus always spoke of him in such conversation he had with the lady Fre- warm terms of friendship and regard derica upon the subject of her brother's that I had conceived a very high opinion ghost, received the fullest conviction of him. I delighted therefore to dwell that the gratitude which she had de- on the service my troubled fancy suplighted to cherish for the service she posed him to bave rendered the whole supposed Storkenheiin to have rendered family in giving rest to my deceased the deceased count, had given birth at brother's spirit. Since the return of length to feelinys in her heart of a more my reason, I will confess to you that warm and tender nature : it was there- my mind has been much troubled about fore evident that no obstacle to the this letter. In my hours of delirium, scheme he was so anxious to substan- | I never entertained a doubt but that tiate would be found in a want of incli- the reputed apparition was not what it nation on her part. Another convic- appeared, or hesitated for a moment to tion he received was, that in such a believe in the disembodied soul somedisposition of mind to tell her the times wandering again upon the earth ; whole truth might safely he hazarded, my hours of sanity reproved this belief, assuring me that it was delirium alone rage him. Storkenheim was soon acwhich could cherish it. What then quainted with the honours intended him could I think of the letter ? I could by the count, at which he seemed deepscarcely acquit captain Storkenheimn of ly affected, showing his sense of the having sported with my unhappy state, obligations he was under, by the warmand I was disposed instead of my for- est expressions of gratitude, yet with a iner good opinion, to feel the warmest manly dignity devoid of servility. In indignation against him....Never, no a few days he was publicly acknownever, can these obligations be suffi- ledged by the count as his adopted son, ciently acknowledged."

and received the congratulations of the Count Lowenstein had heard enough, court on the occasion. and his mind was now fully settled. But his richest recompense was still He had no child himself, no heir to to come; nor did the count long delay whom his fortunes and honours would to mention the subject to him, and to descend ; and he thought he could never assure him of the queen's favourable bestow bis favours more meritoriously disposition towards the marriage, while than in adopting Storkenheim as his he thought he might equally answer for son, and making him his heir; so would those of the lady. Storkenheim delayed he be fully authorized in aspiring to the not to mention the subject to his friend hand of his beloved Frederica. This count Adolphus, whose delight seemed idea he immediately imparted to the to know no bounds in the idea of callqueen, requesting her gracious sanction ing him brother. The suit being then to it. She made no hesitation to grant opened in form to the lady, she did not it, adding many flattering expressions think it necessary to go through any both to himself for the benevolence and ceremony of hesitation or consideration, generosity he was showing, and to the but immediately consented to bestow son of his adoption, who could not fain her hand where she had already beto reflect the highest lustre upon the stowed her heart, and the marriage was station to which he was raised. The concluded in a very short time. count then mentioned his further views Count Adolphus remained at Preswith regard to his new son; to which burg till he had solemnly given his the queen replied, that though she sister to his friend, and then departed should deeply feel the loss of such a to settle his affairs. From this time friend as Frederica, whom she could no his whole conduct was changed ; an longer expect to retain about her

per- impression liad been made on his mind son, yet she must truly rejoice to see which no time could wear away; and her disposed of so much to her own sa- as often as he and his brother-in-law tisfaction, and to see merit such as met, he could never refrain from pourStorkenheim's crowned with that hap- ing out his heart in the warmest etupiness to which his heart had never sions of gratitude to him while his aldared even to raise a thought.

tered conduct bore the fullest testimony Things were in this train when count to the sincerity with which he felt all Adolphus and Storkenheim arrived at that he expressed. Thus the compact Presburg. The former for his sister's on his side being punctually fulfiled, sake, and the latter for his own, were the depositories of the secret were no most graciously received by the queen, less punctual in performing their enwhile the meeting between the brother gagement; nor till long, long after, and sister was interesting and affecting. when a life of many years, which might The young count appeared much abash- truly be called exemplary, had atoned ed, but by degrees began to recover for all his youthful follies-was the true himself, and Lowenstein benignantly history known of the THE SPECTRE OF did all in his power to cheer and encou- PRESBURG.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

In a certain town in Alsace, during as his help-mate, is not easily to be dethe time of the seven years war, lived termined. The only thing certain is, two misers of different sexes ; the one that at the time when the adventures was known by the name of Madame now to be related took place, and she Barbara Alicia Kreutzer, the other by was considerably past the prime of life, that of Mr. Philip Ambrose Netterville. her nose had acquired a remarkable re

The former had been the wife of a semblance to the beak of a falcon, and senator, but at this period had been her chin turned upwards towards it with many years a widow. Her lord sur- so graceful a curve, that they came vived his marriage but a very short nearly in contact with each other. Her time ;-as to the cause of his death the figure had none of the roundness and town was much divided in opinion ; 1 plumpness of the Medicean Venus; it some bolding that he was wrangled out might, indeed, be said, that if she had of the world by his fair partner, others, starved lr loved lord, she had certainly that he was starved by her ; all agreed not fal.ened herself; her form was the that it was to her he was indebted for very abstract idea of famine, and by being so early in life released from a that appellation she was generally disworld of cares. In short she was- tinguished among ber fellow-citizens. "One of those very few women wliose life Her dress was in perfect unison with the Is less spent in eating tban wrangling aud strife,',

appearance of her person : the gown Whether it was for her beauty or for she commonly wore had been in the the amiable qualities of her mind that family during three generations at least the worthy senator made choice of her as the fashion of it and many a breach

of his imps.

in its texture indisputably attested. An existence any longer. The only coranti-graceful figure of this description poreal being that now inhabited the being well known as one of those in mansion, besides herself and the spiders which our arch enemy often carries on—who held their reign unmolested in his intrigues and cabals against man- every part of it-was a large black dog. kind, she did not pass among the towns- This member of her establishment servpeople without suspicion, if not of being ed at all times as a faithful guard against that very personage himself, at least of thieves, and in cold weather added to being one of those attendants about his his other employments that of performperson commonly known by the name ing for her the office of a warming-pan.

Such a guard and protector was inThe house in which she lived favour- deed a very necessary article in her ed this idea not a little. It was an old household : she had the reputation of ruinous castle on the town-walls, and possessing immense riches, and without appeared much rather the abode of evil some defender might have been exspirits than of any thing human. One tremely liable to the inroads of nocturevil spirit was undoubtedly her constant nal depredators. If a heart like hers inmate-the dæmon of avarice; and as could be capable of attachment, she he was her constant, he became at length might be said to be strongly attached to nearly her sole, companion. She had this animal : indeed, if similarity of once let the greater part of her house disposition can create attachment, there in lodgings ; till in the end, as she was every reason for her regarding him would never be at the expense of repairs with warm friendship, since he was as the wind and the rain had obtained determined a wrangler as herself; and such free ingress into every apartment having twice inflicted severe discipline that it was impossible for any body but on persons who came to the house at a herself to inhabit them. She then en- later hour than he thought proper to tered upon a nice calculation, whether admit visitors, all who might otherwise the loss incurred by repairs would or have been similarly disposed were now would not be counterbalanced by the kept at an awful distance. gain derived from letting the apart- The reputation for riches which she ments ; which question being deter- had not unjustly acquired, proved to mined in favour of suffering things to her in some sort an actual source of remain as they were, she descended wealth. The legacy-hunters, who alfrom a garret where she had long dwelt, ways constitute a large description of and which rather more resembled an

persons in every town, were all assiduous owl's nest than a human habitation, in- in paying their court to her, sending to the first floor, where only was one her little objects of regale for the table, room tolerably defended against the in- and other presents, so that she had roads of the elements.

never occasion to diminish her own Among many wise maxims and saws stores in supplying the wants either of which she cherished as her great rules herself or her dog. Not that the tributes of life, a favourite one was that “ Who- she received in this way were always ever will be well served must serve them- consumed by her under the form in selves.” In pursuance of this maxim which they originally came to her hands; she kept no servant. Indeed another

capon for instance was a dainty reason might be adduced for her not which neither Black Tom, for that was having one,—that it was impossible to the appellation given to her companion find a servant who would live with her; in compliment to her deceased husband, even the rats and mice forsook the who bore the name of Thomas--neither house, after she ceased to have lodgers, herself nor Black Tom having any relish for want of the means of sustaining their for dainties, whatever she received in

a fine

this way was carried to market and self in all his bonds, usurious contracts, exchanged for food of a cheaper descrip-dunning letters, &c. had from his eartion; and she took great care not to be liest youth conceived a high idea of the over-reached in her bargains, she com- delights of living in noble penury. He monly, besides supplying her table, had not more of the sleek plumpness of contributed something towards the nou- the Apollo of Belvidere in his figure, rishment of her strong box.

than his prototype had of the Medicean “ She is a managing good kind of a Venus; it would have been indeed a woman,” would Mr. Philip Ambrose difficult matter for the nicest anatomist Netterville, with others of like thrifty to determine which had the greater or dispositions, say of her, pulling off less portion of flesh upon their bones. their hats and saluting her respectfully The skin of his forehead was drawn whenever they met her in the streets. very tight up over the ossified part of it The rest of the inhabitants of the town by a scanty-haired wig which sat very were divided in their opinions conceru- close to his head, and his small round ing her. Black Tom was by many con- eyes were by this means rendered exsidered as neither more nor less than the ceedingly prominent, while they, standarch-fiend himself under the form of a ing on each side of a very crooked pose spaniel ! and a very general article of and having in them much of the acutebelief was that the old lady was pos- ness of a hawk, looking after his sessed of a magic dollar, presented by prey, his countenance altogether bore a Satan, as a love-token when he first be- strong resemblance to that animal. Nor came her suitor, through the influence was this resemblance lessened by his of which she could increase her wealth mouth being constantly open, as if ready to any sum she chose. To these opinions to snap at any thing which came in his at least four-fifths of the inhabitants of

way. the town subscribed : the only diffe- While yet quite a child, some hard rence among them was, that some be- dollars had been given him by his godlieved both articles firmly, and talked father as playthings; and of these he of them freely ; while others, as firmly soon became passionately fond—all believing, yet did not venture to tală other objects were as nothing to his upon the subject, always recollecting childish fancy in comparison with them. the old saying, “ Talk of the devil and At a somewhat more advanced period of he's soon at your elbow.” Some again life, no other play could delight him but rejected that part of the creed which being merchants and bankers, and gettaught that Black Tom was the arch- ting a great deal of money. By the fiend in disguise, but believed firmly time he was seven years old, he could in the magic dollar; others again be repeat his tables of interest by heart lieved in the dog, but rejected the dol- very readily, without making the most lar. A few only, scarcely a fifth part, trilling mistake, though in all other resperhaps not above a tenth or twentieth pects he was backward in his reading

-persons who could actually venture and writing, and when only in his tenth through a church-yard without fear at year he had the address to frame a lotthe solemn hour of midnight - did not tery, by which nearly all the pocketbelieve either in the dollar or the dog ; money of his schoolfellows was transthey believed in nothing but the covet- ferred from their purses into his strong ous, qnerulous, and in every way un- box-for a strong box he kept even at tractable disposition or the avaricious this early age. Another mode adopted old woman.

by him to get possession of the little Such was Madame Barbara Alicia stores of his companions was to borrow Kreutzer. Her counterpart, Mr. Philip money of them under an engagement Ambrose Netterville, as he called bim- to pay it at a fixed time with so much

« VorigeDoorgaan »