Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

wretched man, who, only partly dressed, was themselves, knew where he was ; and he must standing speechless before them, when his old be getting on well, or else he would have father, who had heard this conversation, written to them. rushed out of bed, and interposed between Iwo years thus elapsed, without the disthem. He, too, was unable at first to speak consolate father, who had long before received through terror, when he perceived in the a young curate to assist him, hearing the moonlight the soldiers, and among them least news about his son, and therefore supGündling, who burst into a loud laugh ou posed that he had died through the cold on seeing the father's ngony. This insult re-that frightful evening, or at the halberts. stored the old man to consciousness, and cry At length, when the second year had just ing, “ You villanous Judas!" he rushed with ended, he received a message from the neighclenched fists at the baron. Carl, however, boring town to say that his son was in good interposed; but as the old man could not be health, and intended to visit him that samo calmed, and the confusion and cries had evening in company with the lady of the Dean become general, for the mother and sisters of P—: When their joy at this unexpected had joined them, the young man repeatedly news, which appeared to the old man almost begged to be allowed to speak; and when he fabulous, was moderated, and thousand gained permission, he addressed the following questions asked of the messenger, no one question to his father :

could certainly furnish any explanation as to " Do you believe that our Heavenly Father his strange companion ; but this was their is aware of my fate, or not?”

least anxiety. "The dean's lady," the old At this all were silent; but when the ques- mother gave it as her opinion, “ will soon be tion was repeated, the old man replied : tired of us." And long before evening the

“Why do you ask such a question? How whole family set out to welcome their Joseph should He, who knows everything, not be as the old man called him. They had just aware of your fate?"

arrived at the cross-road we have already vis "Well, then,” the son calmly replied, " if ited, when a carriage drove up, out of the you believe that, you must not forget that window of which a charming little white hand * all things work together for good to those was stretched, and a silvery voice uttered the who love God.' I love Him, and willingly words, “Yes, yes, dear Carl, here it was yield to my fate ; and will only dress myself, that you saved me from the wolf.” At the und then be ready to follow the captain." moment he looked out he recognized his pa

“No!” the latter replied, “ you must come rents. A cry of joy burst from him, which directly. Allons — march!”

was echoed by the whole family. The coachAll ran after the unfortunate man, crying man was bidden to stop, the lady and gentleto bin, and striving to retain him, but in man sprang out, and it was some time before Fuin. Father, mother, and sisters were driven the old father could say, “Now, then, tell us back by the butt-ends of the muskets. all, you wicked boy ; you caused us inach

“He will not be frozen," the captain cried, grief by not writing a single word.”. * before getting out of the village, and then “I could, I dare not," Carl replied. “The he 'll put on his accoutrements."

captain made me pledge my honor that I We will not attempt to give any descrip- would not send you any news of my place of tion of the condition of the sorrowing family, abode. If I kept my word, he promised to as a soldier's life in that day was not merely give me my liberty at the end of three years." tho most disgraceful, but also the most " And the worthy captain set you free at wretched on earth ; and many a father, had the expiration of two,” his father remarked. the choice been left him, would sooner have “Not he!" Carl replied. “Death alone soen his son in his coffin than in the colored could have saved me from his clutches. I owe coat.

my liberty to our glorious king.” The unhappy father waited in vain for a “Tell us — tell us how," all cried ; “ let. letter from his son from one week — from one the carriage drive home. month to another. The captain had taken “Yes," the patron cried, who had come to all necessary precautions to cut off every op- share in the general joy," send the carriage portunity for communication. No one knew away. I must know all about it. We will what had become of him, and although it was take our seats on this bank." so very difficult, on this very account,

to claim All – among them the dean's lady, to him, still both pastor and patron attempted whom no one had yet paid any attention it, though, as may be easily imagined, in seated themselves on the grassy couch, and vain. After repeated petitions to his royal kept their eyes fixed on the young man, who majesty, they at length received a very harsh wiped away his tears, and then commenced reply from the minister of war himself; that thús :they made a most insane request in asking thom to look for a recruit in the ranks of the How badly I fared, and how grieved I was whole Prussian army, when no one, not even at not being able to send any nows to my dear

parents and sisters, I need not tell you. My duty you must go through that door, and preonly trust was in God; for, had I not had sent yourself to her majesty the queen." Him to support me, I should have acted like I need not say with what anxiety I waited a hundred others — either deserted, or put an for the hour. end to my life. But my faith, which daily At length I was relieved, and, trembling, I found nourishment in the beautiful text with entered the queen's apartments. She asked which I quitted you on that night of terror, my history very graciously, and when I had “We know that all things work together for finished it, she added : good to them that love God," supported me " I can do nothing for you, my son, but I in all my necessities.

will beg the general to see that you are on Thus it happened that, just fourteen days duty here to-morrow morning between eleren ago, I stood as sentinel in the grand corridor and twelve, the hour at which the king pays of the royal palace at Berlin. I was think- me a visit. Then sing, with your clear voice ing, as usual, of home, and as I felt very low- that pleased me so much, any verse you like of spirited, and, besides, fancied the neighbor- bis majesty's favorite hymn —• Who puts his ing apartments unoccupied, I commenced trust in God alone.' I will then see what more singing that sweet song of Freylinghausen, I can do for you. “lly heart should feel contented;" when I With these words her majesty dismissed me, was singing the third verse, a door opened to and without the door I met this lady, who my great embarrassment, and I saw this lady's whispered to me," Courage, courage ; I trust head.

all will be well."

As I expected, I was placed on duty before "Ah! the dean's lady," the old pastor the queen's apartments the next morning at said, as he bowed to her. “Now I am be- eleven o'clock. As soon as I heard voices ginning to see more clearly into matters." within [ commenced singing a verse of the And he straightway poured forth a multitude hymn that had been commanded. Howerer, of apologies for not having noticed her before, I expected in vain to be summoned again. through his immoderate joy at his son's re- The hour passed, and I fancied that no attenturn.

tion had been paid to me; and I despaired, * But, father," the son inquired, “ do you for I did not dare sing another verse. not recognize the lady?"

“And yet," the young lady here inter The old man, however, and his wife, had rupted the narrator, “ all proper attention had long forgotten the features. One of Carl's been paid to your hymn, and I may be permitsisters at length said :

ted to give an account of it, as Carl has al" That must be the young lady, if I am ready become my dear husband.” not mistaken, whom you saved from the wolf?"

Another cry of astonishment was here * Certainly,” Carl replied ; " and at this raised : “What! what! your husband ?" all very spot where we are now sitting so happily exclaimed. “I fancied you were a dean's together."

wife,' the old pastor reinarked. “I never But as all began crying, " Proceed, pro- heard of such a thing," the patron murmured, ceed with your story,” he continued it in the for he knew the lady was of very old family, following fashion :

and both he and the pastor seeined scarce to

know whether they were awake or dreaming. As soon as I saw the head I was in great “You must then hear my story," the young fear, and ceased singing. The lady, however, lady remarked, with a smile : came very kindly towards me, measured me from head to foot, and at length said :

The voice delighted both their majesties "I could scarce believe my ears when I greatly, and as soon as I perceived this I began heard that voice, but my eyes cannot deceive saying everything I could in favor of the me. Surely you are the son of the clergy- young man without, till the king laughed and man of H -, who saved me from the said: wolf two years ago ?

Why, she must be in love with the fel"I am that unhappy man," I said to her ; low." and then proceeded to tell her what a fright I felt that I blushed at this remark, but ful revenge Gündling had taken. Her eyes still answered boldly : filled with tears, and she seemed to me like “Yes, your majesty, for he saved me, two an angel sent from on high to comfort me. years ago, from a frightful wolf.”

" You saved me from a wolf,” she exclaimed, “ Diable !" the king added. “You are of "and I will now do as much for you ;" and a very old family, and might get a lieutenant, then hurried back into the room. I stood as far as I know." there with a beating heart, till a page ap Here the queen interposed, and begged his proached me with the words :

majesty, who was in very good-humor that “ Sentinel, as soon as you are released from day, not to torment me further. I had opened

see,

my whole heart to her, and was determined my soul to God, when the king, before whom on having this grenadier, or no one else, for the chest had been deposited, cried out to me, iny husband.

"I must beg your majesty to Now, look in, and see how that suits you.' remember," the queen continued,“ how care As soon as I raised the lid, I saw, not a fully this good girl attended to our child in its sword or any instrument of torture, but a last illness."

black clerical dress, and the bands laid on the Well!" the king remarked, “ we 'll see. top of it. This change in my feelings almost The captain praises the fellow ; but still she took my senses away, but the king's voice cannot by any possibility marry a simple cu- again aroused me. “Now, dress yourself imrate. Well, as I said, we 'll see. I 'll exam- ruediately, and listen to what I say. Bring ine the fellow myself ; but apropos suppose he four druins here, and lay a dozen side-aring will not have you ?

across them, so that he cannot tuinble through. I did not know what answer to make to this The grenadier shall preach us a sermon, for I inquiry, save by letting my eyes sink on the must first examine him, and see if he has ground; but the queen came to my assistance, learned anything. If he sits firm in the sadby saying, “ Your majesty will be best fitted dle, as the saying is, he can keep the black to arrange that matter."

stuff, and all it contains; but if he 's a stupid “Well, that 's very true," the king replied. ass, I 'll make hiin put the coatee on again. ** We'll then ;

the fellow will not be such Now, then, up on the drums; you need not a fool as to refuse." And with these words give it us long, but it must be good.” his majesty left the room, apparently in deep Assuredly (the young man continued) I thought.

should have talked nothing but nonsense, ** That is the end of my story," the young through the agitated nature of my feelings, lady said, "and my husband must proceed and the fact that such a terrible alternative with his now.”

was offered me; but to my great good fortune, Carl, therefore, continued :

during the whole duration of my wretched

servitude, I had daily thought of my favorite I naturally believed that I had been quite text, and determined I would preach on it unnoticed, especially as nothing of the slight- the very first Sunday after my release. In est importance occurred during the remainder fact, froin continually thinking on the subject, of the day that might nourish my hopes. I had the whole discourse long before ready

The next morning, however, at parade, the in iny mind. I, therefore, boldly mounted king cried out, after he had finished all other the drums, and began immediately with the affairs,

words — St. Paul says, in Rom. viii, 28, “Where is the fellow who stood as sentry . And we know that all things work together yesterday morning between eleven and twelve for good to them that love God ;'" after which at the

queen’s door ? — let him step out the I gave a detailed account of my own misforranks.

tunes, which had worked together for good With a beating heart I obeyed this order, by the confirmation of my faith, and then made on which his majesty, without moving a feat- an universal and particular application of it. ure, first measured me from head to foot, and I had noticed that the king, who stood close then said, Two under-officers here — take before me, and never once took his eyes off the fellow's coat off!” I could fancy nothing me, could not keep the tears from pouring else than that I was going to be tied up to down his cheeks ; and I had scarce uttered the halberts for my unseasonable singing, and the word " Amen," when he said to me, therefore began tremulously," I implore your ". Now, come down from your pulpit; you can majesty, with all submission but the keep the black coat, and all it contains. You king interrupted me : “ Don't argue – take bad better inspect the pockets, and see what his waistcoat off!" The under-officers did you have got in them.” what they were commanded, and the king in During my discourse, I had noticed that the same tone, and without moving a feature, one of them seemed heavier than the other. said -"Now his gaiters !”

I therefore put my hand into that one first, I now fancied I was going to be impaled at and who could picture my astonishinent, when the least, and entreated, in my fear, " I beg I drew out a gold tabatière filled with ducats. your majesty, on my knees, to be merciful to I was silently regarding it, when the king a poor fellow ;” but the same answer was said, " That is a present from my

but given me--" Don't argue.”

now look, and see whether there is anything As I stood there in iny shirt sleeves, the in the other pocket;" and, not yet able to king ordered -“Now, bring that black chest utter a word through surprise, I drew out my hither to the front."

appointment as dean, signed by the king's I was now certain of death when I saw this own hand. chest brought up, in which I fancied an executioner's sword, at the very least, was con “How is that possible ? such a thing was tained. I clasped my hands, and commended never heard of!" the old pastor exclaimed, as

wise ;

asked me,

he raised his hands to heaven. “ My son al “Regimental chaplain, come hither and dean? A candidate and private in the Grena- marry them. Afterwards we'll have our dindiers a dean? Yes! now I understand why ner; but I inust get them off my hands to you sent to tell us you would visit us in com- day.” pany with the dean's lady. But not to ask The chaplain, with a deep bow, remarked, your poor old father to the wedding — as if “ It is impossible, your majesty ; the young you were ashamed of him — that is unpardon- couple have not been asked in church.” able.'

“Nonsense!” the king objected; “ I asked “Did I know anything about my marriage ?" them myself long ago. Come, and marry the son continued ; " but listen further." them as quickly as you can, for I am hungry.

Next Sunday you can ask them in church as I naturally tried, after all these fabulous many times as you like.” events, to murmur out my thanks, but was Although the chapluin urged various reainterrupted by the king, who said, “ Now sons, all was of no avail. The marriage took come up to the palace ; you can eat your soup place that very hour, and my parents can now with us, and the regimental chaplain must see why it was impossible for me to inrite accompany you.

them. Giddy with the thought of all that had happened, I followed with the chaplain, who was I really must be dreaming," the old pashardly less astonished than I was, the king tor now said ; why, it's stranger than any and his suite to the palace ; and as soon as we story in the Arabian Nights.' A grenadier had entered the audience-room, where all the made a dean ! But what did the members of court was assembled together with her majesty the consistory say to it? I cannot imagand this young lady, the king advanced, and ine.'

They kept me so long," the young man " Whom does he think he has to thank for replied, or I should have come to share my all this?”

joy with you eight days ago. I had scarcely I answered, with a low bow,

announced myself, and handed in my diploma “ Besides God, my most gracious king and with a request to be ordained, when the his most illustrious consort.

gentlemen, as may be easily conceived, deTo which his majesty remarked,

clared the whole affair impossible, and “ There he's right; but look yo here, this sought to demonstrate this to his majesty in young and charming woman did the most for a long petition. The king returned it with him. Has he nothing to say to her? She is these words, written with his own hand, on not proud, and I know not married. What the margin: does he think of it? he's now & dean, and has his pocket full of ducats. Will he try «« I have examined him myself. If he his luck, and fancy he is all alone with does not understand Latin he can afford to her?"

keep some one who does. I do not underHalf mad with joy and hope, I raised my stand Latin myself. eyes, and looked at the poor girl, who was

• FREDERICK WILLIAM.' blushing and trembling before me, and who could not raise her eyes froin the ground. As they did not dare to trouble the king

All were silent, though at intervals a slight again in the matter, they proceeded to ordain sound of laughter could he heard in the room. me, after an examination, to which I volun. In spite of all my good fortune, I was even tarily submitted.” more embarrassed than I had been an hour before when forced to mount the drums ; but The young man thus ended his story, and I collected myself, and in a few moments our kind readers can easily imagine the rest. said,

We need only remark that our hero made an “ His majesty the king, to whom I owe all excellent dean, and for many years held the my good fortune, has inspired me with cour. living of Page to ask you before this great assembly, In conclusion, we are bound to state that whether you will accompany me in my wan- the above anecdote is historically true, and derings on the troubled path of life, like the that we have merely repeated the family traangel Raphael formerly guided the youthful dition. Still we thought it better to refrain Tobias?"

from giving the real names, as the descendShe immediately gave me her hand, silent ants of our illustrious grenadier might not and trembling, which I pressed with ardor to desire the story to be publicly known in conmy lips, and her majesty had scarcely bidden nection with themselves. God to bless us, when the king added,

From the Ladie's Companion. This child, grown to maturity, was named MADAME SCARRON, HER FRIENDS AND " The man of rude probity.” T'hus he wrote RELATIVES.

to Henri Quatre : ** Sire, your memory will

reproach you with twelve years of my services, FROM THE FRENCH.

and twelve wounds upon my person ; it will The age of Louis the Fourteenth forms one put you in mind of your prison, and of the of the most striking periods in French history. band that drew the bolts ; and which has still Voltaire would have said this to-day as he did remained pure in serving you, empty of your a hundred years ago; for a great age is not benefits, exempt from corruption, either from composed solely of splendid actions or heroic one side or the other.” Such were then the conquests. It is one which gives birth to servants of royalty. At the hour of death, great generals and distinguished philosophers, when solicited to take nourishment, D'Aubignó and to celebrated poets and artists. We say, said to his wife · Ma mie, suffer me to depart The age of Pericles, of Augustus, of Leo the in peace, and go where I shall eat celestial Tenth, and of Louis Quatorze. We never bread.” say, The age of Napoleon, because in Napo In all this seventeenth century we respiro leon's time there was scarcely one man worthy something reviving to the heart and feelings, of a niche in the temple of history besides the We were in a forest of hoary and vigorous hero himself. Around Louis Quatorze we oaks, crooking their gnarled stems beneath an behold a radiant galaxy of distinguished men : azure sky Now the Gaulic forest is much Turenne and Condé, Malebranche and Pascal, decayed, being represented by a few stunted Corneille and Molière, Poussin and Lesueur, trees, thinly sown, standing amid a confused Perrault, Fontaine, and Sully.

growth of underwood, with a dark and temThere are likewise some feminine stars in pestuous heavens above them. In the seventhis shining cluster, who have transmitted the teenth century, the sap rose more vigorously, remembrance of their charms and graces for Where should we now find in our French the admiration of remote generations. Such statesmen a probity equal to that of Agrippa are the Farnarina, Madame de la Vallière, D'Aubigné, " rude” though it were ! But if and the Marquise do Pompadour. Madame virtue assumed a grand aspect in this pictude Maintenon does not rank with these. Her resque age, vice was no less open and audabox-wood rosaries have repelled many ad- cious. Witness the life of Constant D’Aumirers. One does not exactly know in whose bigné, son to the “man of probity." This company to place her. Was she a heroine of man, the father of Madame de Maintenon, romance, or a saintly personage? a monarch's was a thorough-paced rascal. Molière and favorite, or the Queen of France and Na- Rembrandt alone could have painted his charFurre?

acteristic villany. Thus his father speaks of She had a few partisans ; we attempt not to him : “My son Constant in nothing resemcount her enemies. Since beholding her por- bles his father, though I have educated him trait, engraved by Mercuri after Petitot, we with as much care as though he had been arow ourselves a partisan. This picture rep- born a prince. Inclined from the first to play resents a proud and majestic woman, of a and drunkenness, he ended by giving himself beauty at the same time robust and delicate ; to all manner of dissipation; after which with the head of the Psyche of Praxiteles, he married a wretched woman, whom he has and the neck and shoulders of St. Theresa. since killed. Seeking to withdraw bim from The voluptuousness that reigns in the figure court, where he was fast hastening to perdiis corrected by the pride that prevails in the tion, Í procured him a regiment. "But nothcountenance. The heart and passions are ing could restrain him, and he soon returned, evidently held in subjection to the intellect. and speedily lost at play. twenty times his Such was the woman beloved of a prince who estate.” He pledged his honor -- which scarcely believed himself mortal.

proved a phantom. His religion alone reLet us go back to this talented woman's mained to him; this he did not hesitate to origin. It is said of her grandfather, Agrippa sell likewise. Utterly ruined in purse and d'Aubigné, that " at six years of age he could reputation, he returned to his father, who, read in four languages; and at seven and a still cherishing some hope of his amendment, half translated Plato." At ten, his father, gave him the command of Maillezais, belierthe old Huguenot soldier, in passing Amboise, ing that, though a reprobate, he was still a where the heads of the conspirators were yet stanch Protestant. Constant, however, had suspended to the battlements, said to the boy, already secretly abjured his faith and Maille“These butchers have decapitated France !'' zais soon became, under his command, “a Then, laying his hand upon the child's brow, public gaming-place, crowded with people of ho added, " My son, spare not thine own life evil reputation and coiners of false money.' to avenge- these honorable chiefs. If thou At length Agrippa disinherited and cursed spare thyself, thou hast my curse." Such him. The wretch now entered into treasonawas the vigorous school of the era.

ble communication with the English govern

« PoprzedniaDalej »