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across the plain like a huge spider, her legs every night in the corridor. Your pale cheek
In the hall, he met his mother's maid, from foreign to his years and temperament, did his best whom he learned that the countess was resting in to divert his mind. At last, he hit upon the ex her own apartment, where she wished to remain pedient of taking him to a bear-hunt in the mounundisturbed until the count should return. “But tains, which, being a strange sight to the inhabiwhy do you look so pale, Leon ?" she asked. tants of the plains—and Leon had never quitted
“Oh! Seraphinka,” he exclaimed, bursting them from his birth-was proportionably elating. into tears, “ Jakubska has thrown an evil-eye on As the count had no property near the Carpa
thian mountains, this plan included a visit to a “ You don't mean to say so ?" said the maid, friend—an additional treat to his son, since the devoutly crossing herself. Lord-lord ! Are house was filled, not only with the numerous chilwe then to see you fade away like that poor child dren of their host, but those of the neighboring in the village yonder? I knew a lady once, who gentry, who were invited to establish an early achad lost five children, without any one ever know- quaintance with the heir of Stanoiki.
Leon was ing what ailed them, until it was discovered that now as happy as the heroes of the fairy tales he an old, wandering beggar was in the habit of re- loved so well--admired and caressed by all-ever ceiving charity at the castle, and had cast an evil- some fresh amusement whiling away days untroueye on them. It is fearful to think of, but true. bled by teaching of any kind, and the renconter Well, my lady ought to know best, but-" with the beggar woman retired somewhat into the
At that moment the countess' bell called Sera- background of his thoughts. phinka to her mistress' apartment, whither Leon Weeks passed thus ; the count exchanging the was soon summoned. He found his mother look- hospitable roof of one friend for that of another ; ing very pale and weary, sitting in her arm-chair. when, perceiving his boy to be restored to his ac
“My dear boy," she began, “ I just saw you customed health and spirits, he decided on returntalking with Jakubska ; what can she have want- ing home to look after his dear invalid. The ed with you? Tell me all that passed, without affection of childhood, so much less reflective than restriction.”
that of riper years, did not prompt Leon to desire Leon, unaccustomed to any check formidable his return. Here, in the distant hills, he thought enough to engender the habit of falsehood, gave himself safe from the intrusion of her he dreaded; his mother, according to his own views, a correct but down there in the plains he felt sure to meet account of the great misfortune that had befallen again the frightful old Jakubska, and the thought him. The countess listened with deep attention. was fraught with terror. When his little narrative came to an end, she They found the countess sensibly altered for gently drew him towards her.
She now seldom quitted her apart" Thank Heaven, my dear boy, that woman ment. Ordinarily so gentle, and even indolent in did not curse you ! And never again treat any her temper and habits, she was now fretful and one, especially herself, in a way to deserve it. irritable. Even the presence of her son was irkAs to the evil-eye,” she added, “I am not pre- some to her ; and though, when absent, she ever pared to decide how far it may be founded on seemed to miss something, yet she could not entruth ; but I am assured that Jakubska has no dure his society for any length of time. Perhaps other evil in her eye, or in her heart, than the the unavoidable and fast-approaching separation impatience of a bitter spirit. But don't anger made such interviews painful—at least, the count her, Leon; her anger were dreadful. And, above thought so ; for he entertained no illusion as to all, don't tell your father anything about the loss her state of health, and was only anxious to soften of your buttons, or, in short, about your meeting the last bitter trial as much as lay in his power, with her; and, remember, whenever you are tor- devoting now his time exclusively to his beloved mented with a notion of the evil-eye, that the Vanda. So Leon was altogether left to his own worst evils are not in the eyes or hearts of others, resources. His mind having recovered its tone, but in your own. Don't take for confidant and with the volatileness of youth, he turned to his adviser that poor Seraphinka, who sees ghosts own amusements, without any thought of the fu
ture. The boatmen, the grooms, the pony, the * The belief in the evil eye is common to all the Sclavonian tribes, especially in Galicia and Buhemia. dogs, and the chance peasants he encountered, had
no sinecure, and the latter put up their daily pray- been a source of happiness to individuals, or has ers to Heaven for the arrival of the expected tutor. insured the peace of the country? It swarms
One evening, the countess, feeling a little bet- with a set of needy adventurers, too proud of ter, permitted Leon to remain with her. The their acquirements to return to the simple mode general had that morning received a letter from a of life of their fathers, yet often not sufficiently friend in Paris, respecting the difficulty of finding accomplished to strike out any other line for thema proper person who would consent to undertake selves. They overcrowd the cities, embarrass every the charge of training a youth so far from the path of liberal employment, and, because they are French capital.
themselves discontented and ill at ease in a state “ This gives me great pain," said the count, of society which affords not sufficient scope to their “ for it is a shame to see Leon growing up so vanity and ambition, they make others discontentwild."
ed and unhappy, and become dangerous subjects. The countess was not inclined to enter on the What the German students are to the German subject. She seemed absorbed in thought. At governments, ours would soon prove to us, if your last, rousing herself, she said "I know, my suggestions were generally carried out.
It is a dear Ladislas, you would do much to oblige me strange thing, but a fact proved by the state of —nay, I think, at this moment, you would not our own class, that the mind seldom ripens to have the heart to refuse any request of mine ; but peace and content, but rather to dissatisfaction before I give utterance to the wish that preoccu- and doubt.” pies me, promise to grant my request."
“ I am not able to reason with
Ladislas“If it be one that my means can encompass, my motives are rather of the heart than of the Vanda, it is granted before it is asked.”' head—but I still think, even if it be a wise poli
“ Even if you had a prejudice to conquer ?" cy, it is an unchristian deed to debar the poor
“I would lay more than that at your feet," he from the right of cultivating their understandsaid, smiling.
ing." “I do not speak of the cost,” said she, “be- My dear Vanda, you might as well question cause you have often spent infinitely more to sat- our right of taking a knife from a child's hand.” isfy my most idle caprice."
“But still there are natural rights,” persisted "I own that you are so mysterious on the sub- the countess. ject, that I begin to feel curious. Tell me at “Pshaw!-cant phrase of the day!” exclaimed once—what is this mighty project ?"
the count, impatiently. “ Natural rights, indeed! “ Will you erect, in my honor, a school in Does nature herself respect them? Do we not your village ?"
see youth languish and pine away with the decay The count started, and an angry frown gathered of old age ? Ask the blind, the deaf and dumb, on his brow.
“I said I meant anything in rea- the infirm of every kind, who are debarred from son,” exclaimed he, pettishly ; “ but this is an the joys of youth, why nature robbed them of her impossibility.”
sweetest gists and poisoned for them the dawn of “ The poor villagers desire it,” the countess life ; ask the bursting heart of the deformed, said, with earnestness.
whose spring has no flowers, whose youth has no “I dare say they do," was the reply. “Don't love, who sees the cold, averted eye seek with they wish a French tutor, and a dancing-master, rapture a fairer form ; ask that anguished heart too ? Surely they do not limit their pretensions if there be torture a tyrant can inflict equal to that to so trifling a thing as a school ?”
caused by this injustice of nature! When genius, “ Do you think their desire extravagant ?-1 when strength, when beauty will lie within our do not,” replied the countess.
own command, then talk of nature's freedom, “ Bah! you speak like a child, Vanda. I do nature's rights, and not till then." not mean merely with reference to our own inter- Vanda replied not, but a few silent tears stole ests—though these point pretty clearly to the pro- down her pale cheek. priety of keeping our vassals in their present state “ I am wrong to argue with you in your presof subjection, which would not long exist if means ent delicate state ; but really-really, Vanda, in of education were afforded them—but do you think conscience, I cannot grant your request.” it were a blessing to escape from it? They 'd go “I do not think it wise to let men remain wild starve, beg, and steal on their boasted liberty ! beasts,” said Vanda. You see few or no beggars on our estates; for are “ But do you think, dearest, that painters and we not obliged to provide those with a roof, a poets would till the ground ?—that a Petrarch's hearth, and fuel, who want it? Have they not Laura would milk the cows ?"! fields to cultivate, on whose produce they can not “Oh, I don't mean that ; there is a medium in only feed their families, but, with a little industry, all things,” replied Vanda. lay up a store for the future? It is true they are “ That 's a mistake," said the general. “Evbound to the soil ; but I do not perceive that the ery single concession is stepping-stone to the wanderings of the present generation have much next. There is a trite Gerinan saying which is, improved it. Look at the state of Germany. nevertheless, very true— He who gives A, must You know little of it—less of its inhabitants ; give Z along with it.' We must always be prebut think you the system of its free colleges has pared for the consequences of each movement.
Besides, my dear Vanda, if I wished to deviate “Must he, too, leave you at this moment ?" from my principles, in this respect, to oblige you, Yes, yes, let him leave the room this instant I could not ; for we have, at a late meeting of -moments are precious." nobles and proprietors, agreed upon an unanimous The count took Leon by the hand, and gently resistance to all encroachments on the part of our forced him from the room. peasantry ; and you cannot but feel how impossi- “ And now, dearest, that the child is gone, ble it would be to break a plighted word. You say, what have you on your mind ?!! see the thing is not to be done. You must dis- “ Oh, a fearful load !" said the countess ; “it card it from your mind. Anything else—any- has weighed and glowed here," pressing her hand thing unconnected with my duties as a gentleman tightly on her bosom, “ until I thought I could and a father, I shall be most happy to do for you. bear it no longer-indeed, it is that, partly, which Now, pray, Vanda, try to coax your mind to some has worn me so fast.” one of those thousand feminine caprices which men “ Your mind wanders, my poor Vanda. Of are so charmed to gratify."
what can you—of what can one so pure-ever Vanda shook her head, and sighed as she said, have been guilty ?" “ Is there never to be progress ?”
" A great sin towards you, and a more helpless “ And has there been no progress ?" said the being. But I feel my strength wearing fast—I general impatiently. “ Was I not present when must be brief. Leon is not our child !" my own father took off the head of a gypsy lad The soothing expression of tender pity for an with the sword that hung by his side ? I can re- instant gave way to one of unutterable anguish on member the day when each lord made his own the general's countenance ; but the latter faded laws. Now, our private justice were murder, away as his first surmises came back to his mind. and you call that no progress! What would you He had started from his seat by the bedside, and have more ?"
dropped the hand he held-he now resumed his " I would have Seraphinka and my bed-light," place, and calmly said, said the countess, closing the discussion.
“Go on, my dear Vanda.” The count was now desirous of removing to “Oh, I see you are incredulous,” she said, Lemberg, where the best medical advice might be " and that I am going to make you very unhappy; procured for his suffering wife, but the countess but my conscience does not permit me to withhold would not hear of this plan. She dreaded the the truth any longer. You see, Ladislas, I was fatigue of the journey, and was soon soothed by sorely tempted. You remember, when our own the notion of lingering in her loved home to the blessed Leon was but a few months old, imperalast. The count, above all anxious not to distress tive duties called you to Lemberg. You left our her, yielded the point at once, the more readily, child weak and puny; at your return, months perhaps, that his ample fortune enabled him to later, you found him strong and hearty—but it command the frequent visits of the first medical was not our boy you then gazed upon, it was a practitioners in that city. The countess found her changeling !" chief solace in the unremitting attentions of her The count was mute with contending emotions, husband, and in the consolations of her ghostly among which doubt and surprise were predominant. monitors ; one of whom, a stern Jesuitical-looking “When I saw our darling fade away,” conclergyman of the church of Rome, seldom, of late, tinued the countess, “ day by day, hour by hour, quitted the castle. With him the countess re- and thought of your sorrow, for which there was mained closeted for hours ; but the general ob- no hope, and no comfort—when I thought that served with sorrow how much worse she seemed your affection to me might alter--that you would, after each of those conferences.
perhaps, travel far away in search of some relief Prepared as they both were for their approach to your affliction-or that I should be condemned ing separation, the awful moment came when they to watch during long years your undying grief, least expected it. The countess had of late shown I had not the heart to meet my fate. I would symptoms of renewed strength. The leaves were spare myself, but you yet more. The nurserapidly falling, and the count was positive, and the poor old soul, if she were not dead I should have countess began to hope that she would pass through left her the care to reveal this secret, and not have the ensuing winter. The physicians, as usual, con- undertaken so painful a task at such a time ; let firmed those expectations. But one autumnal morn- it be my punishment—the nurse had a cousin, a ing, as the general paid her his accustomed visit, serf on our estate, who had a child of precisely he perceived at a single glance a rapid alteration the same age as ours. The woman was in the in her features, and instantly knew, what she felt deepest destitution ; her husband was dead; she in her inmost heart, that the dreaded blow was had no means of supporting her children. What about to fall. The countess having gone through shall I say more? That poor child we have cherher religious duties, dismissed her confessor, beg- ished under the name of our lost Leon. Rememging that her husband and herself might be left ber,” she said, as she saw the general cover his alone together. She thought her desire had been face with his hands, and his breast heave with supcomplied with, when she suddenly perceived Leon, pressed passion, “ remember that culpable as was who, half-concealed by its draperies, was sobbing this fraud, you have owed it eleven years of felicat the foot of her bed.
“ If you speak the truth—if you are not dream-| the evil-eye were about to fall upon him, begining,” said the general, in choking accents, “why ning with his mother's death ; but little did he rub me of my only comfort-my only consolation ?" anticipate the depth of the abyss down which he
“ Because it would have been doubly a sin to was about to be precipitated. deceive you and the world, and allow your honor One morning he was 'woke early by an unusual and wealth to pass to one who had no right to animation in the court helow. He sprang out of either when face again left you free to have a bed, and, on looking from his window, perceived lawful heir. I know the wound, how severe so that the servants had drawn out his father's ever it may be, will heal again. But I had travelling carriage, and were busily preparing it learned to love the child so well, I should not, for the road. Surprise and joy kept the boy for perhaps, have had the fortitude to act as duty dic- a moment mute; then turning to Seraphinka, who tated, had not the woman tormented me as she had just entered his room, he exclaimedhas done since the death of my poor nurse. But, “I am so glad we are going to leave the chatfor the last two years, not content with the pen- eau ! We are going back to the hills ; or, persion I made her, which was ample, and the kind-haps to Lemberg. You have been so good to me ness I extended to all her children, she has these last days, and so consoled me in my grief, harassed me beyond the 'powers of endurance. that I will buy you something fine, Seraphinka." Latterly, her insistence and her insolence have Alas! I am afraid you are not going with almost driven me mad; and, unjust as it may be, your papa, for he has given me no orders about I felt that I loved the poor child less when so con- packing up things for you, and yet I cannot think stantly reminded of his odious mother. You see, he would leave a poor child of your age in this Ladislas, I leave not one weakness concealed from dull, dreary chateau, and not even a tutor to keep you ; pity and forgive."
you company. But, then, my lord is scarcely “ The woman's name ?"
himself yet ; however, he has had the steward " Jakubska, my pensioner in the village yonder. with him making arrangements, as if for a long My confessor, with herself and me, are the only absence. I began to fear, seeing that the poor persons in possession of this secret. But oh! late countess brought my lord no dower, as we Ladislas—for justice, for humanity's sake—it is all know, he might have forgotten her servantsmy last prayer-be kind to the poor boy.” but all those who have had anything to do with
Madam," said the general, starting up, and my lady are allowed to retain their apartments in giving way to an explosion of uncontrollable this house, and are to enjoy a pension, proportionanger, “ if I can find it in my heart to forgive ate to their wages during her life. As for me. I you, it is as much as mortal has a right to retain every single advantage, even to the coffee demand ! Betrayed !-deceived !-fooled, as I and sugar. May the Virgin bless my lord, and have been, for years !--persuaded to foster, with lighten his sorrow! for sure there never was a a parent's care, the brat of a vassal! I hardly more affectionate husband or a better lord. I know what restrains me from washing away all own," added Seraphinka, musingly, “the pentrace of this disgrace in the changeling's blood !”sion I expected, but the coffee and sugar was a
A scream burst from Vanda's lips, and she fell surprise.” back, to all appearance lifeless, on her pillow. Leon, wrapped in the ecstatic notion of departThe general was shocked. Though writhing ure, and being restored to his father's presence with the excess of his own passion, still he ac- and love, heard not a single word of what Seracused himself of having hastened, by his cruelty, phinka was saying. At that moment, the count's the fatal moment. He rung the bell till the valet-de-chambre entered the room. rope gave way. Priests, attendants, nurses, all “Seraphinka," he said, prepare Count Leon hastened into the room together, who soon discov- for the journey; he is to be simply and warmly ered that the countess had but swooned. When dressed, and ready within the shortest possible she came to herself, the general endeavored, by the time. You had better make all the haste you can," tenderest expressions, to soothe the wound he had said he, turning to Leon—"my lord has already inflicted. The countess was so weak she could locked the chambers of the late countess, that no scarcely answer ; but, with the last effort of ex- one may disturb them—all his orders are givenpiring nature, raising her head from her husband's the horses are putting to, and he will be in the bosom, she cried out, “For God's sake, my let- carriage in an instant.” ter ! my letter !”
The eager Leon made such haste, that it was She spoke no more.
lucky an ample cloak hid the inaccuracies of his For some days after the fearful event no one toilet. was admitted to the general's presence-not even “ Your watch-your watch-vou have forthe priest who had shrived the countess. The gotten your watch and chain,” said Seraphinka, bare mention of Leon's name had excited him to running after him, as he turned from his small such fury that Seraphinka strongly dissuaded the apartment, without a word of leave-taking with his former from his original intention of braving his faithful ally. father's anger, as he had often done before with “No-not now,'' he hastily answered ; "you ’l} the successful audacity of a spoiled child. He send it after me, or keep it till I return. Adieu, now thought the misfortunes he had dreaded from Seraphinka."
According to the custom of her country, the the travellers was diverted from his inward broodfaithful abigail raised his hand to her lips, in token ing by external objects. They had hurried along of the submissive devotion which girls of that class at extraordinary speed for above an hour in this entertain towards their superiors. Leon, hastily enforced silence, when they came to a bleak, bartearing away his hand, scampered away to join his ren common, more desolate than anything they father. Never had the corridors or flights of stairs had yet seen. A solitary stone cross, with an seemed to him so long as at this moment of ner- effigy of Christ, whose outlines were worn by vous impatience; but, bounding onward like a young wind and weather-the only object that appeared fawn, he soon stood at the carriage door. The above the dreary line of the horizon in any direcchasseur lifted him in, banged to the door, and tion-stood at a short distanee from the main road, mounted in the rumble behind-the coachman gave pointing the way, as it were, to the deep rut of a the rein to four fiery young horses, and away flew country by-path. At the foot of this cross sat, the carriage with our young hero and his misfor- huddled up, an indistinct human figure which, tunes.
from its appearance, might have been mistaken The count addressed not a word to the child, for a bundle of rags. The count pulled the checkthough he had not seen him since the moment he string. In a moment the carriage stopped, and had so reluctantly led him from the chamber of he leapt from it, motioning with his hand to the leath. Leon stole a timid glance at him—he was boy to follow; then said to the attentive chasseur closely muffled in a travelling cloak, and his forag- "Let the carriage wait for me beyond the turn ing cap was drawn deeply over his eyes. Little of the road, at the old bridge." of his face as these precautions permitted to become Though not a little amazed at the command he visible, however, the contrast of his ashy pallor received, the well-trained domestic suppressed evwith his deep mourning, and the almost sinister ery outward mark of surprise ; and, having transexpression of his brow, frightened the boy, and he mitted the order to the coachman, resumed his shrank into his corner of the carriage. But the seat in the rumble, without so much as casting one count, keeping his eyes in a marked manner riveted glance of curiosity at the three figures exposed to on his own window, Leon's situation became too a pelting rain .n a bleak waste, on which not a painful to be endured, and he attempted to rouse house, or a tree, or any object whatever, except his attention.
the stone cross, was within the range of the eye. Papa,” he began-but he could get no further, the count now moved forward, followed by the for the count cried aloud —“Silence !" in a voice child, straight up to the cross. of thunder.
" Jakubska !” he called out. The object cowNever in his life had he heard these accents, or, ering at the foot of the stone monument rose at least, addressed to himself. Terrified, convinced hurriedly to her feet. “I need noi, I
suppose,' now his mother was gone, that he was become an continued the count, repeat the conditions I have object of hatred to his father after having been one stipulated with you, I think, for your own sake, of love, the poor boy sank back in mute anguish. you are not likely to forget them. Boy,” said he, But Leon had a proud heart, and a keen natural turning sharply to Leon, “ from this day you cease sense of injustice. He could not prevent the boy- to fill the place you have too long usurped-you ish tears from coursing one by one down his burn- are not my child—I restore you to your legitimate ing cheek ; but he stifled the thick sobs that nearly parent—you are yet young enough to forget the choked him, lest the count should discover that he duty you now think you owe me, and to learn that was weeping. Perhaps this stubborn pride de- which is due to herthe past is but a dream, sufprived him of the only opportunity that offered for fer it not to linger on your mind.” melting the count's heart ; for he was by no means So saying, he coldly turned from the mother what could be strictly called an unfeeling man, and her son, and moving away with hasty strides though he was stung to madness by the shock of reached the bend of the road and his britchka belosing at once his wife and his child-at having fore Leon had recovered from the first stunning to blot from his existence eleven long years of effect of his words. The wheels of the retiring hope and joy. His pride, too, revolted at having carriage first roused him from his stupor. He fostered in his halls a beggar's brat; and, accus- stared wildly round. The naked plain—the old tomed to the roughness of the camp, to the author- witch in her dark cloak to whom he had just been itativeness of military command, his temper, natu- delivered over
r—the carriage rolling in the distance rally firm and hasty, had become harsh; and the —the solitude, the silence of the place—the rain cringing dread of his serfs, amongst whom he falling in blinding mist on the delicately-nurtured had chiefly lived of late years, had not tended to boy, all confused and bewildered his senses. He teach him self-control. Leon had much of the felt as if they were leaving him entirely; and, same ingredients in his composition for good or with a cry of pain, he clasped his little hands and for evil; and, thanks to his training, was as ob- pressed them to his burning brow. stinate and wilful as any feudal lord need be. Jakubska remained silent. Pity for the grief
The day was drizzly and rainy. The roads of her child, mingled with a sort of respect for were heavy. There was nothing in the atmos- the station he had but so lately filled, subdued her phere nor the features of the country to attune the usual vein of loquacity. The blow had stunned mind to a soft mood; and, accordingly, neither of her too. Though prepared for it by a hurried in