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Templars, and the blows of the ringing like the blows of iron upon iron, Grand Master's hammer struck not and so loudly audible, that I could no my outward, but my fancy's ear.” longer doubt the evidence of my Determining to place this probable senses, nor reason down my apprehenconstruction on the mysterious sounds, sions that either earthly mischief, c, I again opened the little book, which possibly, unearthly agency, was busy had laid a strong hold of my curiosity, near me. The knocks were agaia and continued to peruse it, till I had succeeded by low sounds of lamentafinished these words :
tion and groans, followed, as before, “ And again the Grand Master by a quick and sobbing respiration, struck the iron cross thrice with his which I could compare with nothing hammer, and the brotherhood knelt but the death -rattle. I struggled around the grave, and kissed the earth hard with a growing suspicion that in silence.”
some supernatural intelligence was at At this moment I again heard three work here, and yet my reason equally knocks more distinctly than before, rejected the possible contingencies of succeeded, too, by a low sound of robbers, or midnight frolics. Thieves mingled mattering and lamentation. I would not thus announce their predistinguished both sounds with a sence, and it was utterly improbable clearness which no excitement of my that my afflicted relatives, or their atimagination could supply, and I ob- tached and sympathising domestics, served that the three knocks resem- would amuse themselves by trying bled the ringing sound of iron upon midnight experiments upon my couriron. I gazed in alarm at the door age. I had clearly distinguished that which opened on the long corridor, these mysterious sounds proceeded not from whence the noise had seened to from the sepulchre beneath me, but proceed ; and with growing horror, I from the hall or corridor. "Can it now heard a clearly audible and long be,” whispered my excited imaginacontinued sobbing, like the last strug- tion, “the unquiet spirit of the murgling breath of a dying man. At this dered Bruno, or of his suicide daughinstant the thunder again reverberated ter, the unhappy Leah ! Or, can it in long echoes from the mountains, be the shade of my ancestor, the longthe book dropped from my trembling departed Templar? Or,” it suddenly hand-I felt a sudden shivering of the occurred to me,“ is it not rather some extremities, and all the blood rushed benighted traveller, attracted by the to my heart, which beat with audible light in my window, knocking at the violence. I now fancied that I heard gate for admittance ? It is, it must the sound of distant footsteps, and be some helpless wayfarer," I erseizing the candle, I approached the claimed, clinging to this preferable door and listened, but no sound was solution of the sounds whicb had distinguishable. « Nonsense!” I ex alarmed me. Transferring one of my claimed, assuming an indifference I candles to a lantern which I found in did not feel ; “'tis nothing but the the book-closet, I seized my sabre, rising storm-gust, howling in the long and was hastening to the door, when passages and wide chimneys of the suddenly the sound of solemn music castle.” I resumed my book and floated through the apartment. The .chair, determined to finish the curious tones were harp-like, and gradually recital, and retire to bed. But on rose with a sublime swell, which, at reading the account of that part of the such an hour and place, seemed to me ceremony where the coffin was gently more than earthly. The soaring and slowly lowered into the grave, and swell was succeeded by a gradual and the Grand Master, again raising the iron dying cadence, which melted away in bammer, struck the iron cross three the distant night-breeze; I paused times, I was again interrupted by the and listened in still astonishment-but sound of three knocks near my door, all was silent. I endeavored to per
suade myself that it was another de. ample dressing-gown. Screened by lusion of my fevered brain, and that a luxuriant hedge of evergreens, I the ill-cured sabre-wound on my head reached a point commanding a view of had contributed to the successive hal- the interior, and beheld by the light of lucinations of the night; but the me four tapers, held by as many figures lody had been so distinct and peculiar muffled from head to foot in dark drathat I could repeat every note. At pery, a spacious and losty sepulchre, this moment I heard the clock of the in the centre of which, on a marble neighboring convent of St. Clara basement, stood an open sarcophagus, sound the midnight hour from the vale containing a richly-decorated coffin, below; it was accompanied by a long- from which the black-silk pall had drawn wailing gust of wind through been partially rolled back. A female the corridor, and the deep-toned bell forin, attired in white and flowing struck on my saddened ear like the garments, was kneeling on the baseknell of some one I had loved and ment; her hands were folded as if in lost. Soon the music rose again as if prayer, and her forehead was reclin
rom the vault beneath, and I distinct- ing on the margin of the sarcophagus. ly heard the sound of harmonious She was a lovely blondine, her hair, of voices, singing with impressive and silken texture, and in color the brightperfect modulation, the following est auburn, fell in graceful abunwords from the fine opening of Mo- dance over her shoulders ; the visible zart's Requiem :
portion of her face was of an ashy Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine ! paleness, and on her bosem I observed Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
a white rose. The music had ceased A rich and powerful soprano then sang before I reached my concealed station, in thrilling tones the solo
but the dead silence which had sucTe decet hymnus Deus in Sion,
ceeded was now interrupted by loud Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem. tokens of the approaching storm. A After which, all the voices and the gust of wind shook the mighty oaks harp, in fine accord, and in a louder on the adjacent slope--the kneeling strain, resumed
figure turned her face towards the Exaudi orationem meam,
grating, and by the glare of a bright Ad te omnis caro veniet.
fiash of lightning, I saw the whole unI heard every word as distinctly as earthly visage. Gracious Heaven ! if the singers had been at my elbow; it was the sainted Cecilia—the white and, convinced that they were no spi- rose in her bosom-in short, the perrits, but human choristers chanting in fect semblance of her portrait in the the sepulchre beneath me, I opened room above. the window, and saw a blaze of light The lantern dropped from my tremstreaming through the bronze latticed bling hand, and I gazed on this appalgate of the vault, over a small flower- ling group of figures in speechless horgarden, which embellished the ap- ror, aggravated by the howling of the proach to Cecilia's tomb. After a blast, the creaking of the branches, and brief pause, the solemn strains pro- the endless echoing of the thunder in ceeded, when, unable to repress my the mountains. My blood ran cold with curiosity, I called aloud, “Who is nameless apprehensions, but soon the there ?” But no answer was returned, tide of feeling took an opposite direcsave from the echoing rocks, which tion. Maddened with this inexplicaresponded—“ Who is there ?—there?" ble succession of alarming incidents, I with startling accuracy. Determined determined to sever at once the Gorto unravel this mystery, I sallied forth dian knot, and, rushing forward with with sword and lantern into the corri- desperate resolution, I seized and dor, descended the stair-case, and shook the bronze gates with maniacal cautiously approached the bronze vehemence, shouting, in the voice of one gate, concealing the lantern under my possessed, Oh, Cecilia ! Cecilia !”
“ Jesus Maria!” ejaculated the pal- was obscured by heavy clouds, and all lid figure in white, turning upon me a was midnight darkness. During a pair of large blue eyes, which appear- short interval between the whistling ed glassy and lifeless. In a moment blasts, I thought I could distinguish every taper disappeared, and a horrid the sound of a light footstep ; and, scream rang through the vault, suc- looking more intently, I saw, by a ceeded by a crash which seemed to faint gleam of lightning, a figure in shake the massive tower above the white drapery turn hastily round an sepulchre.
angle of the ruins, and disappear under Overwhelmed with terror and sur- the trees. I was vainly puzzling myprise at the strange termination of this self to account for this new incident, awful scene, I plunged through the when the appalling knocks of iron updarkness, explored with difficulty my on iron, again sounded in the corridor. way to the stair-case, and ascended Rousing by a sudden effort my droopit with headlong velocity. While ing courage, I hastened to the door, feeling the way to my apartment along and opening it, listened with renewed the wall of the corridor, my attention horror to the agonizing groans of some was roused by a noise at the other dying sufferer. While rooted to the end, resembling the creak of a heavy spot with nameless apprehensions, a door when moving on rusty hinges. burst of loud and horrid laughter Turning round, I saw a faint gleam of struck suddenly upon my startled ears. light shoot athwart the deep gloom of It proceeded, I thought, from the arthis long passage, and with inexpressi- mory out of which the mailed knight ible astonishinent I beheld the iron had issued, and the tones had a brazen, door of the armory gradually opened, gong-like reverberation, to which no and the lofty figure of a knight in human organs could possibly have gircomplete armor, issue from it, with a en utterance. This monstrous peal naked sword in one hand, and a small of merriment was succeeded by the lantern in the other, which he held up clash of swords and armor, and I as if to explore the intense darkness plainly heard heavy blows descending of the corridor. Congratulating my- upon helmets, shields, and corslets. self that my person was concealed in No language can describe the perplesthe deep shadow, I gazed in utter ity with which I listened to this apperplexity and terror upon this spec- palling uproar, which now seemed to tral figure, until I saw it turn round resound from the baron's hall; and, and retreat into the armory, the door under the insane impulses of lear, I of which, opening, outwards, immedi- gradually yielded to a belief that the ately closed, as if impelled by a ghosts of Bruno and Gotthard nightly spring. Soon as I could regain the visited the castle to renew their deadpower of volition, I returned to my ly conflict. « Surely all the powers apartment in the tower, more perplex- of hell are in league to-night against ed than ever with the rapid succession me !" I exclaimed, as I retreated into of extraordinary and startling inci- my apartment, barred the door in undents which I had encountered in this utterable anxiety, and began to weigh mysterious old castle. Surely," I whether it would not be advisable to began to think, “if the dead are per- return to the comfortable mansion of mitted to revisit this earth, this is the my aunt, and leave the " Robber's very hour and place in which to ex- Tower” to its infernal tenantry. Sudpect them.” My wonted freedom denly, however, a suspicion flashed from all superstitious fancies still, upon me, that this old castle, having however, struggled with this thicken- been for some months unoccupied by ing evidence of supernatural agency, the family, had become the haunt of and, opening the window, I looked out gipsies or robbers, and that the mysto observe if any light was again visi- terious sounds and appearances which ble from the sepulchre ; but the moon had alarmed me, were the ingenious
contrivances of these vagabonds to small lanterns, I saw the towering terrify the servants of the baroness, figures of Bruno and Gotthard, in paand thereby retain undisturbed pos- noplies of steel, and beavers down, session of the ruins. Inexpressibly crossing their long swords to renew relieved by this more rational view of the combat. the extraordinary adventures of the Appalled to a degree far exceeding night, and fearless of human agency, I all former apprehensions, I stood in determined to solve the enigma with- gasping and speechless terror before out delay, and seized my pistols with these colossal spectres, who paused as intent to explore immediately the hall they beheld me, lowered the points of and armory, from one of which the their tremendous weapons, and reclash of weapons still resounded. My mained fixed and motionless as stanerves, however, were still unstrung tues. I fancied as I gazed upon them by the terrors I had experienced, and in silent horror, that I could distinfearing that my unsteady hand would guish two human skulls within their not effectually level a pistol, I took, barred helmets, and, ejaculating I in preference, my keen-edged sabre, know not what, I turned round and grasped it with feverish energy, and darted into the corridor, hurling after proceeded with a candle into the cor me the iron door with such force as ridor, determined to enact myself the to detach the picture of the poisonCastle Spectre, for which personifica- ed nun from the wall above, and it tion my tall figure and white drapery fell behind me with a noise which inwere well adapted.
creased no little my
consternation. The combat was continued with un- Overturning the candle in my rapid abated energy, and the ringing sound progress, I rushed along the corridor of swords and armor now evidently in utter darkness, until I found my proceeded from the armory, towards speed arrested by some one pulling which I was cautiously advancing, vigorously at my dressing-gown. when another peal of grating and Sa- Desperation now supplied the place of tanic laughter made me pause in courage, and with a backward thrust, shivering astonishment. At this mo- I plunged my sabre-point deep into ment the storm-clouds, which had the body of my pursuer. This defenbeen for some time concentrating, sive blow did not, however, release burst in fury over the ruins ; the rain me from his grasp; and to aggravate fell in heavy torrents, and an intense- my perplexity, I now heard immedily 'vivid flash of lightning was instan- ately behind me the agonizing sobs taneously succeeded by a monstrous and groans which had so often alarmburst of thunder, which shook the old ed me during this eventful night. castle to its foundations. When the During this climax of horrors, the long-enduring reverberations of the creaking of the armory door diverted thunder had ceased, I approached the my attention from the awful sounds at arınory and listened at the door, from my elbow, and my heart died within which I now observed that the mas me as I beheld the two mailed specsive iron bar and padlock had been tres hastening with long strides and remored.
uplisted swords and lanterns towards Hearing no noise within, I grasped me. my sabre more firmly, and, clenching By the approaching light I now dismy teeth in angry and bitter determi- covered to my infinite relief, that my nation to unravel, at all risks, this tis- fight had been arrested by, neither sue of mysteries, I placed my only human nor superhuman interference, remaining taper on the ground, to pre- but simply by the iron door-latch of serve it froin sudden extinction, pull- one of the hall stoves, which was suped the door, which opened outwards, plied with fuel through an aperture in and stepped into the armory, when, the corridor, as is still the custom in behold ! by the faint light of two many modern houses throughout Ger
many. My long dressing-gown had helmets, and reverberating through floated behind me as I rushed down the losty corridor, had produced the the corridor; the projecting latch had unnatural and gong-like peal which caught the lining, and my sabre had had so much astonished and alarmed pierced no hostile pursuer, but the me. They acknowledged, too, that tightly extended skirt of my unfortu- they had been no little terrified when nate garment. Hastily extricating they saw a tall figure in white, with a myself by severing the skirt with a naked sabre, enter the armory ; that, sabre cut, I turned round and despe- however, they had gathered courage rately faced iny griin antagonists, who from my sudden retreat, and, beginwere now within a few yards of me, ning to suspect that I was a robber, and held up their lanterns as if to as- had pursued and recognised me. E sist their examination of iny features. had found, also, a clue to the myste
Brandishing my sabre, I shouted, rious sobs and lamentations in the “ Avaunt, ye hellish forins !” but, to corridor, while endeavoring to sepamy indescribable amazement, they rate my dressing-gown from the latch, suddenly paused, exchanged a few during which operation the creaking words, threw down their swords, hinges of the stove door, not having and, raising their beavers, showed me been oiled for many years, emitted the broad, bluff features of my aunt's the wailing, groaning sounds which had gardeners, two old Austrian dragoons, made my blood run cold. While still whose tall athletic figures I had scan examining the stove, another tremenned with a soldier's eye during my dous blast shook the corridor, and evening walk to the ruins. A ludi- the storin-gust, rushing down the cacrous explanation now ensued, and I pacious chimney, burst open the heaheard that in consequence of the ap- vy iron door, which fell back against pearance of some marauders in the the iron catch, and rebounding twice mountains, my aunt's steward had or with the shock, explained very natudered the gardeners to sleep by turns rally the fancied hammer-blows of the in the old armory as a protection to Grand Master upon the iron cross : the valuable property deposited there. the expiring gust then moving the The old soldiers, whose long cam- door more gently on its rusty binges, paigning had not much abated their made them wail and creak as before ; dread of the supernatural, were afraid after which the diminishing current, to mount guard alone in the armory, rushing through the imperfectly closand had agreed to watch there toge- ed door, produced the intermitting, ther; but, unable to sleep during the sobbing noise, which my tortured imstorm, had challenged each other to a agination had converted into a deathgame at broadsword, by way of killing rattle. the time, and, to heighten the joke, Dismissing the mailed gardeners to had donned two suits of the old armor their armory, I retired immediately which hung round the walls of the to bed; and, deferring until morning armory. The steward was not aware my proposed investigation of the mysof my intention to occupy the apart- terious incidents in the sepulchre, I ments in the tower; and, had the men slept, in defiance of the storm, until not previously seen me in the garden roused by a summons from my aunt with the baroness, a serious, and too and cousin to join them in the outer probably, fatal encounter would have room to breakfast. been the consequence of the critical When I met iny amiable relatives situation I have described. On far- at the breakfast table, I was concernther inquiry, I found that whenever one ed to observe the lovely Julia still of these lusty knights had placed an more pallid than I had found her the effective blow, they burst into a horse previous evening, and expressed my laugh, which, sounding from their ca- fear that she was indisposed. pacious throats through the barred “I have passed a sleepless and mi