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The castle of Hernswolf, at the close, possessions to the family of the present of the year 1655, was the resort of owner. It was a castellated, gothic fashion and gaiety. The baron of that mansion, built according to the fashion name was the most powerful nobleman of the times, in the grandest style of in Germany, and equally celebrated for architecture, and consisted principally the patriotic achievements of his sons, of dark winding corridors, and vaulted and the beauty of his only daughter. | tapestry rooms, magnificent indeed in The estate of Hernswolf, which was their size, but ill-suited to private comsituated in the centre of the Black Fo- fort, from the very circumstance of their rest, had been given to one of his an- dreary magnitude. A dark grove of cestors by the gratitude of the nation, pine and mountain ash encompassed and descended with other hereditary the castle on every side, and threw an aspect of gloom around the scene, as of the most heavenly music, while which was seldom enlivened by the all persisted in affirming that they had cheering sunshine of heaven.
heard awful noises, proceeding as it
seemed, from the apartment which the The castle bells rung out a merry peal stranger at that time occupied. He soon, at the approach of a winter twilight, however, made his appearance at the and the warder was stationed with his breakfast circle, and when the circumretinue on the battlements, to announce stances of the preceding night were althe arrival of the company who were luded to, a dark smile of unutterable invited tò share the amusements that meaning played round his saturnine reigned within the walls. The Lady features, and then relapsed into an exClotilda, the baron's only daughter, had pression of the deepest melancholy. He but just attained her seventeenth year, addressed his convetsation principally and a brilliant assembly was invited to to Clotilda, and when he talked of the celebrate the birth-day. The large vault- different climes he had visited, of the ed apartinents were thrown open for the sumny regions of Italy, where the very reception of the numerous gueşts, and air breathes the fragrance of flowers, the gaities of the evening had scarcely and the summer breeze
, sighs over a commenced, when the clock from the land of sweets ; when he spoke to her dungeon tower was heard to strike with of those delicious countries where the unusual solemnity, and on the instant smile of the day sms into the softer a tall stranger, arrayed in a deep suit of beauty of the night, and the loveliness black, made his appearance in the ball- of heaven is never for an instant obroom. He bowed courteously on every scured, he drew tears of regret from the side, but was received by all with the bosom of his fair auditor, and for the strictest reserve.
No one knew who he first time she regretted that she was yet was or whence he came, but it was evi- | at home. dent from his appearance, that he was Days rolled on, and every moment a nobleman of the first rank, and though increased the fervour of the inexpreshis introduction was accepted with dis- sible sentiments with which the stranger trust, he was treated by all with respect. had inspired her. He never discoursed He addressed himself particularly to the of love, but he looked it in his language, daught r of the baron, and was so in- his manner, in the insinuating tones of telligent in his remarks, so lively in his voice, and in the slumbering softhis sallies, and so fascinating in his ad- ness of his smile, and when he found dress, that he quickly interested the that he had succeeded in inspiring her feelings of his young and sensitive au- with favourable sentiments towards hiin, ditor. In fine, after some hesitation on a sneer of the most diabolical meaning the part of the host, who, with the rest spoke for an instant, and died again on of the company, was unable to approach | his dark featured countenance. When the stranger with indifference, he was he met her in the company of her parequested to remain a few days at the rents, he was at once respectful and castle, an invitation which was cheer- submissive, and it was only when alone fully accepted.
with her, in her rambles through the The dead of the night drew on, and dark recesses of the forest, that he aswhen all had retired to rest, the dull sumed the guise of the more impassionheavy bell was heard swinging to and ed admirer. fro in the grey tower, though there was As he was sitting one evening with scarcely a breath to move the forest the baron in the wainscotted apartment trees. Many of the guests, when they of the library, the conversation happened met the next morning at the breakfast to turn upon supernatural agency. The table averred that there had been sounds stranger remained reserved and myste
rious during the discussion, but when in the hours of privacy. So beauteous, the baron in a jocular manner denied yet so resigned was ihe fair mourner, the existence of spirits, and satirically that she seemed already an angel freed invoked their appearance, his eyes glow- from the trammels of the world, and ed with unearthly lustre, and his form prepared to take her flight to heaven. seemed to dilate to more than its natural As she was one summer evening dimensions. When the conversation rambling to the sequestered spot that had ceased, a fearful pause of a few had been selected as her favourite resiseconds occurred, and a chorus of celes- dence, a slow step advanced towards tial harmony was heard pealing through her. She turned round, and to her inthe dark forest glade. All were en- finite surprise discovered the stranger. tranced with delight, but the stranger | He stepped gaily to her side, and comwas disturbed and gloomy; he looked mencedananimated conversation. “You at his noble host with compassion, and left me,” exclaimed the delighted girl ; something like a tear swam in his dark “and I thought all happiness was fled eye. After the lapse of a few seconds, from me for ever; but you return, and the music died gently in the distance, shall we not again be happy?" " Hapand all was hushed as before. The py,” replied the stranger, with a scornbaron soon after quitted the apartment, ful burst of derision, “ Can I ever be and was followed almost immediately happy again-can the--but excuse the by the stranger. He had not long been agitation, my love, and impute it to the absent, when an awful noise, as if a pleasure I experience at our meeting. person in the agonies of death, was Oh! I have many things to tell you; heard, and the baron was discovered aye! and many kind words to receive ; stretched dead along the corridors. His is it not so, sweet one? Come, tell me countenance was convulsed with pain, truly have you been happy in my aband the gripe of a human hand was sence ? No! I see in that sunken eye, visible on his blackened throat. The in that pallid cheek, that the poor wanalarm was instantly given, the castle derer has at least gained some slight searched in every direction, but the interest in the heart of his beloved. I stranger was seen no more. The body have roamed to other climes, I have of the baron, in the meantime, was seen other nations; I have met with quietly committed to the earth, and the other females, beautiful and accomremembrance of the dreadful transac- plished, but I have met with but one tion, recalled but as a thing that once angel, and she is here before me. Ac
cept this simple offering of my affection,
dearest,” continued the stranger, pluckAfter the departure of the stranger, | ing a heath-rose from its stem; “ It is who had indeed fascinated her very sen- beautiful as the wild flowers that deck ses, the spirits of the gentle Clotilda thy hair, and sweet as is the love I bear evidently declined. She loved to walk thee." "It is sweet, indeed," replied early and late in the walks that he had Clotilda,“ but its sweetness must wither once frequented, to recall his last words; ere night closes around. It is beautiful, to dwell on his honied smile; and wan- but its beauty is short-lived, as the love der to the spot where she had once dis- evinced by man. Let not this, then, coursed with him of love. She avoided be the type of thy attachment; bring all society, and never seemed to be me the delicate evergreen, the sweet happy but when left alone in the soli- flower that blossoms throughout the tode of her chamber. It was then that year ; and I will say, as I wreathe it she gave vent to her affliction in tears ; in my hair, · The violets have bloomed and the love that the pride of maiden and died—the roses have fourished modesty concealed in public, burst forth and decayed ; but the evergreen is still
young, and so is the love of my wan- and nature smiles in unison with their derer. Friend of my heart!—you will feelings ; but to me it will smile no not-cannot desert me. I live but in longer-ere the morrow dawns I shall you; you are my hopes, my thoughts, be far, very far from the house of my my existence itself: and if I lose you, beloved ; from the scenes where my I lose my all-I was but a solitary wild beart is enshrined, as in a sepulchre. flower in the wilderness of nature, until But must I leave thee, sweetest flower you transplanted me to a more genial of the wilderness, to be the sport of the soil ; and can you now break the fond whirlwind, the prey of the mountain heart you first taught to glow with pas- blast ?”—“ No, we will not part,” re. sion - Speak not thus,” returned plied the impassioned girl : where thou the stranger, " it rends my very soul to goest, will I go; thy home shall be my leave me - forget me- home; and thy God shall be my
God," avoid me for ever-or your eternal ruin -- Swear it, swear it," resumed the must ensue. I am a thing abandoned strauger, wildly grasping her by the of God and man--and did you but see hand; swear to the fearful oath I shall the seared heart that scarcely beats dictate.” He then desired her to kneel within this moving mass of deformity, and holding his right handina menacing you would fee me, as you would an attitude towards heaven, and throwing adder in your path. Here is my heart, back his dark raven locks, exclaimed love, feel how cold it is; there is no with the ghastly smile of an incarnate pulse that betrays its emotion ; for all fiend, “ May the curses of an offended is chilled and dead as the friends I once God,” he continued, in a strain of knew.”--- You are unhappy, love, bitter imprecation, “ haunt thee, cling and your poor Clotilda shall stay to to thee for ever-in the tempest and succour you. Think not I can abandon in the calm, in the day and in the night, you in your misfortunes. No! I will in sickness and in sorrow, in life and wander with thee through the wide in death, shouldst thou swerve from world, and be thy servant, thy slave, if the promise thou hast here made to be thou wilt have it so. I will shield thee mine. May the dark spirits of the from the night winds, that they blow damned howl in thine ears the accurs. not too roughly on thy unprotected head. ed chorus of fiends-may despair rack I will defend thee from the tempest that thy bosom with the quenchless flames howls around ; and though the cold of hell ! May thy soul be as the lazarworld may devote thy name to scorn- house of corruption, where the ghost though friends may fall off, and asso- of departed pleasure sits enshrined, as ciates wither in the grave, there shall in a grave : where the hundred-headed be one fond heart who shall love thee worm never dies—where the fire is better in thy misfortune, and cherish never extinguished. May a spirit of thee, bless thee still.” She ceased, and evil lord it over thy brow, and proclaim her blue eye swam in tears, as she turn- as thou passest by, · This is THE ed it glistening with affection towards ABANDONED OF GOD AND MAN ;' may the stranger. He averted his head from fearful spectres haunt thee in the night her gaze, and a scornful sneer of the
season; may thy dearest friends drop darkest, the deadliest malice passed over day by day into the grave, and curse his fine countenance. In an instant, the thee with their dying breath: may all expression subsided; his fixed glassy that is most horrible in human nature, eye resumed its unearthly chillness, and more solemn than language can frame, he turned once again to his companion. or lips can utter, may this, and more
It is the hour of sunset,” he exclaim- than this, be thy eternal portion, ed; “ the soft, the beauteous hour, shouldst thou violate the oath that thou when the hearts of lovers are happy, hast taken.” He ceased-hardly know
ing what he did, the terrified girl ac- the hour of twelve, and the sound ceded to the awful adjuration, and pro- echoed dismally in the solemn stillness mised eternal fidelity to him who was of the night. Suddenly the oaken door henceforth to be her lord. “Spirits of at the farther end of the room was the damned, I thank thee for thine as- gently lifted on its latch, and a bloodless sistance,” shouted the stranger; “ I have figure, apparelleled in the habiliments wooed my fair bride bravely. She is of the grave, advanced slowly up the mine—mine for ever.—Aye, body and apartment. No sound heralded its apsoul both mine; mine in life, and mine proach, as it moved with noiseless steps in death. What in tears my sweet one, to the table where the lady was station'ere yet the honey-moon is past? Why ! ed. She did not at first perceive it, till indeed thou hast cause for weeping : she felt a death-cold hand fast grasped but when next we meet, we shall meet in her own, and heard a solemn voice to sign the nuptial bond.” He then whisper in her ear, “ Clotilda.” She imprinted a cold salute on the cheek of looked up, a dark figure was standing his young bride, and softening down beside her; she endeavoured to scream, the unutterable horrors of his counte- but her voice was unequal to the exernance, requested her to meet him at tion ; her eye was fixed, as if by magic, eight o'clock on the ensuing evening, on the form, which slowly removed the in the chapel adjoining to the castle of garb that concealed its countenance, Hernswolf. She turned round to him and disclosed the livid eyes, and skelewith a burning sigh, as if to implore ton shape of her father. It seemed to protection from himself, but the stran- gaze on her with pity and regret, and ger was gone.
mournfully exclaimed—“ Clotilda, the On entering the castle, she was ob- dresses and the servants are ready, the served to be impressed with a sense of church bell has tolled, and the priest is the deepest melancholy. Her relations at the altar, but where is the allianced vainly endeavoured to ascertain the bride. There is room for her in the cause of her uneasiness; but the tre- grave, and to-morrow shall she be with mendous oath she had sworn completely me."-" To morrow?" faltered out paralyzed her faculties, and she was the distracted girl ; “ the spirits of hell fearful of betraying herself by even the shall have registered it, and to-morrow slightest intonation of her voice, or the must the bond be cancelled." The least variable expression of her coun- figure ceased slowly retired, and was tenance. When the evening was con- soon lost in the obscurity of distance. cluded, the family retired to rest ; but The morning - evening - arrived : Clotilda, who was unable to take repose, and already as the hall clock struck from the restlessness of her disposition, eight, Clotilda was on the road to the requested to remain alone in the library chapel. It was a dark, gloomy night, that adjoined her apartment.
thick masses of dun clouds sailed across All was now deep midnight ; every the firmament, and the roar of the domestic had long since-retired to rest,
winter wind echoed awfully through the and the only sound that could be dis- forest trees. She reached the appointtinguished was the sullen howl of the ed place; a figure was in waiting for ban-dog as he bayed the waning moon. her-it advanced and discovered the Clotilda remained in the library in an features of the stranger. “ Why! this attitude of deep meditation. The lamp is well, my bride,” he exclaimed, with that burnt on the table, where she sat, a'sneer ; ” and well will I repay thy was dying away, and the lower end of fondness. Follow me.” They prothe apartment was already more than ceeded together in silence through the half obscured. The clock from the winding avenues of the chapel, until northern angle of the castle tolled out they reached the adjoining cemetry