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purpose, plead for the offence; plead for me the anguish of my heart, and the trial which I could not bear! I will humble, I will abase myself in the sight of God: with a thousand, with ten thousand penitential acts I will wash out the guilt of my transgression. But can I, can I now go back, without making shipwreck of all things, of my happiness, my honor, my darling Kate?”
Somewhat tranquillized by this view of his own conduct, he beheld the morning dawn with more calmness than he had anticipated.
The ducal commissioner arrived, and expressed a wish, previously to the decisive trial, of making a little hunting excursion in company with the young forester. “ For,” said he, “it is all right to keep up old usages; but, between ourselves, the hunter's skill is best shown in the forest. So, jump up, Mr. Forester elect; and let's away to the forest!”
William turned pale, and would have made excuses : but, as these availed nothing with the commissioner, he begged, at least, that he might be allowed to stand his trial first. Old Bertram shook his head thoughtfully : “ William, William !” said he, with a deep tremulous tone. William withdrew instantly; and in a few moments he was equipped for the chase, and, with Bertram, followed the commissioner into the forest.
The old forester sought to suppress his misgivings, but struggled in vain to assume a cheerful aspect. Katharine, too, was dejected and agitated, and went about her household labors as if dreaming. “Was it not possible,” she had asked her father, “to put off the trial ?” "I also thought of that," replied he, and he kissed her in silence. Recovering himself immediately, he congratulated his
daughter on the day — and reminded her of her bridal garland.
The garland had been locked up by old Anne in a drawer; and hastily attempting to open it, she injured the lock. A child was therefore despatched to a shop to fetch another garland for the bride. “ Bring the handsomest they have,” cried dame Anne after the child: but the child, in its simplicity, pitched upon that which glittered most : and this happened to be a bride's funeral garland of myrtle and the rosemary entwined with silver, which the mistress of the shop, not knowing the circumstances, allowed the child to carry off. The bride and the mother well understood the ominous import of this accident: each shuddered; and flinging her arms about the other's neck, sought to stifle her horror in a laugh at the child's blunder. The lock was
now tried once more; it opened readily; the coronals were exchanged; and the beautiful tresses of Katharine were enwreathed with the blooming garland of a bride.
The hunting party returned. The commissioner was inexhaustible in William's praise.“ After such proofs of skill,” said he, “ it seems next to ridiculous that I should call for any other test : but to satisfy old ordinances, we are sometimes obliged to do more than is absolutely needful: and so we will despatch the matter as briefly as possible. Yonder is a dove sitting on that pillar: level, and bring her down.”
“O, not that, — not that, for God's sake, William !” cried Katharine, hastening to the spot,“ shoot not, for God's sake, at the dove. Ah! William, last night I dreamed that I was a white dove ; and my mother put a ring about my neck; then came you, and in a moment my mother was covered with blood.”
William drew back his piece, which he had already levelled; but the commissioner laughed. “Eh, what?” said he, so timorous ? That will never do in a forester's wife: courage, young bride, courage! Or stay, may be the dove is a pet dove of your own?”
No, it's not that,” said Katharine, “but the dream has sadly sunk my spirits.”
“Well, then,” said the commissioner, “if that's all, pluck 'em up again ! and so fire away, Mr. Forester.”
He fired: and at the same instant, with a piercing shriek, fell Katharine to the ground.
“Strange girl !” said the commissioner, fancying that she had fallen only from panic, and raised her up; but a stream of blood flowed down her face; her forehead was shattered; and a bullet lay sunk in the wound.
“ What's the matter?” exclaimed William, as the cry resounded behind him. He turned and saw Kate with a deathly paleness lying stretched in her blood. By her side stood the wooden-leg, laughing in fiendish mockery, and snarling out, “Sixty go true, three go askew." In the madness of wrath, William drew his hanger, and made a thrust at the hideous creature. “ Accursed devil!” cried he, in tones of despair ; " is it thus thou hast deluded me?' More he had no power to utter; for he sank insensible to the ground close by his bleeding bride.
The commissioner and the priest sought vainly to speak comfort to the desolate parents. Scarce had the aged mother laid the ominous funeral garland upon the bosom of her daughter's corpse, when she wept away the last tears of her unfathomable grief. The solitary father soon followed her. William, the fatal marksman, wore away his days in a mad-house.
THE INCOGNITO; OR, COUNT FITZ-HUM.
PREFATORY EXPLANATION WRITTEN WHEN THIS LITTLE
SKETCH WAS FIRST PUBLISHED.
[The following Tale is translated from the German of Dr. Schulze, a living * author of great popularity, not known at all under that name, but under the nom-de-plume of Friederich Laun. A judicious selection (well translated) from the immense body of his tales and schwätze would have a triple claim on public attention: first, as reflecting in a lively way the general aspect of German domestic life among the middle ranks: secondly, as pretty faithful reflexes of German tastes and propensities amongst the most numerous class of readers; no writer, except Kotzebue, having dedicated his exertions with more success to the one paramount purpose of meeting the popular taste, and adapting himself to the immediate demands of the market: thirdly, as possessing considerable intrinsic merit in the lighter department of comic tales. On this point, and effectually to guard the reader against disappointment from seeking for more than was ever designed, I will say all that needs to be said in a single brief sentence; the tales of Dr. Schulze have exactly that merit, and pretend to that merit, neither more nor
*“Living.” — He certainly was living, when I wrote this little passage. But it may make all the difference in the world to the doctor, as also to the doctor's creditors, that the entire notice (consequently that particular word living) was written by me in the year 1823.
less, which we look for in a clever one-act dramatic after-piece; viz. the very slightest basis of incident; a few grotesque or laughable situations; a playful style; and an airy, sketchy mode of catching such fugitive revelations, in manners or in character, as are best suited to a comic treatment. The unelaborate narratives of Laun are mines of what is called Fun, which in its way, even when German fun, is no bad thing. To apply any more elaborate criticism to them, would be “ to break a fly upon the wheel."]
The Town-Council were sitting, and in gloomy silence; alternately they looked at each other, and at the official order (that morning received), which reduced their perquisites and salaries by one half. At length the chief burgomaster arose, turned the mace-bearer out of the room, and bolted the door. That worthy man, however, or (as he was more frequently styled) that worthy mace, was not so to be baffled: old experience in acoustics had taught him where to apply his ear with most advantage in cases of the present emergency; and as the debate soon rose from a humming of gentle dissent to the stormy pitch of downright quarrelling, he found no difficulty in assuaging the pangs of his curiosity. The council, he soon learned, were divided as to the course to be pursued on their common calamity; whether formally to remonstrate or not, at the risk of losing their places; indeed, they were divided on every point except one; and that was, contempt for the political talents of the new prince, who could begin his administration upon a principle so monstrous as that of retrenchment.
At length, in one of the momentary pauses of the hurricane, the council distinguished the sound of two vigorous fists playing with the utmost energy upon the panels of