The Love Charm
by Ludwig Tieck
Emilius was sitting in deep thought at his table, awaiting his
friend Roderick. A light was burning before him; the winter-evening was
cold; and today he wisht for the presence of his fellow traveller,
though at other times wont to avoid his society; for on this evening he
purpost to disclose a secret to him and ask his advice. The timid, shy
Emilius found so many difficulties, such insurmountable hinderances, in
every affair he was engaged in, and in every event that befell him,
that it almost seemed as if his destiny had been in an ironical mood
when it threw him and Roderick together, Roderick being in all things
the reverse of his friend. Fickle, flighty, always determined and fixt
by the first impression, he attempted everything, had a plan for every
emergency; no undertaking was too arduous for him, no obstacles could
deter him. But in the midst of the pursuit he wearied and broke down
just as suddenly as at first he had kindled and sprung forward:
whatever then opposed him did not act as a spur to urge him more
eagerly onward, but only made him abandon and despise what he had so
hotly rusht into; and thus Roderick was evermore thoughtlessly
beginning something new, and with no better reason relinquishing and
carelessly forgetting what he had begun just before. Hence no day ever
passed but the friends got into a quarrel, which threatened to be a
death blow to their friendship: and yet what to all appearance thus
divided them, was perhaps the very thing that bound them most closely
together: each loved the other heartily; but each found passing
satisfaction in being able to discharge the most justly deserved
reproaches upon his friend.
Emilius, a rich young man of a sensitive and melancholy temperament,
had become master of his fortune on his father's death, and had set out
on his travels for the sake of cultivating his mind: he had already
been spending several months however in a large town, to enjoy the
pleasures of the carnival, about which he never gave himself the
slightest trouble, and to make certain important arrangements
concerning his fortune with some relations, whom he had scarcely yet
visited. On his journey he had fallen in with the restless,
ever-shifting and veering Roderick, who was living at variance with his
guardians, and who, to get rid altogether of them and their troublesome
admonitions, had caught eagerly at his new friend's offer to take him
with him on his travels.
On their road they had already been often on the point of
separating; but after every dispute both had only felt the more
forcibly that neither could live without the other. Scarcely had they
got out of their carriage in any town, when Roderick had already seen
everything remarkable in it, to forget it all again on the morrow:
while Emilius took a week to study thoroughly whatever was said in
books about it, that he might not leave anything unnoticed; and after
all out of indolence thought there was hardly anything worth going to
look at. Roderick had immediately made a thousand acquaintances, and
been to every public place of entertainment; and he would often bring
his new-made friends to Emilius in his solitary chamber, where, as soon
as he began to be tired of them, he left him alone with them. At other
times he would confound the modest Emilius by heaping extravagant
praises on his talents and acquirements in the presence of learned and
intelligent men, and by telling them how much information they might
derive from his friend with regard to languages, antiquities, or the
fine arts, though he himself could never find leisure to listen to him
on these subjects when the conversation happened to turn on them. But
if Emilius ever chanced to be in a more active mood, he might almost
make sure that his truant friend would have caught cold the night
before at some ball or sledge-party, and be forced to keep his bed; so
that, with the liveliest, most restless, and most communicative of men
for his companion, Emilius lived in the greatest solitude.
On this day he confidently expected him, having made Roderick give
him a solemn promise to spend the evening with him, in order to hear
what it was that for several weeks had been depressing and agitating
his pensive friend. Meanwhile Emilius wrote down the following lines:
'Tis sweet when spring its choir assembles,
And every nightingale is steeping
The trees in his melodious weeping, Till leaf and bloom with
Fair is the net that moonlight weaves;
Fair are the breezes gambolings
As with lime-odours on their wings They chase each other through
Bright is the glory of the rose,
When Love's rich magic decks the earth,
From countless roses Love peeps forth, Those stars wherewith
Love's heaven glows.
But sweeter, fairer, brighter far
To me that little lamp's pale gleaming,
When, through the narrow casement streaming It bids me hail my
As from their braids she flings her tresses,
Then twines them in a flowery band,
While at each motion of her hand The light robe to her fair form
Or when she wakes her lute's deep slumbers,
And, as at morning's touch updarting,
The notes beneath her fingers starting, Trip o'er the strings in
To stop their flight her voice she pours
Full after them; they laugh, and fly,
And to my heart for refuge hie: Her voice pursues them through
Leave me, ye mischiefs! hence remove!
They bar themselves within, and say:
Till this be broken here we stay, That thou mayst know what 'tis
Emilius stood up fretfully. It grew darker, but no Roderick came;
and he was wishing to tell him of his love for an unknown fair one, who
dwelt in the opposite house, and who kept him at home all day long, and
waking through many a night.
At length footsteps sounded on the stairs; the door opened without
anybody knocking at it: and in came two gay masks with ugly visages,
one of them a Turk, drest in red and blue silk, the other a Spaniard,
in pale yellow and pink, with a plume of feathers waving on his hat.
When Emilius was losing patience, Roderick took off his mask, shewed
his well-known laughing countenance, and cried: Heyday, my good
friend, what a drowned puppy of a face! Is this the way to look in the
carnival? I am come with my dear young officer here to carry you off:
there is a grand ball tonight at the masquerade-rooms; and, as I know
you have forsworn ever putting on any other suit than that which you
always wear of the devil's own colour, come with us black as you are;
for it is getting somewhat late.
Emilius felt angry, and said: It seems that according to custom you
have totally forgotten your engagement. I am extremely sorry, (he
added, turning to the stranger) that I cannot possibly be of your
party: my friend has been overhasty in promising for me; indeed I
cannot go out at all, having some matters of importance to talk over
The stranger, who was well-bred and saw Emiliuses meaning, withdrew:
but Roderick with the utmost indifference put on his mask again, took
his stand before the glass, and exclaimed: Verily, I am a most hideous
figure, am I not? After all my pains it is a tasteless, disgusting
That there can be no question about! answered Emilius in vehement
displeasure. Making a caricature of yourself, and stupefying your
senses, are among the pleasures you are the fondest of driving at.
Because you don't like dancing, said the other, and look upon it
as a pernicious invention, not a soul in the world is to be merry. How
tiresome it is when a man is made up of nothing but whims!
Doubtless! replied his irritated friend; and you afford me ample
opportunity for finding that it is so. I fancied that after our
agreement you would have given me this one evening; but
But it is the carnival, you know, interposed the other; and all
my acquaintances, and divers fair ladies are expecting me at the grand
ball tonight. Rely upon it, my dear friend, it is mere disease in you
that makes you so unreasonably averse to all such amusements.
Which of us has the fairest claim to be called diseased, said
Emilius, I will not examine. But I cannot think that your
incomprehensible frivolousness, your hunger and thirst for dissipation,
your restless chase after pleasures that leave the heart empty, are
altogether the healthiest state of human nature. On certain points at
all events you might make a little allowance for my weakness, if you
are determined to call it so; and you know there is nothing in the
world that so sets my whole soul on edge as a ball with its frightful
music. Somebody has said, that to a deaf person who cannot hear the
music a party of dancers must look like so many patients for a
madhouse: but to my mind this detestable music itself, this twirling
and whirling and pirouetting of half a dozen notes, each treading on
its own heels, in those odious tunes, which ram themselves into our
memory, nay, I might say, mix themselves up with our very blood, so
that one cannot get rid of the taint for many a woful day after,this
to me is the very trance of madness: and if I could ever bring myself
to think dancing endurable, it would be dancing to the tune of
Bravo, signor paradox-monger! exclaimed the mask: You are so far
gone, that you choose to think the most natural, the most innocent, and
the merriest thing in the world unnatural, ay, and shocking.
I cannot change my feelings, said his grave friend. From my very
childhood these tunes have made me unhappy, and have often all but
driven me out of my senses. They are to me the ghosts and spectres and
furies in the world of sound, and they come and buz round my head, and
grin at me with horrid laughter.
Sheer nervousness! returned the other; just like your extravagant
abhorrence of spiders and divers other harmless insects.
Harmless you call them! cried Emilius indignantly, because you
have no repugnance to such things. To him however that feels the same
disgust and loathing, the same unutterable shuddering, as I feel, start
up within him and shoot through his whole frame at the sight of them,
these miscreate deformities, such as toads, beetles, or that most
nauseous of all Nature's abortions, the bat, are not indifferent or
insignificant: their very existence is a state of direct enmity and
warfare against his. In good truth one might smile at the unbelievers
whose imagination is too barren for ghosts and fearful goblins, and
such births of night as we see in sickness, to grow up in it, or who
stare and marvel at Dante's descriptions; when the commonest everyday
life is perpetually paralysing our eyesight with some of these
portentous distorted masterpieces among the works of horrour. Yet how
can we have a real feeling and love for beauty, without detesting and
recoiling from such monstrosities?
Why recoil from them? askt Roderick: why should we see nothing in
the vast realm of water, in lakes, rivers, and seas, but those dismal
objects which you have taught yourself to find there? why not rather
look on such creatures as queer, amusing, and ludicrous mummers? so
that the deep might be called a kind of large maskt ballroom. But your
caprices go still further; for while you love roses with a sort of
idolatry, there are other flowers for which you have a no less
passionate hatred: yet what harm has the dear bright tulip ever done
you? or all the other gay children of summer that you persecute? Thus
again you have an antipathy to sundry colours, to sundry scents, and to
a number of thoughts; and you never take any pains to strengthen
yourself against these moods, but give way to them and sink down into
them as into a luxurious feather bed; so that I often fear I shall lose
you altogether some day, and find nothing but a patchwork of whims and
prejudices sitting at that table instead of my Emilius.
Emilius was wroth to the bottom of his heart, and answered not a
word. He had now given up all thought of making his intended
confession; nor did the thoughtless Roderick shew the least wish to
hear the secret which his melancholy companion had announced to him
with such an air of solemnity. He was sitting carelessly in the
armchair, playing with his mask, when on a sudden he cried: Be so
kind, Emilius, as to lend me your large cloak.
What for? askt the other.
I hear music in the church over the way, answered Roderick; and
some how or other I have mist this hour every evening since we have
been here. Today it comes just in the nick: I can cover my dress with
your cloak, hiding my mask and turban under it; and so, when the music
is over, I may go straight to the ball.
Emilius muttered between his teeth as he went for the cloak to his
wardrobe, and then, forcing himself to put on an ironical smile, he
gave it to Roderick who was already on his legs.
There, I'll leave you my Turkish dagger that I bought yesterday,
said the mask, as he wrapt himself up: Take care of it for me; it is a
bad habit, this carrying about toys of cold steel: one can never tell
what ill use may not be made of them, should a quarrel arise, or any
other knot that it is easier to cut than untie. We shall meet again
tomorrow; good bye; a pleasant evening to you. He did not wait for an
answer, but ran down stairs.
When Emilius was alone, he tried to forget his anger, and to look
only at the laughable side of his friend's behaviour. His eyes rested
on the shining, finely wrought dagger, and he said: What must be the
feelings of a man who could thrust this sharp iron into the breast of
an enemy! but oh, what must be his who should hurt a beloved object
He lockt it up, then gently folded back the window shutters, and
lookt across the narrow street. But no light was stirring; the opposite
house was quite dark; the dear form that dwelt in it, and that was wont
to appear there about this time engaged in divers household affairs,
seemed to be absent. 'Perhaps she may be at the ball,' thought Emilius,
little as it sorted with her retired way of life. Ere long however a
light came in: the little girl whom his beloved unknown had about her,
and with whom she used to pass a great part of the day and of the
evening, carried a candle through the room and closed the shutters. A
chink still let the light through, wide enough for Emilius, where he
stood, to overlook a part of the little room: and there the happy youth
would often stay till after midnight as if charmed to the spot,
watching every motion of her hand, every look of her beloved face. It
was a joy to see her teaching the child to read, or giving her lessons
in sewing and knitting. On inquiry he had learnt that the little girl
was a poor orphan, whom his fair maiden had charitably taken into the
house, to educate her.
Emiliuses friends could not conceive why he lived in this narrow
street, in this comfortless lodging, why he was so little to be seen in
society, or how he employed himself. Without employment, in solitude,
he was happy: only he felt out of humour with himself at his own
bashfulness, which withheld him from trying to become nearer acquainted
with this beauteous being, notwithstanding the friendliness with which
she had several times greeted and thankt him. He knew not that she
would often gaze over at him with eyes no less lovesick than his own:
he guessed not what wishes were forming in her heart, of what an
effort, what a sacrifice she felt herself capable, so she might but
attain the possession of his love.
After walking a few times up and down the room, the light having
gone away again with the child, he suddenly made up his mind, in spite
of all his feelings and inclinations, to go to the ball; for it struck
him that his unknown might have made an exception for once to her usual
secluded habits, for the sake of enjoying the world and its gaieties.
The streets were brilliantly lighted up; the snow crackled under his
feet; carriages rolled by him; and masks in every variety of dress
whistled and twittered as they passed him. Many of the houses resounded
with the dancing music which he so much abhorred; and he could not
bring himself to take the nearest way to the ballroom, to which people
from all quarters were streaming and flocking.
He walkt round the old church, gazed at its high tower rising
majestically into the dark sky, and enjoyed the stillness and solitude
of this deserted place. Within the recess of a large doorway, the
varied sculptures of which he had often contemplated with pleasure,
while calling up visions of the olden times and the arts that adorned
them, he now again took his stand, to give himself up for a few moments
to his musings.
He had not been there long, when his attention was attracted by a
figure that was pacing restlessly to and fro, and seemed to be waiting
for somebody. By the light of a lamp burning before an image of the
Virgin, he distinctly made out the face, as well as the strange dress.
It was an old woman of the uttermost hideousness, which struck the eye
the more from her being grotesquely clad in a scarlet bodice
embroidered with gold. Emilius fancied at first it must be some
extravagant mask that had lost its way: but the bright light soon
convinced him that the old brown wrinkled face was one of Nature's
ploughing, and no mimic exaggeration.
In a few minutes two men made their appearance, wrapt up in cloaks,
who seemed to approach the spot with cautious steps, often turning
their heads aside to see whether anybody was following. The old woman
went up to them.
Have you got the candles? she askt hastily and with a gruff voice.
Here they are, said one of the men: you know the price; let us
settle the matter and have done with it.
The old woman seemed to be giving him some money, which he counted
over beneath his cloak. I rely upon you, she again began, that they
are made exactly according to rule, at the right time and place, so
that they cannot fail of their effect.
You need not be uneasy on that score, returned the man, and
His companion, who staid behind, was a youth: he took the old woman
by the hand, and said: Can it be true, Alexia, that certain rites and
spells, as those old wild stories, in which I could never put faith,
tell us, can fetter the free will of man, and make love and hatred grow
up in the heart?
Ay forsooth! answered the scarlet woman; but one and one must
make two, and many a one must be added thereto, before such mighty
things come to pass. It is not these candles alone, moulded beneath the
midnight darkness of the new moon, and drencht with human blood, it is
not the mere uttering magical words and incantations, that can give you
the mastery over the soul of another: there is much more belonging to
such works, as the initiated well know.
I may depend upon you then! cried the stranger.
Tomorrow after midnight I am at your service, replied the old
woman. You shall not be the first person that ever was dissatisfied
with my skill. Tonight, as you have heard, I have some one else in
hand, one whose senses and soul our art shall twist about whichever way
we choose, just as easily as I twist this hair out of my head.
These last words she uttered with a half grin; and they separated,
walking off in different directions.
Emilius came forth from the dark niche shuddering, and lifted his
looks to the image of the Virgin with the Child. Before thine eyes,
thou mild and blessed one, he said half aloud, are these miscreants
audaciously holding their market and trafficking in their infernal
drugs. But as thou embracest thy child with thy love, so doth heavenly
Love encircle us all with its protecting arms; we feel their touch; and
our poor hearts beat joyously and tremulously toward a greater heart
that will never forsake us.
Clouds were rolling along over the pinnacles of the tower and the
high roof of the church; the everlasting stars lookt down through the
midst of them gleaming with mild serenity; and Emilius drew his
thoughts resolutely away from these nightly abominations, and mused on
the beauty of his unknown. He again entered the peopled streets, and
bent his steps toward the brightly illuminated ballroom, from which
voices, and the rattling of carriages, and now and then, when there was
a pause, the clamorous music, came sounding to his ears.
In the ballroom he was instantly lost amid the streaming throng:
dancers ran round him; masks darted by him to and fro; kettledrums and
trumpets stunned his ears; and it seemed to him as if human life had
melted away into a dream. He walkt along one row after another, and his
eye alone was wakeful, seeking after those beloved eyes and that fair
head with its brown locks, for the sight of which he yearned this
evening more intensely than ever, at the same time that he inwardly
reproacht their adored possessor, for allowing herself to plunge and be
lost in this stormy sea of confusion and folly. 'No!' he said to
himself; 'no heart that loves can willingly expose itself to this
dreary hubbub of noise, in which every longing and every tear is scoft
and mockt at by the wild laughter of pealing trumpets. The whispering
of trees, the murmuring of brooks, the soft notes of the harp, and the
song that gushes forth in all its richness and sweetness from an
overflowing bosom, are the sounds in which love dwells. But this is the
very thundering and shouting of hell in the frenzy of its despair....'
He saw nothing like her whom he was seeking for; and he could not
possibly give enterance to the notion that her beloved face might
perhaps be lurking behind some odious mask.
He had already ranged up and down the room three times over, and had
in vain run his eyes along all the ladies that were sitting and
unmaskt, when the Spaniard joined him and said: I am glad you are come
after all; are you looking for your friend?
Emilius had quite forgotten him; he said however somewhat embarrast:
In truth I wonder I have not met him here, for his mask is not to be
Can you guess what the harum-scarum fellow is about? answered the
young officer. He never danced at all, and hardly staid ten minutes in
the ballroom: for he soon fell in with his friend Anderson, who is just
come up from the country: their conversation turned upon books; and as
Anderson has never seen the new poem, Roderick would not rest till he
had made them open one of the back rooms for him; and there he is now
sitting beside a solitary taper, holding his companion fast, and
declaiming the whole poem to him, not omitting even the invocation to
It's just like him, said Emilius; he is always the child of the
moment. I have done all in my power, and even run the risk of some
amicable quarrels, to cure him of this habit of for ever living
extempore, and playing out his whole life in impromptus, card after
card, as it chances to turn up, without once looking over his hand. But
these follies have struck such deep root in his heart, he would sooner
part with his best friend than with them. That very same poem, which he
is so fond of that he always carries it about in his pocket, he wanted
to read to me a few days ago, and I had earnestly begged him to do so:
but he had scarcely got beyond the first description of the moon, when,
just as I had resigned myself to the enjoyment of its beauties, he
suddenly jumpt up, ran out of the room, came back with the cook's apron
round his waist, tore down the bell-rope in ringing to have the fire
lighted, and insisted on broiling me some beefsteaks, for which I had
not the least appetite, and which he fancies nobody in Europe dresses
so well, though, if he is in luck, he does not spoil them above nine
times in ten.
The Spaniard laught, and askt: Has he never been in love?
After his fashion, replied Emilius very gravely; as if he were
making game of love and of himself, with a dozen women at a time, and,
if you would believe his words, raving after every one of them: but ere
a week passes over his head, they are all spunged out of it, and not
even a blot is left behind.
They parted in the crowd, and Emilius walkt toward the remote
apartment, from which, long before he reacht it, he caught his friend's
Ah, so you are here too! exclaimed Roderick, as he entered: you
have just hit the right moment; I am at the very passage where we were
interrupted the other day: sit down, and you may hear the remainder.
I am not in a humour for it now, said Emilius: besides the time
and place do not seem to me exactly suited to such an employment.
And why not? answered Roderick. Time and place are made for us,
not we for time and place. Is not good poetry just as good at one hour
as at another? Is not it right to read it? and can that which is right
ever become wrong? Or would you rather dance? There is a lack of men;
and you need only jump about for a few hours, at the mere risk of
tiring your legs, to lay strong siege to the hearts of as many grateful
beauties as you choose.
Good night! cried the other with his hand on the door; I am going
Roderick called out to him: Only one word! I shall set off tomorrow
at daybreak with my friend here, to spend a few days in the country,
but will look in upon you to say goodbye before we start. Should you be
asleep, as is most likely, you need not take the trouble of waking;
for, before a week is out, I shall be back again.The strangest being
upon earth! he continued, turning to his neighbour; so moping and
fretful, such a splitter of thoughts, that he turns all his pleasures
sour; or rather there is no such thing as pleasure for him. Instead of
walking about with his fellow creatures in broad daylight and enjoying
himself, he gets down to the bottom of the well of his fancies, in the
hope of now and then catching a glimpse of a star. Everything must be
in the superlative for him: everything must be pure, and majestic, and
etherial, and celestial: his heart must be always throbbing and
heaving, even when he is standing before a puppet show. He never laughs
or cries, but can only smile and weep; and forsooth there is mighty
little difference between his weeping and his smiling. When anything,
be it what it may, falls short of his anticipations and preconceptions,
which are always flying up out of reach and sight, he puts on a
tragical face, and complains that it is a base and soulless world. At
this very moment, I make no doubt, he is requiring that under the masks
of a Pantaloon or a Punch there should be a soul glowing with unearthly
desires and ideal aspirations, and that Harlequin should outmoralize
Hamlet on the nothingness of sublunary things: and if these
expectations are disappointed, as they can never fail to be, the dew is
sure to rise into his eyes, and he will turn his back on the whole
motley scene in desponding contempt.
He must be atrabilious then? askt his hearer.
Not that exactly, answered Roderick: he has only been spoilt by
the indulgence of his overfond parents and by his own. He has
accustomed himself to let his heart ebb and flow as regularly as the
sea; and if this motion is ever at a stop, he cries out a miracle!
and would offer a prize to the philosopher who should give a
satisfactory explanation of so marvellous a phenomenon. He is the best
fellow under the sun; but all my painstaking to break him of this
perverseness has been utterly vain and thrown away; and if I would not
earn scurvy thanks for my goodwill, I must even let him follow his own
Might not a physician do him good? remarkt Anderson.
It is one of his whims, replied Roderick, to entertain a supreme
contempt for the whole medical art. He will have it that every disease
is something different and distinct in every particular patient, that
there is no arranging it under any class, and that it is absurd to
think of healing it by attending to ancient practice, and still more so
by what is called theory: he would much rather apply to an old woman,
and make use of sympathetic cures. In like manner he despises all
foresight in other matters, and everything like regularity, moderation,
and common sense: the last above all he holds in special abhorrence, as
the antipode and arch-enemy to all enthusiasm. While yet a child he
framed for himself an ideal of a noble character; and his constant aim
is to make himself what he considers such, that is to say, a being who
shews his superiority to all earthly things by his scorn for riches.
Merely to avoid being suspected of stinginess, or of giving
unwillingly, or of caring about money, he flings it right and left by
handfuls; with all his large fortune he is for ever poor and distrest,
and is the bubble of all such as are not gifted with precisely the same
sort of magnanimity which for himself he is determined to attain to. To
be his friend is the task of all tasks: for he is so touchy, you need
only cough, or eat with your knife, or not sip your drink as delicately
as a cow, or even pick your teeth, to offend him mortally.
Was he never in love? askt his country friend.
Whom should he love? whom could he love? answered Roderick. He
despises all the daughters of earth; and if he had a favorite, and were
ever to suspect that she had not an angelical contempt for dress, or
liked dancing at times as well as star-gazing, it would break his
heart: still more tremendous would it be, if she were ever so unlucky
as to sneeze.
Meanwhile Emilius was again standing among the crowd: but on a
sudden he was seized by that heart-burning, that shivering, which had
already so often come over him in the midst of a multitude in a like
state of excitement. It drove him out of the ballroom, out of the
house, and along the desolate streets; nor did he recover and regain
the quiet possession of his senses, till he reacht his lonely chamber.
The night light was already burning; he sent his servant to bed:
everything over the way was silent and dark, and he sat down to pour
forth the feelings which the ball had aroused, in verse.
Within the heart 'tis still; Sleep each wild thought encages:
Now stirs a wicked will, Would see how madness rages,
And cries: Wild spirit awake! Loud cymbals catch the cry,
And back its echoes shake; And, shouting peals of laughter, The
trumpet rushes after,
And cries: Wild spirit awake! Amid them flute-tones fly, Like
arrows, keen and numberless;
And with bloodhound yell
Pipes the onset swell; And violins and violoncellos,
Shrieking, shattering; And horns whence thunder bellows; To
leave the victim slumberless, And drag forth prisoned madness, And
cruelly murder all quiet and innocent gladness.
What will be the end of this commotion? Where the shore to this
turmoiling ocean? What seeks the tossing throng, As it wheels and
whirls along? On! on! the lustres
Like hellstars bicker: Let us twine in closer clusters,
On! on! ever closer and quicker! How the silly things throb,
Hence all quiet!
Peal more proudly,
Squeal more loudly, Ye cymbals, ye trumpets! bedull all pain,
Till it laugh again.
Thou beckonest to me, beauty's daughter;
Smiles ripple o'er thy lips, And o'er thine eye's blue water;
O let me breathe on thee,
Ere parted hence we flee,
Ere aught that light eclipse! I know that beauty's flowers soon
Those lips, within whose rosy cells
Thy spirit warbles its sweet spells, Death's clammy kiss ere
long will press together. I know, that face so fair and full Is but a
masquerading skull: But hail to thee skull so fair and so fresh!
Why should I weep and whine and wail,
That what blooms now must soon grow pale, And that worms must
batten on that sweet flesh? Let me laugh but today and tomorrow, And
what care I for sorrow,
While thus on the waves of the dance by
each other we sail?
Now thou art mine, And I am thine: And what though pain and trouble
wait To seize thee at the gate,
And sob, and tear, and groan, and sigh, Stand ranged in state
On thee to fly, Blithely let us look and cheerily On death that
grins so drearily! What would grief with us, or anguish? They are foes
that we know how to vanquish. I press thine answering fingers, Thy look
upon me lingers,
Or the fringe of thy garment will waft me
a kiss: Thou rollest on in light; I fall back into night;
Even despair is bliss.
From this delight,
From this wild revel's surge
Perchance there may emerge Foul jealousy, and scorn, and
envious spite. But this is our glory and pride;
When thee I despise,
I turn but my eyes,
And the fair one beside thee will welcome
my gaze, And she is my bride!
O happy, happy maze! Or shall it be her neighbour? Whose eyes,
like a sabre, Flash and pierce, Their glance is so fierce.
Thus jumping and prancing, All together go dancing
Adown life's giddy cave; Nor living, nor loving, But dizzily
Through dreams to a grave. There below 'tis yet worse:
Earth's flowers and its clay
Roof a gloomier day, Hide a still deeper curse. Ring then, ye
cymbals, enliven this dream! Ye horns shout a fiercer, more
And frisk caper skip prance dance yourselves
out of breath! For your life is all art, Love has given
you no heart:
So hurrah till you plunge into bottomless
He had ended, and was standing by the window. Then she came into the
opposite chamber, lovely, as he had never yet seen her: her brown hair
floated freely, and played in wanton ringlets about the whitest of
necks; she was but lightly clad, and seemed as if she meant to finish
some little household matters at this late hour of the night before she
went to bed: for she placed two candles in two corners of the room, set
the green cloth on the table to rights, and withdrew again.
Emilius was still sunk in his sweet dreams, and gazing on the image
which his beloved had left in his mind, when to his horrour the
frightful, the scarlet old woman walkt through the chamber: the gold on
her head and breast glared ghastlily as it threw back the light.
She had vanisht again. Was he to believe his eyes? Was it not some
delusive phantom of the night that his own feverish imagination had
conjured up before him?
But no! she returned, still more hideous than before, with a long
grey and black mane flying wildly and haggardly about her breast and
back. The beauteous maiden followed her, pale, stiff; her lovely bosom
was all bared, but her whole form was like a marble statue.
Betwixt them they led the sweet little child, crying and clinging
imploringly to the fair maiden, who lookt not down upon it. The child
lifted up and claspt its little beseeching hands, and stroakt the pale
neck and cheeks of the marble beauty. But she held it fast by the hair,
and in the other hand a silver basin.
Then the old woman growled, and pulled out a long knife, and drew it
across the white neck of the child. Here something crawled forth from
behind that they seemed not to perceive, or it must have struck them
with the same thrilling terrour as Emilius. A serpent curled its
loathsome neck, scale after scale, lengthening and still lengthening,
out of the darkness, and stoopt down over the child, whose lifeless
limbs hung from the old woman's arms: its black tongue lickt up the
spirting red blood, and a green sparkling eye shot over into the eye,
and brain, and heart of Emilius, who instantly dropt on the ground.
He was senseless when found by Roderick some hours after.
* * * * *
A party of friends were sitting on the brightest summer morning in a
green arbour, assembled at an excellent breakfast. Laughter and jests
passed round; and many a time did the glasses kiss with a merry health
to the young couple, and a wish that they might be the happiest of the
happy. The bride and bridegroom were not present; she being still
engaged in dressing, while the young husband was sauntering by himself
down an avenue some way off, musing upon his happiness.
What a pity it is, said Anderson, that we are to have no music!
All our ladies are beclouded at the thought, and never in their whole
lives longed for a dance so much as today, when it is quite out of the
question: it is far too painful to his feelings.
I can tell you a secret though, exclaimed a young officer, that
we are to have a dance after all; and a rare riotous and madcap one it
will be. Everything is already arranged; the musicians are come
secretly and quartered out of sight. Roderick has managed the whole
business; for he says one ought not to let him always have his own way,
or to humour his strange caprices overmuch, especially on such a day as
Besides, observed another young man, he is already become much
more tractable and sociable than he used to be; so that I think he
himself will not be sorry at the alteration. Indeed the whole wedding
has been brought about all on the sudden, and has taken everybody by
His whole history, resumed Anderson, is just as extraordinary as
his character. You must all remember how, being on his travels last
autumn, he arrived in our city, and spent the winter there, living like
a melancholy man almost entirely in his own room, and never visiting
our theatre or taking part in any other amusement. He all but
quarrelled with Roderick, his most intimate friend, for trying to
divert him, and refusing to pamper all his moping fantasies. In fact
this overstrained irritability and moroseness must have been a disease
that was gathering in his body: for you know he was attackt four months
ago by such a violent nervous fever, that his life was for a long time
despaired of. After his frenzy had raved itself out, and he returned to
his senses, he had almost entirely lost his memory: nothing but his
childhood and early youth kept its hold on his mind; and he was totally
unable to recollect anything that had happened during his journey, or
immediately before his illness. He had to begin his acquaintance afresh
with all his friends, even with Roderick; and it is only by little and
little that his thoughts have grown lighter, and that the past with all
that had befallen him has come back, though still in dim colours, into
his memory. He had been removed into his uncle's house, that better
care might be taken of him; and he was just like a child, letting them
do whatever they chose with him. The first time he went out to enjoy
the warmth of the spring in the park, he saw a girl sitting pensively
by the roadside. She lookt up; her eye met his; and seized with an
inexplicable yearning he stopt the carriage, got out, sat down by her,
took hold of her hands, and burst into a flood of tears. His friends
were again alarmed for his intellects: but he grew calm, cheerful, and
conversable, got introduced to the girl's parents, and at his very
first visit askt for her hand, which, with her parents consent, she
granted him. Since that time he has been happy, and a new life has
sprung up within him: day after day he has become healthier and more
contented. A week ago he paid me a visit at this country house, and was
above measure delighted with it; indeed so much so that he would not
rest till he had made me sell it to him. I might easily have turned his
passionate desire to my own advantage, and his loss; for when he once
sets his heart on a thing, he will have it, and that too forthwith. He
immediately let it be got ready, sent furniture that he may spend the
summer months here; and thus it has come to pass that we are all met
for his wedding in my old garden.
The house was large, and in a very lovely country. One side of it
lookt on a river and some woody hills beyond; shrubs and trees of
various kinds were scattered about the lawn; and immediately before the
windows lay a flower garden sweetening the air. The orange and lemon
trees were ranged in a large open hall, from which small doors led to
the store rooms, cellars, and pantries. On the other side a meadow
spread out its green floor, opening immediately into the park. The two
long wings of the house formed a spacious court; and broad open
galleries, borne by three rows of pillars standing one above the other,
ran round it, connecting all the rooms in the house, and giving it a
singular and interesting character: for figures were perpetually moving
along these arcades, some engaged in one employment, some in another;
new forms kept stepping forth between the pillars and out of the
various rooms, which anon vanisht and then reappeared above or below,
to be lost behind one of the doors: parties too would often assemble
there for tea or for some game; and thus from below the whole had the
look of a theatre, before which everybody was glad to stop awhile, with
a foreboding that something strange or pleasing was sure to meet his
eyes ere long.
The party of young people were just rising, when the bride came in
her full dress through the garden walking toward them. She was clad in
violet-coloured velvet: a sparkling necklace lay cradled on her
glittering neck; the costly lace just allowed her white swelling bosom
to glimmer through; and her wreath of myrtle and white roses gave her
brown hair a still more beautiful tint.
She greeted them all graciously, and the young men were astonisht at
her surpassing beauty. She had been gathering flowers in the garden,
and was going back into the house to see after the arrangements for
The tables had been set out in the lower open gallery, and shone
dazzlingly with their white coverings and their load of sparkling
crystal: rich clusters of many-coloured flowers rose from the graceful
necks of alabaster vases; green garlands, starred with white blossoms,
twined round the columns: and it was a lovely sight to behold the bride
gliding along with gentle motion between the tables and the pillars,
amid the light of the flowers, overlooking the whole with a searching
glance, and then vanishing; and reappearing a moment after above, to
pass into her chamber.
She is the loveliest, most enchanting creature I ever saw! cried
Anderson: our friend is indeed a happy man.
Her very paleness, added the officer, hightens her beauty. Her
hazel eyes only sparkle the more intensely above those white cheeks and
beneath those dark locks; and the singular, almost burning redness of
her lips gives her face a truly magical appearance.
The air of silent melancholy that surrounds her, said Anderson,
sheds a noble majesty over her.
The bridegroom joined them, and askt after Roderick: he had been
missing for some time, and they could not conceive what he was about.
All set off in search of him.
He is down in the hall, said at length a young man whom they
happened to ask, in the midst of the coachmen, footmen, and grooms,
shewing off tricks at cards, which make them stare till their wits
They walkt in, and interrupted the boisterous admiration of the
servants, without however disturbing Roderick, who quietly went on
conjuring. When he had finisht, he returned with the others into the
garden, and said: I do it only to strengthen the fellows in their
faith: these puzzles give a hard blow to their groomships'
free-thinking inclinations, and help to make 'em true believers.
I see, said the bridegroom, my all-sufficing friend, among his
other talents, does not think that of a mountebank beneath his
We live in strange times, replied the other; who knows whether
mountebanks may not come to rule the roast in their turn? One ought to
despise nothing nowadays: the veriest straw of a talent may be that
which is to break the camel's back.
When the two friends found themselves alone, Emilius again turned
down the dark avenue and said: Why am I in such a gloomy mood on this
the happiest day of my life? But I assure you, Roderick, though you
will not believe me, I am not made for moving about amid such a mob of
human beings,for this parade of heartless courtesy,for keeping my
attention on the qui vive to every letter of the alphabet, so
that neither A nor Z may complain of being treated with
disrespect,for making low bows to her tenth cousin, and shaking hands
warmly with my twentieth,for this formal reverence to her
parents,for handing a flower from my nosegay of compliments to every
lady that crosses the room,for waiting to receive the tide of
new-comers as wave after wave rushes over me, and then turning to give
orders that their servants and horses may each have a full trough and
pail set before them.
That is a watch that goes of its own accord; answered Roderick.
Only look at your house! it was just built for such an occasion: and
your head-butler, with his right hand taking up at the same time that
his left hand is setting down, and one leg running north while the
other seems to be making for south, was begotten and born for the very
purpose of putting confusion in order. He would set my brains to rights
if he could get at 'em: were the whole city to come, he would find room
for all; and he'll make your hospitality the proverb of fifty miles
round. Leave all such matters to him, and to your lovely bride; and
where will you find so sweet a lightener of this world's cares?
This morning before sunrise, said Emilius, I was walking through
the wood; my thoughts were solemnly tuned; I felt to the bottom of my
soul that my life is now taking a determinate cast, that it is become a
serious thing, and that this passion has created me a home and a
calling. In passing by that arbour yonder I heard sounds: it was my
beloved in close conversation. 'Has not it turned out now as I told
you?' said a strange voice; 'just as I knew it would turn out? You have
got your wish; so cheer up and be merry.' I did not like to go in to
them: as I came back I walkt nearer to the arbour; they had both left
it. But I have been musing and musing ever since, what can these words
Roderick answered: Perhaps she may have been in love with you this
long time without your knowing it: this should make you all the
A late nightingale now lifted up her song, and seemed to be wishing
the lover health and bliss. Emilius sank still deeper in thought.
Come with me to clear up your spirits, said Roderick, down to the
village, where you will find another couple; for you must not fancy
that yours is the only wedding on which today's sun is to shine. A
young clown, finding his time lag heavily in the house with an ugly old
maid, for want of something better to do did what makes the booby think
himself bound in honour to turn her into his wife. They must both be
drest out by this time; so don't let us miss the sight; for doubtless
it will be overpoweringly interesting.
The melancholy man let himself be dragged along by his merry
talkative friend, and they soon got to the cottage. The procession was
just sallying forth on its way to church. The young countryman was in
his usual linen frock; all his finery consisted in a pair of leather
breeches, which he had polisht till they shone like a field of
dandelions: he had a very simple look, and was a good deal ashamed.
The bride was tanned by the sun, and had only a few farewell leaves
of youth still hanging about her: she was coarsely and poorly but
cleanly drest: some red and blue silk ribbons, already somewhat faded,
flaunted from her stomacher; but what chiefly disfigured her was, that
her hair, after being stiffened with lard, flour, and pins, had been
swept back from her forehead and piled up at the top of her head in a
mound, on the summit of which lay the bridal chaplet. She smiled, and
seemed glad at heart, but was bashful and downcast.
Next came the aged parents: her father too was only a labourer on
the farm; and the hovel, the furniture, the clothing, all bore witness
that their poverty was extreme. A dirty squinting musician followed the
train, grinning and screaming and scratching his fiddle, which was
patcht up of wood and pasteboard, and instead of strings had three bits
The procession halted when his honour, their new master, came up to
them. Some mischief-loving servants, lads and girls, tittered and
laught, and jeered the bridal couple, especially the ladies' maids, who
thought themselves far handsomer, and saw themselves infinitely better
drest, and wondered how people could be so vulgar.
A shudder came over Emilius: he lookt round for Roderick; but the
latter as usual had already run away. An impertinent fop, with a head
pilloried in a high starcht neckcloth, a footman to one of the
visitors, eager to shew off his wit, shoved up to Emilius, giggling,
and cried: There your honour, what says your honour to this grand
couple? They can neither of 'em guess where they are to find bread for
tomorrow; and yet they mean to give a ball this afternoon, and that
famous performer is already engaged.
No bread! said Emilius; can such things be?
Their wretchedness, continued the chatterbox, is notorious to the
whole neighbourhood; but the fellow says he bears the creature the same
goodwill, though she has nothing to boast of but her charms. Ay verily,
as the song says, love can make black white! The brace of beggars have
not even a bed, and must pass their wedding-night on the straw: they
have just been round to every cottage, begging a pint of small beer,
with which they mean to get royally drunk: a brave treat for a wedding,
Everybody around burst out a-laughing, and the unhappy despised pair
hung down their heads. Emilius pusht the coxcomb indignantly away, and
cried: Here, take this! tossing a hundred ducats, which he had
received that morning, into the hands of the amazed bridegroom.
The betrothed couple and their parents wept aloud, threw themselves
clumsily on their knees, and kist his hands and the skirts of his coat.
He struggled to break loose from them. Let that keep hunger out of
doors as long as you can make it last! he exclaimed, quite stunned by
Oh! they all screamed, oh your honour! we shall be rich and happy
till the day of our deaths, and longer too, if we live longer.
He did not know how he got away, but he found himself alone, and
hastened with tremulous steps into the wood. There he sought out the
thickest loneliest spot, and threw himself down on a grassy knoll, no
longer keeping in the bursting flood of his tears.
I am sick of life! he cried: I cannot be gay and happy; I will
not. Make haste to receive me, dear kind mother earth, and shelter me
with thy cool refreshing arms from the wild beasts that trample on thee
and call themselves men. Oh God in heaven! how have I deserved that I
should lie upon down, and be clothed in silk, that the grape should
pour forth her precious heart's blood for me, and that all should
throng around me with offerings of homage and love! This poor wretch is
better and worthier than I; and misery is his nurse, and mockery and
venomous scorn alone wish him joy on his wedding. Every delicacy that
is placed before me, every draught out of my costly goblets, the soft
luxury of my bed, my wearing gold and rich garments, will seem to me
like so many sins, now that my eyes have seen how the world hunts down
many thousand thousand miserable beings, who are hungering after the
dry bread I throw away, and who never know what a good meal is. Oh now
I can fully enter into your feelings, ye holy saints, whom the world
scorns and scoffs at, ye who did scatter your all, even down to your
very raiment, among the poor, and did gird your loins with sackcloth,
and did resolve as beggars to undergo the gibes and the kicks wherewith
brutal insolence and swilling voluptuousness drive the needy from their
doors, that by so doing you might thoroughly purge yourselves from the
foul sin of wealth.
The world with all its inhabitants floated in a mist before his
eyes: he resolved to look upon the destitute as his brethren, and to
depart from the communion of the happy.
They had been waiting a long time for him in the hall, that the
ceremony might be performed; the bride had grown uneasy; her parents
had gone in search of him through the garden and park: at length he
returned, lighter for having wept away his agitation; and the solemn
knot was tied.
The company then walkt from the hall on the ground floor to the open
gallery, to sit down to dinner. The bride and bridegroom led the way,
and the rest followed in their train. Roderick offered his arm to a
young girl who was lively and talkative.
Why does a bride always cry, and look so serious and sad during the
ceremony? said she, as they mounted the stairs.
Because it is the first time that she ever thoroughly feels what a
momentous and mysterious thing life is: answered Roderick.
But our bride, continued the girl, in her gravity goes far beyond
all I have ever yet seen. Indeed there is always something melancholy
about her, and one can never catch her in a downright merry laugh.
This does the more honour to her heart, replied Roderick, himself
more serious than usual. You don't know perhaps that the bride a few
years ago took a lovely little orphan girl into her house, to educate
her. All her time was devoted to this child, and the gentle creature's
love was her sweetest reward. When the girl was seven years old, she
was lost on a walk about the town; and in spite of all the pains that
have been used, nobody has ever found out what became of her. Our
noble-minded hostess has taken this misfortune so much to heart, that
she has been a prey ever since to silent grief, and nothing can win her
mind away from longing after her little playfellow.
A most interesting adventure indeed! said the young lady. One
might see a whole romance in three volumes growing out of this seed. It
will be a strange sight, and it will not be for nothing, when this lost
star reappears. What a pretty poem it would make! Don't you think so,
The party took their seats: the bride and bridegroom were in the
centre, looking out on the gay landscape. Everybody talkt and drank
healths, and all was mirth and good humour: the bride's parents were
perfectly happy: the bridegroom alone was reserved and thoughtful, ate
but little, and took no part in the conversation.
He started on hearing musical sounds roll down through the air from
above, but grew calm again when he found they were only the soft notes
of some bugles, travelling along with a pleasant murmur over the shrubs
and through the park, and dying away on the distant hills. Roderick had
placed the musicians in the gallery overhead, and Emilius was satisfied
with this arrangement.
Toward the end of the dinner he called the butler, and, turning to
his bride, said: My love, let poverty also have a share of our
He then ordered him to send a number of bottles of wine, and
abundance of pastry as well as other dishes, to the poor couple, that
with them too this might be a day of rejoicing, to which in aftertimes
they might look back with pleasure.
See my friend, exclaimed Roderick, how beautifully all things in
this world hang together! My idle trick of busying myself in other
folks' concerns, and chattering about whatever comes uppermost, though
you will never give over finding fault with it, has at all events been
the cause of this good deed.
Several persons began making pretty speeches to their host on his
kind and charitable heart; and Roderick's neighbour lispt about the
sweetness of romantic compassion and sentimental magnanimity.
O say no more! cried Emilius indignantly: this is no good action;
it is no action at all; it is nothing. When swallows and linnets feed
on the crumbs that are thrown away from the waste of this meal, and
carry them to their young in their nest, shall not I remember a poor
brother, who needs my help? If I might follow my heart, ye would laugh
and jeer at me, just as ye have laught and jeered at many others, who
have gone forth into the wilderness that they might hear no more of
this world and its generosity.
Everybody was silent; and Roderick, perceiving from his friend's
glowing eyes how vehemently he was displeased, was afraid that in his
present irritation he might forget himself still further, and tried to
give the conversation a rapid turn on other subjects.
But Emilius was become restless and absent; his eyes wandered, more
especially toward the upper gallery, where the servants who lived in
the top story were engaged in a variety of occupations.
Who is that ugly old woman? he at length askt, that is so busy up
there, and is coming back again every moment in her grey cloak?
She is one of my servants, said his bride; she is to overlook and
manage my chambermaids and other girls.
How can you endure to have anything so hideous perpetually at your
elbow? replied Emilius.
Let her alone, answered the young lady: God meant the ugly to
live as well as the handsome; and she is such a good honest creature,
she may be of great use to us.
On rising from table everybody gathered round the bridegroom, again
wisht him joy, and urgently begged him to let them have a ball. The
bride too said, breathing a gentle kiss on his forehead: You will not
deny your wife's first request, my beloved; we have all been delighting
in the hope of this. It is so long since I danced last; and you have
never yet seen me dance. Have you no curiosity how I shall acquit
myself in this new character? my mother tells me I look better than at
any other time.
I never saw you in such gay spirits before, said Emilius. I will
not throw a damp over your mirth; do as you please: only don't let
anybody ask me to make a laughing stock of myself by trying to cut
Oh, if you are a bad dancer, she answered laughing, you may feel
quite safe; we shall all readily consent to your sitting still. The
bride then retired to put on her ball dress.
She does not know, whispered Emilius to Roderick, as he withdrew,
that there is a secret door by which I can get from the next room into
hers: I will surprise her while she is dressing.
When Emilius had left them, and many of the ladies were also gone to
make such changes in their attire as were requisite for the ball,
Roderick took the young men aside and led the way to his own room.
It is wearing toward evening, he said, and will soon be dark; so
make haste all of you and mask yourselves, that we may render this
night glorious in the annals of merriment and madness. Give your
fancies free range in choosing your characters; the wilder and uglier
the better. Try every combination of shaggy mane, and squinting eye,
and mouth gaping like a volcano; pile mountains atop of your shoulders,
or plump yourselves out into Falstaffs; and as a whet to your
inventions I promise a kiss from the bride to the figure that would be
the likeliest to make her miscarry. A wedding is such an out-of-the-way
event in ones life; the bride and bridegroom are so suddenly plunged,
by a sort of magic, head over heels into a new unaccustomed element,
that it is impossible to throw too much madness and folly into this
festival, in order to keep pace with the whirlpool that is bearing a
brace of human beings from the state where they were two to the state
where they become one, and that all things round about may be fitting
accompaniments for the dizzy dream on the wings of which they are
floating toward a new life. So let us rave away the night, making all
sail before the breeze; and a fig for such as look twice on the dull
sour faces that, would bid you behave rationally and soberly.
Don't be afraid, said the young officer; we have brought a large
chest full of masks and mad carnival dresses from town with us, such as
would make even you stare.
But see here, returned Roderick, what a gem I have got from my
tailor, who was on the point of cutting up this peerless treasure into
strips. He had bought it of an old crone who must doubtless have worn
it on gala-days, when she went to Lucifer's drawing room on the
Blocksberg. Look at this scarlet bodice with its gold tassels and
fringe, at this cap besmeared with the last fee the hag got from
Beelzebub or his imps! it will give me a right worshipful air. To match
these choice morsels I have this green velvet petticoat, with its
saffron lining, and this mask which would melt even Medusa to a grin.
Thus accoutred I mean to lead the chorus of anti-graces, myself their
mother-queen, to the bedroom. Make the best speed you can, and we will
then go in solemn procession to fetch the bride.
The bugles were still playing: the company were strolling about the
garden, or sitting before the house. The sun had gone down behind thick
murky clouds, and the country was lying in the grey dusk, when a
parting gleam suddenly burst athwart the cloudy veil, and flooded every
spot around, but above all the building, its galleries and pillars and
wreaths of flowers, as it were with red blood.
At this moment the parents of the bride and the other visitors saw a
train of the most grotesque figures move toward the upper corridor.
Roderick led the way as the scarlet old woman, and was followed by
humpbacks, bulging paunches, cumbrous wigs, Scaramouches, Punches,
shrivelled Pantaloons, curtsying women embankt by enormous hoops, and
overcanopied with a yard of horsehair, powder, and pomatum, and by
every disgusting shape that can be imagined, as if a nightmair had been
unrolling her stores. They jumpt, and twirled, and tottered, and
stumbled, and straddled, and strutted, and swaggered along the gallery,
and then vanisht behind one of the doors. But few of the beholders had
been able to laugh, so utterly were they astounded by the strange
Suddenly a piercing shriek burst from one of the rooms, and forth
into the bloodred glow of the sunset rusht the pale bride, in a short
white frock, about which wreaths of flowers were dangling, with her
lovely bosom all naked, and her rich locks streaming through the air.
As though mad, with rolling eyes and wrencht face, she darted along the
gallery, and blinded by terrour could find neither door nor staircase;
and immediately after dasht Emilius in chase of her, with the sparkling
Turkish dagger in his high-uplifted hand.
Now she was at the end of the passage ... she could go no further
... he reacht her. His maskt friends and the grey old woman were
running after him. But in his fury he had already pierced her bosom,
and cut across her white neck; her blood spouted forth into the
radiance of the setting sun.
The old woman had claspt her arms round him to tear him back; he
struggled fiercely, hurled himself along with her over the railing, and
they both fell almost lifeless at the feet of the relations who had
been staring in dumb horrour at the bloody scene.
Above, and in the court, or hurrying down the steps or along the
galleries, were seen the hideous masks, standing or running about, in
various clusters, like fiends of hell.
Roderick took his dying friend in his arms. He had found him in his
wife's room, playing with the dagger. She was almost drest when he
entered. At the sight of the detested red bodice his memory had
rekindled; the horrid vision of that night had risen up before his
eyes; and gnashing his teeth he had darted after his trembling, flying
bride, to avenge that murder and all those devilish doings.
The old woman, ere she died, confest the crime that had been
perpetrated; and the gladness and mirth of the whole house were
suddenly changed into sorrow and lamentation and dismay.