« ElőzőTovább »
with the etiquette of parade. The shore, and began a steady fire on the French guns sounded nearer and boats. nearer ; but nothing could be more This unexpected resistance eviregular than the manner in which dently startled the advance of the the Swabian columns formed, and enemy; and the head of the huge nothing more unlucky. Carlo flung column, already within a short dishimself on and off his horse a dozen tance of the shore, hesitated, and, after times, before he could prevail on the a few moments, steered away to find gallant German to march. The shouts another point of landing. The Swaof the French, who, to do them justice, bians followed; and Staringer, now are the most noisy of all troops on suficiently alive to the magnitude of earth, seemed by this time to come the peril in front, pushed rapidly along from every part of the horizon, and the bank. But the quick ear of SeCarlo was in despair. At length, in bastiani caught a movement through an agony of vexation, he rushed for the forest, which told him that the still ward, at the head of a squadron of greater peril lay behind. · The Swachasseurs, to probe the thicket for the bian general turned from the intelliadvance of the rest.
gence contemptuously, and hurried on. It was the height of summer, and Within five minutes from his taking the dawn was already beginning to up his position, a burst of fire on both gleam along the hills of the Vosges: his flanks taught him his error. He below all was still, wrapped in purple was now evidently undone. Between vapour; and, except the occasional the column on the river, and the troops glitter of a bayonet, nothing was visible in the forest, his retreat was utterly along the lower landscape. But a new impossible. The German bravery blaze of sunshine, bursting through still persisted in keeping its ground, the ridges of the Black Forest, sud- and the French paid dear for their denly lighted up the whole scene, and success; but the result was now a nothing could be more extraordinary matter of calculation. A shout and a or splendid. Thirty thousand men in charge brought the enemy into the three columns were on the surface of centre of his battalions; and before the Rhine; the centre column already the half hour was over, the brigade landed in part, and keeping up a con- was utterly dispersed, and Staringer, tinued and heavy fire ; the others with his staff, guns, and colours, more slowly advancing, in immense in the hands of the invaders. Carlo masses, with glittering arms and wav- and a few others escaped in the geneing banners, across the broad expanse ral confusion. of the noble river. The sounding of This was rather a disastrous begintrumpets, the beating of drums, and ning of his services in the Imperial the repeated cheerings of the troops, staff; but what was to be done ? Nofilled up the wild harmony of war. thing, but ride off in the morning, find Carlo stood gazing in fixed astonish- the Archduke, state the facts, and ment at the pomp of the view ; he trust to fortune. saw for the first time the magnificence Yet even this was not to be so easily of soldiership, and the impression was managed. In this world a strong deter. full, overpowering, and indescribable. mination and a capital horse will go a
But his military coup d'æil saw as great way towards their object; but not clearly that the Swabians were too where an army of seventy thousand men late, and that they could advance only lies between them. This was the case to be taken prisoners. He rushed at the present crisis; for Moreau bad back to the column, and informed the landed with his whole force, and the general of what he had seen, and his French hussars were spurring round opinion. But Staringer, if he had every corner of the country; there was been difficult to move in advance, was no glory to be got, and his only exstill more difficult to move in retreat. pedient was to hide in the thickets. The young aid.de-camp's remon- The day never seemed to have been strances, by no means promoted by so long since the Flood ; the sun his Hulancap and cloak, were seemed to linger in the sky on purlistened to, with calmness indeed, but pose to betray him, and his senise with the very reverse of conviction; of hearing assumed a painful acuteand the three thousand Swabians ness, which persuaded him that every marched without stop down to the spot of the forest was filled with pur
Night, however, came at last, studies of that order, Carlo felt that and with the last gleam of evening he he had never seen any thing like the saw the door of a little inn. Nothing face and form that there stood, evicould be more opportune. At other dently amused by his perplexity. times he might have doubted the safety The lady seemed just beyond girlof its hospitality, for nothing could be hood, and just between the vivacity of more robber-like than its physiognomy, the French and the seriousness of the and nothing could be nearer the fact. German countenance. Her features But he was dying with fatigue, hun- were fine, her eyes brilliant, and the ger, and vexation.
In this state, he physiognomy noble; but there was an would have faced half the banditti of expression in that physiognomy, so the Black Forest naked. His sabre singularly touching and sweet, that it was so much in his favour, and, after took his soul by surprise. He felt it à short and sulky interrogatory of the like a flash of electricity, and felt that owner, he pushed his way in. His there stood the arbiter of his fate. entrance was greeted with a general When he recovered his self-possession, scream, and a rush of females into an
he explained the circumstances of his inner room.
being there, in a few words, to which They had taken him for one of the the beautiful girl listened with increasFrench marauders, and expected to ing attention; a short dialogue explainhave all their heads dismissed from ed every thing on both sides, and they their shoulders, for the sake of their sat down at table together; the domesear-rings and necklaces. But in their tics, to their great joy, coming from retreat they had left their supper be- their retreat and attending: The lady hind them, and the young Hulan con- divulged her name, Carolina Cobenttented himself with sending an invita- zel. She was returning from a visit to tion to them to return, and sat down. some relations on the French bank of This might not be chivalric, but he the Rhine, when the march of the had seen nothing but their backs_the enemy took place. She had reached supper was plainly before him in all the German side of the river but that its charms—and, after a twelve hours' morning, a few hours before the pasfast, there could be no comparison be. sage of the French. She had fled in tween the back of the Medicean Venus infinite terror from the scene, and was and a German sausage. His invitation in hopes of escaping it altogether; having been declined, he had accom- when the sight of some hussars in purplished all the requisites of ceremonial; suit made the postilions turn into the and he commenced the meal with an forest, where night, if it stopped the appetite which might have been en- pursuit, had stopped her equipage also. vied by many a crowned head. But it The conversation grew animated. was occasionally varied by the half- It was some months since Carlo had opening of the chamber door, and the seen the face of woman, beyond those glance of a peeping visage, apparently rather unfinished specimens which folfor the purpose of discovering whether low regiments. His natural spirits rehe were a human being or a cannibal. turned as if by enchantment; yet what At length the door fully opened, and enchantment is equal to that of grace, a lady, attended by two female domes- spirit, and beauty, in one? A new soul tics, advanced, thanked him for his seemed to have entered into the Hulan; civility, and begged to know whether who, however, had now summoned the French were approaching in that courage to tell his fair guest that he direction. Carlo started by instinct was the Hulan no longer, but à chosen on his feet, and gazed at her in si- member of the staff of the favourite lence. The lady repeated her ques- general of Germany. He forgot the tion; but he was spell-bound, and it time in the spell-like delight of the
; was with difficulty that he got out a hour; he poured out all the glowing few words. It is not to be presumed thoughts, wild fantasies, and eloquent that a hero of eighteen, the son of a picturings of the past and the future, colonel, and an Italian, had not medi- that swept before his Italian imaginatated something on the subject of fe- tion like a dream of Elysium. The male graces before ; or that any man, lady listened and looked, with growpassing his vacations in the Austrian ing astonishment; listened with fascimetropolis, had not seen some striking nated ear, and looked with full, deep, specimens of the sex. But in all his unconscious gaze. Carlo had inherita
ed the features of his father's country; dragged their jackboots over the sadand their expression, lighted up by the dles of their weary animals; and at
; ardour of his feelings, was brilliant. length the Hulan had the honour of He seemed as if he could have poured handing the fair fugitive into her out his fervours of poetry and passion britchska. for ever.
The lady's lovely counte- Here was an end of every thingnance, filled with emotion as rich and adventure, love, speculations wild, rapid as his own, looked on him, as if wandering, and wonderful. Carlo she had found, for the first time, a felt that his world was finished ; and being by whom her heart could be un- he wished himself shot on the earliest derstood, or whom it could under- opportunity. Life or death being stand.
now equally indifferent to him, he But a sudden whisper of one of the mounted his horse, and slowly purdomestics to her fellow, in which the sued his way in the direction which name of Cavinski transpired, dissolved the army was supposed to have taken. the charm at once. It was evident But this night was still to be a methat nothing could be more startling morable one in his history. The to the lady's recollections. The coun- sound of the carriage-wheels was just tenance was instantly pale as death, dying on his ears, when the gallopthe lips quivered ; and, with an ing of cavalry and the firing of their effort, she rose from the table, and, pistols, showed him that they had half-fainting, withdrew to her cham- been overtaken. His indifference ber.
abandoned him at once; he pushed Carlo's curiosity was too strongly his charger through brambles enough excited, to suffer the domestic to with. to have stopped an elephant; but draw with her, until he had ascertain what can stop a young hero, and that ed the cause of the change. A couple hero desperately in love with the of florins untied her tongue. “Hermis. most beautiful creature within a thoutress, the daughter of a general officer sand leagues square, and that most in the Austrian service, was returning, beautiful creature in the hands of for the express purpose of being mar- gentlemen of the road, who underried to the Count Cavinski, a Hunga- stand the art of fleecing like the rian of immense estates, and one of the French light troops ? By dint of Imperial chamberlains.”
furious exertion he contrived to work “Does she love him ?-can she love his way through this German jungle, him ?-is it possible that she can love and at length had a fair view, though him?" were the breathless questions through a wall of brushwood, im. of the ardent Carlo.
passable to any thing but a wolf The femme de chambre answered, or a hound. The proceedings of with a smile worthy of the boudoir of the plunderers were systematic. They a prima donna-" The count gives were three, evidently stragglers, who charming presents, and they say has had slipped away on a private exthree palaces ; and all the ladies of the pedition. One was standing, torch Court are dying for love of him-or in hand, at the horses' heads; another them.”
was regularly handing the travelling The reason was unanswerable, and valises out of the carriage; while the a couple of florins more, the last re- third, also dismounted, was keeping lics of his month's pay, showed that guard over the lady and her servants. the Hulan could give still more muni- Finding that he could not force his ficently than the count-for he gave way to the spot, Carlo fired his pistol all.
at the fellow in charge of the postilBut there was no time now for de- ions. The shot told on the torch-arm, liberation. The door of the hut which instantly fell by its owner's opened; and the half-savage owner side; that owner himself following his rushed in, crying that the hussars torch headforemost to the turf. His were already hunting the next copse, companions instantly sprang on their and would be among them next horses, drew their sabres, and prepared minute. The news was sufficiently for battle. It was now that Carlo felt alarming ; the lady was brought the good fortune that often comes from her chamber; the horses were from our not being able to do all that hastily put to; the postilions, tired, we wish at once. If he had burst sleepy, and much “bemused in beer,” through the thicket, he must have
been exposed to three enemies at once. other for the first time, let it not be But, whether a solitary Hulan, or the the last. You have rendered me a whole cavalry of Austria, were behind great service”-she paused—“my fa. the hedge, was now a matter unknown mily will be happy to receive you, to the robbers. Carlo now fired again, sighed, rather than said, the halfand with the good luck of perforating fainting beauty. the boot of the rider nearest to him, “But are you about to be married?" and lodging the ball in his calf. A wildly exclaimed the enthusiast, with thousand sacres followed the shot, every fibre convulsed with despair. and made the wood resound. Only Carolina clasped her hands, and one antagonist now remained, and sank back on the seat of the carriage. him Carlo resolved to sacrifice in the In another moment it was gone. presence of the lady, who stood in In two hours after, a wandering evident horror leaning against a tree. woodcutter found Sebastiani lying on By trying a circuitous path, he at the ground, on the same spot, in a pa. length found his way, within sabre's roxysm of fever, raving against kings, length of the remaining plunderer. 'queens, and beautiful women; outThe affair was brief. The first rageous against nature, for not bring. scratch of the sabre sent the French- ing him into the world a field-marshal; man to the right about; and the field, and giving orders to an army of a with all its prizes—the britchska, the hundred thousand Hulans, to ride over trunks, the waiting-maids, and the Europe, storm Constantinople, take lovely Carolina Cobentzel herself, the Grand Signior by the beard ; and were his by right of victory ; to say make a present of the East to the most nothing of the two ruffians who lay brilliant pair of black eyes, and most alternately groaning and swearing on exquisite pair of coral lips, among all ,
, the ground.
the Carolinas or Cleopatras that ever The gratitude of the fair captive existed. was indescribable, and her request, nay, On his recovery from this delirium, herentreaties, that Carlo would accept he found himself lying in the woodsome acknowledgment-purse, jewels, cutter's hovel, feeble, emaciated, and even a ring, were all but resistless, yet sick of every thing human-war, wohe resisted them. His dejection re- man, and the world. He made the turned heavier still; nay, when the further discoveries, that three weeks first anxiety of the crisis was over, he had elapsed in this condition, and that evidently would have thanked her for he had lost his time, his horse, and hanging him on the spot.
his honour. But those were not times for travel. But the war still raged: the wretchlers to stand talking sentiment in a ed wounded and fugitives who passed forest at twelveat night. The britchska daily through the forest, making the was reloaded, the fugitives were handed best of their way home,spread rumours in, and the postilions remounted. Carlo enough to have filled the Allgemeine saw the proceeding, as if his eyes Zeitung with wonders, and all of them looked their last of this world; but probably as faithful as the usual conthe lovely Carolina did not choose to tents of that inventive journal. The part with him quite so silently. army of the Archduke was to-day an.
“ If you will accept nothing else,” nihilated, and to-morrow in the act said she, in a silvery tone, "accept of annihilating the French. The Archmy address. General Count Cobentzel duke's dead body was to-day found on will be happy to see you, and serve the field of battle, carried to Vienna, you at Vienna."
and buried with imperial honours; and Carlo's pale lips then burst their the day after, the Archduke was wreaksilence. “ İs it true that you are-af- ing vengeance on Moreau or Jourdan, fianced ?"
driving every thing before him, and Carolina grew pale in her turn, and marching over the bodies of the French said nothing.
demi-brigades straight to the Rhine. “But one word-if you would not Carlo felt the spirit of his profession see me the most miserable of human revive within him, and was no sooner beings,” exclaimed the impassioned able to set his foot on the ground, soldier.
than he resolved to join the army. “ How can it interest you ?” timid- Guided by the honest woodcutter, he ly said the lady. “We have seen each wound his way through the obliquities
of the forest, and at length reached the the most cheerless that man or nature open country, where his conductor, could have joined to form ;-all was fearful of falling into the hands of some lifeless as far as the glance could sweep, of the straggling troops, left him, and the only mark of man being in the he must make his march alone, like a ruins of some hamlet, the cutting down knight of the days of chivalry. Let of some grove, or the fragments of what will be said of heroism, it is a some village mill, on its little elevation, mixed sensation ; and the epaulet, hanging in the wind, and in various in. embroidery, and plume, make a part of stances still smoking. Large heaps of it. There is a prodigious difference ashes were in general the only traces between the feeling of caracolling on a of where human habitations had stood; bounding charger, all clinquant with and gleams of bones in heaps, just housings, shell bridles, and Hungarian touched by the light of morning, shownets; and trudging over the ground ed where its masters had mingled alone and on foot. There is no less their remains with those of the soldiery difference between the showy uni- on both sides. It was evident, that this form, the clanking sabre, and the dash- plain had been the site of a series of ing shako, and the peasant cloak, the long and hardly contested struggles stick, and the hat of a woodcutter; between the French and German for to his entertainer the unlucky Carlo armies. And where were they now? was indebted for his present wardrobe. What had been the use of those The French hussars, whom he had struggles ? What was left of tens of placed hors de combat, not having thousands of gallant lives, but the scene been placed beyond the faculty, or still of early and promiscuous mortality, less the inclination for pillage, had evi- the desert plain, the ruined village, and dently availed themselves of their op- the voice and labours of man equally portunity; and when they found him, extinguished; and all for the mere purlike Don Quixote in the desert, per. pose of giving a general, loaded with forming his evolutions of despair, they stars and strings, more stars and strings; had speedily reduced the romancer to and filling a gazette with bombast to the condition of romance.
amuse the mob of Parisian idlers, as He at length reached the eastern they sipped their coffee in the Palais side of the Black Forest, once the Royal. dread of Roman and the fortress of Teu. A few days more brought him within tonic valour—in those days a mighty reach of the armies, and he was makmass of primeval wood, covering the ing the attempt to pass round the map of Germany, either by itself or its flank of the French, and thus reach the offshoots, and memorable for being a Archduke; when, to his infinite joy, nine days' journey. In later times, he saw some troopers of his own regithe axe has made terrible havoc, and ment taking up a position. It was in a republicanized the monarchs of the little grove, within a few hundred yards forest; exercising the levelling principle of the spot where he stood. He ran on the largest scale, and in some huge to them, was received with great acclaplaces converting that into corn land, mations, and felt the hero faming in hutted by thousands of strong.limbed him again. Intelligence of all kinds and broad-faced hewers of wood and now flowed in upon him. There had drawers of water, which once supplied been a great deal of desperate fighting; its feast of acorns to those free ran- which the gallant Hulans asserted, gers of the wild, by which man was however, to be all in favour of the made to be eaten—the bear, the wolf
, Archduke. After having retired a little and the wild hound. The forest is now before Moreau, which, they declared, still more cruelly curtailed to the range was merely to lay a of low, yet difficult and rocky, hills which Frenchman's vanity, and crush him in spread between the Rhine and the the heart of the mountains, he had Neckar, and form the first line of na. turned upon Jourdan, and was now tural fortifications between the fiery beating the boaster league by league restlessness of the Frenchman and the back to the Rbine. sturdy resistance of the solid serf of old finished him and his, as a bonne Teutchsland. On emerging from those bouche he was to turn back and swala fresh and dewy though sullen shades, low Moreau and his braggadocios the aspect of the country, before and for dinner. On what the Archduke beneath him, struck his eye as one of was to sup, after those abundant
trap for the
When he had