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use even sorcery to inveigle their vic tims?" His teeth chattered. "Away with your damned magic! Out on you! Away-or I shall call for help from without!" And Carl drew half out his poniard.
"Tut, man," rejoined the stranger, calmly, after listening with patience to Carl's objurgations. "Now, to hear you rave in this wise! You -a man-a scholar! The days of sorcery, methinks, are gone for ever; and as for the INQUISITION that you din into my ears, I'myself fear, but more hate, that cruel and accursed institution." This was said slowly and deeply-the speaker's eyes searchingly fixed on those of him he addressed. The student, however, answered not, and the old man resumed.
"'Tis but your own heated fancy that has likened one of these jewels to an EYE-he, he, he !" said he,with a poor attempt at laughter. "What is it that has frightened you but a large diamond? A human eye, i'faith -he, he, he!-But, to away with these womanish fancies, I would know, at once, Carl, whether you wish to call yourself the owner of this bracelet ?"
"Will you give me no answer, Carl ?"
"Aye-Heaven knows I would fain be its master-for 'tis an enchanting, a dazzling-yet a fearful- 53
"Pshaw!" exclaimed the old man, impatiently.
"Well, then," continued Carl, doubtingly, "since temper fails you, I will to the point. Suppose, then, I were, in a manner, disposed-I mean -hem!-What I would say, is-in short, if it were to come to pass that I were earnestly desirous (which I am not) of having this bracelet-not for myself, mark me, but for another
"To the point, man! To the point!" interrupted the stranger, with anxious asperity.
"Well, I say, if I were disposed to purchase the bracelet, what would be your terms? What must I do? What give ?"
"Oh, my terms are most easy and simple. You may perchance laugh at hearing them. Find but the fellow
to this bracelet-and both shall be yours."
Carl suddenly became cold and pale. The stranger's peculiar words and manner had roused painful suspicions in the breast of the student— transiently however-that certain doings of his must be intimately known in certain awful quarters; and the stranger's plan was but a subtle trap for making him develope them. This feeling, however, gradually yielded to one of sheer astonishment, as the stranger repeated his terms, in a significant tone, and with great earnestness of manner.
"II, Carl Koëcker-find you the fellow to this bracelet!" exclaimed the student. Surely you must be mad, or mocking me.'
"Whether I be mad or not, concerns you little, so as I can make good my promise. You have my terms."
"Will you give me till to-morrow night to consider whether I will accept them ?"
No," replied the stranger, imperatively.
"Hem!" exclaimed Carl, suddenly-but with a puzzled air-wishing to put the stranger off his guard— so you have but one bracelet. How came you by it? You know, old man, that if I buy it, I must be satisfied that I can keep it."
"Keep your questions to yourself. Enough for you that I have it," replied the stranger, sternly.
"Another question, nevertheless, I must put. Where is the other bracelet ?"
"It must be sought for," replied the old man, gloomily, placing his broad-brimmed hat on his head, as if to overshadow his eyes—“ and it is worthy the search, though a prince were the seeker. He who shall have this, has a clue infallible to the discovery of the other."
"Then why not search for it yourself?" enquired Carl, quickly. A flush overspread the stranger's face, and he seemed, for a moment, somewhat confused.
"You are sent hither by the Inquisition," quisition," said Carl, with a cold shudder at the same time plunging his right hand into his bosom, in search of his poniard-half resolved to take summary vengeance on the
daring and cruel spy. He controlled himself, however, and repeated his question in a calmer tone.
"Why do not you seek for the fellow-bracelet, old man?"
"I may not, Carl. That must be sufficient for you. You need not enter on the search-you need not take this bracelet; but if you will venture, and should succeed, 'twill be the greatest day's work you ever did. It will bring you riches and honour; and, above all, you shall see both these beautiful trinkets glistening on the white arm of her
"Hold! I madden! Speak not!" gasped Carl, springing with sudden emotion from his chair-pressing his hands against his forehead, and gazing fixedly on the bracelet, which the stranger still held in his hands.
""Tis an overwhelming thought truly! It is!-but-but-I find the fellow to this bracelet ?" he continued, with a bewildered air, "where, in Heaven's name, am I to search for it ?"
"Where you can, and where you dare," replied the stranger, emphatically. Carl was struck with the tone and manner.
"And how long shall I have to try my fortune?-Tut!-'tis an idle-a mad question truly, a foolish scheme; but, supposing-in a word, how long will you give me ?”
"Two days from this time; and on the third, I will come and see you again."
"Alone ?" enquired Carl, with a searching glance.
"Yes-alone," replied the stranger, pointedly.
"And can you give me no clue, whatever?-None ?"
"No, assuredly. Else the merit of your search would fail. You will not be long in finding one, if you do but set about the search heartily.Ah, Carl, Carl," he added, suddenly, with as much gaiety as his extraordinary features could assume, "you have a white hand, and a small wrist!" Carl glanced at them complacently. "I wonder, now, whether it were small enough for this bracelet?-Try it on, man-try it on!-Your wrist, I think, is but a trifle larger than hers
"The last word brought the blood into Carl's face, even to his temples
and a tempest to his soul. Scarce knowing what he did, he took the glittering bracelet, and with a little difficulty, clasped it about his wrist.
"Ah, ha!-How wondrous well it suits you! In truth, it might have been made for you! Your wrist might have been a lady's!" said the old man, laughing; and, rising from his seat, he scrutinized the bracelet narrowly, and adjusted it more nicely. "And now, Carl Koëcker-see you part not with it, in your search! Farewell, Carl!" The stranger stepped towards the door.
"Stay-stay, old man!" exclaimed the student with surprise. "Whither are you going? Ha-ha, Der Teufel !" he continued, almost leaping from the floor with sudden fright-Why, thou fiend! I cannot remove the bracelet! It clings to my wrist like adamant!-It will cut my hand off! Ah-ah-it is cutting to the bone," he groaned. He strove violently to wrench it off. "Take it off! Take it off-I cannot move it! Help, help!
dear, good old man, for mercy's sake- "But his visitor was opening the chamber-door, anxious to be gone. Carl followed him, using frantic efforts to dislodge the bracelet from his wrist, which suffered a frightful sense of compression.
Good sir! Kind old manever you are, wherever you come from-whatever your errand, for God's love, help me to remove this bracelet!-Oh-" he groaned, “ will you not take it off?"
"Off?-never!" shouted the old man, with an unearthly laugh, and an eye of horrible derision. The student dropped his hands, fell back aghast a pace or two, and stared at the stranger, with eyes that seemed bursting from their sockets. The perspiration started from every pore.
"Never-oh, never— -did you say?" gasped Carl, renewing his desperate efforts to remove the bracelet. He grew desperate. "Villain! fiend! You have played a hell-trick against me! Will you yet say never?"
Aye-never, till you find its fellow," replied the old man, shaking his shrivelled finger at the student.
"Accursed wretch! Deceiving devil! Then will we struggle for it. Ho, have at you," aloud shrieked
Carl, springing forward to grapple with his tormentor; who, however, at that moment slipped through the open door, shutting it in Carl's face; and as the old man went rapidly down stairs, Carl heard him exclaiming in tones of wild and echoing laughter-fainter and fainter as the distance increased-" Never, Carl; never, never!"
Carl staggered stupified to a seat, and sat for some moments the image of despair. He would have rushed out after the old man, but that a deadly faintness seized him. He could not bring his scattered senses to bear for an instant on any one point of the preceding interview. He felt like a man suddenly roused at midnight from a frightful dream. Had he been asleep and dreaming? Alas, no! There was fearful evidence, palpable and visible, of waking reality. His eye happened to alight on the bracelet glistening with now abhorred splendour on his wrist. With frantic effort he once more strove to disengage it, but in vain. He could not move it; it seemed to have grown into him! He rose from his chair, and paced his room in an ecstasy of alternate fear and fury. What had come to him? Was he under the spell of witchcraft? Was he the sport of diabolical agency? Or, worse than either-the sealed victim of the Inquisition? Had they sent their emissary to probe him, and leave this cunningly-framed bracelet as an irremovable evidence of their man-even as sheep are marked for the slaughter? As this latter suspicion flashed across his mind with increasing probability, he sunk in his chair, overwhelmed with anguish and horror; and from his chair to the floor. What was to become of him? What could he do? Whither was he to fly? How ascertain the criminatory extent of the information on which they acted? He knew not! He closed his eyes, for every thing about him seemed turning round, and assuming grotesque images and positions. After lying for some minutes on the floor, he suddenly sprung to his feet, convinced that the extraordinary occurrences of the evening could have no other foundation than fancy-that he must have been suffering from the nightmare. He stepped into his
sleeping-room, and plunged his head and face into a bowl of cold spring water. The shock for a few moments revived and recollected his wandering faculties; but in wiping his face, the accursed bracelet scratched his cheek-the delusions of hope vanished in an instant, and flinging aside his towel, he rushed from the room in despair. The silence and solitude of his apartment were horrible. Whither should he go, that the Inquisition hounds could not follow, find, and seize him? He began to imagine that they had pressed the arts of sorcery into their assistance. He felt, in a word, that his fears were maddening him. He could bear his rooms no longer: so putting his cap on his head, and throwing a cloak over his shoulders, he went out, hoping to see, or at least hear tidings of, his dreadful visitor.
The night, far advanced, was cold and gloomy-the winds blew chilly, and the snows were fluttering fast. He spoke to one or two of the drowsy shivering watch, and asked whether they had seen any one answering to the description of his visitor. One of them told him with a yawn, that only a quarter of an hour before, he had seen an old man pass by, that stooped, and wore, he thought, a broad hat and drab coat; that he walked at a great rate down the main street, followed by two men in dark dresses! Carl fell into the arms of the watchman, deprived of sense and motion. The last clause of the man's intelligence had confirmed his worst fears-THE INQUISITION WERE AFTER HIM!
After a while, the attentions of the humane night-guardian, backed by a little hot ale which he carried in a leathern bottle, sufficed to revive Carl, who was able, soon after, to proceed, after giving the watchman some small coin. What was Carl now to do? To return to his rooms was impossible. He hurried on through the street, why, or whither, he knew not. He felt a sort of drowsiness or stupor creeping over him. Suddenly he nearly overthrew what proved to be a female figure muffled in a long dark dress. His hair stood on end-for, at the first moment, he mistook her figure for that of one of the "men in dark dresses," spoken of by the watchman of the familiars of
the Inquisition. While recoiling While recoiling shudderingly from her, he fancied he heard himself addressed-" Follow!" said the low hurried voice of a woman-" Follow me, and be silent. You have been expected this half hour. 'Tis foolish 'tis cruel thus to delay!"
"I-I expected?-gasped the staggering student-"Why, do you know me ?
"Know you?-why, Carl Koëcker, of course," replied the female; adding in a low imploring tone-" Oh, follow-for Heaven's sake, follow instantly, or all will be lost!"
"Lost!—why, am not I, rather, lost ?-In God's name, whither would you lead me? Are you in league with that old —” Carl was interrupted by his companion whispering hurriedly" Hush! the good folks of Goettingen will hear you!"
She had scarce uttered the last words, before Carl thought he heard the faint echo of many voices at some distance, from behind-and which seemed, as they grew nearer, to be loud and tumultuous. suddenly turned towards the quarter from which the sounds of distant uproar came, when he beheld several torches gleaming dimly far off, and held by persons hurrying to and fro in all directions. The sounds approached, and became more distinet. They were those of alarm.
"What in God's name is stirring now?" enquired Carl of the female he was accompanying." Can you tell me wherefore is all that uproar?" The spectral stare almost froze Carl's blood, as she answered in a low quick_tone-" Ah-do not You know, Carl Koëcker?-A deed of blood and horror
"She was interrupted by the startling clangour of the alarm-bell, pealing with prodigious rapidity and violence. Carl shuddered-and well he might. What is capable of inspiring more thrilling terror than the gloomy toll of a church-bell, heard with sudden loudness at midnight?
The whole town of Goettingen was roused. Carl listened-his hair stood on end-his knees totteredhis brain reeled-for the cries were those of murder and revenge: and amid all the tumult of the voices, and the sullen tolling of the bell, Carl distinctly heard-his own name!
Half stunned with the thought, he listened-he strained his ear to take in every sound that sent it. "Carl Koëcker" was the name uttered by a hundred tongues; and Carl Köecker was sought after as a murderer. He would have shouted in answer— he would have discovered himself, conscious of his innocence-but he felt a suffocating pressure about his throat, and his heart seemed fit to burst through his side. Strange lights flashed before his eyes, and his tottering knees seemed about to refuse him any longer their support, when his unknown companion suddenly grasped his hand between her cold fingers, whispering-" Carl Carl, you must hasten! Fly! fly. You will fall into their hands! They are yelling for you! They are as tigers drunk with blood!”
"I care not! I am innocent! 1 have done no crime! Why, then should I fly? No, I will stay, with God's help, till they come up," mur mured the fainting student. Mean while the clamour of voices grew nearer and louder. Innumerable torches flitted to and fro, casting discoloured glare over the dusky atmosphere.
"Haste, Carl!-Haste, murderer haste! haste!" muttered the woman by his side-" Justice flieth quickly after her victims !"
"Wretch ! what are you saying?" stammered Carl, beginning to sus pect himself the victim of diabolica villainy. He tried to grasp his com panion by the arm-but his hand was powerless. A sudden recollec tion of the stranger who had given him the bracelet, and of the mysterious circumstances attending the transaction, flashed with fearful vi. vidness before his mind,
"Woman, woman!" he faltered. "Who is murdered? Is it-is it
"Fly, fool! Fly, fly, fly-The familiars are near at hand! The blighting brand of the Inquisition will discover
"The what-what!" groaned Carl, his eyes darkening for an instant, and his voice choked.
"Only thou fly, fly !"-continued the woman, hurrying him forward. The crowd of torch-bearers seemed now at but a very little distance ; and Carl, overwhelmed and bewildered,-his consciousness of in
nocence drowned in the apprehension of pressing danger needed but little urging to step into a vehicle standing at the corner of a street they had just entered. He scarce knew what he was doing. Immediately on his sitting down, the door was closed, and away shot the vehicle, rolling as rapidly as four fleet horses could carry it.
Carl found himself alone in the coach-if such it was-for his conductor had suddenly and most unexpectedly disappeared. The utter extremity of fright, amazement, and perplexity, is too feeble a term to convey any thing like an adequate idea of the state of Carl Koëcker's feelings, when thus, after such an astounding series of events, hurried away no one knew how, why, or whither.
Visions of inquisitorial horrors fitted before his perturbed mind's eye. To what scenes of ghastly of hopeless misery was he now, perchance, conveying? He sunk back on the seat, and swooned. How long he continued insensible, he knew not. When he recovered, he found himself rattling onward at a prodigious rate, and amid profound darkness: he stretched his hand out of the window of the vehicle, and the snow fell fast and thick upon He listened, but heard no sound, except the rapid and regular tramp of horses' hoofs, and the rustling of the branches, against which the roof of the vehicle brushed in passing. He could not hear the voices of either driver or attendants. In a sudden fit of frenzy, he threw down one of the windows, pushed out his head, and roared for rescue-but his cries were unattended to. He then strove to force open the door, that he might leap out, though at the hazard of his life; but his utmost efforts were useless! He tried if the window-spaces were large enough to admit of escape -but they were too small to admit of a child's exit! What was to be come of him? After again and again trying to force open the doors, he wearied himself, and fell at full length on the seat, sullenly resigned to his fate, under the conviction that he was either in the toils of the Inquisition, or the hands of thieves and murderers. But what could the latter want with a poor student? For the former
suspicion, his quaking heart could readily assign grounds!
He lay in a state of stupor, till the sudden stoppage of the vehicle almost jerked him from his seat, and sufficiently roused him to perceive that the carriage was standing before the gates of a magnificent building. Where he was, or how long his journey had lasted, he knew not; and unutterable, therefore, was his astonishment to behold the altered aspect of nature. The time appeared about two or three o'clock in the morning. The gloom and inclemency of the former part of the night had entirely disappeared. The scenery, at which he glanced hastily, seemed of a totally different class from that which he had been accustomed to behold. The glorious gilding of the full moon lay on every object alike on the snowy shroud glistening over endless plains and hills as on the quarried clouds lying piled irregularly, one above the other, in snowy strata along the sky. Their edges seemed all melting into golden light.
The building before which the carriage had drawn up, seemed a vast grey mass of irregular structure, the prevailing character of which was Gothic. Whether, however, it were a castle, a palace, a prison, a nunnery, or a monastery, Carl's hurried glance could not distinguish. He had scarce time to scan its outline, before the carriage-door was opened, by removing a large bar from across the outside, Carl noticed and a string of attendants, habited somewhat in military costume, stood ready to conduct the solitary visitor to the interior of the building. After a moment's pause of stupified irresolution-uncertain whether or not to make a desperate attempt at escape
-he alighted, and followed the chief of the attendants towards the interior of the building. Every step he took within the splendid, though antique structure, convinced him that he had entered a regal residence. He paced along seemingly endless galleries and corridors, with the passive, or rather submissive air of a man led along guarded prison-passages to execution. He was at length ushered into a large tapestried apartment, in the centre of which was spread a suppertable, sinking beneath a costly service of gold and silver. Scarce knowing