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As we hear old Ocean's murmurs
In each shell upon the shore,
Wakes the echoes evermore.
Let them praise the old times, praise them all who may,
Let them praise the old times, with their cursing creeds,
Let them praise the old times, when the tongue was tied,
Let them praise the old times, praise them all who can,
Let them praise the old times, when, for Jesus' sake,
Let them praise the old times - I am for the new;
Let them have the old times; give the new to me,
me, And Fulton, with his head of steam and scanty pedigree.
Let them have their old time, mumbling over beads,
Let them have their old times, praise them as they may,
ASCENDING a flight of stone-steps guarded on either side by two ferocious images, we entered the wide doorway, which swung open at our approach. In the spacious hall into which we were ushered we found the countess herself, who graciously extended to us a welcome which contrasted strangely with the antiquated formality which had been thus far observed. It was a welcome, too, widely differing from that which usually greets the stranger on entering a lordly dwelling in our own time. It was of that free and generous nature, that open
and cordial character, which dispels all backwardness and reserve, and places the guest as much at his ease as if he were entering the mansion of his father. Our own age may be in advance of the days of Richard and Saladin in literature, science and art;
boast of cultivated and tempered refinement, but in my opinion it has proportionately retrograded in genuine, unaffected hospitality.
The countess possessed a remarkable face and figure. Though somewhat advanced in life, her features betrayed none of the marks of long-flown years. The lustre of her eye was yet unfaded, and her neatly-gathered locks were still as thick and glossy as in the days of her maidenhoode She was rather above the usual height, firm and erect in her carriage, and proud and haughty in her air and mien. Not a single article of modern apparel was upon her person; her weeds of mourning were not yet laid aside, but they were cut and fitted in a fashion which I had never seen before.
The furniture and decorations of the room into which we were immediately ushered were such as might have been expected in a building where no invasion had been made
its antiquity within the memory of its oldest tenant. The room itself was apparently used as the parlor, or rather what we would call the sitting-room of the family; for it was large and commodious, though somewhat cold and gloomy. The wainscot was of black and solid wood, set in thick and heavy panels ; the door was of ponderous size and swung upon four hinges, which had been laboriously brought to their brightest polish. Some old pictures, chiefly of landscape and hunting scenes, hung from the walls in curiously-carved and gilded frames, while a set of large and cumbrous chairs rested their clawed feet upon the cold and polished floor.
The conversation commenced upon the objects of interest which we had visited during our tour, in regard to which the countess displayed a fund of various and instructive information. She had visited in her younger days the most interesting portions of Germany; and having associated with some of the most ancient families, had thus acquired some entertaining knowledge of their fortunes and history. Throwing aside that air of reserved formality which usually characterized her, she discoursed freely on those topics which she soon discovered were most in accordance with my taste and disposition. Like most ladies, however, in her station, she prided herself upon the antiquity of her family, and in speaking of others would often incidentally allude to it with an expression of conscious dignity that forcibly contrasted with the urbanity of her general deportment.
• Since you are so fond,' she said, “of examining the fortified habitations of those who, like my ancestors, have preferred to live by glorious but profitless turmoil rather than cultivate the less dangerous but humbler arts of peace, perhaps an inspection of the various apartments of the castle which you are in may serve to agreeably diversify an hour or two before dining. You will find it not entirely devoid of interest, for the house of Ivenskoff has had its fights and its forays, its secret passages and its dungeons of torture. Beside, too, we are not without supernatural visitants, it is said, and they must of course have their exclusive apartments. Our major-domo, however, understands these things much better than myself; for he has been in the service of the family for many years, and takes a peculiar pleasure in being esteemed the oracle of its local history. You shall have the benefit of his company, as well as of his information.'
I gladly acceded to the proposal, and in a few moments the old servant appeared, with a ponderous bunch of old-fashioned keys dangling from his arm. His appearance corroborated the remark of the countess that he had been long connected with the household, as well as the suspicion that he was not unacquainted with the contents of the larder and cellar. He had also a look of communicative familiarity which especially recommended him to my respect and attention.
Leading the way, he conducted us through the main hall and up a circular flight of sand-stone stairs imbedded in solid masonry. On either side of the passage-way leading through the second story were ranged apartments of various sizes, which were formerly used as lodging-rooms. Many of them had not been occupied for years, but the furniture in each was carefully arranged, as if a visitor were daily expected. Some were hung with dark and sombre drapery, and others with hangings of a brighter and more cheerful hue ; but the windows to all were in the shape of double arches, and admitted through the diamond panes a soft and mellowed coloring. Now and then our guide would stop and inform us what princess or what distinguished guest had last honored the room in which we happened to be with their presence, and particularly if there chanced to be any incident or strange marvel connected with any one of them, we were sure of hearing it duly garnished and expounded. There was the place,' for instance, “where the baron, many years before, had made a trial of strength with a knight who had defied him before the gates, and challenged him to an encounter ; but the crafty baron persuaded him to meet him with his sword in this chamber, and here they fought for three hours before the antagonist of the baron was slain. The old man pointed to some discolored spots on the floor, and affirmed undoubtingly that they were occasioned by the blood of the conquered knight. He would have gone into a minute narrative of the whole quarrel, and commented on the points of honor which were at stake, had not we signified our inclination to proceed.
We came at last to a large room pleasantly situated toward the south and west, but strangely hung in drapery of the deepest sable. The major-domo shuddered as he applied the heavy key to the lock and forced the door to swing back slowly upon its hinges.
• It is the room,' said he, where the old baron died. Strange lights were seen at his death-bed and terrible shrieks of laughter, mingled with mournful moans, were heard as he was struggling in his death throes. The bell of the chapel tolled of itself as he died, and at midnight on every dark and stormy night since, it strikes as it struck full twenty years ago. Others have seen his spirit too, standing on the tower toward the westward, but the blessed Virgin protect me from so terrible a sight. Masses have long been sung for his soul by the abbot of Saint Mary's, but it is to be feared that his spirit is troubled and restless yet.
He closed the door carefully, as we passed the door way and soon conducted us to the tower which he had mentioned. The prospect which it commanded was most enchanting; the mist of the morning had entirely cleared away and the view of the whole country, with its quiet villages and its pretty villas, its luxuriant vineyards and its undulating fields, teeming with spontaneous profusion was spread out like a map before us.
We had a fine opportunity also of surveying the architecture of the castle itself; it apparently belonged to no particular century, but seemed like a union of the tastes of the several ages combined. There were the tall gables and the high pinnacles, which were so much admired in the earlier days of the fourteenth century, while the rich and fantastically-shaped windows which ornamented the southern wing, indicated that it had experienced the benefit of the more elaborate taste, which characterized the structures of the century which immediately succeeded the Reformation. Below us, rose the walls, surmounted by small turrets, which were furnished with loopholes for the discharge of bolts upon the assailants in case of an attack. The sentinel still paced his lonely walk, but not with that air of watchful vigilance which might have been seen in those who stood at the same post just two centuries before.
We mutually expressed our delight at the varied scene which was