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alties and afflictions must be a collection of votive offerings, and that the seeming market-house was, probably, a shrine of especial sanctity. And so it was !-the shrine of "The Black Lady of Altenötting.”
Instigated by somewhat more than a traveller's vague curiosity, I entered the chapel; the brilliancy of which, eternally illuminated by the reflection of a profusion of silver lamps upon the thousand precious objects which decorate the walls, forms a startling contrast with the dim shadows of the external arcade. In most cases, the entrance to a religious edifice impresses the mind with a consciousness of vastness, and a sensation of awe:
And strike an aching chillness to the breast." But the chapel of the Black Virgin is diminutive as a boudoir, and yet retains the usual character of listening and awful stillness, the ordinary impression of local sanctity. A few peasants were seen kneeling in utter immobility and self-abstraction beneath a lamp, which seemed to issue in a crimson flame from a colossal two-fold silver heart, suspended from the ceiling—their untutored minds were elevated into the belief of a heavenly commune.
There is something in the aspect of bigotry, in this its simplest and purest guise, which is touching. Superstition is a mighty instinct of the human mind, which operates oftentimes as a restraining bond upon the evil impulses of a sinful nature. Contemned by philosophers as one of the manacles imposed by despotism, and as the perpetuator of popular ignorance, it is rather the shadow which follows their obscuring barrier ; and many a lowly life has been preserved blameless by its inAuence, to which the voice of reason might have addressed itself in vain. The threshold of the Altenötting treasury is perhaps, however, the worst stand that could be chosen by the apologist of superstition.
In a glass case above the altar, is deposited this far-famed effigy of the Holy Galilean virgin--a hideous female negro, carved in wood, and holding an infant Jesus in her arms of the same hue and material; and exhibited in its extremity of ugliness by the reflected glare of the silver and diamonds, and gems of every description, by which she is surrounded. Chests, mimic altars, models of ships, crowns and sceptres, chalices and crosses of gold and silver and enamel, and enriched with
Turkish blue and emerald green, and every jewel of every land, lie amassed in gorgeous profusion in the adjoining cases, and seemed to realize the fabled treasures of the preadamite Sultans. Boasting themselves as gifts of gratitude or invocation from emperors and popes, kings, princes, palsgraves, and all the other minor thrones and dominions of the earth, these splendid of. ferings form the most plausible illustration of the miraculous power attributed to the image of the Black Lady, which has been deposited in its actual abode since the year of Grace 696. In the course of the Thirty Years' War, this important relic and its treasury were twice re. moved into the city of Salzburg, for security from the Swedish invaders; and twice brought back in solemn triumph to their ancient sanctuary.
But a mightier charm than that of gems or metals, the most precious or the most beautiful, connects itself with the chapel of Altenötting-its
association with historical names of all ages, from Charlemagne and Otto of Wittelsbach, whose monuments we find inscribed in Runic characters, to Pius the Sixth, whose dedication, “ O clemens, O pia Virgo Oettingana !” is graven in a “ fine Roman hand.” It contains se. pulchral vaults of the families of Wallenstein, Tilly, Montecuculi, besides those of divers electors, archbishops, and archdukes, whose titles speak far less stirringly to the heart ; altogether forming an illustration of the past, which brings the dark ages in living majesty before our eyes.
Alternately dazzled and disgusted by this fruitless waste of splendour, this still more fruitless waste of national credulity, I was pondering over the domestic virtues of a certain “ Franziska Barbara, Countess of Tilly," as recorded over her grave, when the chants of the priests, who had been engaged in the celebration of mass before the altar, sud, denly ceased; and, as the last fumes of the incense circled upwards to the blackened roof, there arose another and a solitary voice, evidently of lay intonation, and deepened by that persuasive earnestness of devotion which, like an electric chain, connects in holy feeling all sects of the Christian church. It spoke in the fulness of gratitude, and in the humbleness of prayer; and although the dialect was tinged with village barbarism, and its thankfulness addressed to the Black Virgin, I heard in its simple solemnity only the beauty of holiness; and, overlooking the visible shrine, beheld in its ultimate object the tribunal of divine mercy!
The devout speaker was one of a peasant family who had entered the chapel unobserved, during my contemplation of its glittering decorations. He was apparently a Bavarian farmer, somewhat advanced in years, and wearing, in addition to his richly-substantial holiday attire, a deep green shade over his eyes, which accounted for the character of his thanksgivings to the miraculous image. “I thank thee, O most benign and saintly Maria!" had been the tenour of his prayer, “ for the scattered and glorious gifts of Heaven, which had become as vain things to my soul, till thy grace renewed them in its knowledge. I thank thec for the summer skies and the green pastures--for the footsteps which no longer crave a helping hand-for the restored faces of my beloved ones--and, above all, 0 holiest Virgin! I glorify thy name in gratitude for the precious means by which the blessing of sight hath been again vouchsafed me!”
This last mode of expression excited my curiosity, and when the little group of votaries had concluded their ceremonies, had affixed their consecrated tapers at the shrine, and deposited their oblations with its officiating priests, I followed their joyful footsteps out of the chapel, and was again struck by the delicious transition from the heated and incense-laden atmosphere of its interior, to the pure, balmy, April air without, gushing with the sweetness of the passing shower.
The ceremonies of the day were still far from their conclusion. The historical painter of Altenötting was in attendance in the arcade, bearing the votive picture which was to perpetuate the latest miracle of the Black Lady; and as far as I could observe or ascertain of the sacerdotal bangman of the consecrated gallery, the oldest and most weatherstained of the pictures was made to yield precedence to the new comer. Having profited by a stranger's privilege, and the English garb, which
is held sacred as a herald's tabard in many a foreign land, to unite myself to the little group, and address some casual inquiries to its frank and overjoyous members,-old Philipp Stroer himself, the hero of the day, deigned to take the picture from the hands of the sacristan, and to ciceronize for my especial edification. I trust his restored vision was not yet sufficiently acute to admit of his noting the smile which, in spite of my better will, stole over my face, as I contemplated the phenomenon of bad taste, and worse execution, which he thrust upon my observation. It represented his worthy but very unpicturesque self in the hands of an oculist, and the endurance of a cataract. The eyes of bis surrounding family were fixed with eager interest upon the event of the operation. “And what,” said I, anxious to make some sympathy in this domestic crisis,-“ And what is the name of the surgeon whose efforts have been blessed by the protection of the Black Lady ?”
“ The surgeon ?”
“ That, Sir, is no oculist, no surgeon ; it is my Karl, Sir, my beloved son!" I shall never forget the voice, struggling with emotion, in which the old man pronounced the words " mein sohn ?"
The story of that son was one of deep, though humble interest. Trained in the agricultural habits of his forefathers, and destined to succeed to the laborious honours of the Stroerische farm, young Karl, to whom his gray-haired father was an object of the fondest and most reverential affection, beheld with horror the gradual advances of the disease which was about to render the remaining years of life a burden to the sightless man. With the fractiousness of advancing age and growing infirmity, old Philipp obstinately refused to seek the assistance of any learned leech of the country round. Brannau and Burchhausen boasted each of a chirurgic wonder, but Stroer misdoubted or defied their skill. “ His frail body," he said, “ was in the hands of a heavenly Providence, to which, as might best beseem, he bequeathed its guidance.” Meanwhile, the perilous uncertainty of his footing, and the growing isolation of his existence, became more and more perceptible, when one day, just as an acknowledgment of “ total eclipse” had fallen from his quivering lips, the prop and stay of his household, bis beloved son Karl was missing from the farm! The first moment of uncertainty touching his destinies was a trying one, but it was also brief. A few days brought a letter from Munich, in which the absconded son implored bis father's forgiveness, forbearance, and patience, during some ensuing months. Time, he wrote, might alone explain the motives of duty which had caused his apparent error.
Patience is a difficult virtue to the sick and the unhappy. The blind man, pining for his absent Karl, had need of all his trust in the excellence of his favourite child : at times, misdoubtings naturally arose ; for the few months lengthened into seven, eight-eleven-a whole year, and the wanderer came not again.
At length, one autumn evening, a general shriek from the little household apprised Philipp Stroer of some unwonted occurrence, and straightway a voice demanded his blessing, and warm tears were wept upon his hand, and he knew that his son was at his feet! The story of Karl's absence was briefly and feelingly explained. Moved by his father's obstinate aversion to place himself in the hands of a strange practitioner, he had resolved to qualify himself for so precious a charge; and having interested an eminent surgeon of Munich by the detail of his affecting anxieties sufficiently to insure his instructions in the single branch of surgery requisite for his purpose, Karl had passed his days in infirmaries and hospitals, denying himself the common sustenance of nature, in order to maintain the respectability of garb necessary for his admittance to the lectures of his scientific preceptor. At length, his ardent endeavours were rewarded by a certificate of expertness ; and a patent of nobility would have afforded him a far less gratifying excitement. Nor did Heaven withhold its blessing from a cause thus hallowed by filial devotion ; the operation, which quickly followed his arrival at the farm, was attended with perfect success. For some days, indeed, the old man still maintained his resistance ; but when he was assured that Karl had preceded his departure for Munich by a pilgrimage to Altenötting, and that the especial favour of the Black Lady had sanctified his undertaking, he became more passive,-the result was a perfect restoration to sight.
“ And where, I exclaimed, “is this excellent, this worthy Karl of your's at present ?"
“ By your side," replied a chorus of voices; and following their indication, I turned towards a young man of sturdy appearance, who acknowledged my salute with prompt and open frankness. He wore the common peasant costume of the country, and laughed away my honest praises as a mere exaggeration. “ I had nothing to fear from my absence,” said he, looking towards a very beautiful girl who stood beside him, " for I was secure of the good faith of my Hannchen, and I knew that the Black Lady would bless my enterprise !"
I could not presume to despise this strange union of intelligence and bigotry; nay, so intimately is the remembrance of the family of Stroer connected in my mind with that of the miraculous idol, that I must acknowledge some sort of lingering superstitious reverence towards the shrine of the Black Virgin of Altenötting.
C. M. W.
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE JESUITS.*
Stonyhurst. The College of Stonyhurst is situated in Lancashire, at the foot of the high hill of Pendel, which, as it was formerly the favourite resort of sorcerers, has, in the opinion of a neighbouring parson, afforded, by a natural, succession, a residence to the mysterious ecclesiastics who are adepts in the witchcraft of Ignatius. The scenery by which it is surrounded is of a solemn and almost dreary character. Immediately before the great entrance, which opens into a considerable square, and is surmounted by two very lofty towers, an avenue, in the old English fashion, rises between two large basins of artificial water, whose stagnant tranquillity gives to the approach a dismal aspect. This avenue leads, on the right-hand, to a very extensive deer-park, the neglected walls of which indicate that the spirit of the chase has long since departed from the spot where learning and religion have fixed their abode. A rookery spreads behind the castle (for such it may be justly designated), of ancient and venerable trees. The remains of a noble garden occupy the front; and although its terraces are now dilapidated, and the playground which is used by the students has usurped upon its fine parterres, a noble walk of thickly-interwoven yew-trees, which is called the Wilderness, has been spared, and still offers the memorials of magnificence in its long and melancholy vistas. It was originally intended that the building should consist of two wings; only one, however, was completed, as the expense exceeded the fortune of the projector. The portion of the edifice which is finished, is of great extent. It is of a gothic character, in the exterior; but its apartments, and especially the splendid hall, which is flagged with white and polished marble, are of far greater dimensions than the rooms which are generally found in buildings of a similar style. As you look from the great central window of massive stone, you see the ridge of Pendel stretched out in a long line of black and dismal barrenness. The rivers Odder and Ripple, whose banks are lined with fine woods, flow in the valley beneath. The town of Clitheroe is seen on the left, where the plains of Yorkshire present a rich contrast of cultivation in their wide and distant reaches. Ripchester lies on the right; and behind, a line of heathy hills, called Longridge Fell, extends itself for several miles. This fine old mansion was the property of the Sherbourne family, and was afterwards occupied for a period by one of the Dukes of Norfolk. It came by purchase into the bands of the late Mr. Weld, of Ludlow Castle. He had been educated at St. Omer's, among the Jesuits ; and after they had been successively obliged to fly from their seminary there, and from Bruges and Liege, they were received by their old pupil at Stonyhurst. During his life, they held the house itself, free from all charges, paying a moderate rent for a considerable tract of ground; and, on his death, (he had first become an ecclesiastic, though he had a very large family,) he devised the lands to that sacred corporation, to which he was indebted for his instructions in piety, and for which, as a religionist, he had always entertained a warm predilection. His obsequies were performed with great pomp in the college chapel, and a funeral oration was pro
* Continued from p. 106.