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“Affection is a fire which kindleth as well in the bramble as in the oak, and catcheth
hold where it first lighteth, not where it may best burn. Larks that mount in the air
build their nests below in the earth; and women that cast their eyes upon kings, may place
their hearts upon vassals.”


L'agrement est arbitraire: la beaute est quelque chose de plus rcel et de plus independent
du gout et de l'opinion.”

La Bruyere.

Fast and rebukingly rang the matins from the towers of St.
Etienne, and, though unused to wake, much less to pray, at that
sunrise hour, I felt a compunctious visiting as my postillion
cracked his whip and flew past the sacred threshold, over which
tripped, as if every stroke would be the last, the tardy yet light-footed
mass-goers of Vienna. It was my first entrance into this
Paris of Germany, and I stretched my head from the window to
look back with delight upon the fretted gothic pile, so cumbered
with ornament, yet so light and airy—so vast in the area it covered,
yet so crusted in every part with delicate device and sculpture.
On sped the merciless postillion, and the next moment we
rattled into the court-yard of the hotel.

I gave my keys to the most faithful and intelligent of valets—
an English boy of sixteen, promoted from white top-boots and a
cabriolet in London, to a plain coat and almost his master's
friendship upon the continent—and leaving him to find rooms to


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my taste, make them habitable and get breakfast, I retraced my
way to ramble a half hour through the aisles of St. Etienne.

The lingering bell was still beating its quick and monotonous
call, and just before me, followed closely by a female domestic, a
veiled and slightly-formed lady stepped over the threshold of the
cathedral, and took her way by the least-frequented aisle to the
altar. I gave a passing glance of admiration at the small ankle
and dainty chaussure betrayed by her hurried step; but remembering
with a slight effort that I had sought the church with at
least some feeble intentions of religious worship, I crossed the
broad nave to the opposite side, and was soon leaning against a
pillar, and listening to the heavenly-breathed music of the voluntary,
with a confused, but I trust, not altogether unprofitable feeling
of devotion.

The peasants, with their baskets standing beside them on the
tesselated floor, counted their beads upon their knees; the murmur,
low-toned and universal, rose through the vibrations of the
anthem with an accompaniment upon which I have always
thought the great composers calculated, no less than upon the
echoing arches, and atmosphere thickened with incense; and the
deep-throated priest muttered his Latin prayer, more edifying to
me that it left my thoughts to their own impulses of worship, undemeaned
by the irresistible littleness of criticism, and unchecked
by the narrow bounds of another's comprehension of the Divinity.

Without being in any leaning of opinion a son of the church of
Rome, I confess my soul gets nearer to heaven; and my religious
tendencies, dulled and diverted from improvement by a life of
travel and excitement, are more gratefully ministered to, in the
indistinct worship of the catholics. It seems to me that no man
can pray well through the hesitating lips of another. The inflated


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style or rhetorical efforts of many, addressing Heaven with difficult
grammar and embarrassed logic—and the weary monotony
of others, repeating without interest and apparently without
thought, the most solemn appeals to the mercy of the Almighty—
are imperfect vehicles, at least to me, for a fresh and apprehensive
spirit of worship. The religious architecture of the catholics
favors the solitary prayer of the heart. The vast floor of the
cathedral, the far receding aisles with their solemn light, to which
penetrate only the indistinct murmur of priest and penitent. and
the affecting wail or triumphant hallelujah of the choir; the
touching attitudes and utter abandonment of all around to their
unarticulated devotions; the freedom to enter and depart, unquestioned
and unnoticed, and the wonderful impressiveness of
the lofty architecture, clustered with mementoes of death, and
presenting through every sense, some unobtrusive persuasion to
the duties of the spot—all these, I cannot but think, are aids,
not unimportant to devout feeling, nor to the most careless keeper
of his creed and conscience, entirely without salutary use.

My eye had been resting unconsciously on the drapery of a
statue, upon which the light of a painted oriel window threw the
mingled dyes of a peacock. It was the figure of an apostle; and
curious at last to see whence the colors came which turned the
saintly garb into a mantle of shot silk, I strayed toward the eastern
window, and was studying the gorgeous dyes and grotesque
drawing of an art lost to the world, when I discovered that I was in
the neighborhood of the pretty figure that had tripped into church
so lightly before me. She knelt near the altar, a little forward
from one of the heavy gothic pillars, with her maid beside her,
and, close behind knelt a gentleman, who I observed at a second
glance, was paying his devotions exclusively to the small foot


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that peeped from the edge of a snowy peignoir, the dishabille of
which was covered and betrayed by a lace-veil and mantle. As
I stood thinking what a graceful study her figure would make
for a sculptor, and what an irreligious impertinence was visible in
the air of the gentleman behind, he leaned forward as if to prostrate
his face upon the pavement, and pressed his lips upon the
slender sole of (I have no doubt) the prettiest shoe in Vienna.
The natural aversion which all men have for each other as strangers,
was quickened in my bosom by a feeling much more vivid,
and said to be quite as natural—resentment at any demonstration
by another of preference for the woman one has admired. If I
have not mistaken human nature, there is a sort of imaginary
property which every man feels in a woman he has looked upon
with even the most transient regard, which is violated malgré lui,
by a similar feeling on the part of any other individual.

Not sure that the gentleman, who had so suddenly become my
enemy, had any warrant in the lady's connivance for his attentions,
I retreated to the shelter of the pillar, and was presently
satisfied that he was as much a stranger to her as myself, and
was decidedly annoying her. A slight advance in her position to
escape his contact gave me the opportunity I wished, and stepping
upon the small space between the skirt of her dress and the
outpost of his ebony cane, I began to study the architecture of
the roof with great seriousness. The gothic order, it is said,
sprang from the first attempts at constructing roofs from the
branches of trees, and is more perfect as it imitates more closely
the natural wilderness with its tall tree-shafts and interlacing
limbs. With my eyes half shut I endeavored to transport myself
to an American forest, and convert the beams and angles
of this vast gothic structure into a primitive temple of pines, with


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the sunshine coming brokingly through; but the delusion, otherwise
easy enough, was destroyed by the cherubs roosting on the
cornices, and the apostles and saints perched as it were in the
branches; and, spite of myself, I thought it represented best
Shylock's “wilderness of monkeys.”

S'il vous plait, monsieur!” said the gentleman, pulling me
by the pantaloons as I was losing myself in these ill-timed speculations.

I looked down.

Vous me genez monsieur!

J'èn suis bien sure, monsieur!”—and I resumed my study
of the roof, turning gradually round till my heels were against
his knees, and backing peu-à peu.

It has often occurred to me as a defect in the system of civil
justice, that the time of the day at which a crime is committed is
never taken into account by judge or jury. The humors of an
empty stomach act so energetically on the judgment and temper
of a man, and the same act appears so differently to him, fasting
and full, that I presume an inquiry into the subject would prove
that few offences against law and human pity were ever perpetrated
by villains who had dined. In the adventure before us, the
best-disposed reader will condemn my interference in a stranger's
gallantries as impertinent and quixotic. Later in the day, I
should as soon have thought of ordering water-cresses for the
gentleman's dindon aux truffes.

I was calling myself to account something after the above
fashion, the gentleman in question standing near me, drumming
on his boot with his ebony cane, when the lady rose, threw her
rosary over her neck, and turning to me with a graceful smile,
courtesied slightly and disappeared. I was struck so exceedingly


Page 249
with the intense melancholy in the expression of the face—an
expression so totally at variance with the elasticity of the step,
and the promise of the slight and riante figure and air—that I
quite forgot I had drawn a quarrel on myself, and was loitering
slowly toward the door of the church, when the gentleman I had
offended touched me on the arm, and in the politest manner possible
requested my address. We exchanged cards, and I hastened
home to breakfast, musing on the facility with which the current
of our daily life may be thickened. I fancied I had a new love
on my hands, and I was tolerably sure of a quarrel—yet I had
been in Vienna but fifty-four minutes by Bréguet.

My breakfast was waiting, and Percie had found time to turn
a comb through his brown curls, and get the dust off his gaiters.
He was tall for his age, and (unaware to himself, poor boy!)
every word and action reflected upon the handsome seamstress
in Cranbourne Alley, whom he called his mother—for he showed
blood. His father was a gentleman, or there is no truth in thorough-breeding.
As I looked at him, a difficulty vanished from
my mind.



“Get into your best suit of plain clothes, and if a foreigner
calls on me this morning, come in and forget that you are valet.
I have occasion to use you for a gentleman.”

“Yes, sir!”

“My pistols are clean, I presume?”

“Yes, sir!”

I wrote a letter or two, read a volume of “Ni jamais, ni toujours,
and about noon a captain of dragoons was announced,
bringing me the expected cartel. Percie came in, treading gingerly


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in a pair of tight French boots, but behaving exceedingly
like a gentleman, and after a little conversation, managed on his
part strictly according to my instructions, he took his cane and
walked off with his friend of the steel scabbard to become acquainted
with the ground.

The gray of a heavenly summer morning was brightening
above the chimneys of the fair city of Vienna as I stepped into a
caléche, followed by Percie. With a special passport (procured
by the politeness of my antagonist) we made our sortie at that
early hour from the gates, and crossing the glacis, took the road
to the banks of the Danube. It was but a mile from the city,
and the mist lay low on the face of the troubled current of the
river, while the towers and pinnacles of the silent capital cut the
sky in clear and sharp lines—as if tranquillity and purity, those
immaculate hand-maidens of nature, had tired of innocence and
their mistress—and slept in town!

I had taken some coffee and broiled chicken before starting,
and (removed thus from the category of the savage unbreakfasted)
I was in one of those moods of universal benevolence, said
(erroneously) to be produced only by a clean breast of milk diet.
I could have wept, with Wordsworth, over a violet.

My opponent was there with his dragoon, and Percie, cool and
gentleman like, like a man who “had served,” looked on at the
loading of the pistols, and gave me mine with a very firm hand,
but with a moisture and anxiety in his eye which I have remembered
since. We were to fire any time after the counting of
three, and having no malice against my friend, whose impertinence
to a lady was (really!) no business of mine, I intended, of
course, to throw away my fire.

The first word was given and I looked at my antagonist, who,


Page 251
I saw at a glance, had no such gentle intentions. He was taking
deliberate aim, and in the four seconds that elapsed between the
remaining two words, I changed my mind (one thinks so fast when
his leisure is limited!) at least twenty times whether I should fire
at him or no.

Trois!” pronounced the dragoon, from a throat like a trombone,
and with the last thought, up flew my hand, and as my pistol
discharged in the air, my friend's shot struck upon a large
turquoise which I wore on my third finger, and drew a slight
pencil-line across my left organ of causality. It was well aimed
for my temple, but the ring had saved me.

Friend of those days, regretted and unforgotten! days of the
deepest sadness and heart-heaviness, yet somehow dearer in
remembrance than all the joys I can recall—there was a talisman
in thy parting gift thou didst not think would be, one day, my

“You will be able to wear your hair over the scar, sir!” said
Percie, coming up and putting his finger on the wound.

“Monsieur!” said the dragoon, advancing to Percie after a
short conference with his principal, and looking twice as fierce
as before.

“Monsieur!” said Percie, wheeling short upon him.

“My friend is not satisfied. He presumes that monsieur
l'Anglais wishes to trifle with him.”

“Then let your friend take care of himself,” said I, roused by
the unprovoked murderousness of the feeling. “Load the pistols,
Percie! In my country,” I continued, turning to the dragoon,
“a man is disgraced who fires twice upon an antagonist who has
spared him! Your friend is a ruffian, and the consequences be
on his own haed!”


Page 252

We took our places and the first word was given, when a man
dashed between us on horseback at top-speed. The violence with
which he drew rein brought his horse upon his haunches, and he
was on his feet in half a breath.

The idea that he was an officer of the police was immediately
dissipated by his step and air. Of the finest athletic form I had
ever seen, agile, graceful, and dressed pointedly well, there was
still an indefinable something about him, either above or below a
gentleman—which, it was difficult to say. His features were
slight, fair, and, except a brow too heavy for them and a lip of
singular and (I thought) habitual defiance, almost feminine. His
hair grew long and had been soigné, probably by more caressing
fingers than his own, and his rather silken mustache was glossy
with some odorent oil. As he approached me and took my hand,
with a clasp like a smith's vice, I observed these circumstances,
and could have drawn his portrait without ever seeing him again—
so marked a man was he, in every point and feature.

His business was soon explained. He was the husband of the
lady my opponent had insulted, and that pleasant gentleman
could, of course, make no objection to his taking my place. I
officiated as tèmoin, and, as they took their position, I anticipated
for the dragoon and myself the trouble of carrying them both off
the field. I had a practical assurance of my friend's pistol, and
the stranger was not the looking man to miss a hair's breadth of
his aim.

The word was not fairly off my lips when both pistols cracked
like one discharge, and high into the air sprang my revengeful
opponent, and dropped like a clod upon the grass. The stranger
opened his waistcoat, thrust his fore-finger into a wound in his
left breast, and slightly closing his teeth, pushed a bullet through,


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which had been checked by the bone and lodged in the flesh near
the skin. The surgeon who had accompanied my unfortunate
antagonist, left the body, which he had found beyond his art, and
readily gave his assistance to stanch the blood of my preserver;
and jumping with the latter into my caléche I put Percie upon
the stranger's horse, and we drove back to Vienna.

The market people were crowding in at the gate, the merry
peasant girls glanced at us with their blue, German eyes, the
shopmen laid out their gay wares to the street, and the tide of
life ran on as busily and as gayly, though a drop had been extracted,
within scarce ten minutes, from its quickest vein. I felt
a revulsion at my heart, and grew faint and sick. Is a human
life—is my life worth anything, even a thought, to my fellow-creatures?
was the bitter question forced upon my soul. How
icily and keenly the unconscious indifference of the world penetrates
to the nerve and marrow of him who suddenly realizes it.

We dashed through the kohl-market, and driving into the portecochére
of a dark-looking house in one of the cross streets of that
quarter, were ushered into apartments of extraordinary magnificence.


Page 254


What do you want, Percie?”

He was walking into the room with all the deliberate politeness
of a “gold-stick-in-waiting.”

“I beg pardon, sir, but I was asked to walk up, and I was not
sure whether I was still a gentleman.”

It instantly struck me that it might seem rather infra dig to
the chevalier (my new friend had thus announced himself) to have
had a valet for a second, and as he immediately after entered the
room, having stepped below to give orders about his horse, I presented
Percie as a gentleman and my friend, and resumed my observation
of the singular apartment in which I found myself.

The effect on coming first in at the door, was that of a small
and lofty chapel, where the light struggled in from an unseen
aperture above the altar. There were two windows at the farther
extremity, but curtained so heavily, and set so deeply into
the wall, that I did not at first observe the six richly-carpeted
steps which led up to them, nor the luxuriously cushioned seats
on either side of the casement, within the niche, for those who
would mount thither for fresh air. The walls were tapestried,
but very ragged and dusty, and the floor, though there were several
thicknesses of the heavy-piled, small, Turkey carpets laid
loosely over it, was irregular and sunken. The corners were
heaped with various articles I could not at first distinguish. My
host fortunately gave me an opportunity to gratify my curiosity
by frequent absences, under the housekeeper's apology (odd I


Page 255
thought for a chevalier) of expediting breakfast; and with the
aid of Percie, I tumbled his chattles about with all necessary

“That,” said the chevalier, entering, as I turned out the face
of a fresh colored picture to the light, “is a capo d'opera of a
French artist, who painted it, as you may say, by the gleam of
the dagger.”

“A cool light, as a painter would say!”

“He was a cool fellow, sir, and would have handled a broad-sword
better than a pencil.”

Percie stepped up while I was examining the exquisite finish
of the picture, and asked very respectfully if the chevalier would
give him the particulars of the story. It was a full length portrait
of a young and excessively beautiful girl, of apparently
scarce fifteen, entirely nude, and lying upon a black velvet couch,
with one foot laid on a broken diadem, and her right hand pressing
a wild rose to her heart.

“It was the fancy, sir,” continued the chevalier, “of a bold
outlaw, who loved the only daughter of a noble of Hungary.”

“Is this the lady, sir?” asked Percie, in his politest valet

The chevalier hesitated a moment and looked over his shoulder,
as if he might be overheard.

“This is she—copied to the minutest shadow of a hair! He
was a bold outlaw, gentlemen, and had plucked the lady from her
father's castle with his own hand.”

“Against her will?” interrupted Percie, rather energetically.

“No!” scowled the chevalier, as if his lowering brows had
articulated the word, “by her own will and connivance; for she
loved him.”


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Percie drew a long breath, and looked more closely at the taper
limbs and the exquisitely-chiselled features of the face, which
was turned over the shoulder with a look of timid shame inimitably
true to nature.

“She loved him,” continued our fierce narrator, who, I almost
began to suspect was the outlaw himself, by the energy with
which he enforced the tale, “and after a moonlight ramble or
two with him in the forest of her father's domain, she fled and
became his wife. You are admiring the hair, sir! It is as luxuriant
and glossy now!”

“If you please, sir, it is the villain himself!” said Percie in
an undertone.

Bref,” continued the chevalier, either not understanding
English or not heeding the interruption, “an adventurous painter,
one day hunting the picturesque in the neighborhood of the outlaw's
retreat, surprised this fair creature bathing in one of the
loneliest mountain-streams in Hungary. His art appeared to be
his first passion, for he hid himself in the trees and drew her as
she stood dallying on the margin of the small pool in which the
brook loitered; and so busy was he with his own work, or so soft
was the mountain moss under its master's tread, that the outlaw
looked, unperceived the while, over his shoulder, and fell in love
anew with the admirable counterfeit. She looked like a naiad,
sir, new born of a dew-drop and a violet.”

I nodded an assent to Percie.

“The sketch, excellent as it seemed, was still unfinished, when
the painter, enamored as he might well be, of these sweet limbs,
glossy with the shining water, flung down his book and sprang
toward her. The outlaw—”


Page 257

“Struck him to the heart? Oh Heaven!” said Percie, covering
his eyes as if he could see the murder.

“No! he was a student of the human soul, and deferred his

Percie looked up and listened, like a man whose wits were perfectly

“He was not unwilling, since her person had been seen irretrievably,
to know how his shrinking Iminild (this was her
name of melody) would have escaped had she been found alone.”

“The painter”—prompted Percie, impatient for the sequel.

“The painter flew over rock and brake, and sprang into the
pool in which she was half immersed; and my brave girl—”

He hesitated, for he had betrayed himself.

“Ay—she is mine, gentlemen; and I am Yvain, the outlaw—
my brave wife, I say, with a single bound, leaped to the rock where
her dress was concealed, seized a short spear which she used as a
staff in her climbing rambles, and struck it through his shoulder
as he pursued!”

`Bravely done!” I thought aloud.

“Was it not? I came up the next moment, but the spear
stuck in his shoulder, and I could not fall upon a wounded man.
We carried him to our ruined castle in the mountains, and while
my Iminild cured her own wound, I sent for his paints, and let
him finish his bold beginning with a difference of my own. You
see the picture.”

“Was the painter's love cured with his wound!” I asked with
a smile.

“No, by St. Stephen! He grew ten times more enamored as
he drew. He was as fierce as a welk hawk, and as willing to
quarrel for his prey. I could have driven my dagger to his heart


Page 258
a hundred times for the mutter of his lips and the flash of his
dark eyes as he fed his gaze upon her; but he finished the picture,
and I gave him a fair field. He chose the broad-sword, and
hacked away at me like a man.”

“And the result”—I asked.

“I am here!” replied the outlaw significantly.

Percie leaped upon the carpeted steps, and pushed back the
window for fresh air; and, for myself, I scarce knew how to act
under the roof of a man, who, though he confessed himself an outlaw
and almost an assassin, was bound to me by the ties of our
own critical adventure, and had confided his condition to me with
so ready a reliance on my honor. In the midst of my dilemma,
while I was pretending to occupy myself with examining a silver
mounted and peaked saddle, which I found behind the picture
in the corner, a deep and unpleasant voice announced breakfast

“Wolfen is rather a grim chamberlain,” said the chevalier,
bowing with the grace and smile of the softest courtier, “but he
will usher you to breakfast, and I am sure you stand in need of it.
For myself, I could eat worse meat than my grandfather, with
this appetite.”

Percie gave me a look of inquiry and uneasiness when he found
we were to follow the rough domestic through the dark corridors
of the old house, and through his under-bred politeness of insisting
on following his host, I could see that he was unwilling to
trust the outlaw with the rear; but a massive and broad door,
flung open at the end of the passage, let in upon us presently the
cool and fresh air from a northern exposure, and stepping forward
quickly to the threshold, we beheld a picture which changed the
current and color of our thoughts.

In the bottom of an excavated area, which, as well as I could


Page 259
judge, must be forty feet below the level of the court, lay a small
and antique garden, brilliant with the most costly flowers, and
cooled by a fountain gushing from under the foot of a nymph in
marble. The spreading tops of six alleys of lindens reaching to
the level of the street, formed a living roof to the grot-like depths
of the garden, and concealed it from all view but that of persons
descending like ourselves from the house; while, instead of walls
to shut in this paradise in the heart of a city, sharply inclined
slopes of green-sward leaned in under the branches of the lindens,
and completed the fairy-like enclosure of shade and verdure. As
we descended the rose-laden steps and terraces, I observed, that,
of the immense profusion of flowers in the area below, nearly all
were costly exotics, whose pots were set in the earth, and probably
brought away from the sunshine only when in high bloom;
and as we rounded the spreading basin of the fountain which
broke the perspective of the alley, a table, which had been concealed
by the marble nymph, and a skilfully-disposed array of
rhododendrons, lay just beneath our feet, while a lady, whose features
I could not fail to remember, smiled up from her couch of
crimson cushions and gave us a graceful welcome.

The same taste for depth which had been shown in the room
sunk below the windows, and the garden below the street, was
continued in the kind of marble divan in which we were to breakfast
Four steps descending from the pavement of the alley introduced
us into a circular excavation, whose marble seats, covered
with cushions of crimson silk, surrounded a table laden with
the substantial viands which are common to a morning meal in
Vienna, and smoking with coffee whose aroma (Percie agreed with
me) exceeded even the tube roses in grateful sweetness. Between
the cushions at our backs and the pavements just above the level of


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our heads, were piled circles of thickly-flowering geraniums, which
enclosed us in rings of perfume, and, pouring from the cup of a
sculptured flower, held in the hand of the nymph, a smooth stream
like a silver rod supplied a channel grooved around the centre of
the marble table, through which the bright water, with the impulse
of its descent, made a swift revolution and disappeared.

It was a scene to give memory the lie if it could have recalled
the bloodshed of the morning. The green light flecked down
through the lofty roof upon the glittering and singing water; a
nightingale in a recess of the garden, gurgled through his wires
as if intoxicated with the congenial twilight of his prison; the
heavy-cupped flowers of the tropics nodded with the rain of the
fountain spray. The distant roll of wheels in the neighboring
streets came with an assurance of reality to this dream-land, yet
softened by the unreverberating roof and an air crowded with
flowers and trembling with the pulsations of falling water. The
lowering forehead of the outlaw cleared up like a sky of June
after a thunder-shower, and his voice grew gentle and caressing;
and the delicate mistress of all (by birth, Countess Iminild), a
creature as slight as Psyche, and as white as the lotus, whose
flexile stem served her for a bracelet, welcomed us with her soft
voice and humid eyes, and saddened by the event of the morning,
looked on her husband with a tenderness that would have assoiled
her of her sins against delicacy, I thought, even in the mind of
an angel.

“We live, like truth, here, in the bottom of a well,” said the
countess to Percie, as she gave him his coffee; “how do you like
my whimsical abode, sir?”

“I should like any place where you were, Miladi!” he answered,
blushing and stealing his eyes across at me, either in doubt how


Page 261
far he might presume upon his new character, or suspecting that
I should smile at his gallantry.

The outlaw glanced his eyes over the curling head of the boy,
with one of those just perceptible smiles which developed, occasionally,
in great beauty, the gentle spirit in his bosom; and
Iminild, pleased with the compliment or the blush, threw off her
pensive mood, and assumed, in an instant, the coquettish air which
had attracted my notice as she stepped before me into the church
of St. Etienne.

“You had hard work,” she said, “to keep up with your long-legged
dragoon yesterday, Monsieur Percie!”

“Miladi?” he answered, with a look of inquiry.

“Oh, I was behind you, and my legs are not much longer than
yours. How he strided away with his long spurs, to be sure! Do
you remember a smart young gentleman with a blue cap that
walked past you on the glacis occasionally?”

“Ah, with laced boots, like a Hungarian?”

“I see I am ever to be known by my foot,” said she, putting
it out upon the cushion, and turning it about with naive admiration;
“that poor captain of the imperial guard paid dearly for
kissing it, holy virgin!” and she crossed herself and was silent
for a moment.

“If I might take the freedom, chevalier,” I said, “pray how
came I indebted to your assistance in this affair?”

“Iminild has partly explained,” he answered. “She knew, of
course, that a challenge would follow your interference, and it
was very easy to know that an officer of some sort would take a
message in the course of the morning to Le Prince Charles, the
only hotel frequented by the English d'un certain gens.

I bowed to the compliment.


Page 262

“Arriving in Vienna late last night, I found Iminild (who had
followed this gentleman and the dragoon unperceived) in possession
of all the circumstances; and, but for oversleeping myself
this morning, I should have saved your turquoise, mon seigneur!

“Have you lived here long, Miladi?” asked Percie, looking up
into her eyes with an unconscious passionateness which made the
countess Iminild color slightly, and bite her lips to retain an expression
of pleasure.

“I have not lived long anywhere, sir!” she answered half
archly, “but I played in this garden when not much older than

Percie looked confused and pulled up his cravat.

“This house,” said the chevalier, willing apparently to spare
the countess a painful narration, “is the property of the old count
Ildefert, my wife's father. He has long ceased to visit Vienna,
and has left it, he supposes, to a stranger. When Iminild tires
of the forest, she comes here, and I join her if I can find time.
I must to the saddle to-morrow, by St. Jacques!”

The word had scarce died on his lips when the door by which
we had entered the garden was flung open, and the measured
tread of gens-d'armes resounded in the corridor. The first man
who stood out upon the upper terrace was the dragoon who had
been second to my opponent.

“Traitor and villain!” muttered the outlaw between his teeth,
“I thought I remembered you! It is that false comrade Berthold,

Yvain had risen from the table as if but to stretch his legs;
and drawing a pistol from his bosom he cocked it as he quietly
stepped up into the garden. I saw at a glance that there was no
chance for his escape, and laid my hand on his arm.


Page 263

“Chevalier!” I said, “surrender, and trust to opportunity. It
is madness to resist here.”

“Yvain” said Iminild, in a low voice, flying to his side as she
comprehended his intention, “leave me that vengeance, and try
the parapet. I'll kill him before he sleeps! Quick! Ah,

The dragoon had turned at that instant to fly, and with suddenness
of thought the pistol flashed, and the traitor dropped
heavily on the terrace. Springing like a cat up the slope of
green sward, Yvain stood an instant on the summit of the wall,
hesitating where to jump beyond, and in the next moment rolled
heavily back, stabbed through and through with a bayonet from
the opposite side.

The blood left the lips and cheek of Iminild; but without a
word or a sign of terror, she sprang to the side of the fallen outlaw
and lifted him up against her knee. The gens-d'armes rushed
to the spot, but the subaltern who commanded them yielded instantly
to my wish that they should retire to the skirts of the
garden; and sending Percie to the fountain for water, we bathed
the lips and forehead of the dying man and set him against the
sloping parapet. With one hand grasping the dress of Iminild
and the other clasped in mine, he struggled to speak.

“The cross!” he gasped, “the cross!”

Iminild drew a silver crucifix from her bosom.

“Swear on this,” he said, putting it to my lips and speaking
with terrible energy “swear that you will protect her while you

“I swear!”

He shut our hands together convulsively, gasped slightly as if


Page 264
he would speak again, and, in another instant, sunk, relaxed and
lifeless, on the shoulder of Iminild.


The fate and history of Yvain, the outlaw, became, on the
following day, the talk of Vienna. He had been long known as
the daring horse-stealer of Hungary; and, though it was not
doubted that his sway was exercised over plunderers of every description,
even pirates upon the high seas, his own courage and
address were principally applied to the robbery of the well-guarded
steeds of the emperor and his nobles. It was said that there was
not a horse in the dominions of Austria whose qualities and breeding
were not known to him, nor one he cared to have which was
not in his concealed stables in the forest. The most incredible
stories were told of his horsemanship. He would so disguise the
animal on which he rode, either by forcing him into new paces or
by other arts only known to himself, that he would make the tour
of the Glacis on the emperor's best horse, newly stolen, unsuspected
even by the royal grooms. The roadsters of his own troop
were the best steeds bred on the banks of the Danube; but
although always in the highest condition, they would never have
been suspected to have been worth a florin till put upon their
mettle. The extraordinary escapes of his band from the vigilant
and well mounted gens-d'armes were thus accounted for; and, in
most of the villages in Austria, the people, on some market-day


Page 265
or other, had seen a body of apparently ill-mounted peasants
suddenly start off with the speed of lightning at the appearance
of gens-d'armes, and, flying over fence and wall, draw a straight
course for the mountains, distancing their pursuers with the ease
of swallows on the wing.

After the death of Yvain in the garden, I had been forced
with Percie into a carriage, standing in the court, and accompanied
by a guard, driven to my hotel, where I was given to understand
that I was to remain under arrest till further orders. A
sentinel at the door forbade all ingress or egress except to the
people of the house; a circumstance which was only distressing
to me, as it precluded my inquiries after the countess Iminild, of
whom common rumor, the servants informed me, made not the
slightest mention.

Four days after this, on the relief of the guard at noon, a subaltern
entered my room and informed me that I was at liberty. I
instantly made preparations to go out, and was drawing on my
boots, when Percie, who had not yet recovered from the shock of
his arrest, entered in some alarm, and informed me that one of
the royal grooms was in the court with a letter, which he would
deliver only into my own hands. He had orders beside, he said,
not to leave his saddle. Wondering what new leaf of my destiny
was to turn over, I went below and received a letter, with apparently
the imperial seal, from a well-dressed groom in the livery
of the emperor's brother, the king of Hungary. He was mounted
on a compact, yet fine-limbed horse, and both horse and rider
were as still as if cut in marble.

I returned to my room and broke the seal. It was a letter
from Iminild, and the bold bearer was an outlaw disguised! She
had heard that I was to be released that morning, and desired


Page 266
me to ride out on the road to Gratz. In a postcript she begged
I would request Monsieur Percie to accompany me.

I sent for horses, and wishing to be left to my own thoughts,
ordered Percie to fall behind, and rode slowly out of the southern
gate. If the countess Iminild were safe, I had enough of the adventure
for my taste. My oath bound me to protect this wild and
unsexed woman, but farther intercourse with a band of outlaws,
or farther peril of my head for no reason that either a court of
gallantry or of justice would recognize, was beyond my usual
programme of pleasant events. The road was a gentle ascent,
and with the bridle on the neck of my hack I paced thoughtfully
on, till, at a slight turn, we stood at a fair height above Vienna.

“It is a beautiful city, sir,” said Percie, riding up.

“How the deuce could she have escaped?” said I, thinking

Has she escaped, sir? Ah, thank Heaven!” exclaimed the
passionate boy, the tears rushing to his eyes

“Why, Percie!” I said with a tone of surprise which called a
blush into his face, “have you really found leisure to fall in love
amid all this imbroglio?

“I beg pardon, my dear master!” he replied in a confused
voice, “I scarce know what it is to fall in love; but I would die
for Miladi Iminild.”

“Not at all an impossible sequel, my poor boy! But wheel
about and touch your hat, for here comes some one of the royal

A horseman was approaching at an easy canter, over the
broad and unfenced plain of table-land which overlooks Vienna
on the south, attended by six mounted servants in the white kerseymere


Page 267
frocks, braided with the two-headed black eagle, which,
distinguish the members of the imperial household.

The carriages on the road stopped while he passed, the foot
passengers touched their caps, and, as he came near, I perceived
that he was slight and young, but rode with a confidence and a
grace not often attained. His horse had the subdued, half-fiery
action of an Arab, and Percie nearly dropped from his saddle
when the young horseman suddenly drove in his spurs, and with
almost a single vault stood motionless before us.


Madame la Contesse!

I was uncertain how to receive her, and took refuge in civility.
Whether she would be overwhelmed with the recollection of
Yvain's death, or had put away the thought altogether with her
masculine firmness, was a dilemma for which the eccentric contradictions
of her character left me no probable solution. Motioning
with her hand after saluting me, two of the party rode back
and forward in different directions, as if patrolling; and giving a
look between a tear and a smile at Percie, she placed her hand in
mine, and shook off her sadness with a strong effort.

“You did not expect so large a suite with your protégée,” she
said, rather gayly, after a moment.

“Do I understand that you come now to put yourself under
my protection?” I asked in reply.

“Soon, but not now, nor here. I have a hundred men at the
foot of Mount Semering, whose future fate, in some important
respects, none can decide but myself. Yvain was always prepared
for this, and everything is en train. I come now but to
appoint a place of meeting. Quick! my patrol comes in, and


Page 268
some one approaches whom we must fly. Can you await me at

“I can and will!”

She put her slight hand to my lips, waved a kiss at Percie, and
away with the speed of wind, flew her swift Arab over the
plain, followed by the six horsemen, every one of whom seemed
part of the animal that carried him—he rode so admirably.

The slight figure of Iminild in the close-fitting dress of a Hungarian
page, her jacket open and her beautiful limbs perfectly defined,
silver fringes at her ankles and waist, and a row of silver buttons
gallonné down to the instep, her bright, flashing eyes, her short
curls escaping from her cap and tangled over her left temple,
with the gold tassel, dirk and pistol at her belt, and spurs upon
her heels—it was an apparition I had scarce time to realize, but
it seemed painted on my eyes. The cloud of dust which followed
their rapid flight faded away as I watched it, but I saw her

“Shall I ride back and order post-horses, sir?” asked Percie,
standing up in his stirrups.

“No; but you may order dinner at six. And Percie!” he
was riding away with a gloomy air; “you may go to the police
and get our passports for Venice.”

“By the way of Gratz, sir?”

“Yes, simpleton!”

There is a difference between sixteen and twenty-six, I thought
to myself, as the handsome boy flogged his horse into a gallop.
The time is gone when I could love without reason. Yet I
remember when a feather, stuck jauntingly into a bonnet, would
have made any woman a princess; and in those days, Heaven
help us! I should have loved this woman more for her galliard


Page 269
ize than ten times a prettier one with all the virtues of Dorcas.
For which of my sins am I made guardian to a robber's wife, I

The heavy German postillions, with their cocked hats and yellow
coats, got us over the ground after a manner, and toward the
sunset of a summer's evening the tall castle of Gratz, perched on
a pinnacle of rock in the centre of a vast plain, stood up boldly
against the reddening sky. The rich fields of Styria were ripening
to an early harvest, the people sat at their doors with the look
of household happiness for which the inhabitants of these “despotic
countries” are so remarkable; and now and then on the
road the rattling of steel scabbards drew my attention from
a book or a revery, and the mounted troops, so perpetually seen
on the broad roads of Austria, lingered slowly past with their dust
and baggage-trains.

It had been a long summer's day, and, contrary to my usual
practice, I had not mounted, even for half a post, to Percie's
side in the rumble. Out of humor with fate for having drawn
me into very embarrassing circumstances—out of humor with
myself for the quixotic step which had first brought it on me—
and a little out of humor with Percie (perhaps from an unacknowledged
jealousy of Iminild's marked preference for the varlet), I
left him to toast alone in the sun, while I tried to forget him and
myself in “Le Marquis de Pontangos.” What a very clever
book it is, by the way!

The pompous sergeant of the guard performed his office upon
my passport at the gate—giving me at least a kreutzer worth of
his majesty's black sand in exchange for my florin and my English
curse (I said before I was out of temper, and he was half an


Page 270
hour writing his abominable name), and leaving my carriage and
Percie to find their way together to the hotel, I dismounted at
the foot of a steep street and made my way to the battlements of
the castle, in search of scenery and equanimity.

Ah! what a glorious landscape! The precipitous rock on
which the old fortress is built seems dropped by the Titans in the
midst of a plain, extending miles in every direction, with scarce
another pebble. Close at its base run the populous streets,
coiling about it like serpents around a pyramid, and away from
the walls of the city spread the broad fields, laden, as far as the
eye can see, with tribute for the emperor! The tall castle, with
its armed crest, looks down among the reapers.

“You have not lost your friend and lover, yet you are melancholy!”
said a voice behind me, that I was scarce startled
to hear.

“Is it you, Iminild?”

“Scarce the same—for Iminild was never before so sad. It is
something in the sunset. Come away whilst the woman keeps
down in me, and let us stroll through the Plaza, where the band
is playing. Do you love military music?”

I looked at the costume and figure of the extraordinary creature
before I ventured with her on a public promenade. She was
dressed like one of the travelling apprentices of Germany, with
cap and bleuzer, and had assumed the air of the craft with a
success absolutely beyond detection. I gave her my arm and we
sauntered through the crowd, listening to the thrilling music of
one of the finest bands in Germany. The privileged character
and free manners of the wandering craftsmen whose dress she had
adopted, I was well aware, reconciled, in the eyes of the
inhabitants, the marked contrast between our conditions in life.


Page 271
They would simply have said, if they had made a remark at all,
that the Englishman was bon enfant and the craftsman bon camarade.

“You had better look at me, messieurs!” said the dusty apprentice,
as two officers of the regiment passed and gave me the
usual strangers' stare; “I am better worth your while by exactly
five thousand florins.”

“And pray how?” I asked.

“That price is set on my head.”

“Heavens! and you walk here?”

“They kept you longer than usual with your passport, I presume?”

“At the gate? yes.”

“I came in with my pack at the time. They have orders to
examine all travellers and passports with unusual care, these
sharp officials! But I shall get out as easily as I got in!”

“My dear countess!” I said, in a tone of serious remonstrance,
“do not trifle with the vigilance of the best police in Europe! I
am your guardian, and you owe my advice some respect. Come
away from the square and let us talk of it in earnest.”

“Wise seignior! suffer me to remind you how deftly I slipped
through the fingers of these gentry after our tragedy in Vienna,
and pay my opinion some respect! It was my vanity that brought
me, with my lackeys, to meet you à la prince royale so near Vienna;
and hence this alarm in the police, for I was seen and suspected.
I have shown myself to you in my favorite character,
however, and have done with such measures. You shall see me
on the road to-morrow, safe as the heart in your bosom. Where
is Monsieur Percie!”

“At the hotel. But stay! can I trust you with yourself?”


Page 272

“Yes, and dull company, too' A revoir!

And whistling the popular air of the craft she had assumed,
the countess Iminild struck her long staff on the pavement, and
with the gait of a tired and habitual pedestrian, disappeared by
a narrow street leading under the precipitory battlements of the

Percie made his appearance with a cup of coffee the following
morning, and, with the intention of posting a couple of leagues to
breakfast, I hurried through my toilet and was in my carriage an
hour after sunrise. The postillion was in his saddle, and only
waited for Percie, who, upon inquiry, was nowhere to be found.
I sat fifteen minutes, and just as I was beginning to be alarmed,
he ran into the large court of the hotel, and, crying out to
the postillion that all was right, jumped into his place with an
agility, it struck me, very unlike his usual gentlemanlike deliberation.
Determining to take advantage of the first up-hill to catechize
him upon his matutinal rambles, I read the signs along the
street till we pulled up at the gate.

Iminild's communication had prepared me for an unusual delay
with my passport, and I was not surprised when the officer, in
returning it to me, requested me as a matter of form, to declare,
upon my honor, that the servant behind my carriage was an
Englishman, and the person mentioned in my passport.

Foi d'honneur, monsieur,” I said, placing my hand politely
on my heart, and off trotted the postillion, while the captain of
the guard, flattered with my civility, touched his foraging-cap,
and sent me a German blessing through his mustache.

It was a divine morning, and the fresh and dewy air took me
back many a year, to the days when I was more familiar with


Page 273
the hour. We had a long trajet across the plain, and unlooping
an antivibration tablet, for the invention of which my ingenuity
took great credit to itself (suspended on caoutchouc cords from
the roof of the carriage—and deserving of a patent I trust you
will allow!) I let off my poetical vein in the following beginning
to what might have turned out, but for the interruption, a very
edifying copy of verses:—

`Yes are not what you were to me,
Oh waning night and morning star!
Though silent still your watches flee—
Though hang yon lamp in heaven as far—
Though live the thoughts ye fed of yore—
I'm thine, oh starry dawn, no more!
Yet to that dew-pearled hour alone
I was not folly's blindest child;
It came when wearied mirth had flown,
And sleep was on the gay and wild;
And wakeful with repentant pain,
I lay amid its lap of flowers,
And with a truant's earnest brain
Turned back the leaves of wasted hours.
The angels that by day would flee,
Returned, oh morning star! with thee!
Yet now again— * * * *

A foot thrust into my carriage-window rudely broke the thread
of these delicate musings. The postillion was on a walk, and
before I could get my wits back from their wool-gathering, the
countess Iminild, in Percie's clothes, sat laughing on the cushion
beside me.

“On what bird's back has your ladyship descended from the
clouds?” I asked with unfeigned astonishment.


Page 274

“The same bird has brought us both down—c'est à dire, if you
are not still en l'air,” she added, looking from my scrawled tablets
to my perplexed face.

“Are you really and really the countess Iminild?” I asked
with a smile, looking down at the trowsered feet and loose-fitting
boots of the pseudo-valet.

“Yes, indeed! but I leave it to you to swear, `foi d'honneur,'
that a born countess is an English valet!” And she laughed so
long and merrily that the postillion looked over his yellow epaulets
in astonishment.

“Kind, generous Percie!” she said, changing her tone presently
to one of great feeling, “I would scarce believe him last
night when he informed me as an inducement to leave him
behind, that he was only a servant! You never told me this.
But he is a gentleman, in every feeling as well as in every feature,
and by Heavens! he shall be a menial no longer!”

This speech, begun with much tenderness, rose, toward the
close, to the violence of passion; and folding her arms with an
air of defiance, the ladyoutlaw threw herself back in the carriage.

“I have no objection,” I said, after a short silence, “that
Percie should set up for a gentleman. Nature has certainly
done her part to make him one; but till you can give him means
and education, the coat which you wear, with such a grace, is his
safest shell. `Ants live safely till they have gotten wings,' says
the old proverb.”

The blowing of the postillion's horn interrupted the argument,
and a moment after, we were rolled up with German leisure, to
the door of the small inn where I had designed to breakfast.
Thinking it probable that the people of the house, in so small a
village, would be too simple to make any dangerous comments


Page 275
upon our appearance, I politely handed the countess out of the
carriage, and ordered plates for two.

“It is scarce worth while,” she said, as she heard the order,
“for I shall remain at the door on the look out. The eil-waggen
for Trieste, which was to leave Gratz an hour after us, will be
soon here, and (if my friends have served me well) Percie
in it. St. Mary speed him safely!”

She strode away to a small hillock to look out for the lumbering
diligence, with a gait that was no stranger to “doublet and
hose.” It soon came on with its usual tempest of whip-cracking
and bugle-blasts, and nearly overturning a fat burgher, who
would have proffered the assistance of his hand, out jumped
a petticoat, which I saw at a glance, gave a very embarrassed
motion to gentleman Percie.

“This young lady,” said the countess, dragging the striding
and unwilling damsel into the little parlor where I was breakfasting,
“travels under the charge of a deaf old brazier, who has been
requested to protect her modesty as far as Laybach. Make
a courtesy, child!”

“I beg pardon, sir!” began Percie.

“Hush, hush! no English!” Walls have ears, and your
voice is rather gruffish, mademoiselle. Show me your passport?
Cunegunda Von Krakenpate, eighteen years of age, blue eyes, nose
and chin middling, etc!
There is the conductor's horn! Allez
We meet at Laybach. Adieu, charmante femme!

And with the sort of caricatured elegance which women
always assume in their imitations of our sex, Countess Iminild, in
frock-coat and trowsers, helped into the diligence, in hood and
petticoat, my “tiger” from Cranbourne-alley!


Page 276


Spite of remonstrance on my part, the imperative countess,
who had asserted her authority more than once on our way to
Laybach, insisted on the company of Miss Cunegunda Von Krakenpate,
in an evening walk around the town. Fearing that Percie's
masculine stride would betray him, and objecting to lend
myself to a farce with my valet, I opposed the freak as long as it
was courteous—but it was not the first time I had learned that a
spoiled woman would have her own way, and too vexed to laugh,
I soberly promenaded the broad avenue of the capital of Styria,
with a valet en demoiselle, and a dame en valet.

It was but a few hours hence to Planina, and Iminild, who
seemed to fear no risk out of a walled city, waited on Percie to
the carriage the following morning, and in a few hours we drove
up to the rural inn of this small town of Littorale.

I had been too much out of humor to ask the countess a second
time what errand she could have in so rustic a neighborhood. She
had made a mystery of it, merely requiring of me that I should defer
all arrangements for the future, as far as she was concerned, till
we had visited a spot in Littorale, upon which her fate in many
respects depended. After twenty fruitless conjectures, I abandoned
myself to the course of circumstances, reserving only the
determination, if it should prove a haunt of Yvian's troop, to
separate at once from her company and await her at Trieste.

Our dinner was preparing at the inn, and tired of the embarrassment
Percie exhibited in my presence I walked out and
seated myself under an immense linden, that every traveller will


Page 277
remember, standing in the centre of the motley and indescribable
clusters of buildings, which serve the innkeeper and blacksmith of
Planina for barns, forge, dwelling, and out-houses. The tree
seems the father of the village. It was a hot afternoon, and I
was compelled to dispute the shade with a congregation of cows
and double-jointed post-horses; but finding a seat high up on the
root, at last I busied myself with gazing down the road, and conjecturing
what a cloud of dust might contain, which in an opposite
direction from that which we had come, was slowly creeping
onward to the inn.

Four roughly-harnessed horses at length appeared, with their
traces tied over their backs—one of them ridden by a man in a
farmer's frock. They struck me at first as fine specimens of the
German breed of draught-horses, with their shaggy fetlocks and
long manes; but while they drank at the trough which stood in
the shade of the linden, the low tone in which the man checked
their greedy thirst, and the instant obedience of the well-trained
animals, awakened at once my suspicions that we were to become
better acquainted. A more narrow examination convinced me
that, covered with dust and disguised with coarse harness as they
were, they were four horses of such bone and condition, as were
never seen in a farmer's stables. The rider dismounted at the
inn door, and very much to the embarrassment of my suppositions,
the landlord, a stupid and heavy Boniface, greeted him
with the familiarity of an old acquaintance, and in answer, apparently
to an inquiry, pointed to my carriage, and led him into
the house.

“Monsieur Tyrell,” said Iminild, coming out to me a moment
after, “a servant whom I had expected has arrived with my


Page 278
horses, and with your consent, they shall be put to your carriage

“To take us where?”

“To our place of destination.”

“Too indefinite, by half, countess! Listen to me! I have
very sufficient reason to fancy that, in leaving the post-road to
Trieste, I shall leave the society of honest men. You and your
`minions of the moon' may be very pleasant, but you are not
very safe companions; and having really a wish to die quietly in
my bed—”

The countess burst into a laugh.

“If you will have the character of the gentleman you are
about to visit from the landlord here—”

“Who is one of your ruffians himself, I'll be sworn!”

“No, on my honor! A more innocent old beer-guzzler lives
not on the road. But I will tell you thus much, and it ought to
content you. Ten miles to the west of this dwells a country gentleman,
who, the landlord will certify, is as honest a subject of
his gracious majesty as is to be found in Littorale. He lives
freely on his means, and entertains strangers occasionally from
all countries, for he has been a traveller in his time. You are
invited to pass a day or two with this Mynheer Krakenpate (who,
by the way, has no objection to pass for the father of the young
lady you have so kindly brought from Laybach), and he has sent
you his horses, like a generous host, to bring you to his door.
More seriously, this was a retreat of Yvain's, where he would
live quietly and play bon citoyen, and you have nothing earthly to
fear in accompanying me thither. And now will you wait and
eat the greasy meal you have ordered, or will you save your appetite


Page 279
for la fortune de pot at Mynheer Krakenpate's, and get
presently on the road?”

I yielded rather to the seducing smile and captivating beauty of
my pleasing ward, than to any confidence in the honesty of Mynheer
Krakenpate; and Percie being once more ceremoniously handed
in, we left the village at the sober trot becoming the fat steeds of a
landholder. A quarter of a mile of this was quite sufficient for
Iminild, and a word to the postillion changed, like a metamorphosis,
both horse and rider. From a heavy unelastic figure, he rose
into a gallant and withy horseman, and, with one of his lowspoken
words, away flew the four compact animals, treading
lightly as cats, and with the greatest apparent ease, putting us
over the ground at the rate of fourteen miles in the hour.

The dust was distanced, a pleasant breeze was created by the
motion, and when at last we turned from the main road, and sped
off to the right at the same exhilarating pace, I returned Iminild's
arch look of remonstrance with my best-humored smile and an
affectionate je me fie à vous! Miss Krakenpate, I observed, echoed
the sentiment by a slight pressure of the countess's arm, looking
very innocently out of the window all the while.

A couple of miles, soon done, brought us round the face of a
craggy precipice, forming the brow of a hill, and with a continuation
of the turn, we drew up at the gate of a substantial-looking
building, something between a villa and a farm-house, built
against the rock, as if for the purpose of shelter from the north
winds. Two beautiful Angora hounds sprang out at the noise,
and recognized Iminild through all her disguise, and presently,
with a look of forced courtesy, as if not quite sure whether he
might throw off the mask, a stout man of about fifty, hardly a
gentleman, yet above a common peasant in his manners, stepped


Page 280
forward from the garden to give Miss Krakenpate his assistance
in alighting.

“Dinner in half an hour!” was Iminild's brief greeting, and,
stepping between her bowing dependent and Percie, she led the
way into the house.

I was shown into a chamber, furnished scarce above the common
style of a German inn, where I made a hungry man's dispatch
of my toilet, and descended at once to the parlor. The doors
were all open on the ground floor, and, finding myself quite alone,
I sauntered from room to room, wondering at the scantiness of
the furniture and general air of discomfort, and scarce able to
believe that the same mistress presided over this and the singular
paradise in which I had first found her at Vienna. After
visiting every corner of the ground floor with a freedom which I
assumed in my character as guardian, it occurred to me that I
had not yet found the dining-room, and I was making a new
search, when Iminild entered.

I have said she was a beautiful woman. She was dressed now
in the Albanian costume, with the additional gorgeousness of
gold embroidery, which might distinguish the favorite child of a
chief of Suli. It was the male attire, with a snowy white juktanilla
reaching to the knee, a short jacket of crimson velvet, and a close-buttoned
vest of silver cloth, fitting admirably to her girlish bust,
and leaving her slender and pearly neck to rise bare and swan-like
into the masses of her clustering hair. Her slight waist was defined
by the girdle of fine linen edged with fringe of gold, which was tied
coquettishly over her left side and fell to her ankle, and below the
embroidered leggin appeared the fairy foot, which had drawn upon
me all this long train of adventure, thrust into a Turkish slipper
with a sparkling emerald on its instep. A feronière of the yellowest


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gold sequins bound her hair back from her temples, and
this was the only confinement to the dark brown meshes which,
in wavy lines and in the richest profusion, fell almost to her feet.
The only blemish to this vision of loveliness was a flush about her
eyes. The place had recalled Yvain to her memory.

“I am about to disclose to you secrets,” said she, laying her
hand on my arm, “which have never been revealed but to the
most trusty of Yvain's confederates. To satisfy those whom you
will meet you must swear to me on the same cross which he
pressed to your lips when dying, that you will never violate, while
I live, the trust we repose in you.”

“I will take no oath,” I said; “for you are leading me blind-folded.
If you are not satisfied with the assurance that I can betray
no confidence which honor would preserve, hungry as I am,
I will yet dine in Planina.”

“Then I will trust to the faith of an Englishman. And now
I have a favor, not to beg, but to insist upon—that from this
moment you consider Percie as dismissed from your service, and
treat him, while here at least, as my equal and friend.”

“Willingly!” I said; and as the word left my lips, enter Percie
in the counterpart dress of Iminild, with a silver-sheathed
ataghan at his side, and the bluish muzzles of a pair of Egg's
hair-triggers peeping from below his girdle. To do the rascal
justice, he was as handsome in his new toggery as his mistress,
and carried it as gallantly. They would have made the prettiest
tableau as Juan and Haidée.

“Is there any chance that these `persuaders' may be necessary,”
I asked, pointing to his pistols, which awoke in my mind a
momentary suspicion.

“No—none that I can foresee—but they are loaded. A favorite,


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among men whose passions are professionally wild,” she continued
with a meaning glance at Percie; “should be ready to lay
his hand on them, even if stirred in his sleep!”

I had been so accustomed to surprises of late, that I scarce
started to observe, while Iminild was speaking, that an old-fashioned
clock, which stood in a niche in the wall, was slowly swinging
out upon hinges. A narrow aperture of sufficient breadth to
admit one person at a time, was disclosed when it had made its
entire revolution, and in it stood, with a lighted torch, the stout
landlord Von Krakenpate. Iminild looked at me an instant as
if to enjoy my surprise.

“Will you lead me in to dinner, Mr. Tyrell?” she said, at last,
with a laugh.

“If we are to follow Mynheer Von Krakenpate,” I replied,
“give me hold of the skirt of your juktanilla, rather, and let me
follow! Do we dine in the cellar?”

I stepped before Percie, who was inclined to take advantage of
my hesitation to precede me, and followed the countess into the
opening, which, from the position of the house, I saw must lead
directly into the face of the rock. Two or three descending steps
convinced me that it was a natural opening enlarged by art; and
after one or two sharp turns, and a descent of perhaps fifty feet,
we came to a door which, suddenly flung open by our torch-bearer,
deluged the dark passage with a blaze of light which the eye-sight
almost refused to bear. Recovering from my amazement, I
stepped over the threshold of the door, and stood upon a carpet
in a gallery of sparkling stalactites, the dazzling reflection of
innumerable lamps flooding the air around, and a long snow-white
vista of the same brilliancy and effect stretching downward
before me. Two ridges of the calcareous strata running almost


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parallel over our heads, formed the cornices of the descending
corridor, and from these, with a regularity that seemed like design,
the sparkling pillars, white as alabaster, and shaped like
inverted cones, dropped nearly to the floor, their transparent
points resting on the peaks of the corresponding stalagmites,
which, of a darker hue and coarser grain, seemed designed as
bases to a new order of architectural columns. The reflection
from the pure crystalline rock gave to this singular gallery a
splendor which only the palace of Aladdin could have equalled.
The lamps were hung between in irregular but effective ranges,
and in our descent, like Thalaba, who refreshed his dazzled eyes
in the desert of snow by looking on the green wings of the spirit
bird, I was compelled to bend my eyes perpetually for relief upon
the soft, dark masses of hair which floated upon the lovely shoulders
of Iminild.

At the extremity of the gallery we turned short to the right,
and followed an irregular passage, sometimes so low that we could
scarce stand upright, but all lighted with the same intense brilliancy,
and formed of the same glittering and snow-white substance.
We had been rambling on thus far perhaps ten minutes,
when suddenly the air, which I had felt uncomfortably chill, grew
warm and soft, and the low reverberation of running water fell
delightfully on our ears. Far ahead we could see two sparry
columns standing close together, and apparently closing up the

“Courage! my venerable guardian!” cried Iminild, laughing
over her shoulder; “you will see your dinner presently. Are you
hungry, Percie?”

“Not while you look back, Madame la Comtesse!” answered


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the callow gentleman, with an instinctive tact at his new

We stood at the two pillars which formed the extremity of the
passage, and looked down upon a scene of which all description
must be faint and imperfect. A hundred feet below ran a broad
subterraneous river, whose waters, sparkling in the blaze of a
thousand torches, sprang into light from the deepest darkness,
crossed with foaming rapidity the bosom of the vast illuminated
cavern, and disappeared again in the same inscrutable gloom.
Whence it came or whither it fled was a mystery beyond the
reach of the eye. The deep recesses of the cavern seemed darker
for the intense light gathered about the centre.

After the first few minutes of bewilderment, I endeavored to
realize in detail the wondrous scene before me. The cavern was
of an irregular shape, but all studded above with the same sparry
incrustations, thousands upon thousands of pendent stalactites
glittering on the roof, and showering back light upon the clusters
of blazing torches fastened every where upon the shelvy sides.
Here and there vast columns, alabaster white, with bases of gold
color, fell from the roof to the floor, like pillars left standing in
the ruined aisle of a cathedral, and from corner to corner ran
thin curtains of the same brilliant calcareous spar, shaped like
the sharp edge of a snow-drift, and almost white. It was like
laying bare the palace of some king wizard of the mine to gaze
down upon it.

“What think you of Mynheer Krakenpate's taste in a dining-room,
Monsieur Tyrell?” asked the countess, who stood between
Percie and myself, with a hand on the shoulder of each.

I had scarce found time, as yet, to scrutinize the artificial portion
of the marvellous scene, but, at the question of Iminild, I


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bent my gaze on a broad platform, rising high above the river on
its opposite bank, the rear of which was closed in by perhaps
forty irregular columns, leaving between them and the sharp precipice
on the river-side, an area, in height and extent of about
the capacity of a ball-room. A rude bridge, of very light construction,
rose in a single arch across the river, forming the only
possible access to the platform from the side where we stood,
and, following the path back with my eye, I observed a narrow
and spiral staircase, partly of wood and partly cut in the rock,
ascending from the bridge to the gallery we had followed hither.
The platform was carpeted richly, and flooded with intense light,
and in its centre stood a gorgeous array of smoking dishes, served
after the Turkish fashion, with a cloth upon the floor, and surrounded
with cushions and ottomans of every shape and color.
A troop of black slaves, whose silver anklets, glittered as they
moved, were busy bringing wines and completing the arrangements
for the meal.

Allons, mignon!” cried Iminild, getting impatient and seizing
Percie's arm, “let us get over the river, and perhaps Mr.
Tyrell will look down upon us with his grands yeux while we
dine. Oh, you will come with us! Suivez donc!

An iron door, which I had not hitherto observed, let us out
from the gallery upon the staircase, and Mynheer Von Krakenpate
carefully turned the key behind us. We crept slowly down
the narrow staircase and reached the edge of the river, where the
warm air from the open sunshine came pouring through the cavern
with the current, bringing with it a smell of green fields and
flowers, and removing entirely the chill of the cavernous and con
fined atmosphere I had found so uncomfortable above. We
crossed the bridge, and stepping upon the elastic carpets piled


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thickly on the platform, arranged ourselves about the smoking
repast, Mynheer Von Krakenpate sitting down after permission
from Iminild, and Percie by order of the same imperative dictatress,
throwing his graceful length at her feet.


Take a lesson in flattery from Percie, Mr. Tyrell, and be
satisfied with your bliss in my society without asking for explanations.
I would fain have the use of my tongue (to swallow) for
ten minutes, and I see you making up your mouth for a question.
Try this pilau! It is made by a Greek cook, who fries, boils,
and stews, in a kitchen with a river for a chimney.”

“Precisely what I was going to ask you. I was wondering
how you cook without smoking your snow-white roof.”

“Yes, the river is a good slave, and steals wood as well. We
have only to cut it by moonlight and commit it to the current.”

“The kitchen is down stream, then?”

“Down stream; and down stream lives jolly Perdicaris the
cook, who having lost his nose in a sea-fight, is reconciled to forswear
sunshine and mankind and cook rice for pirates.”

“Is it true then that Yvain held command on the sea?”

“No, not Yvain, but Tranchcœur—his equal in command
over this honest confederacy. By the way, he is your countryman,
Mr. Tyrell, though he fights under a nom de guerre. You
are very likely to see him, too, for his bark is at Trieste, and he
is the only human being besides myself (and my company here)
who can come and go at will in this robber's paradise. He is a


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lover of mine, parbleu! and since Yvain's death, Heaven knows
what fancy he may bring hither in his hot brain! I have armed
Percie for the hazard!”

The thin nostrils of my friend from Cranbourne-alley dilated
with prophetic dislike of a rival thus abruptly alluded to,
and there was that in his face which would have proved,
against all the nurses' oaths in Christendom, that the spirit
of a gentleman's blood ran warm through his heart. Signor
Tranchcœur must be gentle in his suit, I said to myself, or
he will find what virtue lies in hair-triggers! Percie had
forgot to eat since the mention of the pirate's name, and sat with
folded arms and his right hand on his pistol.

A black slave brought in an omelette souffleé, as light and delicate
as the chef-d'œuvre of an artiste in the Palais Royal. Iminild
spoke to him in Greek, as he knelt and placed it before her.

“I have a presentiment,” she said, looking at me as the slave
disappeared, “that Tranchcœur will be here presently. I have
ordered another omelette on the strength of the feeling, for he
is fond of it, and may be soothed by the attention.”

“You fear him, then?”

“Not if I were alone, for he is as gentle as a woman when
he has no rival near him—but I doubt his relish of Percie.
Have you dined?”


“Then come and look at my garden, and have a peep at old
Perdicaris. Stay here, Percie, and finish your grapes, monmignon!
I have a word to say to Mr. Tyrell.”

We walked across the platform, and passing between two of
the sparry columns forming its boundary, entered upon a low
passage which led to a large opening, resembling singularly


Page 288
a garden of low shrubs turned by some magic to sparkling

Two or three hundred of these stalagmite cones, formed by the
dripping of calcareous water from the roof (as those on the roof
were formed by the same fluid which hardened and pondered),
stood about in the spacious area, every shrub having an answering
cone on the roof, like the reflection of the same marble garden in
a mirror. One side of this singular apartment was used as a
treasury for the spoils of the band, and on the points of the white
cones hung pitchers and altar lamps of silver, gold drinking-cups,
and chains, and plate and jewelery of every age and description.
Farther on were piled, in unthrifty confusion, heaps of velvets
and silks, fine broadcloths, French gloves, shoes and slippers,
brocades of Genoa, pieces of English linen, damask curtains
still fastened to their cornices, a harp and mandolin, cases of
damaged bons-bons, two or three richly-bound books, and (last
and most valuable in my eyes), a miniature bureau, evidently the
plunder of some antiquary's treasure, containing in its little
drawers antique gold coins of India, carefully dated and arranged,
with a list of its contents half torn from the lid.

“You should hear Tranchcœur's sermons on these pretty
texts,” said the countess, trying to thrust open a bale of Brusa
silk with her Turkish slipper. “He will beat off the top of
a stalagmite with his sabre-hilt, and sit down and talk
over his spoils and the adventures they recall, till morning

“And how is that discovered in this sunless cave?”

“By the perfume. The river brings news of it, and fills the
cavern with the sun's first kisses. Those violets `kiss and tell,'
Mr. Tyrell! Apropos des bottes, let us look into the kitchen.”


Page 289

We turned to the right, keeping on the same level, and a few
steps brought us to the brow of a considerable descent, forming
the lower edge of the carpeted platform, but separated from it by
a wall of close stalactites. At the bottom of the descent ran
the river, but just along the brink, forming a considerable crescent,
extended a flat rock, occupied by all the varied implements
of a kitchen, and lighted by the glare of two or three different
fires blazing against the perpendicular limit of the cave. The
smoke of these followed the inclination of the wall, and was
swept entirely down with the current of the river. At the nearest
fire stood Perdicaris, a fat, long-haired and sinister-looking
rascal, his noseless face glowing with the heat, and at his side
waited, with a silver-dish, the Nubian slave who had been sent
for Tranchcœur's omelette.

“One of the most bloody fights of my friend the rover,” said
Iminild, “was with an armed slaver, from whom he took these
six pages of mine. They have reason enough to comprehend
an order, but too little to dream of liberty. They are as contented
as tortoises, ici-bas.

“Is there no egress hence but by the iron door?”

“None that I know of, unless one could swim up this swift river
like a salmon. You may have surmised by this time, that we monopolize
an unexplored part of the great cave of Adelsberg. Common
report says it extends ten miles under ground, but common
report has never burrowed as far as this, and I doubt whether
there is any communication. Father Krakenpate's clock conceals
an entrance, discovered first by robbers, and handed down
by tradition, Heaven knows how long. But—hark! Tranchcœur,
by Heaven! my heart foreboded it!”

I sprang after the countess, who with her last exclamation,


Page 290
darted between two of the glittering columns separating us from
the platform, and my first glance convinced me that her fullest
anticipations of the pirate's jealousy were more than realized.
Percie stood with his back to a tall pillar on the farther side, with
his pistol levelled, calm and unmovable as a stalactite; and with
his sabre drawn and his eyes flashing fire, a tall, powerfully-built
man in a sailor's dress, was arrested by Iminild in the act of
rushing on him. “Stop! or you die, Tranchcœur!” said the
countess in a tone of trifling command. “He is my guest!”

“He is my prisoner, madame!” was the answer, as the pirate
changed his position to one of perfect repose, and shot his sabre
into his sheath, as if a brief delay could make little difference.

“We shall see that,” said the countess once more, with as soft
a voice as was ever heard in a lady's boudoir; and stepping to
the edge of the platform, she touched with her slipper a suspended
gong, which sent through the cavern a shrill reverberation heard
clearly over the rushing music of the river.

In an instant the click of forty muskets from the other side
fell on our ears; and, at a wave of her hand, the butts rattled on
the rocks, and all was still again.

“I have not trusted myself within your reach, Monsieur
Tranchcœur,” said Iminild, flinging herself carelessly on an ottoman,
and motioning Percie to keep his stand, “without a score
or two of my free-riders from Mount Semering to regulate your
conscience. I am mistress here, sir! You may sit down!”

Tranchcœur had assumed an air of the most gentlemanly
tranquillity, and motioning to one of the slaves for his pipe,
he politely begged pardon for smoking in the countess's presence,
and filled the enamelled bowl with Shiraz tobacco.


Page 291

“You heard of Yvain's death?” she remarked after a moment,
passing her hand over her eyes.

“Yes, at Venice.”

“With his dying words, he gave me and mine in charge to
this Englishman. Mr. Tyrell, Monsieur Tranchcœur.”

The pirate bowed.

“Have you been long from England?” he asked, with an accent
and voice that even in that brief question, savored of the nonchalant
English of the west end.

“Two years!” I answered.

“I should have supposed much longer from your chivalry in
St. Etienne, Mr. Tyrell. My countrymen generally are less
hasty. Your valet there,” he continued, looking sneeringly at
Percie, “seems as quick on the trigger as his master.”

Percie turned on his heel, and walked to the edge of the platform
as if uneasy at the remark, and Iminild rose to her feet.

“Look you, Tranchcœur! I'll have none of your sneers.
That youth is as well-born and better bred than yourself, and
with his consent, shall have the authority of the holy church ere
long to protect my property and me. Will you aid me in this,
Mr. Tyrell?”

“Willingly, countess!”

“Then, Tranchcœur, farewell! I have withdrawn from the
common stock Yvain's gold and jewels, and I trust to your sense
of honor to render me at Venice whatever else of his private property
may be concealed in the island.”

“Iminild!” cried the pirate, springing to his feet, “I did not
think to show a weakness before this stranger, but I implore you
to delay!”

His bosom heaved with strong emotion as he spoke, and the


Page 292
color fled from his bronzed features as if he were struck with a
mortal sickness.

“I cannot lose you, Iminild! I have loved you too long.
You must —”

She motioned to Percie to pass on.

“By Heaven, you shall!” he cried, in a voice suddenly become
hoarse with passion; and reckless of consequences, he leaped
across the heaps of cushion, and, seizing Percie by the throat,
flung him with terrible and headlong violence into the river.

A scream from Iminild, and the report of a musket from the
other side, rang at the same instant through the cavern, and as I
rushed forward to seize the pistol which he had struck from
Percie's hand, his half-drawn sabre slid back powerless into the
sheath, and Tranchcœur dropped heavily on his knee.

“I am peppered, Mr. Tyrell!” he said, waving me off with
a difficult effort to smile, “look after the boy, if you care for him!
A curse on her German wolves!”

Percie met me on the bridge, supporting Iminild, who hung on
his neck, smothering him with kisses.

“Where is that dog of a pirate?” she cried, suddenly snatching
her ataghan from the sheath and flying across the platform.

Her hand was arrested by the deadly pallor and helpless attitude
of the wounded man, and the weapon dropped as she stood
over him.

“I think it is not mortal,” he said, groaning as he pressed his
hand to his side, “but take your boy out of my sight! Iminild!”

“Well, Tranchcœur!”

“I have not done well—but you know my nature—and my


Page 293
love! Forgive me, and farewell! Send Bertram to stanch this
blood—I get faint! A little wine, Iminild!”

He took the massive flagon from her hand, and drank a long
draught, and then drawing to him a cloak which lay near, he
covered his head and dropped on his side as if to sleep.

Iminild knelt beside him and tore open the shirt beneath his
jacket, and while she busied herself in stanching the blood, Perdicaris,
apparently well prepared for such accidents, arrived with
a surgeon's probe, and, on examination of the wound, assured
Iminild that she might safely leave him. Washing her hands in
the flagon of wine, she threw a cloak over the wet and shivering
Percie, and, silent with horror at the scene behind us, we made
our way over the bridge, and in a short time, to my infinite relief,
stood in the broad moonlight on the portico of Mynheer

My carriage was soon loaded with the baggage and treasure of
the countess, and with the same swift horses that had brought us
from Planina, we regained the post-road and sped on toward
Venice by the Friuli. We arrived on the following night at the
fair city so beloved of romance, and with what haste I might, I
procured a priest and married the Countess Iminild to gentleman

As she possessed now a natural guardian, and a sufficient
means of life, I felt released from my death vow to Yvain, and
bidding farewell to the “happy couple,” I resumed my quiet
habit of travel, and three days after my arrival at Venice, was on
the road to Padua by the Brenta.