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Memorials and Other Papers V2 by Thomas de Quincey

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The winter of 1633 had set in with unusual severity throughout Suabia
and Bavaria, though as yet scarcely advanced beyond the first week of
November. It was, in fact, at the point when our tale commences, the
eighth of that month, or, in our modern computation, the eighteenth;
long after which date it had been customary of late years, under any
ordinary state of the weather, to extend the course of military
operations, and without much decline of vigor. Latterly, indeed, it had
become apparent that entire winter campaigns, without either formal
suspensions of hostilities, or even partial relaxations, had entered
professedly as a point of policy into the system of warfare which now
swept over Germany in full career, threatening soon to convert its vast
central provinces--so recently blooming Edens of peace and expanding
prosperity--into a howling wilderness; and which had already converted
immense tracts into one universal aceldama, or human shambles, reviving
to the recollection at every step the extent of past happiness in the
endless memorials of its destruction. This innovation upon the old
practice of war had been introduced by the Swedish armies, whose
northern habits and training had fortunately prepared them to receive a
German winter as a very beneficial exchange; whilst upon the less hardy
soldiers from Italy, Spain, and the Southern France, to whom the harsh
transition from their own sunny skies had made the very same climate a
severe trial of constitution, this change of policy pressed with a
hardship that sometimes [Footnote: Of which there is more than one
remarkable instance, to the great dishonor of the French arms, in the
records of _her_ share in the Thirty Years' War.] crippled their

It was a change, however, not so long settled as to resist the
extraordinary circumstances of the weather. So fierce had been the cold
for the last fortnight, and so premature, that a pretty confident
anticipation had arisen, in all quarters throughout the poor exhausted
land, of a general armistice. And as this, once established, would
offer a ready opening to some measure of permanent pacification, it
could not be surprising that the natural hopefulness of the human
heart, long oppressed by gloomy prospects, should open with unusual
readiness to the first colorable dawn of happier times. In fact, the
reaction in the public spirits was sudden and universal. It happened
also that the particular occasion of this change of prospect brought
with it a separate pleasure on its own account. Winter, which by its
peculiar severity had created the apparent necessity for an armistice,
brought many household pleasures in its train--associated immemorially
with that season in all northern climates. The cold, which had casually
opened a path to more distant hopes, was also for the present moment a
screen between themselves and the enemy's sword. And thus it happened
that the same season, which held out a not improbable picture of final
restoration, however remote, to public happiness, promised them a
certain foretaste of this blessing in the immediate security of their

But in the ancient city of Klosterheim it might have been imagined that
nobody participated in these feelings. A stir and agitation amongst the
citizens had been conspicuous for some days; and on the morning of the
eighth, spite of the intense cold, persons of every rank were seen
crowding from an early hour to the city walls, and returning homewards
at intervals, with anxious and dissatisfied looks. Groups of both sexes
were collected at every corner of the wider streets, keenly debating,
or angrily protesting; at one time denouncing vengeance to some great
enemy; at another, passionately lamenting some past or half-forgotten
calamity, recalled to their thoughts whilst anticipating a similar
catastrophe for the present day.

Above all, the great square, upon which the ancient castellated palace
or _schloss_ opened by one of its fronts, as well as a principal
convent of the city, was the resort of many turbulent spirits. Most of
these were young men, and amongst them many students of the university:
for the war, which had thinned or totally dispersed some of the
greatest universities in Germany, under the particular circumstances of
its situation, had greatly increased that of Klosterheim. Judging by
the tone which prevailed, and the random expressions which fell upon
the ear at intervals, a stranger might conjecture that it was no empty
lamentation over impending evils which occupied this crowd, but some
serious preparation for meeting or redressing them. An officer of some
distinction had been for some time observing them from the antique
portals of the palace. It was probable, however, that little more than
their gestures had reached him; for at length he moved nearer, and
gradually insinuated himself into the thickest part of the mob, with
the air of one who took no further concern in their proceedings than
that of simple curiosity. But his martial air and his dress allowed him
no means of covering his purpose. With more warning and leisure to
arrange his precautions, he might have passed as an indifferent
spectator; as it was, his jewel-hilted sabre, the massy gold chain,
depending in front from a costly button and loop which secured it half
way down his back, and his broad crimson scarf, embroidered in a style
of peculiar splendor, announced him as a favored officer of the
Landgrave, whose ambitious pretensions, and tyrannical mode of
supporting them, were just now the objects of general abhorrence in
Klosterheim. His own appearance did not belie the service which he had
adopted. He was a man of stout person, somewhat elegantly formed, in
age about three or four and thirty, though perhaps a year or two of his
apparent age might be charged upon the bronzing effects of sun and
wind. In bearing and carriage he announced to every eye the mixed
carelessness and self-possession of a military training; and as his
features were regular, and remarkably intelligent, he would have been
pronounced, on the whole, a man of winning exterior, were it not for
the repulsive effect of his eye, in which there was a sinister
expression of treachery, and at times a ferocious one of cruelty.

Placed upon their guard by his costume, and the severity of his
countenance, those of the lower rank were silent as he moved along, or
lowered their voices into whispers and inaudible murmurs. Amongst the
students, however, whenever they happened to muster strongly, were many
fiery young men, who disdained to temper the expression of their
feelings, or to moderate their tone. A large group of these at one
corner of the square drew attention upon themselves, as well by the
conspicuous station which they occupied upon the steps of a church
portico, as by the loudness of their voices. Towards them the officer
directed his steps; and probably no lover of _scenes_ would have
had very long to wait for some explosion between parties both equally
ready to take offence, and careless of giving it; but at that moment,
from an opposite angle of the square, was seen approaching a young man
in plain clothes, who drew off the universal regard of the mob upon
himself, and by the uproar of welcome which saluted him occasioned all
other sounds to be stifled. "Long life to our noble leader!"--"Welcome
to the good Max!" resounded through the square. "Hail to our noble
brother!" was the acclamation of the students. And everybody hastened
forward to meet him with an impetuosity which for the moment drew off
all attention from the officer: he was left standing by himself on the
steps of the church, looking down upon this scene of joyous welcome--
the sole spectator who neither fully understood its meaning, nor shared
in its feelings.

The stranger, who wore in part the antique costume of the university of
Klosterheim, except where he still retained underneath a travelling
dress, stained with recent marks of the roads and the weather, advanced
amongst his friends with an air at once frank, kind, and dignified. He
replied to their greetings in the language of cheerfulness; but his
features expressed anxiety, and his manner was hurried. Whether he had
not observed the officer overlooking them, or thought that the
importance of the communications which he had to make transcended all
common restraints of caution, there was little time to judge; so it
was, at any rate, that, without lowering his voice, he entered abruptly
upon his business.

"Friends! I have seen the accursed Holkerstein; I have penetrated
within his fortress. With my own eyes I have viewed and numbered his
vile assassins. They are in strength triple the utmost amount of our
friends. Without help from us, our kinsmen are lost. Scarce one of us
but will lose a dear friend before three nights are over, should
Klosterheim not resolutely do her duty."

"She shall, she shall!" exclaimed a multitude of voices.

"Then, friends, it must be speedily; never was there more call for
sudden resolution. Perhaps, before to-morrow's sun shall set, the sword
of this detested robber will be at their throats. For he has some
intelligence (whence I know not, nor how much) of their approach.
Neither think that Holkerstein is a man acquainted with any touch of
mercy or relenting. Where no ransom is to be had, he is in those
circumstances that he will and must deliver himself from the burden of
prisoners by a general massacre. Infants even will not be spared."

Many women had by this time flocked to the outer ring of the listening
audience. And, perhaps, for _their_ ears in particular it was that
the young stranger urged these last circumstances; adding,

"Will you look down tamely from your city walls upon such another
massacre of the innocents as we have once before witnessed?"

"Cursed be Holkerstein!" said a multitude of voices.

"And cursed be those that openly or secretly support him!" added one of
the students, looking earnestly at the officer.

"Amen!" said the officer, in a solemn tone, and looking round him with
the aspect of one who will not suppose himself to have been included in
the suspicion.

"And, friends, remember this," pursued the popular favorite; "whilst
you are discharging the first duties of Christians and brave men to
those who are now throwing themselves upon the hospitality of your
city, you will also be acquitting yourselves of a great debt to the

"Softly, young gentleman, softly," interrupted the officer; "his serene
highness, my liege lord and yours, governs here, and the emperor has no
part in our allegiance. For debts, what the city owes to the emperor
she will pay. But men and horses, I take it--"

"Are precisely the coin which the time demands; these will best please
the emperor, and, perhaps, will suit the circumstances of the city.
But, leaving the emperor's rights as a question for lawyers, you, sir,
are a soldier,--I question not, a brave one,--will you advise his
highness the Landgrave to look down from the castle windows upon a vile
marauder, stripping or murdering the innocent people who are throwing
themselves upon the hospitality of this ancient city?"

"Ay, sir, that will I, be you well assured--the Landgrave is my

"Since when? Since Thursday week, I think; for so long it is since your
_tertia_ [Footnote: An old Walloon designation for a battalion.]
first entered Klosterheim. But in that as you will, and if it be a
point of honor with you gentlemen Walloons to look on whilst women and
children are butchered. For such a purpose no man is _my_ sovereign;
and as to the Landgrave in particular--"

"Nor ours, nor ours!" shouted a tumult of voices, which drowned the
young student's words about the Landgrave, though apparently part of
them reached the officer. He looked round in quest of some military
comrades who might support him in the _voye du fait_, to which, at
this point, his passion prompted him. But, seeing none, he exclaimed,
"Citizens, press not this matter too far--and you, young man,
especially, forbear,--you tread upon the brink of treason!"

A shout of derision threw back his words.

"Of treason, I say," he repeated, furiously; "and such wild behavior it
is (and I say it with pain) that perhaps even now is driving his
highness to place your city under martial law."

"Martial law! did you hear that?" ran along from mouth to mouth.

"Martial law, gentlemen, I say; how will you relish the little articles
of that code? The provost marshal makes short leave-takings. Two fathom
of rope, and any of these pleasant old balconies which I see around me
(pointing, as he spoke, to the antique galleries of wood which ran
round the middle stories in the Convent of St. Peter), with a
confessor, or none, as the provost's breakfast may chance to allow,
have cut short, to my knowledge, the freaks of many a better fellow
than any I now see before me."

Saying this, he bowed with a mock solemnity all round to the crowd,
which, by this time, had increased in number and violence. Those who
were in the outermost circles, and beyond the distinct hearing of what
he said, had been discussing with heat the alarming confirmation of
their fears in respect to Holkerstein, or listening to the impassioned
narrative of a woman, who had already seen one of her sons butchered by
this ruffian's people under the walls of the city, and was now
anticipating the same fate for her last surviving son and daughter, in
case they should happen to be amongst the party now expected from
Vienna. She had just recited the tragical circumstances of her son's
death, and had worked powerfully upon the sympathizing passions of the
crowd, when, suddenly, at a moment so unseasonable for the officer,
some imperfect repetition of his words about the provost martial and
the rope passed rapidly from mouth to mouth. It was said that he had
threatened every man with instant death at the drum-head, who should
but speculate on assisting his friends outside, under the heaviest
extremities of danger or of outrage. The sarcastic bow and the inflamed
countenance of the officer were seen by glimpses further than his words
extended. Kindling eyes and lifted arms of many amongst the mob, and
chiefly of those on the outside, who had heard his words the most
imperfectly, proclaimed to such as knew Klosterheim and its temper at
this moment the danger in which he stood. Maximilian, the young
student, generously forgot his indignation in concern for his immediate
safety. Seizing him by the hand, he exclaimed,

"Sir, but a moment ago you warned me that I stood on the brink of
treason: look to your own safety at present; for the eyes of some whom
I see yonder are dangerous."

"Young gentleman," the other replied, contemptuously, "I presume that
you are a student; let me counsel you to go back to your books. There
you will be in your element. For myself, I am familiar with faces as
angry as these--and hands something more formidable. Believe me, I see
nobody here," and he affected to speak with imperturbable coolness, but
his voice became tremulous with passion, "whom I can even esteem worthy
of a soldier's consideration."

"And yet, Colonel von Aremberg, there is at least one man here who has
had the honor of commanding men as elevated as yourself." Saying which,
he hastily drew from his bosom, where it hung suspended from his neck,
a large flat tablet of remarkably beautiful onyx, on one side of which
was sculptured a very striking face; but on the other, which he
presented to the gaze of the colonel, was a fine representation of an
eagle grovelling on the dust, and beginning to expand its wings--with
the single word _Resurgam_ by way of motto.

Never was revulsion of feeling so rapidly expressed on any man's
countenance. The colonel looked but once; he caught the image of the
bird trailing its pinions in the dust, he heard the word
_Resurgam_ audibly pronounced; his color fled, his lips grew livid
with passion; and, furiously unsheathing his sword, he sprung, with
headlong forgetfulness of time and place, upon his calm antagonist.
With the advantage of perfect self-possession, Maximilian found it easy
to parry the tempestuous blows of the colonel; and he would, perhaps,
have found it easy to disarm him. But at this moment the crowd, who had
been with great difficulty repressed by the more thoughtful amongst the
students, burst through all restraints. In the violent outrage offered
to their champion and leader, they saw naturally a full confirmation of
the worst impressions they had received as to the colonel's temper and
intention. A number of them rushed forward to execute a summary
vengeance; and the foremost amongst these, a mechanic of Klosterheim,
distinguished for his herculean strength, with one blow stretched Von
Aremberg on the ground. A savage yell announced the dreadful fate which
impended over the fallen officer. And, spite of the generous exertions
made for his protection by Maximilian and his brother students, it is
probable that at that moment no human interposition could have availed
to turn aside the awakened appetite for vengeance, and that he must
have perished, but for the accident which at that particular instant of
time occurred to draw off the attention of the mob.

A signal gun from a watch-tower, which always in those unhappy times
announced the approach of strangers, had been fired about ten minutes
before; but, in the turbulent uproar of the crowd, it had passed
unnoticed. Hence it was, that, without previous warning to the mob
assembled at this point, a mounted courier now sprung into the square
at full gallop on his road to the palace, and was suddenly pulled up by
the dense masses of human beings.

"News, news!" exclaimed Maximilian; "tidings of our dear friends from
Vienna! "This he said with the generous purpose of diverting the
infuriated mob from the unfortunate Von Aremberg, though himself
apprehending that the courier had arrived from another quarter. His
plan succeeded: the mob rushed after the horseman, all but two or three
of the most sanguinary, who, being now separated from all assistance,
were easily drawn off from their prey. The opportunity was eagerly used
to carry off the colonel, stunned and bleeding, within the gates of a
Franciscan convent. He was consigned to the medical care of the holy
fathers; and Maximilian, with his companions, then hurried away to the
chancery of the palace, whither the courier had proceeded with his

These were interesting in the highest degree. It had been doubted by
many, and by others a pretended doubt had been raised to serve the
Landgrave's purpose, whether the great cavalcade from Vienna would be
likely to reach the entrance of the forest for a week or more. Certain
news had now arrived, and was published before it could be stifled,
that they and all their baggage, after a prosperous journey so far,
would be assembled at that point on this very evening. The courier had
left the advanced guard about noonday, with an escort of four hundred
of the Black Yagers from the Imperial Guard, and two hundred of
Papenheim's Dragoons, at Waldenhausen, on the very brink of the forest.
The main body and rear were expected to reach the same point in four or
five hours; and the whole party would then fortify their encampment as
much as possible against the night attack which they had too much
reason to apprehend.

This was news which, in bringing a respite of forty-eight hours,
brought relief to some who had feared that even this very night might
present them with the spectacle of their beloved friends engaged in a
bloody struggle at the very gates of Klosterheim; for it was the fixed
resolution of the Landgrave to suffer no diminution of his own military
strength, or of the means for recruiting it hereafter. Men, horses,
arms, all alike were rigorously laid under embargo by the existing
government of the city; and such was the military power at its
disposal, reckoning not merely the numerical strength in troops, but
also the power of sweeping the main streets of the town, and several of
the principal roads outside, that it was become a matter of serious
doubt whether the unanimous insurrection of the populace had a chance
for making head against the government. But others found not even a
momentary comfort in this account. They considered that, perhaps,
Waldenhausen might be the very ground selected for the murderous
attack. There was here a solitary post-house, but no town, or even
village. The forest at this point was just thirty-four miles broad; and
if the bloodiest butchery should be going on under cover of night, no
rumor of it could be borne across the forest in time to alarm the many
anxious friends who would this night be lying awake in Klosterheim.

A slight circumstance served to barb and point the public distress,
which otherwise seemed previously to have reached its utmost height.
The courier had brought a large budget of letters to private
individuals throughout Klosterheim; many of these were written by
children unacquainted with the dreadful catastrophe which threatened
them. Most of them had been long separated, by the fury of the war,
from their parents. They had assembled, from many different quarters,
at Vienna, in order to join what might be called, in Oriental phrase,
_the caravan_. Their parents had also, in many instances, from
places equally dispersed, assembled at Klosterheim; and, after great
revolutions of fortune, they were now going once more to rejoin each
other. Their letters expressed the feelings of hope and affectionate
pleasure suitable to the occasion. They retraced the perils they had
passed during the twenty-six days of their journey,--the great towns,
heaths, and forests, they had traversed since leaving the gates of
Vienna; and expressed, in the innocent terms of childhood, the pleasure
they felt in having come within two stages of the gates of Klosterheim.
"In the forest," said they, "there will be no more dangers to pass; no
soldiers; nothing worse than wild deer."

Letters written in these terms, contrasted with the mournful realities
of the case, sharpened the anguish of fear and suspense throughout the
whole city; and Maximilian with his friends, unable to bear the loud
expression of the public feelings, separated themselves from the
tumultuous crowds, and adjourning to the seclusion of their college
rooms, determined to consult, whilst it was yet not too late, whether,
in their hopeless situation for openly resisting the Landgrave without
causing as much slaughter as they sought to prevent, it might not yet
be possible for them to do something in the way of resistance to the
bloody purposes of Holkerstein.


The travelling party, for whom much anxiety was felt in Klosterheim,
had this evening reached Waldenhausen without loss or any violent
alarm; and, indeed, considering the length of their journey, and the
distracted state of the empire, they had hitherto travelled in
remarkable security. It was now nearly a month since they had taken
their departure from Vienna, at which point considerable numbers had
assembled from the adjacent country to take the benefit of their
convoy. Some of these they had dropped at different turns in their
route, but many more had joined them as they advanced; for in every
considerable city they found large accumulations of strangers, driven
in for momentary shelter from the storm of war as it spread over one
district after another; and many of these were eager to try the chances
of a change, or, upon more considerate grounds, preferred the
protection of a place situated like Klosterheim, in a nook as yet
unvisited by the scourge of military execution. Hence it happened, that
from a party of seven hundred and fifty, with an escort of four hundred
yagers, which was the amount of their numbers on passing through the
gates of Vienna, they had gradually swelled into a train of sixteen
hundred, including two companies of dragoons, who had joined them by
the emperor's orders at one of the fortified posts.

It was felt, as a circumstance of noticeable singularity, by most of
the party, that, after traversing a large part of Germany without
encountering any very imminent peril, they should be first summoned to
unusual vigilance, and all the most jealous precautions of fear, at the
very termination of their journey. In all parts of their route they had
met with columns of troops pursuing their march, and now and then with
roving bands of deserters, who were formidable to the unprotected
traveller. Some they had overawed by their display of military
strength; from others, in the imperial service, they had received
cheerful assistance; and any Swedish corps, which rumor had presented
as formidable by their numbers, they had, with some exertion of
forethought and contrivance, constantly evaded, either by a little
detour, or by a temporary halt in some place of strength. But now it
was universally known that they were probably waylaid by a desperate
and remorseless freebooter, who, as he put his own trust exclusively in
the sword, allowed nobody to hope for any other shape of deliverance.

Holkerstein, the military robber, was one of the many monstrous growths
which had arisen upon the ruins of social order in this long and
unhappy war. Drawing to himself all the malcontents of his own
neighborhood, and as many deserters from the regular armies in the
centre of Germany as he could tempt to his service by the license of
unlimited pillage, he had rapidly created a respectable force; had
possessed himself of various castles in Wirtemberg, within fifty or
sixty miles of Klosterheim; had attacked and defeated many parties of
regular troops sent out to reduce him; and, by great activity and local
knowledge, had raised himself to so much consideration, that the terror
of his name had spread even to Vienna, and the escort of yagers had
been granted by the imperial government as much on his account as for
any more general reason. A lady, who was in some way related to the
emperor's family, and, by those who were in the secret, was reputed to
be the emperor's natural daughter, accompanied the travelling party,
with a suite of female attendants. To this lady, who was known by the
name of the Countess Paulina, the rest of the company held themselves
indebted for their escort; and hence, as much as for her rank, she was
treated with ceremonious respect throughout the journey.

The Lady Paulina travelled with, her suite in coaches, drawn by the
most powerful artillery horses that could be furnished at the various
military posts. [Footnote: Coaches were common in Germany at this time
amongst people of rank. At the reinstatement of the Dukes of
Mecklenburg, by Gustavus Adolphus, though without much notice, more
than four-score of coaches were assembled.] On this day she had been in
the rear; and having been delayed by an accident, she was waited for
with some impatience by the rest of the party, the latest of whom had
reached Waldenhausen early in the afternoon. It was sunset before her
train of coaches arrived; and, as the danger from Holkerstein commenced
about this point, they were immediately applied to the purpose of
strengthening their encampment against a night attack, by chaining
them, together with all the baggage-carts, in a triple line, across the
different avenues which seemed most exposed to a charge of cavalry.
Many other preparations were made; the yagers and dragoons made
arrangements for mounting with ease on the first alarm; strong outposts
were established; sentinels posted all round the encampment, who were
duly relieved every hour, in consideration of the extreme cold; and,
upon the whole, as many veteran officers were amongst them, the great
body of the travellers were now able to apply themselves to the task of
preparing their evening refreshments with some degree of comfort; for
the elder part of the company saw that every precaution had been taken,
and the younger were not aware of any extraordinary danger.

Waldenhausen had formerly been a considerable village. At present there
was no more than one house, surrounded, however, by such a large
establishment of barns, stables, and other outhouses, that, at a little
distance, it wore the appearance of a tolerable hamlet. Most of the
outhouses, in their upper stories, were filled with hay or straw; and
there the women and children prepared their couches for the night, as
the warmest resorts in so severe a season. The house was furnished in
the plainest style of a farmer's; but in other respects it was of a
superior order, being roomy and extensive. The best apartment had been
reserved for the Lady Paulina and her attendants; one for the officers
of most distinction in the escort or amongst the travellers; the rest
had been left to the use of the travellers indiscriminately.

In passing through the hall of entrance, Paulina had noticed a man of
striking and _farouche_ appearance,--hair black and matted, eyes
keen and wild, and beaming with malicious cunning, who surveyed her as
she passed with a mixed look of insolence and curiosity, that
involuntarily made her shrink. He had been half reclining carelessly
against the wall, when she first entered, but rose upright with a
sudden motion as she passed him--not probably from any sentiment of
respect, but under the first powerful impression of surprise on seeing
a young woman of peculiarly splendid figure and impressive beauty,
under circumstances so little according with what might be supposed her
natural pretensions. The dignity of her deportment, and the numbers of
her attendants, sufficiently proclaimed the luxurious accommodations
which her habits might have taught her to expect; and she was now
entering a dwelling which of late years had received few strangers of
her sex, and probably none but those of the lowest rank.

"Know your distance, fellow!" exclaimed one of the waiting-women,
angrily, noticing his rude gaze and the effect upon her mistress.

"Good faith, madam, I would that the distance between us were more; it
was no prayers of mine, I promise you, that brought upon me a troop of
horses to Waldenhausen, enough in one twelve hours to eat me out a
margrave's ransom. Light thanks I reckon on from yagers; and the
payments of dragoons will pass current for as little in the forest, as
a lady's frown in Waldenhausen."

"Churl!" said an officer of dragoons, "how know you that our payments
are light? The emperor takes nothing without payment; surely not from
such as you. But _ propos_ of ransoms, what now might be Holkerstein's
ransom for a farmer's barns stuffed with a three years' crop?"

"How mean you by that, captain? The crop's my own, and never was in
worse hands than my own. God send it no worse luck to-day!"

"Come, come, sir, you understand me better than that; nothing at
Waldenhausen, I take it, is yours or any man's, unless by license from
Holkerstein. And when I see so many goodly barns and garners, with
their jolly charges of hay and corn, that would feed one of
Holkerstein's garrisons through two sieges, I know what to think of him
who has saved them scot-free. He that serves a robber must do it on a
robber's terms. To such bargains there goes but one word, and that is
the robber's. But, come, man, I am not thy judge. Only I would have my
soldiers on their guard at one of Holkerstein's outposts. And thee,
farmer, I would have to remember that an emperor's grace may yet stand
thee instead, when a robber is past helping thee to a rope."

The soldiers laughed, but took their officer's hint to watch the
motions of a man, whose immunity from spoil, in circumstances so
tempting to a military robber's cupidity, certainly argued some
collusion with Holkerstein.

The Lady Paulina had passed on during this dialogue into an inner room,
hoping to have found the quiet and the warmth which were now become so
needful to her repose. But the antique stove was too much out of repair
to be used with benefit; the wood-work was decayed, and admitted
currents of cold air; and, above all, from the slightness of the
partitions, the noise and tumult in a house occupied by soldiers and
travellers proved so incessant, that, after taking refreshments with
her attendants, she resolved to adjourn for the night to her coach;
which afforded much superior resources, both in warmth and in freedom
from noise.

The carriage of the countess was one of those which had been posted at
an angle of the encampment, and on that side terminated the line of
defences; for a deep mass of wood, which commenced where the carriages
ceased, seemed to present a natural protection on that side against the
approach of cavalry; in reality, from the quantity of tangled roots,
and the inequalities of the ground, it appeared difficult for a single
horseman to advance even a few yards without falling. And upon this
side it had been judged sufficient to post a single sentinel.

Assured by the many precautions adopted, and by the cheerful language
of the officer on guard, who attended her to the carriage door,
Paulina, with one attendant, took her seat in the coach, where she had
the means of fencing herself sufficiently from the cold by the weighty
robes of minever and ermine which her ample wardrobe afforded; and the
large dimensions of the coach enabled her to turn it to the use of a
sofa or couch.

Youth and health sleep well; and with all the means and appliances of
the Lady Paulina, wearied besides as she had been with the fatigue of a
day's march, performed over roads almost impassable from roughness,
there was little reason to think that she would miss the benefit of her
natural advantages. Yet sleep failed to come, or came only by fugitive
snatches, which presented her with tumultuous dreams,--sometimes of the
emperor's court in Vienna, sometimes of the vast succession of troubled
scenes and fierce faces that had passed before her since she had
quitted that city. At one moment she beheld the travelling equipages
and far-stretching array of her own party, with their military escort
filing off by torchlight under the gateway of ancient cities; at
another, the ruined villages, with their dismantled cottages,--doors
and windows torn off, walls scorched with fire, and a few gaunt dogs,
with a wolf-like ferocity in their bloodshot eyes, prowling about the
ruins,--objects that had really so often afflicted her heart. Waking
from those distressing spectacles, she would fall into a fitful doze,
which presented her with remembrances still more alarming: bands of
fierce deserters, that eyed her travelling party with a savage rapacity
which did not confess any powerful sense of inferiority; and in the
very fields which they had once cultivated, now silent and tranquil
from utter desolation, the mouldering bodies of the unoffending
peasants, left un-honored with the rites of sepulture, in many places
from the mere extermination of the whole rural population of their
neighborhood. To these succeeded a wild chaos of figures, in which the
dress and tawny features of Bohemian gypsies conspicuously prevailed,
just as she had seen them of late making war on all parties alike; and,
in the person of their leader, her fancy suddenly restored to her a
vivid resemblance of their suspicious host at their present quarters,
and of the malicious gaze with which he had disconcerted her.

A sudden movement of the carriage awakened her, and, by the light of a
lamp suspended from a projecting bough of a tree, she beheld, on
looking out, the sallow countenance of the very man whose image had so
recently infested her dreams. The light being considerably nearer to
him than to herself, she could see without being distinctly seen; and,
having already heard the very strong presumptions against this man's
honesty which had been urged by the officer, and without reply from the
suspected party, she now determined to watch him.


The night was pitch dark, and Paulina felt a momentary terror creep
over her as she looked into the massy blackness of the dark alleys
which ran up into the woods, forced into deeper shade under the glare
of the lamps from the encampment. She now reflected with some alarm
that the forest commenced at this point, stretching away (as she had
been told) in some directions upwards of fifty miles; and that, if the
post occupied by their encampment should be inaccessible on this side
to cavalry, it might, however, happen that persons with the worst
designs could easily penetrate on foot from the concealments of the
forest; in which case she herself, and the splendid booty of her
carriage, might be the first and easiest prey. Even at this moment, the
very worst of those atrocious wretches whom the times had produced
might be lurking in concealment, with their eyes fastened upon the weak
or exposed parts of the encampment, and waiting until midnight should
have buried the majority of their wearied party into the profoundest
repose, in order then to make a combined and murderous attack. Under
the advantages of sudden surprise and darkness, together with the
knowledge which they would not fail to possess of every road and by-
path in the woods, it could scarcely be doubted that they might strike
a very effectual blow at the Vienna caravan, which had else so nearly
completed their journey without loss or memorable privations;--and the
knowledge which Holkerstein possessed of the short limits within which
his opportunities were now circumscribed would doubtless prompt him to
some bold and energetic effort.

Thoughts unwelcome as these Paulina found leisure to pursue; for the
ruffian landlord had disappeared almost at the same moment when she
first caught a glimpse of him. In the deep silence which succeeded, she
could not wean herself from the painful fascination of imagining the
very worst possibilities to which their present situation was liable.
She imaged to herself the horrors of a _camisade_, as she had
often heard it described; she saw, in apprehension, the savage band of
confederate butchers, issuing from the profound solitudes of the
forest, in white shirts drawn over their armor; she seemed to read the
murderous features, lighted up by the gleam of lamps--the stealthy
step, and the sudden gleam of sabres; then the yell of assault, the
scream of agony, the camp floating with blood; the fury, the vengeance,
the pursuit;--all these circumstances of scenes at that time too
familiar to Germany passed rapidly before her mind.

But after some time, as the tranquillity continued, her nervous
irritation gave way to less agitating but profound sensibilities.
Whither was her lover withdrawn from her knowledge? and why? and for
how long a time? What an age it seemed since she had last seen him at
Vienna! That the service upon which he was employed would prove
honorable, she felt assured. But was it dangerous? Alas! in Germany
there was none otherwise. Would it soon restore him to her society? And
why had he been of late so unaccountably silent? Or again, _had_
he been silent? Perhaps his letters had been intercepted,--nothing, in
fact, was more common at that time. The rarity was, if by any accident
a letter reached its destination. From one of the worst solicitudes
incident to such a situation Paulina was, however, delivered by her own
nobility of mind, which raised her above the meanness of jealousy.
Whatsoever might have happened, or into whatever situations her lover
might have been thrown, she felt no fear that the fidelity of his
attachment could have wandered or faltered for a moment; that worst of
pangs the Lady Paulina was raised above, equally by her just confidence
in herself and in her lover. But yet, though faithful to her, might he
not be ill? Might he not be languishing in some one of the many
distresses incident to war? Might he not even have perished?

That fear threw her back upon the calamities and horrors of war; and
insensibly her thoughts wandered round to the point from which they had
started, of her own immediate situation. Again she searched with
penetrating eyes the black avenues of the wood, as they lay forced
almost into strong relief and palpable substance by the glare of the
lamps. Again she fancied to herself the murderous hearts and glaring
eyes which even now might be shrouded by the silent masses of forest
which stretched before her,--when suddenly a single light shot its rays
from what appeared to be a considerable distance in one of the avenues.
Paulina's heart beat fast at this alarming spectacle. Immediately
after, the light was shaded, or in some way disappeared. But this gave
the more reason for terror. It was now clear that human beings were
moving in the woods. No public road lay in that direction; nor, in so
unpopulous a region, could it be imagined that travellers were likely
at that time to be abroad. From their own encampment nobody could have
any motive for straying to a distance on so severe a night, and at a
time when he would reasonably draw upon himself the danger of being
shot by the night-guard.

This last consideration reminded Paulina suddenly, as of a very
singular circumstance, that the appearance of the light had been
followed by no challenge from the sentinel. And then first she
remembered that for some time she had ceased to hear the sentinel's
step, or the rattle of his bandoleers. Hastily looking along the path,
she discovered too certainly that the single sentinel posted on that
side of their encampment was absent from his station. It might have
been supposed that he had fallen asleep from the severity of the cold;
but in that case the lantern which he carried attached to his breast
would have continued to burn; whereas all traces of light had vanished
from the path which he perambulated. The error was now apparent to
Paulina, both in having appointed no more than one sentinel to this
quarter, and also in the selection of his beat. There had been frequent
instances throughout this war in which by means of a net, such as that
carried by the Roman _retiarius_ in the contests of the gladiators,
and dexterously applied by two persons from behind, a sentinel
had been suddenly muffled, gagged, and carried off, without much
difficulty. For such a purpose it was clear that the present
sentinel's range, lying by the margin of a wood from which his minutest
movements could be watched at leisure by those who lay in utter
darkness themselves, afforded every possible facility. Paulina scarcely
doubted that he had been indeed carried off, in some such way, and not
impossibly almost whilst she was looking on.

She would now have called aloud, and have alarmed the camp; but at the
very moment when she let down the glass the savage landlord reappeared,
and, menacing her with a pistol, awed her into silence. He bore upon
his head a moderate-sized trunk, or portmanteau, which appeared, by the
imperfect light, to be that in which some despatches had been lodged
from the imperial government to different persons in Klosterheim. This
had been cut from one of the carriages in her suite; and her anxiety
was great on recollecting that, from some words of the emperor's, she
had reason to believe one, at least, of the letters which it conveyed
to be in some important degree connected with the interests of her
lover. Satisfied, however, that he would not find it possible to
abscond with so burdensome an article in any direction that could save
him from instant pursuit and arrest, she continued to watch for the
moment when she might safely raise the alarm. But great was her
consternation when she saw a dark figure steal from a thicket, receive
the trunk from the other, and instantly retreat into the deepest
recesses of the forest.

Her fears now gave way to the imminence of so important a loss; and she
endeavored hastily to open the window of the opposite door. But this
had been so effectually barricaded against the cold, that she failed in
her purpose, and, immediately turning back to the other side, she
called, loudly,--"Guard! guard!" The press of carriages, however, at
this point, so far deadened her voice, that it was some time before the
alarm reached the other side of the encampment distinctly enough to
direct their motions to her summons. Half a dozen yagers and an officer
at length presented themselves; but the landlord had disappeared, she
knew not in what direction. Upon explaining the circumstances of the
robbery, however, the officer caused his men to light a number of
torches, and advance into the wood. But the ground was so impracticable
in most places, from tangled roots and gnarled stumps of trees, that it
was with difficulty they could keep their footing. They were also
embarrassed by the crossing shadows From the innumerable boughs above
them; and a situation of greater perplexity for effective pursuit it
was scarcely possible to imagine. Everywhere they saw alleys, arched
high overhead, and resembling the aisles of a cathedral, as much in
form as in the perfect darkness which reigned in both at this solemn
hour of midnight, stretching away apparently without end, but more and
more obscure, until impenetrable blackness terminated the long vista.
Now and then a dusky figure was seen to cross at some distance; but
these were probably deer; and when loudly challenged by the yagers, no
sound replied but the vast echoes of the forest. Between these
interminable alleys, which radiated as from a centre at this point,
there were generally thickets interposed. Sometimes the wood was more
open, and clear of all undergrowth--shrubs, thorns, or brambles--for a
considerable distance, so that a single file of horsemen might have
penetrated for perhaps half a mile; but belts of thicket continually
checked their progress, and obliged them to seek their way back to some
one of the long vistas which traversed the woods between the frontiers
of Suabia and Bavaria.

In this perplexity of paths, the officer halted his party to consider
of his further course. At this moment one of the yagers protested that
he had seen a man's hat and face rise above a thicket of bushes,
apparently not more than a hundred and fifty yards from their own
position. Upon that the party were ordered to advance a little, and to
throw in a volley, as nearly as could be judged, into the very spot
pointed out by the soldier. It seemed that he had not been mistaken;
for a loud laugh of derision rose immediately a little to the left of
the bushes. The laughter swelled upon the silence of the night, and in
the next moment was taken up by another on the right, which again was
echoed by a third on the rear. Peal after peal of tumultuous and
scornful laughter resounded from the remoter solitudes of the forest;
and the officer stood aghast to hear this proclamation of defiance from
a multitude of enemies, where he had anticipated no more than the very
party engaged in the robbery.

To advance in pursuit seemed now both useless and dangerous. The
laughter had probably been designed expressly to distract his choice of
road at a time when the darkness and intricacies of the ground had
already made it sufficiently indeterminate. In which direction, out of
so many whence he had heard the sounds, a pursuit could be instituted
with any chance of being effectual, seemed now as hopeless a subject of
deliberation as it was possible to imagine. Still, as he had been made
aware of the great importance attached to the trunk, which might very
probably contain despatches interesting to the welfare of Klosterheim,
and the whole surrounding territory, he felt grieved to retire without
some further attempt for its recovery. And he stood for a few moments
irresolutely debating with himself, or listening to the opinions of his

His irresolution was very abruptly terminated. All at once, upon the
main road from Klosterheim, at an angle about half a mile ahead where
it first wheeled into sight from Waldenhausen, a heavy thundering trot
was heard ringing from the frozen road, as of a regular body of cavalry
advancing rapidly upon their encampment. There was no time to be lost;
the officer instantly withdrew his yagers from the wood, posted a
strong guard at the wood side, sounded the alarm throughout the camp,
agreeably to the system of signals previously concerted, mounted about
thirty men, whose horses and themselves were kept in perfect equipment
during each of the night-watches, and then advancing to the head of the
barriers, prepared to receive the party of strangers in whatever
character they should happen to present themselves.

All this had been done with so much promptitude and decision, that, on
reaching the barriers, the officer found the strangers not yet come up.
In fact, they had halted at a strong outpost about a quarter of a mile
in advance of Waldenhausen; and though one or two patrollers came
dropping in from by-roads on the forest-heath, who reported them as
enemies, from the indistinct view they had caught of their equipments,
it had already become doubtful from their movements whether they would
really prove so.

Two of their party were now descried upon the road, and nearly close up
with the gates of Waldenhausen; they were accompanied by several of the
guard from the outpost; and, immediately on being hailed, they
exclaimed, "Friends, and from Klosterheim!"

He who spoke was a young cavalier, magnificent alike in his person,
dress, and style of his appointments. He was superbly mounted, wore the
decorations of a major-general in the imperial service, and scarcely
needed the explanations which he gave to exonerate himself from the
suspicion of being a leader of robbers under Holkerstein. Fortunately
enough, also, at a period when officers of the most distinguished merit
were too often unfaithful to their engagements, or passed with so much
levity from service to service as to justify an indiscriminate jealousy
of all who were not in the public eye, it happened that the officer of
the watch, formerly, when mounting guard at the imperial palace, had
been familiar with the personal appearance of the cavalier, and could
speak of his own knowledge to the favor which he had enjoyed at the
emperor's court. After short explanations, therefore, he was admitted,
and thankfully welcomed in the camp; and the officer of the guard
departed to receive with honor the generous volunteers at the outpost.

Meantime, the alarm, which was general throughout the camp, had
assembled all the women to one quarter, where a circle of carriages had
been formed for their protection. In their centre, distinguished by her
height and beauty, stood the Lady Paulina, dispensing assistance from
her wardrobe to any who were suffering from cold under this sudden
summons to night air, and animating others, who were more than usually
depressed, by the aids of consolation and of cheerful prospects. She
had just turned her face away from the passage by which this little
sanctuary communicated with the rest of the camp, and was in the act of
giving directions to one of her attendants, when suddenly a well-known
voice fell upon her ear. It was the voice of the stranger cavalier,
whose natural gallantry had prompted him immediately to relieve the
alarm, which, unavoidably, he had himself created; in a few words, he
was explaining to the assembled females of the camp in what character,
and with how many companions, he had come. But a shriek from Paulina
interrupted him. Involuntarily she held out her open arms, and
involuntarily she exclaimed, "Dearest Maximilian!" On his part, the
young cavalier, for a moment or two at first, was almost deprived of
speech by astonishment and excess of pleasure. Bounding forward, hardly
conscious of those who surrounded them, with a rapture of faithful love
he caught the noble young beauty into his arms,--a movement to which,
in the frank innocence of her heart, she made no resistance; folded her
to his bosom, and impressed a fervent kiss upon her lips; whilst the
only words that came to his own were, "Beloved Paulina! 0, most beloved
lady! what chance has brought you hither?"


In those days of tragical confusion, and of sudden catastrophe, alike
for better or for worse,--when the rendings asunder of domestic
charities were often without an hour's warning, when reunions were as
dramatic and as unexpected as any which are exhibited on the stage, and
too often separations were eternal,--the circumstances of the times
concurred with the spirit of manners to sanction a tone of frank
expression to the stronger passions, which the reserve of modern habits
would not entirely license. And hence, not less than from the noble
ingenuousness of their natures, the martial young cavalier, and the
superb young beauty of the imperial house, on recovering themselves
from their first transports, found no motives to any feeling of false
shame, either in their own consciousness, or in the reproving looks of
any who stood around them. On the contrary, as the grown-up spectators
were almost exclusively female, to whom the evidences of faithful love
are never other than a serious subject, or naturally associated with
the ludicrous, many of them expressed their sympathy with the scene
before them by tears, and all of them in some way or other. Even in
this age of more fastidious manners, it is probable that the tender
interchanges of affection between a young couple rejoining each other
after deep calamities, and standing on the brink of fresh, perhaps
endless separations, would meet with something of the same indulgence
from the least interested witnesses.

Hence the news was diffused through the camp with general satisfaction,
that a noble and accomplished cavalier, the favored lover of their
beloved young mistress, had joined them from Klosterheim, with a chosen
band of volunteers, upon whose fidelity in action they might entirely
depend. Some vague account floated about, at the same time, of the
marauding attack upon the Lady Paulina's carriage. But naturally
enough, from the confusion and hurry incident to a nocturnal
disturbance, the circumstances were mixed up with the arrival of
Maximilian, in a way which ascribed to him the merit of having repelled
an attack, which might else have proved fatal to the lady of his heart.
And this romantic interposition of Providence on a young lady's behalf,
through the agency of her lover, unexpected on her part, and
unconscious on his, proved so equally gratifying to the passion for the
marvellous and the interest in youthful love, that no other or truer
version of the case could ever obtain a popular acceptance in the camp,
or afterwards in Klosterheim. And had it been the express purpose of
Maximilian to found a belief, for his own future benefit, of a
providential sanction vouchsafed to his connection with the Lady
Paulina, he could not, by the best-arranged contrivances, have more
fully attained that end.

It was yet short of midnight by more than an hour; and therefore, on
the suggestion of Maximilian, who reported the roads across the forest
perfectly quiet, and alleged some arguments for quieting the general
apprehension for this night, the travellers and troops retired to rest,
as the best means of preparing them to face the trials of the two next
days. It was judged requisite, however, to strengthen the night-guard
very considerably, and to relieve it at least every two hours. That the
poor sentinel on the forest side of the encampment had been in some
mysterious way trepanned upon his post, was now too clearly
ascertained, for he was missing; and the character of the man, no less
than the absence of all intelligible temptation to such an act, forbade
the suspicion of his having deserted. On this quarter, therefore, a
file of select marksmen were stationed, with directions instantly to
pick off every moving figure that showed itself within their range. Of
these men Maximilian himself took the command; and by this means he
obtained the opportunity, so enviable to one long separated from his
mistress, of occasionally conversing with her, and of watching over her
safety. In one point he showed a distinguished control over his
inclinations; for, much as he had to tell her, and ardently as he
longed for communicating with her on various subjects of common
interest, he would not suffer her to keep the window down for more than
a minute or two in so dreadful a state of the atmosphere. She, on her
part, exacted a promise from him that he would leave his station at
three o'clock in the morning. Meantime, as on the one hand she felt
touched by this proof of her lover's solicitude for her safety, so, on
the other, she was less anxious on his account, from the knowledge she
had of his long habituation to the hardships of a camp, with which,
indeed, he had been familiar from his childish days. Thus debarred from
conversing with her lover, and at the same time feeling the most
absolute confidence in his protection, she soon fell placidly asleep.
The foremost subject of her anxiety and sorrow was now removed; her
lover had been restored to her hopes; and her dreams were no longer
haunted with horrors. Yet, at the same time, the turbulence of joy and
of hope fulfilled unexpectedly had substituted its own disturbances;
and her sleep was often interrupted. But, as often as that happened,
she had the delightful pleasure of seeing her lover's figure, with its
martial equipments, and the drooping plumes of his yager barrette, as
he took his station at her carriage, traced out on the ground in the
bright glare of the flambeaux. She awoke, therefore, continually to the
sense of restored happiness; and at length fell finally asleep, to wake
no more until the morning trumpet, at the break of day, proclaimed the
approaching preparations for the general movement of the camp.

Snow had fallen in the night. Towards four o'clock in the morning,
amongst those who held that watch there had been a strong apprehension
that it would fall heavily. But that state of the atmosphere had passed
off; and it had not in fact fallen sufficiently to abate the cold, or
much to retard their march. According to the usual custom of the camp,
a general breakfast was prepared, at which all, without distinction,
messed together--a sufficient homage being expressed to superior rank
by resigning the upper part of every table to those who had any
distinguished pretensions of that kind. On this occasion Paulina had
the gratification of seeing the public respect offered in the most
marked manner to her lover. He had retired about daybreak to take an
hour's repose,--for she found, from her attendants, with mingled
vexation and pleasure, that he had not fulfilled his promise of
retiring at an earlier hour, in consequence of some renewed appearances
of a suspicious kind in the woods. In his absence, she heard a
resolution proposed and carried, amongst the whole body of veteran
officers attached to the party, that the chief military command should
be transferred to Maximilian, not merely as a distinguished favorite of
the emperor, but also, and much more, as one of the most brilliant
cavalry officers in the imperial service. This resolution was
communicated to him on his taking the place reserved for him, at the
head of the principal breakfast-table; and Paulina thought that he had
never appeared more interesting, or truly worthy of admiration, than
under that exhibition of courtesy and modest dignity with which he
first earnestly declined the honor in favor of older officers, and then
finally complied with what he found to be the sincere wish of the
company, by frankly accepting it. Paulina had grown up amongst military
men, and had been early trained to a sympathy with military merit,--the
very court of the emperor had something of the complexion of a camp,--
and the object of her own youthful choice was elevated in her eyes, if
it were at all possible that he should be so, by this ratification of
his claims on the part of those whom she looked up to as the most
competent judges.

Before nine o'clock the van of the party was in motion; then, with a
short interval, came all the carriages of every description, and the
Papenheim dragoons as a rear-guard. About eleven the sun began to burst
out, and illuminated, with the cheerful crimson of a frosty morning,
those horizontal draperies of mist which had previously stifled his
beams. The extremity of the cold was a good deal abated by this time,
and Paulina, alighting from her carriage, mounted a led horse, which
gave her the opportunity, so much wished for by them both, of
conversing freely with Maximilian. For a long time the interest and
animation of their reciprocal communications, and the magnitude of the
events since they had parted, affecting either or both of them
directly, or in the persons of their friends, had the natural effect of
banishing any dejection which nearer and more pressing concerns would
else have called forth. But, in the midst of this factitious animation,
and the happiness which otherwise so undisguisedly possessed Maximilian
at their unexpected reunion, it shocked Paulina to observe in her lover
a degree of gravity almost amounting to sadness, which argued in a
soldier of his gallantry some overpowering sense of danger. In fact,
upon being pressed to say the worst, Maximilian frankly avowed that he
was ill at ease with regard to their prospects when the hour of trial
should arrive; and that hour he had no hope of evading. Holkerstein, he
well knew, had been continually receiving reports of their condition,
as they reached their nightly stations, for the last three days. Spies
had been round about them, and even in the midst of them, throughout
the darkness of the last night. Spies were keeping pace with them as
they advanced. The certainty of being attacked was therefore pretty
nearly absolute. Then, as to their means of defence, and the relations
of strength between the parties, in numbers it was not impossible that
Holkerstein might triple themselves. The elite of their own men might
be superior to most of his, though counting amongst their number many
deserters from veteran regiments; but the horses of their own party
were in general poor and out of condition,--and of the whole train,
whom Maximilian had inspected at starting, not two hundred could be
pronounced fit for making or sustaining a charge. It was true that by
mounting some of their picked troopers upon the superior horses of the
most distinguished amongst the travellers, who had willingly consented
to an arrangement of this nature for the general benefit, some partial
remedy had been applied to their weakness in that one particular. But
there were others in which Holkerstein had even greater advantages;
more especially, the equipments of his partisans were entirely new,
having been plundered from an ill-guarded armory near Munich, or from
convoys which he had attacked. "Who would be a gentleman," says an old
proverb, "let him storm a town;" and the gay appearance of this
robber's companions threw a light upon its meaning. The ruffian
companions of this marauder were, besides, animated by hopes such as no
regular commander in an honorable service could find the means of
holding out. And, finally, they were familiar with all the forest roads
and innumerable bypaths, on which it was that the best points lay for
surprising an enemy, or for a retreat; whilst, in their own case,
encumbered with the protection of a large body of travellers and
helpless people, whom, under any circumstances, it was hazardous to
leave, they were tied up to the most slavish dependency upon the
weakness of their companions; and had it not in their power either to
evade the most evident advantages on the side of the enemy, or to
pursue such as they might be fortunate enough to create for themselves.

"But, after all." said Maximilian, assuming a tone of gayety, upon
finding that the candor of his explanations had depressed his fair
companion, "the saying of an old Swedish [Footnote: It was the Swedish
General Kniphausen, a favorite of Gustavus, to whom this maxim is
ascribed.] enemy of mine is worth remembering in such cases,--that,
nine times out of ten, a drachm of good luck is worth an ounce of good
contrivance,--and were it not, dearest Paulina, that you are with us, I
would think the risk not heavy. Perhaps, by to-morrow's sunset, we
shall all look back from our pleasant seats in the warm refectories of
Klosterheim, with something of scorn, upon our present apprehensions.--
And see! at this very moment the turn of the road has brought us in
view of our port, though distant from us, according to the windings of
the forest, something more than twenty miles. That range of hills,
which you observe ahead, but a little inclined to the left, overhangs
Klosterheim; and, with the sun in a more favorable quarter, you might
even at this point descry the pinnacles of the citadel, or the loftiest
of the convent towers. Half an hour will bring us to the close of our
day's march."

In reality, a few minutes sufficed to bring them within view of the
chateau where their quarters had been prepared for this night. This was
a great hunting establishment, kept up at vast expense by the two last
and present Landgraves of X----. Many interesting anecdotes were
connected with the history of this building; and the beauty of the
forest scenery was conspicuous even in winter, enlivened as the endless
woods continued to be by the scarlet berries of mountain-ash, or the
dark verdure of the holly and the ilex. Under her present frame of
pensive feeling, the quiet lawns and long-withdrawing glades of these
vast woods had a touching effect upon the feelings of Paulina; their
deep silence, and the tranquillity which reigned amongst them,
contrasting in her remembrance with the hideous scenes of carnage and
desolation through which her path had too often lain. With these
predisposing influences to aid him, Maximilian found it easy to draw
off her attention from the dangers which pressed upon their situation.
Her sympathies were so quick with those whom she loved, that she
readily adopted their apparent hopes or their fears; and so entire was
her confidence in the superior judgment and the perfect gallantry of
her lover, that her countenance reflected immediately the prevailing
expression of his.

Under these impressions Maximilian suffered her to remain. It seemed
cruel to disturb her with the truth. He was sensible that continued
anxiety, and dreadful or afflicting spectacles, had with her, as with
most persons of her sex in Germany at that time, unless protected by
singular insensibility, somewhat impaired the firm tone of her mind. He
was determined, therefore, to consult her comfort, by disguising or
palliating their true situation. But, for his own part, he could not
hide from his conviction the extremity of their danger; nor could he,
when recurring to the precious interests at stake upon the issue of
that and the next day's trials, face with any firmness the afflicting
results to which they tended, under the known barbarity and ruffian
character of their unprincipled enemy.


The chateau of Falkenberg, which the travellers reached with the
decline of light, had the usual dependences of offices and gardens,
which may be supposed essential to a prince's hunting establishment in
that period. It stood at a distance of eighteen miles from Klosterheim,
and presented the sole _oasis_ of culture and artificial beauty
throughout the vast extent of those wild tracts of sylvan ground.

The great central pile of the building was dismantled of furniture; but
the travellers carried with them, as was usual in the heat of war, all
the means of fencing against the cold, and giving even a luxurious
equipment to their dormitories. In so large a party, the deficiencies
of one were compensated by the redundant contributions of another. And
so long as they were not under the old Roman interdict, excluding them
from seeking fire and water of those on whom their day's journey had
thrown them, their own travelling stores enabled them to accommodate
themselves to all other privations. On this occasion, however, they
found more than they had expected; for there was at Falkenberg a store
of all the game in season, constantly kept up for the use of the
Landgrave's household, and the more favored monasteries at Klosterheim.
The small establishment of keepers, foresters, and other servants, who
occupied the chateau, had received no orders to refuse the hospitality
usually practised in the Landgrave's name; or thought proper to
dissemble them in their present circumstances of inability to resist.
And having from necessity permitted so much, they were led by a sense
of their master's honor, or their own sympathy with the condition of so
many women and children, to do more. Rations of game were distributed
liberally to all the messes; wine was not refused by the old
_kellermeister_, who rightly considered that some thanks, and
smiles of courteous acknowledgment, might be a better payment than the
hard knocks with which military paymasters were sometimes apt to settle
their accounts. And, upon the whole, it was agreed that no such evening
of comfort, and even luxurious enjoyment, had been spent since their
departure from Vienna.

One wing of the chateau was magnificently furnished. This, which of
itself was tolerably extensive, had been resigned to the use of
Paulina, Maximilian, and others of the military gentlemen, whose
manners and deportment seemed to entitle them to superior attentions.
Here, amongst many marks of refinement and intellectual culture, there
was a library and a gallery of portraits. In the library some of the
officers had detected sufficient evidences of the Swedish alliances
clandestinely maintained by the Landgrave; numbers of rare books,
bearing the arms of different imperial cities, which, in the several
campaigns of Gustavus, had been appropriated as they fell in his hands,
by way of fair reprisals for the robbery of the whole Palatine library
at Heidelberg, had been since transferred (as it thus appeared) to the
Landgrave, by purchase or as presents; and on either footing argued a
correspondence with the emperor's enemies, which hitherto he had
strenuously disavowed. The picture-gallery, it was very probable, had
been collected in the same manner. It contained little else than
portraits, but these were truly admirable and interesting, being all
recent works from the pencil of Vandyke, and composing a series of
heads and features the most remarkable for station in the one sex, or
for beauty in the other, which that age presented. Amongst them were
nearly all the imperial leaders of distinction, and many of the
Swedish. Maximilian and his brother officers took the liveliest
pleasure in perambulating this gallery with Paulina, and reviewing with
her these fine historical memorials. Out of their joint recollections,
or the facts of their personal experience, they were able to supply any
defective links in that commentary which her own knowledge of the
imperial court would have enabled her in so many instances to furnish
upon this martial register of the age.

The wars of the Netherlands had transplanted to Germany that stock upon
which the camps of the Thirty Years' War were originally raised.
Accordingly, a smaller gallery, at right angles with the great one,
presented a series of portraits from the old Spanish leaders and
Walloon partisans. From Egmont and Horn, the Duke of Alva and Parma,
down to Spinola, the last of that distinguished school of soldiers, no
man of eminence was omitted. Even the worthless and insolent Earl of
Leicester, with his gallant nephew,--that _ultimus Romanorum_ in
the rolls of chivalry,--were not excluded, though it was pretty evident
that a Catholic zeal had presided in forming the collection. For,
together with the Prince of Orange, and _Henri Quatre_, were to be
seen their vile assassins--portrayed with a lavish ostentation of
ornament, and enshrined in a frame so gorgeous as raised them in some
degree to the rank of consecrated martyrs.

From these past generations of eminent persons, who retained only a
traditional or legendary importance in the eyes of most who were now
reviewing them, all turned back with delight to the active spirits of
their own day, many of them yet living, and as warm with life and
heroic aspirations as their inimitable portraits had represented them.
Here was Tilly, the "little corporal" now recently stretched in a
soldier's grave, with his wily and inflexible features. Over against
him was his great enemy, who had first taught him the hard lesson of
retreating, Gustavus Adolphus, with his colossal bust, and "atlantean
shoulders, fit to bear the weight of mightiest monarchies." He also had
perished, and too probably by the double crime of assassination and
private treason; but the public glory of his short career was
proclaimed in the ungenerous exultations of Catholic Rome from Vienna
to Madrid, and the individual heroism in the lamentations of soldiers
under every banner which now floated in Europe. Beyond him ran the long
line of imperial generals,--from Wallenstein, the magnificent and the
imaginative, with Hamlet's infirmity of purpose, De Mercy, etc., down
to the heroes of partisan warfare, Holk, the Butlers, and the noble
Papenheim, or nobler Piccolomini. Below them were ranged Gustavus Horn,
Banier, the Prince of Saxe-Weimar, the Rhinegrave, and many other
Protestant commanders, whose names and military merits were familiar to
Paulina, though she now beheld their features for the first time.
Maximilian was here the best interpreter that she could possibly have
met with. For he had not only seen the greater part of them on the
field of battle, but, as a favorite and confidential officer of the
emperor's, had personally been concerned in diplomatic transactions
with the most distinguished amongst them.

Midnight insensibly surprised them whilst pursuing the many interesting
historical remembrances which the portraits called up. Most of the
company, upon this warning of the advanced hour, began to drop off;
some to rest, and some upon the summons of the military duty which
awaited them in their turn. In this way, Maximilian and Paulina were
gradually left alone, and now at length found a time which had not
before offered for communicating freely all that pressed upon their
hearts. Maximilian, on his part, going back to the period of their last
sudden separation, explained his own sudden disappearance from Vienna.
At a moment's warning, he had been sent off with sealed orders from the
emperor, to be first opened in Klosterheim: the mission upon which he
had been despatched was of consequence to the imperial interests, and
through his majesty's favor would eventually prove so to his own. Thus
it was that he had been peremptorily cut off from all opportunity of
communicating to herself the purpose and direction of his journey
previously to his departure from Vienna; and if his majesty had not
taken that care upon himself, but had contented himself, in the most
general terms, with assuring Paulina that Maximilian was absent on a
private mission, doubtless his intention had been the kind one of
procuring her a more signal surprise of pleasure upon his own sudden
return. Unfortunately, however, that return had become impossible:
things had latterly taken a turn which embarrassed himself, and
continued to require his presence. These perplexities had been for some
time known to the emperor; and, upon reflection, he doubted not that
her own journey, undertaken before his majesty could be aware of the
dangers which would beset its latter end, must in some way be connected
with the remedy which the emperor designed for this difficult affair.
But doubtless she herself was the bearer of sufficient explanations
from the imperial ministers on that head. Finally, whilst assuring her
that his own letters to herself had been as frequent as in any former
absence, Maximilian confessed that he did not feel greatly astonished
at the fact of none at all having reached her, when he recollected that
to the usual adverse accidents of war, daily intercepting all
messengers not powerfully escorted, were to be added, in this case, the
express efforts of private malignity in command of all the forest

This explanation recalled Paulina to a very painful sense of the
critical importance which might be attached to the papers which she had
lost. As yet, she had found no special opportunity, or, believing it of
less importance, had neglected it, for communicating more than the
general fact of a robbery. She now related the case more
circumstantially; and both were struck with it, as at this moment a
very heavy misfortune. Not only might her own perilous journey, and the
whole purposes of the emperor embarked upon it, be thus rendered
abortive; but their common enemies would by this time be possessed of
the whole information which had been so critically lost to their own
party, and perhaps would have it in their power to make use of
themselves as instruments for defeating their own most important hopes.

Maximilian sighed as he reflected on the probability that a far shorter
and bloodier event might defeat every earthly hope, within the next
twenty-four hours. But he dissembled his feelings; recovered even a
tone of gayety; and, begging of Paulina to dismiss this vexatious
incident from her thoughts, as a matter that after all would probably
be remedied by their first communication with the emperor, and before
any evil had resulted from it, he accompanied her to the entrance of
her own suite of chambers, and then returned to seek a few hours'
repose for himself on one of the sofas he had observed in one of the
small ante-rooms attached to the library.

The particular room which he selected for his purpose, on account of
its small size, and its warm appearance in other respects, was
furnished under foot with layers of heavy Turkey carpets, one laid upon
another (according to a fashion then prevalent in Germany), and on the
walls with tapestry. In this mode of hanging rooms, though sometimes
heavy and sombre, there was a warmth sensible and apparent, as well as
real, which peculiarly fitted it for winter apartments, and a massy
splendor which accorded with the style of dress and furniture in that
gorgeous age. One real disadvantage, however, it had as often employed;
it gave a ready concealment to intruders with evil intentions; and
under the protecting screen of tapestry many a secret had been
discovered, many robberies facilitated, and some celebrated murderers
had been sheltered with circumstances of mystery that forever baffled

Maximilian smiled as the sight of the hangings, with their rich colors
glowing in the fire-light, brought back to his remembrance one of those
tales which in the preceding winter had made a great noise in Vienna.
With a soldier's carelessness, he thought lightly of all dangers that
could arise within four walls; and having extinguished the lights which
burned upon a table, and unbuckled his sabre, he threw himself upon a
sofa which he drew near to the fire; and then enveloping himself in a
large horseman's cloak, he courted the approach of sleep. The fatigues
of the day, and of the preceding night, had made this in some measure
needful to him. But weariness is not always the best preface to repose;
and the irritation of many busy anxieties continued for some time to
keep him in a most uneasy state of vigilance. As he lay, he could see
on one side the fantastic figures in the fire composed of wood and
turf; on the other side, looking to the tapestry, he saw the wild
forms, and the _mle_, little less fantastic, of human and brute
features in a chase--a boar-chase in front, and a stag-chase on his
left hand. These, as they rose fitfully in bright masses of color and
of savage expression under the lambent flashing of the fire, continued
to excite his irritable state of feeling; and it was not for some time
that he felt this uneasy condition give way to exhaustion. He was at
length on the very point of falling asleep, or perhaps had already
fallen into its very lightest and earliest stage, when the echo of a
distant door awoke him. He had some slight impression that a noise in
his own room had concurred with the other and more distant one to awake
him. But, after raising himself for a moment on his elbow and
listening, he again resigned himself to sleep.

Again, however, and probably before he had slept a minute, he was
roused by a double disturbance. A low rustling was heard in some part
of the room, and a heavy foot upon a neighboring staircase. Housed, at
length, to the prudence of paying some attention to sounds so stealthy,
in a situation beset with dangers, he rose and threw open the door. A
corridor, which ran round the head of the staircase, was lit up with a
brilliant light; and he could command from this station one flight of
the stairs. On these he saw nothing; all was now wrapt in a soft
effulgence of light, and in absolute silence. No sound recurring after
a minute's attention, and indisposed by weariness to any stricter
examination, where all examination from one so little acquainted with
the localities might prove unavailing, he returned to his own room;
but, before again lying down, he judged it prudent to probe the
concealments of the tapestry by carrying his sabre round, and
everywhere pressing the hangings to the wall. In this trial he met with
no resistance at any point; and willingly believing that he had been
deceived, or that his ear had exaggerated some trivial sound, in a
state of imperfect slumber, he again laid down and addressed himself to
sleep. Still there were remembrances which occurred at this moment to
disturb him. The readiness with which they had been received at the
chateau was in itself suspicious. He remembered the obstinate haunting
of their camp on the preceding night, and the robbery conducted with so
much knowledge of circumstances. Jonas Melk, the brutal landlord of
Waldenhausen, a man known to him by repute (though not personally), as
one of the vilest agents employed by the Landgrave, had been actively
engaged in his master's service at their preceding stage. He was
probably one of those who haunted the wood through the night. And he
had been repeatedly informed through the course of the day that this
man in particular, whose features were noticed by the yagers, on
occasion of their officer's reproach to him, had been seen at intervals
in company with others, keeping a road parallel to their own, and
steadily watching their order of advance.

These recollections, now laid together, impressed him with some
uneasiness. But overpowering weariness gave him a strong interest in
dismissing them. And a soldier, with the images of fifty combats fresh
in his mind, does not willingly admit the idea of danger from a single
arm, and in a situation of household security. Pshaw! he exclaimed,
with some disdain, as these martial remembrances rose up before him,
especially as the silence had now continued undisturbed for a quarter
of an hour. In five minutes more he had fallen profoundly asleep; and,
in less than one half-hour, as he afterwards judged, he was suddenly
awakened by a dagger at his throat.

At one bound he sprung upon his feet. The cloak, in which he had been
enveloped, caught upon some of the buckles or ornamented work of his
appointments, and for a moment embarrassed his motions. There was no
light, except what came from the sullen and intermitting gleams of the
fire. But even this was sufficient to show him the dusky outline of two
figures. With the foremost he grappled, and, raising him in his arms,
threw him powerfully upon the floor, with a force that left him stunned
and helpless. The other had endeavored to pinion his arms from behind;
for the body-armor, which Maximilian had not laid aside for the night,
under the many anticipations of service which their situation
suggested, proved a sufficient protection against the blows of the
assassin's poniard. Impatient of the darkness and uncertainty,
Maximilian rushed to the door and flung it violently open. The assassin
still clung to his arms, conscious that if he once forfeited his hold
until he had secured a retreat, he should be taken at disadvantage. But
Maximilian, now drawing a petronel which hung at his belt, cocked it as
rapidly as his embarrassed motions allowed him. The assassin faltered,
conscious that a moment's relaxation of grasp would enable his
antagonist to turn the muzzle over his shoulder. Maximilian, on the
other hand, now perfectly awake, and with the benefit of that self-
possession which the other so entirely wanted, felt the nervous tremor
in the villain's hands; and, profiting by this moment of indecision,
made a desperate effort, released one arm, which he used with so much
effect as immediately to liberate the other, and then intercepting the
passage to the stairs, wheeled round upon his murderous enemy, and,
presenting the petronel to his breast, bade him surrender his arms if
he hoped for quarter.

The man was an athletic, and, obviously, a most powerful ruffian. On
his face he carried more than one large glazed cicatrix, that assisted
the savage expression of malignity impressed by nature upon his
features. And his matted black hair, with its elf locks, completed the
picturesque effect of a face that proclaimed, in every lineament, a
reckless abandonment to cruelty and ferocious passions. Maximilian
himself, familiar as he was with the faces of military butchers in the
dreadful hours of sack and carnage, recoiled for one instant from this
hideous ruffian, who had not even the palliations of youth in his
favor, for he seemed fifty at the least. All this had passed in an
instant of time; and now, as he recovered himself from his momentary
shock at so hateful an expression of evil passions, great was
Maximilian's astonishment to perceive his antagonist apparently
speechless, and struggling with some over-mastering sense of horror,
that convulsed his features, and for a moment glazed his eye.

Maximilian looked around for the object of his alarm; but in vain. In
reality it was himself, in connection with some too dreadful
remembrances, now suddenly awakened, that had thus overpowered the
man's nerves. The brilliant light of a large chandelier, which overhung
the staircase, fell strongly upon Maximilian's features; and the
excitement of the moment gave to them the benefit of their fullest
expression. Prostrate on the ground, and abandoning his dagger without
an effort at retaining it, the man gazed, as if under a rattlesnake's
fascination, at the young soldier before him. Suddenly he recovered his
voice; and, with a piercing cry of unaffected terror, exclaimed, "Save
me, save me, blessed Virgin! Prince, noble prince, forgive me! Will the
grave not hold its own? Jesu Maria! who could have believed it?"

"Listen, fellow!" interrupted Maximilian. "What prince is it you speak
of? For whom do you take me? speak truly, and abuse riot my

"Ha! and his own voice too! and here on this spot! God is just! Yet do
thou, good patron, holy St. Ermengarde, deliver me from the avenger!"

"Man, you rave! Stand up, recover yourself, and answer me to what I
shall ask thee: speak truly, and thou shalt have thy life. Whose gold
was it that armed thy hand against one who had injured neither thee nor

But he spoke to one who could no longer hear. The man grovelled on the
ground, and hid his face from a being, whom, in some incomprehensible
way, he regarded as an apparition from the other world.

Multitudes of persons had by this time streamed in, summoned by the
noise of the struggle from all parts of the chateau. Some fancied that,
in the frenzied assassin on the ground, whose panic too manifestly
attested itself as genuine, they recognized one of those who had so
obstinately dogged them by side-paths in the forest. Whoever he were,
and upon whatever mission employed, he was past all rational
examination; at the aspect of Maximilian, he relapsed into convulsive
horrors, which soon became too fit for medical treatment to allow of
any useful judicial inquiry; and for the present he was consigned to
the safe-keeping of the provost-martial.

His companion, meantime, had profited by his opportunity, and the
general confusion, to effect his escape. Nor was this difficult.
Perhaps, in the consternation of the first moment, and the exclusive
attention that settled upon the party in the corridor, he might even
have mixed in the crowd. But this was not necessary. For, on raising
the tapestry, a door was discovered which opened into a private
passage, having a general communication with the rest of the rooms on
that floor. Steps were now taken, by sentries disposed through the
interior of the mansion, at proper points, to secure themselves from
the enemies who lurked within, whom hitherto they had too much
neglected for the avowed and more military assailants who menaced them
from without. Security was thus restored. But a deep impression
accompanied the party to their couches of the profound political
motives, or (in the absence of those) of the rancorous personal
malignity, which could prompt such obstinate persecution; by modes,
also, and by hands, which encountered so many chances of failing; and
which, even in the event of the very completest success for the
present, could not be expected, under the eyes of so many witnesses, to
escape a final exposure. Some enemy, of unusual ferocity, was too
obviously working in the dark, and by agencies as mysterious as his own

Meantime, in the city of Klosterheim, the general interest in the
fortunes of the approaching travellers had suffered no abatement, and
some circumstances had occurred to increase the popular irritation. It
was known that Maximilian had escaped with a strong party of friends
from the city; but how, or by whose connivance, could in no way be
discovered. This had drawn upon all persons who were known as active
partisans against the Landgrave, or liable to suspicion as friends of
Maximilian, a vexatious persecution from the military police of the
town. Some had been arrested; many called upon to give security for
their future behavior; and all had been threatened or treated with
harshness. Hence, as well as from previous irritation and alarm on
account of the party from Vienna, the whole town was in a state of
extreme agitation.

Klosterheim, in the main features of its political distractions,
reflected, almost as in a representative picture, the condition of many
another German city. At that period, by very ancient ties of reciprocal
service, strengthened by treaties, by religious faith, and by personal
attachment to individuals of the imperial house, this ancient and
sequestered city was inalienably bound to the interests of the emperor.
Both the city and the university were Catholic. Princes of the imperial
family, and Papal commissioners, who had secret motives for not
appearing at Vienna, had more than once found a hospitable reception
within the walls. And, amongst many acts of grace by which the emperors
had acknowledged these services and marks of attachment, one of them
had advanced a very large sum of money to the city chest for an
indefinite time; receiving in return, as the warmest testimony of
confidential gratitude which the city could bestow, that _jus liberi
ingressus_ which entitled the emperor's armies to a free passage at
all times, and, in case of extremity, to the right of keeping the city
gates and maintaining a garrison in the citadel. Unfortunately,
Klosterheim was not _sui juris_, or on the roll of free cities of
the empire, but of the nature of an appanage in the family of the
Landgrave of X----; and this circumstance had produced a double
perplexity in the politics of the city; for the late Landgrave, who had
been assassinated in a very mysterious manner upon a hunting party,
benefited to the fullest extent both by the political and religious
bias of the city--being a personal friend of the emperor's, a Catholic,
amiable in his deportment, and generally beloved by his subjects. But
the prince who had succeeded him in the Landgraviate, as the next heir,
was everywhere odious for the harshness of his government, no less than
for the gloomy austerity of his character; and to Klosterheim in
particular, which had been pronounced by some of the first
jurisprudents a female appanage, he presented himself under the
additional disadvantages of a very suspicious title, and a Swedish bias
too notorious to be disguised. At a time when the religious and
political attachments of Europe were brought into collisions so
strange, that the foremost auxiliary of the Protestant interest in
Germany was really the most distinguished cardinal in the church of
Rome, it did not appear inconsistent with this strong leaning to the
King of Sweden that the Landgrave was privately known to be a Catholic
bigot, who practised the severest penances, and, tyrant as he showed
himself to all others, grovelled himself as an abject devotee at the
feet of a haughty confessor. Amongst the populace of Klosterheim this
feature of his character, confronted with the daily proofs of his
entire vassalage to the Swedish interest, passed for the purest
hypocrisy; and he had credit for no religion at all with the world at
large. But the fact was otherwise. Conscious from the first that he
held even the Landgraviate by a slender title (for he was no more than
cousin once removed to his immediate predecessor), and that his
pretensions upon Klosterheim had separate and peculiar defects,--
sinking of course with the failure of his claim as Landgrave, but not,
therefore, prospering with its success,--he was aware that none but the
most powerful arm could keep his princely cap upon his head. The
competitors for any part of his possessions, one and all, had thrown
themselves upon the emperor's protection. This, if no other reason,
would have thrown him into the arms of Gustavus Adolphus; and with
this, as it happened, other reasons of local importance had then and
since cooperated. Time, as it advanced, brought increase of weight to
all these motives. Rumors of a dark and ominous tendency, arising no
one knew whence, nor by whom encouraged, pointed injuriously to the
past history of the Landgrave, and to some dreadful exposures which
were hanging over his head. A lady, at present in obscurity, was
alluded to as the agent of redress to others, through her own heavy
wrongs; and these rumors were the more acceptable to the people of
Klosterheim, because they connected the impending punishment of the
hated Landgrave with the restoration of the imperial connection; for,
it was still insinuated, under every version of these mysterious
reports, that the emperor was the ultimate supporter, in the last
resort, of the lurking claims now on the point of coming forward to
challenge public attention. Under these alarming notices, and fully
aware that sooner or later he must be thrown into collision with the
imperial court, the Landgrave had now for some time made up his mind to
found a merit with the Swedish chancellor and general officers, by
precipitating an uncompromising rupture with his Catholic enemies, and
thus to extract the grace of a voluntary act from what, in fact, he
knew to be sooner or later inevitable.

Such was the positive and relative aspect of the several interests
which were now struggling in Klosterheim. Desperate measures were
contemplated by both parties; and, as opportunities should arise, and
proper means should develop themselves, more than one party might be
said to stand on the brink of great explosions. Conspiracies were
moving in darkness, both in the council of the burghers and of the
university. Imperfect notices of their schemes, and sometimes delusive
or misleading notices, had reached the Landgrave. The city, the
university, and the numerous convents, were crowded to excess with
refugees. Malcontents of every denomination and every shade,--
emissaries of all the factions which then agitated Germany; reformado
soldiers, laid aside by their original employers, under new
arrangements, or from private jealousies of new commanders; great
persons with special reasons for courting a temporary seclusion, and
preserving a strict incognito; misers, who fled with their hoards of
gold and jewels to the city of refuge; desolate ladies, from the
surrounding provinces, in search of protection for themselves, or for
the honor of their daughters; and (not least distinguished among the
many classes of fugitives) prophets and enthusiasts of every
description, whom the magnitude of the political events, and their
religious origin, so naturally called forth in swarms; these, and many
more, in connection with their attendants, troops, students, and the
terrified peasantry, from a circle of forty miles radius around the
city as a centre, had swelled the city of Klosterheim, from a total of
about seventeen, to six or seven and thirty thousand. War, with a
slight reserve for the late robberies of Holkerstein, had as yet spared
this favored nook of Germany. The great storm had whistled and raved
around them; but hitherto none had penetrated the sylvan sanctuary
which on every side invested this privileged city. The ground seemed
charmed by some secret spells, and consecrated from intrusion. For the
great tempest had often swept directly upon them, and yet still had
wheeled off, summoned away by some momentary call, to some remoter
attraction. But now at length all things portended that, if the war
should revive in strength after this brief suspension, it would fall
with accumulated weight upon this yet unravaged district.

This was the anticipation which had governed the Landgrave's policy in
so sternly and barbarously interfering with the generous purposes of
the Klosterheimers, for carrying over a safe-conduct to their friends
and visitors, when standing on the margin of the forest. The robber
Holkerstein, if not expressly countenanced by the Swedes, and secretly
nursed up to his present strength by Richelieu, was at any rate
embarked upon a system of aggression which would probably terminate in
connecting him with one or other of those authentic powers. In any
case, he stood committed to a course of continued offence upon the
imperial interests; since in that quarter his injuries and insults were
already past forgiveness. The interest of Holkerstein, then, ran in the
same channel with that of the Landgrave. It was impolitic to weaken
him. It was doubly impolitic to weaken him by a measure which must also
weaken the Landgrave; for any deduction from his own military force, or
from the means of recruiting it, was in that proportion a voluntary
sacrifice of the weight he should obtain with the Swedes on making the
junction, which he now firmly counted on, with their forces. But a
result which he still more dreaded from the cooperation of the
Klosterheimers with the caravan from Vienna, was the probable overthrow
of that supremacy in the city, which even now was so nicely balanced in
his favor that a slight reinforcement to the other side would turn the
scale against him.

In all these calculations of policy, and the cruel measures by which he
supported them, he was guided by the counsels of Luigi Adorni, a subtle
Italian, whom he had elevated from the post of a private secretary to
that of sole minister for the conduct of state affairs. This man, who
covered a temperament of terrific violence with a masque of Venetian
dissimulation and the most icy reserve, met with no opposition, unless
it were occasionally from Father Anselm, the confessor. He delighted in
the refinements of intrigue, and in the most tortuous labyrinths of
political manuvring, purely for their own sakes; and sometimes
defeated his own purposes by mere superfluity of diplomatic subtlety;
which hardly, however, won a momentary concern from him, in the
pleasure he experienced at having found an undeniable occasion for
equal subtlety in unweaving his own webs of deception. He had been
confounded by the evasion of Maximilian and his friends from the orders
of the Landgrave; and the whole energy of his nature was bent to the
discovery of the secret avenues which had opened the means to this

There were, in those days, as is well known to German antiquaries, few
castles or fortresses of much importance in Germany, which did not
communicate by subterraneous passages with the exterior country. In
many instances these passages were of surprising extent, first emerging
to the light in some secluded spot among rocks or woods, at the
distance of two, three, or even four miles. There were cases even in
which they were carried below the beds of rivers as broad and deep as
the Rhine, the Elbe, or the Danube. Sometimes there were several of
such communications on different faces of the fortress; and sometimes
each of these branched, at some distance from the building, into
separate arms, opening at intervals widely apart. And the uses of such
secret communications with the world outside, and beyond a besieging
enemy, in a land like Germany, with its prodigious subdivision of
independent states and free cities, were far greater than they could
have been in any one great continuous principality.

In many fortified places these passages had existed from the middle
ages. In Klosterheim they had possibly as early an origin: but by this
period it is very probable that the gradual accumulation of rubbish,
through a course of centuries, would have unfitted them for use, had
not the Peasants' War, in the time of Luther's reformation, little more
than one hundred years before, given occasion for their use and repair.
At that time Klosterheim had stood a siege, which, from the defect of
artillery, was at no time formidable in a military sense; but as a
blockade, formed suddenly when the citizens were slenderly furnished
with provisions, it would certainly have succeeded, and delivered up
the vast wealth of the convents as a spoil to the peasantry, had it not
been for one in particular of these subterraneous passages, which,
opening on the opposite side of the little river Iltiss, in a thick
_boccage_, where the enemy had established no posts, furnished the
means of introducing a continual supply of fresh provisions, to the
great triumph of the garrison, and the utter dismay of the
superstitious peasants, who looked upon the mysterious supply as a
providential bounty to a consecrated cause.

So memorable a benefit had given to this one passage a publicity and an
historical importance which made all its circumstances, and amongst
those its internal mouth, familiar even to children. But this was
evidently _not_ the avenue by which Maximilian had escaped into
the forest. For it opened externally on the wrong side of the river,
whilst everybody knew that its domestic opening was in one of the
chapels of the _schloss_; and another circumstance, equally
decisive, was, that a long flight of stairs, by which it descended
below the bed of the river, made it impassable to horses.

Every attempt, however, failed to trace out the mode of egress for the
present. By his spies Adorni doubted not to find it soon; and, in the
mean time, that as much as possible the attention of the public might
be abstracted from the travellers and their concerns, a public
proclamation was issued, forbidding all resort of crowds to the walls.
These were everywhere dispersed on the ninth; and for that day were
partially obeyed. But there was little chance that, with any fresh
excitement to the popular interest, they would continue to command


The morning of the tenth at length arrived--that day on which the
expected travellers from Vienna, and all whom they had collected on
their progress, ardently looked to rejoin their long-separated friends
in Klosterheim, and by those friends were not less ardently looked for.
On each side there were the same violent yearnings, on each side the
same dismal arid overpowering fears. Each party arose with palpitating
hearts: the one looked out from Falkenberg with longing eyes, to
discover the towers of Klosterheim; the other, from the upper windows
or roofs of Klosterheim, seemed as if they could consume the distance
between themselves and Falkenberg. But a little tract of forest ground
was interposed between friends and friends, parents and children,
lovers and their beloved. Not more than eighteen miles of shadowy
woods, of lawns, and sylvan glades, divided hearts that would either
have encountered death, or many deaths, for the other. These were
regions of natural peace and tranquillity, that in any ordinary times
should have been peopled by no worse inhabitants than the timid hare
scudding homewards to its form, or the wild deer sweeping by with
thunder to their distant lairs. But now from every glen or thicket
armed marauders might be ready to start. Every gleam of sunshine in
some seasons was reflected from the glittering arms of parties
threading the intricacies of the thickets; and the sudden alarum of the
trumpet rang oftentimes in the nights, and awoke the echoes that for
centuries had been undisturbed, except by the hunter's horn, in the
most sequestered haunts of these vast woods.

Towards noon it became known, by signals that had been previously
concerted between Maximilian and his college friends, that the party
were advanced upon their road from Falkenberg, and, therefore, must of
necessity on this day abide the final trial. As this news was dispersed
abroad, the public anxiety rose to so feverish a point, that crowds
rushed from every quarter to the walls, and it was not judged prudent
to measure the civic strength against their enthusiasm. For an hour or
two the nature of the ground and the woods forbade any view of the
advancing party: but at length, some time before the light failed, the
head of the column, and soon after the entire body, was descried
surmounting a little hill, not more than eight miles distant. The black
mass presented by mounted travellers and baggage-wagons was visible to
piercing eyes; and the dullest could distinguish the glancing of arms,
which at times flashed upwards from the more open parts of the forest.

Thus far, then, their friends had made their way without injury; and
this point was judged to be within nine miles' distance. But in thirty
or forty minutes, when they had come nearer by a mile and a half, the
scene had somewhat changed. A heathy tract of ground, perhaps two miles
in length, opened in the centre of the thickest woods, and formed a
little island of clear ground, where all beside was tangled and crowded
with impediments. Just as the travelling party began to deploy out of
the woods upon this area at its further extremity, a considerable body
of mounted troops emerged from the forest, which had hitherto concealed
them, at the point nearest to Klosterheim. They made way rapidly; and
in less than half a minute it became evident, by the motions of the
opposite party, that they had been descried, and that hasty
preparations were making for receiving them. A dusky mass, probably the
black yagers, galloped up rapidly to the front and formed; after which
it seemed to some eyes that the whole party again advanced, but still
more slowly than before.

Every heart upon the walls of Klosterheim palpitated with emotion, as
the two parties neared each other. Many almost feared to draw their
breath, many writhed their persons in the anguish of rueful
expectation, as they saw the moment approach when the two parties would
shock together. At length it came; and, to the astonishment of the
spectators, not more, perhaps, than of the travellers themselves, the
whole cavalcade of strangers swept by, without halting for so much as a
passing salute or exchange of news.

The first cloud, then, which had menaced their friends, was passed off
as suddenly as it had gathered. But this, by some people, was thought
to bear no favorable construction. To ride past a band of travellers
from remote parts on such uncourteous terms argued no friendly spirit;
and many motives might be imagined perfectly consistent with hostile
intentions for passing the travellers unassailed, and thus gaining the
means of coming at any time upon their rear. Prudent persons shook
their heads, and the issue of an affair anticipated with so much
anxiety certainly did not diminish it.

It was now four o'clock: in an hour or less it would be dark; and,
considering the peculiar difficulties of the ground on nearing the
town, and the increasing exhaustion of the horses, it was not judged
possible that a party of travellers, so unequal in their equipments,
and amongst whom the weakest was now become a law for the motion of the
quickest, could reach the gates of Klosterheim before nine o'clock.

Soon after this, and just before the daylight faded, the travellers
reached the nearer end of the heath, and again entered the woods. The
cold and the darkness were now becoming greater at every instant, and
it might have been expected that the great mass of the spectators would
leave their station; but such was the intensity of the public interest,
that few quitted the walls except for the purpose of reinforcing their
ability to stay and watch the progress of their friends. This could be
done with even greater effect as the darkness deepened, for every
second horseman carried a torch; and, as much perhaps by way of signal
to their friends in Klosterheim, as for their own convenience,
prodigious flambeaux were borne aloft on halberds. These rose to a
height which surmounted all the lower bushes, and were visible in all
parts of the woods,--even the smaller lights, in the leafless state of
the trees at this season of the year, could be generally traced without
difficulty; and composing a brilliant chain of glittering points, as it
curved and humored the road amongst the labyrinths of the forest, would
have produced a singularly striking effect to eyes at leisure to enjoy

In this way, for about three hours, the travellers continued to advance
unmolested, and to be traced by their friends in Klosterheim. It was
now considerably after seven o'clock, and perhaps an hour, or, at most,
an hour and a half, would bring them to the city gates. All hearts
began to beat high with expectation, and hopes were loudly and
confidently expressed through every part of the crowd that the danger
might now be considered as past. Suddenly, as if expressly to rebuke
the too presumptuous confidence of those who were thus thoughtlessly
sanguine, the blare of a trumpet was heard from a different quarter of
the forest, and about two miles to the right of the city. Every eye was
fastened eagerly upon the spot from which the notes issued. Probably
the signal had proceeded from a small party in advance of a greater;
for in the same direction, but at a much greater distance, perhaps not
less than three miles in the rear of the trumpet, a very large body of
horse was now descried coming on at a great pace upon the line already
indicated by the trumpet. The extent of the column might be estimated
by the long array of torches, which were carried apparently by every
fourth or fifth man; and that they were horsemen was manifest from the
very rapid pace at which they advanced.

At this spectacle, a cry of consternation ran along the whole walls of
Klosterheim. Here, then, at last, were coming the spoilers and butchers
of their friends; for the road upon which they were advancing issued at
right angles into that upon which the travellers, apparently unwarned
of their danger, were moving. The hideous scene of carnage would
possibly pass immediately below their own eyes; for the point of
junction between the two roads was directly commanded by the eye from
the city walls; and, upon computing the apparent proportions of speed
between the two parties, it seemed likely enough that upon this very
ground, the best fitted of any that could have been selected, in a
scenical sense, as a stage for bringing a spectacle below the eyes of
Klosterheim, the most agitating of spectacles would be exhibited,--
friends and kinsmen engaged in mortal struggle with remorseless
freebooters, under circumstances which denied to themselves any chance
of offering assistance.

Exactly at this point of time arose a dense mist, which wrapped the
whole forest in darkness, and withdrew from the eyes of the agitated
Klosterheimers friends and foes alike. They continued, however, to
occupy the walls, endeavoring to penetrate the veil which now concealed
the fortunes of their travelling friends, by mere energy and intensity
of attention. The mist, meantime, did not disperse, but rather
continued to deepen; the two parties, however, gradually drew so much
nearer, that some judgment could be at length formed of their motions
and position, merely by the ear. From the stationary character of the
sounds, and the continued recurrence of charges and retreats sounded
upon the trumpet, it became evident that the travellers and the enemy
had at length met, and too probable that they were engaged in a
sanguinary combat. Anxiety had now reached its utmost height; and some
were obliged to leave the walls, or were carried away by their friends,
under the effects of overwrought sensibility.

Ten o'clock had now struck, and for some time the sounds had been
growing sensibly weaker; and at last it was manifest that the two
parties had separated, and that one, at least, was moving off from the
scene of action; and, as the sounds grew feebler and feebler, there
could be no doubt that it was the enemy, who was drawing off into the
distance from the field of battle.

The enemy! ay, but how? Under what circumstances? As victor? Perhaps
even as the captor of their friends! Or, if not, and he were really
retreating as a fugitive and beaten foe, with what hideous sacrifices
on the part of their friends might not that result have been purchased?

Long and dreary was the interval before these questions could be
answered. Full three hours had elapsed since the last sound of a
trumpet had been heard; it was now one o'clock, and as yet no trace of
the travellers had been discovered in any quarter. The most hopeful
began to despond; and general lamentations prevailed throughout

Suddenly, however, a dull sound arose within a quarter of a mile from
the city gate, as of some feeble attempt to blow a blast upon a
trumpet. In five minutes more a louder blast was sounded close to the
gate. Questions were joyfully put, and as joyfully answered. The usual
precautions were rapidly gone through; and the officer of the watch
being speedily satisfied as to the safety of the measure, the gates
were thrown open, and the unfortunate travellers, exhausted by fatigue,
hardships, and suffering of every description, were at length admitted
into the bosom of a friendly town.

The spectacle was hideous which the long cavalcade exhibited as it
wound up the steep streets which led to the market-place. Wagons
fractured and splintered in every direction, upon which were stretched
numbers of gallant soldiers, with wounds hastily dressed, from which
the blood had poured in streams upon their gay habiliments; horses,
whose limbs had been mangled by the sabre; and coaches, or caleches,
loaded with burthens of dead and dying; these were amongst the objects
which occupied the van in the line of march, as the travellers defiled
through Klosterheim. The vast variety of faces, dresses, implements of
war, or ensigns of rank, thrown together in the confusion of night and
retreat, illuminated at intervals by bright streams of light from
torches or candles in the streets, or at the windows of the houses,
composed a picture which resembled the chaos of a dream, rather than
any ordinary spectacle of human life.

In the market-place the whole party were gradually assembled, and there
it was intended that they should receive the billets for their several
quarters. But such was the pressure of friends and relatives gathering
from all directions, to salute and welcome the objects of their
affectionate anxiety, or to inquire after their fate; so tumultuous was
the conflict of grief and joy (and not seldom in the very same group),
that for a long time no authority could control the violence of public
feeling, or enforce the arrangements which had been adopted for the
night. Nor was it even easy to learn, where the questions were put by
so many voices at once, what had been the history of the night. It was
at length, however, collected, that they had been met and attacked with
great fury by Holkerstein, or a party acting under one of his
lieutenants. Their own march had been so warily conducted after
nightfall, that this attack did not find them unprepared. A barrier of
coaches and wagons had been speedily formed in such an arrangement as
to cripple the enemy's movements, and to neutralize great part of his
superiority in the quality of his horses. The engagement, however, had
been severe; and the enemy's attack, though many times baffled, had
been as often renewed, until, at length, the young general Maximilian,
seeing that the affair tended to no apparent termination, that the
bloodshed was great, and that the horses were beginning to knock up
under the fatigue of such severe service, had brought up the very
_elite_ of his reserve, placed himself at their head, and, making
a dash expressly at their leader, had the good fortune to cut him down.
The desperateness of the charge, added to the loss of their leader, had
intimidated the enemy, who now began to draw off, as from an enterprise
which was likely to cost them more blood than a final success could
have rewarded. Unfortunately, however, Maximilian, disabled by a severe
wound, and entangled by his horse amongst the enemy, had been carried
off a prisoner. In the course of the battle all their torches had been
extinguished; and this circumstance, as much as the roughness of the
road, the ruinous condition of their carriages and appointments, and
their own exhaustion, had occasioned their long delay in reaching
Klosterheim, after the battle was at an end. Signals they had not
ventured to make; for they were naturally afraid of drawing upon their
track any fresh party of marauders, by so open a warning of their
course as the sound of a trumpet.

These explanations were rapidly dispersed through Klosterheim; party
after party drew off to their quarters; and at length the agitated city
was once again restored to peace. The Lady Paulina had been amongst the
first to retire. She was met by the lady abbess of a principal convent
in Klosterheim, to whose care she had been recommended by the emperor.
The Landgrave also had furnished her with a guard of honor; but all
expressions of respect, or even of kindness, seemed thrown away upon
her, so wholly was she absorbed in grief for the capture of Maximilian,
and in gloomy anticipations of his impending fate.


The city of Klosterheim was now abandoned to itself, and strictly shut
up within its own walls. All roaming beyond those limits was now indeed
forbidden even more effectually by the sword of the enemy than by the
edicts of the Landgrave. War was manifestly gathering in its
neighborhood. Little towns and castles within a range of seventy miles,
on almost every side, were now daily occupied by imperial or Swedish
troops. Not a week passed without some news of fresh military
accessions, or of skirmishes between parties of hostile foragers.
Through the whole adjacent country, spite of the severe weather, bodies
of armed men were weaving to and fro, fast as a weaver's shuttle. The
forest rang with alarums, and sometimes, under gleams of sunshine, the
leafless woods seemed on fire with the restless splendor of spear and
sword, morion and breast-plate, or the glittering equipments of the
imperial cavalry. Couriers, or Bohemian gypsies, which latter were a
class of people at this time employed by all sides as spies or
messengers, continually stole in with secret despatches to the
Landgrave, or (under the color of bringing public news, and the reports
of military movements) to execute some private mission for rich
employers in town; sometimes making even this clandestine business but
a cover to other purposes, too nearly connected with treason, or
reputed treason, to admit of any but oral communication.

What were the ulterior views in this large accumulation of military
force, no man pretended to know. A great battle, for various reasons,
was not expected. But changes were so sudden, and the counsels of each
day so often depended on the accidents of the morning, that an entire
campaign might easily be brought on, or the whole burthen of war for
years to come might be transferred to this quarter of the land, without
causing any very great surprise. Meantime, enough was done already to
give a full foretaste of war and its miseries to this sequestered nook,
so long unvisited by that hideous scourge.

In the forest, where the inhabitants were none, excepting those who
lived upon the borders, and small establishments of the Landgrave's
servants at different points, for executing the duties of the forest or
the chase, this change expressed itself chiefly by the tumultuous
uproar of the wild deer, upon whom a murderous war was kept up by
parties detached daily from remote and opposite quarters, to collect
provisions for the half-starving garrisons, so recently, and with so
little previous preparation, multiplied on the forest skirts. For,
though the country had been yet unexhausted by war, too large a
proportion of the tracts adjacent to the garrisons were in a wild,
sylvan condition to afford any continued supplies to so large and
sudden an increase of the population; more especially as, under the
rumors of this change, every walled town in a compass of a hundred

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