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[229]

THE CYPRESS CROWN*

A TALE

BY

MR. DE LA MOTTE-FOUQUET



[Translated out of German into English by a Dutchman.]

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[231]The Cypress Crown

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WHAT the peace promised was to be accomplished. The regiments returned; they gravely and solemnly entered the released, miraculously delivered city. It was on a Sunday morning; young and old pressed from daybreak through the streets toward the gate. The guards with difficulty checked the impetuosity of their immoderate joy; all stood expecting, pressing, pinching, interlacing and winding about each other, but became more calm and mentally affected as the moment approached. There was scarcely a sound to be heard, when the trumpet rejoicingly and dolefully saluted hitherward. Tears of anguish flowed from a thousand eyes. many a beating heart was swelled to bursting; the lips trembled when the glittering arms first entered through the open gate. Flowers and crowns flew to meet them, all trees had given their tribute, the gardens had bestowed their variegated splendour of colours. A most charming child, standing in a high arched window, raised his round white arms towards heaven and threw a crown of leaves (given him by his face-averted mother) down among the soldiers. A lancer caught it upon his lance, kindly winking at the little white angel above him, towards whom his eyes were still turned when his officer galloping by, cried out, „Heigh, Wolf! A cypress crown! How came it to you? — ‚tis a bad omen.š

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Wolf placed the crown upon his right arm and rode onwards somewhat affected.

The billets for quartering were finally distributed after a long and tiresome delay; the horses were put into their stables, fed and watered. Wolf received a billet upon a known rich butcher; his comrades congratulated him, and rallied him upon the tit-bits he would find there; they prelusively invited themselves to dine or sup with him. In the meanwhile Wolf took off his cap, put the billet between the gold leashes, passed his hand softly over his forehead (covered with rich hairs), and said, half angrily: „I fear you are much mistaken, I know these rich fellows well, and I know their covetousness. I wished to lodge elsewhere.š „Fool!š cried one of his friends, „what is it to you whether your host be a miser or a liberal man? It is always good for the soldier when the host is rich, but it is necessary that the guest be well behaved, that is a thing of course.š „Politeness has nothing to do in this case,š answered Wolf (taking his baggage upon his shoulders and hanging the cypress crown upon his lance), „They are brutal, rude, uncivil men, they neither feel for man nor beast; I always shudder and can with difficulty forbear beating such fellows. When I see a waggon-load of calves tied together, pressing each other, their heads hanging danglingly, and such a clown walking slowly after them, void of feeling, perhaps singing or whistling, callous and totally insensible to the poor animals‚ cries, I am cut to the heart. Besides, I am weary of slaughter and blood; I am disgusted, satiated; they are my abhorrence.š „Oh! oh!š cried hey, laughing, „Wolf can‚t see blood! Dove‚s heart! since when came it?š „Speak not so foolishly,š cried Wolf angrily, „when my duty calls, or that I wish to augment my honour (beating his iron cross), then you will not find me backward; but I will not deny that my nerves seem to contract when I reflect that I am brought to this pass — to be exalted to a butchery, to see the bloody cleaver, and hear the pitiable and lament 233able roaring; can you then wonder that I should wish for another quarter?š They continued laughing when he was gone away. He looked back threateningly; half jocosely, half angrily he swung the lance towards them who remained behind sporting about, till they lost sight of him.

He soon found the street and the number of the directed house, at the gateway of which he saw a gigantic man, brown face was much covered with black, bushy, hanging eyebrows. his small pink eyes seemed to follow, without soul, the thick cloud of smoke which issued from a small tobacco-pipe. One of his hands played in the pocket of his scarlet waistcoat, the other buttoned and unbuttoned its silver buttons over a considerable paunch.

Wolf made his obeisance and showed him, with much civility, his quartering billet; the other looked anew at him, and, without taking any notice of his guest, pointed with his thumb bent backwards towards the house, peevishly and coolly saying, „Thither, my servants know already.š Wolf gnashed his teeth, and went quickly forward, whereby his dragging sabre rudely touched Mr. John‚s leg. „Devil!š cried he, stamping his foot. Wolf remained unmoved by it and stepped into the foreyard, where a very pale, sickly-looking girl was carrying, with difficulty, two pails of water from the pump. Wolf, inclining towards her, asked her if she was the butcher‚s servant; she stopped short, speechless and perplexed; she put the pails down upon the ground, and directing her fire-extinguished eyes towards him, she stared fixedly, her face and cheeks became more deadly pale, and her whole frame appeared inanimate. Wolf asked again, a little impatiently; she took up her pails, bowed her head upon her breast, and looking at a steep staircase in the back part of the house, she said, „That way; when up, the first door on the right is your room.š

Wolf stood buried in thought, followed her with his eyes a long time before he ascended the stairs. He found all as 234 she had intimated; the room was obscure, close and confined; the air thick and damp; a great deal of the plastering had fallen off the walls, which were blackened with smoke, and here and there were characters, numbers, human faces,a dn heads of beasts painted on the wall with coals. A miserable, mean bed was opposite to the smoke-clouded, almost blind-grown window. A very rusty long nail was in the wall near the bed, upon which Wolf hung the crown, put his lance and sabre into a corner and his baggage upon the old table, occasionally muttering betwixt his teeth, „The rich are worthless, are rascals!š He pushed two fragile chairs aside, leaned on the opened window, and whistled until his anger was suppressed.

He saw over the courtyard and penthouse, in a fine and spacious garden, which was shining and odoriferous compared to the cloudy appearance and damp unwholesome air of the city, the trees of dark shady walks, vaulted high, and as holy, over the solitary places, the golden sunflowers also waggled on their flexible stalks over long windings of white and red roses, which bordered the alleys and hedges. There all was silent, and seemed to be a sacred thicket, unbeaten by human feet. Wolf looked thitherward and wished much to be walking there, but desisted and repressed that wish; his room became more comfortable, however, in consequence of this charming prospect.

During the day he remained very quiet, not troubling himself with what passed in the house. His duty obliged him to go out towards the evening, and it became somewhat dark when he returned. The window was always open: he took a chair near it, sat down, and filled his pipe with tobacco, then blowing the smoke into the air, he indulged his thoughts, and many things flashed across his mind.

The salubrity of the garden, the black tops of the trees, the fiery disc of the moon, which emitted its flaming rays over him, melted his very soul. He remembered his home, his old mother, and grew very tender and sorrowful. The 235 thought that in that place there was no one solicitous or concerned about him presented itself to his mind; he felt an anxious and ardent desire to hear about his brother, who had been abroad a long time without it being known where he was. At first he was a miller‚s man, then he engaged himself as a carrier‚s man, since when they had lost his track.

„Perhaps he went for a soldier,š said Wolf. „now that it is peace all over the world, I think at home, they know where he is.š It seemed to him not only probable but sure, and he determined upon instantly writing to inquire. The remembrance of his brother came upon him so suddenly and so forcibly that the anguish it excited nearly suffocated him.

He but just now discovered, with much vexation, that they had not left him a candle — that, at least, he would call for; he stepped (with a rude oath) out of the door clothed in a small linen waistcoat, without a neckcloth, and just as he then was; resentment was painted in his face, he had stroked his hair upwards, as he was accustomed to do when he was angry, so that it stood an end; thus he groped along in the dark, and descended the stairs. A small lamp burnt faintly on the floor of the house; Wolf stepped near it, to see where he was to go, and stood inclining and feeling about with his hands for the iron wire to ring the bell, when Mr. John returned from his merry bout at the tavern, with his face all on fire, and his eyes sparkling; he gave his usual signal with his thick stick full of knots at the door without perceiving his guest. Wolf drew near him; his face shone by the light of the lamp; he said with a loud imperious voice: „Am I to remain in darkness all the night?š Mr. John was as much terrified as if thunderstruck, the stick fell from his hand, he wildly stared at him, then with a hollow howl he violently rushed through the partly opened door.

„Is he a fool, mad, or drunk?š thought Wolf. More irri 236 tated by this strange conduct he rudely pulled the bell, and began to make a great noise and bustle, when Louisa, the pale girl, came shyly out, made an excuse for her carelessness, and hastened before him with a candle in consequence of his demand. She put the candle upon the table in his chamber, shut the window, wiped the dust off the chairs, and occupied herself some time in her usual soft and gentle manner. Wolf was always very modest and cautious with women, he hated and feared ill renown; and as he had no very good opinion of this house, the neatness of the girl tormented and perplexed him; he turned aside and beat the panes of glass with his fingers, whilst Louisa stood at the bedside flattening the blanket with the palm of her hand. Wolf heard her sigh deeply and looked about, she walked out of the chamber sobbing, and with her head sunk upon her breast; this touched him to the quick. „Why does she weep?š thought he; „has my rudeness frightened her, or have I uttered in my hurry and vexation any unpleasant words?š He took the candle, and hastily and attentively following her, he cried out: „Pray, miss, stop a little, it is very dark and you may hurt yourself.š She was only at the first step. Wolf leaned upon the low rails of the stairs, and carried the candle towards her; she thanked him with affection, and cast her tearful eyes seemingly with pain upon him. Wolf looked upon her with much pleasure; she was truly beautiful. A fine, somewhat languishing redness changed playing and shining over her cheeks. He took her hand modesty and said, „ Dear miss, you are much afflicted. Have I offended you?š „Oh God! no sir,š answered she, weeping again. „Or has some other done you any harm?š asked he more earnestly. She joined her hands, pressed them against her eyes, and gently shook her head; at last she exclaimed: „God wills it so! Even you are sent by Him; just heavens! All was already well and quiet, not it is again as before.š She then by a sign begged him to remain behind, wiped the tears from her cheeks with her apron, and descended slowly and 237 silently. Wolf sat a long time facing the lighted candle, his head on his hands, his elbows resting upon the table, without knowing what to do with himself. His soul was as heavy and oppressed as if he was upon the brink of a great misfortune; he was void of a single rational thought. The weeping voice of Louisa struck melancholy through his heart, and resounded in it as with a thousand-fold echo. With difficulty he had refrained from tears in her presence; her deep-rooted, tender affliction made his heart bleed within him, and he felt as if he partook of her sorrow and disease.

Thus affected and absent he carved and cut in the old table before him different lines and figures with a little knife which he used as pipe-cleaner, and which lay at hand with the tobacco purse.

Unwittingly and unknown he had engraven the name of Louisa (which he had heard called more than once in the house) on the old scratched and hacked table board. He was quite astonished at it, and would have effaced it by crosswise lines with the knife, but as he looked more attentively he discovered the same name all over the table and in his own characters.

Wolf rubbed his forehead and gazed with surprise at the great L, and the other characters which he had learned with much difficulty, and compared them.

„Am I bewitched!š cried he, considering whether he had not written them all himself; but he could not reach so far and had not removed the table, moreover the characters were not new. „Nonsense,š murmured he, and looked about his gloomy chamber, somewhat distrustful The cracks in the walls, the places over the bed where the lime had fallen off, the coal-sketched black faces, the melancholy devastation of the room (which seemed to have been uninhabited a long time) combined, had a terrible and dreadful appearance in the dim, shallow, and wavering light.

Wolf thought at times that he knew the faces; he shud 238 dered involuntarily, and hastily blew out the candle, in order to avoid the illusion of his senses; beside, it was too late to write the proposed letters. He wished to take fresh air for an instant and opened the window. The lukewarm night air softly blew upon him as if saluting him; all seemed to repose and to sleep, save that a faint ray of light shone out of a cave of the penthouse; and soon he heard a hammering upon an avil. [?] „Poor devil!š said he to himself, „already thou employest the midnight hour which should lead only to the new toilsome week.š The red-hot iron emitted its flakes as out of the grave, sparkling upwards in the still night. „Probably,š thought Wolf to himself, „it is a cutler who forges cleavers and knives for the butcher; it must be convenient to him, and advantageous and useful to both. See how all link, conjoin, and hang together in this world.š He became quiet and calm, and looked a long while into the fine garden, which seemed to be inhabited during the night only; for Wolf plainly saw somebody walking slowly in the dark alleys, sometimes standing, sometimes raising his arm and moving it, as if beckoning for a companion.

Wolf could not clearly discern the figure because the rising fog began to cover it as with long white veils, and the more his sight was fixed upon it the more loose and duskish it swam and melted before him. Wolf stepped at last away from the window, which he left open, and threw himself upon the bed. The dried leaves of the cypress crown over him moved by the entering air, rustled and whispered as it were many weak, low murmuring human voices. Wolf started, rose up; the crown was agitated and waggled against the wall. „It is but that,š said Wolf, and recollected, although, half drowned with sleep, where he was. His eyes glanced towards the window; it appeared to him that the figure looked out of the garden into the room. „Tush!š cried Wolf, irritated at his fears, and, putting his head between the blankets, he fell asleep, 239 with so loud a palpitation of the heart that it might have been heard at a distance.

It might be an hour or more that he was sunk in a world of dreams, when a voice suddenly awoke him. The moon struggled still against the beginning break of day, faintly dawning through the window. Wolf heard a plaintive voice near him, he rashly threw the blankets off his face and breast, and disengaged both his arms; thus, with one hand leaning on the bed, the other grasping at his sword for defence, he wildly and with widely opened eyes stared about him.

He was somewhat afraid when a large white dog put his fore-paw upon the bed, stretched his head towards him, and cast his round eyes (which shined in the dark) upon him. The dog wagged his tail and licked the hand raised to repulse and punish him. Wolf was not able to beat him, but suffered him to crawl and crouch nearer and nearer till his head reposed on Wolf‚s breast, where it remained as if it were his usual position.

Wolf thought probably this was his home, and fondled and caressed him. „Perhaps he takes me for his master, perhaps he takes me for the person who quitted this room for me, but who I do not know.š He had scarcely said so, when he remembered the surprising dream he was awaked out of, and his seeing somebody in the room; but he would not dwell upon this remembrance, or recall any part of it to his mind; he therefore rose, and as the day broke, put his baggage into order and prepared to go to the stable, whilst the dog was fawning about him, and following him step by step. Wolf sometimes showed him the door, which the impetuous beast had most probably bounced open with his snout during the night, and which still remained so, but he moved not from his side. Now they began to awake in the house, and the journeymen butchers were busy in it and the court, whistling and singing, now religious, then riotous songs. Wolf leaned upon the window, brushed the 240 dust from off his cap, looking upon the wrangling rude manners and sports of these sturdy stout fellows; one of them, older and with a peevish-looking face, led a meagre animal out of the stable, put an old faded and scabbled surtout on, and hanging his thick whip over his shoulder, he twisted the mane and bridle on his hand, put one leg in the stirrup, and raised the other with a mighty jerk over the horse‚s back; but the poor tired jade (not being recovered from the fatigue of her last journey) pranced and kicked, and would not let him mount. The awkward rider, transported with rage, pulled the bridle, kicked and thrust the poor animal‚s flank, and bead and cuffed it upon the head. „Infamous dog!š murmured Wolf, whose blood began to boil; „the slouch knows not how to manage a horse, why does he undertake it? These fellows who never were soldiers are poor devils; they know not how to extricate themselves out of trouble.š At length the poor sad rider sat upon the saddle, slouched his white felt cap over his ears, and jogged along through the gate.

Wolf‚s heart was very much eased after his departure, but it was not of long duration; he soon after heard the long-legged jade trample on the planks — the rider had forgotten something. He called, whistled, and blasphemed alternately, and without intermission, and finally bawled in at an open window, „Has anybody seen my Lux?š The dog lay snarling at Wolf‚s feet, and showed his teeth as often as the rude voice called him. Wolf was not filling to bring himself into trouble for his sake, and gently scratching the head of the good animal, he said: „If you call for the large white dog, he is here; I do not detain him, but he will not leave me, and I cannot drive him out of the door.š

The blustering fellow stared at him with large opened mouth, and pulled the cap off, and rode on without uttering a word. „Well,š said Wolf, and smoothing the bristled hair of Lux; „stay here, my old dog, and keep a good guard over my baggage whilst I am out.š Lux looked at him as if he 241 understood his words, extended his hind legs under his breast, his fore-feet out and remained on the doorsill, watching with elevated head.

Wolf went to his business, and did all he could to forget the disgusting night. He therefore appeared more merry than he was wont to be, more merry than he really was, and sung one song after another, during the carrying and cleaning, while his companions related and complained much of their reception and entertainment in the city, and wished for the past good days back again. „That one,š said they, pointing at the trilling Wolf, „is happy; but an old proverb says, őbirds which sing so early in the morning will be taken by the vulture in the evening.‚ š „It is possible,š answered Wolf seriously, his heart presaging no good, but threatening him with a great quarrel with the butcher, upon which his every thought was occupied. One of his comrades said, „Heh! you tell us nothing about your reception — say then, how are you?š Wolf replied, „Why should I speak of it? It will make things no better. I knew it before; the people here spoke too much, showed themselves too eager, too impetuous for us to expect much good treatment. They think it flatters the quartered soldiers, who must be satisfied privately with little. Nobody knows of it, nobody then speaks of it, and nobody would believe it, were the poor fellows to tell of it, because they are supposed to be never satisfied.š „Upon conscience!š cried they all, laughing, „you have hit the right nail upon the head; it is just so. They were very generous with their grass and leaves which they threw upon us at our entrance: neither horse nr man will eat them; but surely they must know that nobody can live upon air.š

„Desist from that,š said Wolf; „do not quarrel about bits of bread, they are forgotten as soon as swallowed.š „But is it of honour we speak,š said an under-officer; „due respect is wanting, the soldier is not sufficiently esteemed.š „Respect!š repeated Wolf over again; „it is what they 242 cannot comprehend; they are ashamed, they spit poison and gall, and wish to dishonour the soldier in their own proper eyes, such a sabre seems to them an executioner‚s axe. Fear renders them insolent.š „Companions,š said the under-officer, „it will soon be over, we shall be quartered otherwise, we shall then live at our own cost.š „God be thanked!š said Wolf; „I wish heartily to have done with these peevish, morose faces, although I have not much money.š One of these companions sung a gay air which made them all laugh; Wolf laughed also, because he was now eased of a great load; he thought that for a few days all might remain tranquil and quiet. He avoided being much in his quarters during the day; besides, Louisa was not to be seen, and he wished not to see any other person in the house. late in the evening he stood at the gate, and as he was looking into the street, the rider, who in the morning rode away, returned back in a jog-trot; probably he did not perceive Wolf, because he rode directly to the stable, towards which the puffing, blowing jade impetuously steered her course. After a while he came out of the stable, bent his knees stiffened by the short riding, beat his dangling jack-boots together so that the dust and dirt flew off, and then entered to Mr. John. Wolf walked in the street before the house, and soon heard a great noise in it; he looked involuntarily in at an open window, the old journeyman seemed to quarrel with his master; he had in his hand an empty money pouch, and sometimes beat the table before him with it. Mr. John walked about the room and scratched himself behind his ears, greatly embarrassed, when the other cried out: „you do not bring into account what you lose at cards and dice, but will make me suffer for it; you mistake, upon my soul! I neither can nor will support it.š

The butcher became appeased but the journeyman continued, his face quite inflamed: „Devil! — why should I endure to be chided for so small a sum, who helped you to 243 so much more.š „Well,š said Mr. John, „ let us think no more about it;š but the other, stepping nearer him, raised his closed hand towards him and cried, „Recollect that I can destroy your good name, that I can bring you to ruin.š

At these words Wolf was seized with a deadly fear; he ran to his room and shut the door. he thought himself in a cut-throat house. Lux, the faithful dog, crept towards him; he pressed him to his heart as a friend, as a companion, and looked in his cheerful eyes. The roof of the house seemed to cover him was with an extremely great weight, he could take no refreshment, neither think nor do anything. He mechanically measured the room by steps more than a hundred times, and went to sleep very late. With a feverish shivering, Wolf awoke suddenly out of a most frightful dream, which had kept his soul in a half-senseless suspension for some hours, when a trumpeter sounded for feeding in the morning. He leaped out of bed in a most agitated and disordered state. A small piece of mirror he had in his baggage reflected his pale, wan countenance, and the saddened features thereof, in which the marks of a dreadful unhappy struggling were visible. He was cheerless and discomposed the whole day, although he did all he could to dissipate his sorrow and disquiet of mind. His companions were all astonished at his appearance, asked, insisted, and pressed him to explain; but he kept his secret, and entered into no conversation. He walked as if dreaming, did his business in a most abstracted manner, and evinced neither shame nor sensibility when reprimanded for it. The whole day wasted thus away. He sat in the evening with some of his companions on a bench before the main guard; it was sultry weather, the sky over them was lowering, gloomy, and overcast., All were quiet, singing only some good old songs in chorus. Wolf neither heard nor saw, his heart was oppressed, and his knees trembled so that he could not stand, when one of them said, „Now, 244 companions, it is time we should go to our quarters.š He who spoke had observed Wolf a long while, and as he thought him sick, he took his arm and walked with him. Wolf stopped short when they approached the butcher‚s house, and, inwardly shrinking, breathed with difficulty. „No!š said he, recovering himself; „no, I will no longer bear about the phantoms, which, if continued hidden in my heart, will fester and waste it to death.š „Well,š said the other, „go on boldly; courage! tell me freely what affects you.š „Do not laugh,š said Wolf seriously, „it is a dream of so horrific a nature that the description alone will harrow up your soul to madness.š The other was greatly surprised and alarmed at Wolf‚s fixed look and weak unsteady voice. They looked at each other with pale and ruffled countenances when they entered into Wolf‚s room. At length Wolf began, „Look about you! I is here! These two last knights methought I saw a grey white figure withered and gnawed by the vapour of the grave! Its haggard look and tattered garb seemed to bespeak variety of wretchedness. It sat upon the chair at my bedside, put its head upon it hands, and looked upon me in a most pitiable, beseeching manner. I was neither asleep nor awake, I felt and saw, but my senses were so overwhelmed and agonized that I was incapable of moving a single limb. After remaining some time, it rose, and pointed towards the garden you see there. It spoke not; but a secret voice seemed to say: „Go thee, see you not that sunken ice-house; the linden-tree, whose double branches spring from the same trunk, search there!‚ and ceased not entreatingly to urge me on by signs and gestures till break of day, and till I, half dead with terror and dismay, roused and collected myself.š Both looked on the ground sometime silent and thoughtful; but Wolf felt much easier for having divulged his painful secret, and having freely given words to his gloomy dismal thoughts.

Growing bolder he said: „If it comes this night I will speak to it, I will follow it; I must, at one blow, undo this 245 Gordian knot; otherwise I shall for ever remain bodily and mentally tormented.š

„Will you do so?š asked his companion.

„Why should I not?š said Wolf.

„I would advise you not to do it,š continued the other; „you do not know what you may see there.š

„That is what I must know,š replied Wolf, „to recover my quiet and peace of mind.š

The lancer played with the tufts of his cordon and said no more. it lightened at a distance, and began to rain. Wolf stood at the window, ad looking at his companion said, „You must now go home; besides, you cannot help me; a second person is unnecessary in this affair.š the undetermined position and appearance of his friend raised his courage.

He tendered his hand to him; and leading him out, whispered as they proceeded, „God Almighty will bless and help me? He had scarcely spoken these words when the recollection of his Creator‚s kindness and nearness to him upon many occasions, and particularly in the last war, presented itself to this mind. How a short a pious prayer offered to his God in misery and danger had relieved and pacified his troubled spirit! Therefore, as soon as he had led his companion beyond the stairs, had ordered Lux to be at rest, and had sufficiently recollected himself, he blew out the candle, knelt in a corner, joined his hands an d raising them upwards, prayed heartily, Our Father, &c.

After which he became composed and quiet, and for a while took delight in the awful thunder which passed high and majestically over the city, and its thousands and thousands of high and low inhabitants, and which at times sent forth its lightning, closing all eyes by dazzling them. Wolf, exhausted and enfeebles by the sluggish, half dreaming passed day, soon closed his eyes in sleep, when his nightly vision again appeared to him, and seemed, by its gesture and emotion, to be more disturbed and anxious than before. 246 Wolf thought Lux yelped loudly, and pulled him violently by the arm; but his internal anguish and the total suspension of his mental powers rendered his efforts and struggling to awake vain and abortive.

At length a most terrible peal of thunder and vivid flash of lightning roused him out of his lethargic agony. He started, and at one leap was out of his bed. The wind and rain rattled at the window. The garden appeared but a single sheet of fire, and Wolf saw nought but flame and lightning. Heaven‚s loud acclamation swelled and increased his courage. He put on his cloak, put his sabre under his arm, called Lux, who, affrighted by the roaring of the tempest, was running about howling in a most hideous manner, and left the room praying to his God. All were awake in the house; he found the folding-gate half open, and entered the court. The clouds over him rushed and roared like as a whirlwind, the rain streamed down so that he could scarcely advance, the dog jumped before him in short heavy skips, and with fiery sparkling eyes, he sometimes bayed, with a mighty noise. Thus Lux showed him the way towards the wall; Wolf groped on it with his hands until he found a small door; he pressed and pushed back the bolt, and soon found himself in the entrance of the fine garden he was in quest of. The trees hook their watered heads and saluted him with hollow plaintive soundings. he advanced rashly, and always more rashly, beyond their rustling tops. His breath was oppressed, labouring, full, and it was with difficulty he breathed. The hurricane whipped the flowers vehemently together, pressed their tender heads down upon the ground, and drove whirls of leaves of white and red roses upwards through the rebelling night. A dreadful flash of lightning broke through the black veil of clouds just as Wolf stood before the destroyed, moss-overgrown ice-house. The linden-tree, exactly as his dream had showed him, extended its branches over it, and pointed with the dry ends, as if with long black fingers, towards its entrance. Wolf burst the little door open with his foot; he experienced 247 not the smallest emotion of fear, and all inquietude was supplanted by the growing propensity to discover something in this place. It became so violent a passion that, notwithstanding the hindrance of the weather, following the direction he had received in his dream, he raked the out-dug rubbish and rottenness with an almost incredible infatuated rage. Lux stood snivelling and scratching, and threw earth away archwise over him with his snout; on a sudden he yelped in a frightful manner, and stood staring wildly as if bewitched. Wolf inclined towards him, the tempest passed roaring over him, a single star shone pale through the deep blue cloak of night. Wolf tremblingly started back with horror. A cleaver, a bright cleaver, lay at his feet. To what purport, to what does this tend?š said he, taking it, and stepping from under the shade of the trees into the open air. The little star sparkled on the polished steel. Wolf saw with terror two enrusted spots of blood hard by its edge. His blood compressed his heart. „A murder!š cried he in uncertain guessing, „an execrable murder!š He trembled through fury, and putting the cleaver under his cloak, involuntarily, and without knowing what to wish or how to act, directed his steps towards his lodging. In the meanwhile it became calm, the black mount of clouds sunk down in the north seeming an outburnt volcano. Already the day dawned. The wind drove only red-grey, forky clouds form the east. Wolf moved with long wide step stowards the back-door, his white cloak flew in the wind, his hair stood an end, stiff and wild over his forehead, is eyes were all on fire, and his whole frame was dreadfully agitated. Thus he went to Mr. John, who quietly looking at the clouds, was smoking his morning pipe under the gateway. „See here, master,š cried Wolf, taking the cleaver from under his cloak, and pointing it towards him; „see what I found last night.š The butcher‚s pie fell from his hand, his eyes turned and broke, and he exclaimed with a hollow groaning, „God himself has judged!š then fell headlong on the ground and expired.

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Wolf stood as if rooted to the spot, and the cleaver still grasped in his fast joined fingers, when Louisa, looking over his shoulder, cried out with a most penetrating voice: „O Lord! it is Andrew‚s cleaver: there is his name, őAndre3 Wolf;‚ š and, like lightning recalling the connecting circumstances, she suddenly exclaimed, half choked with grief, and clapping her hands lamentably together, „‚Tis Andrew‚s blood! they have murdered him!š The noise attracted all the inhabitants of the house, who impetuously insisted upon Wolf‚s disclosing the frightful secret. He was as if his head and breast were bound with cramp irons. His mind was void of thought. His tongue was speechless. he stared at the characters on the cleaver, and felt as if a wheel was turned in his head.

Suddenly a torrent of hot tears burst from his eyes, and grinding his teeth, he threw himself in a fury upon the fallen butcher, raised him up, and cried in a frightful manner, „Hast thou, infernal bloodhound, murdered him?š But the cold lips opened no more, death had sealed them. Wolf drew back, let fall the stiff corpse, and looking wildly about him, ran from the gate towards the garden and ice-house. The others followed him, shovels and ladders were brought, they trenched and raked up the ground, and at last drew out of the deep grave a mouldered body. Nothing remained of it, by which it could be known, except a silver ring, which was still in a preserved state on his nibbled finger-bone.

Wolf fell on the ground in a swoon, when Louisa whispered with trembling lips: „It is he?š They carried Wolf, who was seized with violent convulsions; to the hospital, where a mortal fever detained him. In the meantime the court inquired and collected several dispositions, compared them with undeniable facts, and found that eleven years before, a young, brisk, and active fellow, by name Andrew Wolf, had engaged himself in Mr. John‚s service, He was nimble and hasty, exercised in writing 249 and casting accompts, and soon rendered himself very necessary to Mr. John, whose affairs succeeded well after Andrew became his servant. Therefore Mr. John softened in some degree his haughty, surly humour; and Andrew commanded his temper and submitted, somewhat in regard of the secret, cordial love he felt for Louisa.

Louisa and Andrew agreed together, and as he had gained a small capital by his industry and activity, he intended to settle himself and render his faithful girl happy. He was upon the point of breaking the matter to his master, when the malicious Martin, the infamous fellow he never trusted in, entangled him one evening at dice. Mr. John was there also, and both pressed the poor youth very much; but he won from both and ceased playing, because it was very late, and because Louisa, walking about, made him a sign to do so. He went to his chamber, having kissed her in haste, and whispering her secretly, that to-morrow he would tell her all, and soften and make her happy for the future. late in the same evening some of the people of the house heard Mr. John and Martin whispering on the staircase, and saw them afterwards ascend towards Andrew‚s room. On the following day he was missing, and nobody knew how or for what reason. Mr. John reported that he had sided with the French and had gone with them.

During the examination of Louisa and some other witnesses they perceived that Martin was absent; they searched and inquired after him, and discovered that he had rode out at daybreak on the old jade, assured that God‚s judgment would overtake him sooner or later.

After this time Louisa took a calm resigning care of Wolf, who, in the clear moments of his sickness, made her relate everything, and often said with joined, upraised hands: „God has judged, let us forgive the guilty!š Death soon closed his upright, guiltless eyes. Louisa put the Cypress Crown upon his coffin, and followed with Lux 250 at a distance when his comrades buried him by his murdered brother‚s side!

She often weeps still over both graves, but her heart is more quiet and reconciled, as Andrew was not faithless, and God had judged. That poor white rose piously looks forward to that period when the storm of life will pluck her off entirely, and sink her into the dead night of the grave.





* From A Miscellany, Morley‚s Universal Library; 1888; George Routledge & Sons; London, Glasgow & New York; pp. 229-250.


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