Billeder på siden

and laying them before the Pagan one of the spirits of the past, but as if image, which, not smiling, seems to they were all combined in him.” delight in their smiles. The workman « Look once more, O Caliph!” looks dissatisfied, though rejoicing as “ Juggler ! there is but a grain of a bridegroom who has won his bride, sand." but mourns that he cannot offer to her “ Thine eyes are weary of looking, more precious gifts than all his sub- not the visions of displaying them: stance. Elsewhere, I see living figures selves. Thou canst see no more this glancing among the trees. To the day. But if all this be visible in a quay which borders the shore, some grain of sand by the open and fresh barks with deep blue sails are hasten- eye of man, what sighis beyond this ing; and one even now touches the thinkest thou that there must be in porphyry wall, and pours out gold and a man himself? Of these sights, a por-spices—by Allah! I smell the sweet- tion are in every book recorded." ness of Yamen-on the smooth stones. “ Slave!” said the Caliph_"tell Nay, as the sun goes down, I hear the me not of books, but of hidden treafaint song of the mariners, and the sures, or I will have thee impaled ere music of stringed instruments tinkling an hour is past.". in reply from the distant mountain “ I have told thee of far more than side."

thou thoughtest. The treasures of the “ Is there nought more than this?" Pharaohs would show thee little of

Yea, high upon the mountain I what thou hast seen in that grain of see a mosque of another fashion than sand. Farewell, O Caliph! I have onirs, surrounded by a place of tombs, been ordained but to live till I had with many graves and cypresses. High seen and known thee, and then to deabove them all rises a shape, silvery part. In that world where the hearts as the flashing of a seymitar, or of of men shall be more open to each water, gigantic, kingly, with a mant- other than their books are here, it led head, and long folds covering his will be read in mine that I hold thee whole form. But he stretches his ignorant and headstrong, but still a great moving hands over the palaces man, and, therefore, capable of good. and bay, and flakes of pale fire fall Farewell! I am but a grain of sand; from them, and kindle every window hide my corpse under those of the deand capital of a pillar, and flash from sert before me." every face, and shoot again upwards, The hermit sank on the rocky floor and beam as stars in the dark sky. of the cave, at Omar's feet, quite dead. The mantled genie looks not like any


" Why callest thou me murderer, and not rather the wrath of God burning after the steps of the oppressor, and cleansing the earth when it is wet with blood ?"

That series of terrific events by exchange for days uncursed by panic, which our quiet city and university in and nights unpolluted by blood. No. the north-eastern quarter of Germany thing, I can take upon myself to assert, were convulsed during the year 1816, was left undone of all that human forehas in itself, and considered merely as sight could suggest, or human ingenua blind movement of human tiger- ity could accomplish. But observe the passion 'ranging unchained amongst melancholy result; the more certain men, something too memorable to be did these arrangements strike people forgotten or left without its own sepa- as remedies for the evil, so much the rate record; but the moral lesson, im- more effectually did they aid the terror, pressed by these events, is yet more but above all, the awe—the sense of memorable, and deserves the deep at mystery, when ten cases of total extention of coming generations in their termination, applied to separate housestruggle after human improvement, holds, had occurred, in every one of not merely in its own limited field of which these precautionary aids had interest directly awakened, but in all failed to yield the slightest assistance. analogous fields of interest; as in fact The horror, the perfect frenzy of fear, already, and more than once, in con- which seized upon the town after that nexion with these very events, this experience, bañiles all attempt at delesson has obtained the effectual at- scription. Had these various contri. tention of Christian kings and Princes vances failed merely in some human assembled in Congress. No tragedy, and intelligible way, as by bringing indeed, amongst all the sad ones by the aid too tardily--still in such cases, which the charities of the human heart though the danger would no less have or of the fire-side, have ever been been evidently deepened, nobody would outraged, can better merit a separate have felt any further mystery than chapter in the private history of Ger- what, from the very first, rested upon man manners or social life than this the persons and the motives of the unparalleled case. And, on the other murderers. But, as it was, when hand, no one can put in a better claim in ten separate cases of exterminatto be the bistorian than myself. ing carnage, the astounded police,

I was at the time, and still am, a after an examination the most searchProfessor in that city and university ing, pursued from day to day, and which had the melancholy distinction almost exhausting the patience by the of being its theatre. I knew familiarly minuteness of the investigation, had all the parties who were concerned in finally pronounced that no attempt it-either as sufferers or as agents. I apparently had been made to benefit was present from first to last, and by any of the signals preconcerted, watched the whole course of the mys- that no footstep apparently had moved terious storm which fell upon our de- in that direction—then, and after that voted city in a strength like that of a result, a blind misery of fear fell upon West Indian hurricane, and which did the population, so much the worse seriously threaten at one time to de- than any anguish of a beleaguered city populate our university, through the that is awaiting the storming fury of a dark suspicions which settled upon its victorious enemy, by how much the members, and the natural reaction of shadowy—the uncertain--the infinite generous indignation in repelling them is at all times more potent in mastering —whilst the city in its more station the mind than a danger that is known ary and native classes would very —measurable-palpable—and human. soon have manifested their awful sense The very police, instead of offering of things, of the hideous insecurity for protection or encouragement, were life, and of the unfathomable dangers seized with terror for themselves. which had undermined their hearths And the general feeling, as it was below their very feet, by sacrificing, described to me by a grave citizen whenever circumstances allowed them, whom I met in a morning walk (for their houses and beautiful gardens in the overmastering sense of a public calamity broke down every barrier your attentions, and in terms stronger of reserve, and all men talked freely than I know how to devise, a young to all men in the streets, as they would man on whose behalf the Czar himself have done during the rockings of an is privately known to have expressed earthquake), was, even amongst the the very strongest interest. He was boldest, like that which sometimes at the battle of Waterloo as an aide-detakes possession of the mind in dreams camp to a Dutch general officer, and is -when one feels oneself sleeping decorated with distinctions won upon alone, utterly divided from all call or that awful day. However, though servhearing of friends, doors open that ing in that instance under English orshould be shut, or unlocked that should ders, and although an Englishman of be triply secured, the very walls gone, rank, he does not belong to the English barriers swallowed up by unknown military service. He has served, young abysses, nothing around one but frail as he is, under various banners, and curtains, and a world of illimitable under ours, in particular, in the canight, whisperings at a distance, cor- valry of our Imperial Guard. He is respondence going on between dark- English by birth, nephew to the Earl ness and darkness, like one deep call. of E., and heir presumptive to his iming to another, and the dreamer's own mense estates. There is a wild story heart the centre from which the whole current-that his mother was a gipsy net-work of this unimaginable chaos of transcendent beauty, which may radiates, by means of which the blank account for his somewhat Moorish privations of silence and darkness be- complexion, though, after all, that come powers the most positive and is not of a deeper tinge than I have awful.

seen amongst many an Englishman. Agencies of fear, as of any other He is himself one of the noblest lookpassion, and above all, of passion felting of God's creatures. Both father in communion with thousands, and in and mother, however, are now dead ; which the heart beats in conscious since then, he has become the favoursympathy with an entire city, through ite of his uncle, who detained him all its regions of high and low, young in England after the Emperor had and old, strong and weak», such agen- departed—and, as this uncle is now cies avail to raise and transfigure the in the last stage of infirmity, Mr natures of men ; mean minds become Wyndham's succession to the vast faelevated; dull men become eloquent; mily estates is inevitable, and probaand when matters came to this crisis, bly near at hand. Mean-time, he is the public feeling, as made known by anxious for some assistance in his stuvoice, gesture, manner, or words, was dies. Intellectually he stands in the such that no stranger could represent it very first rank of men, as I am sure to his fancy. In that respect, therefore, you will not be slow to discover ; but I had an advantage, being upon the spot his long military service, and the unthrough the whole course of the affair, paralleled tumult of our European for giving a faithful narrative; as I history since 1805, have interfered (as had still more eminently, from the sort you may suppose) with the cultivation of central station which I occupied, of his mind; for he entered the cawith respect to all the movements valry service of a German power when of the case. I may add, that I had

a mere boy, and shifted about from another advantage, not possessed, or service to service as the hurricane of not in the same degree, by any other war blew from this point or from that. inhabitant of the town. I was person. During the French anabasis to Mosally acquainted with every family of cow he entered our service, made himthe slightest account, belonging to the self a prodigious favourite with the resident population; whether amongst whole Imperial family, and even now the old local gentry, or the new set- is only in his twenty-second year. As tlers whom the late wars had driven to to his accomplishments, they will take refuge within our walls.

speak for themselves; they are infiIt was in September, 1815, that I re- nite, and applicable to every situation ceived a letter from the Chief Secretary of life. Greek is what he wants from to the Prince of M_-, a nobleman you ; never ask about terms. He will connected with the diplomacy of Rus- acknowledge any trouble he may give sia, from which I quote an extract :- you, as he acknowledges all trouble, I wish, in short, to recommend to en prince. And ten years hence you will look back with pride upon having had been breathed by some modern contributed your part to the formation Pygmalion,--such a pomp of gifts and of one whom all here at St Peters.. endowments settling upon one man's burg, not soldiers only, but we diplo- head, should not have required for its mates, look upon as certain to prove effect the vulgar consummation (and a great man, and a leader amongst the yet to many it was the consummation intellects of Christendom."

and crest of the whole) that he was Two or three other letters followed; reputed to be rich beyond the dreams and at length it was arranged that Mr of romance or the necessities of a fairy Maximilian Wyndham should take up tale. Unparalleled was the impression his residence at my monastic abode for made upon our stagnant society; every one year. He was to keep a table, tongue was busy in discussing the and an establishment of servants, at his marvellous young Englishman from own cost; was to have an apartment morning to night ; every female fancy of some dozen or so of rooms; the un- was busy in depicting the personal aprestricted use of the library; with pearance of this gay apparition. some other public privileges willingly Onlis arrival at my house, I became conceded by the magistracy of the sensible of a truth which I had obtown; in return for all which he was served some years before. The comto pay me a thousand guineas : and monplace maxim is—that it is dangeralready beforehand, by way of acknow ous to raise expectations too high. ledgment for the public civilities of This, which is thus generally expressed, the town, he sent, through my hands, a and without limitation, is true only contribution of three hundred guineas conditionally ; it is true then and there to the various local institutions for only where there is but little merit to education of the poor, or for charity. sustain and justify the expectation.

The Russian Secretary had latterly But in any case where the merit is corresponded with me from a little transcendent of its kind, it is always German town not more than ninety useful to rack the expectation up to miles distant: and, as he had special the highest point; in any thing which couriers at his service, the negotiation partakes of the infinite, the most un. advanced so rapidly, that all was closed limited expectations will find ample before the end of September. And, room for gratification; whilst it is cerwhen once that consummation was at- tain that ordinary observers, possesstained, I, that previously had breathed ing little sensibility, unless where they no syllable of what was stirring, now have been warned to expect, will often gave a loose to the interesting tidings, fail to see what exists in the most conand suffered them to spread through spicuous splendour. In this instance the whole compass of the town. It it certainly did no harm to the subject will be easily imagined that such a of expectation, that I had been warnstory, already romantic enough in its ed to look for so much. The warning, first outline, would lose nothing in the at any rate, put me on the look-out for telling. An Englishman to begin whatever eminence there might be of with, which name of itself, and at all grandeur in his personal appearance; times, is a passport into German favour, whilst, on the other hand, this existed but much more since the late memorable in such excess, so far transcending wars that, but for Englishmen, would any thing I had ever met with in my have drooped into disconnected efforts experience, that no expectation which -next, an Englishman of rank and of it is in words to raise could have been the haute noblesse,—then a soldier disappointed. covered with brilliant distinctions, These thoughts travelled with the and in the most brilliant arm of the rapidity of light through my brain as service; young, moreover, and yet at one glance my eye took in the sua veteran by his experience,—fresh premacy of beauty and power which from the most awful battle of this seemed to have alighted from the planet since the day of Pharsalia, - clouds before me. Power, and the radiant with the favour of courts and contemplation of power, in any absoof Imperial ladies, - finally (which lute incarnation of grandeur or exalone would have given him an interest cess, necessarily have the instantane. in all female hearts), an Antinous of ous effect of quelling all perturbation. faultless beauty, a Greciau statue, as My composure was restored in a moit were, into which the breath of life ment. I looked steadily at him. We both bowed. And, at the moment and young ladies seriously lost the when he raised his head from that in- power, for a time, of doing more than elination, I caught the glance of his murmuring a few confused, half-inareye ; an eye such as might have been ticulate syllables, or half-inarticulate looked for in a face of such noble sounds. The solemnity, in fact, of lineaments

a first presentation, and the utter im“ Blending the nature of the star

possibility of soon recovering a free

unembarrassed movement of converWith that of summer skies;”

sation, made such scenes really disand, therefore, meant by nature for tressing to all who participated in the residence and organ of serene and them, either as actors or spectators. gentle emotions ; but it surprised, and Certainly this result was not a pure at the same time filled me more almost effect of manly beauty, however heroic, with consternation than with pity, to and in whatever excess; it arose in part observe, that in those eyes a light of from the many and extraordinary ensadness had settled more profound than dowments which had centered in his seemed possible for youth, or almost person, not less from fortune than from commensurate to a human sorrow; a nature ; in part also, as I have said, sadness that might have become a from the profound sadness and freezJewish prophet, when laden with in- ing gravity of Mr Wyndham's manspirations of wo.

ner ; but still more from the perplexTwo months had now passed away ing mystery which surrounded that since the arrival of Mr Wyndham. sadness. He had been universally introduced to Were there, then, no exceptions to the superior society of the place; and, this condition of awe-struck' admiraas I need hardly say, universally re- tion? Yes: One at least there was ceived with favour and distinction in whose bosom the spell of all-conIn reality, his wealth and importance, quering passion soon thawed every his military honours, and the dignity trace of icy reserve. Whilst the rest of his character as expressed in his of the world retained a dim sentiment manners and deportment, were too of awe towards Mr Wyndham, Mareminent to allow of his being treated garet Liebenheim only heard of such with less than the highest attention in a feeling to wonder that it could exist any society whatever. But the effect towards him, Never was there so of these various advantages, enforced victorious a conquest interchanged beand recommended as they were by a tween two youthful hearts-never bepersonal beauty so rare, was some- fore such a rapture of instantaneous what too potent for the comfort and sympathy. I did not witness the self-possession of ordinary people; first meeting of this mysterious Maxiand really exceeded in a painful de- milian and this magnificent Margagree the standard of pretensions under ret, and do not know whether Marwhich such people could feel them- garet manifested that trepidation and selves at their ease. He was not na- embarrassment which distressed so turally of a reserved turn; far from many of her youthful co-rivals ; but it. His disposition had been open, if she did, it must have fled before the frank, and confiding originally ; and first glance of the young man's eye, his roving, adventurous life, of which which would interpret, past all misconsiderably more than one-half had understanding, the homage of his soul been passed in camps, had communi- and the surrender of his heart. Their cated to his manners a more than mi- third meeting I did see ; and there all litary frankness. But the profound shadow of embarrassment had vanishmelancholy which possessed him, from ed, except, indeed, of that delicate whatever cause it arose, necessarily embarrassment which clings to impaschilled the native freedom of his den sioned admiration. On the part of meanour, unless when it was revived Margaret, it seemed as' if a new world by strength of friendship or of love. had dawned upon her that she had not The effect was awkward and embar- so much as suspected amongst the carassing to all parties. Every voice pacities of human experience, Like paused or faltered when he entered a some bird she seemed, with powers room - dead silence ensued - not an unexercised for soaring and flying, eye but was directed upon him, or else, not understood even as yet, and that sunk in timidity, settled upon the floor; never until now had found an element

« ForrigeFortsæt »