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eaten up, and that nothing remained of its former owner but a skeleton stretched on the cold floor of one of the apartments. Such was the end of the wicked Count Graaf; and although such famines may never take place in our times, his fate is not the less a warning to those who would sinfully, and for their own ends, prevent the poor from having a proper supply of bread.'
With stories such as this, Ludwig made the long passage up the river seem short to Walter, who, when the barge arrived at Strasbourg on the fourth day after leaving Rosenthal, was surprised to find that he was at the end of his journey. Bidding adieu to Ludwig and his companions, Hans and his son now arrived at the fortifications of Strasbourg, and entered the crowded city. The streets, the houses, the shops, all seemed like a scene of enchantment before the eyes of the country boy; and as the great clock of the cathedral struck eight, he listened in wonder and delight to its fine deep tone, which led to a reverie on clocks and watches, and clockmakers and watchmakers, till he was roused by his father stopping at the small door of a tall, dismal-looking house in a narrow, dark, dirty little street. He now made Walter follow him up a long staircase, which seemed almost endless to the boy, till they stopped at the door of a room in one of the upper stories, and knocked with his hand. The door was opened by his brother, who had just returned from his work, and gave them a hearty reception, leading them in to his wife, a tall, bony-looking woman, not very clean in her person, who was preparing the supper of onion-broth and salad. There was a strong smell of onions and tobacco in the room ; but to this Walter was accustomed at home; though his aunt's untidy appearance, and the gloomy discomfort of the small room, were not so like home, and for a moment his heart sank within him. However, a kind reception and some warm soup, which, as he was very hungry, he was glad of, cheered him; and he was soon asleep on the straw mattress of the little wooden bed prepared for him in a recess in the next room. He slept soundly, and dreamed that he was a watchmaker, and had made the clock of the cathedral ; but just as his father and mother, and Margaret and his brothers, and all the village, were assembled, and admiring his work, the whole steeple fell down with such a crash that he awoke ; and, starting up in bed, saw his father, who had upset the only chair in the room in his hurry to call Walter to bid him good-bye, as he was returning home. He kissed the boy affectionately, bade him be good and obedient to his master and his uncle, and not forget his duty to God, or all that his mother and he had taught him, and left the room. Walter was alone for the first time in his life, and he sat up in his bed and cried bitterly.
That morning his uncle introduced him to his new master, a quiet old man, with a mild benevolent countenance and a gentle manner. He spoke kindly, and seemed sorry for the little pale boy who was separated for the first time from his family and home. Walter felt his kindness, and was happier. There were a great many men and boys employed in the business, and his uncle could not be often in the same room with him ; but Walter was inclined to be diligent, and was in a few days so earnest about his employment, that he forgot he was among strangers, and worked as happily as if he had been doing something for his father in his own home. He only felt lonely when he walked through the busy crowded streets to his dark dirty lodgings at his uncle's, and looked round at the four bare walls and his straw mattress in the wooden bed, which was its only furniture, excepting one chair with a hole in it. His aunt, too, was sometimes cross, and when he sat down with his uncle to his uncomfortable supper, he thought of his mother, how nicely she prepared the evening meal, and he longed to hear again the cheerful voices of his brothers, and Margaret's sweet merry laugh when the day's work was over. But these were foolish thoughts to indulge, as they made him discontented; so Walter seldom allowed himself this painful pleasure. He was becoming tolerably reconciled to his situation, when he unfortunately placed a little too much confidence in a new friend.
The boy who worked next him lived in a street adjoining Walter's lodging, so they generally walked back together in the evenings. An intimacy soon grew up between them, and it was not long before Walter communicated to him all his projects for the future, that he meant one day to be a great man, and to make a clock like that in the cathedral. He told him what he had already done, his inventions, the wooden watches that he had .constructed for his sister's amusement, and that he was at that time working at one every night after he came home, by which he meant to surprise her next Christmas. The next morning the boy amused his companions in the workshop by a recital of these projects. Nothing could exceed Walter's indignation. His face changed from pale to red, and then paler than before. He did not speak, but his quivering lips and Aashing eyes, and the vain attempt at a scornful laugh, which only excited more merriment from those around him, shewed the violence of his resentment, and at last, provoked beyond endurance, he advanced to give a blow to his tormentor, when the master entered in the midst of his passion, and commanded silence; but remarking Walter's angry countenance, he desired to speak with him when work was over. He then inquired from him the cause of the morning's disturbance, which the boy frankly confessed; and his master, after acknowledging the provocation, yet blaming Walter's violence and imprudent openness to one almost a stranger to him, continued :
But we must all learn by experience, my boy. So you hope one day to distinguish yourself: I commend your amb on; but the less said, the more is likely to be performed. I would, however, caution you in one thing : the mere love of distinction is the desire of gratifying your own vanity, often at the expense of something better ; your
and if you do not work from a higher motive, you will fail in that. Let the desire of being useful to your parents in their old age
be first object, and then endeavour to perfect and improve upon the inventions and discoveries of others, which will lead to your making inventions and discoveries yourself, and to the distinction you covet : though, Walter, I warn you, by the time you acquire it, you will have attained something so much better than this boyish ambition is worth, that you will not care for its possession. However, work on, and I do not fear your doing something yet; only beware of vain projects which hasten you on to your ruin. Pray to God to put a right spirit within you ; fear no labour on your part, and His blessing will go along with you. Walter only half comprehended his master's words, but they sounded encouragingly, and he felt happy that evening, and swallowed his onion-soup with so good an appetite that his aunt was almost alarmed for the family expenses.
The boy's character became from that day more and more reserved: he worked diligently, but associated as little as he could with his fellow-workmen. His waking hours, his nightly dreams, were spent in the vain projects from which his master had warned him; and the desire for the approbation of his fellow-creatures seemed to increase in proportion as he shunned their society, and fancied he despised them. "Vanity was his foible; and, as is usually the case, he was the last to perceive his own infirmity. He imagined there was something noble in rising above those who were born his equals. God had given them the same beautiful world to inhabit ; He was their Father as well as his; and what superior talents He had bestowed on one more than another, were intended that that one might serve his fellow-creatures more, and receive his reward in the consciousness of that service; but Walter only saw in those talents a promise of his own elevation. . True, he was only a boy; but the full-grown man is the development of the boy; and if we do not early cut away those branches which encumber the sapling, they will, in its maturity, consume the richest nourishment, and destroy the beauty and excellence of the tree.
Christmas came at last, and Walter would have returned home, but it was inconvenient to do so, the distance being considerable ; and he continued, without repining, to labour diligently at his employment.
Years rolled on, and Walter became a man: still the same earnestness, the same ambition, the same desire of fame, scarcely more rational, though more determined in the man than in the boy, characterised him. His master had placed him in one of the most responsible situations in the house : he had won his regard by his honesty, diligence, and obliging manners; but Walter was not happy. He was restless and discontented because he was not known by the world: all his savings were spent in books and in materials for the work which now occupied him the greater part of
the night. The clock of the cathedral had been the object of his admiration since the day he first entered the city, and he was never tired looking at it. This extraordinary piece of mechanism was. begun about the year 1352, and placed in one of the spires of the cathedral in 1370. Until recent times, it shewed a variety of movements, some introduced since the period of its first fabrication. The basement of the clock exhibited three dial-plates, shewing the revolutions of the year and seasons, with eclipses of the sun and
Above the middle dial-plate, the days of the week were represented by different divinities, supposed to preside over the planets from which their common appellations are derived. The divinity of the current day appeared in a car rolling over the clouds, and at midnight retired to give place to the succeeding one. Before the basement a globe was displayed, borne on the wings of a pelican, round which the sun and moon were made to revolve, and consequently represented the motion of those bodies. The ornamental turret above the basement exhibited a large dial in the form of an astrolabe, which shewed the annual motion of the sun and moon through the ecliptic, as also the hours of the day, &c. The phases of the moon were likewise marked on a dial-plate above. Over this dial-plate were represented the four ages of man by symbolical figures, one of which passed every quarter of an hour, and marked this division of time by striking on small bells. Two angels were also seen in motion, one striking a bell with a sceptre, while the other turned an hour-glass at the expiration of every hour. This celebrated clock has lately undergone repair, and is now considerably simplified ; but at the time of Walter's residence in the city, it was in all its glory; and he thought, if he could succeed in discovering its inechanism, make a model of it, and then exhibit it from city to city, he would realise a fortune for himself and his family, and be on the high-road to distinction.
Full of this idea, our young watchmaker studied the history of every curious clock which he could hear of. Among others, he was deeply interested in the clock of Bern, in Switzerland, which is renowned for its ingenious contrivances; but more particularly a clock made by Droz, a mechanic of Geneva, which rivalled even that of Strasbourg.* Procuring as minute an account as possible of these clocks, for the purpose of enlarging his ideas of mechanical combinations, he set ardently to work in making a model of the clock of Strasbourg, which should work perfectly in all its parts like the original. He kept his labours a profound secret, employing himself some hours every night for a space of two years. At the end of this time the model was nearly completed, and all the movements worked as smoothly as he could have wished. A feeling of pride now took possession of his mind. He almost looked with disdain and pity on the passengers in the streets; and became more distant than before to his fellow-workmen. He already felt as if he had reached the summit of his ambition. Sometimes his courage would sink, and then he was so forgetful of his business, that once or twice he nearly quarrelled with his good master; but the day at last arrived, the day he had reckoned on for years, the day he could shew the fruit of all his labours. His uncle was the first to whom he communicated his secret. He invited him to the garret, where he had lived and toiled since he finished his apprenticeship; and the astonishment and delight expressed by his uncle exceeded even his expectations. His uncle had always considered the clock as something beyond the reach of any human intellect but that of the great man who had invented it; and now his own nephew had, by his unassisted ingenuity, discovered all its mechanism, and produced an exact model, which performed all its evolutions, and if not so large, seemed to him quite as wonderful. The neighbours, who had watched his small lamp burning night after night in his garret till the sun's first rays broke into the narrow window, now hastened to satisfy their curiosity, and to express their surprise and delight. On the third day after the disclosure of his workmanship, as Walter was standing surrounded by eager admirers, the door opened, and Margaret threw her arms round his neck. She had been the only one to whom his secret had en confided. He had wi en to tell her of its completion ; and she instantly set out on foot, with the young farmer to whom she was shortly to be married; but, tiring of this fatiguing mode of travelling, they had been fortunate in finding a diligence, which brought them to the scene of her brother's triumph. She could not speak; but her eyes told the fulness of her heart, and her silent pressure of Walter's hand was more grateful to him than all the words of praise and flattery with which his ears had been satiated the day before. The rest of the family followed in a few days, and a week was spent in nothing but rejoicing and proud congratulations.
* To amuse our young readers, we may mention that this clock was so constructed as to be capable of performing the following movements. There were exhibited on it a negro, a shepherd, and a dog. When the clock struck, the shepherd played six tunes on his flute, and the dog approached and fawned upon him. This clock was exhibited to the king of Spain, who was greatly delighted with it. * The gentleness of my dog,' said Droz, 'is his least merit. If your majesty, touch one of the apples which you see in the shepherd's basket, you will admire the fidelity of this animal.' The king took an apple, and the dog flew at his hand, and barked so loud, that the king's dog, which was in the same room during the exhibition, began to bark also; at this, the courtiers, not doubting that it was an affair of witchcraft, hastily left the room, crossing themselves as they went out. Having desired the minister of marine, who was the only one who ventured to stay behind, to ask the negro what o'clock it was, the minister asked, but he obtained no reply.
Walter was not, however, satisfied with this, nor his master either, Droz then observed, that the negro had not yet learned Spanish, upon which the minister repeated the question in French, and the black immediately answered him. At this new prodigy the firmness of the minister also forsook him, and he retreated precipitately, declaring that it must be the work of a supernatural being. It is probable that, in the performance of these tricks, Droz touched certain springs in the inechanism, although this is not mentioned in any of the accounts of his clock.