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From the European Magazine, Apr. 1, 1820.
ANNALS OF PUBLIC JUSTICE,
AN AUSTRIAN ASSASSIN. and a spy appointed by the chancellor IT T was reserved for this age to pro- of the chamber of Wetzlar traced him
duce advocates for assassication to a spot wbich instigated all his emready to pronounce it one of the noblest ployer's curiosity. The chancellor and boldest resources of great minds was voted for his strict adherence to only, swayed by the strongest passions; old principles, and his resistance to the forgetting bow generally the most vile new code of laws by which Joseph passions are the strongest and bow boped to substitute long imprisooment easily this resource is within the reach for death as the punishment of capital of the least elevated mind. Let us see crimes. He was not illpleased to deone example of the thousand which tect in his sovereign some error which might be found to convince us with might render bis legislation unpopular what uncertainty we judge of those mo- by disgracing the source. He wrapped tives by which sophists would pretend bimself in his darkest apparel, and to determine the guilt of an assassin. creeping under the shadow of a high
The wavering ambition, the enthusi- wall, followed a man he believed to be asm, and the fancifui sensibility of the Otto and apother person from the priEmperor Joseph II. are not forgotten, vate gate of the palace to the meanest and the favourites of his councils were suburb of Vienna. They ascended the often men whose recommendation was a remains of a terrace, knocked at a door tincture of similar peculiarities. There hidden by shrubs, and were admitted was one person, to whom, if German by an unseen porter without light or etiquette had been flexible, he would words. But the chancellor remarked, have given public entrance to his cabi- that these mufied persons had taken a det; but rigid prejudices and custom loose stone from a niche beside the door compelled him to be content with pri- and spread some branches of the bramvate patronage. Whence this man
bles over the vacant spot. He had coucame is very doubtful, though some re- rage and sagacity. He pushed his hand markable instances of courage and fidel- through this aperture, drew back a bolt, ity wbich he had shewn during Joseph's and saw the door open. Beyond his quarrel with his Belgian subjects, were hopes, all within was perfectly dark and supposed to have been his first passports silent. Covering bis person and half bis to favour. If he was a native of Flan- face, he trod with suppressed breath, ders, the acuteness of his eye, his sharp conscious that an echoing pavement was lean features, and slender person, were under his feet, till the light which he saw no evidences of bis birth-place, and his gleaming through a crevice before him, accent was observed to have something guided his steps to what seemed a stairItalian in it. Joseph meditated bold case, so narrow that it scarcely admitted and singular changes in German juris- him. But he followed its windings, till prudence, and was supposed to carry on be found himself in a balcony surrounda private correspondence with those lit- ed with the open tracery of ancient carerary men, who, if they did not abso- ved work, and suspended over a lighted lutely change the tide of public opinion, room large enough to contain twenty ayailed themselves of it to rise on the people. A man in a close grey cloak surface. Otto, though he only acted as stood on a kind of rostrum addressing the emperor's page ostensibly, held six persons in a Latin oration, which some secret share in this correspondence, strangely perplexed the curious chanceland was believed to have a watch-word lor. It seemed as if he was persuading by which he passed the sentinels of the his disciples to choose what element palace in his secret visits. Nor did he they would wish to predominate in their always go alone. He was watched. natures, and to excite it by an outward
application. There were glasses filled he added, 'to shew you the farthest exwith earth and water, braziers with hot tent of my science. The magnetic powcoals, and small bags of earth and blad- ers lodged in a diamond are such as to ders full of gas, which the professor increase the brilliance of the gem when gravely fastened on bis pupils, protest- it approaches any animal or vegetaing that they would be substitutes for ble frame in which its own peculiar meat and driuk. Our chancellor knew gas prevails—The ring on your majes all the whions of Rosicrucian cabalists; ty's hand will exemplify this, if laid dear he had heard some of the pretensions the fume of this brazier.' of more modern illuminati, but had The emperor deposited bis ring, as he never conceived the possibility of sup- was desired, on the edge of the char. porting his plump person by such simple coal furnace, which the cabalist posbed means. He listened with profound at- back into a receptacle probably prepared tention ; and after some ceremonies to confine the pestiferous air. But the which he could not understand, the ora- chancellor also saw, that by an ingentor left his rostrum, drew back a silk ious leger-de-main, the imperial ring curtain, and discovered a sleeping wo- was dropped into the ashes, and a coun man veiled. When a few mysterious terfeit jewel, placed on the brazier's signals and mutterings had passed, the edge, when the crafty cabalist exposed sleeper spoke, but in such strange, wild, it again to the emperor. He and bis and affecting strains of poetry, as to companion praised the increased lustre fix the audieoce in what appeared de- and size of bis diamond ; and baving lighted attention. Whed her voice heard a few more mysterious descants ceased, the cabalist dropped her gauze on the chemical relation of the precious veil and the silk curtain over her; and stone to the carbonic vapour, departed resumed bis place in the rostrum. “You with his preceptor. have seen,” he said, “the success of my Little as the chancellor cared for the science. Without any consciousness dreams of a sect only suspected to exist
, on her part, I have unlocked and un- and much as he had always despised veiled her spirit, which speaks as you the secret vigils of its novices, he was have heard, in the language of poetry, determined to bear away with him some that is, in the words inspired by such token of his master's credulity and the enchanting images as the soul enjoys Illuminé's craft, which might sufice to when detached from the body. Your give him power over both, and revenge majesty cannot doubt the truth of the the outrage practised on his child. The experiment on a maiden of rank too hall of this mysterious academy was high for imposture, of a character too now vacant, and lighted only by the dypure to be suspected of willing conniv. ing coals in the brazier. He fixed his
Therefore I selected her as a feet in the fretted cornice of the balcony, worthy subject for this night's important and soon reaching the floor, possessed purpose, and shall convey her back himself of the emperor's ring, climbed wbile in this profound sleep to her fath- again into his hiding place, and waited er's house, from whence, as we all know, a few instants to discover if any one she could not have been thus brought seemed likely to return. The possibilwithout the influence of my natural ity of being locked into this strange magic, by which I can either close or house of cabalism, and the uncertain open the mind, animale or stupify the fate of his daughter, made him eager to body.”
escape. He crept down the stairs which The chancellor listened indeed as if had led him to bis discovery, and more he too had been deadened by this mae intent on the future than the present, gic, for he had beheld bis only daughter passed too hastily through the postero thus made the spectacle and tool of a without remembering the loose stone he madman or a cheat! While he stood had left on the threshold. He stumbled, agbast, four of the audience withdrew, and had not time to hide his face, beand the operator with bis two muffled fore two men started from behind the pupils remained together. 'I have now,' trees near bim. “Ah, Sire!" said .
well-known voice the Chancellor !” ed on him, or whether he felt the sus
- Joseph deigned no answer, and walk- picion of poison which many of his ed slowly away, followed by his page, court afterwards avowed, will never till they disappeared among the wind- now be ascertained ; but it revived the ings of the suburb.
subject of 'assassination in the public In the morning, the chancellor was mind, and the advocates of justice wilhfound assassinated among those wind- out law imagined they saw a fit retribuings. There was a deep, buy not sor- tion for the unpunished death of the rowful, sensation excited by his death. chancellor. He had been the enemy of changes in One cold February morning an Austhe austere code of German law; bis trian traveller, walking hastily from his Dotions were arbitrary and unphilosopb- inn about six o'clock, saw two men ical ; his judgments on many public standing in a church yard with a sack occasions had been offensive to the at their feet. The dimness of the hour, people. His adversaries ascribed bis and the unfrequency of such visitors in fate to the powerful impulse of retaliation such a place, made the traveller fix bis in some sufferer bold enough to avenge eyes on them with an earnestness wbich his own cause, and execute summary probably ioduced them to separate; and justice; or to the nobler spirit of gene- the tallest, taking up the sack, walked ral patriotism, seeking to rid the state of hastily down the nearest street. The an obooxious member. Both these sup- Austrian followed bim at the same pace, positions were favoured by the new spi- till the bearer of the sack threw it down, rit which had beguo its reign in morals turned into a dark lane, and vanished. and politics. The chamber of Wetzlar Our traveller had some doubts whether examined the affair with the slightness he might safely take the forsaken prize, of men niore ready to propitiate the phi- considering his own situation as a stranlosophers of Germany than to provoke ger without witnesses; but the house heir late chancellor fate emselves. before which be stood was a noted sila One or two of his friends endeavoured to versmith's, and he knocked for admisinterest the aulic council in this event, sion. The master was roused, the travas a matter connected with intrigues of eller's story told, and the sack opened. state, but the sovereign's coldness repel- It contained an immense quantity of led them. Joseph was in a dilemma shreds or fragments of silver, such as very paiolul and dangerous to a prince workmen make in completing their buof romantic feelings and bigb bonour. siness. “ Sir," said the silversmith, He believed his page had sacrificed the “ these remnants are mine, as certain chancellor to a hasty zeal for his reputa- private marks inform me ; and the distion, which must have sunk under the covery you have so honestly begun details an angry father and prejudiced must be completed. Only three men in politiciao might bave given of the mid- my employ can be suspected of this night scene. But he dismissed Otto robbery. One is entrusted with the sofrom his court, shewing by his silence lid metal; the second delivers their that he suspected the crime he felt dis- portions to my artisans, and receives posed to pardon, yet dared not defend. ihem back after their hours of labour ; And many young philosophers, had they the third has the collected fragments in known the secret, would have been more his custody. You shall take your slaapt to pity Otto for serving a timid and tion in a window opposite my house, ungrateful master, ihan to blame him with two officers of justice, and inform
act which they would bave them when the man you recoguise apthought sanctified by the motive. pears." Ignace, the traveller, agreed to
The emperor died a few months after, ibis, and was conducted to his place expressing on bis death-bed to bis few with such feelings as must visit every attendants the little reason he had humane and honest man who encounters found to trust the friendship, the grati- such fearful bazard of another's safety. tude, or the honesty of men. Wheth- The workmen passed into their employer any secret remembrance of Otto prey, er's house in succession, and
trembling and faltering, pointed out the Several pieces of gold and promises of youngest. He was the silversmith's more induced the cabalist to promise favourite nephew, and his tears, when him a full initiation into his Eleusinian taxed with his offence, moved his uncle mysteries. Lobenstein went at midto lenity. He required bim to name night to bis house, which had a secret his accomplice, and the boy very un- entrance, and many wioding staircases willingly confessed his acquaintance with of frequent use. The novice was usban Austrian Jew, whose place of abode ered into a ball where five or six other was unknown to him. A Jew is easily students were assembled ; and their orpronounced a seducer and trafficker in acle, mounting his rostrum, gave them guilt.
Both the silversmith and the his favourite discourse on the mysteries traveller joined with no loss of time ia of nature, frightfully mingled with the searching every resort of the proscribed fervid romances of Swedenborg, and the race, and many unfortunate Israelites audacious schemes of modero chemiswere rigorously examined; but the boy's try. To finish its effect, a silk curtain, templer was not found, and Ignace re- and a veil of silver tissue were raised to turned to his own city to celebrate bis discover what had once been a form of adventure. But there were many in perfect beauty, and was not yet quite Vienna who knew how exactly the saded. The magnetizing ceremony published description of the Austrian was performed, and the actress deliver Jew agreed with the physiognomy and ed a long rhapsody of prophetic and figure of the Juggler who had beguiled poetic phrases, with her eyes fixed and the deceased emperor of his ring, and her limbs composed in admirable couamocked him by an exhibition of his terfeit of sleep. Lobeasteio took care female accomplice, the chancellor's un- to be the last who left the room of lecworthy daughter.
tures, leaning on his preceptor's arm. The person, who paid most attention As they passed out of the private postto this history, was one of the members ern, a man muffled in a long cloak met of the judicial chamber of Wetzlar- and fixed his eyes upon them. " Ab! one of the few who had been unwilling the Chancellor !” said the cabalist, and to acquit Ollo when charged with the instantly retreated behind the door ; but chancellor's assassination. He seot for the officers of justice were prepared to Ignace, questioned him precisely, and rush upon him. They burst into the determined to visit Vienna himself as a house, searched all its recesses, and minister and discoverer of justice. It even uprooted its pavements, but the was not necessary or prudent to travel magician and his accomplice were gone. with his customary equipage. He went No probable place in the city escaped on horseback with only one confidential their inquiry ; and, after a fruitless disservant, calling himself Lobenstein,and turbance, the magistrates and their atook lodgings in a mean part of the su- gents seemed exhausted. burbs.
But Lobenstein's stratagem had sucLobenstein began as well as he could ceeded. By placing bear the suspected to perform the part of a speculating al- door a police officer-properly attired, chymist. He bought old essays, inquio and with a strong personal resemblance red for teachers of the new philosophy, to the deceased chancellor, he bad surand was recommended to a professor prised the cabalist into an exclamation far advanced in the most hidden de- which betrayed his knowledge of that partments. The student pretended unfortunate man. The officer thus siogreat zeal and faith in animal magnet- gularly distinguished by a likeness to ism, and in that still more mysterious the chancellor, had also a similar kind art by wbich some moderns profess to of shrewdness and penetration. He intrance and convey the soul. He applied himself diligently to discover heard all the jargon of sympathies and other avenues into this mysterious spiritual communication, always mani- house, and came at length to inform festing perfect faith, and urging bis Lobenstein that he had discovered one eacher to exbibit some specimens. at a spot dever suspected. “ You must
go," said be, "on horseback, but not offer of an abode for the night with a on the horse you usually ride, nor in grace wbich their disguised visitor would the same dress, along the road which have been almost unable to refuse, even leads to the summer-palace. You will if his secret purpose had not required meet, near the large cluster of larches, a his stay. But when he closed the door lady sitting on the bank and reading. of the bed-chamber assigned him, tho' It will not be possible for you to see its hangiogs were of dove-coloured sather till the narrowness of the road has in, and its carpet of flowered velvet, brought your horse's feet close to her's, some terrible thoughts of robbery and because she will be very adroitly con- assassination seized him, and were not cealed by a curve and a few shrubs on dispersed by the entrance, not of his the bank. She will be terribly alarmed, friend, the friendly police-officer, but and either bruised by the horse's iread, of the count hiinself. or hurt in attempting to rise out of its The judge of the chamber of Wetzway. You must go with her if she lar heartily wished his zeal for justice seems to expect it, and whatever you had been less rash, and started up in his see or hear in the house she will carry bed with ghastly eyes, but a desperate you to, act as if you apprehended noth- intention. “My good lord,” said the ing, and, above all, as if you expected count, smiling, “let us understand each no one to join you there.” Lobenstein other. I am quite aware of your
bonhardly knew whether to acquiesce in ourable eagerness to unravel certain this expedient, or to doubt bis inform- mysteries, wbich are known to none er's fidelity. However, bis curiosity better than myself
. You know my staand courage prevailed, and he set forth tion in the Imperial Court-I have on his koight-errantry to discover aod never been ignorant of your's, and I rearrest his friend's assassin. All hap- quire no oath in addition to that which pened as the police officer predicted. A binds you as a member of a high judiwoman of very graceful appearance cial court, to fidelity in all things that waylaid him, as if accidentally; and concern the state. Expecting some adbe, assuming airs of credulous and ro- venture, I perceive, you are still dressed mantic gallantry, attended her to ber in readiness : Follow me—and forgive home. But he was sufficiently well me for concerting with your faithful
poversed in the geography of Viennato lice officer and a lady's maid a little roknow that he had returned by a cir- mantic incident to bring you to my cuitous road to the suburb in which the house, without the formal invitation necromancer's unholy house was lodg- which your assumed name made imposed. He was surprised at the elegant sible for me to hazard.” simplicity of the supper-room, at the The judge, strangely affected and dignified manners of its mistress, and surprised, could only follow bis guide the propriety of all he saw. After de, in silence. The count conducted him taioing him half an hour by agreeable through a saloon furnished with rich soexpressions of gratitude and hospitali- fas, paintings full of Guido and Titian's ty, she introduced bim to Count M --- softest representations of beauty, and her husband, as a partaker in the obli- exquisite statues almost breathing in gatioo his courteous attentions bad cre- their loveliness, to a library or room of ated. At this oame, which he had of- simpler and sterner character, filled enten heard in fashionable and political tirely with columns of books. The circles, Lobenstein looked at the wearer count led his companion round, and with surprise. His inquisitive glance pointed to their titles, which announced was no less earnestly returned, but the every author of political or philosophicsalutation which followed was perfectly al romance from the days of Mahoniet unconstrained and polite. Supper was to those of Spinosa, Voltaire, and superbly served, and another hour or Hobbes. The next door opened into two passed in literary conversation. a most sumptuous banqueting-room, Madame would not permit her guest to lighted as if for a seast of princes : depart, and her husband seconded her and a few a steps beyound, the count