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with which she had shaded her face, and and hell!" shouted forth the impassioned repaid her husband with a gentle smile. lecturer. The gentle Griselda roused a
* My reading has much benefited you ?" | little-a very little, and perceiving the billet
“Yes-most surely !" and there was, at her finger's ends, she altered her posi. this time, a little faint streak of something tion, shaded her countenance still more, in her smile, that Mr. Aspenall had never and drew the note up so that she might before seen in smile of hers, which both read it unperceived by the old gentleman, pleased and puzzled him extremely. who was just then reading to her so ve
But this did not prevent the fit. The hemently. next day, being Monday, the 20th of Au- Mr. Aspenall read on. Now her bosom gust, of the year of grace 179—, about heaved convulsively-her dress rustledone hour after noon, Mr. Aspenall, sagely a low choking sob might have been disreflecting upon the benefits his reading tinctly heard by any one in the room that had imparted to the health and spirits of was not reading himself into a passion of his wife on the day before, proposed read-self-conceit. Still the lady preserved her ing to her, and that he should continue reclining posture, whilst she thrust franthe story which had been before interrupt- tically and deeply into her bosom, the ed by her fainting in the arbour. He pernicious piece of paper that she had promised, however, to read with so much just received. of the discretion of mediocrity, indeed, Mr. Aspenall read on. His wife is no that he would pass over the most affect- longer recumbent. She is sitting rigidly ing parts so tamely, that he would not upright-her eyes are fixed in a wild stare produce a single tremor on the most deli- --her hands are clenched-and, though cate of her nerves.
those clenched hands are resting on her The lady graciously assented, and as- knees, her arms are violently stretched sumed the most composing attitude, that forth. Unobservant of these symptoms down pillows, cushions, and a yielding of agony, the husband's voice gathers sofa could afford. Mr. Aspenall put on force-he is at the crisis of his tale-the his spectacles, rang out, by the means of lover has no prospect of relief before him, his handkerchief, a clarion prelude from and he is venting his despair in impassionhis horny nose, deliberately found the place ed sentences, when the poor Griselda, where he had left off so many months seeming to take up the thread of the narbefore, and, at first, began to draw) forth rative, shrieks out, “My God, my God, he his words in a manner so monotonous, will die! And where is she who should that would have been the envy of any stand by the pillow of the dying-of the clerk of parliament, that ever read short broken-hearted ? ( where, where, a long petition to a yawning house. where ?" and uttering another long and
The breathings of the lady gradually unearthly cry, she falls back upon the sofa, became more gentle, and at long intervals, to all appearance a corpse. whilst the reader began to warm upon his Mr. Aspenall started upon his legs, subject, and without being aware of the threw his book through one pane of glass, fact, his voice grew louder and his empha- and his spectacles through another. There sis more startling. So concentrated was was no occasion for calls, or the ringing his attention upon himself, that, though of bells to bring assistance, the whole his eyes must have seen, his judgment did household was in the room in an instant. not perceive, that Mrs. Aspenall's own | The shriek seemed to have shaken the maid stole gently into the room, on her mansion to its foundations. tiptoes. Being well assured that her mas. “Cursed fool that I am !" exclaimed the ter was reading, for the deaf only could poor old man; "what have I done? a have doubted that-but not quite so sure curse upon all love stories—a curse upon that her mistress was sleeping, she dare my fatal eloquence-I have destroyed the not speak; she stole softly up to the lady, best of wives- I have destroyed my heirand not at all clandestinely, but very brute, wretch, idiot! Look up, my sweet gently placed a little note upon the sofa, Griselda-Ludovicus, in that damnable in such a manner, that one part of it rested tale, did not die-he was married to his upon her delicate hand. If her mistress Amanda-he was, indeed he was! Ah, slept, the abigail knew that the moment she hears me not-she will never recover she awoke she would perceive the billet. -never- never!" Having performed this little feat, entirely He almost spoke the truth. However, to her own satisfaction, with elongated they forced him out of the room, and with body she sneaked forth hastily from the the assistance of medical advice, after storm of words, and in much the same many relapses, Mrs. Aspenall was nearly way as a cat would do through a smart restored to her usual state of health. A shower of rain.
lady visitor, who called about three days Mr. Aspenall read on. The lover, in afterwards, to inquire after Mr. Aspenall, his tale, was a passionate lover, and too a little surprised her husband, by telling apt to use passionate expressions-ex- him that Mr. St. John had just gone, and pressions much loved by the reader, and with all expedition, to Italy. that had beguiled him gradually from his “Why, why, my good Mrs. Probett? monotony and caution. “Heaven, earth, -a good riddance, however."
“Do you not know he broke a blood-, were no mourners, and no parade-it was vessel last Sunday evening. I wrote to evidently not then conveying its inmate Mrs. Aspenall on Monday morning, ac-on its last journey to the tomb. The horsquainting her wtih the fact. Did she notes that drew it were proceeding at a slow mention it to you ?"
trot, and it was speculated upon by Mr. “Ah, no! why should she? It is to her Aspenall, that it was taking a body to lie a matter of the utmost indifference. I am in state, at some place remote from their sorry for the youth, however-obstinate as own village. he is. What followed ?"
In tne forenoon, the old gentleman took "Oh, they've stopped the slow effusion up his hat, and kissing his wife, told her he of blood-indeed, they have hopes of his was going to hear if he could learn any. ultimate recovery. He set off for Italy thing about it, or any other news at the inn, this morning. He will have all the au- and little dreaming of the blow that awaited tumn before him, so he can travel slowly, him, he went his way rejoicing and winter in a more genial climate. Can A short time after, all importance, Mrs. I see Mrs. Aspenall ?”
Probett entered with her budget of news “ yes-she is much better. Go up they were news indeed. Mr. St. John stairs and chat with her.”
had reached Italy in improved health-an Mrs. Probett did so, and Mrs. Aspenall old uncle had died and left him an imrapidly recovered her health and spirits. mense fortune, and then, unaccountably,
This is the history of fytte the second. he grew much worse-he was returning to Well, after all this, things went on smil- his native land to die-but had died ere he ingly enough. Mr. Aspenall took great reached it—and had ordered that his body glory to himself for forbearing to be too should be interred in this very village. eloquent in the presence of his wife. The The hearse containing it had arrived this new curate was a young man, that swal- morning. lowed the squire's dinners and instructions Mrs. Aspenall had listened to all this in reading, with equal complacency. He with a wonderful seeming apathy, she had a great capacity for both. Mrs. As-had shown every courtesy to her guest, penall again attended the parish church, and that guest had departed with the imand was no more shocked by hearing the pression that she had poured an indifferservice ill read, in a broken and tremulous ent tale into an indifferent ear. voice. In due time, Trismegistus was When, an hour after, Mr. Aspenall reborn, and, in due time, Trismegistus was turned, his wife was found dead, with christened, and it could not then be dis- poor little Trismegistus struggling and covered, that either his father's eloquence, screaming to get from the embrace that or his mother's fits, had at all impaired his held him in a state almost of strangulation constitution.
to his mother's bosom. As I have before mentioned, this little We will hurry over an interval of horgentleman had just betaken himself to ror. shorts, and a second course, in the shape. It was formally notified to the distracted of spoon-meat to his maternal milk, when Mr. Aspenall, that Emanuel St. John had the last and fatal hysteria supervened. left, by the most scrupulously legal will, The health of Mrs. Aspenall had been all his wealth, without reservation, to Mrs. neither better nor worse than usual. Her Aspenall and her child. On searching husband had not been reading to her ;| the desk and drawersof the deceased lady, indeed, nothing had occurred which might no letters or papers of any description have been supposed to have disturbed the were discovered-the only singular thing equanimity of her mind. With all her ap- found was the button, and piece of parent softness of temperament and yield-threadbare cloth that her husband had ingness of disposition, she must have been plucked away from the coat of Mr. St. John. a woman of strong mental powers. It is It was carefully preserved. The eyes of great heroism to keep a worm gnawing Mr. Aspenall were opened, but this closed at the heart, and, from respect for the not his heart. The two bodies were burifeelings of others, never to cry out. It is ed at the same time, in one vault, in the the heroism of woman only. She had, on village churchyard. the day of her death, eaten her breakfast Unconsciously, I have written the loves with her accustomed appetite-nothing of Emanuel and Griselda, without it had broken the uniformity of the every- having been known that a single word day occurrences that were passing around concerning love ever passed between her, excepting that she, with the rest o them. And thus endeth the first of the the family, had seen a plain hearse pass Trismegistian Records. by the drawing-room windows. There
SKETCHES OF BOHEMIA, AND
I centre of Europe, and herself belonging THE SLAVONIAN PROVINCES to the German empire, was the principal OF THE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE.
theatre and the constant victim.
The territory of Bohemia, now a proBY HENRY REEVE, ESQ.
vince of the Austrian Empire, is of a regu
lar rhomboidal figure, the angles of which A THOUSAND years ago, before the wan- are turned to the four cardinal points of dering tribes of the East and of the North the compass. The whole country in enhad subsided from the violence of their closed by four chains of mountains; and irruption into quiet possession of the seats the fertile basin, thus seperated from the of modern nations, the great Slavonian neighbouring kingdoms, is inhabited by race occupied the largest, if not the fair- a population of four millions of men, the est, portion of the European continent. majority of whom have retained the pure Its territories extended from the Elbe to Slavonian character, manners, and lanthe Black Sea, and from the Danube to guage, notwithstanding the long hostility the far North. Empires vying in extent of the house of Austria, the perpetual colwith that of Charlemagne, were created lision of the surrounding German states, and dissolved. The promises of chris- and the final subjugation of Bohemia to tian civilisation were more than once the court of Vienna. blighted by the incursive tribes of Magy- The City of Prague stands in the centre ars and Tatars, which incessantly besieg- of the sixteen circles into which this reed this eastern rampart of Europe. And gion is divided. It was once the heart of at a very early period, a srtuggle between a nation advanced in free institutions, the German and the Slavonian races eminent for all the arts, and glorious for began, of which Bohemia, seated in the opinions and for arms. It was the cradle
of Protestantism; and the Protestant | leaving the Elbe to indicate their path, church has now almost ceased to exist after they had subsided. These same cliffs within its boundaries. It was the “hor-are crested with impregnable citadels, reum ini perii et nutricula imperatoris ;" which have baffled Frederic the Great and and the seat of empire now is removed the French marshals. Around us, amidst from it. But in the character and man- the peaks, the twisted roots, the rugged ners of the the Bohemian people, and in masses and taper needles of this singular the splendid edifices of the capital, the region, were marked very visible traces proudest monuments of their long great of the robbers, who once made it their ness still remain. The following notes retreat. Much of their masonry still rewere written on a journey undertaken in mains; and on the summit of the most the course of last summer to explore the isolated pinnacle, wbich cannot be reachcountry, the history, and the present con-ed by any means we now possess, there dition of the Bohemians, and the western is an archway distinctly hewn into a kind populations of Slavonian origin.
of sentry-box, which is said to have been
a hermit's cell, or a warder's tower. But 1.-THE BANKS OF THE ELBE. long after these fastnesses had ceased to
harbour their lawless masters, they beWe left Dresden on a fine morning in came the retreat of persecuted Protestants August, to cross the chain of mountains in the thirty years' war: and many of the called the Erzgebirge, which divide Bohe- wildest spots which we visited-as so mia from the Saxon dominions. The many others have done before us-have Elbe, which rises in the east of Bohemia, retained an historical name from the sufand flows about one hundred and fifty ferings of those martyrs to their religion miles through that territory, enters Sax- and their race. On the great Winterberg ony in the picturesque region which is mountain we entered the Bohemian terriknown under the name of the Saxon Swit-tory, and the fine estate of Prince Clary, zerland. We drove along the sandy We dined at the Prebischer-Thor, as they banks of the river near Dresden, and as call an immense slab of rock lying bridgethe wind was fresh, the big barges, rigged wise from the perpendicular side of the like junks, were sailing up the stream mountain to the top of a huge needle, nearly as fast as our Saxonkutscher chose which thus forms a natural gateway, nearly to go. Our first post was at Pirna, which one hundred feet high, hanging over the was a kind of custom-house or frontier-deep dell. From this spot we left the beatgate for creeds during the religious wars. en track of the Saxon Switzerland, and It was the first place in the Protestant descended along the banks of a mountain states; and during the great persecution rivulet, which takes its course from the of 1622, the little town was the asylum of clearest and coolest of springs, turns a the Protestant emigrants, to the number of number of sawing-mills in the valley, and ten thousand, who were expelled from falls into the Elbe at Herrnskretschen. their homes and their estates by Ferdi- We followed its course to the village, nand II., carrying with them the best ta- where a boat was in waiting to convey us lents of the country in arts, manufactures, up the river. and agriculture. We crossed the Elbe in Perhaps no European river combines a a ferry-boat, nearly under the old Castle greater variety of scenery than the Elbe. of Sonnenstein-a forest that was dis- From Hamburg to the sea, it presents those mantled after the Seven years' war, and fat and cold scenes to which the Dutch converted into a lunatic asylum. In these painters have given a charm. A few days mournful walls the engraver Müller died before, I had seen upon it the boats of Van insane, after completing his great work der Velde with their red sails shaped from the Madonna di San Sisto, which like bats' wings, and the broad poop resthas coupled his name with that of Ra- ing upon the smooth water; the willows phael.
of Reubens studded the marsh-ditches with On reaching the right bank of the Elbe, their grey-green colouring; and as we the road quits the river, and gradually look back upon the small craft, with here rises into a region where the scenery as- and there a trading brig which crossed sumes a wilder character. We drove the flat prospect, the gleam of Van der through pine-woods, interspersed with Neer shot along the hazy distance. Highmeadows sparkling with the mountain- er up sits Dresden, with her bridge, her green, and fringed with purple heath, or palaces, and churches, garlanded with stathe wild anemone, the snow drop of sum-tues and coronets in the midst of a landmer. The road leads insensibly to the scape of singular amenity. But where we top of precipices, which look down 1,200 entered Bohemia, the Elbe is pent up befeet perpendicular into the Elbe. It is a tween bold cliffs and huge natural battle. little world for geology and romance: ments of rock, clothed in rich foliage before us lay scattered cliffs, and fantas- wherever it is possible for a tree to hang, tic rocks, worn by the tremendous irrup- and broken by smooth plots of verdure, tion of the waters which once made a lake leading away into romantic dells. It has of the whole cauldron basin of Bohemia, all the variety of our own Wye, on almost till they burst across the north of Europe, the scale of the majestic Rhine. As we • VOL. III,
mounted the stream, we met long barks' power of expelling misdemeanants from shooting down it, laden with timber, and his estate, and he exercises a certain conthe manufactures of the county: the barge trol over his subjects; but the peasants men devoutly crossing themselves before are by no means attached to the soil; and the statue of St. Adalbert, as they passed they may always appeal to the courts of it on their voyage, and stopping to help a justice against their lord, with a provervessel which the saint had allowed to run bial certainty (such is the policy of the aground upon the shallows. Higher up, government) of gaining their cause. On the banks of the river assume a broader the other hand, the lord represents the character, and the land sloping down to government to his peasants, and the peathem displays more cultivation. As we sants to the government; and whilst he is entered Count T— 's estate, "cottages accountable to the justice of the country, were seen peeping out from the orchards, he has it in his power to exercise a beneand cheerful peasants working in their ficent influence over the lower orders. gardens.
He provides for their instruction, he introAt length a wider reach of the Elbe duces improvements and encourages brought us to the town of Tetschen, lying trade, he increases their commercial reat the foot of its great castle, with an am- lations, he arbitrates in their disputes, phitheatre of mountains beyond. Every- and in proportion to his fulfilment or negthing bore marks of activity and prosperi- lect of these functions, the estate is prosty in the little port; new store houses are perous or poor. It often happens that the erected in the town-a quay for the barges nobility and gentry have acquired a pureruns along the shore, and a ferry-boat was ly German character, in accordance with constantly plying from the side on which that of the Austrian government, but very the castle stands to the other bank. With much opposed to the national spirit and in ten years the population of the town, national wants of the Bohemian people. which now amounts to 2,000, has been All the ancient seignorial rights which greatly increased, new sources of pros- were not legalised and regulated by Joseph perity opened, and honourable fortunes II., as the Roboth, dues, &c., were abolishmade by men who entered the estate in ed by that monarch. But the tradition of the humblest mercantile capacity. These l.feudal attachment and of feudal obedience, excellent results are attributable to the still exists amongst the people; thus, alnatural position of the place, and still more though the consent of the lord is not legalto the judicious administration of the lord. ly required to a marriage between his The wealth of the mountainous frontiers peasants, it is generally asked, and conof Bohemia consists chiefly in their tim- sidered indispensable. The possessions ber and their manufactories impelled by of some of the Bohemian nobles are imthe water powers of the mountain streams. mense; Prince Schwarzemberg owns oneTheir immediate contact with Saxony and eighth of the country; and the estates Prussia introduces a number of industrious once held by the great Wallenstein were Germans, whose language prevails in these so vast as to have formed the appanage tracts, whilst the impoverished Slavonian of six great families after his death and population cultivates the central agricul- attainder. tural basin of the country. It cannot be The Castle of Tetschen stands upon a doubted that the superiority of wealth and rock about 150 feet above the Elbe: the intelligence is on the side of the frontier building is in the form of a complete oval, population, especially to the north. The with a lofty turret at one end, which com
ircle of Leitme ritz, in whicn Tets- mands a view of the town, the river with its hen and Teplitz are situated, is the most barges, and the romantic Rothberg, with populous in the kingdom; and, in some its huge rocky bastions and rich crown parts of it, the number of inhabitants of wood. For my own part, I know of amonnts to 17,000 per 25 square English no higher or more humane pleasure than miles.
to look out across the smiling and animatThe domains of the Bohemian nobility ed landscape, from a window of that pile, are so large, that they may be compared with a consciousness that the rank, and to small tributary states. The Herrschaft power seated on that rock has made or Lordship of Tetschen contains no less itself the friend and protector of all than 18,000 souls. Tracts of land are that is good below it, and has thrown a granted by the lord on terms not very dis- smile into every cottage in those secluded similar to the original grant of copyhold valleys. The castle has seen its days of property in England: but in Bohemia the danger, it has been shaken by civil war, rent is still paid, for the most part, by a and untenanted by persecution; but never certain number of days of labour done did the mansion of a lord stand more for the lord, the annount of which is regu- firmly planted in its best defence, than the lated by a law called the Roboth patent. Castle of Tetschen, supported by the afThe subjects, as they are termed, are all fections of its dependants. registered in the books of the estate; the After a short sojourn in this hospitable lord collects the king's taxes, besides his abode we left the castle in a carriage, callown dues, and sends an annual supply of ed a Würste or sausage, which resembles recruits to the imperial army. He has the an Irish car, except that it has but one seat