Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

“DIE GEDANKEN SIND FREY."

A LEAF FROM A TRAVELLER'S NOTE-BOOK.

THE WEDDING PARTY.

There is no country on the European polite inquiry as to my wishes. He recontinent, where a traveller is admitted plied to my question by saying "the to the intimacy and knowledge of do- Messrs. Heiligthal are not in, sir.” mestic life, so much as in Germany. “Could you inform me where, or how The general kindliness of the people, soon I can see themı?" said I. “My busithe absence of pretension, the Teutonic ness is very pressing, I should like to warmth of hospitality, open hearts as leave Strasburg to-night.” “The genwell as houses to strangers; and un- tlemen have gone to the Cathedral this conscious of necessity for disguise, and morning, sir. Mademoiselle Heiligundoubting reciprocal interest in their that is to be married there to the great private affairs, the minor circumstances Rosenfeld of Milan," returned the clerk, of the ménage, as well as the more im- with a slight air of reflected conseportant, the expectations, the prospects quence. the wishes, of themselves and those Indeed,” said I,“I think I saw the dearest to them, are frankly and freely wedding party ; --probably Messrs. Heiexhibited and detailed to any respecta- ligthal will not be here to-day.” bly introduced traveller who may have “They will, sir, I believe, but the famgained their regard. And very disa- ily live in the country two or three miles greeable indeed must that traveller be, from town, and perhaps—" with quintuple portion of either English The “perhaps " of the clerk was arreserve and hauteur, or other persons' rested by the sound of doors opening, (I say not whose) presumption and im- and feet, stout heavy steps, tramping pudence, who cannot obtain, even on cheerily up the staircase, loud joyous transient acquaintance, a place in the laughs, and voices, whose full honest honest German's liking, as well as a tones spoke well-earned, well-deserved seat among the happy family at his ta- happiness, and the portly brother ble.

bankers and two principal and favorite Having arrived late one autumnal clerks entered the apartment in which evening in Strasburg, which, though a I was standing. Without waiting for frontier town, distinctly preserves its more than my name, all and each warmly German characteristics in its German shook my hand, inquired in what manpopulation, I had occasion next day ner they could serve me, and after lookto call on the Bankers, Heiligthal and ing at the letters of credit I presented, Brothers; so taking a look at a map of the elder Heiligthal asked if had enthe city in one of the rooms of the ho- gaged lodgings for any length of time, tel where I slept, I set off about ten strongly dissuaded me from my inteno'clock, choosing my way by the fa- tions of so suddenly departing, and mous Cathedral; whence, while I paused finally insisted I should accompany for a moment to admire the Gothic himself and brothers to his villa to dingrandeur of its proportions, issued a ner, to remain all night at least, if not gay wedding party, soon distributed for a few days. The heartiness and into some splendid carriages in waiting, warm sincerity of their manners attractwhich swept rapidly away, allowing me ed me exceedingly; it was almost imscarce a glimpse of a very beautiful possible to refuse ; besides a lurking woman whom I conjectured to be the desire to see more of the fair bride debride.

termined me; and promising to be ready I was about an hour finding the house when their carriage should call at my of Messrs. Heiligthal, and on entering hotel, I left the hospitable strangers, the close, dim rooms of the counting delighted with so favorable a comhouse, was accosted by a civil youthful mencement of German acquaintance. looking clerk, sitting alone and unoccu The villa was substantially elegant, pied by a window to the street, with a the glimpses of river views exquisite,

the grounds tastefully laid out in the En- languishing eye of German beauty, glish style of landscape-gardening. The with a full

under-eyelid, deeply fringed interior of the mansion was worthy of by dark, silken lashes,-this is rare, the natural beauties surrounding it; in even in the most beautiful women. Her all its details evincing a sober splendor, nose was small and Grecian; her lips (a subdued luxury, from which you infer- full and scarlet, her teeth small and red wealth won and worn, not for osten- brilliantly clear; and a soft, deep glow tation, but for the simple and natural reposed on her fair cheek, which she enjoyment of the possessor and his presented to my salutation at her fafriends. But with the inanimate exter- ther's bidding, with an air of ineffable nals I have not much to do, though as- modesty, sweetness, and grace. sociated in my mind as it is with another, Dinner was announced soon after our it was a home never to be forgotten. arrival ; and, seated between two mer

In a large saloon opening on a ter- ry young things at table, while attendrace we found the bridal party assem- ing to their gayety, I had not much opbled. The mother, Madame Heiligthal, portunity of observing the principal a large comely woman whose fresh and personages of the fête. But when we smiling countenance declared a heart all returned to the saloon of the terrace, overflowing with love and benevolence, at intervals, as I could escape from the received me with even affectionate fa- successive attentions of this kind family, miliarity. Two young cousins, looking I tried to make out how a couple so so fair and rosy, and innocently happy, dissimilar in general appearance had as if ignorant that evil or sorrow might united in one destiny which could only ever shadow their lives, were also es- be separated by the grave. There was pecially prepared to welcome the trav- no solution of the mystery: it was one eller. Several ladies and gentlemen of the inexplicable linking of sympathies young and old, but all expressing the not discoverable to the casual observer. general felicity, were also called on by Monsieur Rosenfeld, calm, grave, my host to bestow their civilities upon seldom even smiling, was quietly courme,and make me feel in fatherland. But teous to all; he seemed pleased with, passing over these lesser matters, the but did not partake in the hilarity of bridegroom,“ the great Rosenfeld,” as his new connexions, who each seemed the young clerk styled him, an eminent to think he, or she, had as good a right Italian banker of German parentage, to be father or mother to the bride, as deserves more particular notice. He Monsieur and Madame Heiligthal themwas tall

, slender, pale, with large deep- selves. Sometimes his eyes rested for set intelligent eyes of sparkling greyish an instant, with a glance of intense de- hue, which constantly and singularly votion on his young bride, but they changed and varied from the grey to a were quickly and coldly withdrawn, as deep glowing hazel. His features were if dreading the fervor of his feelings coarse, but indicative of sense and ta- should be noticed by any one, however lent; he was slightly bald, and no at near or interested in their union. tempt at coaxing his thinly scattering

She was less restrained in manner curls was tried to conceal the depreda- and expression ; there was a dreamy tion made by time or deep thought on happiness in her face, a trustfulness of the honors of his high pale brow. love in her smile, a slow, bashful lan

Beside him sat the beautiful girl who guor in her movements; yet she never, had that morning vowed to him her even once, that I could see or hear, young unblemished faith, and sealed it looked or spoke during the evening to with her virgin hand.

the beloved one beside her. It was Her form was full, and gave promise enough for both, as it appeared, that of a magnificent maturity-her com- they were conscious of inseparable plexion of a rich, roseate fairness, as if union ; that they breathed the same air, a latent blush were floating beneath the that they saw the same people, that lilies of her neck and bosom ; her hair they heard the same sounds; one might falling in luxuriant ringlets, partially suppose that their joy was too unutterably covered by the long bridal veil, was of deep, too overwhelming, to allow coma pure golden brown, like wreaths of munication, by looks or words with each dark mist tinged by sunbeams; her other. blue eyes, beautiful, not so much from You see my daughter, Mr. H-" color, as form and expression—the long,' said Mons. Heiligthal, seating himself

me ;

beside me, when for a moment one of magical effect. Her mother found itout. the brothers had left

you may On his return from Vienna he came imagine how inexpressibly dear she is to us again-he talked less of finance, to me-judging by her beauty alone, but now, in sooth, little of anythingand the sweetness of disposition breath- there was a free-masonry, sir, between ing from her lovely face. But when I them, though that is inapplicable to tell you

she is the last of six children, a woman. However, they found one (three sons, two daughters have gone another out. It was the night before to the rest of peace, I trust,)”-he re he was to leave Strasburg forever, as verently bowed his head—“you may he said, laying an emphasis, mark ye, well be surprised that I have consented on the word forever. I called for a to part with this my best earthly trea- song. Clotilde had been dull, I desired sure, my dearest and fairest, to one her to give us a lively air, and (she has comparatively a stranger, to live in a a voice like the Persian nightingale !) distant land, and possibly never to be- immediately she began one of those dehold her beautiful face again, when the licious trills of a Swiss waltz. Rosenfew weeks appropriated to these festiv- feld forgot he was the grave, calculating, ities are over.

unimpassioned banker, with Austria, Of course I agreed with his supposi- Sardinia, and what not to boot upon his tion, and very plainly assured him of shoulders ; he rose up hastily, not to my surprise.

waltz, I assure you, but to walk out on " She loved him, my dear sir, that is that very terrace; and there he stood, the secret of my acquiescence,” he with his hands pressed on his forehead, continued ; "a singular love, you will leaning against the balustrade. Masay, for he is a cold, proud, reserved dame followed him at my suggestion, man, no carpet-wooer, no silken ser to ask if he were ill; he raised his head vant of a lady's whim,—and not remark- --the frozen heart had thawed; large able in personal appearance either.” tears were in those keen, speculating,

“Pardon me,” I interrupted," he is gray eyes; he expressed grief at leavvery remarkable, in my opinion, though ing: How they came to the éclairnot, as I presume you mean to say, forcissement I can hardly tell; but this what strikes a woman's fancy." you may believe, my dear sir, in affairs

“ There it is,” he answered, laughing, of such nature, even a simple German and clapping me on the shoulder; "no Frau, like Madame, is a match for the guessing, my dear friend, at what they shrewdest financier that ever plodded fancy. Now the little perversity, had through the labyrinths of monetary I proposed an elderly, bald-headed, sa- systems. Clotilde was called into turnine, indifferent looking fellow to council, and left there by the good moher, she would have turned up her ther. Next day explanations and so dove eyes, and down her rose mouth, forth were made to me. Be assured, I -and nothing since the days of Undine was not a little proud and gratified that would have been so watery ; but here I should call the great Rosenfeld soncomes this grave, sober stranger, of in-law, at my child's own desire, even whose wonderful operations in the com with the anticipation of separating from mercial world we had heard with aston- her, as it must be, for a long time, and ishment, on some affairs of importance the chance of seeing her at very distant to Vienna-business with the Court, sir. intervals. But come, after this loveIn passing through our city, I invite him, tale, let us have a bumper of Metteras I have you, to my house-he comes nich's rarest Johannisberger; the flower -he eats his dinner like any other of the vine has flavored it. Drink, Mr. banker-he talks with me in Madame H-," he proceeded, filling up a and Mademoiselle Heiligthal's presence, large, crystal goblet of wine seldom to about the many, and to women, unin- be tasted of such quality but in the teresting secrets of finance, displaying halls of princes, “ drink to the health of wonderful capacity, a luminous know- those you love, and success to the great ledge of his métier, so far as it goes. Financier of Beauty's dominions !" Sometimes he pauses for an instant, And raising his voice he called, “ Muand furtively glances at Mademoiselle sic, music, my dear girls! In particular Clotilde. Faust, my dear sir, whom it I should desire my favorite, 'Die Gehas always struck me, somehow, that danken Sind Frey, to enliven the heart he resembles, could not have had more and eyes of my friend, Mr. H

sure.

good thing, sir, a blood-stirring mea- joined her young friends, and after the

I repeat the sentiment it ex- the first verse of Mons. Heiligthal's presses with all my heart_let the song was sung by the youngest girl of thoughts be free, as they are kind and the group, a rich gush of delicious muhonorable.”

sic filled the air; the full-toned warb. Without more solicitation, two or ling of birds might resemble, but could three laughing girls ran to a pianoforte not surpass it. I sank back in ecstatic which had been much in request during astonishment, though no Fanatico," the evening; a light prelude was run and those were the first sounds I heard over, and a word being whispered to from the beautiful lips of the enchantthe bride by Mons. Rosenfeld, she ing Madame Rosenfeld.

THE OPERA BOX.

IN 1830, passing a few weeks in Mi- of satin, or the muffled noise of pressure lan, I was in the habit of going every on velvet cushions. A few words evening to my friend La Marchesa T—'s suddenly spoken by the lady convinced private loggia in La Scala, whether she me it might be dangerous to myself, were there or not; and I must confess and mortifying to her, to show that she I as often slumbered out the opera as had an additional auditor. I lay still listened to it; but somehow it was my and tried to slumber again, but curiosicustomary lounge, and therefore incon- ty, I will own, was more powerful, in venient to dispense with, except on spite of myself, in keeping me awake, extraordinary occasions. There was than the sweet tones of the prima donna one peculiarly dark corner, (and all Giulia Grisi. the boxes in that theatre, as in most “For my whole life,” exclaimed the continental ones, are in deep shadow,) lady passionately, “I have lived but to softly cushioned, and closely draped, a love and be loved! My childhood, my voluptuous resting-place to dream away youth, were embosomed in the most an hour, enveloped in an atmosphere of devoted fondness. I longed for somemusic; and there, when I happened to thing more ; for an intense, indescribabe alone, I usually reclined, hearing as ble, undivided attachment to myself much as I desired, but seldom raising alone—for this I married, and what myself even to glance at the nymphs of have I obtained ?” She again repeatthe Ballet.

ed, “ What have I obtained ?" sighing At the commencement of a very heavily. drowsy recitative, I had one evening “Oh, surely you believe he loves: fallen soundly asleep in this recess, the you," said the man. curtains almost completely covering “ Loves me !" she startlingly repeatme; and having been for some time in ed—“Oh, in his own way he may have this delectable state of somnolence, I once loved me, but not now, and never gradually awoke, hearing voices beside half so well as a novel scheme of me in the box, and partially discerning finance. But that I might excuse the figures through the imperfectly closed other I cannot !" drapery. The words fell at first un “What other ?" inquired the man. heeded on my ear; the voices were “Why do you ask ?" she vehemently strange, and the sensation of being re- replied, “after my discoveries of tocalled to outward perception was rather day, confirming the suspicion of months. disagreeable than otherwise ; but by a He may not love, but will he dare to movement of the dark cloaked figure slight ? Even you could not shut my immediately before me, I got a glimpse eyes to-day-and do I not hear he is at his companion, and perceived a wo- constantly in his leisure hours with man, from what I could discern in the her?" dim light, splendidly attired, and in her “Ah, madame," returned her comsuperb beauty worthy of that splen- panion, “ you judge without seeing the

dessous des cartes." Having no intention to become a “ It is fortunate,” she replied petulistener, I took no pains to keep in one lantly, “ that il Signor Marito has so position; but they were too much ab- zealous an advocate in my Cavaliere ?" sorbed in themselves to mind the rustle “Do not reproach me," he said sor

dor.

me.

rowfully," he has been my good angel. wealth for nothing, to be disseminated Oh, God, I am very, very ungrateful !” by every wind, yet intangible, unfruc

“As how, pray ?" demanded the lady tifying, and utterly delusive--the phansaucily, " in trying to make his peace tasm of riches. Yes, Luigi, I scorn the with a jealous wife, and incurring her luxury that surrounds me, won from the displeasure for your trouble ?"

necessities and sufferings of wretched " In loving that lady more than in creatures, pursuing but never seizing honor she should be loved,” he answer- the unsubstantial good that flies before ed, in a low subdued voice, sighing them. Luigi, if you would desire me deeply.

to hate and despise the dearest friend “Another of my dreams ending in I could have in the world, whisper he the cold blank feeling of the awaken- is an authorized gambler, that basest of ing!" she continued. “I did believe, all the grovelling gnomes of the mine, Luigi, the pure, deep, and holy sympa- a keen, successful, distinguished finanthy between us was unlike all others, cier.” a blending of affections without min She had spoken so rapidly, so vehegling the earthy passions of our erring mently, she was exhausted ; and though nature. In this belief I might have re- Luigi had made several attempts at inmained always, and have been compara- terruption, he could only at this motively happy, could you have ceased ment's pause urge, analysing our mutual feelings; but now “Oh cease, cease, madame! you are there is no alternative between a com- prejudiced-you misconceive altogemon love or a common misery.". ther. Exactly the reverse is the case

“ Oh, Clotilde !” he exclaimed, "did with Rosenfeld.” I not so reverence your husband !" “ Folly!" she resumed, with con

“Cielo! Luigi,” she ejaculated,“ do temptuous displeasure. “ You see but not reiterate every moment that word, the surface, I have penetrated further." now so little pleasing to my ear! Hear “You can never persuade me that

While I was uninitiated in his Rosenfeld is not the wisest and most schemes, while I was before the curtain, noble being breathing,” said Luigi, I too revered him, I ado him as firmly. some unseen minister of riches, pour “I shall take no pains to do so," ing out the superabundance on man- coldly answered the lady ; " but if your kind. I believed his extraordinary ta high admiration of his character has lents were devoted solely to advance originated a similar sentiment for me, the independence, consequently the you must permit me to decline the happiness of his species. Not that I honor henceforth and for ever.” was simple enough to suppose, in all “Oh, Clotilde !" returned the young this exercise of benevolence, no advan man mournfully, “ you should pity, and tage would accrue to himself; but not taunt me. Rosenfeld has been my though never admitted to his confidence, sole friend and benefactor from my never of his councils, I had shrewd no- orphan childhood until now." tions stored up of my old uncle Otto's And most likely," interrupted the teaching. Alas, poor man! when I lady, “so will remain until your deyawned so wearily over his lessons on clining age, if indeed he do not outstrip the mysteries of his favorite science, you in the race of time. However, (for with him it was a science,) banking, let me not disturb the current of your I little dreamed how fatally to my peace friendship. I was deceived in my it would be applied. But, as I say, I opinion, that is all.” have gathered enough to comprehend “How deceived ?" eagerly questionthe ultimate of Rosenfeld's expedients. ed Luigi, “ how have I deceived you, I see frauds which laws cannot reach; Clotilde? Heaven knows how deeply fallacies which wisdom cannot disprove; and truly I respect Mons. Rosenfeld, ambition mingled with sordid avarice; but oh, how much more deeply, ferventand the burning thirst of the gambler ly, madly—oh, ruinously madly!-do I stimulating the pursuit-on, on-un- worship one who, belonging to him, tiring—unsatiated. Setting aside his never should have awakened such tertoo evident indifference to myself, I no rible conflicts in my heart! Oh, Clolonger respect him; he and his class, tilde, do not look so contemptuously! a numerous one, are not nominally, You are blind to your own happiness, but indeed virtually dishonest, raising to your own peace. Crush me, blight

66

« AnteriorContinuar »