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Memorials and Other Papers by Thomas de Quincey

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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 _mêlée_, 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 manœuvring, 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
miles, many of them capable of resisting a sudden _coup-de-main_,
and resolutely closing their gates upon either party, had already
possessed themselves by purchase of all the surplus supplies which the
country yielded. In such a state of things, the wild deer became an
object of valuable consideration to all parties, and a murderous war
was made upon them from every side of the forest. From the city walls
they were seen in sweeping droves, flying before the Swedish cavalry
for a course of ten, fifteen, or even thirty miles, until headed and
compelled to turn by another party breaking suddenly from a covert,
where they had been waiting their approach. Sometimes it would happen
that this second party proved to be a body of imperialists, who were
carried by the ardor of the chase into the very centre of their enemies
before either was aware of any hostile approach. Then, according to
circumstances, came sudden flight or tumultuary skirmish; the woods
rang with the hasty summons of the trumpet; the deer reeled off aslant
from the furious shock, and, benefiting for the moment by those fierce
hostilities, originally the cause of their persecution, fled far away
from the scene of strife; and not unfrequently came thundering beneath
the city walls, and reporting to the spectators above, by their
agitation and affrighted eyes, those tumultuous disturbances in some
remoter part of the forest, which had already reached them in an
imperfect way, by the interrupted and recurring echoes of the points of
war--charges or retreats--sounded upon the trumpet.

But, whilst on the outside of her walls Klosterheim beheld even this
unpopulous region all alive with military license and outrage, she
suffered no violence from either party herself. This immunity she owed
to her peculiar political situation. The emperor had motives for
conciliating the city; the Swedes, for conciliating the Landgrave;
indeed, they were supposed to have made a secret alliance with him, for
purposes known only to the contracting parties. And the difference
between the two patrons was simply this: that the emperor was sincere,
and, if not disinterested, had an interest concurring with that of
Klosterheim in the paternal protection which he offered; whereas the
Swedes, in this, as in all their arrangements, regarding Germany as a
foreign country, looked only to the final advantages of Sweden, or its
German dependences, and to the weight which such alliances would
procure them in a general pacification. And hence, in the war which
both combined to make upon the forest, the one party professed to
commit spoil upon the Landgrave, as distinguished from the city; whilst
the Swedish allies of that prince prosecuted their ravages in the
Landgrave's name, as essential to the support of his cause.

For the present, however, the Swedes were the preponderant party in the
neighborhood; they had fortified the chateau of Falkenberg, and made it
a very strong military post; at the same time, however, sending in to
Klosterheim whatsoever was valuable amongst the furniture of that
establishment, with a care which of itself proclaimed the footing upon
which they were anxious to stand with the Landgrave.

Encouraged by the vicinity of his military friends, that prince now
began to take a harsher tone in Klosterheim. The minor princes of
Germany at that day were all tyrants in virtue of their privileges; and
if in some rarer cases they exercised these privileges in a forbearing
spirit, their subjects were well aware that they were indebted for this
extraordinary indulgence to the temper and gracious nature of the
individual, not to the firm protection of the laws. But the most
reasonable and mildest of the German princes had been little taught at
that day to brook opposition. And the Landgrave was by nature, and the
gloominess of his constitutional temperament, of all men the last to
learn that lesson readily. He had already met with just sufficient
opposition from the civic body and the university interest to excite
his passion for revenge. Ample indemnification he determined upon for
his wounded pride; and he believed that the time and circumstances were
now matured for favoring his most vindictive schemes. The Swedes were
at hand, and a slight struggle with the citizens would remove all
obstacles to their admission into the garrison; though, for some
private reasons, he wished to abstain from this extremity, if it should
prove possible. Maximilian also was absent, and might never return. The
rumor was even that he was killed; and though the caution of Adorni and
the Landgrave led them to a hesitating reliance upon what might be a
political fabrication of the opposite party, yet at all events he was
detained from Klosterheim by some pressing necessity; and the period of
his absence, whether long or short, the Landgrave resolved to improve
in such a way as should make his return unavailing.

Of Maximilian the Landgrave had no personal knowledge; he had not so
much as seen him. But by his spies and intelligencers he was well aware
that he had been the chief combiner and animater of the imperial party
against himself in the university, and by his presence had given life
and confidence to that party in the city which did not expressly
acknowledge him as their head. He was aware of the favor which
Maximilian enjoyed with the emperor, and knew in general, from public
report, the brilliancy of those military services on which it had been
built. That he was likely to prove a formidable opponent, had he
continued in Klosterheim, the Landgrave knew too well; and upon the
advantage over him which he had now gained, though otherwise it should
prove only a temporary one, he determined to found a permanent obstacle
to the emperor's views. As a preliminary step, he prepared to crush all
opposition in Klosterheim; a purpose which was equally important to his
vengeance and his policy.

This system he opened with a series of tyrannical regulations, some of
which gave the more offence that they seemed wholly capricious and
insulting. The students were confined to their college bounds, except
at stated intervals; were subject to a military muster, or calling over
of names, every evening; were required to receive sentinels within the
extensive courts of their own college, and at length a small court of
guard; with numerous other occasional marks, as opportunities offered,
of princely discountenance and anger.

In the university, at that time, from local causes, many young men of
rank and family were collected. Those even who had taken no previous
part in the cause of the Klosterheimers were now roused to a sense of
personal indignity. And as soon as the light was departed, a large body
of them collected at the rooms of Count St. Aldenheim, whose rank
promised a suitable countenance to their purpose, whilst his youth
seemed a pledge for the requisite activity.

The count was a younger brother of the Palsgrave of Birkenfeld, and
maintained a sumptuous establishment in Klosterheim. Whilst the state
of the forest had allowed of hunting, hawking, or other amusements, no
man had exhibited so fine a stud of horses. No man had so large a train
of servants; no man entertained his friends with such magnificent
hospitalities. His generosity, his splendor, his fine person, and the
courtesy with which he relieved the humblest people from the oppression
of his rank, had given him a popularity amongst the students. His
courage had been tried in battle: but, after all, it was doubted
whether he were not of too luxurious a turn to undertake any cause
which called for much exertion; for the death of a rich abbess, who had
left the whole of an immense fortune to the count, as her favorite
nephew, had given him another motive for cultivating peaceful pursuits,
to which few men were, constitutionally, better disposed.

It was the time of day when the count was sure to be found at home with
a joyous party of friends. Magnificent chandeliers shed light upon a
table furnished with every description of costly wines produced in
Europe. According to the custom of the times, these were drunk in cups
of silver or gold; and an opportunity was thus gained, which St.
Aldenheim had not lost, of making a magnificent display of luxury
without ostentation. The ruby wine glittered in the jewelled goblet
which the count had raised to his lips, at the very moment when the
students entered.

"Welcome, friends," said the Count St. Aldenheim, putting down his cup,
"welcome always; but never more than at this hour, when wine and good
fellowship teach us to know the value of our youth."

"Thanks, count, from all of us. But the fellowship we seek at present
must be of another temper; our errand is of business."

"Then, friends, it shall rest until to-morrow. Not for the Papacy, to
which my good aunt would have raised a ladder for me of three steps,--
Abbot, Bishop, Cardinal,--would I renounce the Tokay of to-night for
the business of to-morrow. Come, gentlemen, let us drink my aunt's

"Memory, you would say, count."

"Memory, most learned friend,--you are right. Ah! gentlemen, she was a
woman worthy to be had in remembrance: for she invented a capital
plaster for gunshot wounds; and a jollier old fellow over a bottle of
Tokay there is not at this day in Suabia, or in the Swedish camp. And
that reminds me to ask, gentlemen, have any of you heard that Gustavus
Horn is expected at Falkenberg? Such news is astir; and be sure of
this--that, in such a case, we have cracked crowns to look for. I know
the man. And many a hard night's watching he has cost me; for which, if
you please, gentlemen, we will drink his health."

"But our business, dear count--"

"Shall wait, please God, until to-morrow; for this is the time when man
and beast repose."

"And truly, count, we are like--as you take things--to be numbered with
the last. Fie, Count St. Aldenheim! are you the man that would have us
suffer those things tamely which the Landgrave has begun?"

"And what now hath his serenity been doing? Doth he meditate to abolish
Burgundy? If so, my faith! but we are, as you observe, little above the
brutes. Or, peradventure, will he forbid laughing,--his highness being
little that way given himself?"

"Count St. Aldenheim! it pleases you to jest. But we are assured that
you know as well as we, and relish no better, the insults which the
Landgrave is heaping upon us all. For example, the sentinel at your own
door--doubtless you marked him? How liked you him?--"

"Methought he looked cold and blue. So I sent him a goblet of

"You did? and the little court of guard--you have seen _that?_ and
Colonel von Aremberg, how think you of him?"

"Why surely now he's a handsome man: pity he wears so fiery a scarf!
Shall we drink his health, gentlemen?"

"Health to the great fiend first!"

"As you please, gentlemen: it is for you to regulate the precedency.
But at least,

Here's to my aunt--the jolly old sinner,
That fasted each day, from breakfast to dinner!
Saw any man yet such an orthodox fellow,
In the morning when sober, in the evening when mellow?
Saw any man yet," etc.

"Count, farewell!" interrupted the leader of the party; and all turned
round indignantly to leave the room.

"Farewell, gentlemen, as you positively will not drink my aunt's
health; though, after all, she was a worthy fellow; and her plaster for
gunshot wounds--"

But with that word the door closed upon the count's farewell words.
Suddenly taking up a hat which lay upon the ground, he exclaimed, "Ah!
behold! one of my friends has left his hat. Truly he may chance to want
it on a frosty night." And, so saying, he hastily rushed after the
party, whom he found already on the steps of the portico. Seizing the
hand of the leader, he whispered,

"Friend! do you know me so little as to apprehend my jesting in a
serious sense? Know that two of those whom you saw on my right hand are
spies of the Landgrave. Their visit to me, I question not, was
purposely made to catch some such discoveries as you, my friends, would
too surely have thrown in their way, but for my determined rattling. At
this time, I must not stay. Come again after midnight--farewell."

And then, in a voice to reach his guests within, he shouted,
"Gentlemen, my aunt, the abbot of Ingelheim,--abbess, I would say,--
held that her spurs were for her heels, and her beaver for her head.
Whereupon, baron, I return you your hat."

Meantime, the two insidious intelligencers of the Landgrave returned to
the palace with discoveries, not so ample as they were on the point of
surprising, but sufficient to earn thanks for themselves, and to guide
the counsels of their master.


That same night a full meeting of the most distinguished students was
assembled at the mansion of Count St. Aldenheim. Much stormy discussion
arose upon two points. First, upon the particular means by which they
were to pursue an end upon which all were unanimous. Upon that,
however, they were able for the present to arrive at a preliminary
arrangement with sufficient harmony. This was to repair in a body, with
Count St. Aldenheim at their head, to the castle, and there to demand
an audience of the Landgrave, at which a strong remonstrance was to be
laid before his highness, and their determination avowed to repel the
indignities thrust upon them, with their united forces. On the second
they were more at variance. It happened that many of the persons
present, and amongst them Count St. Aldenheim, were friends of
Maximilian. A few, on the other hand, there were, who, either from
jealousy of his distinguished merit, hated him; or, as good citizens of
Klosterheim, and connected by old family ties with the interests of
that town, were disposed to charge Maximilian with ambitious views of
private aggrandizement, at the expense of the city, grounded upon the
emperor's favor, or upon a supposed marriage with some lady of the
imperial house. For the story of Paulina's and Maximilian's mutual
attachment had transpired through many of the travellers; but with some
circumstances of fiction. In defending Maximilian upon those charges,
his friends had betrayed a natural warmth at the injustice offered to
his character; and the liveliness of the dispute on this point had
nearly ended in a way fatal to their unanimity on the immediate
question at issue. Good sense, however, and indignation at the
Landgrave, finally brought them round again to their first resolution;
and they separated with the unanimous intention of meeting at noon on
the following day, for the purpose of carrying it into effect.

But their unanimity on this point was of little avail; for at an early
hour on the following morning every one of those who had been present
at the meeting was arrested by a file of soldiers, on a charge of
conspiracy, and marched off to one of the city prisons. The Count St.
Aldenheim was himself the sole exception; and this was a distinction
odious to his generous nature, as it drew upon him a cloud of
suspicion. He was sensible that he would be supposed to owe his
privilege to some discovery or act of treachery, more or less, by which
he had merited the favor of the Landgrave. The fact was, that in the
indulgence shown to the count no motive had influenced the Landgrave
but a politic consideration of the great favor and influence which the
count's brother, the Palsgrave, at this moment enjoyed in the camp of
his own Swedish allies. On this principle of policy, the Landgrave
contented himself with placing St. Aldenheim under a slight military
confinement to his own house, under the guard of a few sentinels posted
in his hall.

For _him_, therefore, under the powerful protection which he
enjoyed elsewhere, there was no great anxiety entertained. But for the
rest, many of whom had no friends, or friends who did them the ill
service of enemies, being in fact regarded as enemies by the Landgrave
and his council, serious fears were entertained by the whole city.
Their situation was evidently critical. The Landgrave had them in his
power. He was notoriously a man of gloomy and malignant passions; had
been educated, as all European princes then were, in the notions of a
plenary and despotic right over the lives of his subjects, in any case
where they lifted their presumptuous thoughts to the height of
controlling the sovereign; and, even in circumstances which to his own
judgment might seem to confer much less discretionary power over the
rights of prisoners, he had been suspected of directing the course of
law and of punishment into channels that would not brook the public
knowledge. Darker dealings were imputed to him in the popular opinion.
Gloomy suspicions were muttered at the fireside, which no man dared
openly to avow; and in the present instance the conduct of the
Landgrave was every way fitted to fall in with the worst of the public
fears. At one time he talked of bringing his prisoners to a trial; at
another, he countermanded the preparations which he had made with that
view. Sometimes he spoke of banishing them in a body; and again he
avowed his intention to deal with their crime as treason. The result of
this moody and capricious tyranny was to inspire the most vague and
gloomy apprehensions into the minds of the prisoners, and to keep their
friends, with the whole city of Klosterheim, in a feverish state of

This state of things lasted for nearly three weeks; but at length a
morning of unexpected pleasure dawned upon the city. The prisoners were
in one night all released. In half an hour the news ran over the town
and the university; multitudes hastened to the college, anxious to
congratulate the prisoners on their deliverance from the double
afflictions of a dungeon and of continual insecurity. Mere curiosity
also prompted some, who took but little interest in the prisoners or
their cause, to inquire into the circumstances of so abrupt and
unexpected an act of grace. One principal court in the college was
filled with those who had come upon this errand of friendly interest or
curiosity. Nothing was to be seen but earnest and delighted faces,
offering or acknowledging congratulation; nothing to be heard but the
language of joy and pleasure--friendly or affectionate, according to
the sex or relation of the speaker. Some were talking of procuring
passports for leaving the town; some anticipating that this course
would not be left to their own choice, but imposed, as the price of his
clemency, by the Landgrave. All, in short, was hubbub and joyous
uproar, when suddenly a file of the city guard, commanded by an
officer, made their way rudely and violently through the crowd,
advancing evidently to the spot where the liberated prisoners were
collected in a group. At that moment the Count St. Aldenheim was
offering his congratulations. The friends to whom he spoke were too
confident in his honor and integrity to have felt even one moment's
misgiving upon the true causes which had sheltered him from the
Landgrave's wrath, and had thus given him a privilege so invidious in
the eyes of those who knew him not, and on that account so hateful in
his own. They knew his unimpeachable fidelity to the cause and
themselves, and were anxiously expressing their sense of it by the
warmth of their salutations at the very moment when the city guard
appeared. The count, on his part, was gayly reminding them to come that
evening and fulfil their engagement to drink his aunt of jovial memory
in her own Johannisberg, when the guard, shouldering aside the crowd,
advanced, and, surrounding the group of students, in an instant laid
the hands of summary arrest each upon the gentleman who stood next him.
The petty officer who commanded made a grasp at one of the most
distinguished in dress, and seized rudely upon the gold chain depending
from his neck. St. Aldenheim, who happened at the moment to be in
conversation with this individual, stung with a sudden indignation at
the ruffian eagerness of the men in thus abusing the privileges of
their office, and unable to control the generous ardor of his nature,
met this brutal outrage with a sudden blow at the officer's face,
levelled with so true an aim, that it stretched him at his length upon
the ground. No terrors of impending vengeance, had they been a thousand
times stronger than they were, could at this moment have availed to
stifle the cry of triumphant pleasure--long, loud, and unfaltering--
which indignant sympathy with the oppressed extorted from the crowd.
The pain and humiliation of the blow, exalted into a maddening
intensity by this popular shout of exultation, quickened the officer's
rage into an apparent frenzy. With white lips, and half suffocated with
the sudden revulsion of passion, natural enough to one who had never
before encountered even a momentary overture at opposition to the
authority with which he was armed, and for the first time in his life
found his own brutalities thrown back resolutely in his teeth, the man
rose, and, by signs rather than the inarticulate sounds which he meant
for words, pointed the violence of his party upon the Count St.
Aldenheim. With halberds bristling around him, the gallant young
nobleman was loudly summoned to surrender; but he protested
indignantly, drawing his sword and placing himself in an attitude of
defence, that he would die a thousand deaths sooner than surrender the
sword of his father, the Palsgrave, a prince of the empire, of
unspotted honor, and most ancient descent, into the hands of a jailer.

"Jailer!" exclaimed the officer, almost howling with passion.

"Why, then, captain of jailers, lieutenant, anspessade, or what you
will. What else than a jailer is he that sits watch upon the prison-
doors of honorable cavaliers?" Another shout of triumph applauded St.
Aldenheim; for the men who discharged the duties of the city guard at
that day, or "petty guard," as it was termed, corresponding in many of
their functions to the modern police, were viewed with contempt by all
parties; and most of all by the military, though in some respects
assimilated to them by discipline and costume. They were industriously
stigmatized as jailers; for which there was the more ground, as their
duties did in reality associate them pretty often with the jailer; and
in other respects they were a dissolute and ferocious body of men,
gathered not out of the citizens, but many foreign deserters, or
wretched runagates from the jail, or from the justice of the provost-
marshal in some distant camp. Not a man, probably, but was liable to be
reclaimed, in some or other quarter of Germany, as a capital
delinquent. Sometimes, even, they were actually detected, claimed, and
given up to the pursuit of justice, when it happened that the subjects
of their criminal acts were weighty enough to sustain an energetic
inquiry. Hence their reputation became worse than scandalous: the
mingled infamy of their calling, and the houseless condition of
wretchedness which had made it worth their acceptance, combined to
overwhelm them with public scorn; and this public abhorrence, which at
any rate awaited them, mere desperation led them too often to
countenance and justify by their conduct.

"Captain of jailers! do your worst, I say," again ejaculated St.
Aldenheim. Spite of his blinding passion, the officer hesitated to
precipitate himself into a personal struggle with the count, and thus,
perhaps, afford his antagonist an occasion for a further triumph. But
loudly and fiercely he urged on his followers to attack him. These
again, not partaking in the personal wrath of their leader, even whilst
pressing more and more closely upon St. Aldenheim, and calling upon him
to surrender, scrupled to inflict a wound, or too marked an outrage,
upon a cavalier whose rank was known to the whole city, and of late
most advantageously known for his own interests, by the conspicuous
immunity which it had procured him from the Landgrave. In vain did the
commanding officer insist, in vain did the count defy; menaces from
neither side availed to urge the guard into any outrage upon the person
of one who might have it in his power to retaliate so severely upon
themselves. They continued obstinately at a stand, simply preventing
his escape, when suddenly the tread of horses' feet arose upon the ear,
and through a long vista were discovered a body of cavalry from the
castle coming up at a charging pace to the main entrance of the
college. Without pulling up on the outside, as hitherto they had always
done, they expressed sufficiently the altered tone of the Landgrave's
feelings towards the old chartered interests of Klosterheim, by
plunging through the great archway of the college-gates; and then
making way at the same furious pace through the assembled crowds, who
broke rapidly away to the right and to the left, they reined up
directly abreast of the city guard and their prisoners.

"Colonel von Aremberg!" said St. Aldenheim, "I perceive your errand. To
a soldier I surrender myself; to this tyrant of dungeons, who has
betrayed more men, and cheated more gibbets of their due, than ever he
said _aves_, I will never lend an ear, though he should bear the
orders of every Landgrave in Germany."

"You do well," replied the colonel; "but for this man, count, he bears
no orders from any Landgrave, nor will ever again bear orders from the
Landgrave of X----. Gentlemen, you are all my prisoners; and you will
accompany me to the castle. Count St. Aldenheim, I am sorry that there
is no longer an exemption for yourself. Please to advance. If it will
be any gratification to you, these men" (pointing to the city guard)
"are prisoners also."

Here was a revolution of fortune that confounded everybody. The
detested guardians of the city jail were themselves to tenant it; or,
by a worse fate still, were to be consigned unpitied, and their case
unjudged, to the dark and pestilent dungeons which lay below the
Landgrave's castle. A few scattered cries of triumph were heard from
the crowd; but they were drowned in a tumult of conflicting feelings.
As human creatures, fallen under the displeasure of a despot with a
judicial power of torture to enforce his investigations, even
_they_ claimed some compassion. But there arose, to call off
attention from these less dignified objects of the public interest, a
long train of gallant cavaliers, restored so capriciously to liberty,
in order, as it seemed, to give the greater poignancy and bitterness to
the instant renewal of their captivity. This was the very frenzy of
despotism in its very moodiest state of excitement. Many began to think
the Landgrave mad. If so, what a dreadful fate might be anticipated for
the sons or representatives of so many noble families, gallant soldiers
the greater part of them, with a nobleman of princely blood at their
head, lying under the displeasure of a gloomy and infuriated tyrant,
with unlimited means of executing the bloodiest suggestions of his
vengeance. Then, in what way had the guardians of the jails come to be
connected with any even imaginary offence? Supposing the Landgrave
insane, his agents were not so; Colonel von Aremberg was a man of
shrewd and penetrating understanding; and this officer had clearly
spoken in the tone of one who, whilst announcing the sentence of
another, sympathizes entirely with the justice and necessity of its

Something dropped from the miserable leader of the city guard, in his
first confusion and attempt at self-defence, which rather increased
than explained the mystery. "The Masque! the Masque !" This was the
word which fell at intervals upon the ear of the listening crowd, as he
sometimes directed his words in the way of apology and deprecation to
Colonel von Aremberg, who did not vouchsafe to listen, or of occasional
explanation and discussion, as it was partly kept up between himself
and one of his nearest partners in the imputed transgression. Two or
three there might be seen in the crowd, whose looks avowed some nearer
acquaintance with this mysterious allusion than it would have been safe
to acknowledge. But, for the great body of spectators who accompanied
the prisoners and their escort to the gates of the castle, it was
pretty evident by their inquiring looks, and the fixed expression of
wonder upon their features, that the whole affair, and its
circumstances, were to them equally a subject of mystery for what was
past, and of blind terror for what was to come.


The cavalcade, with its charge of prisoners, and its attendant train of
spectators, halted at the gates of the _schloss_. This vast and
antique pile had now come to be surveyed with dismal and revolting
feelings, as the abode of a sanguinary despot. The dungeons and
labyrinths of its tortuous passages, its gloomy halls of audience, with
the vast corridors which surmounted the innumerable flights of stairs--
some noble, spacious, and in the Venetian taste, capable of admitting
the march of an army--some spiral, steep, and so unusually narrow as to
exclude two persons walking abreast; these, together with the numerous
chapels erected in it to different saints by devotees, male or female,
in the families of forgotten Landgraves through four centuries back;
and, finally, the tribunals, or _gericht-kammern_, for dispensing
justice, criminal or civil, to the city and territorial dependencies of
Klosterheim; all united to compose a body of impressive images,
hallowed by great historical remembrances, or traditional stories, that
from infancy to age dwelt upon the feelings of the Klosterheimers.
Terror and superstitious dread predominated undoubtedly in the total
impression; but the gentle virtues exhibited by a series of princes,
who had made this their favorite residence, naturally enough terminated
in mellowing the sternness of such associations into a religious awe,
not without its own peculiar attractions. But, at present, under the
harsh and repulsive character of the reigning prince, everything took a
new color from his un-genial habits. The superstitious legend, which
had so immemorially peopled the _schloss_ with spectral
apparitions, now revived in its earliest strength. Never was Germany
more dedicated to superstition in every shape than at this period. The
wild, tumultuous times, and the slight tenure upon which all men held
their lives, naturally threw their thoughts much upon the other world;
and communications with that, or its burthen of secrets, by every
variety of agencies, ghosts, divination, natural magic, palmistry, or
astrology, found in every city of the land more encouragement than

It cannot, therefore, be surprising that the well-known apparition of
the White Lady (a legend which affected Klosterheim through the
fortunes of its Landgraves, no less than several other princely houses
of Germany, descended from the same original stock) should about this
time have been seen in the dusk of the evening at some of the upper
windows in the castle, and once in a lofty gallery of the great chapel
during the vesper service. This lady, generally known by the name of
the White Lady Agnes, or Lady Agnes of Weissemburg, is supposed to have
lived in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and from that time, even
to our own days, the current belief is, that on the eve of any great
crisis of good or evil fortune impending over the three or four
illustrious houses of Germany which trace their origin from her, she
makes her appearance in some conspicuous apartment, great baronial hall
or chapel, of their several palaces, sweeping along in white robes, and
a voluminous train. Her appearance of late in the _schloss_ of
Klosterheim, confidently believed by the great body of the people, was
hailed with secret pleasure, as forerunning some great change in the
Landgrave's family,--which was but another name for better days to
themselves, whilst of necessity it menaced some great evil to the
prince himself. Hope, therefore, was predominant in their prospects,
and in the supernatural intimations of coming changes;--yet awe and
deep religious feeling mingled with their hope. Of chastisement
approaching to the Landgrave they felt assured. Some dim religious
judgment, like that which brooded over the house of Œdipus, was now at
hand,--that was the universal impression. His gloomy asceticism of life
seemed to argue secret crimes: these were to be brought to light; for
these, and for his recent tyranny, prosperous as it had seemed for a
moment, chastisements were now impending; and something of the awe
which belonged to a prince so marked out for doom and fatal catastrophe
seemed to attach itself to his mansion, more especially as it was there
only that the signs and portents of the coming woe had revealed
themselves in the apparition of the White Lady.

Under this superstitious impression, many of the spectators paused at
the entrance of the castle, and lingered in the portal, though
presuming that the chamber of justice, according to the frank old usage
of Germany, was still open to all comers. Of this notion they were
speedily disabused by the sudden retreat of the few who had penetrated
into the first ante-chamber. These persons were harshly repelled in a
contumelious manner, and read to the astonished citizens another lesson
upon the new arts of darkness and concealment with which the Landgrave
found it necessary to accompany his new acts of tyranny.

Von Aremberg and his prisoners, thus left alone in one of the ante-
chambers, waited no long time before they were summoned to the presence
of the Landgrave.

After pacing along a number of corridors, all carpeted so as to return
no sound to their footsteps, they arrived in a little hall, from which
a door suddenly opened, upon a noiseless signal exchanged with an usher
outside, and displayed before them a long gallery, with a table and a
few seats arranged at the further end. Two gentlemen were seated at the
table, anxiously examining papers; in one of whom it was easy to
recognize the wily glance of the Italian minister; the other was the

This prince was now on the verge of fifty, strikingly handsome in his
features, and of imposing presence, from the union of a fine person
with manners unusually dignified. No man understood better the art of
restraining his least governable impulses of anger or malignity within
the decorums of his rank. And even his worst passions, throwing a
gloomy rather than terrific air upon his features, served less to alarm
and revolt, than to impress the sense of secret distrust. Of late,
indeed, from the too evident indications of the public hatred, his
sallies of passion had become wilder and more ferocious, and his self-
command less habitually conspicuous. But, in general, a gravity of
insidious courtesy disguised from all but penetrating eyes the
treacherous purpose of his heart.

The Landgrave bowed to the Count St. Aldenheim, and, pointing to a
chair, begged him to understand that he wished to do nothing
inconsistent with his regard for the Palsgrave his brother; and would
be content with his parole of honor to pursue no further any conspiracy
against himself, in which he might too thoughtlessly have engaged, and
with his retirement from the city of Klosterheim.

The Count St. Aldenheim replied that he and all the other cavaliers
present, according to his belief, stood upon the same footing: that
they had harbored no thought of conspiracy, unless that name could
attach to a purpose of open expostulation with his highness on the
outraged privileges of their corporation as a university; that he
wished not for any distinction of treatment in a case when all were
equal offenders, or none at all; and, finally, that he believed the
sentence of exile from Klosterheim would be cheerfully accepted by all
or most of those present.

Adorni, the minister, shook his head, and glanced significantly at the
Landgrave, during this answer. The Landgrave coldly replied that if he
could suppose the count to speak sincerely, it was evident that he was
little aware to what length his companions, or some of them, had pushed
their plots. "Here are the proofs!" and he pointed to the papers.

"And now, gentlemen," said he, turning to the students, "I marvel that
you, being cavaliers of family, and doubtless holding yourselves men of
honor, should beguile these poor knaves into certain ruin, whilst
yourselves could reap nothing but a brief mockery of the authority
which you could not hope to evade."

Thus called upon, the students and the city guard told their tale; in
which no contradictions could be detected. The city prison was not
particularly well secured against attacks from without. To prevent,
therefore, any sudden attempt at a rescue, the guard kept watch by
turns. One man watched two hours, traversing the different passages of
the prison; and was then relieved. At three o'clock on the preceding
night, pacing a winding lobby, brightly illuminated, the man who kept
that watch was suddenly met by a person wearing a masque, and armed at
all points. His surprise and consternation were great, and the more so
as the steps of The Masque were soundless, though the floor was a stone
one. The guard, but slightly prepared to meet an attack, would,
however, have resisted or raised an alarm; but The Masque, instantly
levelling a pistol at his head with one hand, with the other had thrown
open the door of an empty cell, indicating to the man by signs that he
must enter it. With this intimation he had necessarily complied; and
The Masque had immediately turned the key upon him. Of what followed he
knew nothing until aroused by his comrades setting him at liberty,
after some time had been wasted in searching for him.

The students had a pretty uniform tale to report. A Masque, armed cap-
a-pie, as described by the guard, had visited each of their cells in
succession; had instructed them by signs to dress, and then, pointing
to the door, by a series of directions all communicated in the same
dumb show, had assembled them together, thrown open the prison door,
and, pointing to their college, had motioned them thither. This motion
they had seen no cause to disobey, presuming their dismissal to be
according to the mode which best pleased his highness; and not ill-
pleased at finding so peaceful a termination to a summons which at
first, from its mysterious shape and the solemn hour of night, they had
understood as tending to some more formidable issue.

It was observed that neither the Landgrave nor his minister treated
this report of so strange a transaction with the scorn which had been
anticipated. Both listened attentively, and made minute inquiries as to
every circumstance of the dress and appointments of the mysterious
Masque. What was his height? By what road, or in what direction, had he
disappeared? These questions answered, his highness and his minister
consulted a few minutes together; and then, turning to Von Aremberg,
bade him for the present dismiss the prisoners to their homes; an act
of grace which seemed likely to do him service at the present crisis;
but at the same time to take sufficient security for their
reappearance. This done, the whole body were liberated.


All Klosterheim was confounded by the story of the mysterious Masque.
For the story had been rapidly dispersed; and on the same day it was
made known in another shape. A notice was affixed to the walls of
several public places in these words:

"Landgrave, beware! henceforth not you, but I, govern in Klosterheim.

(Signed) THE MASQUE."

And this was no empty threat. Very soon it became apparent that some
mysterious agency was really at work to counteract the Landgrave's
designs. Sentinels were carried off from solitary posts. Guards, even
of a dozen men, were silently trepanned from their stations. By and by,
other attacks were made, even more alarming, upon domestic security.
Was there a burgomaster amongst the citizens who had made himself
conspicuously a tool of the Landgrave, or had opposed the imperial
interest? He was carried off in the night-time from his house, and
probably from the city. At first this was an easy task. Nobody
apprehending any special danger to himself, no special preparations
were made to meet it. But as it soon became apparent in what cause The
Masque was moving, every person who knew himself obnoxious to attack,
took means to face it. Guards were multiplied; arms were repaired in
every house; alarm-bells were hung. For a time the danger seemed to
diminish. The attacks were no longer so frequent. Still, wherever they
were attempted, they succeeded just as before. It seemed, in fact, that
all the precautions taken had no other effect than to warn The Masque
of his own danger, and to place him more vigilantly on his guard. Aware
of new defences raising, it seemed that he waited to see the course
they would take; once master of that, he was ready (as it appeared) to
contend with them as successfully as before.

Nothing could exceed the consternation of the city. Those even who did
not fall within the apparent rule which governed the attacks of The
Masque felt a sense of indefinite terror hanging over them. Sleep was
no longer safe; the seclusion of a man's private hearth, the secrecy of
bed-rooms, was no longer a protection. Locks gave way, bars fell, doors
flew open, as if by magic, before him. Arms seemed useless. In some
instances a party of as many as ten or a dozen persons had been removed
without rousing disturbance in the neighborhood. Nor was this the only
circumstance of mystery. Whither he could remove his victims was even
more incomprehensible than the means by which he succeeded. All was
darkness and fear; and the whole city was agitated with panic.

It began now to be suggested that a nightly guard should be
established, having fixed stations or points of rendezvous, and at
intervals parading the streets. This was cheerfully assented to; for,
after the first week of the mysterious attacks, it began to be observed
that the imperial party were attacked indiscriminately with the
Swedish. Many students publicly declared that they had been dogged
through a street or two by an armed Masque; others had been suddenly
confronted by him in unfrequented parts of the city, in the dead of
night, and were on the point of being attacked, when some alarm, or the
approach of distant footsteps, had caused him to disappear. The
students, indeed, more particularly, seemed objects of attack; and as
they were pretty generally attached to the imperial interest, the
motives of The Masque were no longer judged to be political. Hence it
happened that the students came forward in a body, and volunteered as
members of the nightly guard. Being young, military for the most part
in their habits, and trained to support the hardships of night-
watching, they seemed peculiarly fitted for the service; and, as the
case was no longer of a nature to awaken the suspicions of the
Landgrave, they were generally accepted and enrolled; and with the more
readiness, as the known friends of that prince came forward at the same

A night-watch was thus established, which promised security to the
city, and a respite from their mysterious alarms. It was distributed
into eight or ten divisions, posted at different points, whilst a
central one traversed the whole city at stated periods, and overlooked
the local stations. Such an arrangement was wholly unknown at that time
in every part of Germany, and was hailed with general applause.

To the astonishment, however, of everybody, it proved wholly
ineffectual. Houses were entered as before; the college chambers proved
no sanctuary; indeed, they were attacked with a peculiar obstinacy,
which was understood to express a spirit of retaliation for the
alacrity of the students in combining--for the public protection.
People were carried off as before. And continual notices affixed to the
gates of the college, the convents, or the _schloss_, with the
signature of _The Masque_, announced to the public his determination
to persist, and his contempt of the measures organized against him.

The alarm of the citizens now became greater than ever. The danger was
one which courage could not face, nor prudence make provision for, nor
wiliness evade. All alike, who had once been marked out for attack,
sooner or later fell victims to the obstinacy of this mysterious foe.
To have received even an individual warning, availed them not at all.
Sometimes it happened that, having received notice of suspicious
circumstances indicating that The Masque had turned his attention upon
themselves, they would assemble round their dwellings, or in their very
chambers, a band of armed men sufficient to set the danger at defiance.
But no sooner had they relaxed in these costly and troublesome
arrangements, no sooner was the sense of peril lulled, and an opening
made for their unrelenting enemy, than he glided in with his customary
success; and in a morning or two after, it was announced to the city
that they also were numbered with his victims.

Even yet it seemed that something remained in reserve to augment the
terrors of the citizens, and push them to excess. Hitherto there had
been no reason to think that any murderous violence had occurred in the
mysterious rencontres between The Masque and his victims. But of late,
in those houses, or college chambers, from which the occupiers had
disappeared, traces of bloodshed were apparent in some instances, and
of ferocious conflict in others. Sometimes a profusion of hair was
scattered on the ground; sometimes fragments of dress, or splinters of
weapons. Everything marked that on both sides, as this mysterious
agency advanced, the passions increased in intensity; determination and
murderous malignity on the one side, and the fury of resistance on the

At length the last consummation was given to the public panic; for, as
if expressly to put an end to all doubts upon the spirit in which he
conducted his warfare, in one house, where the bloodshed had been so
great as to argue some considerable loss of life, a notice was left
behind in the following terms: "Thus it is that I punish resistance;
mercy to a cheerful submission; but henceforth death to the obstinate!

What was to be done? Some counselled a public deprecation of his wrath,
addressed to The Masque. But this, had it even offered any chance of
succeeding, seemed too abject an act of abasement to become a large
city. Under any circumstances, it was too humiliating a confession
that, in a struggle with one man (for no more had avowedly appeared
upon the scene), they were left defeated and at his mercy. A second
party counselled a treaty; would it not be possible to learn the
ultimate objects of The Masque; and, if such as seemed capable of being
entertained with honor, to concede to him his demands, in exchange for
security to the city, and immunity from future molestation? It was true
that no man knew where to seek him: personally he was hidden from their
reach; but everybody knew how to find him: he was amongst them; in
their very centre; and whatever they might address to him in a public
notice would be sure of speedily reaching his eye.

After some deliberation, a summons was addressed to The Masque, and
exposed on the college gates, demanding of him a declaration of his
purposes, and the price which he expected for suspending them. The next
day an answer appeared in the same situation, avowing the intention of
The Masque to come forward with ample explanation of his motives at a
proper crisis, till which, "more blood must flow in Klosterheim."


Meantime the Landgrave was himself perplexed and alarmed. Hitherto he
had believed himself possessed of all the intrigues, plots, or
conspiracies, which threatened his influence in the city. Among the
students and among the citizens he had many spies, who communicated to
him whatsoever they could learn, which was sometimes more than the
truth, and sometimes a good deal less. But now he was met by a terrific
antagonist, who moved in darkness, careless of his power, inaccessible
to his threats, and apparently as reckless as himself of the quality of
his means.

Adorni, with all his Venetian subtlety, was now as much at fault as
everybody else. In vain had they deliberated together, day after day,
upon his probable purposes; in vain had they schemed to intercept his
person, or offered high rewards for tracing his retreats. Snares had
been laid for him in vain; every wile had proved abortive, every plot
had been counterplotted. And both involuntarily confessed that they had
now met with their master.

Vexed and confounded, fears for the future struggling with
mortification for the past, the Landgrave was sitting, late at night,
in the long gallery where he usually held his councils. He was
reflecting with anxiety on the peculiarly unpropitious moment at which
his new enemy had come upon the stage; the very crisis of the struggle
between the Swedish and imperial interest in Klosterheim, which would
ultimately determine his own place and value in the estimate of his new
allies. He was not of a character to be easily duped by mystery. Yet he
could not but acknowledge to himself that there was something
calculated to impress awe, and the sort of fear which is connected with
the supernatural, in the sudden appearances, and vanishings as sudden,
of The Masque. He came, no one could guess whence; retreated, no one
could guess whither; was intercepted, and yet eluded arrest; and if
half the stories in circulation could be credited, seemed inaudible in
his steps, at pleasure to make himself invisible and impalpable to the
very hands stretched out to detain him. Much of this, no doubt, was
wilful exaggeration, or the fictions of fears self-deluded. But enough
remained, after every allowance, to justify an extraordinary interest
in so singular a being; and the Landgrave could not avoid wishing that
chance might offer an opportunity to himself of observing him.

Profound silence had for some time reigned throughout the castle. A
clock which stood in the room broke it for a moment by striking the
quarters; and, raising his eyes, the Landgrave perceived that it was
past two. He rose to retire for the night, and stood for a moment
musing with one hand resting upon the table. A momentary feeling of awe
came across him, as his eyes travelled through the gloom at the lower
end of the room, on the sudden thought, that a being so mysterious, and
capable of piercing through so many impediments to the interior of
every mansion in Klosterheim, was doubtless likely enough to visit the
castle; nay, it would be no ways improbable that he should penetrate to
this very room. What bars had yet been found sufficient to repel him?
And who could pretend to calculate the hour of his visit? This night
even might be the time which he would select. Thinking thus, the
Landgrave was suddenly aware of a dusky figure entering the room by a
door at the lower end. The room had the length and general proportions
of a gallery, and the further end was so remote from the candles which
stood on the Landgrave's table, that the deep gloom was but slightly
penetrated by their rays. Light, however, there was, sufficient to
display the outline of a figure slowly and inaudibly advancing up the
room. It could not be said that the figure advanced stealthily; on the
contrary, its motion, carriage, and bearing, were in the highest degree
dignified and solemn. But the feeling of a stealthy purpose was
suggested by the perfect silence of its tread. The motion of a shadow
could not be more noiseless. And this circumstance confirmed the
Landgrave's first impression, that now he was on the point of
accomplishing his recent wish, and meeting that mysterious being who
was the object of so much awe, and the author of so far-spread a panic.

He was right; it was indeed The Masque, armed cap-a-pie as usual. He
advanced with an equable and determined step in the direction of the
Landgrave. Whether he saw his highness, who stood a little in the shade
of a large cabinet, could not be known; the Landgrave doubted not that
he did. He was a prince of firm nerves by constitution, and of great
intrepidity; yet, as one who shared in the superstitions of his age, he
could not be expected entirely to suppress an emotion of indefinite
apprehension as he now beheld the solemn approach of a being, who, by
some unaccountable means, had trepanned so many different individuals
from so many different houses, most of them prepared for self-defence,
and fenced in by the protection of stone walls, locks, and bars.

The Landgrave, however, lost none of his presence of mind; and, in the
midst of his discomposure, as his eye fell upon the habiliments of this
mysterious person, and the arms and military accoutrements which he
bore, naturally his thoughts settled upon the more earthly means of
annoyance which this martial apparition carried about him. The
Landgrave was himself unarmed; he had no arms even within reach, nor
was it possible for him in his present situation very speedily to
summon assistance. With these thoughts passing rapidly through his
mind, and sensible that, in any view of his nature and powers, the
being now in his presence was a very formidable antagonist, the
Landgrave could not but feel relieved from a burden of anxious tremors,
when he saw The Masque suddenly turn towards a door which opened about
half-way up the room, and led into a picture-gallery at right angles
with the room in which they both were.

Into the picture-gallery The Masque passed at the same solemn pace,
without apparently looking at the Landgrave. This movement seemed to
argue, either that he purposely declined an interview with the
prince,--and _that_ might argue fear,--or that he had not been aware of
his presence. Either supposition, as implying something of human
infirmity, seemed incompatible with supernatural faculties. Partly upon
this consideration, and partly, perhaps, because he suddenly
recollected that the road taken by The Masque would lead him directly
past the apartments of the old seneschal, where assistance might be
summoned, the Landgrave found his spirits at this moment revive. The
consciousness of rank and birth also came to his aid, and that sort of
disdain of the aggressor, which possesses every man, brave or cowardly
alike, within the walls of his own dwelling. Unarmed as he was, he
determined to pursue, and perhaps to speak.

The restraints of high breeding, and the ceremonious decorum of his
rank, involuntarily checked the Landgrave from pursuing with a hurried
pace. He advanced with his habitual gravity of step, so that The Masque
was half-way down the gallery before the prince entered it. This
gallery, furnished on each side with pictures, of which some were
portraits, was of great length. The Masque and the prince continued to
advance, preserving a pretty equal distance. It did not appear by any
sign or gesture that The Masque was aware of the Landgrave's pursuit.
Suddenly, however, he paused, drew his sword, halted; the Landgrave
also halted; then, turning half round, and waving with his hand to the
prince so as to solicit his attention, slowly The Masque elevated the
point of his sword to the level of a picture--it was the portrait of a
young cavalier in a hunting-dress, blooming with youth and youthful
energy. The Landgrave turned pale, trembled, and was ruefully agitated.
The Masque kept his sword in its position for half a minute; then
dropping it, shook his head, and raised his hand with a peculiar
solemnity of expression. The Landgrave recovered himself, his features
swelled with passion, he quickened his step, and again followed in

The Masque, however, had by this time turned out of the gallery into a
passage, which, after a single curve, terminated in the private room of
the seneschal. Believing that his ignorance of the localities was thus
leading him on to certain capture, the Landgrave pursued more
leisurely. The passage was dimly lighted; every image floated in a
cloudy obscurity; and, upon reaching the curve, it seemed to the
Landgrave that The Masque was just on the point of entering the
seneschal's room. No other door was heard to open; and he felt assured
that he had seen the lofty figure of The Masque gliding into that
apartment. He again quickened his steps; a light burned within, the
door stood ajar; quietly the prince pushed it open, and entered with
the fullest assurance that he should here at length overtake the object
of his pursuit.

Great was his consternation upon finding in a room, which presented no
outlet, not a living creature except the elderly seneschal, who lay
quietly sleeping in his arm-chair. The first impulse of the prince was
to awaken him roughly, that he might summon aid and cooperate in the
search. One glance at a paper upon the table arrested his hand. He saw
a name written there, interesting to his fears beyond all others in the
world. His eye was riveted as by fascination to the paper. He read one
instant. That satisfied him that the old seneschal must be overcome by
no counterfeit slumbers, when he could thus surrender a secret of
capital importance to the gaze of that eye from which, above all
others, he must desire to screen it. One moment he deliberated with
himself; the old man stirred, and muttered in his dreams; the Landgrave
seized the paper, and stood irresolute for an instant whether to await
his wakening, and authoritatively to claim what so nearly concerned his
own interest, or to retreat with it from the room before the old man
should be aware of the prince's visit, or his own loss.

But the seneschal, wearied perhaps with some unusual exertion, had but
moved in his chair; again he composed himself to deep slumber, made
deeper by the warmth of a hot fire. The raving of the wind, as it
whistled round this angle of the _schloss_, drowned all sounds
that could have disturbed him. The Landgrave secreted the paper; nor
did any sense of his rank and character interpose to check him in an
act so unworthy of an honorable cavalier. Whatever crimes he had
hitherto committed or authorized, this was, perhaps, the first instance
in which he had offended by an instance of petty knavery. He retired
with the stealthy pace of a robber, anxious to evade detection, and
stole back to his own apartments with an overpowering interest in the
discovery he had made so accidentally, and with an anxiety to
investigate it further, which absorbed for the time all other cares,
and banished from his thoughts even The Masque himself, whose sudden
appearance and retreat had, in fact, thrown into his hands the secret
which now so exclusively disturbed him.


Meantime, The Masque continued to harass the Landgrave, to baffle many
of his wiles, and to neutralize his most politic schemes. In one of the
many placards which he affixed to the castle gates, he described the
Landgrave as ruling in Klosterheim by day, and himself by night.
Sarcasms such as these, together with the practical insults which The
Masque continually offered to the Landgrave, by foiling his avowed
designs, embittered the prince's existence. The injury done to his
political schemes of ambition at this particular crisis was
irreparable. One after one, all the agents and tools by whom he could
hope to work upon the counsels of the Klosterheim authorities had been
removed. Losing _their_ influence, he had lost every prop of his
own. Nor was this all; he was reproached by the general voice of the
city as the original cause of a calamity which he had since shown
himself impotent to redress. He it was, and his cause, which had drawn
upon the people so fatally trepanned the hostility of the mysterious
Masque. But for his highness, all the burgomasters, captains, city-
officers, &c., would now be sleeping in their beds; whereas, the best
late which could be surmised for the most of them was, that they were
sleeping in dungeons; some, perhaps, in their graves. And thus the
Landgrave's cause not merely lost its most efficient partisans, but,
through their loss, determined the wavering against him, alienated the
few who remained of his own faction, and gave strength and
encouragement to the general dissatisfaction which had so long

Thus it happened that the conspirators, or suspected conspirators,
could not be brought to trial, or to punishment without a trial. Any
spark of fresh irritation falling upon the present combustible temper
of the populace, would not fail to produce an explosion. Fresh
conspirators, and real ones, were thus encouraged to arise. The
university, the city, teemed with plots. The government of the prince
was exhausted with the growing labor of tracing and counteracting them.
And, by little and little, matters came into such a condition, that the
control of the city, though still continuing in the Landgrave's hands,
was maintained by mere martial force, and at the very point of the
sword. And, in no long time, it was feared, that with so general a
principle of hatred to combine the populace, and so large a body of
military students to head them, the balance of power, already
approaching to an equipoise, would be turned against the Landgrave's
government. And, in the best event, his highness could now look for
nothing from their love. All might be reckoned for lost that could not
be extorted by force.

This state of things had been brought about by the dreadful Masque,
seconded, no doubt, by those whom he had emboldened and aroused within;
and, as the climax and crowning injury of the whole, every day unfolded
more and more the vast importance which Klosterheim would soon possess
as the centre and key of the movements to be anticipated in the coming
campaign. An electoral cap would perhaps reward the services of the
Landgrave in the general pacification, if he could present himself at

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