Part 4 out of 5
not love in vain! And whenever, in silence and alone, he looked into
the silent, lonely countenance of Night, he recalled the impassioned
lines of Plato;--
"Lookest thou at the stars? If I were heaven,
With all the eyes of heaven would I look down on thee!"
O how beautiful it is to love! Even thou, that sneerest at this
page, and laughest in cold indifference or scorn if others are near
thee, thou, too, must acknowledge its truth when thou art alone; and
confess, that a foolish world is prone to laugh in public, at what
in private it reverences, as one of the highest impulses of our
One by one the objects of our affection depart from us. But our
affections remain, and like vines stretch forth their broken,
wounded tendrils for support. The bleeding heart needs a balm to
heal it; and there is none but the love of its kind,--none but the
affection of a human heart! Thus the wounded, broken affections of
Flemming began to lift themselves from the dust and cling around
this new object. Days and weeks passed; and, like the Student
Crisostomo, he ceased to love because he began to adore. And with
this adoration mingled the prayer, that, in that hour when the world
is still, and the voices that praise are mute, and reflection cometh
like twilight, and themaiden, in her day-dreams, counted the number
of her friends, some voice in the sacred silence of her thoughts
might whisper his name! And was it indeed so? Did any voice in the
sacred silence of her thoughts whisper his name?--We shall soon
They were sitting together one morning, on the green, flowery
meadow, under the ruins of Burg Unspunnen. She was sketching the
ruins. The birds were singing one and all, as if there were no
aching hearts, no sin nor sorrow, in the world. So motionless was
the bright air, that the shadow of the trees lay engraven on the
grass. The distant snow-peaks sparkled in the sun, and nothing
frowned, save the square tower of the old ruin above them.
"What a pity it is," said the lady, as she stopped to rest her
weary fingers; "what a pity it is, that there is no old tradition
connected with this ruin."
"I will make you one, if you wish," said Flemming.
"Can you make old traditions?"
"O yes; I made three the other day for the Rhine, and one very
old one for the Black Forest. A lady with dishevelled hair; a robber
with a horrible slouched hat; and a night-storm among the roaring
"Delightful! Do make one for me."
"With the greatest pleasure. Where will you have the scene? Here,
or in the Black Forest?"
"In the Black Forest, by all means? Begin."
"First promise not to interrupt me. If you snap the golden
threads of thought, they will float away on the air like gossamer
threads, and I shall never be able to recover them."
"Listen, then, to the Tradition of 'The Fountain of Oblivion.'
Flemming was reclining on the flowery turf, at the lady's feet,
looking up with dreamy eyes into her sweet face, and then into the
leaves of the linden-trees overhead.
"Gentle Lady! Dost thou remember the linden-trees of Bülach,
those tall and stately trees, with velvet down upon their shining
leaves and rustic benches underneath their overhanging eaves! A
leafy dwelling, fit to be the home of elf or fairy, where first I
told my love to thee, thou cold and stately Hermione! A little
peasant girl stood near, and listened all the while, with eyes of
wonder and delight, and an unconscious smile, to hear the stranger
still speak on in accents deep yet mild,--none else was with us in
that hour, save God and that peasant child!"
"Why, it is in rhyme!"
"No, no! the rhyme is only in your imagination. You promised not
to interrupt me, and you have already snapped asunder the gossamer
threads of as sweet a dream as was ever spun from a poet's
"It certainly did rhyme!"
"This was the reverie of the Student Hieronymus, as he sat at
midnight in his chamber, with his hands clasped together, and
resting upon anopen volume, which he should have been reading. His
pale face was raised, and the pupils of his eyes dilated as if the
spirit-world were open before him, and some beauteous vision were
standing there, and drawing the student's soul through his eyes up
into Heaven, as the evening sun through parting summer-clouds, seems
to draw into its bosom the vapors of the earth. O, it was a sweet
vision! I can see it before me now!
"Near the student stood an antique bronze lamp, with strange
figures carved upon it. It was a magic lamp, which once belonged to
the Arabian astrologer El Geber, in Spain. Its light was beautiful
as the light of stars; and, night after night, as the lonely wight
sat alone and read in his lofty tower, through the mist, and mirk,
and dropping rain, it streamed out into the darkness, and was seen
by many wakeful eyes. To the poor Student Hieronymus it was a
wonderful Aladdin's Lamp; for in its flame a Divinity revealed
herself unto him, and showed him treasures. Whenever he opened a
ponderous, antiquatedtome, it seemed as if some angel opened for him
the gates of Paradise; and already he was known in the city as
Hieronymus the Learned.
"But, alas! he could read no more. The charm was broken. Hour
after hour he passed with his hands clasped before him, and his fair
eyes gazing at vacancy. What could so disturb the studies of this
melancholy wight? Lady, he was in love! Have you ever been in love?
He had seen the face of the beautiful Hermione; and as, when we have
thoughtlessly looked at the sun, our dazzled eyes, though closed,
behold it still; so he beheld by day and by night the radiant image
of her upon whom he had too rashly gazed. Alas! he was unhappy; for
the proud Hermione disdained the love of a poor student, whose only
wealth was a magic lamp. In marble halls, and amid the gay crowd
that worshipped her, she had almost forgotten that such a being
lived as the Student Hieronymus. The adoration of his heart had been
to her only as the perfume of a wild flower, which she had
carelessly crushedwith her foot in passing. But he had lost all; for
he had lost the quiet of his thoughts; and his agitated soul
reflected only broken and distorted images of things. The world
laughed at the poor student, who, in his torn and threadbare
cassock, dared to lift his eyes to the Lady Hermione; while he sat
alone, in his desolate chamber, and suffered in silence. He
remembered many things, which he would fain forget; but which, if he
had forgotten them, he would wish again to remember. Such were the
linden-trees of Bülach, under whose pleasant shade he had told his
love to Hermione. This was the scene which he wished most to forget,
yet loved most to remember; and of this he was now dreaming, with
his hands clasped upon his book, and that kind of music in his
thoughts, which you, Lady, mistook for rhyme.
"Suddenly the cathedral clock struck twelve with a melancholy
clang. It roused the Student Hieronymus from his dream; and rang in
his ears, like the iron hoofs of the steeds of Time. Themagic hour
had come, when the Divinity of the lamp most willingly revealed
herself to her votary. The bronze figures seemed alive; a white
cloud rose from the flame and spread itself through the chamber,
whose four walls dilated into magnificent cloud vistas; a fragrance,
as of wild-flowers, filled the air; and a dreamy music, like
distant, sweetchiming bells, announced the approach of the midnight
Divinity. Through his streaming tears the heart-broken Student
beheld her once more descending a pass in the snowy cloud-mountains,
as, at evening, the dewy Hesperus comes from the bosom of the mist,
and assumes his station in the sky. At her approach, his spirit grew
more calm; for her presence was, to his feverish heart, like a
tropical night,--beautiful and soothing and invigorating. At length
she stood before him revealed in all her beauty; and he comprehended
the visible language of her sweet but silent lips; which seemed to
say;--'What would the Student Hieronymus to-night?'--'Peace!' he
answered, raising his clasped hands, and smiling through histears.
'The Student Hieronymus imploreth peace!' 'Then go,' said the
spirit, 'go to the Fountain of Oblivion in the deepest solitude of
the Black Forest, and cast this scroll into its waters; and thou
shalt be at peace once more. Hieronymus opened his arms to embrace
the Divinity, for her countenance assumed the features of Hermione;
but she vanished away; the music ceased; the gorgeous cloud-land
sank and fell asunder; and the student was alone within the four
bare walls of his chamber. As he bowed his head downward, his eye
fell upon a parchment scroll, which was lying beside the lamp. Upon
it was written only the name of Hermione!
"The next morning Hieronymus put the scroll into his bosom, and
went his way in search of the Fountain of Oblivion. A few days
brought him to the skirts of the Black Forest. He entered, not
without a feeling of dread, that land of shadows; and passed onward
under melancholy pines and cedars, whose branches grew abroad and
mingled together, and, as they swayed up and down, filled the air
with solemn twilight and a sound of sorrow. As he advanced into the
forest, the waving moss hung, like curtains, from the branches
overhead, and more and more shut out the light of heaven; and he
knew that the Fountain of Oblivion was not far off. Even then the
sound of falling waters was mingling with the roar of the pines
overhead; and ere long he came to a river, moving in solemn majesty
through the forest, and falling with a dull, leaden sound into a
motionless and stagnant lake, above which the branches of the forest
met and mingled, forming perpetual night. This was the Fountain of
"Upon its brink the student paused, and gazed into the dark
waters with a steadfast look. They were limpid waters, dark with
shadows only. And as he gazed, he beheld, far down in their silent
depths, dim and ill-defined outlines, wavering to and fro, like the
folds of a white garment in the twilight. Then more distinct and
permanent shapes arose;--shapes familiar to his mind, yet forgotten
and remembered again, as the fragmentsof a dream; till at length,
far, far below him he beheld the great city of the Past, with silent
marble streets, and moss-grown walls, and spires uprising with a
wave-like, flickering motion. And amid the crowd that thronged those
streets, he beheld faces once familiar and dear to him; and heard
sorrowful, sweet voices, singing; 'O forget us not! forget us not!'
and then the distant, mournful sound of funeral bells, that were
tolling below, in the city of the Past. But in the gardens of that
city, there were children playing, and among them, one who wore his
features, as they had been in childhood. He was leading a little
girl by the hand, and caressed her often, and adorned her with
flowers. Then, like a dream, the scene changed, and the boy had
grown older, and stood alone, gazing into the sky; and, as he gazed,
his countenance changed again, and Hieronymus beheld him, as if it
had been his own image in the clear water; and before him stood a
beauteous maiden, whose face was like the face of Hermione, and he
feared lest the scroll had fallen into the water, as he bent overit.
Starting as from a dream he put his hand into his bosom and breathed
freely again, when he found the scroll still there. He drew it
forth, and read the blessed name of Hermione, and the city beneath
him vanished away, and the air grew fragrant as with the breath of
May-flowers, and a light streamed through the shadowy forest and
gleamed upon the lake; and the Student Hieronymus pressed the dear
name to his lips and exclaimed with streaming eyes; 'O, scorn me as
thou wilt, still, still will I love thee; and thy name shall
irradiate the gloom of my life, and make the waters of Oblivion
smile!' And the name was no longer Hermione, but was changed to
Mary; and the Student Hieronymus--is lying at your feet! O, gentle
'I did hear you talk
Far above singing; after you were gone
I grew acquainted with my heart, and searched
What stirred it so! Alas! I found it love."
CHAPTER IX. A TALK ON THE STAIRS.
No! I will not describe that scene; nor how pale the stately lady
sat on the border of the green, sunny meadow! The hearts of some
women tremble like leaves at every breath of love which reaches
them, and then are still again. Others, like the ocean, are moved
only by the breath of a storm, and not so easily lulled to rest. And
such was the proud heart of Mary Ashburton. It had remained unmoved
by the presence of this stranger; and the sound of his footsteps and
his voice excited in it no emotion. He had deceived himself!
Silently they walked homeward through the green meadow. The very
sunshine was sad; and the rising wind, through the old ruin above
them, sounded in his ears like a hollow laugh!
Flemming went straight to his chamber. On the way, he passed the
walnut trees under which he had first seen the face of Mary
Ashburton. Involuntarily he closed his eyes. They were full of
tears. O, there are places in this fair world, which we never wish
to see again, however dear they may be to us! The towers of the old
Franciscan convent never looked so gloomily as then, though the
bright summer sun was shining full upon them.
In his chamber he found Berkley. He was looking out of the
"This evening I leave Interlachen forever," said Flemming, rather
abruptly. Berkley stared.
"Indeed! Pray what is the matter? You look as pale as a
"And have good reason to look pale," replied Flemming bitterly.
"Hoffmann says, in one of his note-books, that, on the eleventh of
March, at half past eight o'clock, precisely, he was an ass. That is
what I was this morning at half past ten o'clock, precisely, and am
now, and I suppose always shall be."
He tried to laugh, but could not. He then related to Berkley the
whole story, from beginning to end.
"This is a miserable piece of business!" exclaimed Berkley, when
he had finished. "Strange enough! And yet I have long ceased to
marvel at the caprices of women. Did not Pan captivate the chaste
Diana? Did not Titania love Nick Bottom, with his ass's head? Do you
think that maidens' eyes are no longer touched with the juice of
love-in-idleness! Take my word for it, she is in love with somebody
else. There must be some reason for this. No; women never have any
reasons, except their will. But never mind. Keep a stout heart. Care
killed a cat. After all,--what is she? Who is she? Only a--"
"Hush! hush," exclaimed Flemming, in great excitement. "Not one
word more, I beseech you. Do not think to console me, by
depreciating her. She is very dear to me still; a beautiful,
high-minded, noble woman."
"Yes," answered Berkley; "that is the waywith you all, you young
men. You see a sweet face, or a something, you know not what, and
flickering reason says, Good night; amen to common sense. The
imagination invests the beloved object with a thousand superlative
charms; furnishes her with all the purple and fine linen, all the
rich apparel and furniture, of human nature. I did the same when I
was young. I was once as desperately in love as you are now; and
went through all the
'Delicious deaths, soft exhalations
Of soul; dear and divine annihilations,
A thousand unknown rites
Of joys, and rarified delights.'
I adored and was rejected. 'You are in love with certain
attributes,' said the lady. 'Damn your attributes, Madam,' said I;
'I know nothing of attributes.' 'Sir,' said she, with dignity, 'you
have been drinking.' So we parted. She was married afterwards to
another, who knew something about attributes, I suppose. I have seen
her once since, and only once. She had a baby in a yellow gown. I
hate a baby in a yellow gown. How glad I am she did not marry me.
One of these days, you will be glad you have been rejected. Take my
word for it."
"All that does not prevent my lot from being a very melancholy
one!" said Flemming sadly.
"O, never mind the lot," cried Berkley laughing, "so long as you
don't get Lot's wife. If the cucumber is bitter, throw it away, as
the philosopher Marcus Antoninus says, in his Meditations. Forget
her, and all will be as if you had not known her."
"I shall never forget her," replied Flemming, rather solemnly.
"Not my pride, but my affections, are wounded; and the wound is too
deep ever to heal. I shall carry it with me always. I enter no more
into the world, but will dwell only in the world of my own thoughts.
All great and unusual occurrences, whether of joy or sorrow, lift us
above this earth; and we should do well always to preserve this
elevation. Hitherto I have not done so. But now I will no more
descend; I will sit apart and above the world, with my mournful, yet
"Whew! You had better go into society; the whirl and delirium
will cure you in a week. If you find a lady, who pleases you very
much, and you wish to marry her, and she will not listen to such a
horrid thing, I see but one remedy, which is to find another, who
pleases you more, and who will listen to it."
"No, my friend; you do not understand my character," said
Flemming, shaking his head. "I love this woman with a deep, and
lasting affection. I shall never cease to love her. This may be
madness in me; but so it is. Alas and alas! Paracelsus of old wasted
life in trying to discover its elixir, which after all turned out to
be alcohol; and instead of being made immortal upon earth, he died
drunk on the floor of a tavern. The like happens to many of us. We
waste our best years in distilling the sweetest flowers of life into
love-potions, which after all do not immortalize, butonly intoxicate
us. By Heaven! we are all of us mad."
"But are you sure the case is utterly hopeless?"
"And yet I perceive you have not laid aside all hope. You still
flatter yourself, that the lady's heart may change. The great secret
of happiness consists not in enjoying, but in renouncing. But it is
hard, very hard. Hope has as many lives as a cat or a king. I dare
say you have heard the old Italian proverb, 'The King never dies.'
But perhaps you have never heard, that, at the court of Naples,
where the dead body of a monarch lies in state, his dinner is
carried up to him as usual, and the court physician tastes it, to
see that it be not poisoned, and then the servants bear it out
again, saying 'The King does not dine to-day.' Hope in our souls is
King; and we also say, 'The King never dies.' Even when in reality
he lies dead within us, in a kind of solemn mockery we offer him his
accustomed food, but are constrainedto say, 'The King does not dine
to-day.' It must be an evil day, indeed, when a king of Naples has
no heart for his dinner! but you yourself are a proof, that the King
never dies. You are feeding your King, although you say he is
"To show you, that I do not wish to cherish hope," replied
Flemming, I shall leave Interlachen to-morrow morning. I am going to
"You are right," said Berkley; "there is nothing so good for
sorrow as rapid motion in the open air. I shall go with you; though
probably your conversation will not be very various; nothing but
Edward and Kunigunde."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Go to Berlin, and you will find out. However, jesting apart, I
will do all I can to cheer you, and make you forget the Dark Ladie,
and this untoward accident."
"Accident!" said Flemming. "This is no accident, but God's
Providence, which brought us together, to punish me for my
"O, my friend," interrupted Berkley, "if you see the finger of
Providence so distinctly in every act of your life, you will end by
thinking yourself an Apostle and Envoy Extraordinary. I see nothing
so very uncommon in what has happened to you."
"What! not when our souls are so akin to each other! When we
seemed so formed to be together,--to be one!"
"I have often observed," replied Berkley coldly, "that those who
are of kindred souls, rarely wed together; almost as rarely as those
who are akin by blood. There seems, indeed, to be such a thing as
spiritual incest. Therefore, mad lover, do not think to persuade
thyself and thy scornful lady, that you have kindred souls; but
rather the contrary; that you are much unlike; and each wanting in
those qualities which most mark and distinguish the other. Trust me,
thy courtship will then be more prosperous. But good morning. I must
prepare for this sudden journey."
On the following morning, Flemming and Berkleystarted on their
way to Innsbruck, like Huon of Bordeaux and Scherasmin on their way
to Babylon. Berkley's self-assumed duty was to console his
companion; a duty which he performed like an old Spanish Matadora, a
woman whose business was to attend the sick, and put her elbow into
the stomach of the dying to shorten their agony.
"Mortal, they softly say,
Peace to thy heart!
We too, yes, mortal,
Have been as thou art;
Seeing in part,
Tried, troubled, tempted,--
Sustained,--as thou art."
CHAPTER I. A MISERERE.
In the Orlando Innamorato, Malagigi, the necromancer, puts all
the company to sleep by reading to them from a book. Some books have
this power of themselves and need no necromancer. Fearing, gentle
reader, that mine may be of this kind, I have provided these
introductory chapters, from time to time, like stalls or Misereres
in a church, with flowery canopies and poppy-heads over them, where
thou mayest sit down and sleep.
No,--the figure is not a bad one. This book does somewhat
resemble a minster, in the Romanesque style, with pinnacles, and
flying buttresses, and roofs,
"Gargoyled with greyhounds, and with many lions
Made of fine gold, with divers sundry dragons."
You step into its shade and coolness out of the hot streets of
life; a mysterious light streams through the painted glass of the
marigold windows, staining the cusps and crumpled leaves of the
window-shafts, and the cherubs and holy-water-stoups below. Here and
there is an image of the Virgin Mary; and other images, "in divers
vestures, called weepers, stand in housings made about the tomb";
and, above all, swells the vast dome of heaven, with its
star-mouldings, and the flaming constellations, like the mosaics in
the dome of St. Peter's. Have you not heard funeral psalms from the
chauntry? Have you not heard the sound of church-bells, as I
promised; mysterious sounds from the Past and Future, as from the
belfries outside the cathedral; even such a mournful, mellow, watery
peal of bells, as is heard sometimes at sea, from cities afar off
below the horizon?
I know not how this Romanesque, and at times flamboyant, style of
architecture may please thecritics. They may wish, perhaps, that I
had omitted some of my many ornaments, my arabesques, and roses, and
fantastic spouts, and Holy-Roods and Gallilee-steeples. But would it
then have been Romanesque?
But perhaps, gentle reader, thou art one of those, who think the
days of Romance gone forever. Believe it not! O, believe it not!
Thou hast at this moment in thy heart as sweet a romance as was ever
written. Thou art not less a woman, because thou dost not sit aloft
in a tower, with a tassel-gentle on thy wrist! Thou art not less a
man, because thou wearest no hauberk, nor mail-sark, and goest not
on horseback after foolish adventures! Nay, nay! Every one has a
Romance in his own heart. All that has blessed or awed the world
lies there; and
"The oracle within him, that which lives,
He must invoke and question,--not dead books,
Not ordinances, not mould-rotten papers."
Sooner or later some passages of every one's romance must be
written, either in words or actions. They will proclaim the truth;
for Truth is thought, which has assumed its appropriate garments,
either of words or actions; while Falsehood is thought, which,
disguised in words or actions not its own, comes before the blind
old world, as Jacob came before the patriarch Isaac, clothed in the
goodly raiment of his brother Esau. And the world, like the
patriarch, is often deceived; for, though the voice is Jacob's
voice, yet the hands are the hands of Esau, and the False takes away
the birth-right and the blessing from the True. Hence it is, that
the world so often lifts up its voice and weeps.
That very pleasing and fanciful Chinese Romance, the Shadow in
the Water, ends with the hero's marrying both the heroines. I hope
my gentle reader feels curious to know the end of this Romance,
which is a shadow upon the earth; and see whether there be any
marriage at all in it.
That is the very point I am now thinking of, as I sit here at my
pleasant chamber window, and enjoy the balmy air of a bright summer
morning, and watch the motions of the golden robin, that sits on its
swinging nest on the outermost, pendulous branch of yonder elm. The
broad meadows and the steel-blue river remind me of the meadows of
Unterseen, and the river Aar; and beyond them rise magnificent
snow-white clouds, piled up like Alps. Thus the shades of Washington
and William Tell seem to walk together on these Elysian Fields; for
it was here, that in days long gone, our great Patriot dwelt; and
yonder clouds so much resemble the snowy Alps, that they remind me
irresistibly of the Swiss. Noble examples of a high purpose and a
fixed will! Do they not move, Hyperion-like on high? Were they not,
likewise, sons of Heaven and Earth?
Nothing can be more lovely than these summer mornings; nor than
the southern window at which I sit and write, in this old mansion,
which is like an Italian Villa. But O, this
lassitude,--thisweariness,--when all around me is so bright! I have
this morning a singular longing for flowers; a wish to stroll among
the roses and carnations, and inhale their breath, as if it would
revive me. I wish I knew the man, who called flowers "the fugitive
poetry of Nature." From this distance, from these scholastic
shades,--from this leafy, blossoming, and beautiful Cambridge, I
stretch forth my hand to grasp his, as the hand of a poet!--Yes;
this morning I would rather stroll with him among the gay flowers,
than sit here and write. I feel so weary!
Old men with their staves, says the Spanish poet, are ever
knocking at the door of the grave. But I am not old. The Spanish
poet might have included the young also.--No matter! Courage, and
forward! The Romance must be finished; and finished soon.
O thou poor authorling! Reach a little deeper into the human
heart! Touch those strings,--touch those deeper strings, and more
boldly, or the notes will die away like whispers, and no earshall
hear them, save thine own! And, to cheer thy solitary labor,
remember, that the secret studies of an author are the sunken piers
upon which is to rest the bridge of his fame, spanning the dark
waters of Oblivion. They are out of sight; but without them no
superstructure can stand secure!
And now, Reader, since the sermon is over, and we are still
sitting here in this Miserere, let us read aloud a page from the old
parchment manuscript on the lettern before us; let us sing it
through these dusky aisles, like a Gregorian Chant, and startle the
"I have read of the great river Euripus, which ebbeth and floweth
seven times a day, and with such violence, that it carrieth ships
upon it with full sail, directly against the wind. Seven times in an
hour ebbeth and floweth rash opinion, in the torrent of indiscreet
and troublesome apprehensions; carrying critic calumny and
squint-eyed detraction mainly against the wind of wisdom and
In secula seculorum! Amen!
CHAPTER II. CURFEW BELLS.
Welcome Disappointment! Thy hand is cold and hard, but it is the
hand of a friend! Thy voice is stern and harsh, but it is the voice
of a friend! O, there is something sublime in calm endurance,
something sublime in the resolute, fixed purpose of suffering
without complaining, which makes disappointment oftentimes better
The emperor Isaac Angelus made a treaty with Saladin, and tried
to purchase the Holy Sepulchre with gold. Richard Lion-heart scorned
such alliance, and sought to recover it by battle. Thus do weak
minds make treaties with the passions they cannot overcome, and try
to purchase happiness at the expense of principle. But the resolute
will of a strong man scorns such means; and struggles nobly with his
foe, to achieve great deeds. Therefore, whosoever thou art that
sufferest, try not to dissipate thy sorrow by the breath of the
world, nor drown its voice in thoughtless merriment. It is a
treacherous peace that is purchased by indulgence. Rather take this
sorrow to thy heart, and make it a part of thee, and it shall
nourish thee till thou art strong again.
The shadows of the mind are like those of the body. In the
morning of life they all lie behind us; at noon, we trample them
under foot; and in the evening they stretch long, broad, and
deepening before us. Are not, then, the sorrows of childhood as dark
as those of age? Are not the morning shadows of life as deep and
broad as those of its evening? Yes; but morning shadows soon fade
away, while those of evening reach forward into the night and mingle
with the coming darkness. Man is begotten in delight and born in
pain; and in these are the rapture and labor of his life
fore-shadowed from the beginning. But thelife of man upon this fair
earth is made up for the most part of little pains and little
pleasures. The great wonder-flowers bloom but once in a
A week had already elapsed since the events recorded in the last
chapter. Paul Flemming went his way, a melancholy man, "drinking the
sweet wormwood of his sorrow." He did not rail at Providence and
call it fate, but suffered and was silent. It is a beautiful trait
in the lover's character, that he thinks no evil of the object
loved. What he suffered was no swift storm of feeling, that passes
away with a noise, and leaves the heart clearer; but a dark phantom
had risen up in the clear night, and, like that of Adamastor, hid
the stars; and if it ever vanished away for a season, still the deep
sound of the moaning main would be heard afar, through many a dark
and lonely hour. And thus he journeyed on, wrapped in desponding
gloom, and mainly heedless of all things around him. His mind was
distempered. That one face was always before him; that one voice
"You are not the Magician."
Painful, indeed, it is to be misunderstood and undervalued by
those we love. But this, too, in our life, must we learn to bear
without a murmur; for it is a tale often repeated.
There are persons in this world to whom all local associations
are naught. The genius of the place speaks not to them. Even on
battle-fields, where the voice of this genius is wont to be loudest,
they hear only the sound of their own voices; they meet there only
their own dull and pedantic thoughts, as the old grammarian Brunetto
Latini met on the plain of Roncesvalles a poor student riding on a
bay mule. This was not always the case with Paul Flemming, but it
had become so now. He felt no interest in the scenery around him. He
hardly looked at it. Even the difficult mountain-passes, where, from
his rocky eyrie the eagle-eyed Tyrolese peasant had watched his foe,
and the roaring, turbid torrent underneath, which had swallowed up
the bloody corse, that fell from the rocks like a crushed
worm, awakened no lively emotion in his breast. All around him seemed
dreamy and vague; all within dim, as in a sun's eclipse. As the
moon, whether visible or invisible, has power over the tides of the
ocean, so the face of that lady, whether present or absent, had
power over the tides of his soul; both by day and night, both waking
and sleeping. In every pale face and dark eye he saw a resemblance
to her; and what the day denied him in reality, the night gave him
"This is a strange, fantastic world," said Berkley, after a very
long silence, during which the two travellers had been sitting each
in his corner of the travelling carriage, wrapped in his own
reflections. "A very strange, fantastic world; where each one
pursues his own golden bubble, and laughs at his neighbour for doing
the same. I have been thinking how a moral Linnæus would classify
our race. I think he would divide it, not as Lord Byron did, into
two great classes, the bores and those who are bored, but into
three, namely; Happy Men, Lucky Dogs, and Miserable Wretches. This is
more true and philosophical, though perhaps not quite so
comprehensive. He is the Happy Man, who, blessed with modest ease, a
wife and children,--sits enthroned in the hearts of his family, and
knows no other ambition, than that of making those around him happy.
But the Lucky Dog is he, who, free from all domestic cares, saunters
up and down his room, in morning gown and slippers; drums on the
window of a rainy day; and, as he stirs his evening fire, snaps his
fingers at the world, and says, 'I have no wife nor children, good
or bad, to provide for.' I had a friend, who is now no more. He was
taken away in the bloom of life, by a very rapid--widow. He was by
birth and by profession a beau,--born with a quizzing-glass and a
cane. Cock of the walk, he flapped his wings, and crowed among the
feathered tribe. But alas! a fair, white partlet has torn his crest
out, and he shall crow no more. You will generally find him of a
morning, smelling round a beef-cart, with domestic felicity written
in every line of his countenance; and sometimes meet him in a
cross-street at noon, hurrying homeward, with a beef-steak on a
wooden skewer, or a fresh fish, with a piece of tarred twine run
through its gills. In the evening he rocks the cradle, and gets up
in the night when the child cries. Like a Goth, of the Dark Ages, he
consults his wife on all mighty matters, and looks upon her as a
being of more than human goodness and wisdom. In short, the ladies
all say he is a very domestic man, and makes a good husband; which,
under the rose, is only a more polite way of saying he is
hen-pecked. He is a Happy Man. I have another dear friend, who is a
sexagenary bachelor. He has one of those well-oiled dispositions,
which turn upon the hinges of the world without creaking. The
hey-day of life is over with him; but his old age is sunny and
chirping; and a merry heart still nestles in his tottering frame,
like a swallow that builds in a tumble-down chimney. He is a
professed Squire of Dames. The rustle of a silk gown is music to his
ears, and his imagination is continuallylantern-led by some
will-with-a-wisp in the shape of a lady's stomacher. In his devotion
to the fair sex,--the muslin, as he calls it,--he is the gentle
flower of chivalry. It is amusing to see how quick he strikes into
the scent of a lady's handkerchief. When once fairly in pursuit,
there is no such thing as throwing him out. His heart looks out at
his eye; and his inward delight tingles down to the tail of his
coat. He loves to bask in the sunshine of a smile; when he can
breathe the sweet atmosphere of kid gloves and cambric
handkerchiefs, his soul is in its element; and his supreme delight
is to pass the morning, to use his own quaint language, 'in making
dodging calls, and wiggling round among the ladies!' He is a lucky
"And as a specimen of the class of Miserable Wretches, I suppose
you will take me," said Flemming, making an effort to enter into his
friend's humor. "Certainly I am wretched enough. You may make me the
stuffed bear,--the specimen of this class."
"By no means," replied Berkley; "you are not reduced so low. He
only is utterly wretched, who is the slave of his own passions, or
those of others. This, I trust, will never be your condition. Why so
wan and pale, fond lover? Do you remember Sir John Suckling's
'Why so wan and pale, fond lover;
Pr'ythee why so pale?
Will, if looking well can't move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Pr'ythee why so pale?
'Why so dull and mute, young sinner;
Pr'ythee why so mute?
Will, if speaking well can't win her,
Saying nothing do 't?
Pr'ythee why so mute?
'Quit, quit, for shame! this cannot move,
This cannot take her!
If of herself she do not love,
Nothing will make her!
The devil take her!'
How do you like that?"
"To you I say quit, quit for shame;" replied Flemming. "Why quote
the songs of that witty and licentious age? Have you no better
consolation to offer me? How many, many times must I tell you, that
I bear the lady no ill-will. I do not blame her for not loving me. I
desire her happiness, even at the sacrifice of my own."
"That is generous in you, and deserves a better fate. But you are
so figurative in all you say, that a stranger would think you had no
real feeling,--and only fancied yourself in love."
"Expression of feeling is different with different minds. It is
not always simple. Some minds, when excited, naturally speak in
figures and similitudes. They do not on that account feel less
deeply. This is obvious in our commonest modes of speech. It depends
upon the individual."
"Well, abuse my figures of speech as much as you please. What I
insist upon is, that you shall not abuse the lady. When did you ever
hear me breathe a whisper against her?"
"Oho! Now you speak like Launce to his dog!"
Their conversation, which had begun so merrily, was here suddenly
interrupted by a rattling peal of thunder, that announced a
near-approaching storm. It was late in the afternoon, and the whole
heaven black with low, trailing clouds. Still blacker the storm came
sailing up majestically from the southwest, with almost unbroken
volleys of distant thunder. The wind seemed to be storming a cloud
redoubt; and marched onward with dust, and the green banners of the
trees flapping in the air, and heavy cannonading, and occasionally
an explosion, like the blowing up of a powder-wagon. Mingled with
this was the sound of thunder-bells from a village not far off. They
were all ringing dolefully to ward off the thunderbolt. At the
entrance of the village stood a large wooden crucifix; around which
was a crowd of priests and peasants, kneeling in the wet grass, by
the roadside, with their hands and eyes lifted toheaven, and praying
for rain. Their prayer was soon answered.
The travellers drove on with the driving wind and rain. They had
come from Landeck, and hoped to reach Innsbruck before midnight.
Night closed in, and Flemming fell asleep with the loud storm
overhead, and at his feet the roaring Inn, a mountain torrent
leaping onward as wild and restless, as when it first sprang from
its cradle in the solitudes of Engaddin; meet emblem of himself,
thus rushing through the night. His slumber was long, but broken;
and at length he awoke in terror; for he heard a voice pronounce in
his ear distinctly these words;
"They have brought the dead body."
They were driving by a churchyard at the entrance of a town; and
among the tombs a dim lamp was burning before an image of the
Virgin. It had a most unearthly appearance. Flemming almost feared
to see the congregation of the dead go into the church and sing
their midnight mass. He spoke to Berkley; but received no answer; he
was in a deep sleep.
"Then it was only a dream," said he to himself; "yet how distinct
the voice was! O, if we had spiritual organs, to see and hear things
now invisible and inaudible to us, we should behold the whole air
filled with the departing souls of that vast multitude which every
moment dies,--should behold them streaming up like thin vapors
heaven-ward, and hear the startling blast of the archangel's trump
sounding incessant through the universe and proclaiming the awful
judgment day. Truly the soul departs not alone on its last journey,
but spirits of its kind attend it, when not ministering angels; and
they go in families to the unknown land! Neither in life nor in
death are we alone."
He slept again at intervals; and at length, though long after
midnight, reached Innsbruck between sleeping and waking; his mind
filled with dim recollections of the unspeakably dismal
night-journey;--the climbing of hills, and plunging into dark
ravines;--the momentary rattling of the wheels over paved streets of
towns, and the succeeding hollow rolling and tramping on the
wetearth;--the blackness of the night;--the thunder and lightning
and rain; the roar of waters, leaping through deep chasms by the
road-side, and the wind through the mountain-passes, sounding loud
and long, like the irrepressible laughter of the gods.
The travellers on the morrow lingered not long in Innsbruck. They
did not fail, however, to visit the tomb of Maximilian in the
Franciscan Church of the Holy Cross, and gaze with some admiration
upon the twenty-eight gigantic bronze statues of Godfrey of
Bouillon, and King Arthur and Ernest the Iron-man, and Frederick of
the Empty Pockets, kings and heroes, and others, which stand leaning
on their swords between the columns of the church, as if guarding
the tomb of the dead. These statues reminded Flemming of the bronze
giants, which strike the hours on the belfry of San Basso, in
Venice, and of the flail-armed monsters, that guarded the gateway of
Angulaffer's castle in Oberon. After gazing awhile at these
motionless sentinels, they went forth, and strolled throughthe
public gardens, with the jagged mountains right over their heads,
and all around them tall, melancholy pines, like Tyrolese peasants,
with shaggy hair; and at their feet the mad torrent of the Inn,
sweeping with turbid waves through the midst of the town. In the
afternoon they drove on towards Salzburg through the magnificent
mountain-passes of Waidering and Unken.
CHAPTER III. SHADOWS ON THE WALL.
On the following morning Flemming awoke in a chamber of the
Golden Ship at Salzburg, just as the clock in the Dome-church
opposite was striking ten. The window-shutters were closed, and the
room nearly dark. He was lying on his back, with his hands crossed
upon his breast, and his eyes looking up at the white curtains
overhead. He thought them the white marble canopy of a tomb, and
himself the marble statue, lying beneath. When the clock ceased
striking, the eight and twenty gigantic bronze statues from the
Church of Holy Rood in Innsbruck stalked into the chamber, and
arranged themselves along the walls, which spread into dimly-lighted
aisles and arches. On the painted windows he saw Interlachen,
withits Franciscan cloister, and the Square Tower of the ruins. In a
pendent, overhead, stood the German student, as Saint Vitus; and on
a lavatory, or basin of holy-water, below, sat a cherub, with the
form and features of Berkley. Then the organ-pipes began to blow,
and he heard the voices of an invisible choir chanting. And anon the
gilded gates in the bronze screen before the chancel opened, and a
bridal procession passed through. The bride was clothed in the garb
of the Middle Ages; and held a book in her hand, with velvet covers,
and golden clasps. It was Mary Ashburton. She looked at him as she
passed. Her face was pale; and there were tears in her sweet eyes.
Then the gates closed again; and one of the oaken poppy-heads over a
carved stall, in the shape of an owl, flapped its broad wings, and
hooted, "Towhit! to-whoo!" Then the whole scene changed; and he
thought himself a monk's-head on a gutterspout; and it rained
dismally; and Berkley was standing under with an umbrella,
In other words, Flemming was in a ragingfever, and delirious. He
remained in this state for a week. The first thing he was conscious
of was hearing the doctor say to Berkley;
"The crisis is passed. I now consider him out of danger."
He then fell into a sweet sleep; the wild fever had swept away
like an angry, red cloud, and the refreshing summer rain began to
fall like dew upon the parched earth. Still another week; and
Flemming was, "sitting clothed, and in his right mind." Berkley had
been reading to him; and still held the book in his hand, with his
fore-finger between the leaves. It was a volume of Hoffmann's
"How very strange it is," said he, "that you can hardly open the
biography of any German author, but you will find it begin with an
account of his grandfather. It will tell you how the venerable old
man walked up and down the garden among the gay flowers, wrapped in
his morning gown, which is likewise covered with flowers, and
perhaps wearing on his head a little velvet cap. Oryou will find him
sitting by the chimney-corner in the great chair, smoking his
ancestral pipe, with shaggy eyebrows and eyes like birdsnests under
the eaves of a house, and a mouth like a Nuremberg nutcracker's. The
future poet climbs upon the old man's knees. His genius is not
recognised yet. He is thought for the most part a dull boy. His
father is an austere man, or perhaps dead. But the mother is still
there, a sickly, saint-like woman, with knitting-work, and an elder
sister, who has already been in love, and wears rings on her
'Death's heads, and such mementos,
Her grandmother and worm-eaten aunts left to her,
To tell her what her beauty must arrive at.'"
"But this is not the case with the life of Hoffmann, if I
"No, not precisely. Instead of the grandfather we have the
grandmother, a stately dame, who has long since shaken hands with
the vanities of life. The mother, separated from her husband, is
sick in mind and body, and flits to and fro, like a shadow. Then
there is an affectionate maiden aunt; and an uncle, a retired judge,
the terror of little boys,--the Giant Despair of this Doubting
Castle in Koenigsberg; and occasionally the benign countenance of a
venerable grand-uncle, whom Lamotte Fouqué called a hero of the
olden time in morning gown and slippers, looks in at the door and
smiles. In the upper story of the same house lived a poor boy with
his mother, who was so far crazed as to believe herself to be the
Virgin Mary, and her son the Saviour of the world. Wild fancies,
likewise, were to sweep through the brain of that child. He was to
meet Hoffmann elsewhere and be his friend in after years, though as
yet they knew nothing of each other. This was Werner, who has made
some noise in German literature as the author of many wild
"Hoffmann died, I believe, in Berlin."
"Yes. He left Koenigsberg at twenty years of age, and passed the
next eight years of his life in the Prussian-Polish Provinces, where
he held some petty office under government; and took to himselfmany
bad habits and a Polish wife. After this he was Music-Director at
various German theatres, and led a wandering, wretched life for ten
years. He then went to Berlin as Clerk of the Exchange, and there
remained till his death, which took place some seven or eight years
"Did you ever see him?"
"I was in Berlin during his lifetime, and saw him frequently. I
shall never forget the first time. It was at one of the æsthetic
Teas, given by a literary lady Unter den Linden, where the lions
were fed with convenient food, from tea and bread and butter, up to
oysters and Rhine-wine. During the evening my attention was arrested
by the entrance of a strange little figure, with a wild head of
brown hair. His eyes were bright gray; and his thin lips closely
pressed together with an expression of not unpleasing irony. This
strangelooking personage began to bow his way through the crowd,
with quick, nervous, hinge-like motions, much resembling those of a
marionette. He had a hoarse voice, and such a rapid utterance, that
although I understood German well enough for ordinary purposes, I
could not understand one half he said. Ere long he had seated
himself at the piano-forte, and was improvising such wild, sweet
fancies, that the music of one's dreams is not more sweet and wild.
Then suddenly some painful thought seemed to pass over his mind, as
if he imagined, that he was there to amuse the company. He rose from
the piano-forte, and seated himself in another part of the room;
where he began to make grimaces, and talk loud while others were
singing. Finally he disappeared, like a hobgoblin, laughing, 'Ho!
ho! ho!' I asked a person beside me who this strange being was.
'That was Hoffmann,' was the answer. 'The Devil!' said I. 'Yes,'
continued my informant; 'and if you should follow him now, you would
see him plunge into an obscure and unfrequented wine-cellar, and
there, amid boon companions, with wine and tobacco-smoke, and quirks
and quibbles, and quaint, witty sayings, turn the dim night into
"What a strange being!"
"I once saw him at one of his night-carouses. He was sitting in
his glory, at the head of the table; not stupidly drunk, but warmed
with wine, which made him madly eloquent, as the Devil's Elixir did
the Monk Medardus. There, in the full tide of witty discourse, or,
if silent, his gray, hawk eye flashing from beneath his matted hair,
and taking note of all that was grotesque in the company round him,
sat this unfortunate genius, till the day began to dawn. Then he
found his way homeward, having, like the souls of the envious in
Purgatory, his eyelids sewed together with iron wire;--though his
was from champagne bottles. At such hours he wrote his wild,
fantastic tales. To his excited fancy everything assumed a spectral
look. The shadows of familiar things about him stalked like ghosts
through the haunted chambers of his soul; and the old portraits on
the walls winked at him, and seemed stepping down from their frames;
till, aghast at the spectral throng about him, he would call his
wife from her bed, to sit by him while he wrote."
"No wonder he died in the prime of life!"
"No. The only wonder is, that he could have followed this course
of life for six years. I am astonished that it did not kill him
"But death came at last in an appalling shape."
"Yes; his forty-sixth birth day found him sitting at home in his
arm-chair, with his friends around him. But the rare old wine,--he
always drank the best,--touched not the sick-man's lips that night.
His wonted humor was gone. Of all his 'jibes, his gambols, his
songs, his flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on
a roar, not one now, to mock his own grinning!--quite
chap-fallen.'--The conversation was of death and the grave. And when
one of his friends said, that life was not the highest good,
Hoffmann interrupted him, exclaiming with a startling earnestness;
'No, no! Life, life, only life! on any condition whatsoever!' Five
months after this he had ceased to suffer, because he had ceased to
live. He died piecemeal. His feet and hands, his legs and arms,
gradually, and in succession, became motionless, dead. But his
spirit was not dead, nor motionless; and, through the solitary day
or sleepless night, lying in his bed, he dictated to an amanuensis
his last stories. Strange stories, indeed, were they for a dying man
to write! Yet such delight did he take in dictating them, that he
said to his friend Hitzig, that, upon the whole, he was willing to
give up forever the use of his hands, if he could but preserve the
power of writing by dictation. Such was his love of life,--of what
he called the sweet habitude of being!"
"Was it not he, who in his last hours expressed such a longing to
behold the green fields once more; and exclaimed; 'Heaven! it is
already summer, and I have not yet seen a single green tree!'"
"Yes, that was Hoffmann. Soon afterwards he died. The closing
scene was striking. He gradually lost all sensation, though his mind
remained vigorous. Feeling no more pain, he said to his physician;
'It will soon be over now. I feel no more pain.' He thought himself
well again; but the physician knew that he was dying, and said;
'Yes, it will soon be over!' The next morning he called his wife to
his bed-side; and begged her to fold his motionless hands together.
Then, as he raised his eyes to heaven, she heard him say, 'We must,
then, think of God, also!' More sorrowful words than these have
seldom fallen from the lips of man. Shortly afterwards the flame of
life glared up within him; he said he was well again; that in the
evening he should go on with the story he was writing; and wished
that the last sentence might be read over to him. Shortly after this
they turned his face to the wall, and he died."
"And thus passed to its account a human soul, after much
self-inflicted suffering. Let us tread lightly upon the poet's
ashes. For my part, I confess, that I have not the heart to take him
from the general crowd of erring, sinful men, and judge him harshly.
The little I have seen of the world, and know of the history of
mankind, teaches me to look upon the errors of others in sorrow, not
inanger. When I take the history of one poor heart that has sinned
and suffered, and represent to myself the struggles and temptations
it has passed,--the brief pulsations of joy,--the feverish
inquie-tude of hope and fear,--the tears of regret,--the feebleness
of purpose,--the pressure of want,--the desertion of friends,--the
scorn of a world that has little charity,--the desolation of the
soul's sanctuary,--and threatening voices within,--health
gone,--happiness gone,--even hope, that stays longest with us,
gone,--I have little heart for aught else than thankfulness, that it
is not so with me, and would fain leave the erring soul of my
fellow-man with Him, from whose hands it came,
'even as a little child,
Weeping and laughing in its childish sport.'"
"You are right. And it is worth a student's while to observe
calmly how tobacco, wine, and midnight did their work like fiends
upon the delicate frame of Hoffmann; and no less thoroughly upon his
delicate mind. He who drinks beer, thinks beer; and he who drinks
wine, thinks wine;--and he who drinks midnight, thinks midnight. He
was a man of rare intellect. He was endowed with racy humor and
sarcastic wit, and a glorious imagination. But the fire of his
genius burned not peacefully, and with a steady flame, upon the
hearth of his home. It was a glaring and irregular flame;--for the
branches that he fed it with, were not branches from the Tree of
Life,--but from another tree that grew in Paradise,--and they were
wet with the unhealthy dews of night, and more unhealthy wine; and
thus, amid smoke and ashes the fire burned fitfully, and went out
with a glare, which leaves the beholder blind."
"This fire within him was a Meleager's fire-brand; and, when it
burned out, he died. And, as you say, marks of all this are clearly
visible in Hoffmann's writings. Indeed, when I read his strange
fancies, it is with me, as when in the summer night I hear the
rising wind among the trees, and the branches bow, and beckon with
their long fingers, and voices go gibbering and mockingthrough the
air. A feeling of awe and mysterious dread comes over me. I wish to
hear the sound of living voice or footstep near me,--to see a
friendly and familiar face. In truth, if it be late at night, the
reader as well as the writer of these unearthly fancies, would fain
have a patient, meek-eyed wife, with her knitting-work, at his
Berkley smiled; but Flemming continued without noticing the
smile, though he knew what was passing in the mind of his
"The life and writings of this singular being interest me in a
high degree. Oftentimes one may learn more from a man's errors, than
from his virtues. Moreover, from the common sympathies of our
nature, souls that have struggled and suffered are dear to me.
Willingly do I recognise their brotherhood. Scars upon their
foreheads do not so deform them, that they cease to interest. They
are always signs of struggle; though alas! too often, likewise, of
defeat. Seasons of unhealthy, dreamy, vague delight, are followed by
seasons ofweariness and darkness. Where are then the bright fancies,
that, amid the great stillness of the night, arise like stars in the
firmament of our souls? The morning dawns, the light of common day
shines in upon us, and the heavens are without a star! From the
lives of such men we learn, that mere pleasant sensations are not
happiness;--that sensual pleasures are to be drunk sparingly, and,
as it were, from the palm of the hand; and that those who bow down
upon their knees to drink of these bright streams that water life,
are not chosen of God either to overthrow or to overcome!"
"I think you are very lenient in your judgment. This is not the
usual defect of critics. Like Shakspeare's samphire-gatherer, they
have a dreadful trade! and, to make the simile complete, they ought
to hang for it!"
"Methinks it would be hard to hang a man for the sake of a
simile. But which of Hoffmann's works is it, that you have in your
"His Phatasy-Pieces in Callot's manner. Who was this Callot?"
"He was a Lorrain painter of the seventeenth century, celebrated
for his wild and grotesque conceptions. These sketches of Hoffmann
are imitations of his style. They are full of humor, poetry, and
"And which of them shall I read to you? The Ritter Glück; or the
Musical Sufferings of John Kreisler; or that very exquisite story of
the Golden Jar, wherein is depicted the life of Poesy, in this
common-place world of ours?"
"Read the shortest. Read Kreisler. That will amuse me. It is a
picture of his own sufferings at the æsthetic Teas in Berlin,
supposed to be written in pencil on the blank leaves of a
Thereupon Berkley leaned back in his easychair, and read as
CHAPTER IV. MUSICAL
SUFFERINGS OF JOHN KREISLER.
"They are all gone! I might have known it by the whispering,
shuffling, coughing, buzzing through all the notes of the gamut. It
was a true swarm of bees, leaving the old hive. Gottlieb has lighted
fresh candles for me, and placed a bottle of Burgundy on the
piano-forte. I can play no more, I am perfectly exhausted. My
glorious old friend here on the music-stand is to blame for that.
Again he has borne me away through the air, as Mephistopheles did
Faust, and so high, that I took not the slightest notice of the
little men under me, though I dare say they made noise enough. A
rascally, worthless, wasted evening! But now I am well and merry!
However, while I was playing, I took out my pencil, and on
pagesixty-three, under the last system, noted down a couple of good
flourishes in cipher with my right hand, while the left was
struggling away in the torrent of sweet sounds. Upon the blank page
at the end I go on writing. I leave all ciphers and sweet tones, and
with true delight, like a sick man restored to health, who can never
stop relating what he has suffered, I note down here
circumstantially the dire agonies of this evening's tea-party. And
not for myself alone, but likewise for all those who from time to
time may amuse and edify themselves with my copy of John Sebastian
Bach's Variations for the Piano-forte, published by Nägeli in
Zürich, and who find my marks at the end of the thirtieth variation,
and, led on by the great Latin Verte, (I will write it down the
moment I get through this doleful statement of grievances,) turn
over the leaf and read.
"They will at once see the connexion. They know, that the
Geheimerath Rödelein's house is a charming house to visit in, and
that he has two daughters, of whom the whole fashionable world
proclaims with enthusiasm, that they dance like goddesses, speak
French like angels, and play and sing and draw like the Muses. The
Geheimerath Rödelein is a rich man. At his quarterly dinners he
brings on the most delicious wines and richest dishes. All is
established on a footing of the greatest elegance; and whoever at
his tea-parties does not amuse himself heavenly, has no ton, no
esprit, and particularly no taste for the fine arts. It is with an
eye to these, that, with the tea, punch, wine, ice-creams, etc., a
little music is always served up, which, like the other
refreshments, is very quietly swallowed by the fashionable world.
"The arrangements are as follows.--After every guest has had time
enough to drink as many cups of tea as he may wish, and punch and
ices have been handed round twice, the servants wheel out the
card-tables for the elder and more solid part of the company, who
had rather play cards than any musical instrument; and, to tell the
truth, this kind of playing does not make such a useless noise as
others, and you hear only the clink of money.
"This is a hint for the younger part of the company to pounce
upon the Misses Rödelein. A great tumult ensues; in the midst of
which you can distinguish these words,--
"'Schönes Fräulein! do not refuse us the gratification of your
heavenly talent! O, sing something! that's a good
dear!--impossible,--bad cold,--the last ball! have not practised
anything,--oh, do, do, we beg of you,' etc.
"Meanwhile Gottlieb has opened the piano-forte, and placed the
well-known music-book on the stand; and from the card-table cries
the respectable mamma,--
" 'Chantez donc, mes enfans!'
"That is the cue of my part. I place myself at the piano-forte,
and the Rödeleins are led up to the instrument in triumph.
"And now another difficulty arises. Neither wishes to sing
"'You know, dear Nanette, how dreadful hoarse I am.'
"'Why, my dear Marie, I am as hoarse as you are.'
"'I sing so badly!--'
"'O, my dear child; do begin!'
"My suggestion, (I always make the same!) that they should both
begin together with a duet, is loudly applauded;--the music-book is
thumbed over, and the leaf, carefully folded down, is at length
found, and away we go with Dolce dell' anima, etc.
"To tell the truth, the talent of the Misses Rödelein is not the
smallest. I have been an instructer here only five years, and little
short of two years in the Rödelein family. In this short time,
Fräulein Nanette has made such progress, that a tune, which she has
heard at the theatre only ten times, and has played on the
piano-forte, at farthest, ten times more, she will sing right off,
so that you know in a moment what it is. Fräulein Marie catches it
at the eighth time; and if she is sometimes a quarter of a note
lower than the piano-forte, after all it is very tolerable,
considering her pretty little doll-face, and very passable
"After the duet, a universal chorus of applause! And now
arriettas and duettinos succeed each other, and right merrily I
hammer away at the thousand-times-repeated accompaniment. During the
singing, the Finanzräthin Eberstein, by coughing and humming, has
given to understand that she also sings. Fräulein Nanette says;
"'But, my dear Finanzräthin, now you must let us hear your
"A new tumult arises. She has a bad cold in her head,--she does
not know anything by heart! Gottlieb brings straightway two armfuls
of music-books; and the leaves are turned over again and again.
First she thinks she will sing Der Hölle Rache, etc., then Hebe
sich, etc., then Ach, Ich liebte, etc. In this embarrassment, I
propose, Ein Veilchen auf der Wiese, etc. But she is for the heroic
style; she wants to make a display, and finally selects the aria in
"O scream, squeak, mew, gurgle, groan, agonize, quiver, quaver,
just as much as you please, Madam,--I have my foot on the fortissimo
pedal, and thunder myself deaf! O Satan, Satan! which of thy goblins
damned has got into this throat, pinching, and kicking, and cuffing
the tones about so! Four strings have snapped already, and one
hammer is lamed for life. My ears ring again,--my head hums,--my
nerves tremble! Have all the harsh notes from the cracked trumpet of
a strolling-player been imprisoned in this little throat! (But this
excites me,--I must drink a glass of Burgundy.)
"The applause was unbounded; and some one observed, that the
Finanzräthin and Mozart had put me quite in a blaze. I smiled with
downcast eyes, very stupidly. I could but acknowledge it. And now
all talents, which hitherto had bloomed unseen, were in motion,
wildly flitting to and fro. They were bent upon a surfeit of music;
tuttis, finales, choruses must be performed. The Canonicus Kratzer
sings, you know, a heavenly bass, as was observed by the gentleman
yonder, with the head of Titus Andronicus, who modestly remarked
also, that he himself was properly only a second-ratetenor; but,
though he said it, who should not say it, was nevertheless member of
several academies of music. Forthwith preparations are made for the
first chorus in the opera of Titus. It went off gloriously. The
Canonicus, standing close behind me, thundered out the bass over my
head, as if he were singing with bass-drums and trumpet obbligato in
a cathedral. He struck the notes gloriously; but in his hurry he got
the tempo just about twice too slow. However, he was true to himself
at least in this, that through the whole piece he dragged along just
half a beat behind the rest. The others showed a most decided
penchant for the ancient Greek music, which, as is well known,
having nothing to do with harmony, ran on in unison or monotone.
They all sang treble, with slight variations, caused by accidental
rising and falling of the voice, say some quarter of a note.
"This somewhat noisy affair produced a universal tragic state of
feeling, namely a kind of terror, even at the card-tables, which for
the momentcould no longer, as before, chime in melodramatic, by
weaving into the music sundry exclamations; as, for instance;
" 'O! I loved,--eight and forty,--was so happy,--I pass,--then I
knew not,--whist,--pangs of love,--follow suit,' etc.--It has a very
pretty effect. (I fill my glass.)
"That was the highest point of the musical exhibition this
evening. 'Now it is all over,' thought I to myself. I shut the book,
and got up from the piano-forte. But the baron, my ancient tenor,
came up to me, and said;
" 'My dear Herr Capellmeister, they say you play the most
exquisite voluntaries! Now do play us one; only a short one, I
"I answered very drily, that to-day my fantasies had all gone a
wool-gathering; and, while we are talking about it, a devil, in the
shape of a dandy, with two waistcoats, had smelt out Bach's
Variations, which were lying under my hat in the next room. He
thinks they are merely little variations, such as Nel cor mio non
più sento, or Ah, vous dirai-je, maman, etc., and insists upon it,
that I shall play them. I try to excuse myself, but they all attack
me. So then, 'Listen, and burst with ennui,' think I to myself,--and
begin to work away.
"When I had got to variation number three, several ladies
departed, followed by the gentleman with the Titus-Andronicus head.
The Rödeleins, as their teacher was playing, stood it out, though
not without difficulty, to number twelve. Number fifteen made the
man with two waistcoats take to his heels. Out of most excessive
politeness, the Baron stayed till number thirty, and drank up all
the punch, which Gottlieb placed on the piano-forte for me.
"I should have brought all to a happy conclusion, but, alas! this
number thirty,--the theme,--tore me irresistibly away. Suddenly the
quarto leaves spread out to a gigantic folio, on which a thousand
imitations and developments of the theme stood written, and I could
not choose but play them. The notes became alive, and glimmered and
hopped all round about me,--an electric firestreamed through the
tips of my fingers into the keys,--the spirit, from which it gushed
forth, spread his broad wings over my soul, the whole room was
filled with a thick mist, in which the candles burned dim,--and
through which peered forth now a nose, and anon a pair of eyes, and
then suddenly vanished away again. And thus it came to pass, that I
was left alone with my Sebastian Bach, by Gottlieb attended, as by a
familiar spirit. (Your good health, Sir.)
"Is an honest musician to be tormented with music, as I have been
to-day, and am so often tormented? Verily, no art is so damnably
abused, as this same glorious, holy Musica, who, in her delicate
being, is so easily desecrated. Have you real talent,--real feeling
for art? Then study music;--do something worthy of the art,--and
dedicate your whole soul to the beloved saint. If without this you
have a fancy for quavers and demi-semi-quavers, practise for
yourself and by yourself, and torment not therewith the
Capellmeister Kreisler and others.
"Well, now I might go home, and put the finishing touch to my
sonata for the piano-forte; but it is not yet eleven o'clock, and,
withal, a beautiful summer night. I will lay any wager, that, at my
next-door neighbour's, (the Oberjägermeister,) the young ladies are
sitting at the window, screaming down into the street, for the
twentieth time, with harsh, sharp, piercing voices, 'When thine eye
is beaming love,'--but only the first stanza, over and over again.
Obliquely across the way, some one is murdering the flute, and has,
moreover, lungs like Rameau's nephew; and, in notes of 'linked
sweetness long drawn out,' his neighbour is trying acoustic
experiments on the French horn. The numerous dogs of the
neighbourhood are growing unquiet, and my landlord's cat, inspired
by that sweet duet, is making close by my window (for, of course, my
musico-poetic laboratory is an attic,) certain tender
confessions,--upward through the whole chromatic scale, soft
complaining, to the neighbour's puss, with whom he has been in love
since March last! Till this is all fairly over, II think will sit
quietly here. Besides, there is still blank paper and Burgundy left,
of which I forthwith take a sip.
"There is, as I have heard, an ancient law, forbidding those, who
followed any noisy handicraft, from living near literary men. Should
not then musical composers, poor, and hard beset, and who, moreover,
are forced to coin their inspiration into gold, to spin out the
thread of life withal, be allowed to apply this law to themselves,
and banish out of the neighbourhood all ballad-singers and
bagpipers? What would a painter say, while transferring to his
canvass a form of ideal beauty, if you should hold up before him all
manner of wild faces and ugly masks? He might shut his eyes, and in
this way, at least, quietly follow out the images of fancy. Cotton,
in one's ears, is of no use; one still hears the dreadful massacre.
And then the idea,--the bare idea, 'Now they are going to sing,--now
the horn strikes up,'--is enough to send one's sublimest conceptions
to the very devil."
CHAPTER V. SAINT GILGEN.
It was a bright Sunday morning when Flemming and Berkley left
behind them the cloud-capped hills of Salzburg, and journeyed
eastward towards the lakes. The landscape around them was one to
attune their souls to holy musings. Field, forest, hill and vale,
fresh air, and the perfume of clover-fields and new-mown hay, birds
singing, and the sound of village bells, and the moving breeze among
the branches,--no laborers in the fields, but peasants on their way
to church, coming across the green pastures, with roses in their
hats,--the beauty and quiet of the holy day of rest,--all, all in
earth and air, breathed upon the soul like a benediction.
They stopped to change horses at Hof, a handfulof houses on the
brow of a breezy hill, the church and tavern standing opposite to
each other, and nothing between them but the dusty road, and the
churchyard, with its iron crosses, and the fluttering tinsel of the
funeral garlands. In the churchyard and at the tavern-door, were
groups of peasants, waiting for divine service to begin. They were
clothed in their holiday dresses. The men wore breeches and long
boots, and frock-coats with large metal buttons; the women, straw
hats, and gay calico gowns, with short waists and scant folds. They
were adorned with a profusion of great, trumpery ornaments, and
reminded Flemming of the Indians in the frontier villages of
America. Near the churchyard-gate was a booth, filled with flaunting
calicos; and opposite sat an old woman behind a table, which was
loaded with ginger-bread. She had a roulette at her elbow, where the
peasants risked a kreutzer for a cake. On other tables, cases of
knives, scythes, reaping-hooks, and other implements of husbandry
were offered for sale.
The travellers continued their journey, without stopping to hear
mass. In the course of the forenoon they came suddenly in sight of
the beautiful Lake of Saint Wolfgang, lying deep beneath them in the
valley. On its shore, under them, sat the white village of Saint
Gilgen, like a swan upon its reedy nest. They seemed to have taken
it unawares, and as it were clapped their hands upon it in its
sleep, and almost expected to see it spread its broad, snow-white
wings, and fly away. The whole scene was one of surpassing
They drove leisurely down the steep hill, and stopped at the
village inn. Before the door was a magnificent, broad-armed tree,
with benches and tables beneath its shadow. On the front of the
house was written in large letters, "Post-Tavern by Franz
Schoendorfer"; and over this was a large sun-dial, and a
half-effaced painting of a bear-hunt, covering the whole side of the
house, and mostly red. Just as they drove up, a procession of
priests with banners, and peasants with their hats in their hands,
passed by towards the church. They were singing a solemn psalm. At
the same moment, a smart servant girl, with a black straw hat, set
coquettishly on her flaxen hair, and a large silver spoon stuck in
her girdle, came out of the tavern, and asked Flemming what he would
please to order for breakfast.
Breakfast was soon ready, and was served up at the head of the
stairs, on an old-fashioned oaken table in the great hall, into
which the chambers opened. Berkley ordered at the same time a tub of
cold water, in which he seated himself, with his coat on, and a
bed-quilt thrown round his knees. Thus he sat for an hour; ate his
breakfast, and smoked a pipe, and laughed a good deal. He then went
to bed and slept till dinner time. Meanwhile Flemming sat in his
chamber and read. It was a large room in the front of the house,
looking upon the village and the lake. The windows were latticed,
with small panes, and the window-sills filled with fragrant
At length the heat of the noon was over. Day, like a weary
pilgrim, had reached the westerngate of Heaven, and Evening stooped
down to unloose the latchets of his sandal-shoon. Flemming and
Berkley sallied forth to ramble by the borders of the lake. Down the
cool, green glades and alleys, beneath the illuminated leaves of the
forest, over the rising grounds, in the glimmering fretwork of
sunshine and leaf-shadow,--an exhilarating walk! The cool evening
air by the lake was like a bath. They drank the freshness of the
hour in thirsty draughts, and their breasts heaved rejoicing and
revived, after the feverish, long confinement of the sultry summer
day. And there, too, lay the lake, so beautiful and still! Did it
not recall, think ye, the lake of Thun?
On their return homeward they passed near the village
"Let us go in and see how the dead rest," said Flemming, as they
passed beneath the belfry of the church; and they went in, and
lingered among the tombs and the evening shadows.
How peaceful is the dwelling-place of those who inhabit the green
hamlets, and populous cities of the dead! They need no antidote for
care,--nor armour against fate. No morning sun shines in at the
closed windows, and awakens them, nor shall until the last great
day. At most a straggling sunbeam creeps in through the crumbling
wall of an old neglected tomb,--a strange visiter, that stays not
long. And there they all sleep, the holy ones, with their arms
crossed upon their breasts, or lying motionless by their sides,--not
carved in marble by the hand of man, but formed in dust, by the hand
of God. God's peace be with them. No one comes to them now, to hold
them by the hand, and with delicate fingers smooth their hair. They
heed no more the blandishments of earthly friendship. They need us
not, however much we may need them. And yet they silently await our
Beautiful is that season of life, when we can say, in the
language of Scripture, "Thou hast the dew of thy youth." But of
these flowers Death gathers many. He places them upon his bosom, and
his form becomes transformed into somethingless terrific than
before. We learn to gaze and shudder not; for he carries in his arms
the sweet blossoms of our earthly hopes. We shall see them all
again, blooming in a happier land.
Yes, Death brings us again to our friends. They are waiting for
us, and we shall not live long. They have gone before us, and are
like the angels in heaven. They stand upon the borders of the grave
to welcome us, with the countenance of affection, which they wore on
earth; yet more lovely, more radiant, more spiritual! O, he spake
well who said, that graves are the foot-prints of angels.
Death has taken thee, too, and thou hast the dew of thy youth. He
has placed thee upon his bosom, and his stern countenance wears a
smile. The far country, toward which we journey, seems nearer to us,
and the way less dark; for thou hast gone before, passing so quietly
to thy rest, that day itself dies not more calmly!
It was in an hour of blessed communion with the souls of the
departed, that the sweet poet Henry Vaughan wrote those few lines,
whichhave made death lovely, and his own name immortal!
"They are all gone into a world of light,
And I alone sit lingering here!
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.
"It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which the hill is dressed,
After the sun's remove.
"I see them walking in an air of glory,
Whose light doth trample on my days,
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
Mere glimmerings and decays.
"O holy hope, and high humility,
High as the heavens above!
These are your walks, and ye have showed them me,
To kindle my cold love.
"Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just!
Shining nowhere but in the dark!
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
Could man outlook that mark!
"He that hath found some fledged bird's nest, may know,
At first sight, if the bird be flown;
But what fair field or grove he sings in now,
That is to him unknown.
"And yet as angels, in some brighter dreams,
Call to the soul, when man doth sleep,
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
And into glory peep!"
Such were Flemming's thoughts, as he stood among the tombs at
evening in the churchyard of Saint Gilgen. A holy calm stole over
him. The fever of his heart was allayed. He had a moment's rest from
pain; and went back to his chamber in peace. Whence came this holy
calm, this long-desired tranquillity? He knew not; yet the place
seemed consecrated. He resolved to linger there, beside the lake,
which was a Pool of Bethesda for him; and let Berkley go on alone to
the baths of Ischel. He would wait for him there in the solitude of
Saint Gilgen. Long after they had parted for the night, he sat in
his chamber, and thought of what he had suffered, and enjoyedthe
silence within and without. Hour after hour, slipped by unheeded, as
he sat lost in his reverie. At length, his candle sank in its
socket, gave one flickering gleam, and expired with a sob. This
He went to the window, and peered out into the dark night. It was
very late. Twice already since midnight had the great pulpit-orator
Time, like a preacher in the days of the Puritans, turned the
hour-glass on his high pulpit, the church belfry, and still went on
with his sermon, thundering downward to the congregation in the
churchyard and in the village. But they heard him not. They were all
asleep in their narrow pews, namely, in their beds and in their
graves. Soon afterward the cock crew; and the cloudy heaven, like
the apostle, who denied his Lord, wept bitterly.
CHAPTER VI. SAINT WOLFGANG.
The morning is lovely beyond expression. The heat of the sun is
great; but a gentle wind cools the air. Birds never sang more loud
and clear. The flowers, too, on the window-sill, and on the table,
rose, geranium, and the delicate crimson cactus, are all so
beautiful, that we think the German poet right, when he calls the
flowers "stars in the firmament of the earth." Out of doors all is
quiet. Opposite the window stands the village schoolhouse. There are
two parasite trees, with their outspread branches nailed against the
white walls, like the wings of culprit kites. There the rods grow.
Under them, on a bench at the door, sit school-girls; and barefoot
urchins in breeches are spelling out their lessons. The clock
strikestwelve, and one by one they disappear, and go into the hive,
like bees at the sound of a brass pan. At the door of the next house
sits a poor woman, knitting in the shade; and in front of her is an
aqueduct pouring its cool, clear water into a rough wooden trough. A
travelling carriage without horses, stands at the inn-door, and a
postilion in red jacket is talking with a blacksmith, who wears blue
woollen stockings and a leather apron. Beyond is a stable, and still
further a cluster of houses and the village church. They are
repairing the belfry and the bulbous steeple. A little farther, over
the roofs of the houses, you can see Saint Wolfgang's Lake. Water so
bright and beautiful hardly flows elsewhere. Green, and blue, and
silver-white run into each other, with almost imperceptible change,
like the streaks on the sides of a mackerel. And above are the
pinnacles of the mountains; some bald, and rocky, and cone-shaped,
and others bold, and broad, and dark with pines.
Such was the scene, which Paul Flemming beheldfrom his window a
few mornings after Berkley's departure. The quiet of the place had
soothed him. He had become more calm. His heart complained less
loudly in the holy village silence, as we are wont to lower our
voices when those around us speak in whispers. He began to feel at
times an interest in the lowly things around him. The face of the
landscape pleased him, but more than this the face of the poor woman
who sat knitting in the shade. It was a pale, meek countenance, with
more delicacy in its features than is usual among peasantry. It wore
also an expression of patient suffering. As he was looking at her, a
deformed child came out of the door and hung upon her knees. She
caressed him affectionately. It was her child; in whom she beheld
her own fair features distorted and hardly to be recognised, as one
sometimes sees his face reflected from the bowl of a spoon.
The child's deformity and the mother's tenderness interested the
feelings of Flemming. The landlady told him something of the poor
woman's history. She was the widow of a blacksmith, who had died
soon after their marriage. But she survived to become a mother, just
as, in oaks, immediately after fecundation, the male flower fades
and falls, while the female continues and ripens into perfect fruit.
Alas! her child was deformed. Yet she looked upon him with eyes of
maternal fondness and pity, loving him still more for his deformity.
And in her heart she said, as the Mexicans say to their new-born
offspring, "Child, thou art come into the world to suffer. Endure,
and hold thy peace." Though poor, she was not entirely destitute;
for her husband had left her, beside the deformed child, a life
estate in a tomb in the churchyard of Saint Gilgen. During the week
she labored for other people, and on Sundays for herself, by going
to church and reading the Bible. On one of the blank leaves she had
recorded the day of her birth, and that of her child's, likewise her
marriage and her husband's death. Thus she lived, poor, patient and
resigned. Her heart was a passion-flower, bearing within it the
crown of thorns and the cross of Christ. Her ideas of Heaven were
few and simple. She rejected the doctrine that it was a place of
constant activity, and not of repose, and believed, that, when she
at length reached it, she should work no more, but sit always in a
clean white apron, and sing psalms.
As Flemming sat meditating on these things, he paid new homage in
his heart to the beauty and excellence of the female character. He
thought of the absent and the dead; and said, with tears in his
"Shall I thank God for the green Summer, and the mild air, and
the flowers, and the stars, and all that makes this world so
beautiful, and not for the good and beautiful beings I have known in
it? Has not their presence been sweeter to me than flowers? Are they
not higher and holier than the stars? Are they not more to me than
all things else?"
Thus the morning passed away in musings; andin the afternoon,
when Flemming was preparing to go down to the lake, as his custom
was, a carriage drew up before the door, and, to his great
astonishment, out jumped Berkley. The first thing he did was to give
the Postmaster, who stood near the door, a smart cut with his whip.
The sufferer gently expostulated, saying,
"Pray, Sir, don't; I am lame."
Whereupon Berkley desisted, and began instead to shake the
Postmaster's wife by the shoulders, and order his dinner in English.
But all this was done so good-naturedly, and with such a rosy,
laughing face, that no offence was taken.
"So you have returned much sooner than you intended;" said
Flemming, after the first friendly salutations.
"Yes," replied Berkley; "I got tired of Ischel,--very tired. I
did not find the friends there, whom I expected. Now I am going back
to Salzburg, and then to Gastein. There I shall certainly find them.
You must go with me."
Flemming declined the invitation; and proposedto Berkley, that he
should join him in his excursion on the lake.
"You shall hear the grand echo of the Falkenstein," said he, "and
behold the scene of the Bridal Tragedy; and then we will go on as
far as the village of Saint Wolfgang, which you have not yet seen,
except across the lake."
"Well, this afternoon I devote to you; for to-morrow we part once
more, and who knows when we shall meet again?"
They went down to the water's side without farther delay; and,
taking a boat with two oars, struck across an elbow of the lake
towards a barren rock by the eastern shore, from which a small white
monument shone in the sun.
"That monument," said one of the boatmen, a stout young lad in
leather breeches, "was built by a butcher, to the glory of Saint
Wolfgang, who saved him from drowning. He was one day riding an ox
to market along the opposite bank; when the animal taking fright,
sprang into the water, and swam over to this place, with the butcher
on his back."
"And do you think he could have done this," asked Berkley; "if
Saint Wolfgang had not helped him?"
"Of course not!" answered leather-breeches; and the Englishman
From this point they rowed along under the shore to a low
promontory, upon which stood another monument, commemorating a more
"This is the place I was speaking of," said Flemming, as the
boatmen rested on their oars. "The melancholy and singular event it
commemorates happened more than two centuries ago. There was a
bridal party here upon the ice one winter; and in the midst of the
dance the ice broke, and the whole merry company were drowned
together, except the fiddlers, who were sitting on the shore."
They looked in silence at the monument, and at the blue quiet
water, under which the bones of the dancers lay buried, hand in
hand. The monument is of stone, painted white, with an
over-hangingroof to shelter it from storms. In a niche in front is a
small image of the Saviour, in a sitting posture; and an
inscription, upon a marble tablet below, says that it was placed
there by Longinus Walther and his wife Barbara Juliana von Hainberg;
themselves long since peacefully crumbled to dust, side by side in
"That was breaking the ice with a vengeance!" said Berkley, as
they pushed out into the lake again; and ere long they were floating
beneath the mighty precipice of Falkenstein; a steep wall of rock,
crowned with a chapel and a hermitage, where in days of old lived
the holy Saint Wolfgang. It is now haunted only by an echo, so
distinct and loud, that one might imagine the ghost of the departed
saint to be sitting there, and repeating the voices from below, not
word by word, but sentence by sentence, as if he were passing them
up to the recording angel.
"Ho! ho! ho!" shouted Berkley; and the sound seemed to strike the
wall of stone, like the flapping of steel plates; "Ho! ho! ho! How
areyou to-day, Saint Wolfgang! You infernal old rascal! How is the
Frau von Wolfgang!--God save great George the King! Damn your eyes!
Hold your tongue! Ho! ho! ha! ha! hi!"
And the words were recorded above; and a voice repeated them with
awful distinctness in the blue depths overhead, and Flemming felt in
his inmost soul the contrast between the holy heavens, and the
mockery of laughter, and the idle words, which fall back from the
sky above us and soil not its purity.
In half an hour they were at the village of Saint Wolfgang,
threading a narrow street, above which the roofs of quaint,
picturesque old houses almost met. It led them to a Gothic church; a
magnificent one for a village;--in front of which was a small court,
shut in by Italian-looking houses, with balconies, and flowers at
the windows. Here a bronze fountain of elaborate workmanship was
playing in the shade. On its summit stood an image of the patron
Saint of the village; and, running round the under lip of the
water-basin below, they read this inscription in old German
"I am in the honor of Saint Wolfgang raised. Abbot Wolfgang Habel
of Emensee, he hath made me for the use and delight of poor pilgrim
wight. Neither gold nor wine hath he; at this water shall he merry
be. In the year of the Lord fifteen hundred and fifteen, hath the
work completed been. God be praised!"
As they were deciphering the rude characters of this pious
inscription, a village priest came down a high flight of steps from
the parsonage near the church, and courteously saluted the
strangers. After returning the salutation, the mad Englishman,
without preface, asked him how many natural children were annually
born in the parish. The question seemed to astonish the good father,
but he answered it civilly, as he did several other questions, which
Flemming thought rather indiscreet, to say the least.
"You will excuse our curiosity," said he to the priest, by way of
apology. "We are strangersfrom distant countries. My friend is an
Englishman and I an American."
Berkley, however, was not so easily silenced. After a few
moments' conversation he broke out into most audacious Latin, in
which the only words clearly intelligible were;
"Plurimum reverende, in Christo religiosissime, ac clarissime
Domine, necnon et amice observandissime! Petrus sic est locutus;
'Nec argentum mihi, nec aurum est; sed quod habeo, hoc tibi do;
surge et ambula.'"
He seemed to be speaking of the fountain. The priest answered
"Non intellexi, Domine!"
But Berkley continued with great volubility to speak of his being
a stranger in the land, and all men being strangers upon earth, and
hoping to meet the good priest hereafter in the kingdom of Heaven.
The priest seemed confounded, and abashed. Through the mist of a
strange pronunciation he could recognise only here and there
afamiliar word. He took out his snuff-box; and tried to quote a
passage from Saint Paul;
"Ut dixit Sanctus Paulus; qui bene facit--"
Here his memory failed him, or, as the French say, he was at the
end of his Latin, and, stretching forth his long forefinger, he
concluded in German;
"Yes;--I don't--so clearly remember--what he did say."
The Englishman helped him through with a moral phrase; and then
pulling off his hat, exclaimed very solemnly;
"Vale, domine doctissime et reverendissime!"
And the Dominie, as if pursued by a demon, made a sudden and
precipitate retreat down a flight of steps into the street.
"There!" said Berkley laughing, "I beat him at his own weapons.
What do you say of my Latin?"
"I say of it," replied Flemming, "what Holophernes said of Sir
Nathaniel's; 'Priscian a little scratched; 't will serve.' I think I
have heardbetter. But what a whim! I thought I should have laughed
They were still sitting by the bronze fountain when the priest
returned, accompanied by a short man, with large feet, and a long
blue surtout, so greasy, that it reminded one of Polilla's in the
Spanish play, which was lined with slices of pork. His countenance
was broad and placid, but his blue eyes gleamed with a wild,
mysterious, sorrowful expression. Flemming thought the Latin contest
was to be renewed, with more powder and heavier guns. He was
mistaken. The stranger saluted him in German, and said, that, having
heard he was from America, he had come to question him about that
distant country, for which he was on the point of embarking. There
was nothing peculiar in his manner, nor in the questions he asked,
nor the remarks he made. They were the usual questions and remarks
about cities and climate, and sailing the sea. At length Flemming
asked him the object of his journey to America. Thestranger came
close up to him, and lowering his voice, said very solemnly;
"That holy man, Frederick Baraga, missionary among the Indians at
Lacroix, on Lake Superior, has returned to his father-land, Krain;
and I am chosen by Heaven to go forth as Minister Extraordinary of
Christ, to unite all nations and people in one church!"
Flemming almost started at the singular earnestness, with which
he uttered these words; and looked at him attentively, thinking to
see the face of a madman. But the modest, unassuming look of that
placid countenance was unchanged; only in the eyes burned a
mysterious light, as if candles had been lighted in the brain, to
magnify the daylight there.
"It is truly a high vocation," said he in reply. "But are you
sure, that this is no hallucination? Are you certain, that you have
been chosen by Heaven for this great work?"
"I am certain," replied the German, in a tone of great calmness
and sincerity; "and, if Saint Peter and Saint Paul should come down
from Heaven to assure me of it, my faith would be no stronger than
it now is. It has been declared to me by many signs and wonders. I
can no longer doubt, nor hesitate. I have already heard the voice of
the Spirit, speaking to me at night; and I know that I am an
apostle; and chosen for this work."
Such was the calm enthusiasm with which he spoke, that Flemming
could not choose but listen. He felt interested in this strange
being. There was something awe-inspiring in the spirit that
possessed him. After a short pause he continued;
"If you wish to know who I am, I can tell you in few words. I
think you will not find the story without interest."
He then went on to relate the circumstances recorded in the
CHAPTER VII. THE STORY OF BROTHER BERNARDUS.
"I was born in the city of Stein, in the land of Krain. My pious
mother Gertrude sang me psalms and spiritual songs in childhood; and
often, when I awoke in the night, I saw her still sitting, patiently
at her work by the stove, and heard her singing those hymns of
heaven, or praying in the midnight darkness when her work was done.
It was for me she prayed. Thus, from my earliest childhood, I
breathed the breath of pious aspirations. Afterwards I went to
Laybach as a student of theology; and after the usual course of
study, was ordained a priest. I went forth to the care of souls; my
own soul filled with the faith, that ere long all people would be
united in one church. Yet attimes my heart was heavy, to behold how
many nations there are who have not heard of Christ; and how those,
who are called Christians, are divided into numberless sects, and
how among these are many who are Christians in name only. I
determined to devote myself to the great work of the one church
universal; and for this purpose, to give myself wholly up to the
study of the Evangelists and the Fathers. I retired to the
Benedictine cloister of Saint Paul in the valley of Lavant. The
father-confessor in the nunnery of Laak, where I then lived,
strengthened me in this resolve. I had long walked with this angel
of God in a human form, and his parting benediction sank deep into
my soul. The Prince-Abbot Berthold, of blessed memory, was then head
of the Benedictine convent. He received me kindly, and led me to the
library; where I gazed with secret rapture on the vast folios of the
Christian Fathers, from which, as from an arsenal, I was to draw the
weapons of holy warfare. In the study of these, the year of my
noviciate passed. I becamea Franciscan friar; and took the name of
Brother Bernardus. Yet my course of life remained unchanged. I
seldom left the cloister; but sat in my cell, and pored over those
tomes of holy wisdom. About this time the aged confessor in Laak
departed this life. His death was made known to me in a dream. It
must have been after midnight, when I thought that I came into the
church, which was brilliantly lighted up. The dead body of the
venerable saint was brought in, attended by a great crowd. It seemed
to me, that I must go up into the pulpit and pronounce his funeral
oration; and, as I ascended the stairs, the words of my text came
into my mind; 'Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of his
saints.' My funeral sermon ended in a strain of exultation; and I
awoke with 'Amen!' upon my lips. A few days afterwards, I heard that
on that night the old man died. After this event I became restless
and melancholy. I strove in vain to drive from me my gloomy
thoughts. I could no longer study. I was no longer contented in the
cloister. I even thought of leaving it.
"One night I had gone to bed early, according to my custom, and had
fallen asleep. Suddenly I was awakened by a bright and wonderful
light, which shone all about me, and filled me with heavenly
rapture. Shortly after I heard a voice, which pronounced distinctly
these words, in the Sclavonian tongue; 'Remain in the cloister!' It
was the voice of my departed mother. I was fully awake; yet saw
nothing but the bright light, which disappeared, when the words had
been spoken. Still it was broad daylight in my chamber. I thought I
had slept beyond my usual hour. I looked at my watch. It was just
one o'clock after midnight. Suddenly the daylight vanished, and it
was dark. In the morning I arose, as if new-born, through the
wonderful light, and the words of my mother's voice. It was no
dream. I knew it was the will of God that I should stay; and I could
again give myself up to quiet study. I read the whole Bible through