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of Albania, and by profession a worker of miracles; and then it was
rumoured that he was a wig-maker. All these reports arose from the
handsome Fritz having raised himself from the pike to the sash, and
all agreed, that, should fortune again favour him, he would reach the
highest situations in the army. The secret inquiries of the inquisitive
Emily were not long concealed from the object of them. His companions
thought to flatter him with the intelligence, and generally accompanied
it with all sorts of favourable conjectures. His modesty attributed her
advances to jest and mockery; nevertheless, the inquiries of the young
damsel pleased him well, for the first look had inspired him with an
ecstasy, which is the usual harbinger of love.

No language possesses such energy, and is likewise so well understood,
as the sweet feeling of sympathy; through the operation of which, a
first acquaintance sooner rises into love than one can rise from the
pike to the sash.

Some time elapsed before the lovers came to a verbal explanation, but
they were aware of each other’s sentiments, their looks met half-way,
and said what timid love dared not disclose. From the uproar in the
house, the negligent mother had, at a very wrong season, removed the
watch over the heart of her beloved daughter; and seeing this important
post unoccupied, the crafty smuggler, Love, seized his opportunity, and
secretly stole in. No sooner had he obtained possession, than he taught
the Fraulein quite a different lesson from mamma. The sworn enemy of all
ceremony, he immediately removed the prejudices of his obedient scholar,
and soon taught her to think, that birth and rank were not to be put
in competition with all-conquering Love, and that lovers should not be
classed, like beetles and worms, in a collection of insects.

The frosty pride of ancestry melted as quickly in her soul as the
figures upon a frozen window dissolve when the rays of the sun begin to
warm the atmosphere; till at length Emily cared not whether her lover
had pedigree or not, and she even carried her political heresy so far
as to maintain, that the prerogatives of high birth, in comparison with
love, were the most insufferable yoke with which the freedom of mankind
had ever been burthened.

The handsome Fritz, who adored the Fraulein, with joy perceived that his
fortune in love was as propitious as his fortune in war. He seized
the first opportunity which offered of disclosing the situation of
his heart. She received his declaration with blushes, but with inward
delight, and the lovers exchanged vows of inviolable fidelity. They
enjoyed the present moment, but shuddered at the future. The return
of spring again called the army into tents, and the sorrowful moment
approached which was to separate the lovers. They now held a serious
consultation on ratifying their vows of love, so as that nothing but
death could part them. The Fraulein acquainted her lover with the
sentiments of her mother on the subject of marriage; and that it was not
to be expected that the proud lady would deviate one hair’s-breadth from
her darling system, to sanction a union of affection.

A hundred plans were adopted and rejected, for with each there was
always some difficulty in the way which rendered its success doubtful.
Meanwhile the young hero found his betrothed determined to take any
course which would accomplish their wishes; upon which he proposed an
elopement, as the surest way which love had yet thought of, which has
succeeded innumerable times, and which will succeed in destroying the
plans of parents, and in vanquishing their obstinacy. Emily considered
for a little, and then consented; one thing was still to be considered,
how she would escape from the walls and bulwarks of the castle, to
throw herself into the arms of the welcome robber; for well she knew
the moment that the Wallenstein garrison marched out of the castle, the
vigilant mother would again take possession of her post, and her steps
would be so watched she would never be allowed to go out of her sight.
But inventive Love conquers every difficulty. It was well known to
the Fraulein, that, according to tradition, on All-soul’s Day, in the
approaching autumn, the Spectre Nun, after a lapse of seven years, would
again revisit the castle. The terror of the inmates at the expectation
of her appearance was also well known to her; she therefore determined
upon the bold freak of playing the nun’s part. Accordingly she secretly
prepared a nun’s dress, and under this disguise resolved to elope.

The handsome Fritz was delighted with this invention, and although the
time of the thirty years’ war was too early for freethinking, yet the
young officer was enough of a philosopher to doubt the existence of
spirits, or at least to trouble himself very little about the matter.

Their plans being thus arranged, Fritz threw himself into his saddle,
and, commending himself to the protection of Love, departed at the
head of his squadron. It appeared that Love had heard his prayer, for,
although he exposed himself to all dangers, the campaign terminated most
prosperously, and he escaped unhurt. Meanwhile Emily lived between hope
and fear; she trembled for the life of her faithful Amadis - she sought
diligently to obtain intelligence how it went with them in the field.
Every new rumour of a skirmish put her in terror and anxiety, which her
mother took for the sign of a feeling heart, without its creating any
suspicion. The hero let no opportunity slip of privately corresponding
with his beloved, and through the channel of a trusty waiting-maid, he
from time to time gave her intelligence of his fate, and through the
same messenger received accounts from her. As soon as the campaign was
ended, he prepared every thing for his secret expedition, bought four
steeds and a travelling carriage, and looked carefully in the Calendar
for the day on which he was to be at the appointed place of meeting,
in the little grove, not far from the castle. On All-soul’s Day, Emily,
with the assistance of her attendant, prepared to carry her plan
into execution. As had been agreed upon, she feigned herself a little
indisposed, and retired early to her apartment, where she immediately
transformed herself into the prettiest hobgoblin that had ever haunted
the earth. The evening hours, by Emily’s calculation, seemed to have
doubled themselves, and, as she thought of the work she had in hand,
every moment increased her wish to accomplish her adventure. Meanwhile
the pale Luna, the secret friend of lovers, with her soft glimmer, shone
on the castle of Lauenstein, in which the tumult of the busy day was by
degrees lost in the solemn stillness of the night. None were awake in
the castle but the housekeeper, who sat late in the night calculating
the expenses of the kitchen - the capon-stuffer, who was plucking for the
breakfast of the household a score of larks - the porter, who had also
the office of watchman, and called out the hours, and Hector, the
vigilant house-dog, who with his howls bayed the rising moon.

As the midnight hour sounded, the intrepid Emily set out upon her way.
She had provided herself with a master-key which opened all the doors.
Softly and secretly she descended the steps that led through the
cloister, in crossing which she observed there was still a light in the
kitchen. Upon this she rattled her bunch of keys with all her might,
dashed to the doors with a deafening noise, and boldly opened the
house-door and the wicket without accident. As soon as the four waking
inmates of the castle heard this unusual noise, they looked for the
appearance of the roving Nun. The capon-stuffer, terrified, fled into a
closet; the housekeeper into bed; the watchdog into his kennel; and the
porter into the straw beside his wife. The Fraulein soon arrived in the
open field, and hastened to the grove, where she thought she saw at a
distance the carriage and fleet horses waiting her appearance. But on
a nearer approach she discovered it was only the deceitful shadow of a
tree. From this she concluded she had mistaken the place of appointment.
She crossed and recrossed the shrubbery from one end to another, but her
knight, with his equipage, was nowhere to be found. Astonished at this
circumstance, she knew not what to think.

After an appointed rendezvous, not to appear, is considered among lovers
a high misdemeanour, but in the present case to fail, was little less
than high treason against Love; the thing was to her incomprehensible.
After having waited, but in vain, for an hour long, and her heart
trembling from anxiety and cold, she began to wail and weep. “Ah! the
perfidious one,” she exclaimed, “he lies in the arms of some coquette,
from whom he cannot tear himself away; he mocks me, and has forgot my
true-love.”

This thought suddenly brought the long-forgotten pedigree to her
recollection, and she felt ashamed of having so far demeaned herself as
to love a man without a name, or noble feeling. In this moment when the
intoxication of passion had somewhat subsided, and reason had resumed
her sway, this faithful counsellor advised her to re deem this false
step, by immediately returning to the castle, and trying to forget the
false perjurer. The first she did, without delay; and, to the great
surprise of her faithful confidant, to whom she revealed every thing,
she reached her chamber safe and sound; but the second point she
resolved to reflect upon at leisure.

Nevertheless, the man without a name, was not so much to blame as the
enraged Emily supposed. He had not failed to be punctual at the place of
meeting. With a heart full of rapture, he waited with impatience for the
moment which was to put him in possession of his lovely treasure. As
the midnight hour approached, he secretly hastened to the castle,
and listened when the little gate would open. Sooner than he supposed
possible, the beloved figure of the nun stepped out. He immediately
rushed from his concealment towards her, seized her in his arms,
exclaiming, “I have thee - I hold thee. Never shall I leave thee. Dear
love, thou art mine - I am thine, with body and soul.” Joyfully he bore
his lovely burden to the carriage, and soon they rattled over stocks and
stones, up hills and down vallies. The horses plunged and snorted, shook
their manes, and became so wild and unmanageable, that they would
no longer obey the reins. A wheel flew off, and the sudden shock
precipitated the coachmen to the ground; and carriage and horses, and
man and mouse, all rolled over a steep abyss into a gulf below. The fond
lover knew not what had happened; his body was bruised, his head was
crushed, and, from the severity of the fall, he lost all recollection;
but when he came to himself, he missed his beloved companion. After
spending the rest of the night in this helpless situation, he was found
by some peasants in the morning, who carried him to the nearest village.

The carriage was dashed to pieces, the four horses had broken their
necks. This loss, however, grieved him little; but the fate of the
beautiful Emily plunged him in the greatest distress. He despatched
people in every direction to try and gain some tidings of her; but they
all returned as they went, nothing was to be heard of the runaway. The
midnight hour was the first thing which cleared up this mystery. As the
clock struck twelve, the door opened, and his lost travelling companion
stepped into the apartment, not however in the form of the beautiful
Emily, but of the Spectre Nun, a hideous skeleton. The handsome Fritz,
with horror, perceived that he himself had made this dreadful mistake.
Death-cold perspirations burst over him; he began to cross and bless
himself, and ejaculate every prayer he could think of.

The nun little heeded this; she stepped up to the bed, stroked his
burning cheeks with her withered ice-cold hand, and said, “Fritz, Fritz,
be resigned to it I am thine - thou art mine, with body and soul” She
thus continued to torture him with her presence for an hour, and then
vanished. This game she acted every night, and she even followed him
into the place where his regiment was quartered. He had neither peace
nor repose from the love of this hobgoblin, which so grieved and fretted
him, that he lost all spirit; so much so, that his companions began to
remark his deep melancholy; and these gallant officers truly sympathized
with his distress. They could not imagine what had happened to their
former lively associate, for he carefully shunned the horrible secret,
which he divulged to no one.

Among his companions, Fritz had one very intimate friend, whom rumour
reported master of all magical arts, and who possessed the lost art of
making himself invulnerable, could call up spirits, and had every day a
free shot. This experienced warrior, with affectionate impatience, urged
his friend to disclose the secret grief which so evidently oppressed
him. This martyr of love, who was sick of his existence, at length,
under the seal of secrecy, was prevailed on to divulge it. “Brother, is
this all?” said the exorcist, with a smile; “I shall soon release you
from this torment. - Follow me into my quarters.” He began by making
secret preparations, drew several circles and characters upon the floor,
and, at the summons of the exorcist, in a dark chamber which was lighted
only by a magician’s lamp, the midnight guest for this time appeared
at the mid-day hour. He scolded her very much, and banished her and her
mischievous pranks to a hollow willow in a lonely valley, with strict
commands at that very hour to set out to this Patmos.

The spectre vanished, but at the same moment there arose such a storm
and whirlwind, as set the whole town in commotion. It was an old pious
custom when a high wind blew, that twelve deputed citizens should
instantly take horse, and make a solemn pilgrimage through the streets,
chanting a song of repentance to sing the wind away. As soon as the
twelve booted and well-mounted apostles had rode out, the howling voice
of the hurricane ceased, and the spirit never again appeared. * Fritz
now perceived that this devilish ape’s play was intended to entrap his
poor soul, and was rejoiced that the tormenting spirit had left him. He
again prepared to join the formidable Wallenstein in Pomerania, where he
finished three campaigns without hearing anything of the lovely Emily,
and behaved with such bravery, that on his return to Bohemia, he
commanded a regiment of horse. He took his way through Hungary, and when
he came in sight of the Castle of Lauenstein, his heart began to beat
with anxiety and doubt lest, in his absence, his beloved had been
forgetful of him. He merely announced himself as a friend of the family,
and, according to the rites of hospitality, gates and doors were soon
thrown open to him. We may mention here, that it is still the custom
in this town for this wind-laying cavalcade to perambulate the streets
during a storm.

Ah! how astonished was the lovely Emily, when her supposed faithless
lover, the handsome Fritz, stepped into the apartment! Joy and anger
by turns assailed her soul. She could not resolve to vouchsafe him one
friendly look, and yet this league with her beautiful eyes cost her the
greatest difficulty.

For three long years she had debated with herself whether she would
forget, or not, her nameless, and, as she believed, faithless lover, and
therefore he was never one moment from her thoughts. His image floated
continually before her; and, besides, it appeared that the God of Dreams
was his patron, for the innumerable dreams that the Fraulein had of
him ever since his absence, either excused or defended him. The stately
Colonel, whose high rank the harsh survey of the mother somewhat
softened, soon found an opportunity to try the apparent coldness of his
beloved. He related to her the horrible adventure of the Elopement,
and she frankly acknowledged to him the pain the thoughts of his
faithlessness had given her. The lovers now agreed to reveal their
secret to mamma, and endeavour to prevail with her to favour their
attachment.

The good lady was as much astonished at the secret attachment of the
cunning Emily, as at the communication of the _species facti_ of the
Elopement. She thought it just that love, which had stood so severe a
trial, should be rewarded. It was only the man without a name that was
offensive to her; and as the Fraulein observed, that it was incomparably
more sensible to marry a man without a name, than a name without a man,
against this argument she had nothing to reply.

They were married, and as the secret treaty had already prospered, and
no Count lay at the bottom of her heart, the good dame gave her maternal
consent to it. The handsome Fritz embraced his lovely bride, and
quietly and happily accomplished his marriage, without the slightest
interruption on the part of the Spectre Nun.

[ODD VOLUME.]

[Illustration: 233]




SUBJECTS OF CONVERSATION.

Subjects of conversation are sometimes exceedingly difficult to be
had. I have known many a company of well dressed men and women feel
themselves most awkwardly situated for want of something to talk about.
The weather, which is said to be a never failing subject, cannot hold
out above a few minutes at a time. It will stand a round or two rounds,
but not more. It is then knocked up for the evening, and cannot with
decency be again brought forward. Being thus disposed of, the subject
of “news” is tabled; but, as a matter of course, there being “no news
stirring,” “not a word,” “nothing in the papers,” that subject is also
soon dispatched. If there happen to be any very remarkable occurrence
worth talking of, what a blessing it is on such occasions! It is food
for the company a whole night, and may be again and again brought above
board for their amusement. But it much more frequently happens that
there is no exciting event to talk about, and then the condition of the
company is truly miserable. There being ladies present, or there being
two factions in the room, politics are proscribed; and even if they
could be brought forward, the question of reform immediately comes in
with all its tiresomeness, and is put down by general consent. Every
attempt at getting up a topic failing, the company look into the fire,
or in each others faces, or begin to examine with much interest the
pattern of the carpet; and the silence which ensues is truly terrific.
A slight whisper is the only sound in the apartment, and is caught at
or watched by the company, for it may chance to be the commencement of
a conversation in which they may join, without exciting particular
attention. But it, too, dies away. It was only a passing under-current
of remark between the two married ladies in the blue and white turbans,
on the dearth of coals, the difficulty of getting good servants, or the
utility of keeping children muffled in flannel nightgowns from October
till March. At length some good soul makes an effort to brush away his
diffidence. He projects a remark across the room towards the little man
with the smirking countenance, about Mr. This, or Miss That, or
Signor Such-a-thing, who are at present enlivening the town with their
exhibitions. The remark is in itself a very ordinary remark, but it
has its use; it quickens the intellects of those who hear it, and the
tongues of a number of individuals are set a-going upon the subject of
theatrical amusements, singing in the Assembly Rooms, Pasta, Paganini,
and private parties, so that the original remark is lost sight of, and
the company go on pretty well with what it has produced, for perhaps
half an hour. All these topics being exhausted, another horrible silence
ensues. The company again look into the fire, or in one another’s faces,
and once more examine the carpet. What is to be said next? All think
upon saying something, yet nobody speaks. The national _mauvaise honte_
is now displayed to the height of its perfection. The agony of the
company, however, approaches its crisis. - The awful stillness is broken,
and in a most natural and unexpected manner. The young man in the
starched cravat sitting in the corner of the room, near the end of the
piano, who has been thinking what he shall say or do for the last half
hour, takes heart of grace; he rises and snuffs the candles, going
through the self-imposed duty in as neat and elegant a style as he can
possibly affect. The snuffing of the candles is an operation which every
member of the company has seen performed ten thousand times; but it
affords interest for even the ten thousandth and first time. It may not
intrinsically be worth heeding, yet in a case of this nature, it is of
very great importance. It suggests a new theme, and that is exactly what
is wanted, for one subject invariably leads to the discussion of half
a dozen others. The operation of snuffing the candles therefore induces
some one to remark, how beautiful gas light is. Then this brings on a
disquisition on the danger of introducing it into private houses;
ils cost in comparison with oil is next touched upon; then follows an
observation about the last illumination; which leads to reminiscences
of similar displays on the occasions of the great naval victories - the
victories lead to Nelson - Nelson to his biographer, Southey - Southey,
to poetry - poetry, to Byron - and Byron, to Greece. This whirl of
conversation, however, also runs out; an accident jars it, and it is all
over. Suddenly the speakers pause, as if they had received a galvanic
shock; one small voice is alone left prominent above the silence; but
finding itself unsupported, it is immediately lowered to a whisper, and
the whisper subsides to a dead silence.

I have often pitied the host or hostess on occasions of this nature;
but I could not help blaming them for not providing against such dismal
pauses in the conversation of the parties. To guard against these
occurrences, I would recommend them to bring forward what I have
remarked to be never-failing sources of conversational entertainment,
namely, a tolerably good-looking cat, a lap-dog or a child. The last is
the best, it ought to be about two years of age, and be able to walk. If
adroitly played off, or permitted to play, it will amuse the party for
an hour at least. It must be placed on the hearth-rug, so as to attract
all eyes; and while in the room, no other subject of discourse will be
thought of. Any endeavour to draw off attention, by the relation of some
entertaining anecdote, will be deemed sedition against the majesty
of the household. If a cat, a dog, or an interesting child, cannot be
conveniently had, I would advise the invitation of some one who has a
loud voice and the happy effrontery of speaking incessantly, however
ridiculously, on all subjects; a person who can speak nonsense to any
extent, and has the reputation of being a most agreeable companion.
This man is of vast use in tabling subjects; for he has no diffidence
or modesty, and has a knack of turning every observation to account.
His voice also serves as a cover to much bye conversation; there being
hundreds who speak fluently enough, provided a bag-pipe were kept
playing beside them, or who could have their voices drowned by some
other species of noise. The loud and voluble talker is therefore an
excellent shelter for those of weaker nerves, and will be found a useful
ingredient in all mixed companies.

The difficulty of starting subjects of conversation, as well as
the difficulty of sustaining them, is often as observable when two
acquaintances meet in the street, as when a roomful of company is
collected. The unhappy pair exhaust all that they can remember they
ought to say to each other, in the space of a minute and a half, and
another minute may be consumed in going through the process of taking a
pinch of snuff; the next half minute is spent in mutual agony. Neither
knows how to separate. As the only chance of release, one of the parties
at last brings in a joke, or what is meant to be such, to his aid.
The other, of course, feels bound to laugh, and both seizing the
opportunity, escape in different directions under cover of the
witticism.

[CHAMBERS’ JOURNAL.]

[Illustration: 242]




INCONVENIENCIES RESULTING FROM BEING HANGED.


“TO THE EDITOR OP THE REFLECTOR.” *

Sir, - I am one of those unhappy persons whose misfortunes, it seems, do
not entitle them to the benefit of pure pity. All that is bestowed upon
me of that kindest alleviator of human miseries, comes dashed with a
double portion of contempt. My griefs have nothing in them that is felt


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