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of the house. The conceited thing had her canvas so swelled by this wind of the court, that, on my entering the room, she merely looked at me over her shoulder. I waited with impatience till the silver-tongued fop should rise and be gone: but he staid where he was: I still remained, though I stood upon thorns: At last I took the liberty to call Nancy aside. She followed me with a peevish air, and asked me pertly, What was the matter?''Nancy,' answered I, 'dost thou remember that thou hast to give me-?' I remember nothing, and beg you not to use so familiar a style,' she haughtily replied: On that the little creature tossed up her nose, and was about to go. I gently detained her, and said, You're not in good humour to-day, lovely Nancy; another time I shall come for the kisses which cost me so dear.' 'Don't take the trouble,' she disdainfully said. 'So?' said I rather tartly, who made me pull off the schoolmaster's wig? who is the cause of my breaking a leg and an arm? That would make a horse laugh,' interrupted she, tittering: Was it I who desired you to tumble so awkwardly?""
[On the death of his father, Albert went into the army, and fell in love with a lady of great seeming reserve, called Rosalia, by whom he thought himself much beloved in return. He one day, however, found her in the embraces of a young Count Ossek, whom he challenged to the field, where he left him, as he thought, dead, and, leaving his own country, hid himself in the capital of a neighbouring state.]
Here, under a borrowed name, I lived several months like a hermit. I began, however, by degrees, to visit the public walks in the dusk of the evening. I had no news from my native town, for nobody knew to what place I had fled. Thus I had lived for six or seven months, in all the anguish of a person condemned to be hanged, when, walking one evening in an alley a mile from the town, I, with amazement, perceived that a man wrapped up in a cloak was following me close at my heels. I quickened my pace. He in pursuit did the same, and at last whispered gently 'behind me,' Limbach! Limbach!'
rustling of the cloak, and the voice, which I now thought not quite unknown, began to whisper again: If you are Limbach, stand still! I bring you good tidings from Ossek: he did not die of his wound: you see him now standing beside you.' When thus, of a sudden, the heavy load of murder was thrown from my conscience, I felt no otherwise than if, by the voice of an angel, I had been raised from the dead. Quite out of myself for joy, I turned round, and, forgetting all animosity, flew into the open arms of the Count.
"What fools we were,' said he, 'to attack one another with fury for such a contemptible creature! Thank heaven that that hypocritical Rosalia unmasked herself in time. She showed herself to you in the naked odiousness of her soul, because she thought she had made a sure conquest of me, and knew not otherwise how to maintain it. Since that time she has had a variety of lovers; for as soon as you had fled, and my death was deemed certain, other gentlemen appeared and were received into favour. But not a word more about her! Our duel, you see, has not been so fatal as you and I thought. Your thrust was furious, my friend; within a week, however, my life was declared out of danger; and my wound was not so painful as the thought, that you, without necessity, had fled from your country. As soon as my cure was complete, I formed the resolution of going in search of you. This, it is true, would have been a ridiculous thought, had I meant to wander like a knight-errant at random. But no; had got hints that this was the place of your exile, and hither I came. I moreover, before I set out, had brought it so far, by my family's interest at court, that you may go back to your corps, or quit the service with honour." 'What a monster I am!' said I, much affected, to think of murdering a good a generous man, for the sake of the basest of women! This madness of mine I shall never forgive, and I shall never forget your nobleness of mind. I heartily thank you for your kind application to the Prince, but I chuse to give up my commission; I cannot think of going back to my native land, where the women have so cruelly used me.'
"The Count gave me his company
"I shuddered and always ran on, without looking about. I heard the
for several days. After his departure, I wrote for my dismission and obtain ed it. I now gave up all connection with my native country. But I resolved to resume my sword, which I had just laid down, and to use it in the service of that country of which I was now an inhabitant. I had the good fortune to be so well recommended to the Minister of the War department, that he promised me a captain's commission in a new raised regiment."
His hopes were again blasted by an adventure which he had with another class of ladies-a coterie of bluestockings-whom he was in the habit of insulting, and who actually on one occasion assailed him with rods, which they kept concealed under their petticoats for the purpose of this attack. This, you will see, is a piece of most absurd German exaggeration. What follows is not ill fancied.]
"The matrons not only poured out upon me all the venom of their tongues, but threw after me a rattling shower of rods, slippers, standishes, books, and sand-boxes. To have some memorial of this storm, I picked up from the ground a ball of paper so hard, that it met my head like a stone, and scampered away. This bomb happened to be a manuscript entitled
Lina's Poems.' I read the performance, and found it such pitiful stuff, that I gave my friseur next morning a handful to use as papillotes for my hair, and lighted my pipe with the rest. While I was just using some of it in this last way, a servant from the minister was announced. Full of joyous expectation, that he perhaps came to inform me my commission was made out, I went to the door, and begged him to come in. He had, however, no commission from the minister, but, with compliments from his wife, he put to me the question, If at a certain place I had not found a poetical manuscript, and carried it off?'
"I started: What in the world can the minister's wife have to do with such nonsense as that?' thought I to myself, and was just about to say, yes, But when I thought of what I had done had so degraded poetical flights, I thought it best to say, no. So you really have not found the poems?" said the servant. Then the work, alas! is lost. This will be extremely
disagreeable to her excellence, as she herself is the author.' What he said was to me a thunderbolt. • Her excellence is a poetess ?' faultered I. ‘A great poetess,' answered the servant, and is, besides, the President of the Bas-bleu society here. A second clap of thunder. A third followed soon: The servant turned his eyes on my papillotes, and exclaimed, What do I see? You have made hair papers of the precious manuscript! I vow to heaven, there is the title-page !' He pointed with his finger to my right curl. I pulled out the paper, and found, alas! that the title, in capital letters, LINA'S POEMS, was but too legible. The servant beat his breast, and hastened from the room, exclaiming, Ah! What dismal news I have to carry to her excellence!' I was so flurried, that it never came into my head to stop him, and secure his silence by a piece of money. I threw on my clothes, however, and hastened to certain friends of inine, to consult with them what was to be done in this so critical emergence.
"My adventure was already every where known, for the offended ladies had sounded the alarm over all the town. All, with one accord, advised me to beg pardon of the minister's lady. To that I had no inclination, and returned home to consider more maturely what was to be done. But on entering my room, I found a card from the minister, which superseded all further reflection. He wrote me, without giving any reason for his change of conduct, 'That I should no longer reckon on a captain's commission, and never more set my foot over his threshold.' As your excellence thinks proper!' said I, and laughed so loud, that my lonely walls echoed the sound. I was consoled in a moment; and as I foresaw that the wasps, whose nest I had disturbed, would be continually flying about my ears, and never let me have one moment's peace, I resolved never more to apply for the smallest favour to the great, but live and die as a free and independent man."
[Our adventurer now married a pretty simpleton, who first of all submitted to have her cheek kissed in the dark by an old professor of astronomy who visited in the house, and afterwards, in the absence of her husband, who went to travel for his health, she
played him a much worse trick. He had cautioned her to use the safe word 'No' to every request which might be made to her in his absence, and here is the result:-]
"When I was about half way home on my return, I dined in a pretty large town, at a table d'hote. The company happened to be in a jovial mood, and many a pleasant anecdote excited their mirth. One of the company at last gave the following story. There lately took place in (he named the town where I lived) a strange and funny event. An adventurer, who wanders up and down the world, and gives himself out for a baron, lately arrived there, and took a ride one morning to view the neighbouring country. On passing a genteel enough house, he saw, at the window, a beautiful woman. He wished to have a little chat with so charming a creature. Accordingly he stopped his horse, and asked, Can you tell me, fair lady, how far I am still from The question was answered by No. You surely can tell me the name of the village I see,' (pointing to it.) Again the answer was No. In short, she answered a score of his questions and more with the same little word. The stranger was struck, and thought to himself, The lady must either be dumb, all to that dd single word, or some mystery must be lurking in this. He gave his questions now a different shape, and said, You are not, Ma'am, displeased, that I am free enough to speak to you?' No, said she. Perhaps you will not take it ill that I dismount a little here?' No. Then, without further ceremony, he alighted, and walked, booted and spurred as he was, into the house.
"Here the cunning blade, by further questioning, made her understand his wishes. It is scarcely necessary to add, that the lady continued to give the same answer to every question, and that No, in her mouth, was at last equivalent to Yes, in the mouth of any other woman.' It is equally unnecessary to say, that, while all the rest of the company were laughing, I sat upon thorns. The country-house, the beauty and simplicity of its inhabitant, her parrot-like repetition of the same word-in short, every thing answered and fully convinced me, that this story could refer to no one but
to my wife. The last words of it pierced my heart like a dagger. Fortunately no one at table remarked my confusion, for all eyes were fixed on the recorder of my shame, who now continued in the following_manner.
Hitherto, gentlemen, this adventure, as a love affair, might be half and half excused; but now it begins to be very dishonourable for the soi-disant baron. The villain was not satisfied with seducing the wife of an honest man; he at last persuaded the stupid goose of a woman to run away with him.'
"Now I was perfectly thunderstruck, and ran out of the room, as if all hell had been at my heels. 'Posthorses,' cried I to the people of the house, with a terrible voice, and locked myself up in my room till they were got ready. At every post-house I paid the post-boys double their dues, who gallopped full speed till I arrived at Rosa's abode. The door was shut and locked. With the post-boy's assistance I got it thrown open. Trembling all over, I tottered in, and found the house musty and void. Even the old dragon was gone. All the apartments were emptied-every coffer and press broken up, I now was a beggar. "O wretch that I am,' exclaimed I, it is decreed by fate, as I now clearly perceive, that all the women I approach, whether clever or dull, are to inake me their sport and their dupe. What now is left, but to fly to some desert, and never again to see one of their odious faces?'
In my cruel situation, it may well be supposed that I read this letter with the highest delight. I set out without delay, and begged my way, like a pilgrim, to the place where my cousin resided, which lay 150 miles beyond Petersburgh. I soon was a rich man again, for my old relation died, in my arms, not many weeks after my arrival, and I found myself in possession of an ampler fortune than I had ever had.
"I resolved to live and die in the Russian town where I was, and remain a hermit as much as possible, at least to the women. I got myself dressed in the Russian fashion, and let my beard grow untouched by a razor. It soon surpassed all the beards of the country, and at length flowed over my girdle.
"I took a poor boy into my service, and had him instructed in all those household concerns which commonly fall to the women. He swept my rooms, cooked my victuals, and washed my linen. Every thing, in which it was indispensably necessary that women should have a hand, was transacted by my trusty Jacob, and was moreover to be done out of doors. No such dangerous creature was to pass the threshold of my house. When I saw a woman I closed my eyes, and I shut my ears against the voice of the Syrens.
By these measures, invariably strict, I lived in peace and satisfaction for thirty years. I was now a grey haired man of sixty, and I firmly believed that, without meeting any more of the storms of life, I should get into the port of repose. "But no. At last I was suddenly awaked, one night, out of sleep by thundering raps. Ijumped outof bed, and ran to the window, where I saw my dwelling surrounded by soldiers, who, in the Empress's name, commanded me to open my door. Jacob opened and let them in. They made me their prisoner, dragged me away, put me in chains, and shoved me into a vehicle, which stopped not either by night or by day, till it reached St Petersburgh.
Here I was thrown into a dungeon, where being left in solitude for eight days, I had time to review the events of my life. I found myself clear of even the smallest act against the laws of the land, and, therefore, it
was quite incomprehensible to me, by what I had merited fetters and chains. I was carried out of my prison, at last, to be tried. My judge said in a menacing tone, Confess your crimes! I begged as a favour to know what was laid to my charge. Aha!' he replied, with a devilish grin, 'we must help then to set you a going, you villain? You'll wait long for that! We shall give you three days more for reflection: when these are expired, if you do not confess, we shall give you the knout,'
"I was now carried back to my prison, and the third day after was again brought into court. Will you not yet make confession?' said the same tyrannical judge. What shall I confess?' I answered, with tears in my eyes, "Heaven knows I am innocent of all possible crimes. Yes, yes,' said the man on the bench,
that is the usual song of such pretty birds as you. Stay, we shall soon teach you to sing in a different strain. Away with the fellow, and give him the knout, till he confess to a hair his criminal deeds. Two fellows tried the strength of their arms upon me for some minutes. I suffered the pain in silence. The hard-hearted man, by whose order I was so cruelly used, stood by all the while; but I did not deign to beg him to spare me. At last he ordered the flagellants to stop, and to lead me back to my prison. Here I passed six terrible months in dreadful uncertainty as to my fate. I at times asked the jailor who brought me my water and bread, what at last they would do with me?' He always gave me for answer,' He could not inform me, for in the courts there was now no question of me.' At last he one day appeared at an unusual hour, with unusual speed threw open the door of my prison, and said to me quite out of breath, • Come along, you are now to appear before Prince Potemkin.' That awful name made me tremble: I walked, more dead than alive, surrounded by soldiers, to the palace of the prince. They conducted me into a gala-saloon, in which a brilliant assembly was met. A multitude of gentlemen, with stars and ribbons, crowded around me. At their head was a lady of dazzling beauty. She smiled in my face, stroaked my beard with her hand white as snow, and said with the voice
of an angel, 'O what a fine, what a venerable beard!" On this the prince (whom I easily knew by the homage universally done him) made me a slight and gracious motion with his hand, and said, 'Now you may go you are free!'
"Full of amazement I left the saloon; the guard that had conducted me to the gate had vanished. The sacred feeling of recovered liberty poured new force into my frame. With the vigour of a youth I hastened down stairs, and suddenly heard inyself called by my name. With terror I looked back and saw behind me a Russian officer, whom I had already remarked in the prince's saloon, "Do you not recollect me?' said he, and gave my hand a most friendly squeeze. I stared a moment in his face, and then I assured him, I did not recollect I had ever seen him before. yet we have seen one another very close,' he replied, much closer than I could have wished.' I thought and thought; he remained a stranger to me. 'Hem!' said he, smiling, have you really forgotten Count Ossek? Ossek!' cried I, and fell on his neck! Is it possible? How are you here? A short time after our duel,' said he, I entered into the Russian service, and many a bloody fight I have had with the Turks.' And I with the women,' said I. O! since the story you know, how barbarously I have been used by the sex! They at last brought it so far, that I was forced to avoid them as serpents, as vipers! But yet to-day I am a little reconciled with the odious sex. At last I have seen for once a good-natured and compassionate woman! The young, the beautiful lady, who stroaked my beard with such kindness, appeared to me an angel of Heaven. I am sure I owe my deliverance to her.' "My poor friend there you are sadly mistaken,' said the Count, with a smile of compassion; it is to that very angel you owe the knout, and all you have now undergone.' That jest is too cruel,' said Ï; ‘O let me go to the grave with the pleasing belief, that one good woman is still to be found upon earth.' My dear but singular friend,' Count Ossek replied, 'there are thousands, and thousands, and thousands again of excellent wo men, of women whom one might adore; but she by whom your beard
was so much admired is not of the number; she is a weak and a coldhearted creature.' And how is that to be proved?' asked I, a little offended; as for me, old fop that I am, I was almost in love with her.'
"The proof is the easiest thing in the world,' said the Count. following history of your arrest and imprisonment will prove it at once :— About seven months ago, a young man of rank dined with Potemkin. He was just returned from a tour through the Russian provinces, and was entertaining the company with what he had seen on his travels. Among other things of equal importance, he mentioned a man he had seen with a beard which was frightfully long; he talked of it as of one of the wonders of the world, and the lady you so much admire pertly cried out, O how I should like to behold that beard of all beards! This wish raised a complaisant laugh among the great folks at table; on which Potemkin, the lady's admirer, expressed a desire to hear more about Longbeard. The prince, in compliance, drew out of his pocket his tablets, read aloud the name of your town, and, with all due gravity, added, 'It is there he lives. It is true I don't know his name; one cannot, however, mistake; his beard would point the man out among millions of men.'
"The haughty favourite now sent for a secretary, whom he enjoined to draw up an order forthwith, and send it in haste to the commandant of the town. The order ran thus: On reading these presents, you will straightway take up and send off to Petersburgh the man with the longest beard in your place. After that time, neither the Taurian prince nor the lady thought more of the matter. It was not till to-day that it again occurred to the latter at table. How is that then?' said she to the prince; Did not your highness once mean to show me a man with a beard amazingly long? That moment the prince sent for the secretary to whom he had given the commission, and roared, as he came, with a terrible voice, ́ Have you not had my orders to have the man with the beard brought to town?' Yes, your highness,' answered the other, and he has been for six months in prison, but refuses still to confess the crime he committed. It was not