Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

led him by the “Morning Star;" and round the table, on which stood a flask he would often stop, in a neighbourly of Rhenish wine, and a Dutch cheese, way, to chat with old Adam, or to help which Jan well knew was seldom prohis pretty niece to tie up her flowers. duced except on occasions of ceremony. Moreover, he had danced with Trinette Adam sat in his stiff-backed oak chair, at the kermesse of their own, and all listening with an air of deferential rethe neighbouring villages; and when spect to the occasional observations of he carried off the prize at the last po- the strangers; the hostess plied her pinjay, credible witnesses asserted that knitting in the chimney corner, and he had been heard to declare, that he Trinette, who was busied in removing felt much less satisfaction in his success the remains of dinner, was laughing than in the reflection that she had been a gaily at the witticisms which ever and witness of his triumph; at which avow. anon escaped from their lips, in the al Trinette was said to have blushed intervals 'between their long whiffs. and smiled. In short, it was supposed Neither did it escape Jan's notice, to be a settled thing, and every body though certainly it was but a trifle, that called Jan a very lucky fellow ; for, the village coquette was dressed with besides her being very pretty, it was more than usual attention to effect-her beyond a doubt, as Adam bad no child, linen cap arranged with more than ordithat she would inherit the contents ofá nary care over her glossy dark hair, long leathern purse which he kept in and the wrought clocks of her blue wotthe large household chest, with the sted stockings more ostentatiously disbrass belts and hinges, which stood in played than was her wont. It was perthe kitchen, acting in the double capa- haps not unnatural that a jealous lover, city of receptacle and dresser, and into and such was the market-gardener, which, every Saturday night, he emptied should combine the circumstances, and the gains of the preceding week -and conclude that this holyday attire was Adam's gains were sure gains. It was exhibited in honour of the, to him, not one of those beer-houses where you very objectionable associates in whose see cards about all day, and hear the company he beheld her. The real key billiard-balls rattling till midnight, as is to Trinette's unusual finery and supertoo frequently the case; but respectable abundant lightness of heart had escaped customers, good beer, short accounts, his penetration-she sported, for the and early hours, characterised the first time, a pair of long gold ear-rings ! “Morning Star ;" early hours, indeed, Jan had been standing for about ten for the family went nightly to bed with minutes an unsuspected observer of the the lamb, and reason good, for they group, when Trinette suddenly perceive rose before the lark. Now, it happen- ed him, as she passed the window in ed one day towards the end of Autumn, the course of her household arrangethat Jan had been detained at Liege till ments, and her surprise was indicated a much later hour than usual, yet be by a start, which the jealous lover was unwilling to return home without thought betokened less gratification communicating to his friend Adam some than her manner towards hiin usually important intelligence he had just re. evinced ; and his reflections did not beceived from the brother-in-law of the come less gloomy, when she joined cousin of the burgomaster's confiden- him, exclaiming in her liveliest tone, tial servant, relative to an expected “A fine night, Mynheer Jan! but somerise in the price of hops. He almost what of the chilliest. Methinks it would feared that the door might have been be wiser in your worship to turn in, closed for the night, but there was no and take a seat by our fire-side, than to harm in trying if it were still on the stand out here in the frosty wind, countlatch. His surprise and pleasure may ing the stars, like M. le Cure, or the be conceived when, as he approached, bishop's chaplain.” “I am not cold, he saw the fire-light darting bright, Trinette," replied Jan, exasperated by cheering gleams through the still-open her ill-timed pleasantry, “ neither was casement. I will not venture to afirm I counting the stars, neither am I disthat his feelings experienced no check, posed for a seat by the fire-side in the when a closer examination enabled him company of strangers."

“For that to discover that Adam's kitchen that matter," returned the damsel, with a evening received unwonted guests. toss of her little head, “ nobody wishes Three men of unprepossessing physio- to constrain your self-willed inclinagnomy, in whose dress the trader and tions. But I find it cold, and I must go the military adventurer were anoma- in; my master and these honourable lously blended, were seated smoking gentlemen will require my attendance."

“ You are

[ocr errors]

" These honourable gentlemen, indeed! set forward on their way before the I never saw more unprepossessing- city gates are open in the morning ; looking individuals in my life. Let me and as for their lodging, my mistress tell you, Trinette, it is not for the cre- and I will sleep in the inner room, and dit of the “ Morning Star” 10 harbour the eldest of the travellers will have a such suspicious characters. · Honour. bed in the kitchen ; old Adam will do able gentlemen! Why, they are more very well for one night, rolled in a like smugglers, or deserters, or bri. good blanket, and lying on the housegands,” continued !e, in rising wrath ; hold chest ; and the two others, being If old Adam would take my advice, active young men, have no objection to he would close his door against such climb the ladder and sleep in the loft." desperadoes." “ Vastly well, Heer“ You have managed well; and yet St. Van Bloemen!” retorted the maid of Gudule help me! but I have great misthe inn ; “but old Adam knows his givings about these men.” interest, and my interest, and the in- valorous," replied Trinette, laughing terest of the "Morning Star" better affectedly. Good Jan! mind your than to close his door against respect- cabbages, and let us manage our affairs able travellers from foreign parts, with for ourselves. It's lucky you have not their memories full of old stories from yet authority to command in the “Morndistant countries, and reports of the ing Star," and may be it were wiser wars of our own days, and their purses that I never put it in your power to do full of broad pieces, which they are * It might be better for us both ready and willing to spend.' Ay, that I never attempted to influence a and their knapsacks full of trinkets and stubborn will, or attach a fickle heart.' toys, which they are willing to bestow “As you will, Jan-the lngs would be on the host's pretty niece, cried the yours, not mine,” retorted the offended indignant gardener, furiously glancing girl. at the new ear-rings which had just The tone of forced mirth in which met his eye. Now, Trinette really these words were pronounced was inloved Jan as well as she loved any finitely displeasing to Jan's feelings, thing excepting herself ; so, perhaps, and he was far too angry to observe that had she not been self-convicted of a tears of vexation gushed into her eyes. superabundance of complacency in her The insulting laugh was conclusive ; new bravery attire, she would have he turned sullenly on his heel, and left condescended to relieve his uneasiness her without one parting word. She by acknowledging that the obnoxious watched him with half-relenting interest ornaments were the present of her sis- till he was out of sight; twice she was ter, the wife of a respectable grocer at about to recal him, and twice pride Namur; but offended by his jealousy, overcame her better feelings. I will and not quite displeased to consider make friends with him to-morrow,' said herself the injured party instead of the shemto-morrow.' The morrow broke, aggressor, she contented herself with and Jan, magnanimously nursing his replying scornfully, “ These ear-rings much-abated indignation, resolved to were not given me by the honourable betake hiinself for his morning meal to gentlemen. It is very strange, Jan Van any place in the neighbourhood, exBloemen, that you will imagine there is cept the 'Morning Star.' Fearful that no one disposed to make me a present he might be tempted to break through but yourself or old Adam, or these this praiseworthy resolution, he would guests of our's."

I wish your guests not even trust himself to look in that were-at Liege,” interrupted he, sup- direction, and actually proceeded to his pressing a less charitable wish. “ The master's garden by the straight path gates will soon be shut, and they will across the fields, revolving in his mind hardly like to spend the night in the thoughts not very complimentary to the fields." “Neither will they require constancy of the fair sex in general, to do somthey propose lodging here." and of the individual culprit in parti“ Here ?" reiteraied Jan, who knew, cular. He had not proceeded very far from the proximity of the city, such a on his way, before be was accosted by thing had never occurred as a travel. Wilhelm Stein, the mason, who obler's spending the night under old served in that tone of peculiar bitterAdam Polder's roof. " It is impossible, ness which distinctly indicates that the Trinette ; "you have not accomodation individual speaking has suffered a disto receive them." “It is very certain, appointment in the matter of his matin however, that these honourable gentle- meal, “ Friend Jan! the "Morning Star men have pressing business ; they will will lose its reputation for early hours:

6

[ocr errors]

I have been knocking at the door till I brass-belted chest, whose lid had been am tired, and no one answers ; the burst open, and the contents rifled. shutters are still closed, and the house. The corpse of his wife was also stiffen. hold doubtless still asleep. As a friend, ing in her blood, and a weak, feeble let me advise you to remonstrate with groaning alone indicated that the murTrinette, or the leathern purse will be derers had left one deed of blood incomlighter than you think for. In the plete. Could affection stay the parting bitterness of bis wrath, Jan was about breath, Jan's assurances of pardon were emphatically to declare his total indif- not wanting. But Trinette's moments ference to the weight of the purse, and were numbered ; and gathering her his unqualified conviction of the abso- little remaining strength by an effort, to lute inutility of any remonstrance from point out the last night's travellers as him in that quarter; but as no man the perpetrators of the crime, she sunk likes to point himself out as the object back upon his shoulder to wake no of indifference and contempt to the more! 'Search was made instantly for ladye love, he allowed the observation the fugitives, and they were very shortly to pass, as if unheard, and contented discovered, 'concealed in a low oakhimself with forming a very fervent copse, about half a mile from the spot. mental aspiration, that, ere long, by They offered no resistance when seized, word or deed, William Stein might give but suffered themselves tranquilly to be him a legitimate excuse for knocking conducted to the Hotel de Ville, where, him down. Wilhelm passed on, and as it happened, the tribunal of justice Jan, who soon reached his destination, was at that moment sitting. Trinette's addressed himself diligently to his work; dying deposition, and Jan's identificabut before noon, many passers-by had tion of their persons were unnecessary remarked on the tardiness of the Morn- to convict them, as they made a full ing Star,' and some expressed a doubtful confession of their guilt, which was acwish that all might be well within.' companied by circumstances of peculiar Coupling these remarks with the re- barbarity and duplicity. Sentence was collections of the night before, a sudden passed upon them, and every individual apprehension flashed across the gar- present acquiesced in the justice of the dener's mind. He threw down his award; but a thrill of horror ran thro' spade, and hurried to the little inn; the whole court, when one of the prithe shutters were still closed, and, to soners stepping forward, declared in his his inexpressible horror, he perceived own name and that of his accomplices, that no smoke curled from its chimneys. that from the moment of committing the He knocked, but there was no answer: crime for which they were justly about he called, but nothing appeared to stir to suffer, they felt that they were deliwithin. Some persons, however, hear- veredover, body and spirit, to the enemy ing him, hastened from the neighbour- of souls. They had wandered for hours, ing fields to his assistance. The door, but always in a circle ; for an irresistible upon trial, appeared firmly fastened; force restrained their steps, and withand they were considering what course held them within sight of the home of they should next pursue, when a faint, their unoffending victims. They were a very faint moaning decided them to removed from the bar, and a pious enter, let follow what might There priest never after left their side, urging was a low window at the back of the ihein to employ their few remaining house, which occurred to them as offer- hours in making their peace with Heaing more facility for gaining admission ven. But they turned a deaf ear to his than any other. It looked into the gar- admonitions ; they spurned the offers den, and the flower-beds beneath had of pardon, and awaited in hardened evidenly been recently trampled. The impenitence or stolid apathy, their fearshutters, which were here simply closed, ful doom. The fated hour arrived, and not bolted, yielded immediately to their an immense crowd collected to witness hands, and Jan Van Bloemen sprang in their execution. I will not enter into hastily, and gained the interior of the the details-suffice it to say, that the cottage before any of his companions sentence decreed them to be burnt, that had followed him. An exclamation of their very remains might not encumber horror prepared them in some degree the earth. But no human hand scattered for the scene within. The stream of their ashes to the winds of heaven; for, light from the garden window disclosed while the flames still crept lazily round an appalling spectacle. The lifeless the blackened pile, a tempest arose body of old Adam, gashed with wounds, which, in violence, surpassed any that lay on the kitchen floor, close by the the oldest Liegeois present ever remem

bered. Loud, sudden, cracking bursts sively uninteresting sort of meeting for of thunder, attended by vivid and forky any long time; I am bound to bear this lightnings, and furiously rushing blasts testimony in its favour, that so quiet a of wind, dispersed the terrified multi- day of election, both without and withtude. The alarmed executioner even in doors, I never witnessed either in fled from the spot, and it was not till the Scotland or England. I did not see or storm had subsided into a heavy conti- hear of a drunk person in the street nuous plashy rain, that he returned to of the village or neighbourhood, nor look upon his work. A black scathed- did I observe any thing extraordinary, looking spot was all the trace left of except the increased number of carwhat had recently occurred there, from riages and waggons

of all kinds, which, to his unutterable horror, crawl- three or four of them drawn by four ed an innumerable swarm of black- horses, and one by six. We were beetles, who spread themselves in all residing close by the hotel where the directions through the city.

election took place, and in the even

ing, the tranquillity was as complete ON THE BALLOT IN NORTH

as if no election had occurred.

Stuart's Three Years in North America. AMERICA.

THE BRACELET. It was on the 5th November that I was present at the election at Ballston “ I shall lose money by this braceSpa, held in one of the hotels, about the let," quoth Monsieur Peront, as he door of which twenty or thirty people reclined in an easy chair; nursing his might be standing. My friend Mr. legs, and looking thoughtful ;-it was Brown introduced me, and got me a a leathern chair studded with brass place at the table. I must confess that I nails.- Peront's eye was slowly wanhave been seldom more disappointed dering over the nail-heads, as if using at a public meeting. The excitement them in his calculation : he had countoccasioned by the election generally ed some score or two," I shall lose was declared by the newspapers to be money by this bracelet,” reiterated far greater than had ever been witness- Peront, letting go his leg, and thrusted since the declaration of indepen- ing his hands somewhat sharply into dence in 1776. And at Ballston Spa, his huge sixteenth-century side pockets. any irritation which existed had been “You can afford it,” replied his increased by an attack made a few days wife coolly. previous to the election by the local “ Humph !” groaned Peront ; and press, and by hand-bills, on the moral the conversation ceased. character of one of the candidates, a Monsieur Peront was a short thick gentleman who had filled a high office man, with a large matter-of-fact sort in Congress, and who resided in the of countenance, only rescued from the neighbourhood. I was therefore pre- charge of stolidity, by a pair of keen, pared for some fun, for some ebullition grey, shrewd looking eyes ; it was the of humour, or of sarcastic remark, or face of a man careful and prudent, yet dry wit, to which Americans are said to tolerably well satisfied with the world be prone. But all was dumb show, or and himself. His dress was arranged the next thing to it. The ballot-boxes with sedulous neatness, and accorded were placed at a long table, at which well with his character, viz. a painshalf a dozen of the inspectors or canvas- taking, God-fearing, wealthy citizen of sers of votes were seated. The voters Paris. He continued grumbling to himapproached the table by single files. self, carrying on a sort of interjectional Not a word was spoken. Each voter soliloquy, about loss and profit, gems delivered his list, when he got next to and carcanets, rings and bracelets ; the table, to the officers, who called out then casting his eyes towards the ceilhis name. Any person might object, ing, he continued gazing at a flickering but the objection was instantly decided beam which the evening sun, playing on,—the officers having no difficulty, on the river Aa, created there, and from their knowledge of the township, carrying on a mental calculation conof the persons residing in it, and to cerning the subject most upon his mind. whose testimony reference was instantly But whether the aforesaid refraction made, in determining on the spot, whe- dazzled his eyes, and thereby refused ther the qualification of the voter was his brain, or whether Monsieur Peront or was not sufficient. I need hardly was in want of his usual afternoon's say, that I did not attend this exces nap, or whether the braying of trum

pets, tramping of horses, shouts, Peront coloured. screams, and a variety of noises, which “ 'Tis an unlucky thing,” said he, resounded from the adjacent town of “and the sooner I get it out of my hands St. Omers, distracted his attention, is the better ; I will take it to-morrow not known; suffice it to say, that he morning.” was as completely entangled and per “ You had better take it to-night.” plexed with his own reckoning as the “ Heavens ! my dear, it is full ten dullest school-boy who ever scratched miles to Ardres, and the road so thronghis head over a first som in multiplica- ed; but to-morrow it shall to the king, tion.-" Pish!” said he, shifting his and the next day we will return to position with vehemence, “the devil's Paris. I am tired of all this pageanin this bracelet and all that belongs try.” to it. Did not I faw one of the best “Humph!” quoth Madame Peront diamonds in working on it? Did not in her tırn. Jean Pockard, my apprentice, steal Peront took his hat and cloak and some of my tools ! Did not - but it's sallied forth ; he lingered about the of no use talking, the devil's in the door of the house. It was a small debracelet, and there's an end."

tached habitation in which the jeweller “And whose fault is that, Monsieur and his wife had taken up their abode, Peront ?" said his wife, looking up during their temporary absence from from her work, “Why did you begin Paris. It was constructed entirely of to make it on St. Martin's day, which wood, with the exception of a long you had vowed to keep holy ?"

sloping roof of tiles. The narrow door“Santa Maria! Madame Peront,” way was supported by oaken posts of exclaimed he, crossing himself, “ have enormous thickness, and several steps not I given to the altar of St. Martin a descended into the abode, each story candelabrum of massive silver chased"- projected considerably beyond the one “ 'Tis no matter_"

below, so that the upper rooms nearly “No matter ! Madame Peront! But overhúng the river Aa, which flowed I have confessed, and received absolu- before the house. tion of the Abbe Eustache, think of that, Peront gazed at the setting sun, and Monsierir l'Abbe !—Monsieur l'Abbe !" tried to trace the forms of castles,

Madame Peront shook her head ; she towers, and minarets, in the fantastic saw he was trying to stife his Catholic piles of snowy clouds which (edged conscience.

with gold) sailed slowly along the even“The bracelet is ill faled," said she; ing sky. Then he leaned upon “ you know it was to be given to Henry cane, and watched the little whirlpools the Eighth of England by our own King of the rapid gurgling stream, or the Francis, (whom the Saints defend,) and circling eddies with which a playful Jacqueline tells me there are three fish sometimes rippled its surface. strange rumours abroad: men say that But this bracelet-this teasing bracetheir friendship, though it looks as gay let-still haunted his mind; it was one as the gold cup you made for the Count of those vexatious inexplicable subjects Philip, is almost as hollow.”

which sometimes retain their power “Jacqueline is a false quean to say over the imagination with an obstinate So," " exclaimed the jeweller, “our tenacity, much more than adequate to king is as true as a Brussels balance, their importance. and for Henry-to be sure he wants The fact is, Monsieur Peront was a polishing, so does our best salver, as rigid Catholic, not without a deep tinge you know very well, yet it is none the of superstition in his nature ; he had worse metal for that if there be a false been induced by the ardent and impeface amongst them it is that of the tuous Francis (whose enthusiastic temhaughty English minister,—they say per brooked no delay) to infringe upon he's only the son of a butcher-I am a bis vow, by commencing the manufacjeweller myself!" With that Monsieur ture of the bracelet upon a sacred day; Peront's sitting posture from an obtuse and a series of fortuitous circumstances becaine an acute angle.

had so preyed upon the prejudiced Madame Peront smiled.

mind of the jeweller, that he almost re. " Why," continued he, “ should a garded the toy with a degree of mysti. thing of such value be given to the En- cal awe, by no means incompatible glish, to be carried out of the country? with the illiberal feelings of a bigoted Francis pays dear enough for the top.' Catholic,- at least of the sixteenth

“ Does he so ?” said Madame Pe- century. ront archly.

Golden Logends.

his

« AnteriorContinua »