« AnteriorContinuar »
as to the fate of the waggons, he could “ Turning to the merchant, he said, neither prevent nor ascertain it, and all ' Here you have the men; now see to responsibility ceased in troublous times the freight.' Then he carelessly sat down like these.
on the pole of a carriage, and looked “ “ We are in a den of thieves,' said at the points of his polished boots, which the merchant to his escort; 'I must re had got a good deal bemired.” quest your assistance in bringing these people to reason.'
One waggon was found to have “Now, bringing people to reason was just what the young Pole believed to be goods hidden away ; others had been
been completely unloaded, and the his speciality; so, with a smile, he took a pistol in one hand, and said aside to
But restitution was en
pilfered. Anton, ' Do as I, and have the goodness forced by the vigorous threats of the to follow me. Next he seized the wag. young Pole. The waggons were regoner by the throat, and dragged him loaded, and the merchant was predown the stair. Where is the land- pared to leave the town with them lord ?' cried he, in the most formidable the next day. tone he could raise. "The dog of a But provisional governments are landlord, and a lantern ! The lantern not the most stable of institutions. being brought, he drove the whole pack, The next day the young Polish noblethe strangers, the fat landlord, the cap
man was fighting for his own life tured waggoner, and all others assembled by the noise, before him into the fell, shot
through the head. The land
against an insurrectionary mob. He courtyard. himself and his prisoner in the centre of lord and his rascally friends were the circle, bestowed a few more inju- again in the ascendant; and now the rious epithets upon the landlord, rap
merchant was in danger of losing ped the waggoner on the head with his both his life and his goods, when pistol, and then courteously observed in Anton came to the rescue. The French to the merchant, The fellow's landlord was rushing, sword in hand, skull sounds remarkably hollow-what at the merchant; Anton seized him next do you require from the boobies?' from behind, tripped him, threw him
“' Have the goodness to summon the on his back, and then, holding a piswaggoners. * Good, said the Pole ; and then ?? lowers, “ Back, you rascals, or I shoot
tol to his head, cried out to his fol" "Then I will examine the freight of
him dead !” the waggons, if it be possible to do so in the dark.'
At length the merchant contrived “Everything is possible,' said the to leave the town with his fourteen Pole, . if you like to take the trouble to waggons of valuable merchandise. search through the old canvass in the Anton was left behind to make arnight. But I should be inclined to ad- rangements with debtors. In all this vise a bottle of Santerne and a few he acts, of course, with perfect dishours' repose instead.'
cretion, and with all the success that “ " I should prefer to inspect the wag- could be reasonably expected. gons at once,' said the merchant, with a
When he returns home,we may well smile, if you have no objection to it.' 6 I am on duty; replied the Pole, he would receive both from the mer
understand how cordial a welcome 'therefore let's to work at once; there are plenty of hands here to hold lights chant and his sister. Herr Von Fink for you. You confounded rascals,' con
had left for America ; Sabine was tinued he in Polish, again cuffing the free at heart; she was full of gratiwaggoner and threatening the landlord, tude for the preserver of her brother's
I will carry you all off together, and life ; she was surprised to find how bave a court-martial held upon you, if handsome Anton had become. We you do not instantly bring all the drivers see the denouement before us. Anton belonging to this gentleman into my pre- must become a partner in the firm, sence. How many of them?' inquired and marry Sabine. he, in French, from the merchant. 4. There are fourteen waggons,' was
But this happy issue of events the reply.
must for a time be suspended, and « "There must be fourteen waggoners,'
even endangered. The exigencies of thundered the Pole again to the people'; the novel absolutely require that An'the devil shall fly away with you all if ton should postpone his happiness you do not instantly produce them.' . . for the present; he has to be brought
again under the influence of Lenore house and grounds, and the welland the Baroness; he has to quit stocked farm, will fall into the the merchant, and become an agent, usurer's hands. He and his diamond or steward, to a miserable estate in pin, displayed upon his ample cravat, Poland, that he may know from expe are accompanying the Baron, with rience the difference between serving many bows, round the property. a straightforward master, who both exacts and rewards with undeviating there was a pause, Ehrenthal being quite
“ After the inspection of the sheep justice, and devoting a quite chival
overcome with the thickness and finerous service to bland gentlewomen, ness of their fleece. He nodded and who praise, admire, solicit, and for winked in ecstasy. "What wool !' said get-forget all but the essential dis- he; what it will be next spring! Do tinction between plebeian and patri- you know, Baron, you are a most fortucian. We must therefore now turn nate man? Have you good accounts of to the Baron Von Rothsattel, his the young gentleman, your son ?' family, and his pecuniary affairs. " Thank you ; he wrote to us yesterWhen we passed through the plea
day, and sent us his testimonials.'
. He will be like his father, a noble. sure-grounds, and paused with Anton before the castle of the Baron
man of the first order, and a rich man what man on earth could be happier ? for his children.
too ; the Baron knows how to provide An unencumbered estate, a charm
“I am not laying by,' was the careing wife and daughter-taste and oc
less reply: cupations that make a country life “Laying by, indeed !' said the tradesagreeable - imagination cannot de- man, with the utmost contempt for any, pict a condition of life more enviable. thing so plebeian; and why should you ! And his life is not useless to others, When old Ehrenthal is dead and gone, for not only that family group, whó you will be able to leave the young seize on him with joy as he enters gentleman this property--with-bethe mansion, is made happy by his
tween ourselves-a very large sum in. presence, but every servant about deed, besides a dowry to your daughter the house and farm, the stables and sand dollars at least.'
of-of-what shall I say ?-of fifty thou. the dairy, receives the incalculable
“You are mistaken,' said the Baron benefit of living under the eye of one gravely; 'I am not so rich.' who exercises a wholesome discipline, **Not so rich !’cried Ehrenthal, ready keeps order, sustains industry, and is to resent the speech, if it had not been kind and generous withal. But the made by the Baron himself. Why, you Baron, though possessing what seems may then be so any moment you like; to an observer all the wealth that is any one, with a property like yours, can (lesirable, wants just a little more to
double his capital in ten years, without make him the most contented of men.
the slightest risk. Why not take jointHis son is in the army, and of course
stock promissory notes upon your
estate?'" expensive, and he shall by-and-by have to bestow a portion on his This joint-stock company and its daughter. We see plainly that the peculiar mode of operation are not Baron is one of those whom an un very clear to us. `Indeed, we are thinking world pronounce to be most throughout—we presume from the fortunate, but who are really, by the difference between foreign customs want of that little more, very much and laws and our own-somewhat to be pitied.
perplexed by the monetary and legal There is a portly usurer of the transactions referred to in the course name of Ehrenthal, a man of sub of the novel. We suspect they have stance in all senses of the word, ex- perplexed the fair translator a little. ceeding courtly in his demeanour, However that may be, the gist of the who has had some dealings with the matter is, that the Baron, as a landed Baron. This man has secretly set proprietor, may borrow money at four his heart on the hereditary estate of per cent, which money he is to use so the Rothsattels. He has only to cul dexterously that “ he will obtain ten, tivate in the Baron this nascent de twenty, nay, fifty per cent for it !" sire for gain, and the gentlemanly How manifest that the Baron has but habit of borrowing, and the beautiful to wish to be rich to become so !
The bait is taken. The Baron and in three months' time I will reborrows 45,000 dollars at four per turn them to you with two thousand cent, but by what means he is to dollars more, your half share of the realise with them his ten, twenty, or profit I shall realise. What sort of fifty per cent, is, strange to say, not transaction was that which was to yet revealed to him. For the pre- be so profitable ? was it such as a sent he has no other use or enjoy- nobleman could honourably go shares ment of the new parchment notes in? Rothsattel asks the question, (for in that shape the borrowed but permits himself to be easily sadollars appear) than to arrange them tisfied. He lends the money, and neatly in a small handsome brass Ehrenthal, according to his promise, inlaid casket,” and there contem- brings it back, at the end of three plate them with much affection. months, with the additional two thou
He would sit for hours opposite the sand dollars. The deficit is made up. open casket, never weary of arrang “ That very day the Baron bought ing the parchment leaves according a turquoise ornament for his wife, to their numbers, delighting in their which she had long silently wished glossy whiteness, and forming plans for, and sunshine prevailed in the for paying off the capital.” This is family circle." a very limited enjoyment of money, Now the nature of the transaction and manifestly not the way to realise by which the Baron had gained his the fifty, twenty, or even ten per ten thousand dollars was this :-A cent—not even that four per cent villanous swindler had bought (but which he must pay for this very had not paid for) a quantity of timinnocent amusement. This four per ber of a nobleman living in the very cent must come out of the revenues neighbourhood of the Rothsattels. of the estate, but the Baron was This swindler sells the wood to Ehsaving nothing before, and it was not renthal for a mere fraction of its to be expected that he should begin real value, pockets the money, and to save just as he was on the point flies the country: Ehrenthal and Co., of becoming so rich a man. It so having bought the wood, sell it at a happens, too, that, simultaneously great profit, and the original propriewith the borrowing of this money, tor is simply and entirely cheated of he has to incur additional expenses; his timber. This comes out at a for it is now found essential, for the subsequent part of the history, much sake of Lenore, that he should have to the chagrin of the Baron. We a house in the capital, Lenore cannot may mention here that the forty-five possibly be allowed to grow up in thousand dollars borrowed of the jointthe country, for her mamma detects stock company are finally invested in that she is in danger of becoming an a mortgage on an estate in Poland. "original,” thau which, she observes, And now Ehrenthal opens his “there can be no greater misfortune heavy siege-batteries. Why does not for a girl in our circle, for the merest the Baron build a factory on his esshade of eccentricity might ruin her tate for the extraction of sugar out prospects."
of beet-root? The requisite capital The result of all this admirable could be easily obtained, and the management is, that at the end of profit would be immense. The the year there is a deficit of two scheme is played with, talked over, thousand dollars which the Baron till at length it is adopted in earnest. has in some way to raise. You From that time there is no peace in expect now that the usurer will come the beautiful residence of the Rothforward, proffering the loan of this sattels, and very little sunshine in two thousand dollars. The usurer the family circle. comes to his relief, but in a far more Ehrenthal advances money, to be subtle manner; he lets him taste, secured by a mortgage on the land. at the same time, of the sweets of But as the money is advanced from money-making. Lend me, says Eh- time to time, the usurer enters into renthal, ten thousand dollars' worth
an agreement with the Baron to of those promissory notes which are take his simple note of hand in the lying idle in your brass inlaid casket, first instance, and when the money
lent has risen to a certain amount, and proceeds to load one of them. to receive a mortgage for the whole. His wife rushes in as his finger The usurer trusts to the Baron's word touches the trigger. His aim is disof honour that he will give him this turbed, and the result of his wound security on the land—a rather extra- is not death, but blindness. ordinary proceeding on the part of The Baroness and her daughter such a man as Ehrenthal. However, are of course plunged into the greatest such is the course he pursues, and it grief, and also, as the Baron's cirleaves the Baron open, at the next cumstances become known, into the stage of the history, to a sad tempta- greatest embarrassment and perplextion to break his word.
ity. In this state of things they turn For this building of a factory and to Anton. It would be cruel to replanting the beet-root absorb much mind the novelist that there were money and ruin the farm, and the solicitors and agents enough in BresBaron is driven to borrow of other lau, and that there was no need for
These other men press for the young merchant-grocer to leave payment, will grant no delay, except his own career to take upon himself on condition of having their debt the arrangement of affairs which secured on that very mortgage pro- rather required a lawyer than a man mised to Ehrenthal. It is our little of commerce. Anton, all generosity villain Itzig, who, having learned and and emotion, devotes himself to these profited by the secret art of gaining ladies in their distress. The Polish wealth, had, under the name of others, estate, which the Baron had been lent this money to the Baron. He compelled to purchase, as the only had been in the service of Ehrenthal, way by which he could obtain anyand was determined to outmaneuvre thing for the money he had lent his old principal. When the Baron is upon it, was now their only resource, in his utmost strait-in the very their only property. Accordingly, agony of expectation—all his money to Poland Anton goes, and works, swallowed up in brick-chimneys and with the zeal of twenty agents, to the cultivation of beet-root, and not bring affairs into some order. an ounce of sugar yet extracted But into Poland we shall not acthis wretch comes with his demand company Anton. We have opened for immediate payment. The Baron the novel, and shown its purpose and cannot pay-promises any amount its nature as fully as can be done in of interest-begs only for time, that the pages of a review. We shall dethe sugar may make its appearance vote a few words more to our accomall in vain : Veitel Itzig will wait on plished Itzig, and to a character one condition only—that he has that which is rather a favourite of ours, mortgage promised to Ehrenthal. old Sturm the porter, and then we The Baron yields.
shall leave the reader to pursue his But an old usurer, who, instead of own way, if he is so minded, through his mortgage, has for all security the the novel itself. promissory notes of a bankrupt noble Veitel Itzig--this precocious pupil man--of one whom he himself has of the devil-oversteps his partis been pushing on to bankruptcy--is not faithful to his own maxims. Innot likely to be a very placable deed, when the devil teaches a man antagonist. It is not only ruin, but to commit every possible fraud, but dishonour, that now threatens the to avoid what the law calls crime, Baron. His workmen at the factory, he knows very well that his pupil dressing themselves in their new will not keep within the prescribed clothes, come with flying banners limits. He who has nothing but the and music to celebrate the auspicious hangman to terrify him is very likely opening of his sugar-works. They to step too near, and slip at last into serenade him—they greet him with the hands of the hangman. That old loud huzzas. Meanwhile quite other lawyer, of the name of Hippus, whom thoughts are working in his mind. we have mentioned as having first In the evening he takes the wax- instructed the young usurer in cerlight from the servant's hand, enters tain legal mysteries, has been inhis own room, opens a case of pistols, duced to become the instrument of
Itzig in some nefarious transactions : “ The old man tottered down the the police are after him ; he forces steps, firmly holding the coat of his himself into Itzig's office, declares guide, who had almost to carry him. In that he has no intention of going to
this way they came down step after step, jail alone, and that Itzig must do his till they reached the last one, over which best to protect him, if he would screen
the water was rusbing. Veitel went himself from exposure.
first, and unconcernedly stepped up to
his knee in the stream, only intent upon get me out of the way,” says the old leading the old man after him. lawyer; and the young imp promises
“ As soon as Hippus felt the cold that he will get him out of the way. water on his boot, he stood still, and
The river Oder flows through cried out, Water !' Breslau, and a dense fog hung that “ “ Hush !' angrily whispered Veitel, day over the city. Now when Veitel 'not a word !' Itzig first came to the capital, he
""Water !' screamed the old man. lodged in a very humble room in a
'Help! he will murder me!' miserable inn, kept by Löbel Pinkus,
“ Veitel seized him, and put his hand
on his mouth; but the fear of death the back part of which looked over the river. There were steps leading and, placing his foot on the next step,
had again roused the lawyer's energies, down into the water, which com
he clung as firmly as he could to the municated with other steps leading bannisters, and again screamed out, into the neighbouring house ; the 'Help !' communication between the two "Accursed wretch !'muttered Veitel, flights of steps being made by a gnashing his teeth with rage at this deplanking or platformolaid down in termined resistance; then, forcing his the water. This unsuspected mode bat over his face, he took him by the of passing from one house to the neckcloth with all his strength, and other had been contrived for the hurled him into the water. There was convenience of certain smugglers,
a splash-a heavy fall-a hollow gurfriends of Löbel Pinkus, and of gling—and all was still.” course it was not long before the in The feelings of a murderer just defatigable Itzig had made himself after he has committed the crime, acquainted with this secret passage. have been a favourite and frightful These steps, this secret passage, now subject of many novelists. Herr occurred to Itzig. The fog favoured Freytag has evidently made this them; they might reach the spot state of mind a subject of psycholounobserved. The old man was gical study, and if his description drunk; he might miss his footing in is not altogether successful, it is the water ; walking knee-deep on a partly because the traces of this slippery plank, what accident might study are too manifest. We think not happen?
of the observant author, instead of
being absorbed in the miseries of “In the cold night-air the lawyer's Veitel Itziy. But many points in senses partially returned, and Veitel enjoined him to be silent, and to follow the gradual manner in which the
the description are worth notice-as him, and he would get him off.
“ He will get me off!' mechanically horrible nature of his own deed repeated Hippus, running along at his breaks upon Itzig, his playing with side. As they neared Pinkus's house, trifling subjects, thinking of his Veitel proceeded more cautiously, leadcigar-case, of the pleasant fire burning his companion through the dark ing at home to receive him, striving ground-floor, and whispering — 'Take to keep his mind in the old routine my hand, and come quietly up stairs of thought, as if life could ever be with me. They reached the large pub- again to him what it had been. lic room, which was still empty. Much The passage is too long for quotation, relieved, Veitel said, "There is a biding- and it would be dealing unfairly with place in the next house ; you must go it not to give the whole. there.'
Retribution speedily follows: first “I must go there !' repeated the old
the spectacles of the old lawyer were “* Follow me!' cried Veitel, leading found on the steps, then the crushed him along the gallery, and then down the hat indicated violence, and in spite covered staircase.
of the fog, Itzig had not been able