Imatges de pÓgina

was impossible ; after repeated trials no one had even hinted at it. The and failures, he tried to carry it off; idea occurred to him; he had no but this also he found impossible accomplice but Blösel ; had never without assistance. The perspiration spoken to any one on the subject poured down his face. He had come except Blösel and his wife, neither so far, been hitherto so successful, and before nor since, least of all to the now all seemed hopeless! He had Maunerts, Schönleben, or Beutner. incurred the risk, and not gained his These were entirely innocent. He object.

and Blösel alone were guilty. Suddenly the thought of his man Before his arrest and imprisonment Blösel occurred to him. He could be Gösser had attempted suicide, by induced to assist. In another minute cutting his throat with a razor; and he had crept from the counting-house, in prison he tried to open a vein; and through the street door, which but both attempts had been frustrathe closed carefully, and hurried to ed. He confessed having made these the bedside of his sleeping apprentice. attempts " from despair.” Beyond Blösel, half stupified with

sleep, heard this single crime he had nothing of him describe in glowing colours the which to accuse himself. His life wealth and enjoyment which awaited had been honest until that fatal 29th him if he had the courage to make June. He could give no reason for one bold and easy stroke. It did not that deed, except the pressing poverty seem to require much eloquence to which weighed him down. overcome the scruples of the appren- This confession was made so simply, tice, if indeed he felt any; for, rubbing so explicitly, and was corroborated in his eyes to assure himself that he so many details, that no doubt could was awake, he jumped out of bed, arise as to its perfect truth; and one dressed rapidly, and followed his would have thought that the premaster down stairs.

viously accused prisoners would now In the silent sleeping streets they be set at liberty, and their entire only met one living soul, and con- innocence proclaimed. Not so, howcluded it was a watchman-it was ever. Nürnberg justice, rash enough probably the very shopkeeper who de- in suspicion of crime, was tardy in posed to having seen two suspicious- recognition of innocence. It dreaded looking men crossing the Horse-mar- the idea of having been so deplorably ket about that hour. They found misled. the strect door slightly ajar. They Gösser's wife was next examined. entered, carried off the cash-box with. She corroborated in all essential out disturbance, and transported it points the statement of her husband. home. They opened it, and divided On the night in question she slept the spoil, during the absence of away from her husband on account Gösser's wife. They hid the box in of the sickness of her baby, then at a hole under the workshop, and there the breast ; so that she knew nothing it had remained until three weeks of his getting up and quitting the ago, when it was removed, broken to house. Only in respect of the day pieces, and thrown into the Pegnitz, on which he confessed the crime to —the muddy stream which flows her did she differ from bis statement. through Nürnberg.

It was on the second, not on the Four days after the robbery, Gösser fourth day after the deed. She had confessed it to his wife, who swooned just returned from being churched away, and on recovering herself im- at St Laurenz ; and saw her husband plored him to restore the money, as pay a dollar for some nails he had indeed she had continued daily to bought ; on her asking him, when implore him, ever since. But he alone, where that money came from, paid some pressing debts, bought he replied that Herr von Scheidlin what was needed for his business, as had paid him some money in advance well as clothes for himself and family; for work ordered. She reproached and would not hear of restoring the bim for acting without her advice money.

and knowledge, keeping her in ignorGösser further declared that no one ance of his affairs; whereupon he had ever instigated him to the deed; replied that if she would only be a


decent woman and leave off reproach- that Gösser at length made a clean ing him, he would willingly tell her breast of it to his wife. He had also everything: He constantly went out often spoken with Gösser about the into the shop, and after whispering unhappy accused suffering for them, with the apprentice Blosel, returned but only got for answer, that “these again ; and as she, with some im- must be set free at last, and thus patience, demanded what this all

we are safe.” meant, he seized her by the arm, led After a second search in Gösser's her into the bedroom, and having dwelling, which completely confirmed first asked her if she would forgive all that had been said, and which him, and not be startled at what he yielded upwards of 200 gulden, from told her, he confessed all. She various hiding - places ; and after thought the earth would swallow pieces of the iron-box had been her. She implored him not to ruin fished up from the Pegnitz, and reher and the children ; but he pacified cognised-in fact, after no shadow of her, and assured her that no one doubt could exist as to the truth would ever know anything about it. of Gösser's story, the unfortunate She gave an accurate account of how Maunert, Schönleben, and Beutner, the money had been spent: an account were lightened of their irons, and which proved them to have been in their imprisonment in many respects the utmost need ; and she described mitigated; but it still continued ; the various places where the rest of and it was only by degrees that they the money was hidden, naming which were informed of the new turn the sums belonged to the apprentice, and affair had taken. which to her husband. She declared And now imagine the torrent of that repeatedly she had urged the public wrath against the barber restoration of at least a part of the Kirchmeier, whom every one money, and intreated him to make cused of being the sole cause of all his peace with God and man by a the cruel injustice perpetrated on the confession ; but he was immovable. Maunerts, no one, of course, accusing When she painted to him the suffer- himself of having, by credulity and ings which the innocent were under- facile hypothesis of guilt, aided and going for his crime, he tried to abetted.. Kirchmeier was held rereassure her, declaring that their sponsible for all. It was not enough innocence must soon be proved, and that he had perjured himself; he had then they would be set free.

misled justice, had caused the death Magnus Melchior Blösel, the ap- of one poor woman, and the sufferprentice, aged twenty-five, son of a ings of a whole family. He was working carpenter, still living in arrested on the 4th November; and Nürnberg, confessed to all that Gösser after the three confessions had been had said. He only urged, as a de- read aloud to him, was asked if he fence, that he had struggled against still ventured to affirm what he had temptation. When Gösser on the sworn ? night of the 29th June shook him in With firm voice Kirchmeier dehis bed and awoke him by the assur- clared, “That he could still in clear ance that both of them should be conscience affirm that, on the mornmade happy, he asked, how? and ing in question, in the presence of where? No sooner had these ques- Frau Maunert and her youngest son, tions been answered than he ex- while shaving Maunert, he had seen claimed, “For God's sake, master! a dark green-striped cash-box, paintwhat will come of it? We should ed with flowers on the cover, and the both come to grief !”—hoping by this lock ornamented with four leaves, to dissuade the master. Blosel, in such as he had previously described, subsequent investigations, did not standing by the oven behind the persist in even this modest scruple ; door. It was to him inexplicable and admitted that the master's reply, and inconceivable that God should “Pho! nothing will come of it,” quite so have suffered him to be deceived, silenced him. He corroborated all inasmuch as he had never traced the the other details, and declared that slightest tendency to illusion, or deit was on his repeated remonstrances fect of understanding, all his life.




Falsely Accused.

[Feb. He could not believe in such a decep- cash-box would soon become so vivid tion of his senses.

to his mind, that to believe he had In vain were the confessions read seen it somewhere would be an easy, to him; in vain was all the corro- almost irresistible step. But where? borative evidence adduced ; in vain That he had noticed it at Maunert's were the fragments fished up from might have occurred to him, either the river laid before him ; he stead- from a dim recollection of the mefastly held to his original position, dallion box, or perhaps from a supthat he had seen such a box in the posed suspiciousness in the behaviour place stated, and on the day stated. of the Maunerts. At any rate, it seems No one knew-no one ever knew- quite clear to us that this idea of whether this was a real conviction, Maunert's room being the locality or a simulated confidence, adopted must have been an after-thought, out of self-defence.

since on his mentioning to Hölzel And here the psychological interest that he had seen such a cash-box of this case rises to its height, pre- somewhere, he did not, on being asked cisely where the criminal interest where ? give any direct

What mystery lies at the Now it is in the highest degree bottom of Kirchmeier's accusation? improbable that he should have conHe was not himself in any way im- cealed such a fact-having no moplicated in the robbery, so that his tiye for concealment—as that he had motive could not have been to divert seen the box on the very morning of suspicion. He was not known to be that day, in Maunert's room. Not in any degree unfriendly with the until ten days afterwards did KirchMaunerts, and the absurd idea of his meier tell Hölzel where he had seen having accused them, because irri- it. Having once conceived the idea tated at receiving no new-year's gift, that he had seen the cash-box at by its very absurdity shows that no Maunert's, the belief could only intelligible motive for hatred existed. strengthen in his mind. Indeed, If therefore the motive was neither this is the very nature of an hallucione of self-defence nor of diabolical nation ; and perhaps the reader may inalice, what was it? To this day be interested if we digress a little the problem of that conduct remains here to narrate an authentic case, unsolved; and the psychologist may which will render Kirchmeier's halfairly ask, Was it not wholly an lucination intelligible, We take it hallucination on the barber's part? from Professor Draper's Human Was not this pretended cash-box, seen Physiology, where it is narrated by at Maunert's, the product of a too the physician to whom it occurred, vivid imagination giving reality to When he was five or six years old, its conceptions, as Macbeth's heat- he dreamed that he was passing by oppressed brain saw the actual dag- a large pond of water in a very soliger marshalling him the way which tary place. On the opposite side of he was going, " and on its blade and it there stood a great tree, that looked dudgeon gouts of blood ?" There as if it had been struck by lightning ; are sufficient examples of hallucina- and in the pond, at another part, an tion, even in persons not suspected old fallen trunk, on one of the prone of any mental disturbance, to render limbs of which there was a turtle such an idea very probable. sunning himself. “On a sudden,”

Kirchmeier declared that he had he says, a wind arose, which forced never known himself liable to any me into the pond, and in my dying illusions of the senses. And this may struggles to extricate myself from its have been the case. But he was of green and slimy waters, I awoke, a bilious, excitable temperament; trembling with terror. About eight and had only quite recently recov- years after, while recovering from an ered from a severe attack of bilious attack of scarlet fever, this dream fever. If now we imagine such a presented itself to me again, identiman greatly excited by the news of cal in all respects. Even up to this the robbery, and hearing on all hands time I do not think I had even seen descriptions of the cash-box, it is very a living tortoise or turtle ; but I conceivable that the image of this indistinctly remembered there was


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the picture of one in the first spell- call me into those parts again, I would ing-book that had been given me." satisfy myself as to the matter." This fact of never having seen a Accordingly, some time afterwards turtle is worth noticing, because he visited the well-remembered spot. Kirchmeier also had never seen Ster- There, sure enough, was the stagnant benk's cash-box; but he, of course, pool; but the blasted pine-tree was heard it described with some accu- not there. He searched all round, racy, and the description sufficed for but not a stump or trace of any tree his imagination, as the spelling-book having grown there could be found, picture sufficed for the boy's dream. and he rightly concluded that, as

A dozen years elapsed,” continues he was falling asleep, the glimpse of the narrative. “I had become a the water had been incorporated with physician, and was now actively his dream, and that in reality he had pursuing my professional duties in dreamed, but had not seen tħe vision one of the southern States. It so which so deeply moved him. Supfell out that one July afternoon I pose this physician to have been an had to take a long and wearisome unreflecting man, and he would at ride on horseback. It was Sunday, any time have been ready to swear and extremely hot; the path was solemnly to having seen, in broad solitary and not a house for miles. daylight, the thing which we know The forest had that intense silence he could not have seen. Now the which is characteristic of this part difference between dreams and halof the day; all the wild animals and lucinations is little more than that, birds seemed to have gone to their in the one case, we dream with our retreats to be rid of the sun. Sud- eyes closed, in the other, with our denly at one point of the road I eyes open. Let the imagination be came upon a great stagnant water vividly impressed, and it will see its pool, and casting my eyes across it, objects as distinctly as the eye can there stood a pine-tree blasted by see realities; and when there is nolightning, and on a log that was thing to warn a man of his error, he nearly even with the surface a turtle cannot do otherwise than believe in was basking in the sun. The dream it. of my infancy was upon me; the This is the only explanation of bridle fell from my hands ; an un- Kirchmeier's conduct that we can utterable fear overshadowed me as offer; and that some such view was I slunk away from the accursed taken of it by the court seems cerplace.”

tain, for although tried as a perjurer, For years the horror of that mo- he was acquitted of having falsely ment was upon him; and although sworn from any bad motive; his business often led him in that direc- oath was regarded as a sincere act tion, he always went by another on his part, although he himself had path, to avoid that stagnant pool been unaccountably deceived. He and blasted pine-tree, which he had was, therefore, simply condemned to seen (as he believed) in broad day- the costs, and received no other punlight. At last reflection--he being ishment from the court. a reflecting man-came to his aid. It was otherwise with the verdict He asked himself whether it was not of Nürnberg. The law might acquit more probable that he should, for the him; society was implacable. In third time, have dreamed this dream, vain had he given three hundred than that the dream itself should gulden to the wretched Maunert, as actually have come true ? “Have I the only compensation in his power really seen the blasted pine-tree and for the injury done him ; the public basking turtle ?” he said.

wrath was very nearly proceeding to weary ride of fifty miles, the noon- Lynch Law. He was scouted in the tide heat, the silence that could al- streets; all his friends turned away most be felt, no provocatives to a from him in contempt; neither he dream? I have ridden under such nor any of his family found a word circumstances many a mile, and have of compassion or of credit ; all his awoke and known it, and so I re- customers deserted him ; so that to solved, if ever circumstances should save himself from execration, if not

66 Are a

from starvation, he had to quit Nürn- And the unhappy accused ? Public berg, where he had so long been opinion of course turned completely known and respected, as a religious, round, and every one was anxious to honourable, punctual citizen. With help by sympathy, or friendly offices, what thoughts he must have endured those whom it had so unjustly conthis punishment, if he felt himself demned. It is not recorded how innocent! What he really felt was many gossips on door-steps and in never known to others than his beer-houses asserted that they had family ; nor was there ever any clue always thought the accused were inas to whether he really continued to nocent; but we may be sure that believe what he had so steadfastly this ex-post-facto clearsightedness asserted.

was abundantly proclaimed. Mau

. After such a case, the value of a nert, indeed, had lost his wife, and single witness, however explicit his his children were motherless ; Schönstatement, and however honourable leben's youngest child had also been his character, necessarily became com- murdered. These graves could not paratively slight. No two persons be reopened; but these sorrows would be likely to have had precise- might to some extent be lightened, ly the same illusion; and unless two and the simple good-natured Nürnpersons swear to a fact, jurispru- bergers did their best to make the dence very properly sees a possibi- sufferers forget what was in truth lity of the witness being in error. unforgetable.




AFTER a day spent by woods fairly catch it themselves, and an ex, and waters, on the heather or the ulting public said, Take that, and green turf, there is a faint sensa- remember. No doubt they will retion of the odious in re-entering a member. The duty of the Legislator town--even in treading a turnpike was never so brought home to him road. The sunny days of an before. He had just built for himtumn recess only deepen the con- self his “lordly pleasure-house," "and trast between the healthy freshness in the towers he placed great bells of nature and the insalubrity that that swung,” and might have asked, mankind bring about them wher- like the Queen of the palace of art, ever they are densely congregated, “Who shall gaze upon my palace not merely in the unpaved lane or nar- with unblinded eyes," when beħold a row court where poor people live all curse more dire than hers, even when the year round, but also in the squares “On corpses three months old at noon she and crescents where all is done that the habits and the sanitary science That stood against the wall”— of the day suggest to mitigate the comes down upon his grandeur, and offence. The recollection of the fetid envelopes it in filth and stench. So dust on the hot stones which drove us terrible a combination of pestiferous away in August, revives when we re- gases had the machinations of the turn in November, and adds to what- sanitarians rolled down upon the ever reality there may be in the com- Houses of Parliament, that Cockneyparative impurity of town air. But dom might have fairly expected some of all the reminiscences of this kind, unconscious person to accomplish at what can ever have been so potent, last their proverbial impossibility of “infandum revocare dolorem," as the setting the Thames on fire, and to return of the British Legislature to behold their favourite river glitterthe banks of the Thames must be ? ing like a petroleum lake with little Whether oblivious or not to the lambent flames catching its escaping cry of other sufferers wailing for gases. Indeed, among the multisanitary reform and the removal of tudinous projects for disposing usenoxious nuisances, they did at last fully, properly, ornamentally, and

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