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BY RICHARD HENRY STODDART.
and mothers joined sons and daughters at the left, its blood-red pinnacles crowned with distant service, or, joy and pride above all
, when a ruined castle, towers the splendid Rheinold and young couples 'met, and der rleine grafenstein. On all sides boulders and rifted (baby), was handed over to its grandparents! walls, blades, needles, spires, and domes of What bandshakings, what frank embraces igneous rock, blood-red, purple, or black, accordamong middle-aged friends, what explosive ing as they stand in shade or sunshine, strangely welcomes between brothers and sisters, what contrast with their masses of foliage and the shy, glad greetings between youth and maid ! smooth green hill slopes. Shadows from passing And then, as they fell into groups together, only clouds flicker over the scene, giving fantastic to hear them questioning for brothers abroad, changes of colour to the rocks, and bringing out for very old folks and babies left at home, all the tints of the vegetation from bright greens giving the news of who was born, betrothed, or almost to black; so that the panorama is always wedded; the summary of village gossip, the changing. And the charm of association well-kept bit of scandal. Never surely was any heightens the charm of this beautiful country, gathering of people more simple and kindly- for close at hand, well guarded by rock and river, hearted, more intensely human, more tenderly stands Ebernburg, the old stronghold of Franz picturesque.
von Sickengen; where Melancthon, Bucer, and “Bless me!” an Englishman near other leaders of the German reformation, found exclaimed, as he watched the members of a rest and shelter ; where Ulrich von Hutton set scattered family meet and bug. “Bless me; up his printing press, and whence he scattered his now, what this sort of thing must be to the political and religious broadsheets through the people !"
length and breadth of the land. What it really is to the people, was, I think, eloquently told by an announcement three weeks afterwards in the local paper. It came across the Atlantic from emigrant Kreuznachers to all the inhabitants of the Kreis, telling how they had kept Kreuznach Jahrmarkt at its appointed
A WINTER SCENE. time in the backwoods, how they had sung the old songs, and drunk health to all friends then at the Jahrmarkt at home. Although Kreuznach cannot boast a single
It is a morn in winter, fine building, it has sundry nooks and corners
The air is white with snow; well worth exploring. As, for instance, the
And on the chinar branches Heidenmaner (heathen's wall), a great mural
Jasmins seem to grow. fragment which once formed part of a square castle built by the Romans, and which, by the
The furrowed fields and hill-tops way, we really heard described by an American
With icy treasures shine, visitor, as belonging to “the time when
Like scales of silver fishes, the Roman-catholics overran Europe.” The
Or jewels in a mine. Zwingel or Zwinger, also is picturesque, a narrow outlet to the Schlossberg, and formerly the means of communication between the town and its
The bitter wind has banished feudal castle. Of the latter, only a few ruins
The silent nightingale, now remain ; but a weather-worn stone lion still
And the rose, like some coy maiden, stands beside them in token of medieval relations
Is muffled in a veil. between the castle and the town; a lion set up by a Count von Sponheim, in the 13th century,
Its silver song of summer in grateful memory of a citizen who had saved
No more the fountain sings, his life in battle at cost of his own.
And frozen are the rivers From the Schlossberg the traveller may go on
That fed the bath of kings ! through the woods, vineyards, and fields, of the high lands till he arrives at the rocky platform
No flower-girls in the market, of the Rothenfels, a grand mass of porphyry rising
For flowers are out of datt; almost sheer from the river. The scenery at
And the keepers of the roses this point (three miles above Kreuznach), is
Have shut the garden gate. perhaps the finest in the neighbourhood. At his feet, a thousand feet below, in the valley, are
No happy guests are drinking village, railway, and the river, which winds away
Their goblets crowned with vine, northwards past Kreuznach down to a point
For gone are all the merchants where the Rhine hills shut in the blue distance,
That sold the merry wine ! Right opposite is a wild jumble of hills, and, looking beyond them, the eye traverses the sunlit
And gone the dancing women, cornfields and pastures of the Bavarian Palatin
Before the winds and snows; ate till it rests on the great grey ridge of the
Their summer souls have followed Lemberg. Across a fine curve of the valley to
The nightingale and rose !
THE ROADSIDE INN.
BY O, I. C.
It was the month of stormy December ; so donna ! I am but a poor, lonely girl, and in gr ea that there was nothing to be wondered at in the trouble to-day; the Siguor Soldato will be so fact that it was a rainy, tempestuous day, in the good as to seek another inn; may all the saints particular district of Italy, in which lies the bless him !" scene of our story. For, though that beautiful “ Per Baccho!" exclaimed the soldier, land has blue, bright cloudless skies, yet they can impatiently," does the Bona dama take me for sometimes frown as darkly even as those of foggy, un ladro, that she keeps me standing in this gloomy England. And on this occasion the deluge, aprite leste e Dio rebenedica??” great heavy slanting rain beat incessantly against There must have been something reassuring the old rude unplastered walls of the lonely in the manner of the young petitioner, for the Roadside Inn, and poured down in streams of girl was prevailed on at last, and descending the red tiles that roofed it.
timidly to the door, drew back the bolts to admit No smoke ascended from the half-fallen him and his wearied horse, for, as in many other chimney, and the closed door and shattered Italian inns, the stable formed part of the house, windows, told that either there were no guests occupying indeed nearly all the ground portion of inside, or that they had chosen to shut them- it, and the tardily-admitted guest drew the poor selves in from the weather in very cheerless dark- animal across the paved court, in the midst of
However, it seemed more likely that the the building, to a stall at the other, side of the place was without guests, for, after all, few house. would be likely to travel on such a day and on The interior of the building was large, such a road, unless some great necessity indeed rambling, and half-ruinous now, although it had compelled them to it; but that such necessity formerly been much frequented before new roads did exist for some person, was proved by the had been formed, taking passengers and traffic sound of horse's feet borne on the hurricane that in quite another direction ; so that it was now swept fiercely by, increasing in clearness and seldom used; the more particularly, perhaps, that drawing nearer and nearer every moment, until
, several robberies had from time to time been at length, the rider's head appeared above the committed near it. In its more palmy days, it high straggling thorn hedge, which ran along be. had been kept by a certain Petruccio Russeio fore the wayside hostelry.
and his wife, assisted by an only daughter The horseman, who wore a helmet and plume, Juanita. However, the good woman caught a now all drenched and forlorn-looking, reined in malignant fever, such as is seldom met with in his horse from his headlong gallop as he Italy, and died; and her husband Petruccio, approached the small house, and though much either with grief or perhaps hard drinking, we injured in appearance by the storm, still looked will not decide which, was not slow in following a young and strikingly
, handsome man. A her example, leaving their daughter the inn and soldier, too, he took his drenching lightly, yet to several large vineyards attached to it. It was proceed farther on a jaded horse and in such whispered that Petruccio had been rich in his weather, was not to be thought of while there way, and had also left behind a good sum in ready was shelter, even of unpromising appearance, at money, a report which naturally drew many of hand; so, throwing his bridle over bis arm, he the young fellows of the neighbourhood around looked about for the bell-rope, which usually the heiress. Many suitors, who would not have hangs outside such places in Italy, but finding the smallest objection to a little ready money, that it had been removed, either intentionally or even if the encumbrance to be taken with it accidentally, he struck at the door with his whip happened to be less pretty and engaging than four or five times very loudly, beside bestowing the innkeeper's orphan. But for some time beon it at the same time as many or fore her parent's death the girl had made her impatient kicks, when at last a female head choice; she loved, and was beloved, by the son appeared at one of the upper windows, and a of a neighbour, who had been as a brother to her clear, sweet voice demanded :
from childhood up, but whose fortune was no “What does the signor want, if it is admit- longer equal to her own; and this circumstance had ance, be cannot have it, the house is completely made him sensitively timid in bis courtship; but, occupied ?"
at length, all things were arranged to their mutual "Impossible,” replied the young man ; " you satisfaction. And this very day, on which we must have room for one more; I am literally first made her acquaintance, was to have been wet through. You will not surely refuse me her wedding day; but a cruel disappointment shelter ?”
had awaited the poor girl; and another reason be“ Madonna !" replied the same voice. “ Ma-1 side this sad one why she had been so cautious of
admitting a stranger was, a report had been “ Per Baccho, Figlia Mia, now that I have spread throughout the country that certain achieved entrance to the garrison it does not robbers had taken up their abode in a wood seem to be much to boast of. Can I have somenot far from the house; 80 the door was thing to eat ? or is there wood ? I should like a securely barred, and not opened except at the fire kindled to dry my wet clothes." approach of some well-known customer. It is The girl, her gay-coloured peasant dress and not therefore surprising that the sight of a bright silver ornaments presenting an almost mounted armed man should frighten the lonely painful contrast to the sweet tear-stained face girl, and render lier doubtful as to the safety of half hidden in the apron pressed by her brown admitting so dangerous-looking a visitor. dimpled hands to her great black eyes, burst out
The young soldier's horse was taken from amid her sobs with the old story: him at the door of the little stable by the only “Madonna! I am a poor lonely girl, Signor other inhabitant of the place, an old ostler, who Soldato; and I was to have been so happy tohad lived there in the good old times; and day!" though now his business was, as
« Poverina," said the good-natured soldier, supposed, little more than a sinecure, still he softly, to her, touched by her genuine distress. hung on about the inn basking in the sun in Poverina, I am sorry if I spoke roughly to the heat of the day; peering now and then at you. What is it that distresses you so much; other times into the deserted stables, as if seeing why should you not be happy on this and every to the wants of imaginary horses; running, or other day, if anyone could be happy at any time rather creeping, on messages whereever bis in this ruinous old place po young mistress sent him, or indulged in a sort "Oh, yes; we could,” interrupted poor of dreamy siesta such as he bad just been taking Juanita, eagerly, we were so happy here, we when roused by the entrance of the young were to have been so happy here, Guiseppe and soldier. His small, dark, cunning eyes glistened I; he is, but—but I-I have money enough with wonder at beholding him-eyes which, for everything. The old house here, I love it. closely set and of oblique vision, always Guiseppe was to have made it all bright and conveyed an unpleasant sensation to the minds of those who encountered even their casual Who is Guiseppe?" questioned the young glance, and the traveller did not escape their man kindly, and smiling at her simplicity. malign influence.
"My betrothed, signor," she answered. As he consigned his horse to his care, he “And has he proved false to you, Bella mia ?” felt some indefinite suspicion of him as he demanded the soldier, as, drawing near her, he limped back into the stable with an expression cast his arm round her slight little waist, utterly of 'sly, malicious pleasure on his features, unable to resist his professional inclination to gleaming through the wonder, which, as we have console so much innocent prettiness in grief; already said, he displayed at first; and naturally but she quickly withdrew from his embrace and too, as soldiers were very rarely seen in the more cried, indignantly : remote parts of the country, and their accidental “Do not touch me, Signor Soldato, my appearance was always the occasion of much Guiseppe is not false to me, but a week ago be gossiping speculation.
went to S
-, our nearest great town, to make The young landlady now requested her purchases for our marriage, and on his retuin guest to follow her across the little yard, and was seized on by the bandits, who have been then, ascending a broad flight of steps, formed lurking lately in the wood yonder. And although of roughly-cut stone, she led him into the the good Padre himself went and offered all the salone, or common dining place of the establish- ready money I have for his ransom, they refuse ment, along the whole length of which ran a to give him up without a great deal more ; hugb oaken table; while old-fashioned, but,” she added, her indignation again welling heavily-formed chairs lay scattered about in all away in tears, “ I will sell all I have to release directions, as if a large number of persons had my poor Guiseppe. And I should not be alone just risen from them. A great dauby oil here to-day, I could have plenty up from the painting, representing the wedding supper of village, but I would not suffer anyone to remain Galilee, evidently the production of some with me but old Ninny, the ostler ; I would be village Angelo, whose notions of perspective utterly miserable, as I could not have my were, to say the least of them, peculiar, covered, betrothed-we, who were to be so happy this if it did not much adorn, one of the walls ; an ancestor, or predecessor of the fair hostess, The stranger started slightly on hearing from having evidently been the original of the Jewish this simple story the fact that bandits were steward, in the picture, who, in the act of pour- in such close quarters with him, and silent ing out the wine for the wedding company, himself, and apparently thinking deeply, he allooked far more like a padrone d'osteria than lowed her to weep on for some minutes also in anyone else in the world.
silence; then, speaking abruptly, he said : Taking a rapid survey of this uncomfortable. “There, there, Poverina, do not cry so bitlooking apartment, the young man unbuckled terly. It was perhaps, after all, the saints you his sword and laid it carelessly on the table, invoke so often who sent me to your door to-day, exclaiming, at the same time, with what seemed although you were so anxious to keep me out to be his favonrite expletive :
There is still hope for you and your Guiseppe•
Is that ostler you speak of trustworthy? He once, Poverina, and let us see if he has not also struck me as being just about the opposite.” carried off my horse.” And in much agitation
Oh, I never knew him do anything wrong," he rushed from the room. replied the poor girl; “I think he loves me; but he is very poor. What can he do in the matter ?-nothing. “Do you think bim strong enough to bear a
CHAP. II. message for me that will cost him a twohours' ride, and honest enough to deliver it About two miles from the Inn, a narrow lane faithfully,” asked the soldier. “ If you do, bring on this day miry beyond description, as it him here, I have turned the whole thing in my was always rugged and unpleasant to treadmind, and am almost sure I can assist you and turned to the right from off the high road, and your Guiseppe.
wound upwards among the hills, above the A very sunshine of joy beamed on the young ravine already spoken of, until it ended among betrothed maiden's face at these words. Snatch- some huge boulders of soft, reddish stone, of a ing her strange guest's hand, she kissed it pas- species very frequently to be met with in Italy. sionately, and, calling on all the saints to bless Nature, or, perhaps in this instance, Nature a and reward him, she rushed from the room. little assisted by her ambitious rival, Art, had
Not much chance the little one will think formed within one of these immense masses of of my hunger or wet clothes now," muttered the stone an enormous cave or grotto, so large, inyoung man to himself, as, smiling, he drew one
deed, that it would be necessary to penetrate of the heavy chairs to the window, to await her far into its interior to enable one to perceive any return and look upon the scene without.
party, however numerous, that happened to be Beyond the road before the house was a deep seated at its farther extremity, unless, as in the ravine; so deep that one could scarcely diecern present instance, their presence was betrayed by the stream which flowed through its depths, the light of the vast wood-fire, which dashed descent. On its opposite side arose a lofty thickly- rude table, on which were the remains of a even when standing on the edge of its shelving and shone on the forms of ten or a dozen men,
who were seated in various attitudes round a wooded hill , the trees growing closely together, plentiful repast
, as well as a number of drinking being entangled even in their exuberant untrained growth. Further on, and on each side of vessels of sundry shapes and sizes. That their this hill arose others, some larger some smaller, usual occupations were not of the most peacebut all covered with the same dense wood. The ful character, was rendered evident
by the fact scene was a wild and lonely one, and yet it that they were all fully armed, though they did seemed to possess a charm for the traveller, either in shape or number : their dress was
not all carry the same description of weapons, which held him gazing on it with solded arms until his reverie was disturbed by a slight noise picturesque in the extreme, suggesting even the behind him. He turned, thinking it was the girl scarlet cloaks thrown carelessly over one shoul
idea of studdied effort at effect. Some had short who had returned, but saw no one; and so fancied the person (whoever it was) had left the der, others were wrapped in gaudy, many
Yet uneasy, although scarcely knowing coloured shawls, while all wore high boots, helwhy, he stepped out on the landing, and looked mets, and grey, lightly floating plumes. That down the broad staircase, but could not see a
they were discussing some subject of interest, living creature. Impatient with himself for being could be easily guessed by the earnest expresso fanciful, he returned to the salone, when his sion of their dark and bearded faces--the fasheye turned almost instinctively to the table ing eyes gleaming from under their contracted where he had left his sword, and to his dismay brows, and the ceaseless and violent gestures discovered that it had been removed, while at which accompanied nearly every sentence the same moment Juanita rushed in, and plunged
spoken. once more into all her former hopeless trouble, in one but in many dialects of Italian, thus show
This animated discussion was carried on not and declaring that she feared the Madonna had ing they were natives of different parts of Italy entirely deserted her, there could be no message sent. She had searched everywhere for Ninny, One young man who sat facing the entrance
some even of other countries altogether: and Ninny was nowhere to be found.
to the cave, with long, curling black hair, black All the stories he had ever heard or read of eyes, and slight, active frame, was a Neapolitan; travellers being robbed and murdered in lonely another, lower down, at the side of the table, of inns flashed through his mind, and for a mo- weaker build, and whose face was nearly hidden ment a doubt of the faith of his young landlady by his immense beard and moustache, playing crossed it; but only for a moment. One glance with the hilt of his dagger and casting half-disat her truthful troubled young face, and he dis- trustful, half-ferocious glances rouad him, most missed it as unworthy of himself to entertain, probably a Roman ; while a tall, large-boned, Then bis thoughts recurred to the ostler and heavy-looking man, with blond-complexion and the strange intuitive distrust he felt of him even bushy light hair, was certainly an Austrian from at first sight, and he exclaimed aloud, hurriedly: the Venetian States—in short, every State in the “It was surely that ostler fellow who con
beautiful fallen country seemed to have its reived to remove my sword. Come, come at presentative in this lawless band, who were in
deed a company of the robbers called “Sqras- "Diavolo, you suspect always !" replied the satory" - those horrible human birds of prey man, botly. Will it be better, think you, for who carry pillage and murder on their course me than for you when these accursed soldiers wherever they pass or rest, the terror of travel surround us, as I have certain information they lers and the scourge of the poor, peaceful vil- mean to do in three days from this time, and enlagers, near which they take up their abode. close us in these hills like foxes in a trap? Put But the most remarkable personage in the it to the vote: there are eleven men here; I assembly was man, who, sitting apart shall have nothing to do in the matter; settle it from the rest, took no part in their conversation, between you. Hands up, comrades ! Aye or unless directly appealed to by his comrades, no-do we take what we can from this peasant wbich they occasionally did and with a certain fellow and let him off, or stay paltering here deference, which marked him as one whose au- like so many old women pattering aves—to be thority they in some sort acknowledged. His shot down like dogs, or sent to the galleys for appearance was a singular one for a native life?” Italian. He was of middle height, stoutly “Let the poor devil go," growled the Ausbuilt, broad-shouldered and thick-necked ; his trian, in his deep, guttural tones. features massive and rather repulsive, while his The men at the end of the table made no sign, eyes were small and had that reddish hue which and, indeed, through the whole thing seemed to gives the human eye the savage glare of those be mere machines in the hands of those who sat of a wild beast ; his forehead was low, but broad, above, but the Neapolitan, restless all through and what completed the singularity of his aspect and eager for excitement, exclaimed : “ Let us was the quantity of tawny red hair which hung bave him before us once more, and decide acin thick tresses like a matted mane upon his cording to his answers to our questions—what broad shoulders. Yet, aithough thus silent, he we shall do,” and, as a sort of midd!6 course, had been closely observant of each particular the amendment was carried unanimously. speaker, as if watching the moment when he Then one of the bandits rose, and, disappearwould consider it welltointefere in the argument; ing for a short time in an inner recess of the at length it came; and, starting from his listless cave, reappeared, leading their poor captive, with posture, he gave a rapid and piercing glance his arms pinioned closely, and his feet so bound around him at the faces of his companions. that he could merely shuffle awkwardly along When having thus fixed their attention on bim- by his gaoler's side. Yet even with these disadself, he began to speak forcibly and clearly, and, vantages, he was a manly, good-looking fellow as a matter of course, gesticulating violently, after enough; and, although he must have suffered the manner of his countrymen. As he spoke, a good deal during the past week, both in mind the attention of his hearers became fixed on bis and body, the fire of his dark eyes remained undiscourse, for nature had gifted him with that quenched, and he faced his captors boldly. species of rough, fiery eloquence wbich always “ Well, fellow," demanded the Roman, when moves the herd; and even the restless Neapolitan he had reached the table, before which he was became steady as he proceeded, unless when he ordered to stand,“ do you still remain obstioccasionally grasped his dagger in the excite- nate-do you still refuse to use your influence ment of his interest. The Roman's shifting with this close-fisted betrothed of yours to inglances, too, became fixed, and even the stolid duce her to pay the just amount of your ranGerman leant forward with protruded neck and open mouth, as though to swallow what he “I do not know what you call just, signor,” listened to. And yet the matter which had replied the young man,
“ but I know in the sum called forth all this excitement and eloquence offered to you by our good Padre, she offered would seem to us cold northerns a very poor all the money my poor Juanita possesses in the
whole world—she can give no more.
“ By the ripe lips of Hebe, I caught a glimpse The cold in clime are cold in blood,
of her as she awaited the result of the Padre
mission," laughed the chief loudly, "and, all in and these fiery-natured outlaws discussed theran- tears as she was, the damsel seemed a dainty som to be taken for a poor vine-dresser, the one. Pity her purse is not heavier, to satisfy betrothed of a poor maiden, the owner of a little the demands of these signors, or that these sigvillage hostelry, with as much heat as we would nors have not more pity for the love-troubles think it necessary to bestow-aye, and far more of such an Arcadian pair !" -on the most important interests of our lives. · Pshaw! by the gods, all this has lasted too When their chief had ceased speaking, a com- long !" exclaimed a fierce-looking man, who plete silence fell for full three minutes upon the spoke for the first time. “ If she has not more entire assembly, and then the spell was broken money, she has vineyards ; let her raise what by the Roman saying, “All this is very fine we demand on them and redeem her bridewhat you say, Podesta, but if we set this fellow groom if she wants him; it seems to me her free for what we can get, as you advise, and love is but a cold love after all !" sbift our quarters, where you promise us such “Not so," said the captive, calmly and firmly, rich booty, it will be for you we shall burn our “I would take the money from my betrothed fingers more than for ourselves : we fight and freely, for I know I could give ber no greater you snatch nearly all the gain.”
joy, but I will not suffer her to be entirely robbed