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on the part of the household. And now meval forests of thought, I knew not that all was prepared for the experiment. It the crown of her glorious beauty and of only remained to persuade Mira to be my my delicious, because never satiated, pascompanion. For I confess that without sion, lay in the very qualities which I reher, even the potence of the marvellous gretted, and which I insanely hoped to gas must have failed in its action on my conquer by my infernal and pitiless innerves. Her love had become a habit, a ventions. part of my being, I could not live or die To my surprise, I had no difficulty in without her.
persuading Mira to enter the enchanted And here let me for the first time say a atmosphere. A first trial of its virtues few words about Mira.
was of course decisive. We gave ourShe was an entirely exceptional woman. selves up to the intense joy a life, to When I married her, some three years be which pain, care, and sorrow, regret for fore the date of my final experiment, she the past or apprehension for the future, was only sixteen years of age. Her were necessarily strange. The outer world beauty (I can find no newer or more in became nothing to us. Love, exalted to a telligible image) was of the order which degree of power which to the breathers of the finest painters strive to impart to their common air is inconceivable, appreciation embodiments of angels, and beings supe of beauty and delights which are alike rior to man. Its supreme loveliness was inexplicable and incomprehensible, made not in its delicate regularity of feature, up the sum of our existence. I pass over, dazzling whiteness and purity of skin, therefore, the seven times seven days of and majestic symmetry of form. All these our ethereal life, a period which in ideas seemed merely indispensable conditions of and sensations was equivalent to the ordisuch an individuality. What made her nary lapse of ages, and hasten onward to irresistibly pleasing to the perceptions of the extraordinary catastrophe which left an imaginative and thoughtful man, was me what I am-a monster, more rare and a certain calm, unalterable dignity and wonderful than the sphinxes and chimenoble gentleness, that placed her above ras of old, my fabulous prototypes. even the possibility of any of the mean Nor let the reader foolishly imagine that,* nesses and pettinesses of the sex. She because memory or science give me the had the strong mind of a man, with all power of describing passion, and thereby the purity and softness of an exquisitely exciting his sympathies, that I personally delicate female organization. In temper do or can feel any echoing vibration of the ament, she was my opposite, although in wild chords which I cause to resound. tellectually, there existed between us a Unearthly is the music-unearthly the perfect sympathy. She was
musician. and serenely contented, as I was feverishly Opening from the grand saloon of the dissatisfied and eager for excitement. chateau, was a superb conservatory of Yet she understood and entered into all more than ordinary dimensions, commandmy wild speculations, as into an interest ing a view of one of the most splendid ing drama, of which she was the sympa landscapes in the world. In the forethizing spectator. She was my only con ground, yet not sufficiently near to interfidant, my only friend, my only real com cept the view, rose from the side of the panion. With all my restless cravings hill, on which stood the chateau, the minfor greater intensity of enjoyment, her gled foliage of an old and primitive forest, love was my world, my treasure, and my while beyond was visible the shining hope-the more so that I might almost be stream of the Rhone, lying, like the crooked said to mistrust its possession.
sabre of some gigantic Paladin, upon the That Mira loved me, was indeed indu greensward; and far, far beyond rose the bitable, yet there was a calmness, a purity, bluish shadowy outlines of mountains beand passive even tenor in her love, that hind which the sun would set in golden could not be called coldness, and which glory, that made each snow-crowned peak yet in a manner disappointed the fiery a throne worthy of Sathanas—“the Emadoration with which I loved her. I would peror of the furnace.” not have lost one of her kisses for all the Round this conservatory were arranged embraces of all the beauties of the earth; a collection of strange exotic and tropical and yet, to my fierce and impassioned na plants, so as to leave the centre unoccuture, there seemed more snow upon her pied, save by a few couches, chairs and bosom, than a poet's simile implies, more tables, on which lay volumes of poetry than perchance would ever melt beneath and philosophy, and portfolios of exquisite my lip's ecstatic pressure.
engravings and drawings. This was our In the delusion of my wild tempest-tost favorite sitting-room. It was only necessoul, which, after all, was but that of a sary to open the glass doors between it mad poet's, astray in the deserts and pri and the saloon, to fill it with the same
enchanted air; and I may mention as a curious example of the effects of this atmosphere on vegetation, that the grapes which were quite green and hard on its first introduction, ripened perfectly in a few days, and were the largest and most luscious fruit I had ever tasted or seen. It was one of Mira's greatest enjoyments to call me to watch the camelias budding and flowering actually before our eyes ! Were I in the humor I could write a hundred pages on the wonders of vegetation with which my residence in this gas-world made me acquainted. But I refrain without difficulty. To me no science is worth a thought.
In the centre of this hall of crystal stood a white marble statue of Minerva, the only statue in which that goddess has ever been represented entirely without drapery. The figure was Mira's. I myself modelled it during the first year of our marriage, and it was carved by one of the most eminent French sculptors, who afterwards died mad from a hopeless passion for the original. The fountain sprang from and formed the foliage of a glass tree stem, against which she leant, whilst the point of her spear drooped earthward from her arm, as if languid with the warfare against folly. Her head alone was covered with a helmet, which imparted a singular charm to the divine beauty of Mira's countenance.
At length, one day, towards evening, after seven weeks of solitude and happiness, which no Paradise could more than realize, a fatal accident destroyed at once our enjoyment, our experiment in science, and our lives. Yes—I learned it afterwards—we were killed by the merest accident. My chemist who managed the gasgenerating apparatus, forgot to examine the metre at the proper time. The gas continued to enter in unprecedented volumes, and its effects were speedily perceptible.
We were seated in our favorite place in the conservatory, our eyes turned towards the setting sun, listening to the swelling and harmonious cadences of Weber, produced by a self-playing instrument of the rarest workmanship, which I had purchased at Paris for an enormous sum, of its inventor, when a more than usual ecstasy seemed to possess us. entwined round one another's forms, seemed to contract almost convulsively, our eyes, our lips met with delirious love, and -I remember no more. When I recovered possession, not of my senses, but of my consciousness, I was still seated upon the sofa, on which the angel of death had surprised us, whilst on the marble pavement. at full length, her face turned upwards with an expression of supernatural
felicity, lay Mira-Mira, my wife, friend, and goddess—the fairest and noblest of women. She was dead.
Mira was dead. That was evident. But what was I ? I rose, and regarded curiously the culpable chemist, who, having discovered his oversight, had hurried too late to our rescue. He had thrown wide open the windows of the conservatory. I inhaled the common air of the sky. But, though I breathed and moved, however incredible may appear the statement of a fact, hitherto unknown to science, I was to all intents and purposes as much a dead person as Mira herself.
That is to say, I was dead to all sensation, emotion, passion, or by whatever other phrase may be described the action of the external world upon the sensitive being. It is true, I could hear, see, feel, taste, and smell, but such sensations had no longer any influence upon me either in causing dissatisfaction or satisfaction. My sensations were mere facts to my consciousness and no more. Mira was dead, that was a fact. She lay there, pale and beautiful, before me-a fact. I myself had lost the half of my life-a fact. The chemist, who was the author of these hideous calamities, as men would say, stood trembling before me—another fact. In a word, I was a living corpse. One class of nerves, the nerves of sympathetic sensation, appeared either paralyzed or exhausted of their circulating fluid. Love and anger were no longer my attributes. I had reached, truly, and at one stride, the centre of indifference told of by some philosophers. But it was a centre of indifference which they talk of without understanding. I did not understand it, I was in it.
The chemist stood pallid and trembling before me. He was a cold, unimpassioned, little impressionable man. But in the presence of my dead eye and marble rigidity of feature, he trembled involuntarily. No doubt he mistook my absence of emotion for some tremendous effect of internal passion. He evidently dreaded an explosion of a terrible nature. But I merely said,
“She is dead-you are no longer wanted-go."
For one moment, he looked at me with a most extraordinary expression, then, overwhelmed by the icy look with which I covered him, he departed in silence.
I remembered that his salary from the beginning was unpaid. Nor had he ever the courage to ask for it. Of course I could have no motive in sending it to him. The happiness of others was to me no longer a possible subject of interest.
A man takes no interest in others, who can take
none in himself. The chemist, driven to I spent years in trying the most extraordespair by poverty, committed suicide in dinary experiments in natural science ever the course of the same year.
imagined. Perfectly indifferent to the At the end of a week, the body of Mira success or non-success of my experiments, was buried. In the mean time, from phy I yet worked on. If I might be said to sical habit, as it appeared, I one day took have any thing left resembling a desire, it up a book-a volume of poetry. It was was a passionless inclination towards abno longer poetry to me, but a collection stract truth, which seemed to be a sort of of signs representing certain phenomena mechanico-spiritual law of my being. But A book of arithmetic was to me of pre to compare this mere gravitation towards cisely equal interest.
an abstract centre to the ardent enthuI had eaten and drunk nothing since siasm of ordinary men of science, would the great catastrophe, though I had been be absurd. And here, I recognize the imurged to do so by people to whose en possibility of conveying to a living man treaties and pity I was alike indifferent. the impressions of a corpse. Therefore But, remarking that my body was wast I abandon further attempt at illustration. ing away, I ate a measured quantity, Perhaps one fact may explain more which I contiuued to do regularly after than much analysis. After some years, wards, though without any appetite or luring which time I made numerous scienjoyment.
entific discoveries of the most remarkable I had reason and power of command character, I lighted upon the secret. I oer my body as much as ever. But had it in my power at any moment to re1.0se operations which formerly were the turn to life, to rise again from the dead, result of impulse, I had now to perform and once more to share the passions and as pure acts of will.
The only reason cares of men. But I had no motive to why I did not quietly await death, was a change my condition. I remained a clear intellectual consciousness of the fact corpse. The discovery was to me—a fact. that I was in an abnormal state, and that Why should I again inhale the gas of it was also possible that I should return happiness and destruction, why revive to to the natural conditions of humanity. an existence that would be a type of the
Without being a desire, the discovery fabled hells of legendary lore? Mira is of the means of effecting this change be dead. I am a living corpse; and I am the came my only object; and in order to at only being bearing the shape of man who tain what, in reality, I cared nothing could ever honestly declare himself to be about (the contradiction is only apparent), perfectly contented with his lot.
A SWISS JOURNAL.
"_Take thy flight: possess, inherit;
beer. He represented Bacchus quite as well as the figures of the early German
painters represent saints, angels and beau"FREIBOURG!" said my heavy-eyed
tiful women. neighbor, as the cars slackened But the waving vines were gradually speed in the dusk of an August day. lost in the darkness, the Black Forest
From Strasbourg we had been constant grew blacker and blacker, and when my ly darting toward the Black Forest, drowsy fat friend snorted and gurgled, through a country of garden cultivation. rather than said, “Freibourg," it was The wide plain of the Rhine was festally impossible to see more than a lofty spire hung with vines, that had waved wel reaching up into the evening air-solemn come all the golden afternoon, as if Bac and stately like all Gothic spires. chus had been in the train proceeding, A completed cathedral is a rare sight, express, to his Italian estates. My heavy and we slept before seeing it. In the eyed friend was not entirely unlike the morning we walked through the clean jolly god, minus Greece and poetry, and streets of quiet Freibourg, which are plus Germany, sauer-kraut and Bavarian drained by a stream of such clear water
as slips through a mountain gorge, and We followed the pious pilgrims of the which dashes through these streets as early morning, and entered the Cathedral. swiftly, and stood in the square alone A reverent group knelt at a side altar, with the one-spired cathedral, a few early and a priest-fasting, as the church refruit women, and a few early worshippers quires-said morning mass. Handsome who passed in to pray.
Nothing but boys, the acolytes, passed rapidly to and the most general outline of the building from the door of the Sacristy, or knelt in suggested the resemblance, yet the no white robes, holding candles and ringing ble church built 800 years ago, with its the silver bell. Yielding to the same single spire 513 feet high, recalled a New feeling which in the New England meetEngland meeting-house. Of course the ing-house makes the worshipper rise in likeness was much like that of my friend prayer, I knelt upon the stone floor of the in the cars to Bacchus, and yet when fan Cathedral, as the sweet voice of the bell cy was once on the scent, away it went, announced the moment of transubstantiaand in the square around the church with tion, and a fragrant cloud of incense sofits quaint German houses, its fruit stands, tened the fervor of the sun. Annad, of and old men and women, saw the bare course, pulled his whiskers and looked at common about the village meeting-house, the pictures, waiting for the end of the where fairs and the general training take mummery, that he might inspect the place.
church. Franz sedately bent his head, “ Clearly showing,” said Annad, to his principles forbade him to bend his whom I communicated this absurd whim, knee. "the essential unity of the human race, and Near me knelt a young girl, not bent the subtle relation between the mediaval over, with her face concealed, but with Gothic genius and Yankee shrewdness. her hands lying upon her knees, and her When we reach Greece I have no doubt face turned upward toward the altar like you will find the Parthenon reminding the Magdalen of Canova. She was, peryou of a log cabin on the prairies." haps, nineteen years old, but the lines up
“Or in Italy pure Falernian of hard on her face, the sharply-cut features, and cider," chimed in Franz.
the wan sadness of the eye, showed clearA completed Gothic cathedral! The ly enough that her knowledge of life had only one in Germany, and the only really not been gathered from description, but great Eu opeán church that I remember had been wearily worn into her heart. fully completed according to the original Her light hair was loosely pushed under design except the Madeleine in Paris, and a cap, and a few locks straggled down her St. Paul's in London. Neither St. Peter's hollow cheeks. The blue of her eyes was (which is not Gothic), nor the Milan Ca lustreless; it had no longer that soft, thedral, nor the Florence Duomo, nor St. swimming richness which is so alluring Stephen's at Vienna, nor Notre Dame in in the blue eyes of youth, health and Paris, nor the Cathedral of Strasbourg, happiness, and her whole aspect and ponor that of Cologne is finished yet, nor sition indicated a heart-breaking despair ever will be. Although the king of Prus that fell like a cloud upon the beauty of sia,--a great lover of Art and a great the day. The girl shed no tears. It hater of Liberty-announces every little seemed as if she wondered whether she while a magnificent project for the com should be touched by the service, whether pletion of the Cathedral of Cologne. in the church, in the sunshine, in the
The “Dome” of Freibourg is a large cool, sweet morning, there was any succor church of florid Gothic. The base of the or consolation for her. But as the low spire is massive and plain, with only one sound of the bell fell like trickling music or two statues. But it becomes gradually upon her car and heart,—was it the bell, richer as it rises, refining more and more, or the face of the boy who rang it, or the until finally it wreathes away into the blue sun that reached through the rainbow air in aerial stone-work. The tower and window and laid his warm hand upon her spire are pyramidal from the base to the head, or the sudden thought of youth bepoint. The building is of a rusty gray co fore grief, or the comfortable conviction lor, and stands sad and lonely in the midst that there was a love warmer than the of the little town of unsympathizing build sunshine, and a forgiveness more efficaings, for there are only 10,000 people in cious than that of men,--the girl passionFreibourg. The sentiment of Gothic ar ately clasped her hands, and bent forchitecture is always aspiration, but in no ward in an agony of tears, and the few example is it more impressive than at Frei fair locks that straggled down her hollow bourg, where the Cathedral, all its parts cheeks, seemed in the sunlight a halo consenting, soars into the sky,-a grand around the head of a repentant Magdaold mystic rapt in sublime devotion, rais len. ing his soul in prayer.
The Cathedral of eight centuries was
forgotten in that moment, nor until the Leviathan statue half blocked out. In girl arose, long after the congregation had the Cologne Cathedral the traveller can dispersed, and passed out of the church, see what a melancholy sight that is. did I remember myself sufficiently to When a gallant ship strikes upon the look around and begin to “do” the Ca rocks and is lost it is sad; yet it is sadness thedral, as became a young gentleman with consolation in it, because the ship travelling for the improvement of his was sailing upon the sea, as ships are mind," as my letters of introduction sta meant to do. But when the vessel lies ted my case.
stranded unfinished upon the stocks, and The interior of the Freibourg Cathedral a huge skeleton that was never graced is richer than that of Strasbourg. Upon with flesh bleaches in the sun of long the columns, toward the nave, is a range centuries, the spectacle is monstrous and of statues standing in niches, an arrange unnatural. So there are few more touchment that deepens the sense of beauty ing things to see than the flowers and and elaboration, and does not destroy long grass that bloom and wave in the that of grandeur. In fact, wherever crevices of the unfinished towers and butthe general grand outline is preserved, the tresses of Cologne Cathedral. In the ordetails of ornament rather increase than der of things they do not belong there. diminish the vastness of the impression, Time, weary of men's delay, hangs the as in the case of the painted scenes upon
bewitched and abortive edifice that never the columns and walls of Egyptian tem knew nor shall know the dignity of maples. Past these statued columns the eye ture completion, with the memorial garglides into the pointed solemnity of the lands that belong to decay. choir. Loftily arched windows break The priests and princes gave out, but with colored light the grave uniformity the people of the neighborhood, after of the wall, and at the end of each side grieving over the goodly promise of so aisle a massive rose-window of stained fair a work, and unwilling that it should glass preserves upon the air of the come to naught, met together and resolved church, dusky with incense, the symbol that the Cathedral should be completed; of the original compact with Heaven. and, as the account emphasizes it, comThe dignity of the spot gives meaning to pleted without princely or priestly gold, the service.-even when it is a snuffy old even if the people should be obliged to Gregory XVIth mumbling mass in St. tear the tiles from their roofs to do it. Peter's, or a hard formalist reading the The result proved the sincerity of that service in Westminster Abbey, or a ca
Houses and lands, even when hedaverous preacher in that same New reditary, were pledged, and when a man England meeting-house, consuming the had no house nor acre, to raise money sweet summer air that blows in at the upon, he gave his days and his strength open windows, in insisting to his audience, to the actual work of building. who gravely nod in the pews and ex-offi This contrasts pleasantly with the cio believe it—that they are blacker than funds for building St. Peter's, raised by any known blackness. Cathedral, abbey selling indulgences, or for building St. and meeting-house have a grave and reli Paul's, by an extra duty on coals. The gious influence that no Pope nor preacher Freibourg Cathedral is a monument of can destroy. An influence founded in human heroism and self-denial, and genuthe association with the building, not on ine religious fervor. All the best beauty ly of its intention, but of those who have of human character is worked into that been truly ambassadors of peace within massive, and rare and delicate structure. its walls.
After twenty-four years of such work as The Suabians have the start of Madame this, the building was so far advanced De Staël in her remark (which I beg that St. Bernard was called to Freibourg pardon for quoting here), that architec to consecrate the Cathedral, and here ture is frozen music. For they said long upon this spot, when only the nave was ago, and the saying is now. a tradition, completed, stood the great ally of Peter “ An architect wished to sing a psalm to the Hermit, and preached the first sermon the praise of God, and Freibourg Cathe and his first call to the Crusade, on the dral came of it.” When it was com 13th of July, 1146. And on the same menced, the people, the nobles and the day three hundred knights and gentleclergy all united, in zeal and copious con men sewed on to their armor the red tributions of money, to secure its speedy cross of the Crusade. Yet not until completion. But, after a time, the prin- 1513, nearly three hundred years afterces and priests grew cold toward a pro ward, was the church finished as we now ject that promised them so little, and re see it. Its spire is its marvel. The founlinquished their aid, so that the great Ca dation is sunk 40 feet under ground. thedral remained for years unfinished, a The lower story of it above ground is