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 I found a royal footman never heard it again; probably it was some waiting for me with a note from the prinlocal composition; but there is sounding cess. The world seemed to swiin before in my ears, as I write, the simple, thrilling my eyes as I took the billet from the man. air, the repeating chords. The music It had been given him by the princess ceased and the curtain rose.

herself, he said, who had charged him to Up to this time the royal box oppo- deliver it to no one but myself. site 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 this evening at eleven o'clock. She wishes stage; but the actors had hardly begun to see Herr von Saale there without fail.” their parts when the attention, which was Even in the state of exaltation in which now being attracted towards them, was I had lived for some days, I could scarcely suddenly diverted in another direction, believe my senses. Yet there could be and a young, distinguished-looking man no possible doubt that the message was a entered the royal box. His breast was a genuine one. The billet was distinguished mass of stars and orders, and the rest of from ordinary letters by its paper, and his apparel was covered with embroidery was closed with a massive seal bearing and lace; but his tall, slight figure, and the royal arms. 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 intolerable intrusion seemed to force the enthusiastic house. From his point themselves between me and the only conof view, doubtless, he saw a waving sea of ceivable event towards which all human faces, tumultuous, indistinguishable, in history had been tending since the world distinct; but in my eyes and to my thought, began. as I stood lost in the tossing, excitable The garden of Das Vergnügen was decrowd about me, there was no one in the fended against intrusion by natural boun. whole theatre but myself and him. As I daries, very slightly assisted by art. The looked at hiin, a wild antagonism, an in- valley on the palace side was impregnable, sane confidence and desire to pit myself and the steep, rocky, wooded slopes on against him, took possession of me. My the further side of the river were so infolly even went so far as to picture to my closed at the top as to render intrusion mind a lovely, broken-hearted creature, difficult or impossible. The right of entrée bound to a betrothal odious to her, stretch- was given me through my connection with ing out her hand towards another fate. the professor and the Fräulein, and I had The prince had sat down in his box, no difficulty in obtaining it on this moslightly wearied in his daily round of life, mentous night. not expecting very much entertainment Mysterious shadows, dark and vast unfrom the play; more pleased, perhaps, at der the pale moonlight, the great trees and the gay scene the crowded theatre itself banks of leaves, rose in strange distinct presented to his eyes, perfectly unaware, outline on every side, as I made my way certainly, of the ferocious glances one of through the lawns and garden walks. The the audience in a remote corner was di- nightingales were singing all around me; recting towards his unconscious person. the festoons of roses, robbed of all color

by the pallid light, hung like the ruined I spent the ensuing night and day in a garlands of a dead festival, and sheets of fever of passionate excitement; but onclematis fell like cascades from the tall


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 The moon, which was setting a little whispering music stole through the valley behind me, cast a full and strong light and along the wooded slopes, the echo of upon the broad terrace - a light as bright wind-harps and harmonica-wires concealed as day. As I turned the corner my heart among the terraces and groves. As the almost ceased to beat, for I saw, not a night advanced and the moon sank lower dozen yards from me, the princess herself in the sky, the starlight grew more intense, coming forward to meet me, as it seemed with a clear, distinct light, in which the with outstretched hands. The bright sharp, dark outlines of the shadows stood light revealed in perfect distinctness the out in weird contrast with the beauty soft

, gracious outline of her slight figure, which, even in the moment of startled and the shy expression of her face. I terror, the heart felt to be around. The made a step forward, my heart leaping to wayward music that strayed through the my mouth, when suddenly it sank again leaves, and the fine, clear notes of the with a sickening chill, for behind the prinnightingales that harmonized in their high cess, only a few steps apart, was the shrill octaves with the cold silver light in strange crowa-prince, and close to him which valley and river and stone terrace stood another figure, which I also recoy. lay in mystic unreality, seemed like a fatal nized at once. spell to enslave my spirit, a ghostly mel- The princess came forward with her ody, a pale, beckoning hand to entice me faint, bewitching smile.

And it was not only that these sights “You are here, Herr von Saale,” she and sounds of a pallid and even terrifying said: “I knew you would not fail. We beauty lured me on, but my infatuation are an awkward number for a moonlight was so perfect that I traversed the lawns stroll, and I wanted a companion for the and terraces in the full expectation of Fräulein.”. finding at the trysting-place the most A sickening sense of self-recognized, lovely, the most unique of creatures, a self-detected folly -- folly too gross and creature born to be the possession and palpable, it might be feared, to escape the delight of her own race and kind, and even the detection of others - crushed of such only, to whom it would seem pre me to the earth. sumption 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 The steady, speaking eyes, calm in the clematis, I believed confidently that in pale white light — the intense, over-masanother moment I should have the prin- tering power and thought - drew me out cess, blushing, shy, palpitating, in my of myself, as at the evening concert at the

palaće; but now, thanks to the purpose I turned a terraced corner bordered and command that spoke in them, with a with statues and urns, and shaded with fortifying help and strength. The boyish tall yew and holly hedges that grew high nature, fascinated and uplifted even in the up in the woods. I came upon a broad depths of its folly and shame, rose and long terrace, shining in the clear light. thanks to her -- in some sense equal to On the left hand, far above me, from the the pressing need. Surely she must be mountain summit a single broad cascade right. Behind Otto von Saale, the fool, fell, like a wall of flashing molten silver, there must be another Otto von Saale who sudden and straight into a deep pool, from would not fail. which by several outlets, forined by the Something of what was passing in my piers of the terrace bridge upon which I mind, rose, I suppose, into my eyes, for stepped, it fell again, in four or five cas- I the expression of the princess's face

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


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 shade, a delicate, faint, clear light seemed speak, with a start of grateful joy at the to chasten and subdue the heart - the sudden gift, of certain, abiding faith, starlight of the soul. There was no sound faith in herself and in me, faith in the but that of the rush of water, for the nightfull pure notes of life's music, which they ngales and the wind-barps were too far who are born of the spirit, in the turmoil below. There seemed to arise around us, of the world's passion and desire alone and to enwrap us in its emboldening folds, can hear.

a protecting mist and garment of solemn The princess turned away very quietly faded light and measured sound. Entowards the crown-prince. “You remem- shrouded in this mystic veil fear and ber Herr von Saale the other evening?" embarrassment were taken away, and in she said, and his Royal Highness bowed. clear, true vision we saw each other for

They moved together towards the other the first time. end of the terrace, and I approached “ You have taught me the violin,” I Adelheid.

said ; “but there is another instrument, It may be thought that I must have found the strings of which vibrate to even higher some difficulty and confusion in speak- tones; will you teach these strings, also, ing to her; bút, strange as it may appear, to vibrate in unison to your touch? It it was not so. It seemed to me as though has been neglected, and is out of tune; it the demon of vanity and folly had been wants the leading of a master hand.” completely exorcised, as though the cour. “ I fear the instrument is accustomed to age and faith that shone upon me from the another hand,” Adelheid said. 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 fit it to teach mankind in sound. He to the lower, vain reptile self through its vital whom it was predestined comes.

He cord, and it lay dead and withered in the takes it in his hand and we know that way. The flattering mask was torn from once, at least, in this life, supreme music its features, and nothing was left but a has been heard. Will you try this instrushudder at the memory of a creature so ment of mine? It may, perchance, be contemptible and vile.

worth the trying, for it is a human heart.” I told Adelheid that I did not know how I will try it,” she said. to excuse my conduct of the last few days, that some demon seemed to have pos- There is not much more to tell. He sessed me, that Herr Veitch had said that is happy has no history; and the life truly that this was the case, and that I that is in tune with the melodies of heaven, had been fascinated - by some evil eye, in tune because it is guided by a purer I was about to say; but I stopped sud- life, inspired by a loftier impulse than its denly, remembering that the eyes that had own, cannot fail of being happy. In the fascinated me had been those of the prin- sustained and perfect harmonies that recess, those eyes that had restored me to sult from the concord of full, pure, true the dominion of the higher self. Escap- notes, there is rest and peace for the ing from this pitfall as best I could, I wearied and troubled brain; and the harpromised that I would return to my prac- monies of life, that absorb and hush the tising, and this brought us to the end of discords of the world, are heard only in the terrace, where was a fight of stone the private walks and daily seclusions in steps that led down into the valley. Here which love and Christian purity delight. the princess turned to us and said that she Both harmonies came to me through a wished to show the prince the cascades teacher of the violin. from the steps, some little way down; they And the princess! would return to us immediately on the One summer afternoon in the year 1806, terrace. They went down the steps and a gay city lay siniling in the afternoon we turned back along the terrace walk.

It lay in a fair plain watered by The moon by this time had set, and a shining streams, and surrounded in the


blue distance by wooded hills. The newly I 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 The people, young and old, swarmed and boulevards, the windows of its houses into the streets. From by-lane and causewere all fastened, and the blinds and way and boulevard, rich and poor, without jalousies drawn down and closed. distinction, child and old man and grand

And more than this: every few moments dame, crowded around the stately carriage a deathly terror tore the serene, calm air, with the white horses, wherein sat a beauand, alighting like a shrieking fiend, tiful woman of middle age, serene and crashed into house and grove. The Prus- stately, but very pale with long watching sian army was in full retreat across the and with grief. Sobs, and words of blessfords of the river lower down, and the ing, and cries of love and joy, resounded city was being bombarded by a battery of on every side; but amid that countless the French.

throng there was no heart so full of a The blinds in the long streets were all strange pride and gratitude to God as was drawn and the shutters closed; but there that of an unknown stranger, by chance in was one house in which not a blind was the city, standing unnoticed in the dark down nor a window closed. This was the shadows of the palace groves. I knew palace, which stood in the centre of the her; I had known longer than they all; city, looking upon the Grand Platz and for it was the princess Cynthia of the old, surrounded by chestnut and sycamore unforgotten, boyish days. trees. The_king was with the army on the listant 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,

From The Month. wherever a few met together, or in the

SUGAR-MAKING IN DEMERARA. homes where they spoke of this, despair

ABOUT two hundred years ago sugar and anguish were soothed into gratitude was one of the rarest and dearest of luxu. and trust.

ries, now it is one of the cheapest and But gradually as the evening drew on most generally used of foods. In Queen matters became worse. The terrible can- Elizabeth's reign sugar was treated as a nonade, it is true, ceased; but a party of sweetmeat, in Queen Victoria's reign it is French chasseurs, followed by infantry, used as a manure. occupied the market-place, and the work Our not very remote ancestors had to of plunder was systematically begun. The sweeten what they wished sweet with crash of doors burst in, and the shrieks of honey or sweet vegetables; their drink the inhabitants, were heard on every side. was sweetened with malted barley or with At seven o'clock in the summer evening the juice of sweet fruits. houses were in flames in front of the The Chinese, who have the credit of palace, and the light was so intense that having discovered nearly everything, are people could read handwriting, both in the said to have been the first to cultivate the palace court and in the market-place. sugarcane. But as soon as the West

Then, suddenly, a most wonderful thing Indies were fairly settled they had practioccurred. The great iron gates of the cally almost a monopoly of sugar-growing. courtyard, which had remained closed, Common belief has it that at first the were thrown open, and a state carriage, juice of the cane was boiled down into a gorgeously caparisoned and drawn by six sort of syrup, somewhat as grape-juice is white horses, accompanied by servants in boiled down at the present day in Portufull liveries, issued forth in the evening gal to sweeten wine. One day, it is said, light, amid the added glare of the flaming a careless boiler upset the pot, and it was houses. It passed on its stately way noticed that where the syrup had fallen on through the crowded, agitated Platz, the the white wood ashes, crystallization was lawless soldiers standing back astonished the result. These persons were quicker and abashed, till it reached the great hotel at drawing inferences than the famous of the Three Kings, where a marshal of Chinaman who continued to burn his stye France, a brother-in-law of the emperor, l 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 Many years ago a Jesuit father invented of murder, flames, and ruin, now a repubthe copper wall, as it is still called, though lic so retrograde that its inhabitants are . iron has been generally substituted for said to worship snakes and practise cancopper this many a day. The copper wall nibalism. These atrocities were quickly enabled much better sugar to be made at followed by the interminable wars between much less expense of fuel. Formerly a England and France, which affected the fire was put under a caldron; the process West Indies most seriously. The islands of sugar-making was begun and ended in were passed from one to another power, one vessel. The Jesuit suggested that a and all enterprise was checked and indusstring of caldrons or coppers communicat. try stifled. ing with each other should have only one The English had the best of the sea fire, the bottom of the coppers forming fighting, and the English West Indies the roof of the Aue. The copper nearest began to supply most of the sugar used in the fire is the cleanest, the scum being Europe. When Napoleon determined to “ brushed” back to the first copper, that shut English products from the Continent furthest from the heat, so that the cleanli- he tried his best to render France selfness and the sweetness are just in inverse supporting in everything, and his gigantic ratio,

mind, for which nothing was either too When the cane-juice has boiled enough large or too small, resolved to foster the it is ladled into coolers, then it is packed growth of beet and the manufacture of into perforated hogsheads, through the beet sugar. This at the time was not conperforations of which the molasses es- sidered much, but it has proved the most capes, leaving in the hogshead the old- serious blow to the West Indian trade fashioned brown sugar, still the staple that has ever been dealt. export of most of our West Indian islands. Next came the abolition of slavery and

The troubles of the cultivation of the the abandonment of large districts of sugar sugarcane have been numerous. At first cultivation for want of labor. By this the great difficulty was want of labor. time the modern age had come, and sugar The aboriginal inhabitants would not and like everything else was revolutionized by could not work continuously, and the re. the invention of steam and machinery. sult of the different attempts at coercion The beet-sugar manufacture was growing ended in the extinction of nearly all the into a giant, and was no longer a baby native tribes. Only very few now remain requiring to be carefully nursed. Noin one or two of the islands. Then sprung where has the struggle for existence in up the system of imported labor — slavery the sugar trade been keener than in Britand the slave trade. At first slaves were ish Guiana, both in cultivation and manu. as much the property of their masters as facture. Labor is imported from India, were the oxen and mules, but long before steam ploughs of every description have slavery was finally abolished, the slaves been tried, all sorts of manures experiwere conceded by right or custom many mented with. Mills and vacuum pans, privileges.

stills and centrifugals, clarifiers, steam These appear to be the halcyon days batteries, all are at work. And the whirl of the West Indies. The owners of sugar of machinery in a sugar factory, only three estates who lived on their plantations hundred and odd miles from the equator lived in great style as small kings, they makes one imagine oneself in a cotton mill seem to have utterly disregarded all sani. at Manchester. tary rules in the arrangement both of their Let us take an imaginary trip and visit houses and diet, and to this day the West Ione of these estates in British Guiana, but

« ElőzőTovább »