Графични страници
PDF файл

tary concern, and that it cannot even “ May we not be satisfied whether by the most subtle sophisms be thrust the figure which has been twice seen by within the military pale, your excellen- you is a real corporeal form or not?" cy must excuse me if I say to you, as I “ Still must I reply, I cannot anhave said to my companions-I can- swer any questions.' not, will not answer any questions upon For a moment the count was ready the subject.”

to burst out again into paroxym of rage, The count stamped with his foot on but he commanded himself, and said, the ground, and bit his lips in a parox- “ One thing we may surely know,ysm of rage and vexation. For some must the secret go with you to the moments his irritation was so great that grave, or may we not hope that it will he could not speak. At length he one day be unfolded ?” broke" Young man, young man ! I scarcely know whether I ought take care that this pertinacity be not to answer even that ;-but I hope a be not carried too far. You will find time may come when my lips will be that military discipline includes a much sealed no longer. I pray you now, I wider field than your inexperience may earnestly entreat for your own repose perhaps apprehend; and that in mat- and mine, that nothing more may be ters which are of importance to the inquired of me, and that I may have public service it cannot be left at the leave of absence from the army for two option of every boy just entered into months. If this cannot be granted conthe army to speak or not as may suit sistently with the strict rules of the mihis caprices.'

litary service, I must resign my com“ Your excellency may do with me mission, and place myself at full lias you please : but you will find that no berty.” menaces which a commander can utter, ~ Must this indeed be so?- regret no punishment which he can inflict, to say that no leave of absence can, upcan draw from the lips of the boy on any consideration be granted to any Storkenheim one word which his heart officer at a time like this. Surely, howcommands him to conceal.”

ever, some means might be found" “ Captain Storkenheim, I stand cor- "Pardon me, sir, 'tis impossible rected; I own that I was too hasty : that I must be absent for two months; a in the vexation of my soul I suffered necessity which cannot be resisted comexpressions to escape me unbecoming mands it, nor will the matter admit of my situation and yours; I ought to have a moment's delay." had more self-command; but you must “ Then your commission must be yourself be sensible that there are mo- resigned. But reflect upon the appearments when 'tis difficult to preserve ance that a soldier's quitting his station any, and such an one as this may surely at such a moment will have to our queen be allowed. Here is my hand, say you

-to the world at large." excuse me.”

“ There are services even more im"1 were worse than a brute did I portant than those due from an officer not deeply feel this condescension, or to his sovereign. I am aware of all the if I could for one moment harbour a consequences; but my commission must shadow of resentment at what has been be resigned; before evening I shall have so nobly, so generously atoned. Oh the honour of delivering it into your sir! believe me, these words of kind- excellency's hands." ness have endangered my secret more. " Since it must be so- -but believe much more, than all the menaces that me I shall receive it with the deepest could have been uttered.--Yet once regret.” again I must repeat, I cannot, dare not " Which is highly gratifying to me." answer any questions."

And so saying, he quitted the room,

leaving count Lowenstein and Kiezer- ter--who else has such a claim to soothe hausen matter on which to speculate and comfort him, to carry peace to his very abundantly.

wandering spirit ?-Away, away!" and As he passed along a gallery which led she attempted to break from Lowenfrom the apartments of the count, he stein who now held her. was met by the unhappy Lady Frederi- Nay, nay, madam," said the count, ca, who with hair dishevelled, her eyes do not torment yourself with these wild and distracted, and in every respect fancies, or believe that your brother's appearing as one disordered in her spirit—" mind, ran eagerly to him, and clinging " It does it does walk the earth !" round him, cried, “Oh give me! give she said. “ Ha! there it is I see it me my brother !—They say you have now-it comes towards us !-he's mine him under your guard-keep him not I will have him—all the powers of from his sister,—give him, oh give him darkness shall not keep him from me. to my arms! You saw him last night, Ha! ha! ha! ha! now, now I clasp why may not his sister see him ? Never, him!” and she fell back upon the count's never will she leave you till you con

bosom in a swoon. sent to what she asks-thus will she It was not the ghost of Molziewitz ever cling around you till her brother that she saw, but a lady to whose care is restored to ber !"and she threw her she had been entrusted, and who, findarms round his neck, hiding her face ing she had escaped, was come in in his bosom.

search of her. With the assistance of Storkenheim's soul was wholly sub- Lowenstein she was carried back to her dued by a scene so affecting, nor knew apartment; while Storkenheim stood he what to do or which way to turn. fixed like a statue, his eyes only seemHe involuntarily clasped the afflicted ing to have power of motion, and with mourner, whose person was known to them he eagerly followed the hapless him, and the cause of whose


he Frederica till she could be seen no more, well understood, sympathising in it very “ How is this ?” said Kiezerhausen, sincerely; but of the power of speech who remained with him, “are you and he was wholly deprived. Count Lowen- the lady Frederica known to each other." stein and Kiezerhausen hearing sounds Storkenheim made no answer, but in the gallery which they thought like continued motionless as if deprived of those of one in deep anguish of soul, every other organ of sense except his came out hastily from the count's apart- eyes. ment. When they saw the situation of Speak!” said Kiezerhausen, shakthe lovely young creature, their minds ing him, “ rouse yourself, answer me: were impressed with the strongest sym- Are you and the lady Frederica known pathy. " Take her from me!” said to each other ?" Storkenheim with a look of agony, “or

“ Ha !-yes--no." And still for she will make me betray myself, my

some moments he looked onwards the honour.”

way that Frederica had gone. Starting “Dear lady,” said Lowenstein, loos- at length. “ 'Tis past," he said, “ ing her hands which were still clasped am myself again ; but that lovely crearound Storkenheim, “ be calm, do not ture's distraction had well nigh deprivthus give way to a fruitless affliction ed me of my senses." which cannot recall the dead, and is “Yet answer me—is the lady Fredetorture to yourself and all around you.”

rica known to you?" “ He is not dead, or if dead he still “ True we have met before ; but newalks the earth !" she cried ; “ and I ver could I have supposed that she will see him, they shall not keep him would recollect me, nor can I even now from me. Am I not his sister, his daugh-imagine how it was possible. More

[ocr errors]

than two years ago I had the honour of of the latter respecting him; as, how dancing with her a part of the evening long he had been in the resinen at a private ball where we met acci- what had been bis conduct in general dentally; but was it to be imagined towards his brother-officers--what his that from the slight circumstance I general disposition appeared to be; should so long after be remembered by with many others of a like description. her? - Nay, nor can I conceive what Kiezerhausen replied that he had been she had heard that could make her call about two years in the regiment that upon me for her brother.”

he understood him to be of a good fami“ You really never knew any more ly, but one of the younger among, a of her than you say?"

great number of children, consequently Never, so heaven be my witness !" having his fortune to seek ;--that he “ I am satisfied. As to calling upon always considered him as having a very you for her brother, doubtless some of powerful mind; and that he had a fund the persons abont had been so unguard of knowledge on almost any subject ed as to relate in her presence the ads that could be mentioned, which was ventures of last night; and perhaps the absolutely extraordinary at his years, hearing your name mentioned connected insomuch that he had often decided a with a circumstance so extraordinary, point in dispute between others, and recalled you suddenly to her recollec- was never known to be mistaken in his tion. The effeets of mental derange-decisions. At the same time he was by ment are unaccountable; things often no means eager in putting himself forrecur to the mind at such a moment wards, he must be drawn out; if not that in the hours of sanity would never referred to, he would perhaps suffer the be thought of.”

conversation to go on a whole evening True, very true ; there is no more without joining in it, though even then in it.”

his eyes sufficiently showed that his At this moinent they were rejoined mind was not idle. On one subject he by count Lowenstein, who confirmed was always particularly eloquent Kiezerhausen's conjectures that the se- against a belief in supernatural appearcond appearance of the phantom, with ances; and had many times combatted all the circumstance attending it, had with the most forcible arguments the been unguardedly mentioned by some great propensity he found in his counone in Frederica's presence, not omitting trymen to credulity on this subject that captain Storkenheim, who, as the With Birkenthal, who had a firm berelator said, had talked with the ghost, lief in them, he had held many an arwas now with count Lowenstein telling gument against the return of the depark, him the story. Such a history entire- ed spirit to earth, in which Birkenthal ly overset the poor young creature's rea- could by no means contend with him, son, tottering as it was before, and occa- but defended his cause, weak in itself, sioned the scene which had just passed. very weakly, Storkenheim's eloquence

The whole matter thus explained, and power of argument could alone have Storkenheim once more took his leave given any thing like a plausible colourof count Lowenstein and Kiekerhausen.

ing to so poor a cause, if he would have He was seen no more that day by any defended it, but it fell to nothing when of the officers; in the evening he re- opposed by him. signed his commission into the hands Lowenstein then inquired whether of count Lowestein, and early the next Kiezerhausen could in any way account morning set off from Presburg.

for the conduct he had observed ever On Storkenheim's quitting the count since the supposed phantom's first apand Kiezerhausen in the morning, the pearance. He said he could not ; that former Legan to make many inquiries he had sometimes thought his mind was, wavering, that he was almost persuaded refresh and revive him. I gave him that it was really the departed spirit of bread to eat with it, which he accepted, Molziewitz; but that having so often and devoured both the bread and meat and so strenuously combated the belief voraciously, looking wildly about him in spirits, consistency would not suffer all the time. I afterwards offered him him to recant; while feeling, if not ab- a piece of goat's flesh, which he also solute conviction that he had been in accepted and ate with equal voracity. the wrong, at least something very like He then drew several pieces of money it, be dared not any longer maintain his from his pocket, and asked whether we fomer opinions. Nay,

he said an idea could let him have a bed for the night, had struck him very forcibly, that it was saying that he was able to pay for every in fact this conviction which he could thing. We had, to be sure, but one not bear to own, yet could not resist, poor bed for ourselves ; but the gentle

that occasioned him to resign his com- man seemed in such a pitiable condition 1 mission and quit Presburg. What he that my wife and I resolved to let him

saw and heard in the chamber when he have it, and to sit by the fire ourselves. followed the phantom might impress The bed was made up for him accordhim with this conviotion, and this ingly, and lay down; but first he told might be the true cause of his resolute us that he had not been in a house for silence; his mind being naturally pow- a fortnight before, he had lived among erful might carry him through in the the mountains, where he had picked up appearance of calm which he chose to such roots and plants

as he could find, assume, wbile perhaps very different and had passed his nights in a little feelings occupied his mind. Even his cave, but he had suffered exceedingly leaving the company immediately inight form cold and hunger. as probably be the effect of involuntary “ I asked him what could have made apprebension as of real tranquillity. On such a gentleman think of using himthe whole, he said he was lost amidst self in such a way. He said he did a niaze of conjectures.

not know; but the spirit bad driven How far his conjectures were right or him from the town, and he would never Erroneous shall be left for time to de- go back again : so he would live entirovelope. At present we must return to ly with us if I would let him, and Wingerode, of whom nothing was known help to keep my goats, or do any thing from the moment of his sudden fight he could to gain a livelihood. He slept till some days after Storkenheim's quit- quite sound all night, and this morning ting Presburg, although the searchi for he said he found himself very comforta him had perer been discontinued. able, and hoped I would let him con

At length a goatherd from the neigh- tinue there : so I said he might stay as bouring mountains, who knew that long as ever he choose; but as I thought search was making after an officer sup- he seemed quite crazy, I guessed he posed to be out of his mind, came to must be the gentleman that several peothe inn; and desiring to speak to any ple had been enquiring about at my officer who was there, was introduced cabin, and thought I had better come to Kiezerbausen. He told him the night and tell your worships where he was. before a person answering exactly to the 1 dare say you will find him at the cadescription given him of the crazy gen- bin now, if you will please to go with tleman had come to his cabin. He me, for he seemed to be quite in the complained,” said the man, "of being mind to stay there.” cold and hungry, and asked me to let Kiezerhausen was overjoyed to obtain bim sit down by the fire and warm some tidings of their lost companion, himself, and to give him a draught of though the account given of the state of goat's milk, which, he thought, would his mind was by no means satisfactory. He accompanted the goatherd to his “ Man of the Mountain !-what do cabin, where indeed he found Winge- / you mean?" said Kiezerhausen. rode with his countenance pale and “ The great man there; we often see haggard and his eyes wild, all bearing him, he's sometimes bigger sometimes witness to the miserable life he had led less, but always as big as two or thtee for the last fortnight. He started on of us put together." seeing Kiezerhausen, and made an ef- “ I cannot understand you,” said fort to escape, but the latter stopped Kiezerhausen ; “ You often see a man him: “ No, Wingerode,” he said, “you three times as tall as any of us wanderare my prisoner ; you stir no more but ing about the mountains ?" with my permission. Come let us sit “ Yes, sure enough we do; but he down together, this good man and his never does harm to any body; so why wife will leave us awhile that we may should we be afraid of him? However, talk over with composure all that has this gentleman, I suppose, did not know passed.”

how good-natured he is, so was fright“ I cannot talk, I have seen such ened, and that's what has made him so srtange sights-here in the mountains crazy-like." have seen them : heaven has been pleas- Kiezerhausen now thought of what ed to punish me for my obstinate dis- Birkenthal had asserted to him, that he belief in the supernatural agency He is had seen a colossal figure such as was pleased sometimes for wise purposes now described when he was walking to employ."

early one morning among the moun“ What sights have you seen among

tains, and his mind was wholly bewilthe mountains ?"

dered. Yet unwilling to believe, but “ What ?-Nay, nay, ask me not-I not knowing how wholly to disbelieve, would not terrify you—but 'tis strange “ What is it you mean?” said he to indeed! You think me mad I know the goatherd ; “ are you all in a teague you do-undeceive yourself-would I to impose upon my credulity ?" were mad—'twere bliss to what I now “ Pray don't be angry, your honour, suffer, having seen all that I have seen, I only tell you what's quite true.rior knowing to what it can all tend.” There's scarcely one among us poor

For heaven's sake tell me what folks that live here among the mounyou have seen !—I do not think you tains but what sees the Man one time mad: I believe that you have seen strange or other. For my part, I've seen him sights ; quit then this place, where your three or four times.” imagination is disturbed by them, and “ And does he talk to you ?-do

you go with me.”

ever touch him?" “ What! to Presburg ? -No, no, he “ Oh no, he never comes near enough is there too."

for that ; besides, he is but a sort of “ Who is there? - what is it


a shadow-like.” mean?"

“ Shadow indeed !” said Winge" Who is there ?—the spirit of the rode, “ Such a shadow, I tell yoti, departed Molziewitz.”

I saw not many days ago, 'twas Molzie* And he is here too, you say ?

witz himself, exactly as he appeared to Aye, here in the mountains-Mol- us at the inn, only gigantic in stature." ziewitz himself, though gigantic in his Kiezerhausen looked earnestly at form,-but to what size cannot a spirit Wingerode ; he thought this was indeed dilate itself ?”

madness, yet he saw that “there was “ Lord,” says the goatherd, who had method in't. Something Wingerode been listening attentively all this time, must have seen-something must be “ as sure as can be the gentleman has seen occasionally by the simple goatseen the Man of the Mountain.”

herds--all could not be an invention ;

« ПредишнаНапред »