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none were visible except in the lower story. I put my finger upon the latch of the gate and found it was not locked. I then began to reflect on what was to be done. I could not reach Kokenhusen, for I already staggered like a man in liquor, and was too much exhausted to walk any farther. My cholic too still continued to torment me,
throat became more parched than ever. I entered the garden therefore, determined to proceed to the house: a figure in white stood at some little distance before me. How fortunate, said I to myself, should this prove to be a female! Women are compassionate creatures, ever ready to pity and soothe distress of every description : I will approach her. I proceeded, and discovered that it was merely a statue of Neptune placed in the centre of a small pond.
I was now as much embarrassed as ever, and the reflections I had made in the wood came again into my mind : I hastily left this spot and continued my route. My mind supported my body for a considerable time; but having proceeded about half a verste, the wants of the latter prevailed. Worn out with hunger, fatigue, and pain, I sank down upon the sand, a victim of the most gloomy despair, I am compelled to confess that, at this moment, the idea of suicide, for the first time in my life, suggested itself; and if, instead of the smallpair of scissars, I had then possessed a dagger I commonly travel with, I should certainly have used it to put an end to my existence, Happily, however, I had left it at Mittau with my wife ; for as I imagined that I was only going to Petersburgh, I did not like to have it about me. I'his weapon, which I only carried for the purpose of defence in case of being attacked by a malicious dog in any
of my accustomed walks, might have had a suspicious appearance there. It was out of precaution, therefore, that I left it with my wife, and I shall ever bless that act of prudence:
« For a wise inan," says Seneca, “ought not to hasten the day of his death, however strongly he may be impelled; he should retire, and not run away.”.
How often does our fate depend on trifles! If I had taken the bread which lay on the table with me the morning of my escape from the inn, that alone would have supported nature, and I could have persevered in my plan. I had now only two expedients to adopt; either to remain at Stockmannshoff, or return to the woods and remain there till next evening. The latter seemed by no means advisable, as my strength could not hold out during another day without nourishment. I determined, therefore, upon going hack to the castle; and accordingly, after resting myself a little, I returned to the garden gate.
The lights in the lower story remained as before. I crossed the garden and came to a second gate, which opened to a passage between the house and the terraces. I passed through it, for it was unlocked, and I found myself within three paces of the steps of the castle. I ascended them, a light shone through the window, and I perceived three young chambermaids making their beds. I stretched forth my hand several times to tap at the window, and as often drew it back; but overcome by the urgency of my situation, I at length knocked. One of the
young women came out with a light in her hand, and asked me what I wanted. I intreated her in a hoarse voice to give me a morsel of bread. She looked at me with great surprise ; she was a handsome girl, and her countenance bespoke much goodness of heart; but my visage, and indeed my whole appearance, caused her to pause a little at my request. “ It is too late," said she; our master is gone to bed, and so are the servants.”_" Pity me, my lovely girl!" I rejoined : “ I have eaten nothing the whole day; for heaven's sake pity me!”—“My God !” said she, “ in the forest, and during such weather! How happened this?” She still kept looking at me from head to foot, and drew back a little. I
guessed her thoughts : “ Do not be afraid, my dear pretty young woman; I am no thief, nor even a common beggar; (I then shewed her my purse, and my gold watch-chain.) I have money enough, but my case is much to be pitied. My dear girl! I beg you'll tell me if I can speak a word with the chamberlain.”
“ The chamberlain is asleep.” " Where is M. de Löwenstern ?” “ He is at Kokenhusen, and returns to-morrow.” “ And madame de Löwenstern and the children ?”
They are above.” “ And mademoiselle de Plater?” " She is with them.”
This mademoiselle de Plater was a young and very amiable person, a friend of the family, whom I had seen in Saxony. Cannot
awake her?" " I dare not.”
As I pressed her with great earnestness, she at length advised me to go to the secretary's apartment, and wait there till morning. During this conversation, I had drawn her by degrees into her own room ; and the urgency of my situation having overcome all thought of ceremony, I firmly declared that I would not stir from thence, but was determined to throw myself upon the sofa before me. This declaration embarrassed the young woman very much.
Heaven knows how this scene would have ended, had not the chamberlain and his lady, who slept near at hand, been awakened by the noise which we made. Madame de Bayer rung for her maid; I her the billet I had scrawled in the wood, and en. treated her to deliver it to her master; and then, trembling with anxiety for the result, I threw myself on the sofa.
The girl returned; she requested me to wait a lit. tle; that I should soon have some refreshment, and that her master was himself coming to me. I then remained a few moments alone-moments not to be measured by the common mode of calculating time !
The chamberlain arrived . he was a man advanced in years, and kindness was imprinted on his counte
He appeared to be under some embarrassment; but at this moment how great was my own! I spoke with hesitation, and expressed myself in the most incoherent manner; but my note had given him sufficient information. He begged I would make myself perfectly easy, that I would first think about taking some nourishment, and that he would then see what could be done for me. Madame de Bayer now appeared. I recognised the features of her amiable daughter, and took courage. I related in a few words my extraordinary adventures. peared affected, but I could still perceive that neither she nor the chamberlain was satisfied that I was perfectly innocent. And how, indeed, could intelligent people like them, habituated to the regular order of the laws, believe that such official proceedings could have taken place without very serious reasons ?
In the meantime several dishes were set before me. After a slight refreshment I touched upon the essential object of my visit, and solicited protection and
I begged the chamberlain would conceal me at one of his country seats. At this proposal I could perceive that M. de Bayer struggled with his feelings, and that the contest was about to terminate in my favour. Hope already sparkled in the eyes of his lady, when a man entered the room, of whom, even at this moment, I cannot think without an involuntary emotion of aversion and disgust.
« Sir," said the chamberlain, “ you here see a good friend of mine, M. Prostenius, * of Riga.” We saluted each other: he pretended to have seen me before; but I had not the least recollection of his person. He was a well-looking man, of a pleasing and insinuating countenance, and his deportment
* That was not his name, as I have since learnt; but why name hiin at all ?
was extremely polite. · He was one of that description of people who can say ungracious and even rude things with the same tone of voice, and with as much ease as usually accompany the communication of the most agreeable intelligence. From him I learnt that the counsellor had been at the castle, that he had dined there, had betrayed great uneasiness of mind, alarmed the whole village, and had dispatched people to pursue me ; and that after taking these measures he had set off for Riga, at which place he probably still remained. M. Prostenius took upon himself to assert that my plan was impracticable, even before he had heard the whole of it; adding, that it would expose them all to danger, and that it was impossible to serve me. “ But you have gained time,” continued he, “ by your flight; you will be conducted to Riga ; the governor, who is a stranger to the business, must report your conduct; and before any answer can arrive some changes may take place.” I replied, “ that from the manner in which I had been already treated, I could not expect any, thing in my favour.” The chamberlain, who had been prevented from speaking by M. Prostenius, and whose opinions the latter had in a great measure influenced, now told me, by way of consolation, that I might write from thence to the emperor.
May I?” exclaimed I.—“ Certainly; and I will send the letter through the hands of general de Rehbinder, who at this moment is commandant at Petersburgh.'
I thanked him for all his goodness. The amiable Prostenius would fain have made a reply for him; he remained however silent.
M. Prostenius was now pleased to ask me, Why I feared a journey to Tobolsk ?”
I eyed him, and smiled: “ Why do I fear it?"“ Yes ?” said he, Many worthy people are sent thither : you will never be in want of good company.”-“My company, sir, is my family."
“In what manner are you taken there?"_" I