« 上一頁繼續 »
order, all the arrangements she had made in the house for my happiness and comfort; and then she drew me to the windows that her neighbours might be witnesses of her happiness.
The first day I gave myself up wholly to answering her questions, and in listening to her recitals, and I assure you that it was only towards evening that I could get out for a few minutes to respire the air, and to abandon myself to the emotions with which my heart was filled. I walked up and down many streets. Everywhere I saw some object which was a souvenir of my past youth; and well-known, though now more aged, faces passed before me. Some of them looked at me a long time, as though first of all to be sure they knew me, before they returned my bow of recognition and respect. I at last found myself on the Place de la Tour: an old painting covered the wall. It represents a whole family prostrated before a crucifix. On the right is the father and his sons by his side; on the left, the mother and her daughters-all in descending lines or steps like the pipes of an organ. And then there is the grandfather, who seems to have risen from the grave, and who with a severe and aged countenance points with his finger to the hand of the dial. This image, which often used to trouble my gaiety when as a boy I passed before it to go to school, carried me back again to bygone days. The son of the ringer was standing at the door of the Tower; he took me for a stranger, and asked me if I would visit the "Tower of St. Peter ?"
The sight of this vast country, in which the evening light fell calm and majestic, could alone quiet the agitation of my heart: so I ascended the Tower, and walked round the ballustrade. Already the mist rose from the surface of the river-the dew was forming on the green prairies -the sun disappeared behind the mountains-and not far from me a bell sounded, which invited to the evening prayers.
My heart, affected by all these scenes and recollections, rose towards Heaven, when the old ringer arrived and invited me to visit the belfry. I was not much pleased to have my pious meditations thus deranged.
The bells of the tower of St. Peter are renowned for their musical sound and for the beauty of their fount. The good old man was quite inexhaustible when he talked of their history, when he taught me their names, and smiled with real satisfaction when I admired their sculpture and the verses which were written upon them. But that which he thought the most curious, the most interesting, he kept to the last. It was the " PASSING-BELL"-the Bell for the Dead-the "Cloche des Morts!" He assured me that this was all silver. It is curiously ornamented by heads of angels and leaves beautifully interspersed in perfect sculpture. All around it is an inscription in very old letters which I succeeded, though with difficulty, in deciphering; but it was to the effect, "That this bell was founded by Henri Rosler, and that, at his death, it was rung for the first time." This was a new subject of reflection for me. I imagined to myself this laborious handicraftsman, as he formed the heads of these smiling angels, contemplating his work with interest amounting to love, satisfied with his labour, and looking forward at the same time with the calmness of a good conscience to his last hour.
But I am forgetting the essential part. I wish to tell you that I have good reasons for hoping to establish myself in an advantageous career.
My old master, the Grand Vicar, received me in the most cordial manner, and the excellent philosopher, Doctor Baer, who formerly recommended me to the Count de Palfy, wishes once more to become young with me, and to study together.
Adieu, my dear Geismar. Adieu.
Letter from Emma Gartenberg to Marie Herwart.
You tell me, my dear Marie, to take care of my heart! Ah! why did you delay so long in giving me this counsel? How came it to pass that your letter did not reach me till it had made a long journey I know not where, being many days in arrear? If anything shall happen to this heart of mine, you and chance will be the only causes.
You see I have still all my gaiety; and I hope you will banish all uneasiness on my account. So I do not intend to deprive myself of the pleasure of giving you all the details of the visit I projected, when I last wrote to you, to make to the good Cunégonde in her new habitation.
She has hired a very pretty lodging in the Rue St. Jean; and, as you will readily believe, she has ornamented it most charmingly, and with all the taste and love of which she is susceptible. Her dear son had gone out, so she had leisure to show me everything. Of course she began with the kitchen, where the utensils shone as bright as gold; then she conducted me to her bedchamber; and finally to the study of our cousin Maximilian, which, I assure you, except for its size, yields in nothing of luxury and beauty to our own splendid room, notwithstanding a combat of Amazons at full length is represented in tapestry on our walls: but, in the midst of all her joy, there is one source of sorrow to dear Cunégonde, though she would not have her son know it for the world, and that is, that in the midst of all this magnificence, and even amongst vases of flowers and Chinese figures in porcelain, Maximilian has placed skeletons of men-real skeletons-and the tables and closets are covered and filled with skulls and bones of all sorts, whose society can really only be tolerable to a surgeon.
Cunégonde showed me all this with her eyes lowered, and sighing whilst she showed them; but all of a sudden she passed to gayer subjects, and produced for my examination all the marks and presents of honour and respect which her son had received-gold chains and precious rings. She likewise showed me a large book full of dried herbs and plants, costly carpets, and rich Turkey silks and stuffs, boxes full of the balm of Mecca, and Heaven knows what besides. At the end of all, of course, I had to look at the Hungarian costume, sabre, and boots, in which our Licentiate found favour in your eyes, my dear Marie; and at the moment when Cunégonde was spreading out the velvet pelisse which you know, who should enter but Palmer himself! I believe I coloured up prodigiously, and I rushed from the closet with as much of fright as if I had been surprised in the act of stealing his costume. Yes! my dear sister, you are quite right: this cousin Max, who used to nurse me, has indeed become a very handsome man.
My father has just sent in to know if I have finished my letter. I am almost sorry now that I have filled it with such nonsense, for I had matters more essential to have told you-and now I am uneasy-my
heart is oppressed, and that because my father hastens me to conclude. Ever thine.
Letter from Sylvani, the Secretary, to the Licentiate in Medicine,
It is impossible for me at this moment, my dear Licentiate, to fulfil, as I would wish, the orders of our quarter-master; and yet I cannot avoid performing this painful duty.
The letter you wrote a month since to Captain Geismar you will receive, enclosed, without its having been opened. The brave warrior whom you one day drew from a mass of dead bodies, when he was dangerously wounded, has just died-not from the ball of an enemy, but from a disease which carried him off in a few days. Considering the intimate friendship which existed between you he has named you his heir. Nevertheless our quarter-master has not thought fit for the moment to send you the effects of the defunct. I cannot conceal from you that a frightful mortality is desolating the environs of this place. Some attribute it to exhalations from the dead-others to a flight of locusts who, in the East, had been driven to sea by the wind, and were then driven back on the land. It is from that country that the contagion has come to us. Up to the present moment this place is not affected; but every hour it may reach us.
Letter from Cunégonde to Marie Herwart.
You will, doubtless, be much astonished, my dear cousin, at receiving a letter from me; but its contents will explain my motive and at the same time supply my excuse.
This sweet child, our dear Emma, has certainly already told you that my son has returned. Some days after his arrival she came to see me, and to visit my new habitation. Maximilian had gone out when she called; but he returned whilst I was engaged in showing her all the curious and rare objects he has brought back with him from his long travels. The charming girl became as red as the fire, and cast down her beautiful large blue eyes. The first movement of Maximilian, when he entered, was to rush to her with his arms opened, ready to receive and kiss her; but he suddenly stopped on seeing her embarrassment, and merely took hold of her hand. They drew near to the windowstill having hold of each other's hands. The sun shed on them his beams; and really they had, in my eyes, the aspect of two beautiful and glorious angels; whilst I looked at them my eyes filled with tears, and I was obliged to leave the room to conceal my emotion. When I returned he was showing her his large book of dried herbs, and explaining to her the nature and the properties of the plants. I know not whether I was mistaken, but Emma appeared to me confused; and what even Maximilian said did not seem to me very clear. "It was love at first sight."
When Emma wished to leave and return home, my son took me aside, and begged me to offer her a splendid silk shawl from Turkey, which he did not dare to present her himself-so much did he fear a
refusal; but she accepted it with joy, and since then has never ceased to wear it, though she takes the greatest care of it.
From that day forward she has often returned to see us-morning, noon, and in the evening-and my son has been to see your father, who received him very kindly and consulted him as to his cough.
Well! you will say, I see nothing very sad in all this. Patience, my dear cousin! bad arrives always quite soon enough.
All was joy and satisfaction, when Maximilian received one day a letter from Hungary, informing him that his most intimate and dearest friend had died of a putrid fever. This sad intelligence quite overcame him, and, in spite of all his manly efforts to resist the impression which it made, it was easy to perceive that he was becoming much changed and even ill.
I told all this to my dear little Emma, and requested her to exhort my son to manly courage. She consented so to do, and came the same day early in the afternoon. The dear child wept as if her own brother were dead. Maximilian wept also and kissed her hands. I had only left the room a moment, when Emma followed me, threw herself round my neck, and, shedding a torrent of tears, exclaimed, "Thou! thou art my dear mother, and Maximilian is mine-never will I marry another!" I wished to converse with her seriously on her resolution; but what could I have said? My son, is he not a virtuous and excellent man? His father was a worthy clergyman; he is himself a man of profound acquirements, and might have become surgeon-in-chief to the Imperial Court, if he would have changed his religion. So I left in the hands of God the fate of my dear children, who, in my presence, embraced each other before they parted for the day.
But now comes the worst part of the affair. Emma, the next day, told all to her father, who became most violent with rage and indignation, and prohibited her from ever again crossing the threshold of my door. This resolution of your father's is, then, the subject of my letter, dear cousin. You, as the eldest daughter, have some ascendancy over your father. You know, also, what it is to be constrained to renounce the man of your choice, and you have not forgotten your grief and chagrin when you were compelled to marry your husband, though you would have so much preferred your gallant Swedish officer. The scene is still fresh in my recollection, when you appeared decked out as the bride for the marriage ceremony, when you threw yourself into my arms, as Emma does now, and crying, said to me, "Well, my good Cunégonde, as it must be so-as I must be married, we will think no more of him I loved-we will weep no longer."
Do, then, all that is in your power to cause the old man to alter his resolution. Do so, for the sake of Emma, and for the love also that you bear to me. Money alone, you know, will not confer happiness, and my dear Maximilian is worth all the treasures of the world.
May God bless you, my cousin, and inspire you with such words and thoughts as shall effectually move the heart of your father!
Letter from Adam Gartenberg to Marie Herwart.
I have read thy letter, my dear daughter, and have well reflected, as thou hast requested I would do. Still, however, I must tell thee that
I shall not change my resolution; for it is my duty, as father, to watch over the prosperity of my children, and to prevent the property which I inherited from my grandfather and father, and which I have augmented by the sweat of my brow, from being thrown away in the purchase of books, and other such like futile and absurd things. I made known my way of thinking to the Licentiate Palmer, and I entreat thee, my daughter, to spare me hereafter thy prayers and thy reflections. Thy husband will tell thee that this proposed marriage ought not to take place he understands these matters better than thou canst do; and he will tell thee that there are plenty of relations in the world who are always willing to contract alliances with the richer members of their family. On this point I say no more.
A great number of persons die in the environs of this city. If this shall continue and shall become more serious, I shall leave the care of my house to my old and faithful head clerk, and shall withdraw to my country farm, or perhaps proceed to my manufactory at Bergstad. In the mean time let us pray and work, and trust that God will keep us from this terrible plague.
Letter from Maximilian to Emma.
I am not to see thee, my well beloved! I ought not to do this, even if the rigorous orders of thy father did not, of course, wholly prevent me. Fly, Emma! Fly as quickly as possible from the walls of this city. To-morrow morning the gates will be closed! Fly! and thus give me the moral force of which I have, at such a moment, so much need.
My dear mother, Cunégonde-Oh! how will she bear to hear such deplorable intelligence! Already she is the victim of the epidemic disorder, and perhaps will not live through the night. Then I shall be alone in the world. Adieu! perhaps I shall not see thee again in this world of sorrow and of exile. But no-God in his mercy will protect us both. Again I say, Emma, fly-fly to-night, and let not the rising sun find thee in this city of the plague.
Letter from Leonard Schnell to Adam Gartenberg at Bergstad.
My respected Patron,-I take the liberty to inform you that since you departed from this city nothing new has occurred in your establishment nor at the exchange; but immediately after you had left, the Licentiate Palmer came here at a very early hour in the morning to learn if you had left with Miss Emma, your daughter, the night before. When I replied in the affirmative, he raised his hands and eyes towards heaven and embraced me many times, exclaiming, "God be praised! All is right now!"
At the break of day, on the morning after your departure, the gates were closed, and no one can go out or come in without a permission from the authorities in writing. The Rue de l'Ecluse and the Rue des Juifs, where the malady showed itself with the greatest intensity, were barricaded, and no one was allowed to go in or to come out, except the two chosen Pestiarii, that is to say, Doctor Baer and the Licentiate Palmer.