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nature could bestow, and very true I felt the remark of Byron, that .■lakes one " wish to see the whole of the fine form which terminates so well." I was not a little pleased to observe that my dark eyes, sparkling no doubt with wine and animation, mixed up with a little inquisitorial brilliancy, seemed to have fascinated hers: we looked at each other, then away, I blushing deep scarlet, and distinctly seeing that my fair unknown was blushing, as the sailors say, "up to her eyes."
I must, however, introduce my companion to my readers before I continue my own adventures. My travelling companion was a young man, on the passport passing for twenty-five, but from some deep furrows on the cheek, some wrinkles under the eyes, and an occasional haggard look, might very well have passed, without suspicion for a man of thirty-five, who had seen his best days. He had travelled over a large portion of Europe; walked through the Palais Koyal; stopped at 154; dived down to the bottom of the Sala silver mine in Sweden; and lost his way, by no means an uncommon accident with him, in the largest and the straightest street in Moscow. He was a man much admired by the women for his discreet and steady behaviour: his was no babbler's tongue, and the secret once confided was well and cautiously guarded by my wizened-face travelling companion.
The flower-girl was hanging on the arm of a tall man in domino, and on his other arm reclined another little nymph, who had fixed her love-darting look on the now animated glance of my companion. They measured each other; the nymph then looked at her companion, then whispered, then observed me, and then said in a beautifully sweet voice, " Charlotte, 'tis them." Now I must here take leave to say, that many travellers have spoken lightly of the virtue and the morality of the German nation, some going so far as to mix all up in one immense cauldron of hot flesh and loose habits; some telling odd stories of intrigues, assignations, elopements, and other conjugal infelicities, nearly as common in our own as in any other country. What we wish we are always ready to believe; and on this occasion, as we both wished for an adventure, we, I am sorrow to say, both gave implicit, credit to the rhodomontade anecdotes of former visitors of Berlin. If it was possible to look love, confidence, and admiration, we both did it; my eyes began to ache, and my heart to palpitate. We walked round the fair objects of our attachment apparently unobserved, by the man, or, if observed, never noticed: this we placed to the right account of stoical indifference in a lazy pipe-smoking German husband. The waltz was now in its highest twirl; the couples passed us with rapid steps and long strides, and whenever I met the eye of the object of my affection, I read distinctly in her altered looks, "Why don't you ask me to dance ?"—thinks I. I will. I advanced some few steps, then called a halt to take counsel, then consulted on the probability of being able to kick the husband, and then determined to make a joint attack upon his two wives, or two daughters, and commence an adventure. In Germany, if a lady is dancing with a gentleman, it is by no means reckoned impolite, but rather the contrary, to ask the gentleman to allow the lady to dance one or two rounds with you; and it is a rule that, at the expiration of the said round, the lady is returned to her original partner. Knowing these German regulations, whereby ball-room society becomes doubly pleasant, comparatively speaking, with our own, and where, when the eye is struck by the angelic appearance of some earthly sylph, it is permitted to mortals to approach the lovely fair uninterrupted by the cold freezing glance of formal presentation, or the more elegant refinement of positive acquaintance, I advanced, and with the firm eye of confidence looked at the long husband, or father, and stammered out, " Elaubensi mir." In the meantime my companion made an approach to the object of his affections, and the kind and considerate father relinquished his two blushing daughters, becoming like the balance of scales without the appendages; and in two minutes we were twisting round like spinning-jennies, or galloping like long-legged racers.
As I gazed on the animated eye of my partner, and encircled her taper waist, thoughts, poetic thoughts, no doubt, entered my imagination. I was within the grasp of what I most solicited; it was decidedly the commencement of a most romantic intrigue. I formed plans of elopement, thought of retiring to the magnificent banks of the Elbe, and then looked with an eye of despair on the dark black thick crape which fell from the nose of the mask, and which, when fluttered by the passing air, as we twirled in giddy rapidity, showed a nicely rounded chin, and lips, such lips as would entice the most Attic of bees to settle thereon, and to gain more honey from their fragrant sweetness than from half the miserable flowers in the creation. The music suddenly stopped, and with it all the tetotums stopped; there, there was the long-legged monster of a father, cocked-hat and ail, within a foot of us. I felt I must relinquish the object of so much solicitude, and began the usual roundabout complimentary nothing —the pleasure I had received—her father waiting—future hopes of renewed acquaintance—extravagant wish to see her beloved countenance—and—" Let us seek my sister," she said.
My companion had evidently been in the paradise of hope and imagination. The two sisters commenced a conversation withavolubility which precluded the possibility of understanding one word, especially as they took good care to be in the sotto voce, as much as to approximate a whisper. My friend was resolved to follow it up. Never was there such a light airy figure; never woman had so delicate a form, or so sweet a voice. Both becoming of the same opinion, for I allowed my morality for once to be overruled, but resolved to make ample amends by a speedy reformation after this last transgression, I proposed to take our partners to the supper-room, and there to try the effects of champaigne, as a prelude to further discoveries. O wine! glorious, excellent wine \ how often hast thou inspired me with eloquence, relieved me from the trammels of fancied imprisonment, given new life, new hope, new existence to my weather-beaten frame, and to my palled imagination!—to thee, O Bacchus! I am indebted for many a social hour, many a lively thought, many an excellent companion, which, without thy influence on my uncultivated brain, would have been a tedious time, a homely expression, or a milkand-water associate!—to thee again I must resort, and hence the future gleams of happiness in this life.
Our principal object, as my reader would suppose, was to remove the masks, and thus unriddle the subject. Here were two females, apparently of good society, to us perfect strangers, but with us intimately acquainted ; they knew even our names, remarked our carriage and our suite, complimented us on our acquaintance with the grand chamberlain, our apparent knowledge of different persons; even our walks in the morning, our visits to Charlottenburg, our rambles round the town,—all seemed to them familiar; but as to ourselves, even in collecting our senses and recollections, we were certain, certain beyond contradiction, that we had not broken our English silence to one female German, or one female of any description, since we entered Berlin—which to be sure was only thirty hours past,—and which I here publicly acknowledge to be a most glaring piece of ungallant neglect, and which shall never happen again to me (an opportunity offering), this I swear.
In vain we offered the wine to forward our view—our views being more extensive, of course, was an after-consideration. Each lady, on receiving the glass, merely lifted up the smallest possible part of the above-mentioned veil; and to be sure, for ladies, I will admit they got rid of the wine as expeditiously as one of the late members for York. We were four,—two known knights, who drank after and to their mistresses; and they, dear souls! equally enraptured with our society, disdained the mawkish, spiritless, refusal of our young ladies in England to renew the glass: they drank,—to put it into plain intelligible English, which no blockhead could misunderstand,—they drank their respective shares of the contents of the bottle, now and then relieving the palate by some bonbons, and now and then tasting a little Rhine wine, which long custom had placed upon a level with our water drinking. They took champaigne for pleasure, Rhine wine as water, and ice to cool them; supper they ate with a degree of girlish modesty which captivated us; and once, when, as if to replace some of the wandering curls which floated in auburn luxuriance overthe shoulders, the glove of one was on the point of being removed, a sudden sharp intonation from the other reminded her of the impropriety, and the glove was hastily replaced, as if she fancied showing her hands an indelicacy equal to what a Spanish lady is guilty of when she shows her legs. It instantly occurred to me that they were married women, and afraid of betraying the secret by the discovery of the ring. I was determined to be satisfied on this point, which I thought, notwithstanding the remonstrance, was within my power to effect.
The dance was again at its highest, and away we went, every now and then, thanks to the powerful influence of the wine, upsetting a bear, or making a harlequin spring about two feet higher than usual; and when I thought that favouring Bacchus had done his duty, by the wild brightened eye of my partner, I walked into arecess, and, taking her hand, endeavoured to remove the glove.—We all know, ladies like those innocent liberties which are easily excused, and, in point of fact, not indelicate. I felt as under the direction of Ovid, who recommends tearing the bracelet from the lady's arm, and I considered that what the great master of love proposed might be safely practised. Every footman knows the rule by which he acts; and when the elderly mother lifts her ponderous self into her carriage, to the great danger of the springs, John allows her silk dress to come in rude contact with the wheel; but see the difference, when the lovely daughter of seventeen, looking as Nature's fairest production—John well knows her lovely-formed limbs should not meet the curious eye of strangers, and carefully presses her dress against the limbs he modestly pretends to hide.
I felt a ring—by Allah, I felt a ring—without doubt a ring! It was then certain she was another's wife, and all the danger of meeting my long friend with the cocked-hat came upon me like a flash of lightning; and just at that moment, by way of confirming the reality i in came the gentleman. There was I, her hand in mine, all alone, eyes red with hope, taken (as the sailors say in the Straits of Babelmandel) "all aback, with no room to brace the yards round,"—meaning, I suppose, running, being tipsy, into a sentry-box, and not being able to find one's way out again. A murmuring conversation took place, not altogether as unruffled as the ocean during the halcyon daysI wished myself snug enough in the mines in Siberia, or under the protection (a comfortable name for confinement) of the Russian police. Words waxed higher and higher, when the lady, suddenly rising, took my arm, and went in search of her sister, the long gentlem;in leaving behind him a look much longer than his sword, and which seemed to say, " It will be my fault if I do not revenge myself upon you, my young traveller." By this time I had recovered myself, and thought as little of him as Barbarossa did of the pope: I looked unutterable defiance, and left him to return, as the Persians say, "with a white face," the best way he could.
In spite of all anxieties, I danced with the same partner until three o'clock in the morning, at which hour I was quite as ignorant of who she might be as I was at the commencement of the evening. We now resolved to retire homeward, and at the conclusion of a dance I ventured to tell my partner that I should be happy to renew the acquaintance on the morrow, and see her own and not her varnished face. "But," said I at the conclusion, "my carriage is here, and is at your disposal." She answered, that she lived in the same direction as we did, and that herself and companion would accompany us, and feel obliged for the accommodation.
Every thing assumed a heavy appearance; the musicians, poor souls! played with less spirits; the ebullitions of youth were only manifested in languid kicks; the bear was nearly melted in one corner; and harlequin, like the Sleeping Beauty in the woods, curled up in another.
I called the carriage, and had already handed one of the ladies into the vehicle, when I heard the cursed noise of the long gentleman: he looked at the scene with perfect nonchalance, and even told the coachman to go home. In vain I would here paint the raptures of that short interview, the fondness with which we shook hands, or rather held them in lover-like warmth. And here I must mention that I withdrew the glove, and rifled from oil' the finger of my beloved a ring; the treasure was conveyed, unseen by my companion, to my own hand, and I ardently wished to gaze upon the prize. The coach arrived at its destination; the bell rang, and the door opened. I offered the carriage to convey my love to her residence, which she declined, alighting without assistance, and, entering the house, walked up stairs. I flew to the lamp on the staircase, and examined my prize; it was a hair ring, with the words " Gieb mir ein kus," on white silk, thereon. I followed with great astonishment and speed to my own room, and, on entering, saw I was attended by the long gentleman. The scene was fast drawing towards a close. I asked with violence what he meant by the intrusion; when, unmasking, I discovered my own valet-de-place, who wished to know at what hour I wanted the carriage the next day—and the ladies, eternal curses on all masquerades! were the two house-maids belonging to the establishment of Mynheer Jagor, the hof-restaurateur on the Linden!
A'. M. Magazine.