Ebooks, Fiction, Non-Fiction 1000s of Free books and stories online to read now ~ Main Page

 

 

 

The Bride's Journey by Mrs Crowe

 

In the year 1809, when the French were in Prussia, M. Louison, an officer in the commissariat department of the imperial army, contracted an attachment for the beautiful Adelaide Hext, the daughter of a respectable but not wealthy merchant. The young Frenchman having contrived to make his attachment known, it was imprudently reciprocated by its object; we say imprudently, for the French were detested by her father, who declared that no daughter of his should ever be allied to one of the invaders and occupants of his beloved country. Thus repulsed, M. Louison had the good sense not to press his suit, and proceeded to Vienna, where he was installed in a lucrative office suitable to his wishes and abilities. Here, however, he could not altogether relinquish the expectation of being one day married to the fair Adelaide Hext, with whom he continued to correspond.

After the lapse of a few months, the aspect of affairs underwent a material change. Hext lay, as he supposed, and as the doctors told him, on his death-bed, and, pondering on the probable destitution of his family, he repented his rash vow, and stated to Adelaide that he should no longer oppose her wishes. M. Louison, procuring leave of absence for a few days, was speedily on the spot, and, with as little loss of time as possible, was united to the daughter of the seemingly dying merchant. As, in such circumstances, it would have been cruel for Madame Louison to leave the bedside of her aged parent, it was arranged that she should remain till the period of his decease, and then join her husband, who, in the meanwhile, was compelled to return to Vienna. The old man, however, recovered as soon as his son-in-law departed, and he now almost wished the marriage were undone; but as that was impracticable, he, with as good a grace as possible, saw his daughter set out on her journey to Dresden, whence she was to be escorted to Vienna by M. de Monge, a friend of her husband.

Nothing occurred to interrupt the journey of Madame Louison, for the intermediate country was tranquil, and she had the happiness of arriving safely under the roof of her husband's friend. This person was one of those who will act conscientiously in all situations of life, until they encounter an irresistible temptation to error. Such was the present occasion. Overcome with the beauty of his unsuspicious guest, he basely attempted to divert her affections from her husband—an attempt which the noble Friedlander repelled with becoming scorn. To cut short a long tale, this mortification filled De Monge with vengeful sentiments, at the same time that his fears were awakened, as he could hardly doubt that the lady would acquaint her husband with his treachery. He affected to pass off his overtures as nothing more than a jocular trial of her resolutions, but secretly suffered from the torments of fear and resentment, insomuch that he was at length driven to the contemplation of a dreadful crime. The story is almost too incredible for belief, yet our authority assures us that the facts occurred as we propose to state them.

Having detained the lady in Dresden considerably beyond the day When she expected to set out, De Monge was at length compelled to Allow her departure. Her escort through the partially-disturbed country in which she was to travel, was to consist of an individual who was well acquainted with the roads, and had frequently acted as a the Italian frontier. Mazzuolo, as this man was called, was an Italian by birth, and gladly undertook a commission which promised him a rich harvest of booty. His bargain with the treacherous De Monge was, that if he made away with the life of Madame Louison while on the journey, and before she could communicate with her husband, he was to be at liberty to carry off all her baggage, which contained valuable articles to a large amount. The Italian stipulated that his wife, dressed in male attire, and a lad on whom he could depend, should accompany him.

Everything being settled, the morning of departure arrived. Adelaide had not seen her travelling companions till they with the carriage, into which she was handed by Mazzuolo, with all the deference that her beauty and elegant attire might naturally command. She wore a black velvet bonnet and Chantilly veil, a crimson silk pelisse trimmed with rich furs, a boa of Russian sable; and, over all, a loose pelisse, lined with fur. Mazzuolo and his wife thought that this augured well for the contents of her trunks.

The length of the journey, the dangers of the road, and the goodness or badness of the inns they should have to rest at, formed the subjects of conversation for the first hour or two. The stage was very long, and it was eleven o'clock before they reached their first relay of horses, by which time the young traveller had decided that she had great reason to be satisfied with her companions. The Italian was polite and entertaining; he had travelled a great deal, and was full of anecdote; and being naturally lively and garrulous, the design he entertained of taking away the life of his charge did not prevent his making himself agreeable to her in the meantime. With his well-seared conscience, he neither felt nervous nor saturnine at the prospect of what was before him—why should he indeed?—for the only part of the prospect he fixed his eye upon was the gain; the little operation by means of which it was to be acquired, he did not think very seriously of; besides, he did not intend to perform it himself.

When they stopped to change horses, a lad of about seventeen years of age, named Karl, nephew of Mazzuolo's wife, came to the carriage door: he seemed to have been waiting for them. Mazzuolo spoke to him aside for some minutes, and when they started again, the youth mounted in front of the carriage. The Italian said he was a lad they had engaged to look after the luggage, and be useful on the journey. He was, in fact, one who was hired to do any piece of work, good or bad. He possessed no moral strength, could be easily led by the will of his employers; in short, was a very useful ally. He had a broad, fair, stolid German face; and from the glimpse she had of him, Adelaide thought she had seldom seen a more unprepossessing-looking person. His home had been a rude and unhappy one; his manners were coarse and unpolished, and his dress shabby.

The first day's journey passed agreeably enough. When they arrived at their night's station, Mazzuolo having handed out the ladies, bade them go up stairs and order supper, whilst he and Karl looked to the putting-up of the carriage. Agostina, or Tina, as her husband commonly called her, insisted very much on having a room for Adelaide adjoining her own, alleging as her reason that they were answerable for her safety. The bride thanked her for her caution, but added, laughingly, that she did not think she had much to fear. It was some time before the two men joined them; and then they sat down to supper, the lad Karl acting as waiter. As he stood beside his aunt's chair, and exactly opposite Adelaide, he appeared much affected by her beauty; but of this, of course, the lady took no notice. When supper was over, being fatigued, she retired to her room; and then the party that remained closed the door, and bidding Karl sit down and eat his supper, they held a council on her fate.

Mazzuolo opened the conference by mentioning that he had already given the lad a hint of what was expected of him, and Tina asked him if he thought he was equal to the undertaking. Karl said he did not know; whereupon they encouraged him with promises of a handsome share of the booty, telling him also that they would stand by him, and help him if necessary. But the question was, how was the thing to be done, and where? Whether on the road by day, or in the night where they stopped? In either case, there were difficulties; many parts of the road they had to pass were extremely lonely, and fit for the purpose; but then, how were they to get rid of the postilion? And as they had a fresh one at every stage, there was no time to win him to their purpose. Then, at the inns, the obstacles were also considerable, especially as the houses were generally small Tina suggested that whenever the bride dropped out of the party, she had only to resume her female attire, and the people would never miss her. 'Karl can take my place in the carriage,' she said, 'and I Madame Louison's. Thus we shall appear to be as many as we were; and there will be no discrepancy with the passport.' The hint was approved; but after an hour's discussion, they found it impossible to conclude upon any plan; the execution of their projects must be left to chance and opportunity—all they had to do was, to be prepared to seize upon the first that offered.

During the progress of this conversation, Karl made no observation whatever. He listened in silence; not without attention, but without objection, even although, in the different plans that were proposed, he heard himself always designated as the active agent in the murder. When the council broke up, the parties retired to bed—their present station being too near Dresden for their purpose. Next day they resumed their journey; and as their way lay through a gloomy forest, nothing but the presence of the postilion saved the young bride's life. The night was passed at a post-house, where there were so few rooms, that Adelaide had to sleep in the same apartment with the daughter of the owner: so here was nothing to be done either. The Italians began to grow impatient at these difficulties, and Mazzuolo proposed a change in their tactics. On the previous evening, the weather being very cold, Madame Louison had ordered a fire in her chamber. She would doubtless do the same on the ensuing night; and all they had to do was to fill the stove with charcoal, and her death would follow in the most natural way in the world. They were to pass the night at Nuremburg; and, as soon as they arrived, Karl was sent out to procure the charcoal; but, after remaining away a long time, he came back saying the shops were all shut, and he could not get any; and as the inn at Nuremburg was not a fit place for any other kind of attack, Adelaide was respited for another four-and-twenty hours.

On the following day, in order to avoid such another contretemps, the charcoal was secured in the morning whilst they were changing horses, and placed in a sack under the seat of the carriage.

It happened on this day that the road was very hilly, and as the horses slowly dragged the carriage up the ascents, Madame Louison proposed walking to warm themselves. They all descended; but Tina, being stout, and heavy on her feet, was soon tired, and got in again; whilst Mazzuolo, with a view to his design against Adelaide, fell into conversation with the driver about the different stations they would have to stop at. He wanted to extract all the information he could—so he walked beside the carriage, whilst Madame Louison and Karl, who were very cold, walked on as fast as they could.

'You look quite chilled, Karl,' said she; 'let us see who will be at the top of the hill first—a race will warm us.'

The youth strode on without saying anything; but as she was the more active, she got before him; and when she reached the top, she turned round, and playfully clapping her hands, said, 'Karl, I've beaten you!' Karl said he had had an illness lately, and was not so strong as he used to be; he had gone into the water when he was very warm, and had nearly died of the consequences. This led her to observe how thinly he was clad; and when the carriage overtook them, she proposed that, as there was plenty of room, he should go inside; to which the others, as they did not want him to fall ill upon their hands, consented. With the glasses up, and the furs that the party were wrapped in, the inside of the carriage was very different to the out; and Karl's nose and cheeks, which had before been blue, resumed their original hues.

It was late when they reached their night-station, and, whilst the ladies went up stairs to look at their rooms, Earl received his orders, which were, that he should fill the stove with charcoal, and set fire to it, whilst the others were at table. The lad answered composedly that he would. 'And when you have done it,' said Mazzuolo, 'give me a wink, and I will step out and see that all is right before she goes to her room.'

Karl obeyed his directions to a tittle, and when all was ready, he gave the signal, and Mazzuolo, making a pretext, quitted the table. He found the arrangements quite satisfactory, and having taken care to see that the window was well closed, he returned to the supper-room. He was no sooner gone than the boy took the charcoal from the stove and threw it into the street; and when Adelaide came to undress, there was no fire. Cold as it was, however, she had no alternative but to go to bed without one, for there was not a bell in the apartment; and Mazzuolo, who had lighted her to the door, had locked her in, under pretence of caring for her safety. Karl, having watched this proceeding, accompanied him back to the supper-table, where they discussed the plans for the following day. Whether would it be better to start in the morning without inquiring for her at all, and leave the people of the house to find her dead, when they were far on the road, or whether make the discovery themselves? Karl ventured to advocate the first plan; but Tina decided for the second. It would be easy to say that the lad had put charcoal in the stove, not being aware of its effects, and there would be an end of the matter. If they left her behind, it would be avowing the murder. This settled, they went to bed.

What to do, Karl did not know. He was naturally a stupid sort of lad, and what little sense nature had given him, had been nearly beaten out of him by harsh treatment. He had had a miserable life of it, and had never found himself so comfortable as he was now with his aunt and her husband. They were kind to him, because they wanted to make use of him. He did not want to offend them, nor to leave them; for if he did, he must return home again, which he dreaded above all things. Yet there was something in him that recoiled against killing the lady. Grossly ignorant as he was, scarcely knowing right from wrong, it was not morality or religion that deterred him from the crime; he had a very imperfect idea of the amount of the wickedness he would be committing in taking away the life of a fellow-creature. Obedience was the only virtue he had been taught; and what those in authority over him had ordered him to do, he would have done without much question. To kill his beauteous travelling companion, who had shown him such kindness, was, however, repugnant to feelings he could not explain even to himself. Yet he had not sufficient grasp of intellect to know how he was to elude the performance of the task. The only thing he could think of in the meanwhile was to take the charcoal out of the stove; and he did it; after which he went to sleep, and left the results to be developed by the morning.

He had been desired to rise early; and when he quitted his room, he found Mazzuolo and his wife already stirring. They bade him go below and send up breakfast, and to be careful that it was brought by the people of the house. This was done; and when the waiter and the host were present, Tina took the opportunity of knocking at Madame Louison's door, and bidding her rise. To the great amazement of the two Italians, she answered with alacrity that she was nearly dressed, and should be with them immediately. They stared at each other; but presently she opened the door, and appeared as fresh as ever; observing, however, that she had been very cold, for that the fire had gone out before she went to bed. This accounted for the whole thing, and Karl escaped all blame.

During the ensuing day nothing remarkable occurred: fresh charcoal was provided; but at night it was found there were no stoves in the bed-chambers; and as the houses on the road they were travelling were poor and ill-furnished, all the good inns having been dismantled by the troops, the same thing happened at several successive stations.

This delay began to render the affair critical, for they were daily drawing near Augsburg, where M. Louison was to meet his wife; and Mazzuolo resolved to conclude the business by a coup de main. He had learned from the postilion that the little post-house which was to form their next night's lodging was admirably fitted for a deed of mischief. It lay at the foot of a precipice, in a gorge of the mountains: the district was lonely, and the people rude, not likely to be very much disturbed, even if they did suspect the lady had come unfairly to her end. It was not, however, probable that the charcoal would be of any use on this occasion; the place was too poor to be well furnished with stoves; so Karl was instructed in what he would have to do.

'When she is asleep,' said Mazzuolo, 'you must give her a blow on the head that will be sufficient to stun her. Then we will complete the job; and as we shall start early in the morning with Tina in female attire, they will never miss her.' Karl, as usual, made no objection; and when they arrived at night at the inn, which fully answered the description given, and was as lonely as the worst assassins could desire, the two men sallied forth to seek a convenient place for disposing of the body. Neither had they much difficulty in finding what they wanted: there was not only a mountain torrent hard by, but there was also a deep mysterious hole in a neighbouring field, that looked very much as if the body of the young traveller would not be the first that had found a grave there.

Every circumstance seemed to favour the enterprise; and all arrangements made, the two men returned to the house. Karl thought it was all over with him now. He was too timid to oppose Mazzuolo, and he had nobody to consult. Tina had found a weapon apt for the purpose, which she had already secured; and when they sat down to supper, considering the completeness of the preparations, nobody would have thought Adelaide's life worth six hours' purchase. However, she was not destined to die that night. Just as they had finished their supper, the sound of wheels was heard; then there was a great noise and bustle below; and Karl being sent down to inquire what was the matter, was informed that a large party of travellers had arrived; and as there was a scarcity of apartments, it was hoped the lady and gentlemen would accommodate the strangers by allowing them to share theirs. Consent was inevitable; so, like the sultan's wife in the Arabian tale, the victim was allowed to live another day.

'Now,' said Mazzuolo, 'we have only two nights more before we reach Augsburg, so there must be no more shilly-shallying about the matter. If there is a stove in the room to-night, we may try that; though, if the house be in a pretty safe situation, I should prefer more decisive measures. The charcoal has failed once already.'

'That was from bad management,' said Tina; 'we could be secure against such an accident on another occasion. At the same time, if the situation be favourable, I should prefer a coup de main.'

When they had arrived at their night's station, the absence of a stove decided the question. It was merely a post-house, a place where horses were furnished; the accommodation was poor, and the people disposed to pay little attention to them. Close by ran a river, which obviated all difficulty as to the disposal of the body.

'The thing must be done to-night,' said Mazzuolo; and Karl said nothing to the contrary. He also feared that it must; for he did not see how he could avoid it. His aunt said everything necessary to inspire him with courage and determination, and made many promises of future benefits; whilst Mazzuolo neither doubted his obedience nor his resolution, and spoke of the thing as so entirely within the range of ordinary proceedings, that the boy, stupid and ignorant, and accustomed, from the state of the country, to hear of bloodshed and murders little less atrocious committed by the soldiery, and neither punished nor severely condemned, felt ashamed of his own pusillanimity—for such his instinctive pity appeared to himself.

But as he stood opposite Madame Louison at supper, with his eyes, as usual, fixed upon her face, his heart involuntarily quailed when he thought that within a few hours he was to raise his hand against that beautiful head; yet he still felt within himself no courage to refuse, nor any fertility of expedient to elude the dilemma.

When supper was over, Tina desired Karl to bring up two or three pails of warm water, and several cloths, 'for,' said she 'it will do us all good to bathe our feet;' whereupon Adelaide requested one might be carried to her room, which was done by Karl. He was now alone with her, and it was almost the first time he had been so, except when they ran up the hill together, since the day they met. When he had set down the pail by her bedside, he stood looking at her with a strange expression of countenance. He knew that the water he had fetched up was designed for the purpose of washing away the blood that he was about to spill, and he longed to tell her so, and set her on her guard; but he was afraid. He looked at her, looked at the water, and looked at the bed.

'Well, Karl,' she said laughing, 'good-night. When we part the day after to-morrow, I shan't forget your services, I assure you.' The lad's eyes still wandered from her to the water and the bed, but he said nothing, nor stirred, till she repeated her 'good-night,' and then he quitted the room in silence.

'Poor stupid creature!' thought Adelaide; 'he has scarcely as much intelligence as the horses that draw us.'

'Now we must have no bungling to-night, Karl,' said Mazzuolo; 'we will keep quiet till two o'clock, and then when everybody is asleep, we'll to business.'

'But what is it to be done with?' inquired Tina.

'There's something in the carriage under the seat; I brought it away the night we slept at Baireuth,' replied Mazzuolo; 'I'll step and fetch it;' and he left the room; but presently returned, saying that there were people about the carriage, and he was afraid they might wonder what he was going to do with so suspicious-looking an instrument. 'Karl can fetch it when they are gone to bed.'

As it was yet only midnight, Tina proposed that they should all lie down and take a little rest; and the suggestion being agreed to, she and her husband stretched themselves on their bed, whilst Karl made the floor his couch, and, favoured by his unexcitable temperament, was soon asleep, in spite of what was before him.

It was past two o'clock when he felt himself shaken by the shoulder. 'Come, be stirring,' said Mazzuolo;' we must about it without delay—the house has been quiet for some time.'

Karl was a heavy sleeper, and as he sat up rubbing his eyes, he could not at first remember what he was awakened for, nor how he came to be upon the floor. 'Come,' said Mazzuolo, 'come, she's fast asleep; I have just been to her room to look at her. You must step down now to the carriage and bring up the axe I left under the seat.'

Karl began to recollect himself, and awkwardly rising from his hard couch, shaking and stretching himself like a dog, he prepared to obey, indifferent to everything at the moment but the annoyance of being disturbed in his slumbers. 'If you should meet anybody,' said Mazzuolo, 'say that your mistress is ill, and that you are going to fetch the medicine-chest.'

By the time he got below, the motion and the cool air had aroused the lad, and with his recollection, revived his repugnance to the work before him; but he saw no means of avoiding it, and with an unwilling step he proceeded to the yard where the carriage stood, and having found the axe, he was returning with it, when he observed hanging against the wall, a large horn or trumpet. Now, he had seen such a thing at several of the post-houses on the road, and he remembered to have heard one sounded on the night they slept in the mountains, when the travellers arrived late, and prevented the projected assassination. Instinctively, and without pausing to reflect how he should excuse himself—for if he had, he could not have done it—he placed the instrument to his mouth, and lustily blew it: and then, terrified at his temerity, and its probable consequences, rushed into the house, and up the stairs, again to his master.

'The travellers' horn!' said Mazzuolo frantically. The lad was too frightened to speak, but stood still, pale and trembling. 'Wait,' continued the Italian; 'perhaps it may only be for horses, and they may go on again. I hear the people stirring.'

Feet were indeed heard upon the stairs, and presently a lantern gleamed beneath the window. 'I hear no carriage,' observed Mazzuolo. And for some time they sat listening; but there being no appearance of any travellers, he said he would go below and see how matters stood.

'Nobody is yet arrived,' said the master of the post-house in answer to his inquiries; 'but doubtless the signal was given by the avant-courier, who has rode on to the next station; and the carriage will be here presently. We must be ready with the horses.' As the travellers, however, did not arrive, but continued to be expected, the postmaster and the postilions remained up to watch for them; and when four o'clock came, Karl was bidden go to bed, as nothing could be attempted under such circumstances.

'Now,' said Mazzuolo, on the following day, 'we sleep to-night at Meitingen, which is our last station. I know the place; it is too busy a house for a coup de main; we must try the charcoal again; but this time we must be sure of our game.'

Karl hoped there might be no stoves in the bed-chamber; but it was a well-furnished house, and there were. Adelaide said how glad she should be to have a fire again, she had suffered so much by the want of one, and desired Karl to light hers early. It appeared, however, that the servant of the house had already done it. Mazzuolo said: 'So much the better. The stove will get well heated, and when you put in the charcoal, there will be no danger of its not burning.' And Tina suggested that that should not be done till just before Adelaide went to bed, lest she should perceive the effects of the vapour whilst she was undressing.

The young traveller had never, on her journey, been in such high spirits as to-night. Well she might; it had been so prosperously performed, and to-morrow she was to meet her husband. She prattled and laughed during supper with a light heart; expressed her gratitude to the Italians for their escort; and said that, if Monsieur Louison could be of any use to them, she knew how happy he would be to acknowledge their kindness to her. 'Really,' she said, 'travelling at such a period, with so many valuables, and such a large sum of money as I have with me, was a bold undertaking!'

Mazzuolo, during the first part of her speech, was beginning to weigh the advantages of the commissary's favour against the dangers and difficulties of the assassination—difficulties which had far exceeded his expectations, and dangers which were of course augmented by the proximity to Augsburg—but the latter part of it decided the question; the money and valuables preponderated in the scale, and the good opinion of the commissary kicked the beam.

Partly from the exaltation of her spirits, and partly because the day's journey had been a short one—for the stoppage at Meitingen was quite unnecessary, they were within four hours of Augsburg, and might very well have reached it—Adelaide was less fatigued and less willing to go to bed than usual. She sat late; and it was past twelve when, having asked for her candle, Karl received the signal to go and prepare the stove. Mazzuolo followed him out, to see that the work was well done, and the charcoal ignited before she went to her room. When all was ready, her candle was put into her hand, and Mazzuolo having conducted her to the door, took the precaution of turning the key, which he afterwards put in his pocket. She rallied him on the strictness of his guardianship; but he alleged gravely that the house was a busy one, and she might perchance be disturbed if her door were not secured.

They listened till she was in bed, and then Mazzuolo said that they could not do better than go to bed too; 'for,' said he, 'the earlier we are off in the morning the better. There will be the fewer people up, and the less chance of her being missed.'

When Karl reached his room, he sat down on the side of his bed and reflected. He had observed that the last thing Mazzuolo had done before leaving Adelaide's chamber, was to see that the window was well closed. 'If I could open it,' thought he, 'to-morrow we shall be at Augsburg, and then I should not be told any more to kill her. I wish I could. They'll go away in the morning before she is awake, and so I should never be found out.' With this idea in his head, he went down stairs, and letting himself out, he crept round to the end of the house where her window was.

She slept on the first floor, and the difficulty was how to reach it; but this was soon overcome. In the stable-yard stood some high steps, used for the convenience of passengers when they mounted the wagons and diligences. These he carried to the spot, and having reached the window, he was about to break some of the panes, since, as it fastened on the inside, he could not open it, when it occurred to him that the noise might wake her, and cause an alarm that would betray him. The window, however, was in the lattice fashion, and he saw that by a little contrivance, he could lift it off the hinges. He did so, and drew aside the curtain; there lay the intended victim in a sound sleep; so sound, that Karl thought he might safely step in without disturbing her. There she lay in her beauty.

He could not tell why, but, as he stood and looked at her, he felt that he must save her at all risks. The air he had let in might not be enough; he would take the charcoal from the stove and throw it out of the window; but what if she awoke with the noise and screamed? He hesitated a moment; but he remembered that this would be a safer plan than leaving the window open, as that might be observed in the morning from below, and he would thus be betrayed. So, as quietly as possible, he emptied the stove, and then, having sufficiently aired the room, he hung on the window again, and retired.

During the whole of these operations Adelaide had remained quite still, and appeared to be sound asleep. But was she? No. The opening of the window had awakened her: surprise and terror had at first kept her silent—a surprise and terror that were by no means diminished by discovering who the intruder was. Although she had always spoken kindly to Karl, and even endeavoured, by the amenity of her manner, to soften his rude nature, she had from the first moment disliked him exceedingly, and felt his countenance most repulsive; so that, when she saw him entering her room through the window, she did not doubt that he was come for some very bad purpose, probably to rob her, although the booty he was likely to get was small, since her trunks, with all her valuable property, were nightly placed under Mazzuolo's care for safety. Still, the little money she carried in her purse, together with her rings and watch, would be a great deal to so poor a creature; and expecting to see him possess himself of these, she thought it more prudent to lie still and feign sleep, than to disturb him. But when she saw that all he came for was to take the fire out of the stove, she was beyond measure puzzled to conceive his motive. Could it be a jest? But what a strange jest! However, he did nothing else; he touched neither her money nor her watch, though both were lying on the table, but went away as empty-handed as he came.

The amazement and alarm that so extraordinary a visit necessarily inspired, drove sleep from her eyes, and it was not till the day dawned that she so far recovered her composure and sense of safety, as to close them in slumber. Then, however, fatigue got the better of her watchfulness, and she gradually sunk into a sound sleep.

In the meantime, Karl, whose unexcitable temperament insured him his night's rest even under the most agitating circumstances, was in a happy state of oblivion of the whole affair, when he felt himself shaken by the shoulder, and heard his uncle say: 'Come, come, rise, and make haste! The sun is up, and we must get the horses out and be off.'

Karl was as anxious to be off as anybody: the sooner the better for him; for if Adelaide should awake before they started, he, on the one hand, dreaded that he might incur his uncle's suspicion, and, on the other, that some new plot might be formed, which it would be impossible for him to evade; so, between the exertions of one and the other, the horses were out, the bill paid, and the carriage at the door, very soon after the sun had shown his broad disc above the horizon. Tina, in female attire and a veil, was handed down stairs by Mazzuolo; the waiter stood on the steps, and bowed, for the landlord was not yet up; they all three stepped into the carriage; the postilion cracked his whip, and away they drove rejoicing.

In the meantime, Monsieur Louison had become very uneasy about his wife. He had received no intelligence since she quitted Dresden; for although she had, in fact, written more than once, Mazzuolo had not forwarded the letters. Day after day he had waited in impatient expectation; till at length, unable to bear his suspense any longer, he resolved to start on the road she was to come, in the hope of meeting her. When he reached the gate called the Gozzinger, his carriage was stopped by a berlin containing two men and a woman. It was loaded with luggage; and thinking that this might be the party he expected, he jumped down, and put his head into the window of the berlin, to ascertain if his wife were there. She was not: so, with a bow and an apology, he proceeded on his way. At Meitingen he stopped to change horses; and the first question that was asked him was, if he had seen a heavily-laden berlin, containing two men and a woman. On answering in the affirmative, he was informed that they had gone off with the property of a lady, whom they had left behind, and who was then in the inn; and in a moment more the young husband pressed his bride to his heart. But, eager to chase the thieves, they wasted no time in embraces, but started instantly in pursuit of them. On reaching the same gate where the berlin had been seen, the officers described in what direction the party had driven; and the police being immediately on the alert, the criminals were discovered and arrested just as they were on the point of starting for Vienna.

The ample confession of Karl disclosed the villainy of the Italians, and made known how narrowly the commissary had escaped the loss of his fair young bride; whilst, as he told his rude and simple tale, without claiming any merit, or appearing to be conscious of any, Adelaide learned that to this repulsive stupid clown she had three times owed her life.

The Italians were condemned to the galleys; whilst Monsieur Louison and his wife discharged their debt of gratitude to Karl, by first educating him, and then furnishing him with the means of earning his living with respectability and comfort.

De Monge was degraded from his situation, and the universal execration that pursued him drove him ultimately to America, where, under a feigned name, he ended his days in obscurity.