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the poor baby or his cradle, but he made pearls really did turn black. Some quesstrong objections to the nurse's habit of tions arose as to the quality of the stones, it throwing away water from the child's bath having been asserted by jewellers that althrough the ordinary channel. He declared though bearing a strong resemblance to that every particle of it pattered down, drop pearls, the stones were of no earthly compoby drop, on his unfortunate wife's head, and sition, and so hard that it was perfectly imthat if the countess would not deign to order possible to break them. At the request of her servants to throw away the child's bath his guests, the count sent to his lady, begon some other spot; his beloved wife must ging her to lend her necklace for their inperish. The good countess got rather im- spection. She did not like to part with it, patient at these constant appeals to her good- and made an excuse; whereupon her lord nature, and determined not to be so foolish and master waxed wroth, and ordered her to as to attach any importance to a mere dream ; send him the trinket, on pain of his serious but the little man was not to be so easily put displeasure. The poor countess complied, off-he appeared to her every evening, and though unwillingly; the necklace was so importunate that, for the sake of peace brought, handed about, and examined, and and quietness, she was fain to order the many were the bets made as to its solidity. child's bath to be emptied in another corner One of the knights declared he could split of the castle. No sooner had this taken one of the pearls with his sword. Wagers place, than once more the little man presented were laid for and against :-he struck the himself to her in her dreams, thanking her blow with dreadful violence, but the pearl most gratefully for her kindness.

remained unscathed. Suddenly, however, a My wife is now quite restored,' added dreadful peal of thunder was heard ; the he, all danger is past. This blessing I owe lightning struck upon the old tower where to you, most gracious lady, and I wish to they were seated, which crumbled to pieces, offer you a small token of my gratitude. burying the half-drunken knights under the Deign to accept this necklace – it ought rush of falling stones. Many were drawn never to go out of your family, and if kept, it out merely wounded, but the imprudent will always foretell the death of the Countess knight who had tried his strength on unMalzahn, by one of its pearls turning black earthly things was struck dead. The pearl by degrees, at the demise of each lady of necklace was found, and, as you see, has this race.'

been ever since carefully preserved, but they “When the young countess awoke, what never have been able to rebuild the tower of was her surprise to perceive a pearl necklace Militsch. It is said that whatever part of it lying on the coverlid before her! This very is built during the day, falls in during the same necklace that I now wear is the omi- night; so that after many fruitless attempts nous present of the troublesome little dwarf! to overcome the spell, it has been given up

My story is not at an end yet,” added altogether. The only certain part of the the countess, smiling, as she was about to story is," added the countess, “ that this old be interrupted. She resumed.

necklace still retains its strange power of “ Some hundred years ago, a very rough, marking the death of each successive owner, wild Count Malzahn was proprietor of the by one of its pearls turning black. I often Château of Militsch. He was a great sports- look at them, to see if another pearl is not man, and fond of heavy potations, as gentle- beginning to assume a gray tint, which will men were wont to be in those days. Xe be the sure sign of my approaching death!” often had a wild, noisy set of companions We all looked with much interest at the about him, and thus scared away from his handsome features of the amiable old lady, table. his delicate, refined, and beautiful who had so kindly related this family legend young wife. One evening, when these rough for our benefit, and heartily wished that her sportsmen had been drinking hard around pearls might long retain their pure white the oaken table in the tower of Militsch Cas- bue, which strongly contrasted with the color tle, the conversation happened to turn upon of the seventeen that have already put on the mysterious necklace, which had acquired their mourning for the deceased châtelaines, great celebrity from the fact that whenever and which really have a very dingy tint. a Countess of Malzahn died, one of the The die was cast-strange stories had be.

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come the order of the evening. The for- , hour when his portrait had fallen down at merly interesting topics of family quarrels, his father's home. suspected flirtations, misbehared servants, “ Time, which heals all wounds, even the etc., had suddenly lost their charm, and a deepest, had passed over this sad circumtide of family traditions and ghost stories stance, and we were once more seated tocame rushing in from all sides, a torrent gether at supper in the same dining-room as which nothing but the fear of late hours and before. It was rather late, for we had been bad roads could stem. I will only record paying a visit to the little orphan girl, Baron the tales which struck me as most authentic, Tettau's daughter, and had waited there to because they were told by members of the speak with the doctor, as she had not been families in which they had occurred. well : he declared, however, that she was

"You all know that beautiful picture of much better, quite free from fever, and asmy brother-in-law, the Baron Tettau, which sured us that there was not the slightest hangs in the picture-gallery at home, do you cause for anxiety. We therefore returned not ?." inquired a pale, delicate-looking lady, home, and as I said before, were seated at with light blue eyes and flaxen hair. That supper, when again a crash, and, without picture was painted by Angelica Kaufmann, any apparent cause, down came my brotherand is considered to be one of her best works. in-law's portrait to the ground. This time He is taken in full uniform, as a smart young our alarmı was excusable: we at once deofficer of the Guards, which he then was, and spatched a messenger on horseback to inquire his portrait was painted on the occasion of after the little girl, but he returned almost his marriage, wbich, unfortunately, gave him immediately, having been met half-way by but a short span of bappiness, as his young the bearer of a missive from the governess, wife died a year after, leaving him a sweet lit- conveying the shocking intelligence that the tle daughter in token of her love. This child dear little child had died suddenly in a fit! was brought up in the country, under the “ It will readily be believed that my surveillance of a governess, and very near to brother-in-law's portrait, beautiful as it was, the residence of her grandmother, the old had now become an object of superstition, Baroness von Tettau.

almost of aversion in the family: it was “We were one evening all assembled at therefore removed from the dining-room, and supper, that is to say, all except my brother- carefully hung in a large hall filled with famin-law, who had just joined his regiment, ily pictures, which we call • the gallery.' My and was daily expecting to take an active husband had selected a place for it over the part in tho contest against Napoleon's hated entrance-door, where it was partly hidden, troops. His mother looked up with tender as he wished to spare his poor mother as and admiring eyes at the handsome portrait much as possible the painful reminiscences hanging opposite to her, and exclaimed with which the sight of the fatal picture was sure a sigh, ' Where may my poor Franz be just to awaken. now!' the tears gathering fast in her eyes at “Many years elapsed-indeed, it is but the thought of the perils he was about to en- ten years ago since my much regretted facounter. Scarcely had the words been spoken ther-in-law died; my poor husband was, as when a crash was heard, and down came the you all know, deeply afflicted at.his loss: he picture ! Strange to say, the nail on which tended bis poor father through his last illit had hung had not moved : it seemed to ness with the most devoted affection and have been jolted off the hook by a sudden tenderness, and after the last sad parting, jerk. We were all depressed by this unac- when we women, overcome with sorrow and countable accident, and I had some difficulty fatigue, had retired to our rooms, he still rein calming my poor mother-in-law, who per- mained sitting by his father's corpse. After sisted in regarding it as an omen that some- some time he became uneasy, and could no thing dreadful had happened : her fears were longer bear the dread silence of the chamber but too soon verified. A few days later the of death : he got up, paced to and fro, and news reached us that my brother-in-law had almost unconsciously bent his steps towards been sent to reconnoitre, and that a stray the gallery: he endeavored to enter, but shot had killed him on the spot, at the very some impediment closed the way: he pushed

THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 926

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the door with force, and in so doing removed to foretell that your future will be as happy his brother's picture, which had again fallen as you deserve. Within a year from this to the floor!

time you will be blest with three sons at a “ Since that time no death in the family birth [drillinge). I pray you to accept this has occurred, but we are of course all con- ring,' continued he, handing her a large gold vinced that the same thing will happen when ring most curiously wrought ; "have it diany one of us is called to his or her last ac- vided into three equal parts, and when your count."

sons are of an age to understand the trust, give This lady's story was told with so much one piece to each of them to keep as a talissimplicity and good feeling that all present man against evil. As long as it remains in were impressed with the conviction of its the family the Alvenslebens will prosper.' truthfulness, the more so that the narrator " With these words the kind little man bears the highest character for veracity and disappeared; but his prophecy was realized, straightforwardness.

and his injunctions carefully obeyed. The Another tale related on this occasion is to three sons lived to form the source of three be found in many old German books, but distinct lines of the Alvensleben family, and except to readers well versed in the lore of are distinguished by the names of the Black, German legend it is probably quite unknown. the White, and the Red line. It was told me by a near and dear friend of

“ Years

nay, centuries-rolled by, but mine, a member of the family to whom this the three pieces of the ring were carefully tradition belongs, and a person in whose preserved by the descendents of the three veracity I place the greatest possible confi- brothers. The age of superstition had now dence. Thus, then, runs the tale :- passed away

Frederick the Great was “In olden times there lived a most beau- mighty, and he scoffed at all things; Voltiful, pious, and amiable Frau von Alven- taire, his friend and teacher, sneered at every sleben, who was respected and beloved by species of belief, and the courtiers thought her friends and the high and mighty of the it becoming to imitate their master and his .land; and looked up to and adored by her favorite. dependants and the poor, who for many “A gay party was seated on the balcony miles around felt the benefit of her loving of the Castle of Randau, which overhangs charities. This favorite of fortune and na- the muddy-colored, shallow, and yet someture had, however, one drop of gall mixed times treacherous, river Elbe. Amongst the in her cup of happiness, which had wellnigh company were several gay young officers of embittered the whole of her precious gifts. the Royal Hussars, then stationed at MagdeShe was childless, and it was no small grief burg, who had ridden orer to pay their deto her beloved lord as well as to herself to voirs to the fair lady of the manor, the Frau be denied an heir to their noble name and von Alvensleben of the Red line, a famous vast possessions. Frequently, when more beauty at Frederick's court. Although the than usually oppressed by sad thoughts, she mother of three fine boys, her beauty was at would wander forth and seek in assuaging the its zenith, and her sharp, ready wit and sasorrows of others a relief to her own painful tirical, sceptical turn of mind had won for reflections. On one occasion, as in pensive her as many admirers as her rare personal mood she was returning from one of these attractions. charitable visits to the sick and poor of her « • I never believe in anything that I do villages, her way led through a long avenue not see or feel,' said the lady with a bright of well-grown trees bordering the banks of laugh, continuing an animated conversation the Elbe. Slowly she walked with eyes cast about second-sight and ghost-seers ; 'nor do on the ground, when her steps were sud- I care just now to believe in anything but denly arrested by a little dwarf, who stood that these strawberries are delicious,' added respectfully before her. She was startled at she, holding up a ruddy berry; "that the first, but seeing him look smilingly at her, air is pure and balmy, my companions most she soon regained her composure, and in a agreeable, and life altogether very charmkind manner asked him what he wanted. ing and enjoyable.'

". Most gracious lady,' quoth the dwarf, 6. Would that life were made up of such * all I wish is to give you brighter hopes, and moments,' sighed her nearest neighbor, with

sorrow.

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an ardent glance ; but, alas ! we must bend “Six weeks afterwards, this laughing, to so many influences beyond our own con- scoffing beauty was bent low in sadness and trol!!

She had in that short period lost Not a whit,' retorted the lively lady, her husband and her three sons, all of whom «* « Jeder ist seines Glückes Schmied' were suddenly carried off by a virulent fever. (every one forges his own happiness), saith It is not known whether she connected this the proverb.

sad bereavement with her imprudent act, How can you say that fairest of châte- but probably her haughty scepticism received laines, when you know that the happiness of a shock, for she renounced the world, and each of us is dependant upon your good- ever after led a life of sorrow and seclusion. will,' responded one of the gallants. Thus ended the Red line of the Alvensle

* And,' added the Major von Eulenberg, bens. a somewhat more sedate admirer, 'you your- “ The members of the Black line, shocked self, madame, must not forget that you are by this sad occurrence, and fearful lest some living under the spell of the famous Alven- accident might cause the loss of so small an sleben ring; if you were to lose it, who object as the third part of a ring, had it knows what might happen.'

melted among other gold and moulded into “+ Alter schützt von Thorheit nicht? (age a goblet or • Pokal,' which the sole surviis no preservative against folly) • I see,' an- vors of that line still possess. Their star, swered the beauty, pertly tossing her head. however, has fallen, and from the prosperous *Do you think I am such an idiot as really and numerous family which then flourished, to believe in this silly story of the ring? I and was in possession of nearly half the thought my sentiments were better known, province of Magdeberg, but two descendand to prove to you how free from supersti- ants in middling circumstances now exist. tion I am

she ran into the room The last member of importance of that line, through the open folding-doors, hastily un- was the highly esteemed Minister of State locked a casket with a small golden key under Frederick Wilhelm III., Count Albert which hung from her neck chain, and swiftly Alvensleben, who died at so late a period as returning, made a comical low curtsey to the 1858. circle of gentlemen, and, with a graceful 66 The members of the White line have movement, flung what she had in her hand been the wisest of the three; they still caredown into the rushing river at her feet: fully preserve among the family archives in There,' she cried, exultingly, there goes their Castle of Erxleben, near Magdeberg, the token of old superstition, which has too their precious share of the little dwarf's long been treasured in our family; there present. This family is amongst the most goes the famous ring, and may the Alven- highly esteemed and beloved of the old noslebens evermore depend upon themselves for blesse of Prussia : highly favored and truly their good luck and prosperity:'

loved by their monarch, many of them still “The act was greeted with bravoes, and hold important offices in the army and state, warm expressions of admiration at the and the White line still counts thirty or strength of mind she had exhibited, by the forty members.” young officers, whose only wish was to flat- It was not without regret that we broke ter and please the star of the day: yet'some up the circle round the coffee-table; these in their hearts disapproved, others felt as if and other tales had made us forget the flight a blank had fallen upon their spirits, and of time, and if they have for a moment though outwardly merry, the party separated amused my readers, I am richly repaid for with far less jovial feelings than they had the slight trouble of transcribing them. ever before experienced within the walls of Randau.

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THE LAST FRENCH ROMANCE. But, alas for the lover of worried Miss Claire,

She entered a trap when she took herself there; Will you hear of a lovely young lady of And the Lady Superior, by night and by day,

Conjured and implored' tlic poor girl to give France,

way. For whom knights in old days would have levelled the lance,

Vite en carosse, vite à la noce ! And she had great riches and beauty beside, And an Empress's Chamberlain wanted a bride, A burly Archbishop, who talked about sin,

The Lady Superior, when baffled, brought in Singing, Vite en carosse, rite à la noce !

And preached to Miss Claire that the Devil

alone Now Claire had a lover already, small blame, Made her shy at a marriage advised by the Or none, to the darling for having that same : Throne, An able young statesman, but poor by com- That said Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

pare With toadies who fawn round an Empress's Yet still the young lady was constant and true, chair.

And vain was the ccclesiastical screw, Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

But they worked it so hard that at last the poor

maid

Wrote off to her uncle to come to her aid.
She had also an uncle as kind as could be,

Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !
A General Receiver of Taxes was ho,
His name as you spell it was Fontinallat,
But of course being French it must not rhyme He got the sad letter, brave Fontinallat,
with that.

He dashed out an oath, and he dashed on a hat, Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

And he dashed in his carriage to call on his

Chief, The beautiful Empress she listed the prayer,

The Minister, Fould, of the Hebrew belief. That she'd have ber gay Chamberlain married

Vite en carosse, vite à la noce ! to Claire, Grand-niece of Duke Pasquier, and as hath Achilles was out, but Patroclus was there been told,

Who knew the whole story of pretty Miss Claire, No end of a fortune in silver and gold :

And informed the brave uncle his place would Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

depend On his proving the Chamberlain's champion

and friend. Then smiled the fuir Empress, and promised to

Vite en carosse, vite à la noce ! Her counsel to Clairo as to whom she should There are some things,"

says Horace, choose :

awful for verse, Notliing doubting the maiden would gladly And one's when a Frenchman commences to obey

curse; Her Sovereign's behest, and immediately say

But if oaths may be pardoned it's when they're Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

At a rogue who would make you his tool and But Claire, in the presence, made blushing ally. admission

Vite en carosse, vite à la noce ! That she loved, and loved only her young politician,

Monsieur Fontinallat having blazed like a bomb, And begged that Madame would select, for her Iuformed poor Patroclus (with horror struck pearl

dumb). Of Chamberlain-courtiers, some other rich girl. That having imparted his notions at large, Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

He should seek his hotel and await his dis

charge. The beautiful Empress felt mightily riled,

Vite en carosse, vite à la noce ! And feared the young lady was what you call It came in an hour-ere another had past

spiled; To think, when the Court has the goodness And he took her away, the poor truc-hearted

He had Claire in his unclely arms safe and fast, to choose

dove, A spouse for a virgin, the girl should refuse.

And swears she shall marry the man of her love. To sing, Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

Vite en carosse, vite à la noce ! Alarmed at the point in the Empress's words, And if with a moral you'd like to be bored, Poor Claire hurried off to the “ Convent of See Court, Pricst, and Minister awfully floored; Birds,"

For trying what threat and corruption would do, And sought the protection of padlock and grate To force a young maid, in Eighteen Sixty-Two, For a flutterer invited to choose a wrong mate. To say, Vite en carosse, cite à la noce ! Vite en carosse, vite à la noce !

-Punch.

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