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with a portfolio full of defiles, bridges, ed mankind by one at a time, I relierwaters, and passes, which were to ed their humanity by showing the hole, bring La Grande Armée headlong up- at the foot of the rock, by which the on their cottages in the next war. knight had escaped from this living But, luckily, the native love of tran- grave, who was to overthrow the powquillity prevailed ; and as I paid for er of the robber, and hurl Schreckenmy provisions with English punctuali- wold among the roses of his own garty, and without Austrian remonstrance den. at the little tax which they added to With equal applause I showed their price, as a cure for conscience them the hollow in the river side, in thus assisting the enemies of their where Rudiger, the merchant, entrapcountry ; as I made love to no man's ped the formidable brothers Hadmar female establishment, and shot no the Kuenringer, and Heinrich van great lord's game, I was suffered, at Weitra, both surnamed by the terrified pleasure, to ramble, draw, eat, and peasantry, “the Hounds," and related pay.
Like the great globe itself, I to them the legend of these two was kept in my position by the “ vis brothers. inertiæ."
My hearers politely professed But one evening my solitude was themselves charmed with the poetic pleasantly varied by the sight of some justice of the story; and I should berlines straggling along the road be- have probably proceeded to reap addilow the Castle of Durrenstein. The tional applause, and vindicate the dexGerman postillions had of course lost terity of imperial robber-catchers on their way, or pretended that they had a larger scale, but for one of the cuslost it, as is the custom, when they tomary incidents of mountain excurknow that a tolerable inn lies within sions—the settling of a mass of heavy half a mile of them, and feel more clouds on the pinnacles above our disposed to enjoy themselves there heads. The
sank sullenly than “be borrowers of the night” for under this purple veil. Murmurings ten miles further.
were heard through the forest, with I hailed the travellers, and found which mortals had nothing to do. that they were a party of attachés to Fires were seen glittering behind the the foreign ministers at Vienna, who, solid shade of precipices, where never finding the world at peace, the capital gipsy ventured to light them. The hot as an oven, and the dinner and horses gave sensible signs of an inclidancing season at an end, had come to nation to find their way to the first kill the month of indolence among the stable ; and the yawning postillions wonders of the Danube. My services swore in twenty forms of imprecation were accepted, first as a guide to their against the crime of suffering themberlines, and next, as a cicerone to selves and their beasts to stay out themselves. I showed them the fa- sight-seeing, when all that could be mous “rose-garden” of Schrecken- got in exchange for supper and shelwold, a name whose very sound is de- ter was as thorough a wetting as ever scriptive of its ruthless bearer, to any drenched ambassadorial livery. We who can pronounce it and live. I took their advice, seconded as it was pointed out the precise locale of the by the gusty howlings of the forest, iron door, where this mountain chief and the deeper volumes of vapor that thrust his unlucky victims over the now began to stoop from the pinnacles precipice, and where those who had to the ravine. A dash of rain, the not their necks broken at once, were avant-coureur of a deluge, put us all sure to die of famine. And, after in motion ; and I had the honor of being startling my makers of manifestos with appointed guide to the little Wirththe atrocity of a robber who destroy- haus,* where I had pitched my tent
for the last week, and which its portly our wondering eyes. The hills seemand pence-loving landlord, Herr Mi- ed nervously alive : the torrents dancchael Squeezegelt, would have felt it ed and sprang about in the most dias an affront of the blackest dye to rect contradiction to the laws of hear called by a less title than Gas- gravity; the forest tossed, groaned, thaus. *
and flamed, as if the days of old neI invited my new visitors to make cromancy were come again, and every merry, ordered the best supper that tree contained its tortured spirit. All our bustling and overwhelmed cook was fire, hail, water, and uproar. could give us on so brief a notice ; But the rock of Durrenstein, with produced some capital claret, a travel- its ruined fortress on its summit, a ling companion, whose society I had fitting crown for this monarch of the often found indispensable to console realm of ravines, still held its superime for the désagrémens of all other; ority over the less renowned victims and by the help of a large stowage of of the storm. It stood in the centre faggots on the hearth, and a bundle of of the conflict, and, alternately lost wax tapers, which I fear had been and seen as the sea of cloud rolled by, consecrated at the shrine of “ Maria looked like some mighty ship of a hunTapferl," the most famous sanctuary dred thousand tons, some huge leviathan of this part of Austria, but now, in of war, plunging and rising, battling defiance of piety and pilgrimage, light- with and baffling an ocean of mad biled for our profane supper-table, lows. With the shifting of the clouds I contrived to make up a party as came perpetual changes, and every gamuch disposed to be happy as if theyzer had his favorite comparison. But were sitting round the gold plate, and at last all agreed in one; and every under the silver chandeliers of his Se- voice almost at the same moment crirenity the Prince Lichtenstein. ed out “ the sorcerer.” The tempest
The postillions had been perfectly had lulled for a moment, and suffered in the right. The storm came on in the vapors to gather in a heavy white full force before we had sent round fleece round the summit of the hill ; the first bottle. Thunderclaps, bursts below this rolling turban the rocks of rain, roarings of wind, and sheets were bare, and broken into the most of lightning, that made us all look striking resemblance of the withered blue, first followed each other with and darkened visage that, from time the rapidity of musket firing, then immemorial, we attribute to the dealcame all together, and at last, as they ers in forbidden arts. While we say of the compass in storms at sea, looked, the costume was completed the land storm fairly stopped the rota- by a gush of waters which had forced tion of the bottle. We left the feast its way through a hollow of the rock, upon the table, and crowded to the and covered the magician's chin and little casements to see the perform- front with most venerable and ance of the angry elements on so suit- sweeping beard of foam a hundred and able a stage.
Nothing could be fifty feet long. finer or fiercer. The grim features of The sight was curious enough to be the mountains, under the changes of worth some record. I had seated the light and the vapors, took the hue myself at the table, and taken out my and aspect of every thing marvellous, crayon to sketch the outline, when a *and would have made the fortune of a general cry from the window brought new Goëthe, or a new Retcsh. All me back. I saw, to my astonishment, the witcheries of the playmate hags of standing in the orifice, which we had the Hartz, were peaceable and legiti- established as the sorcerer's mouth, a mate occupations to the furious fanta- figure which visibly moved—but whesies that nature here disported before ther man, bear or fiend, none could
ascertain. It lingered for awhile on The brilliant Frenchman had beatthis tremendous spot, apparently quite ed himself into so strong a conviction at its ease, in a tumult,which would have of the reasonableness of his proposal, startled Æolus himself. The night that in scorn of our doubts, whether was falling fast, and we began to fear firing even at a ghost might not be that we should lose sight of the phe- punishable by law in a country so nomenon before we had determined its strict in the preservation of its game species. But, as if it heard our wish- as Austria, he was hammering his es, it came forward, and stood gazing flint for action, when the figure made from the edge of the precipice at the a sudden bound from the edge of the play of the torrent, as it tumbled gulph, disappeared, was seen again down the magician's black bosom. standing on a lower shelf of the preciThe spot would have turned the head pice, again darted down the torrent, of a chamois ; yet there stood this re-appeared from the side of the raimperturbable being like a piece of vine, and, rushing across the road, the rock itself. The adventurer now knocked furiously at our door, drip occupied us all; and to ascertain what ping like a water-god. he was, became the grand business of A little altercation heard without life for the next half hour. A Ger- between him and the landlord, who man, once attaché to the Austrian em- probably thought that he was not likely bassy in London, offered to settle the to benefit much by such an arrival, or point à-la-mode Anglaise, by a bet of that his house already contained unsix to four, that it was any thing that manageable guests enough, induced any body else thought it was not, and my interference in favor of the vice versâ. An old Italian envoy of- laws of hospitality. I went to the fered to make the discovery, by cut- door, and with many an
ominous ting the cards in the infallible way by frown of Herr Michael, invited the which the Neapolitan ladies settle stranger to take shelter for the hour. their affairs with destiny for the day, He was all polite reluctance, but the and are secure, from sunrise to sunset, storm allowed of no medium, and he, against earthquakes, losses at play, at last, followed me into the presence of the sickness of lapdogs, and the faith- my fellow naturalists. As he entered, lessness of cavaliere serventi. A bowing on all sides, and with the lanFrench colonel, who wore the croix guage of a man of the world, I saw of St. Louis, and the legion of honor, the French sharpshooter blush, at in amicable conjunction, at his button least as much as a Frenchman ever hole, proposed to settle the doubt by does, quietly deposit the rifle in a cora long shot from his Tyrolese rifle; ner, and give that curiously-expressive arguing, that “as it was utterly im- glance round the circle, which tells possible that any man but a lunatic how close one has run to the edge of could venture to such a spot, no harm some blunder of the first magnitude. could be done by bringing him down, But we kept his secret with honor; whom, if he escaped, it was so much and a fresh bottle, a new bundle of gained, and if an end was put to him, faggots, and the loan of my surtout, it was but one madman the less in a soon made the circle and its new addiworld where there were so many be- tion the gayest of the gay.
We sides. If it was a bear, we should found this scaler of mountains and have a couple of capital hams to add swimmer of torrents altogether a very to our stock, in a place where another striking personage, speaking the sereday's confinement would see us starv- ral languages of our miscellaneous ed, unless we should eat the fat land- company with native ease; evidently lord. And if a demon, our firing at familiar with Europe and with a conit might be a merit in another place, siderable extent of Asia, and giving and wipe out a thousand years of pur- now and then a piquant anecdote of
the great, which made our diploma
tists raise their eyebrows in wonder at night of the Red Woman of Durrendiscoveries which they had treasured stein.” in their own bosoms as the “ immedi A burst of thunder, that tore the ate jewels of their souls."
ear and shook the strong building The hour flew, and the stranger round us, gave such authentic evidence was the first to remark that the storm to the Herr's opinions, that I could had subsided. But to suffer him to extract nothing more from him on the take his leave for the night was out of sacred subject; but, shrinking and the question. He at length consent- startled, he left me, as he said, to ed, though with considerable difficul- examine what new damage had been ty, to remain. The Frenchman, who done by the witch's annual visit, and probably thought himself bound to implored me once more to get my make atonement for the favor which noisy companions to bed as soon as he had intended him, insisted on sur- possible. rendering his bed, his wardrobe, or But the landlord's beer-loving soul his bodily existence, for the benefit of had never known the courage of Chahis bosom friend.' While we were
teau Margot; and on my communienjoying our cups, and enchanted into cating his fears, my only answer was a round of pleasantries, which brought a general burst of laughter, and a out every man, and promised to keep pledge to see the adventure out, to us from our beds till daybreak, I defy St. Michael and his storms, and heard a heavy foot occasionally pass to receive the witch-queen of the the door. Whatever might be our dia- mountain with bumpers, if she should logue, there was no necessity for its honor us with a visit. being overheard ; and I at length I had heard of her before, and the went out to put an end to the investi- conversation turning upon the extraorgation. I found the landlord alone, dinary propensity of the peasantry in in his nightcap and slippers, and sel- all countries to add to the natural dom looked the Herr Michael less troubles of their station by imginary in good humor with the world.- evils, I gave such details as occurred “Twelve o'clock, Sir,” he grumbled; to me of the “ Red Woman of Dur“full time for all honest men to be renstein.” The stranger followed, in their beds."
but if his knowledge on other topics I told him that there was nothing to was striking, here it was unbounded. prevent his honesty from its full indul- He poured out a ready heap of curigence in slumber, and that I would be ous anecdote and incident of the responsible for the security of every mountain superstitions ; some nearly iron spoon and wooden trencher under monstrous of course, but some picturhis roof.
esque, and which would have been a The Herr's urbanity was not his treasure to the painter; and even most conspicuous virtue at any time. some so like what we deem a power But I believe that he had due reliance above nature, yet within reality, a so on one who had so long resisted the subtle entwining of things that pertemptations of his table equipage ; and plexed belief with facts easily comwith some rough attempt at a bow, he prehensible, and of no unusual occurset me at my ease on the point of rence, that we all listened with an inhonor, and said, that his only objec- terest which we probably should not tion to our sitting up for the next have been ashamed to acknowledge in twelve hours, or years, was the pre our most composed hours. sumptuous nature of the thing. with the thunder rattling over the “ This is an awful night, Sir,” said roof, St. Michael's night, the “ bell he; “such storms seldom come for then beating one,” and the very palace good. This is the 29th of Septem- of the she-sorcerer showing from ber : St. Michael's night, my patron our windows its wild battlements saint ; and, heaven preserve us! the edged with perpetual lightnings, and,
it must not be forgotten, with a dozen tears running down St. Catherine's of excellent claret already discussed, cheeks, and the moving of the Magwe gave the homage of our ears to dalen's bosom." the man of legend, as if he was Si • Those affairs make an exception mon Magus bimself.
to my maxim," replied the German, “ Yet, after all,” said he, with a “ for those I have seen, and cannot smile round the listening circle, as he believe.” closed a story whose strange mixture “ But now for your opinion," said of oddity and horror had fixed us in I to the stranger. silent attention ; “ what is this pas “ Why, then, if you will have it sion for being vexed and made hypo- out, I side with the gentleman who chondriac by fancy, but an additional has made the eye the judge. We proof of the original foolery of man? have not got those faculties for the the only fool, by the by, that creation purpose of being led into absurdity exhibits. Every other animal has the by them. I do not believe that there due quantum of understanding. The is a word of truth in any legend of bustard that betrays itself by its witchery, red, blue, or green, from booming, the ostrich that leaves its Bohemia to Lapland.—But, ha! look eggs in the sand; all that we are in there."the habit of charging with want of A broad blue stripe of flame darted brains, have a sufficient object in their through the crevice of the shutter, and contrivances : even the ass is libelled. rested on the opposite wall, throwing He knows what he is about infinitely our candles into eclipse by its strong better than hundreds of his riders, and brilliancy, and what struck us as more if his natural taste be for thistles, and singular still, giving a kind of motion his back be made for blows and bur- to the figures of the fair dames and thens, he has a much better claim to gallant knights that had, hitherto, respect than many a showy personage, lurked in the general dinginess of the who for the glories of a ribbon or a court of the Emperor Charlemagne, place, is content to swallow the this on black paper, apparently as old as tle and bear the blow and the burthen, its theme. without the excuse of nature.”
The stranger was delighted with the This was plain speaking among so sight, which he protested was worth many chevaliers, with so many stars living even in a German Wirthhaus for and crosses.
But boldness, when it a twelvemonth to see. And, certainis seconded by truth, goes far; and ly, when the first surprise allowed us we were too much in good-humor to look en philosophe, at the phenowith ourselves to think of examining menon, nothing could be more attracthe point for the present. “ But do tive. It seemed a phantasmagoria of you actually believe in those preter the most vivid kind, not the puzzled natural influences ?" said the French- and misty light that makes our magicman, turning to some remark of mine. lantern figures as hard to be traced as
“I feel like Plato,” was my reply; a hieroglyphic; but an intense and " the more I think on such subjects, steady splendor, that actually rekinthe less I am able to come to a deci dled the faded gilding and perished sion."
purple velvet of monarchs, plumed “ For my part,” said the German, chevaliers, and dames of pride, beaupalpably a student of the Helvetius ty, and distended petticoats, glowing school, “what I cannot see, I cannot from hip to heel with every flower of believe."
the parterre, an embroidered para“Strange,” interrupted the Italian. dise. .“ How then can you answer the innu I glanced into the open air to ascermerable evidences of interposition tain from what meteor, or accidental among us; you, who have seen the firing of the woods, the light was prowinkings of the Madonna's eyes, the duced.
But, except an occasional