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One day, while the Congregation was singing with fervent devotion the fine himu, beginning, "The Lord is a tower of strength," the Church door was abruptly thrown open, and a dusty courier, in the Electoral uniform, rushed into the middle aisle. Immediately the organ ceased the singers were mute, and every head was turned in anxious anticipation of some momentous intelligence. The stranger advanced rapidly to the altar, ascended the steps, waved his hat thrice above his head, and exclaimed in tones of loud and thrilling energy"Rejoice, my dear fellow Christians, rejoice! The brave Lutherans have conquered-the battle of Leipsic is fought and won-7,000 Imperialists lie dead on the field-Tilley has fled-and the great Gustavus Adolphus and his army have returned thanks to God Almighty on their knees."
At this joyful and unexpected intelligence every knee was bent, and every lip moved in thanksgiving; the pealing organ put forth all its volume, and the assembled villagers concluded the hymn with streaming eyes and grateful hearts.
About three weeks after this happy day, I was sitting alone in my humble apartment, and contemplating with a grateful heart the improved condition and prospects of the great Protestant cause, when a stranger entered the room unannounced, and seated himself opposite to me in silence. His tall person was enveloped in a military cloakhis countenance was bronzed with exposure to sun and storm, and his eyes and forehead were overshadowed by a dragoon helmet. I gazed for some time upon this mysterious intruder; but my earnest perusal of his features, although it roused some remote reminiscences, led to no satisfactory conclusion, until an arch smile, which curved his wellformed lips, revealed my old friend and fellow-student, Seifert. Joyous exclamations of Dear Charles! and Dear Albert! were followed by a cordial embrace, and many eager inquiries concerning our respective pilgrimages since our separation a few years before at the University of L. My surprise at this unexpected meeting was no little increased when my friend threw aside his cloak. At the University, he was distinguished by the classic elegance of his tall and slender person, by his temperance, diffidence and taciturnity in mixed society, and by his unceasing devotion to study. I now gazed upon a róbust and military figure, whose light yellow jacket and polished steel cutlass, announced the Swedish officer of dragoons. His former diffidence of tone and manner had vanished for ever, and was replaced by a loud voice, an air of military frankness, and an imposing selfpossession, which, however, became him well, and developed advantageously his powerful and well cultivated understanding. I congratulated him upon his improved appearance, and upon the rank he had attained in the service of the noble Gustavus.
"I need not explain to you," he replied with the air of a man who is not ignorant of his own merits, "by what process I have become a captain of dragoons. When the great drama of European politics grows serious, and the thrones of princes totter beneath them, the sons of nobles, and the minions of kings and ministers, yield to the force of events, and give place to men of talent and energy. At the present time there are few field officers in active service throughout Germany who have not carried muskets in early life. This rule holds good even in the Imperial and other Catholic States, which are pre-eminently aristocratic. Tilley and Wallenstein, although of noble birth, are sprung from indigence; as are also Bucquoy and Dampier. Johann Von Wert was a peasant; General Beck, a shepherd;
Stahlhautsch, a footman; and Field Marshal Aldringer, a valet-dechambre."
He now arose, threw open the window, and whistled. The signal was soon explained by the entrance of a tall blue-eyed and fair-haired Swede, who covered my deal table with a napkin of white damask, placed upon it a bottle of wine with two green glasses, and disappeared. Seifert filled two bumpers of costly Hochheimer, and exclaimed with glowing enthusiasm-" Long live Gustavus Adolphus!"
"Since I have known this great and admirable man, Albert," he continued, "I have ceased to indulge my fancy by building models of super-human excellence. My day dreams are dissolved, and my understanding and affections are occupied by a splendid reality. What has not the heroic Gustavus conceived and accomplished! A better man, in every sense of the word, walks not the earth; nor has any soldier, of ancient or modern times, made so many discoveries and improvements in military science. The Swedish regiments formerly comprised 3000 men, and were helpless and unwieldly as elephants.By reducing their numbers to 1200, he has enabled them to perform the most complex manœuvres with facility, and to move with the bounding energy of Arabian coursers. Four surgeons of approv ed skill are attached to each regiment. Before the introduction of this humane and politic improvement, the wounded were left groaning on the field of battle, a prey to the vulture and the wolf. In the Austrian army there is no provision of this nature; and Tilley himself, when marked with a Protestant sabre, was obliged to send to Halle for a surgeon. The brigading of the troops, the firing en polotons, the dragoon service,-the short cannon, which carries farther than long one, the new pike, and the cartridge-box, are but a portion of the invention which we owe to Gustavus Adolphus. Every field officer in the Swedish service is a worthy pupil of our heroic master, who fights alike in summer and in winter, and who proved himself the best engineer of his time, by his skill in the conduct of sieges, batteries and entrenchments. When he drew his sword in the Protestant cause, and advanced like a hurricane into Germany, the military fops of Vienna called him the Snow-King, and predicted that he and his troops would melt in the summer heats. They little knew the formidable enemy they had to encounter. But the more sagacious Tilley shook his head when he heard this favorite jest of the Vienna circles, and was heard to say, that the Snow-Ball would probably roll up into an avalanche. He had sufficient knowledge of human nature to foresee a possibility, that the fresh and ardent religious zeal of the Swedish and German Protestants would eventually triumph over the worn-out fanaticism of the Catholic soldiery. To return to Gustavus, I could utter volumes in praise of his eloquence, and of the talent displayed in his letters, treaties, and manifestos. His character, in short, exhibits a splendid combination of intrepidity and self-possession; of temperance and industry; of affability, clemency, and candour. To crown all, he is a good husband and father, a sound and fervent christian; and may I fall into the talons old Tilley, or of the devil, who is the best of the two, if I would not shed my blood for him as cheerfully as I now pour out a bumper of old Rhine-whine to his health."
I listened with growing amazement to my enthusiastic friend, whose language and deportment had experienced a change as striking as the alteration in his person. I could not discern in the martial figure that stood before me, a vestige of the modest, taciturn and temperate youth
I had formerly known. The fire of his eyes, and the stern compression of his lips, indicated a resolute and decided character; his language flowed like a torrent; and he had so entirely subdued his dislike to the bottle, that, in the ardour of his eulogium, he swallowed successive bumpers, without observing that I had limited myself to a single glass.
After he had entered into some farther details of his military career, he rose to depart, and thus addressed me:-" My object in calling upon you, Albert, was not merely to embrace an old friend, but to make his fortune. You are irrecoverably spoiled for a soldier; but a King, who pillows his head upon the works of the immortal Grotius can appreciate learning as well as valor. He loves the book of Grotius on War and Peace, as much as Alexander the Great prized the Iliad of Homer; and has often declared that he would make this highly-gifted man his Prime Minister, if he would accept the appointment. He has also a fine taste, or, I should say, an impassioned feeling for poetry. After the surrender of Ething, but before the definitive treaty was signed, the King walked into the town unobserved,,and purchased the Latin poems of Buchanan. You, Albert, are a scholar and a poet, but, more than all, you are descended from the family of Luther. I have often bantered you for attaching importance to this accident of birth, but I now foresee that it will greatly promote your advancement in life. Gustavus is a zealous Lutheran.
ates the great Reformer as a second Saviour; and he will certainly bestow upon you an honorable appointment, when he learns, that in addition to more solid merits, you are a scion, although but collaterally, of the stock of Luther-And, now, my Albert, vale et me ama! -The moon, will be down in an hour, and I must to quarters. We are encamped three leagues hence, near the small town of R-. The King and his Staff occupy the adjacent castle. Visit me the day after to-morrow and I will introduce you to his Majesty."
With these words he embraced me, and summoned his dragoon.Two noble chargers were brought to my cottage door, and the active riders, vaulting into the saddles, bounded rapidly across the church-yard path into the high road. The night was still and beautiful; the moon-beams shone brightly upon their nodding plumes and steel cuirasses; and, as I gazed upon their retreating figures, and listened to the loud ring of their sabres and accoutrements, I fancied them two knights of the olden time, sallying forth in quest of nocturnal adventure.
On the morning of the day appointed for my introduction to royalty, I felt a natural impulse to adorn the outward man, and surveyed, with some trepidation, the contents of my scanty wardrobe. Alas! the best coat in my possession displayed a surface more brown than black; and, while endeavoring to improve it with a brush, I discovered more nebulous spots and milky ways than ever met the gaze of astronomer through bis telescope. At the risk of giving dire offence to the royal nostrils, I obliterated many of these celestial systems with turpentine, converted an old hat into a new one by the aid of warm beer, took my walking-stick and bundle, and commenced my journey to the Swedish camp.
About a quarter of a league from the town I encountered groups of soldiers, seated at the entrances of tents and cottages. They were men of comely aspect, well-clothed, and of peaceable deportment.To an officer of some rank, who inquired my object in approaching the camp, I mentioned the invitation of Seifert. He treated me with the
respect due to my sacred office, and in terms of courtesy and kindness told me, that my friend was quartered near the castle gate. Anticipating a kind and hospitable reception from Seifert, I was no little surprised by his altered look and manner. He was sitting with folded armis, and clouded aspect; and did not immediately reply to my cordial address, nor even acknowledge my presence by look or gesture. At length he coldly replied,
Good morning, Albert!-Excuse my reception of you, but I tho't cur appointment had been for to-morrow."
Suddenly the stern expression of his features relaxed into kindness and cordiality; he started from his seat, seized my hand affectionately, and exclaimed, with visible emotion,
"It is well, however, that you have arrived to-day, for possibly you had not found me in existence to-morrow."
"Good God!" I ejaculated, "what calamity has befallen you, Seifert? Have you by any fault or misfortune lost the royal favor?"
"On the contrary," he replied, with a smile of singular meaning; "the King has just granted me a signal and unprecedented favor."
He then closed the door of his apartment, and continued in a lower tone: Every human being, Albert, has his weak side, and even a great King is but a man. The failing of our heroic Gustavus is that of inordinate devotion. He is the high priest as well as the general of his army, and no superannuated devotee can surpass him in praying, weeping, and psalm-singing. I give him full credit for zeal and sincerity, for it is impossible that Gustavus Adolphus can stoop to hypocrisy; but, amongst various unmilitary regulations which have sprung from this religious enthusiasm, he has forbidden duels under penalty of death."
Here I would have interrupted him.
"Excuse me, Albert," he continued, "I know all you would say on the subject; I know that, as a clergyman, you must vindicate this absurdity of Gustavus; but kings and curates are privileged men. The latter are not very tenacious of the point d'honneur; and when a king is insulted, he wages combat on a large scale, and arrays nation against nation to avenge his private quarrels. For instance, what was the battle of Liepsic but a duel between Gustavus Adolphus and Ferdinand III., or rather Maximilian of Bavaria? I must, however, do him the justice to acknowledge he has at length relaxed the severity of this regulation, and has permitted me to measure swords with Capt. Barstrom; but on condition that the duel shall take place in the baronial hall of the castle, and in presence of the king and his staff-officers. The gallery will Le open to the public, and I will procure you a good seat and an intelligent companion, that you may have the pleasure of seeing me avail myself of his Majesty's gracious permission to humble the pride and insolence of my opponent. You are a classical man, Albert, and may readily suppose that you are beholding a mortal combat of gladiators, for the encounter will only termiuate with the death of one or both. In return for this gratification," he added with a careless smile, "you must pledge yourself to read the service of the dead over my remains, should I fall, and to compose for me a Latin epitaph in flowing hexameters. And now, my beloved Albert, farewell. I must go and apparel, for it would be a breach of etiquette to perform tragedy before spectators of such exalted rank in any but full dress."
Strange being "I here impatiently exclaimed, "you speak of a deadly combat as you would of a pageant! Cease this unhallowed
levity, and tell me in plain language what is the nature of this insult, which can only be atoned for by the sacrifice of human life?"
"Last night at supper," he replied, " Barstrom called me a German coxcomb, and I returned the compliment by calling him a Swedish bear. A defiance to mortal combat immediately ensued; the king's consent was obtained, and this day will prove whether the bear shall give the coxcomb a mortal sqeeze, or be compelled to dance to the coxcomb's fiddle."
With these words he left the apartment, and shortly returned with a Saxon subaltern of mature age and intelligent physiognomy. He told him to accompany me to the gallery of the castle-hall and to procure for me a commodious seat. Thunderstruck at this intelligence, I left the quarters of Seifert, and approached the castle-gate in silent consternation. My companion gave me a look full of humorous meaning, and remarked, while he offered me a pinch of snuff,
"All this is, doubtless, above your comprehension, reverend sir! It is almost above mine, although I have lived above half a century, and made some use of my opportunities. Perhaps, however, you, who have studied at the University, can explain to me why no man likes to be called by his proper name. I have known Captain Seifert for a twelvemonth-I have seen him in battle-and, God knows! he wields his sabre as well as he does his tongue, which is no small praise, because he surpasses most men in wit and knowledge; but I maintain, nevertheless, that he is somewhat of a coxcomb. Captain Barstrom is also a man of distinguished bravery, and he had once the good fortune to save the king's life, but in manner he is a wild beast; and why he should take offence at the very characteristic appellation of a 'Swedish bear,' puzzles me exceedingly.”
I followed my conductor into the gallery, which was crowded with citizens, who readily, however, made way for me and my escort, and we gained a position commanding a good view of the arena below.-The royal guards, a fine body of men, in light blue coats and steel cuirasses, lined both sides of the spacious hall, and their polished battle-axes flashed brightly from the tops of their long black lances.
"I suppose," ," said I to my companion, "that these fine body guards are the king's favorite regiment?"
"Gustavus is a father to all his soldiers," answered the subaltern; "and incredible as it may appear to you, he knows personally almost every Swede in his army, has conversed with most of them, and addressed them even by name. The entire Swedish force is as well equipped as the men before you. On this point the munificent Gustavus differs widely from Corporal Skeleston as he always calls Tilley. The old Bavarian maintains that a polished musket and a ragged soldier set off each other. The Swedish monarch studies the health and comfort of his soldiers collectively, and indulges no preference for the guards. Indeed he has been often heard to say that he trusted not in body-guards, but in the providence of God."
During this discussion, the castle-hall had become gradually crowded with officers in Swedish and Saxon uniforms. Suddenly the loud clash of spurs and voices ceased, and was succeeded by a deep and respectful silence. The lofty folding-doors were thrown open, and with beating heart and aching eye-balls I awaited a first view of the mighty Gustavus. A tall man entered the hall, spare in body but stout and muscular in limb. His forehead was lofty and commanding, his eyebrows were prominent and bushy, and his nose had the curve of a hawk's. Good feeling and intelligence were finely blended in his