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held communion with soul, and the free intelligence revelled in a wider field, when the senses were locked in slumber, and its visions were all scenes from some part of the wide creation.
The character of Kriesler was, as has been said, strongly devotional ; and it was the mystic devotion that lives amid beings of a more ethereal existence, and whose daily companions are spirits of the invisible world. He heard their voices in the moanings of the forest, and saw their shadows in the changing forms of the mountain mist; and his heart swelled, as he seemed exalted to their nature and communion. And he said : “Oh that I could know as they know, and traverse the earth, and stars, and read their mysteries ! Ob that I could learn! I seem in a prison, and suffocate without light, or air, or knowledge. Surely he thought thus, the sage, who looked on all the beautiful stars till he was bewildered, and at last threw himself into the sea where he saw them reflected, to know in the world of spirits what he could not learn in this.”' Such were the thoughts that passed through the mind of the student, as he sat in the red light of that autumn sunset, and his soul bowed to the torrent of its reigning passion" desire to know.” A passion not less imperious, nor less unquiet than any the world excites, perhaps more absorbing that it is nurtured in seclusion, and more intense, that it has no visible expression, like deep waters wearing away foundations, and fires consuming the mine that suffers them not to burn outward, and scatter and lose their heat in the free atmosphere of the world.
Kriesler felt that his heaven should be where he might look through all the grand creation, and hear the music of its million spheres, as they sweep their orbits ; where his spirit's burning thirst would be satisfied, or it would almost be no heaven for him. And then he knelt and offered his life for sacrifice, and his soul for torture, through all time, if at last he might be as those who pass through the boundless universe, with powers to comprehend its wonders. It was a wild and unholy prayer ; for it arraigned the Being who thus wrapped his works in mystery, and prisoned the aspiring soul; who thus gave it capacities at once too great and too small for earth, that it might find its home and treasure in another state of existence. And yet, is it strange that, looking on the glorious and perfect creation, man should scorn the littleness of his human nature, and sigh for the freedom of the thinking, feel. ing, wondering soul, to mingle with the beautiful and holy
things whose love, even here exalts and purifies, and sheds over the heart the serenity and quiet joy of nature itself ? No changes chill that love ; no disappointment, no delusion, no awakening to forgetfulness or to sorrow; and ever it leads upward from the perfect to the source of perfection, from the beautiful to the element of beauty, from the excellent to the pure idea of all that we call good and lovely ; from the waters to the fountain of knowledge, which is Truth, increated, without error, without imperfection, which is a sort of error; dis. tinct from the universe, for this has no independent existence, distinct from every highest and holiest created spirit ; even the supreme and incomprehensible Intelligence, which alone is perfection, because alone uniting all the powers of all the properties of perfection. Yet the wing is weak though daring, and a shadow from earthly things may darken the light of the soul's contemplation,
The rich light of a stained gothic window spread a mosaic enamelling over the pavements of a silent oratory, as with quick and noiseless tread, Annette approached and knelt before the altar, and the colouring faded in darkness, and her light figure seemed a very shadow in the gloom, before she rose to depart. There had been a weight of unwonted gloom on her pure heart, and a mingling of undofined fears in the earnestness of her prayer, which scarcely could the habitual trust of her meek and holy spirit subdue. The day had passed slowly and sadly, for the chase, which was Kriesler's occasional and necessary occupation, had detained him from the castle, and the sort of outlawry proclaimed against him, conjured up a thousand evil phantoms, which only his presence could dissipate. Yet now glad voices reached her ear, and words of welcome, and she hastened to meet him.
- You were gone long to-day,” said Annette, as she removed the dust from his hunting garb.
“Yes, yon beast ran well, and led us a wild race, far beyond the narrow bounds the churls have set to our domains; and when at bay, he was so ready at all points, so brave and desperate, by my sword! I was almost grieved to kill him, though he did give me a scratch with his brown antler,” and he shook off a few drops of blood from his wrist, where the horn had grazed.
“Ay, and an ill wound it is, sometimes," said Pierre, approaching with a sort of prescriptive right of interest, in an old tried servant. “I remember the son of the Baron de
Courci, in my respected old master's time, came to his death by the thrust of an antler, and there was the young Count Neuilly who, in chase one day,"
“ In the name of patience, Pierre, let us hare no more bis. tories ; you are an evil comforter, by my soul! Good mother Alice give us supper as soon as may be, for this day's work has given me an appetite.'
Supper was prepared, but not before Annette had bound up the wounded arm, according to her best knowledge, and Alice's prescriptions, for not a small part of the accomplishments of a lady of that day, was skill in surgery; and while her fair hands did works of mercy, her heart was as gentle and feeling as when custom or false sensibility removed her from scenes requiring them.
Annette's gaze had been anxious, and her cheeks a little flushed while Pierre was speaking ; but she soon laughed away fears that she trembled to think of, and the supper hour passed cheerfully as was wont. Kriesler described the day's chase ; how the stag was started from his covert, and followed, by rock and ravine, through many a perilous way; how he plunged in the thicket and rëappeared far in the vale below, and sprang along the mountain side, where from the base appeared hardly footing for the mountain-goat; everwhere followed by the practised hunter: and how when he turned for the last desperate effort, the wary dogs were held at bay, till at last the victory was decided, and the animal dragged homeward through bush and brake; and all the details were listened to, with warm interest, by the secluded family. And thus the evening passed gaily and swiftly.
The hour of retiring came, and Kriesler sought his apartment, but not for rest. Visions, driven away by the excitement of the chase, by the bright sunshine and green fields, returned ; or rather, they were phantoms that ever dwelt among the mys. tic associations of his study. And if, in the day-time's toil and venture, his heart seemed ready to own that such daring was its stirring life; that to breathe the fresh, pure air, and look on the glowing skies, and fair, broad earth, were enough of heaven's blessing ; yet when be returned to his solitude, the very recollection of that congeniality with the beautiful universe, taught him how blessed are they whose sympathies find kindred spirits, how his heart would leap forth in the glorious sun-light of kindred love, as the ocean when the morning sun hursts over its bosom. The ught of the world from which they were shut out, and of Annette, his gentle sister, wliose voice was ever sweet music, and whose brow was ever placid Annette, who had no anxiety for that future in which her brother vainly sought to see and brighten the picture of her fate. Were he alone, he might go abroad, and with his own arm retrieve his fortunes, and find honour in life and death! but not for worlds would he leave her, that prisoned bird, whose heart was twined with his in infancy, and year by year clung more closely and fondly in the holy strength of a sister's love. Yet would that coming years might divide their weal and wo; would that he could suffer alone; and in the deep passion of his soul, he believed it might be, for he felt a blight stealing over his own existence, and he would not think that it was all in vain.
The lamp was expiring, and the grey morning began to color the east, before Kriesler threw himself on his couch. The fatigues of the previous day, the strong mental excitement produced by the succeeding thoughts, affected his nervous temperament to the last degree of excessive action, preventing all drowsiness, until, completely exhausted, he sunk into a heavy but troubled slumber. He was wandering with Annette along shady walks, and gathering flowers, as in early childhood : and the trees, and sunshine, all wore that strange and passing enchantment, that they wear to the young gazer, which is one of the soul's and nature's mysteries ; and thought of in after years, the heart can only describe it to itself, as the passing of a veil which covered them ; some rosy and charmed medium, through which they were seen once, but seen no more.
For in those holy and blessed years, there is a fountain deep in the soul's wilderness of flowers, and manna is strewn around its sweet waters ; and while the heart is pure and happy, it drinks and eats food of angels ; but when it passes on,
and the world's rough contact has brushed the down from its dove-like wings, and storms of sorrow have shadowed the earth beneath its gaze; then is the fountain dried, and the manna ceases, and its portion ever after is with the unmingled realities of life. It may go forth, and find glory and power : yet, looking back to that garden to which it may never return, its own testimony will most surely be, that all would be gladly given, to iive again as in those unhonoured, blessed years. He dreamed of those early days, and their beautiful enchantment, when suddenly the sky was darkened, and the waters seemed far off and gloomy; he saw that the first was delusion, and childhood's slumber, that years break gradually, was broken in an instant. He started, and the dream was changed, though the dreamer did not awake.
He was weary, and resting on that self-same couch ; and his mother, that one remembered and sainted image, entered and sat near him. He watched and expected Annette, but she did not come. Then his mother talked long and earnestly, but he was drowsy, and the tones sounded like distant waters; and presently he heard another voice. It was soft and low ; it was not singing, yet more musical than speaking, and a sort of cadence seemed to linger, on the air, like the tones of music, when its material nature has passed away. He distinguished these words, “ She is dead !-she is dead !” and they were breathed out more softly and sweetly than human voice ever spoke. Then he was chasing the red deer along paths that he followed yesterday; and often the creature turned and gazed at him with its dark, sad eyes, when the dogs sprang toward it and drove it onward ; and it would turn again and again, and look so piteously, that the hunter's heart trembled, and his arm was powerless; then hounds and game were out of sight; yet he saw in a thicket the same large full melancholy eyes, and he heard a voice of strange sweet music—and with a shudder he awoke!
A light tap at the door broke a long and troubled train of thought, if such might be called the incoherent images that chased each other through his infancy. It seemed like a painful dream, of which he was conscious, yet without the power of breaking it. Starting up, be opened the door ; and Annette, with a sweet smile, bade him come to dinner, for he had slept so soundly, that it was in vain he had been summoned to breakfast.
“ Oh yes, certainly !” cried he; “ you should have called me before; I must hunt to-day.”
“To-day?” said Annette, “why, you went yesterday ; besides
Oh, not yesterday ; to-day I go; what has mother Alice for dinner, since I have shot nothing for so long ?”.
Annette approached him anxiously, and enquired if he had slept well.
“Well? oh yes !--slept, did you say? Annette"--and bis voice fell to a low whisper—" some one told me that you were dead! It is false !--thank God, it is false !”-and he grasped her hand. That touch thrilled to her heart, for it was cold as the touch of the dead; yet her face was flushed, and his eyes burned with a strange and unwonted lustre.
The wind sighed mournfully among the old turrets of the case