« ElőzőTovább »
I entered the curtain had not risen, but | the next afternoon an event occurred the orchestra were playing. The band which reduced every other consideration consisted mostly of violins, and would, no to worthlessness, and exaggerated the dedoubt, be considered poor and thin at the lirium from which I suffered to the highpresent day, but such music has, to my est pitch. On my return to the Three mind, a subtle, delicate tone which is Roses from attending a lecture of the missed now. I did not know what the university - for I did attend lectures overture was, and curiously enough I have sometimes never heard it again; probably it was some local composition; but there is sounding in my ears, as I write, the simple, thrilling air, the repeating chords. The music ceased and the curtain rose.
I found a royal footman waiting for me with a note from the princess. The world seemed to swim before my eyes as I took the billet from the man. It had been given him by the princess herself, he said, who had charged him to deliver it to no one but myself.
this evening at eleven o'clock. She wishes to see Herr von Saale there without fail."
Even in the state of exaltation in which I had lived for some days, I could scarcely believe my senses. Yet there could be no possible doubt that the message was a genuine one. The billet was distinguished from ordinary letters by its paper, and was closed with a massive seal bearing the royal arms.
Up to this time the royal box opposite the stage had remained empty, and I opened the billet and read: "The the audience had manifested a restless princess Cynthia will be in Das Vergnüimpatience which paid no attention to any-gen, 'on the terrace above the cascades, thing, either in the orchestra or upon the stage; but the actors had hardly begun their parts when the attention, which was now being attracted towards them, was suddenly diverted in another direction, and a young, distinguished-looking man entered the royal box. His breast was a mass of stars and orders, and the rest of his apparel was covered with embroidery and lace; but his tall, slight figure, and the careless self-respect of his manner, To this moment it is a mystery to me enabled him to support so much finery how I passed the intervening hours from with success. He came down without the time the man left me till eleven o'clock. pause to the front of the box and remained I know that at the time the thought of standing, while the actors, dropping their this necessity overwhelmed me with departs, sang a verse of the national folk-spair. I have some misty recollection of song, accompanied by the audience and wandering down the valley by the river, supported by the band. The prince bowed of gibbering passing forms which with once slightly, then stood quite still, facing the enthusiastic house. From his point of view, doubtless, he saw a waving sea of faces, tumultuous, indistinguishable, in distinct; but in my eyes and to my thought, as I stood lost in the tossing, excitable crowd about me, there was no one in the whole theatre but myself and him. As I looked at him, a wild antagonism, an insane confidence and desire to pit myself against him, took possession of me. My folly even went so far as to picture to my mind a lovely, broken-hearted creature, bound to a betrothal odious to her, stretching out her hand towards another fate. The prince had sat down in his box, slightly wearied in his daily round of life, not expecting very much entertainment from the play; more pleased, perhaps, at the gay scene the crowded theatre itself presented to his eyes, perfectly unaware, certainly, of the ferocious glances one of the audience in a remote corner was recting towards his unconscious person.
intolerable intrusion seemed to force themselves between me and the only conceivable event towards which all human history had been tending since the world began.
The garden of Das Vergnügen was defended against intrusion by natural boundaries, very slightly assisted by art. The valley on the palace side was impregnable, and the steep, rocky, wooded slopes on the further side of the river were so inclosed at the top as to render intrusion difficult or impossible. The right of entrée was given me through my connection with the professor and the Fräulein, and I had no difficulty in obtaining it on this momentous night.
Mysterious shadows, dark and vast under the pale moonlight, the great trees and banks of leaves, rose in strange distinct outline on every side, as I made my way through the lawns and garden walks. The di-nightingales were singing all around me; the festoons of roses, robbed of all color by the pallid light, hung like the ruined garlands of a dead festival, and sheets of clematis fell like cascades from the tall
I spent the ensuing night and day in a fever of passionate excitement; but on
The moon, which was setting a little behind me, cast a full and strong light upon the broad terrace - a light as bright as day. As I turned the corner my heart almost ceased to beat, for I saw, not a dozen yards from me, the princess herself coming forward to meet me, as it seemed with outstretched hands. The bright light revealed in perfect distinctness the soft, gracious outline of her slight figure, and the shy expression of her face. I made a step forward, my heart leaping to my mouth, when suddenly it sank again with a sickening chill, for behind the prin cess, only a few steps apart, was the strange crown-prince, and close to him stood another figure, which I also recognized at once.
hedges and forest trees, and filled the air | cades of far greater depth, into the valley with a stifling perfume that presaged de- beneath. cay. Every now and again a strange whispering music stole through the valley and along the wooded slopes, the echo of wind-harps and harmonica-wires concealed among the terraces and groves. As the night advanced and the moon sank lower in the sky, the starlight grew more intense, with a clear, distinct light, in which the sharp, dark outlines of the shadows stood out in weird contrast with the beauty which, even in the moment of startled terror, the heart felt to be around. The wayward music that strayed through the leaves, and the fine, clear notes of the nightingales that harmonized in their high shrill octaves with the cold silver light in which valley and river and stone terrace lay in mystic unreality, seemed like a fatal spell to enslave my spirit, a ghostly melody, a pale, beckoning hand to entice me
The princess came forward with her faint, bewitching smile.
"You are here, Herr von Saale," she said: "I knew you would not fail. We are an awkward number for a moonlight stroll, and I wanted a companion for the Fräulein."
A sickening sense of self-recognized, self-detected folly-folly too gross and palpable, it might be feared, to escape even the detection of others crushed me to the earth.
And it was not only that these sights and sounds of a pallid and even terrifying beauty lured me on, but my infatuation was so perfect that I traversed the lawns and terraces in the full expectation of finding at the trysting-place the most lovely, the most unique of creatures, a creature born to be the possession and the delight of her own race and kind, and of such only, to whom it would seem presumption and treason for any other even What would have happened, what into look. Long years afterwards, writing conceivable fatal folly I might have comin the cool blood of middle life, the re-mitted, I cannot tell -a mad whirl of membrance of this folly makes me shiver insane thought rushed through my mind; with an intolerable shame; but at the mo- but the princess kept her steady eyes fixed ment, so potent was the wizard spell that full upon mine. "Herr von Saale," they untamed, unquestioning youth, and the said, as plainly as, ay, more plainly than wild, romantic wood teaching, and the au- words could speak, "Otto von Saale, I tumnal music of the winds, and the well- believe in you. You have taught me somespring of fresh hope and love and trust, thing that I never knew before. You have bursting out like a clear fountain amid the taught me what I am, and you have shown flowering grass and woodland singers, had me what I may become. You yourself, cast about my path, that, as I passed the surely, will not fail." terraces and the arcades of roses and clematis, I believed confidently that in another moment I should have the princess, blushing, shy, palpitating, in my
I turned a terraced corner bordered with statues and urns, and shaded with tall yew and holly hedges that grew high up in the woods. I came upon a broad and long terrace, shining in the clear light. On the left hand, far above me, from the mountain summit a single broad cascade fell, like a wall of flashing molten silver, sudden and straight into a deep pool, from which by several outlets, formed by the piers of the terrace bridge upon which I stepped, it fell again, in four or five cas
The steady, speaking eyes, calm in the pale white light-the intense, over-mastering power and thought-drew me out of myself, as at the evening concert at the palace; but now, thanks to the purpose and command that spoke in them, with a fortifying help and strength. The boyish nature, fascinated and uplifted even in the depths of its folly and shame, rose thanks to her-in some sense equal to the pressing need. Surely she must be right. Behind Otto von Saale, the fool, there must be another Otto von Saale who would not fail.
Something of what was passing in my mind, rose, I suppose, into my eyes, for the expression of the princess's face
changed, and an inexpressibly beautiful | countless bost of stars lit the arched sky look came into her eyes, amid the quaint above us; and over the leafy walls on reserve which her rank and disposition every side, darkened and deepened in gave to her habitual look. It seemed to speak, with a start of grateful joy at the sudden gift, of certain, abiding faith, faith in herself and in me, faith in the full pure notes of life's music, which they who are born of the spirit, in the turmoil of the world's passion and desire alone can hear.
The princess turned away very quietly towards the crown-prince. "You remember Herr von Saale the other evening?" she said, and his Royal Highness bowed. They moved together towards the other end of the terrace, and I approached Adelheid.
shade, a delicate, faint, clear light seemed to chasten and subdue the heart-the starlight of the soul. There was no sound but that of the rush of water, for the nightingales and the wind-harps were too far below. There seemed to arise around us, and to enwrap us in its emboldening folds, a protecting mist and garment of solemn faded light and measured sound. Enshrouded in this mystic veil fear and embarrassment were taken away, and in clear, true vision we saw each other for the first time.
"You have taught me the violin," I said; "but there is another instrument, the strings of which vibrate to even higher tones; will you teach these strings, also, to vibrate in unison to your touch? It has been neglected, and is out of tune; it wants the leading of a master hand."
"I fear the instrument is accustomed to another hand," Adelheid said.
It may be thought that I must have found some difficulty and confusion in speaking to her; but, strange as it may appear, it was not so. It seemed to me as though the demon of vanity and folly had been completely exorcised, as though the courage and faith that shone upon me from the princess's eyes had blotted out and effaced "A violin," I said, "is played on by the miserable infatuated past as though many a one, and they fail; but it is not it had never been. It is given to some cast aside. At last he comes for whom it natures, at some propitious moments at was predestined long ago, while the wood the turning points of life, by a happy ac- was growing in the tree, while the mellowquiescence in right doing to obliterate the ing sunshine and the wind were forming evil past. The intolerable sense of dis-it-were teaching it secrets that would grace and shame had, as it were, stung the lower, vain reptile self through its vital cord, and it lay dead and withered in the way. The flattering mask was torn from its features, and nothing was left but a shudder at the memory of a creature so contemptible and vile.
I told Adelheid that I did not know how to excuse my conduct of the last few days, that some demon seemed to have possessed me, that Herr Veitch had said truly that this was the case, and that I had been fascinated by some evil eye, I was about to say; but I stopped suddenly, remembering that the eyes that had fascinated me had been those of the princess, those eyes that had restored me to the dominion of the higher self. Escaping from this pitfall as best I could, I promised that I would return to my practising, and this brought us to the end of the terrace, where was a flight of stone steps that led down into the valley. Here the princess turned to us and said that she wished to show the prince the cascades from the steps, some little way down; they would return to us immediately on the terrace. They went down the steps and we turned back along the terrace walk.
The moon by this time had set, and a
fit it to teach mankind in sound. He to whom it was predestined comes. He takes it in his hand and we know that once, at least, in this life, supreme music has been heard. Will you try this instrument of mine? It may, perchance, be worth the trying, for it is a human heart." "I will try it," she said.
There is not much more to tell. that is happy has no history; and the life that is in tune with the melodies of heaven, in tune because it is guided by a purer life, inspired by a loftier impulse than its own, cannot fail of being happy. In the sustained and perfect harmonies that result from the concord of full, pure, true notes, there is rest and peace for the wearied and troubled brain; and the harmonies of life, that absorb and hush the discords of the world, are heard only in the private walks and daily seclusions in which love and Christian purity delight. Both harmonies came to me through a teacher of the violin.
And the princess!
One summer afternoon in the year 1806, gay city lay smiling in the afternoon sun. It lay in a fair plain watered by shining streams, and surrounded in the
blue distance by wooded hills. The newly | had taken up his quarters for the night an built esplanades stretched away into the hour before. It did not remain long; but meadows, and from among the avenues of in a few moments it was known throughlinden-trees the birds were singing mer- out the city that the queen's intercession rily. But a fatal spell seemed to hang had prevailed, that orders had been given over this lovely scene, and the city might to extinguish the conflagration, and that have been a city of the dead. Not a the pillage would immediately cease. chance figure could be seen in its streets and boulevards; the windows of its houses were all fastened,. and the blinds and jalousies drawn down and closed.
And more than this: every few moments a deathly terror tore the serene, calm air, and, alighting like a shrieking fiend, crashed into house and grove. The Prussian army was in full retreat across the fords of the river lower down, and the city was being bombarded by a battery of the French.
The blinds in the long streets were all drawn and the shutters closed; but there was one house in which not a blind was down nor a window closed. This was the palace, which stood in the centre of the city, looking upon the Grand Platz and surrounded by chestnut and sycamore trees. The king was with the army on the distant Thuringian slopes; but it was known through all the city that the queen was still in the palace and had refused to leave; and in the hearts of the citizens, wherever a few met together, or in the homes where they spoke of this, despair and anguish were soothed into gratitude and trust.
But gradually as the evening drew on matters became worse. The terrible cannonade, it is true, ceased; but a party of French chasseurs, followed by infantry, occupied the market-place, and the work of plunder was systematically begun. The crash of doors burst in, and the shrieks of the inhabitants, were heard on every side. At seven o'clock in the summer evening houses were in flames in front of the palace, and the light was so intense that people could read handwriting, both in the palace court and in the market-place.
Then, suddenly, a most wonderful thing occurred. The great iron gates of the courtyard, which had remained closed, were thrown open, and a state carriage, gorgeously caparisoned and drawn by six white horses, accompanied by servants in full liveries, issued forth in the evening light, amid the added glare of the flaming houses. It passed on its stately way through the crowded, agitated Platz, the lawless soldiers standing back astonished and abashed, till it reached the great hotel of the Three Kings, where a marshal of France, a brother-in-law of the emperor,
The people, young and old, swarmed into the streets. From by-lane and causeway and boulevard, rich and poor, without distinction, child and old man and grand dame, crowded around the stately carriage with the white horses, wherein sat a beautiful woman of middle age, serene and stately, but very pale with long watching and with grief. Sobs, and words of blessing, and cries of love and joy, resounded on every side; but amid that countless throng there was no heart so full of a strange pride and gratitude to God as was that of an unknown stranger, by chance in the city, standing unnoticed in the dark shadows of the palace groves. I knew her; I had known longer than they all; for it was the princess Cynthia of the old, unforgotten, boyish days.
From The Month. SUGAR-MAKING IN DEMERARA. ABOUT two hundred years ago sugar was one of the rarest and dearest of luxu ries, now it is one of the cheapest and most generally used of foods. In Queen Elizabeth's reign sugar was treated as a sweetmeat, in Queen Victoria's reign it is used as a manure.
Our not very remote ancestors had to sweeten what they wished sweet with honey or sweet vegetables; their drink was sweetened with malted barley or with the juice of sweet fruits.
The Chinese, who have the credit of having discovered nearly everything, are said to have been the first to cultivate the sugarcane. But as soon as the West Indies were fairly settled they had practi cally almost a monopoly of sugar-growing.
Common belief has it that at first the juice of the cane was boiled down into a sort of syrup, somewhat as grape-juice is boiled down at the present day in Portugal to sweeten wine. One day, it is said, a careless boiler upset the pot, and it was noticed that where the syrup had fallen on the white wood ashes, crystallization was the result. These persons were quicker at drawing inferences than the famous Chinaman who continued to burn his stye in order to roast his sucking pig. They
immediately began to put wood ashes in | Indies suffer from the reputation they acthe cane-juice, and first made Muscovado quired in those days. But soon these sugar. A very easy inference caused lime happy days were overclouded; the first to be substituted for wood ashes. Crys- mutterings of the French Revolution, with tallization is impossible in cane-juice on its talk of liberté, fraternité, and égalité, account of the acid inherent in it, but were heard in the French islands, at that as soon as the acid is neutralized by a time perhaps the most prosperous of all suitable alkali it readily crystallizes. Till the West Indies. The negroes naturally late in the present century this simple considered that the new doctrines of the process was the beginning and end of rights of man and the distinctive features all sugar-making, the only art being ex- of slavery did not coincide. The result actly to apportion the quantity of lime was the conflagration in Hayti, at one used to the quantity of cane-juice to be time the finest colony of the French treated. crown, which afterwards became a mass of murder, flames, and ruin, now a republic so retrograde that its inhabitants are said to worship snakes and practise cannibalism. These atrocities were quickly followed by the interminable wars between England and France, which affected the West Indies most seriously. The islands were passed from one to another power, and all enterprise was checked and industry stifled.
Many years ago a Jesuit father invented the copper wall, as it is still called, though iron has been generally substituted for copper this many a day. The copper wall enabled much better sugar to be made at much less expense of fuel. Formerly a fire was put under a caldron; the process of sugar-making was begun and ended in one vessel. The Jesuit suggested that a string of caldrons or coppers communicating with each other should have only one fire, the bottom of the coppers forming the roof of the flue. The copper nearest the fire is the cleanest, the scum being "brushed" back to the first copper, that furthest from the beat, so that the cleanliness and the sweetness are just in inverse ratio.
When the cane-juice has boiled enough it is ladled into coolers, then it is packed into perforated hogsheads, through the perforations of which the molasses escapes, leaving in the hogshead the oldfashioned brown sugar, still the staple export of most of our West Indian islands. The troubles of the cultivation of the sugarcane have been numerous. At first the great difficulty was want of labor. The aboriginal inhabitants would not and could not work continuously, and the result of the different attempts at coercion ended in the extinction of nearly all the native tribes. Only very few now remain in one or two of the islands. Then sprung up the system of imported labor - -slavery and the slave trade. At first slaves were as much the property of their masters as were the oxen and mules, but long before slavery was finally abolished, the slaves were conceded by right or custom many privileges.
These appear to be the halcyon days of the West Indies. The owners of sugar estates who lived on their plantations lived in great style as small kings, they seem to have utterly disregarded all sanitary rules in the arrangement both of their houses and diet, and to this day the West
The English had the best of the sea fighting, and the English West Indies began to supply most of the sugar used in Europe. When Napoleon determined to shut English products from the Continent he tried his best to render France selfsupporting in everything, and his gigantic mind, for which nothing was either too large or too small, resolved to foster the growth of beet and the manufacture of beet sugar. This at the time was not considered much, but it has proved the most serious blow to the West Indian trade that has ever been dealt.
Next came the abolition of slavery and the abandonment of large districts of sugar cultivation for want of labor. By this time the modern age had come, and sugar like everything else was revolutionized by the invention of steam and machinery. The beet-sugar manufacture was growing into a giant, and was no longer a baby requiring to be carefully nursed. Nowhere has the struggle for existence in the sugar trade been keener than in British Guiana, both in cultivation and manufacture. Labor is imported from India, steam ploughs of every description have been tried, all sorts of manures experimented with. Mills and vacuum pans, stills and centrifugals, clarifiers, steam batteries, all are at work. And the whirl of machinery in a sugar factory only three hundred and odd miles from the equator makes one imagine oneself in a cotton mill at Manchester.
Let us take an imaginary trip and visit one of these estates in British Guiana, but