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were an aged man, who earned a miserable livelihood by fishing in the river, and his daughter Meta, whose appearance indicated mental imbecility, and who, out of charity, was employed by the landlord to attend the lodgers. They had been but a few months in Dresden, where they were little known, and it was understood that they had formerly been in better circumstances. The author thus became acquainted with her, and soon discovered beneath her coarse attire a beautifully formed figure, a musical voice, an accomplished mind, though veiled for the present, from some mysterious circumstances. The old inan concealed also a fine person in the ample garments of a fisherman ; he was dumb, or pretended to be so, and went by the name of Old Peter. The charms of Meta insensibly won upon the author; her gratitude was excited by some professional services which he rendered to her father, and her heart was engaged by the solicitude which he appeared to feel for herself. Matters were in this state, when, on the evening of the 5th of November, six days before their capitulation, the French determined on a sortie, hoping to take their Russian besiegers by surprize. The writer proceeds :
• Too much excited to sleep, I determined to remain within a prudent distance of head-quarters, and await the event. I had not long to linger in suspense. Soon after the church clocks had struck twelve, I heard a low rumbling sound reverberating through the deep silence of the deserted streets, and from the dark angle in which I was placed, I beheld several pieces of artillery, with powder waggons, the wheels of each carefully covered with straw, pass slowly by towards the bridge. Taking a shorter road through narrow passages, and favoured by the darkness, I gained the centre of the bridge, where an arch, blown up in the spring by Davoust, had been replaced by strong oak planks, flanked on each side by lofty pallisades. Drawing my cloak tightly around me, I extended myself on the pavement within one of the recesses, to escape observation. While thus waiting the arrival of the artillery, I suddenly heard sone ponderous body strike the pallisades, and distinguished the sound of voices from beneath the bridge. The intense darkness of a November night, and the loud rush of a north-wester through the battlements, prevented me from discovering the cause of these strange occurrences; but when the artillery, already on the bridge, had passed, and the deep rumbling of the cannon had ceased to distract my attention, I looked and listened attentively for a recurrence of the mysterious sounds beneath the planking, and was no little surprised and alarmed when I saw one of the oak planks close to me slowly raised. At this moment, the storm having somewhat dispersed the heavy clouds, the pale rays of a new moon, piercing through the drift, fell upon the spot, and with amazement I beheld rising, as through a trap-door, the tall figure of my fellow-lodger, the father of the interesting Meta.
Soon as he had gained the surface of the wood-work, some one beneath handed to him a long white pole or fishing rod, which, after carefully replacing the plank, he extended over the parapet, and stood motionless in the attitude of a person fishing with rod and line. At this moment my listening ear distinguished the heavy and measured tread of a body of armed men at the city end of the bridge, and the flickering moon-light flashed
upon the arms of the French van-guard. Shrouded by a dark blue cloak and the deep shadow beneath the parapet, I gazed with a beating heart upon a battalion which passed me in profound silence. When the front rank reached the planking, the old man began to sing in his dumb fashion, and held out his cap with one hand as if for alms, while the other supported his fishing rod.
"" Ah, voila St. Pierre qui veut pêcher !” exclaimed a grenadier. Another in the following rank, halting for a second, said,—" Ah ça! mon ami ! Je t'aiderai à pêcher ! Tenez !” and threw a coin into the cap of the old man, who thanked him in tones which resembled the howling of a wolf rather than a human voice. Several officers and many soldiers, as they passed, threw their contributions into the cap, and each donation was acknowledged in the same unintelligible howl. At length, a well-mounted officer of rank, in whom I recognized the Count de Loban, approached so near the ancient beggar, that I expected every moment to see him trampled under the hoofs of the fiery charger. Fixing his hat more firmly on his head, the count turned hastily to an aide-de-camp, and in a stern voice, exclaimed,—“ Who is that man, Larive ?"
• The group of mounted officers behind him reigned in their impatient steeds, and I began to tremble for my own safety, as well as for that of my fellow-lodger, when, to my inexpressible relief, a black-bearded veteran sapper, marching with shouldered axe out of the ranks, carelessly answered, -“'Tis only a poor dumb maniac, well known in Dresden. They call him · St. Peter the Fisherman.'”
* The marshal and his suite proceeded, and the battalions continued to defile over the bridge, not, however, with the bounding step and gaieté de cour displayed by the French soldiery in the brighter days of Napoleon, but in unbroken silence and evident discouragement.
• The passage of about 10,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, and 200 baggage-waggons, necessarily occupied a considerable time ; at length, however, the last of the rear-guard quitted the bridge, the heavy tread of men and horses died away in the distance, and my attention was again solely occupied by the old fisherman, who suddenly leaned his rod against the parapet, withdrew a wooden peg which secured the planking, and hastily removed the same plank he had raised before. Kneeling down, and
applying his face to the aperture, the dumb man exclaimed, to my infinite amazement, in good Russian,—“ Katinka ! Katinka! is all ready?”
Yes, grandfather! there is a fish on every hook," answered a shrill voice from beneath, in the same language. Starting up, the old man seized and raised his fishing-rod, which by the increasing moonlight I now saw was no rod, but a stout pole of great length. Instead, however, of fish, I observed three small, but well-lighted lanterns, attached to as many cords of different lengths, forming, when the pole was placed by the fisherman in a perpendicular position, a signal or beacon of three equi-distant lights. Supporting the end of the pole on the parapet, he remained motionless until he saw a brilliant rocket rush into the air from an elevation at some distance beyond the Elbe. This rejoinder was followed by numerous rockets and fire-beacons, which blazed up in rapid succession along the hills of Meissen, filling the atmosphere with vivid coruscations, which were reflected in long and flaming lines on the ruffled waters of the Elbe. Starting on my feet at the extraordinary spectacle, I saw the old
man some paces beyond the planking, whirling, in apparent ecstacy, bis heavy pole and its pendant lamps above his head, until the lights were extinguished by the rapid motion. Availing myself of his absence, I apa proached the aperture, when I stopped short in breathless surprise, as I beheld, slowly emerging from the trap, the head, arms, and figure of a woman, from whose dripping hair and apparel the water streamed upon the boards, while her wet clothes, clinging closely to her person, betrayed the contours of an exquisitely-proportioned figure.
• The storm was now fast subsiding, and the moon, shining brightly in an unclouded quarter of the sky, enabled me to discern her features. Gracious Heavens! it was my lovely and mysterious Meta, whom I beheld in this strange condition. “ In the name of wonder, Meta !" 1 exclaimed, “ what brings you here ?” Without uttering a word in reply, she abruptly seized my arm, and with incredible force dragged me some distance along the bridge towards the city.'
• “ Pour l'amour de Jésus ! Wolmar !” she whispered in pure French, and with energetic intonation,—“ Utter not a word, and quit the bridge, or you are lost,—see, see, dear Wolmar! my best and o ly friend ! the fierce old man is replacing the plank,-away! away! begone, or he will murder thee!'
• Had she been a stranger to me, I could not have resolved to leave this shivering girl in such a pitiable condition ; and I now, for the first time, felt all the force of my attachment to her. Taking off my cloak, I threw it around her; meanwhile the fisherman was still watching the rockets thrown up by the besiegers, on the hills beyond Grossenhayn. “Thère they go !” he shouted, “ eight-nine-ten-eleven thousand of those incarnate devils--those murderous incendiaries ! Rush down upon them, my valiant countrymen! Lay on, and spare not! Avenge the fires of Moscow! Avenge the cruel massacre of my son,
son's son-my wife and daughters ! Lay on, lay on, and spare not, in the name of God, and St. Andrew !”
· Tossing his lanterns into the river, he now strode towards us with a speed and vigour wonderful at his advanced age; when, suddenly perceiving me, he angrily exclaimed in Russian, “Katinka! unhappy girl! Who is that man? Why speak to him? We shall be betrayed, and shot before noon.
But hold,” he continued, through his clenched teeth, " there is yet a way
will!" Raising his heavy pole, he darted forward, and, with all his great bodily strength, levelled a blow at me, which would assuredly have fractured my skull, had not his grand-daughter sprung forward, and by a sudden push against his arm given another direction to the ponderous weapon, which was broken to pieces on the pavement, while he who wielded it was thrown upon
his knees. 6" Allons ! Allons !” was now heard from numerous voices near the other end of the bridge, along with the tramp of cavalry, and the loud roll
gun-carriages It was the detachment of Count de Loban, defeated on the Drachenberg, and returning, after the discovery that the Russians were on the alert, and had occupied all the mountain passes. It was the next day rumoured in Dresden, that the besiegers were apprised of the intended sortie by Russian spies, secreted in the city. To return, however, to my own critical situation. I saw there was not a moment to lose. The
courageous girl, who had thus saved my life, exhausted by the effort, and by long exposure in a boat to the wet and cold of a stormy November night, had fallen senseless at my feet. Taking up the precious burthen in my arms, I told the old man to fly for his life, and hastened towards the city with a speed which would not allow me to observe whether he had followed my advice, but which soon placed me and my beloved Meta in security. Avoiding every sentinel, and passing through unfrequented streets, I reached the retired house of a maternal aunt, who had often been a resource to me in hours of need. With ready kindness, the old lady surrendered her warm bed to the still unconscious maiden. I prescribed what was needful to restore her, and anxiously watched her recovery ; but it would have required more than human skill to prevent the fever which followed the excitement and bodily fatigue of that memorable night.
• Returning the following noon to my lodgings, I found my worthy landlord pale
and trembling in his parlour. With a voice interrupted by strong emotion, he told me that Meta had disappeared, and that he had seen her aged parent leave the palace of Marshal St. Cyr, escorted by a numerous guard, which conducted him to the bridge. Thither he had followed and seen the poor dumb creature.
• Further details were checked by a gush of tears, but I could too well infer the sad catastrophe.
• Happily I succeeded in concealing the untimely end of her only surviving relative from the lovely orphan, until she had been some weeks my wife.
• Since the auspicious day which made her mine for life, many years have gone by; but never has she for a moment given me cause to regret, that I confided my honour and my happiness to the keeping of a Russian Spy.'— The Continental Annual, pp. 141-148.
It will not be denied, that a tale such as this is well calculated to shed an additional interest upon Prout's view of the City and Bridge of Dresden, capitally engraved, as it is, by Willmore. Another beautiful specimen of workmanship, is the plate of the • Cathedral Tower, Antwerp.' Not only the tower itself, and a part of the cathedral are seen, but the light is thrown upon them in such a way, as to lead the eye through a considerable part of the street in which they are placed. The views of Ghent, Nuremberg, and Metz, especially the latter, give a foreigner who had never visited those cities, a clear idea of their architectural character. Their tall gables and numerous stories, and business-like appearance, form a striking contrast with the light though stately cities of Italy, the luxurious repose of its lakes, and the elegant splendour of its palaces.
How strange it is, that that little Red Riding Hood, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, which has been familiar to our eyes for several years, should not yet have lost a particle of its original charm! It looks always new, and we suppose it will ever look so to the end of time. Mrs. Watts was happily advised in placing it in the front of her' Juvenile Souvenir,' for which it has been exceedingly well engraved by Engleheart. The other embellishments are also appropriate to the work, and really very well executed in every respect
vol. III(183;) NO. IV.
There are “a Mother and Child,' a trio of Orphans,' a 'Grandfather Napping, a 'Sailor's Widow,' and a view of 'Antwerp,' which, some few years ago, would have been sufficient to make the fortune of an Annual, almost without any further assistance. We suppose that we may look upon Mrs. Watts’s ‘New Year's Gift as a standard publication in its class: it is certainly one of the prettiest, as well as one of the most useful presents that can be thought of for the reading generation of girls and boys. We quote, with great pleasure, a few verses by the author of the “ Siege of Constantinople,” which will recommend this little work to the heart of every parent.
• It woke, and stretched its rosy arms,
As wooing a caress,
Oh, task of blessedness!
And danced her cherub boy ;
All trembling as with joy !
««Sweet thing of innocence !" I sighed,
“ What beauty now is thine !
A diamond from its mine :
New Year's Gift, pp. 21, 22. Perhaps, in strictness, we ought not to have classed the Geographical Annual' amongst the works which we have noticed in