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“ I asked for time to consider,' replied she meekly, and this, not because I felt perplexed, but because my heart was too full to answer him just then.
66 And how did he receive this decision ?' I returned, quickly.
" At first he seemed alarmed and disappointed, but I fear that he saw in my face what was passing in my mind at sight of his anxiety ; indeed, I have always feared that my own wild joy was but too apparent in my troubled accents and in my tearful eyes. They say it is wrong for maidens to display such happiness, but, Georgette, I had ever lived a lone unheeded life, and none had taught me how to feign. Louis smiled then when he left me, for I had told him that if on the morrow's dawn the broad leaves of my geranium still hid my casement from his sight that his suit would be rejected, but that if, on the contrary, it had disappeared, and my window was open that he might come, and that I would look upon him thenceforth as one—the one only, one to whom my heart and soul-my waking, sleeping thoughts--my first fond hopes—my first fresh dream of love should all be given!'
“) trembled so violently at this avowal from the lips of Paquerette, that I almost sank at her feet, but she did not perceive the agitation in which I listened, for she had grown as if inspired while proceeding, and I could judge, if the bare memory of these events had power to move her thus, what must have been her exaltation at the moment of their occurrence. She resumed, after a slight pause; 'He left me with a smile of rapture, but the
of that smile made me shed tears of bitterness when he was gone, for it had told me that he knew that my heart would answer in his favour ; but then, alas ! he could not tell that I had instantly determined not to listen to its dictates !'
“I started at this abrupt conclusion, but Paquerette continued, mournfully, ‘Georgette, I had no friend in the wide world, no guide, no counsellor, so I resolved at once to trust to Providence, and beg some sign whereby I could judge of what I ought to do. I had thought of many things when my eye fell by accident on my dear, my cherished geranium, and I resolved to choose its bursting blossoms for my oracle. There might be sympathy, I thought, between this plant and me. I had given it as it were a second life by my unceasing care and attention ; in return, had it not saved the life of Louis upon the occasion of the truant biru ? and by mere chance, too, I had held it forth to be the sign between him and me of the success or hopelessness of his love. I approached the beloved tree with a beating heart, and examined it minutely, when, lo! upon branch which had saved the youth from an awful death, perhaps because I had pruned and watered this branch more carefully than the rest, did I perceive a whole clustre of coral-tinted buds, all ready to break their verdant prison and issue forth in their bright beauty. It was strange; there was not a single one on any other branch but this! So I extended my hands over the plant and took a solemn vow before the Almighty God of heaven that if one single blossom had burst by the morrow, that I would yield to my love for Louis
, while as solemnly did I swear that if, on the contrary, no blossom had broken forth, so surely would I reject his suit. Well, Georgette, now that these events are over and I fear no more, I may own to thee, that not for a kingdom would I pass such another day and night as those which followed the breaking of that rash vow. I did nought but pace my little chamber in agony, stopping at each turn to examine more and more closely, and with straining eyes, the closed buds upon which hung the fate of this the first fond affec
tion of my hitherto joyless, loveless life! Twilight came, but I watched and watched until I could scarce discern the outline of the tree, and at length night descended-dark, moonless night; and then I could see it no more. But I could not rest in my bed, so I remained seated by the window the whole of that long night, for I would not take away the plant lest it might be a forestalling of what I had brought myself to consider as the decree of Providence; so I clasped the noble stem, and sat tranquil and resigned to abide my fate.
“ • Never shall I forget that night ; first, how the hurrying of torches to and fro, the noise of carriage-wheels
, the loud note of the homeseeking reveller, made it differ but little from the day. How, these dying gradually away, left the street so still and silent that I felt as if I were alone, the only watcher in this wide metropolis ; then the low twittering of some nestled bird upon the house-top, giving notice that the dawn would not be slow to appear. I scarcely felt the time pass.
I wept and prayed, and sought for courage to support my patience should it be against me, for God, who heard me then, and hears me now, knows well that not for wealth, nor long life, nor happiness, nor honour, would I have broken the solemn oath I had voluntarily taken.
“I know not how it happened, but I had watched so long for some single line of orange-coloured light which should give me notice of approaching day, that I had grown heart-sick and weary, both in mind and body, and in spite of all resistance, I fell into a deep and heavy slumber. How long it lasted I could never tell. I can only remember that I was awakened by the cries and sounds of labour from without, and that when I raised my head, the bright beams of the morning sun were already streaming through the dark green leaves of my geranium; and Georgette
- dear Georgette, give me thy hand, feel how my heart is beating even now—there was a whole bunch of the scarlet flowers bathing in the sunlight, and shining behind the shadow of its dark green foliage, bright and dazzling as rubies!
“My presence of mind did not forsake me; and although my heart beat violently, and my limbs trembled so that I could scarcely stand, yet I did not feel confused or perplexed, but on the instant, and without a moment's reflection, pausing but to put back the long hair which impeded my view, by a strong effort I dragged the plant aside and opened wide the casement. On that very instant, 1 heard a low cry from without. Louis was already there. Georgette ! he was already there. He, too, had watched the live-long night. As I had done, and when he saw, by my haggard looks and swollen eyes, that I likewise had not slept, he stretched forth liis arms in silence, and I jumped upon the window-sill. Then he clasped me with fervour to his bosom, and, as he whispered in my ear his faint and faltering thanks, I felt the long meshes of my braided hair wet and dabbled with his tears! And then I knew by all these signs that his soul was like my own, desolate and blighted, having had no affection whereon to rest, that his heart had yearned till it was withered in his bosom, and that the bright season of his youth had hitherto been spent in solitude and tears! I say, that I knew all this by what was passing within my own soul at that moment; and I felt as if I had known him from my birth, and although but little conversation passed between us in that first interview, yet, ere we parted, each event of our solitary lives had become familiar to each other, and we might have fancied that the ties of home and kindred had bound us from our childhood.'” March.-VOL. LXXXII. NO. CCCXXVII.
LEGENDS OF GASTEI N.
BY JOHN OXENFORD, ESQ.
Gastein is a town near Salzburg, famous for its mineral springs. These springs, which are surrounded by forests, wild mountains, and all the agreeable terrors of uncultivated nature, occupy an important situation in the legends of the place.
The discovery of the springs dates back as far as the seventh century, Prior to that event, the valley itself, in which they are found, was scarcely known to the inhabitants of the district. The wild deer sported about, heedless alike of men and of minerals. Two pious hermits, who had sought solitude in the secluded valley, were alone acquainted with the valuable waters. One day a knight, engaged in the chase, pursued a stag and wounded it, not to the death, with his arrow. The wounded animal fled to the valley, and the hunter followed, when lo ! he saw it tended by two men, who washed it in a warm spring. These men were the hermits, whereof we have spoken, and it is delightful to be able to record that their names were Primus and Felician. Good, kindly souls ; they pointed pathetically to the wounded deer, exhorted the hunter to abandon a profession which might injure even the meanest of God's creatures, and begged him to adopt a religious life. Informing him of the wonderful spring, they resolved to take him as their partner in the charitable office of making its virtues known among men.
One day, in the vicinity of Gastein, three men, total strangers to the inhabitants, unexpectedly made their appearance.
Their manner was dignified, and their aspect was venerable. Not only did they tell the gaping multitude that a healing spring lay concealed among the mountains, but they showed a comfortable path that led to the beneficent waters. The spring was used, and wonders followed. Weak men became strong, lame folks recovered the use of their legs, buds held over the water, blossomed, green
fruit ripened, and withered flowers bloomed anew. Opera danseuses, who had had bouquets thrown to them on the previous evening, dipped them in the spring, and then bore them to their friends, that they might be flung fresh as ever on the morrow. This last fact, by the way, is doubtful, nor will it be cleared up till we learn the state of the ballet, near Gastein, in the seventh century.
The pious inhabitants soon erected a chapel in commemoration of the blessings they had received, and represented, by a picture, the hermits Primus and Felician, attending the wounded deer. A picture in another chapel exhibited the three holy men showing the way to the spring.
The originator of evil will not let well alone, and it is no doubt that he filled some of the inhabitants with discontent, because the spring was somewhat inconveniently situated. Once they were delighted to have a spring that would cure lameness and ripen windfalls, but now, forsooth, they grudged the trouble of walking to it. The emissaries of Satan are not slow at their work, so a certain magician promised to dispel the cause of dissatisfaction, by removing the spring from Gastein to St. John's, which, we assume, was a more commodious spot. This he was unable to do of his own strength, so he adopted the course of making a compact with the Evil One, who was to do it for him.
Now even the devil should have his due; and it must be confessed that he did a marvellously clever thing on this occasion. He picked up the spring as you would pick up a dropped pocket-handkerchief, and carried it all the way to the Arlbad. But the old hermits, though they had been dead some time, had no notion of seeing impious intruders dabbling in their spring. So their two ghosts suddenly appeared to Satan, who let the spring slip between his fingers, and few away, howling. It was a very handsome thing on the part of the two ghosts that they did not take the spring back to the original spot, but let it remain just where the devil had dropped it, giving it, by their blessing, a continuance of its power, and a perpetual exemption from diabolical interference. So much for the spring
A notability of the valley of Gastein was a countryman, named Erasmus Weitmoser, who lived in the fifteenth century. His crops ran short, and, therefore, he turned his attention to mining; but this proved such a wretched speculation, that within three years
all bis property, and sunk to the depths of poverty. One Easter Eve he found himself so reduced, that he could not even buy a piece of meat for the coming festival. But his wife, Elizabeth, knowing the solemnity of the day, and feeling how impious it would be to go dinnerless on such an occasion, sold her veil and her wedding-dress, and bought meat and wine. An act of such exalted piety as eating a dinner at Easter could not fail of its reward. The worthy Bishop of Salzburg heard the circumstance, and marvelled to think that such goodness existed. He sent at once for Weitmoser, lauded him for the dinner he had eaten, and lent him a hundred dollars to carry on his mining operations.
Weitmoser and luck became synonymous ; rein after vein of gold was revealed to him; he grew important in the eyes of the neighbourhood, and the emperor, raising him to high dignity, granted him the arms of nobility.
We are proud to reflect that instances of piety like that recorded of Weitmoser are not uncommon in our own country. The numerous operatives, who, provided they may have a jollification at Greenwich on Easter Monday, do not mind pawning their clothes for a whole week, seem to imitate as nearly as possible the act which gained the approbation of the good Bishop of Salzburg.
Erasmus Weitmoser left above a million of gulden (florins) to his three sons, and seventy-five thousand to each of his daughters, but the prosperity of his descendants did not equal his own. The mining business fell to the lot of his son Christoph, who built a fine castle, and various other imposing edifices, about the site of his occupation.
A lump of gold, weighing a hundred pounds, was one day found in the mines, and created the greatest joy among the miners, who thought this was a mere drop from an abundant vein. Most people, it is said, have their heads turned by prosperity, and the miners, who were a strange compound of brutality and stupidity, did not form an exception to the general rule. That they ate too much and drank too much was natural enough; but that they Sayed a fatted ox alive-this was carrying things to an extreme, nor can we conceive how it improved the festivity. One miner suggested that it was cruel thus to torture an inoffensive animal, but the others shouted aloud, that they were rich enough to pay for twenty such oxen, as the gold could no more decrease in the mountains, than the flayed ox could bellow and run from the spot.
The barbarous miners could not have uttered a more unfortunate speech: for, lo! the flayed ox bellowed three times so loud, that he made the rocks echo again, and then, with great agility, ran to the edge of a precipice, from which he sprang. At this strange spectacle, the miners Tooked at each other with marvellously stupid countenances, nor did they appear more lively, when, on the following morning, they found that the newly discovered vein had—vanished.
This knack of uttering unlucky speeches seems to have been peculiar to the Weitmosers and their dependents. Christoph had a wife, who dressed in amazingly fine clothes, and was any thing but condescending to beggars. A poor woman, who sat by the road-side, and saw the haughty dame pass on horseback, asked for alms, and received a haughty refusal.
« Ah," said the beggar-woman," you look proud enough now, but, perhaps, to-morrow you may be a beggar like me.”
“ Nonsense,” exclaimed the lady, a Weitmoser beg!—that can no more come to pass, than this ring can come to light again.”
So saying, she took a valuable ring from her finger and flung it into a roaring stream, which flowed beneath the path. In a few days, a large trout was caught in the stream, and served up at a feast given by Christoph. When it was opened, the ring was discovered in its belly.
From this moment, every thing went wrong with the Weitmosers. The works fell in, the veins of gold were lost, the family became poorer and poorer, and the very castles went to decay. A few picturesque ruins alone remain to record their former wealth and importance. "Who is not reminded of the ring of Polycrates ?
Like the Untersberg, at Salzburg, the Gastein mountains have a large population of spirits. There is one called Schranel, and another named Donanadel, and there is the evil earth-spirit, Gangerl, and one Dusel, who creeps into houses by day and night, and steals little children ; and Butz, a famous misleader of travellers ; and Percht), the terrible wild
The best of the lot seems to be one styled the Capuchin,"
of the miners profess to have heard, if not seen. His voice is said to resemble the crackling of a glacier, and when it is heard, a rich vein of gold is sure to be near ; so that the sound may be considered lucky, though it is dangerous to curse or swear at the time.
When a miner is a good sort of person, the “Capuchin" is rather a friend than otherwise, and if he teazes a little now and then, he never does any serious damage. One day a miner crossed a hill, with a loaf of bread hanging by a string over his shoulder. The “Capuchin” took upon himself the nature of a gust of wind, and whisked the bread away. On another occasion, the same miner went the same way, and carried two loares, when the “Capuchin" again blew away one of them, and rolled it down the hill.
The good-natured miner taking the other loaf, flung it after the first, saying, “ As you have got one, you may as well take the other.” This trifling act of benevolence gained him the friendship of the “Capuchin," and he became immensely rich.
To close effectively, let us sacrifice unity of place, quit Gastein, and