Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

was brought back, with even a deeper flush, and she was terrified in no ordinary degree by this sudden outburst of unexplained wrath, in a husband, who, since their union, had ever in her presence been the very personification of gentleness.

“Leave Falkenbrun ?” cried the lady. “Falkenbrun, where our happiest days have been spent ? You do but jest! What, dearest Wilhelm, can have thus ruffled and disturbed you, and have drawn from you such severe language as you have uttered against the English? I am sure I never met more agreeable persons, or freer from frivolity, than the two gentlemen we encountered this evening. Forrester is everything that is noble, gallant, and generous; and the young physician, who accompanies him, adds, to the possession of extensive learning, an instinctive knowledge of the world, perhaps gained by varied travel, and a näivete which is quite charming: there is something quite delightful and particularly amusing in watching the efforts he makes to express his really fine sentiments, with his stock of broken German. I declare, Wilhelm, notwithstanding all the long vows the Pharrer caused me to utter at the altar of the Minster-kirk towards your amiable self, that when I am in the society of these agreeable men, I feel half inclined to forswear them all, and cast my allegiance back to the good father.” Here a darker cloud than before passing over the Count's brow, warned the fair lady that she might be carrying her playfulness too far in her husband's every land. Amelie, I have lived amongst them-I have learned them well! and to what has my knowedge led ? To hate them! Sapperment, I hate and abhor them with a depth of rancour they could hardly imagine! They have been my tools, and my fools : from the unwitting, aye, and from the wilfully blind, too, I have derived my large revenues, and for their folly, and their gold, I present them with my hatred ! Nation of asses—congregation of dupes-insolent assumers of authority over the whole world; would that with one stamp of my foot I could sink their petty dominion in the ocean, or crush it to powder at a blow, and annihilation in a moment should be their doom!

Thus spoke the Count Von Eisenberg, partly addressing himself to his young and pretty wife,-partly in soliloquy, as with compressed lips, clenched hands, and ill-suppressed fury, he strode up and down the noble dining-room of the Schloss of Falkenbrun, of which estate he had but lately become the possessor.

From the attire of both the lady and gentleman, it was evident that they were just returned from some distinguished reunion, and the flush of excitement, which dancing and brilliant conversation had induced on the cheek of the Countess, began to give place to the paleness and languor of fatigue. Sitting before the blazing wood fire, she was making some preliminary preparations for retiring to her chamber, and had just relieved her aching head from the weight and confinement of a splendid tiara of brilliants, which vanity deemed no burden in the ball-room, when her colour

was brought back, with even a deeper flush, and she was terrified in no ordinary degree by this sudden outburst of unexplained wrath, in a husband, who, since their union, had ever in her presence been the very personification of gentleness.

“Leave Falkenbrun ?” cried the lady. “Falkenbrun, where our happiest days have been spent ? You do but jest! What, dearest Wilhelm, can have thus ruffled and disturbed you, and have drawn from you such severe language as you have uttered against the English? I am sure I never met more agreeable persons, or freer from frivolity, than the two gentlemen we encountered this evening. Forrester is everything that is noble, gallant, and generous; and the young physician, who accompanies him, adds, to the possession of extensive learning, an instinctive knowledge of the world, perhaps gained by varied travel, and a näivete which is quite charming: there is something quite delightful and particularly amusing in watching the efforts he makes to express his really fine sentiments, with his stock of broken German. I declare, Wilhelm, notwithstanding all the long vows the Pharrer caused me to utter at the altar of the Minster-kirk towards your amiable self, that when I am in the society of these agreeable men, I feel half inclined to forswear them all, and cast my allegiance back to the good father.” Here a darker cloud than before passing over the Count's brow, warned the fair lady that she might be carrying her playfulness too far in her husband's present mood, so having paused for a moment, with woman's ready apprehension, she resumed,—

“ But, dear Wilhelm, don't look so cross ; for, notwithstanding their great merits, I am only half in love with these same Englishmen; but if you do not banish that sour krout face, and put to flight the clouds which obscure your brow, with a little good humoured sunshine, I shall never be able to prevent involuntary thoughts.”

“Well, Amelie, one might suppose you thought I was jealous; but, my own darling child, you have never given me cause; but, to take a leaf from your own book, as you acknowledge to having been half in love with them, perhaps it would be wise to try and save the other half by immediate flight.”

Stooping, he kissed her cheek, and left the room. In a few minutes the library bell was heard ringing loudly. Then there was opening of doors, with an evident bustle and stir in the house, and shortly after, a good humoured looking, thick-legged maid, with a waist of most uninsect-like dimensions, tripped hastily into the room, approached the Countess, (who now seemed to have forgotten her preparations for retiring, and was sitting with her head leaning on her hand, her eyes fixed on the dying embers of the wood fire, apparently deep in thought, really tossed in a confused maze of perplexing ideas,) and announced that she bore a message from her lord.

At first her words fell unintelligibly on the ears to

which they were addressed, and it was not until they had been repeated that their purport was clearly understood. They were to this effect, that the Count requested she would give orders for whatever she required to be got ready, as the caleche was ordered to be ready to start at five in the morning.

It was now past two o'clock, consequently such an intimation, which amounted to a command, was startling. At first, the high-born lady, and much-indulged wife, was disposed to dispute the possibility of fulfilling this order, and the term “ Unmöglich," slipt in very hissing and disagreeable accents from lips which seemed formed only for the concord of sweet sounds; but there is no instrument, however dulcet its tones, which may not be played out of tune.

The Countess was busily planning a remonstrance to her husband, and about to send it in word-embodied form, when the Count's footsteps were heard in the gallery, and the now excited lady rushed to meet him, ready to urge a thousand objections to this extraordinary journey; but her courage failed her, when she marked the stern, cold manner of her husband.

Expostulation was cut short in a moment; his imperative manner put all opposition to flight;-a chilling damp fell on her loving heart, and she listened to the general directions he gave to have what she immediately wanted packed up, and get as much rest as possible before starting, almost mechanically. Leaving the room, he added, “I shall be engaged in the library,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »