University of Virginia Library


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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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.


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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?”


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“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


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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.


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“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


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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!