« VorigeDoorgaan »
far as lay in his power, to see them safely | without delay. "On what conditions?" out of it. Of such a duty he had no asked Belle-Isle. Frederic answered oracthought; for it he made no provision; ularly, "Beatus est posedendi," and, for but patched up the peace for himself fear of mistakes, wrote it afterwards with alone, with the utmost eagerness and pri- his own hand to Podewils. His friendly vacy. When Lord Hyndford appeared editors have converted the phrase into loth to have anything more to do with "Beati possidentes," the meaning of secret negotiations, he directed Count which can at least be guessed at, but Podewils to offer him a bribe of one seems to have no reference to the terms hundred thousand thalers (15,000l.) for of the actual treaty. Nothing was said his good offices. Hyndford-edacious about the_Bavarians, nothing about the Scotchman that he was disdainfully re- French. The Austrians were left free, fused it: "The king," he said, "does not with their whole force, to fall on the army know me, nor the English nobility," - or in Bohemia, whilst the English and the words to that effect; and though he under- Dutch, or as the worst might be appretook to transmit the proposals to Vienna, hended-even the Prussians, blocked its he was cautious not in any way to com- retreat. From its serious consequences mit himself to their acceptance or even to France, the treaty of Breslau neither to their recommendation. The business unnaturally nor unjustly calls down the thus dragged heavily, and in no way an- Duke de Broglie's heaviest censure; but swered to the impatience of Frederic, we can conceive that a zealous partisan who, rightly judging that the successes might excuse, or even defend it, on the and improved hopes of the Austrians grounds of political expediency; and were making the queen more obstinate, though we cannot accept such excuse or resolved to try the fortune of battle, and, defence, though we think that the bare as a simple measure of diplomacy, marched | fact, without any consideration of results, into Bohemia, ranged his army near Cho- would warrant the severest judgment, we tusitz, across the path of the advancing may admit that, from the moral or abAustrians, fought with them on May 17, stract point of view, it was pure and honand defeated them. The Austrians re-orable in comparison with the invasion of treated and were not pursued. To the Silesia or the convention of Klein-SchnelFrench, the king spoke of his heavy lendorf. losses or of his want of supplies; but in That history is philosophy teaching by reality he considered that what he had examples has often been said, but seldom done was sufficient for his purpose; the acted on. There are many, even of those battle was not so much an incident of the charged with the conduct of affairs, who campaign as of the negotiations, and was would seem to think that history is a subdesigned, not to strengthen Charles Al-ject which ought to be confined to girls' bert, but to convince Maria Theresa. In boarding-schools; it is rather the subject this it was fully successful, and the pre- which, of all others, is the proper study liminaries of peace between Austria and of the politician and the statesman. Prussia were signed at Breslau on June may be enunciated as a general proposition, but it is emphatically true of this special instance. It is impossible to read these carefully written volumes without tracing, with their author, the similarity of the course of events in the middle of the last century and in the middle of this. As in the year 1741 France aided and abetted in the spoliation of Austria, so did she, tacitly, at least, in 1866; and as in 1757 she paid the penalty for her mistake at Rossbach, so did she in 1870 at Sedan. The alliance of Prussia has proved, in the long run, almost more fatal to her than even the enmity of that State.
Not, however, till the 18th did Frederic, with impudence and falsehood peculiarly his own, announce this treaty to Fleury, Belle-Isle, and the emperor; to each lay ing the blame on the inefficiency of the French army and the ineptitude of the French commander-in-chief, which exposed him to such danger that, as in a shipwreck, he was compelled, by the natural laws of self-preservation, to shift for himself regardless of others. The news fell on them like a thunder-clap, for, though it had been proposed that negotiations for the common benefit should be set on foot, nobody had suspected that they were being carried on for the common ruin. Belle-Isle had even spoken on the subject to the king of Prussia, who had said that he thought peace ought to be concluded
With the treaty of Breslau the Duke de Broglie closes his narrative - we trust only for the present. It is a convenient halting-place, but the tangled diplomacy of the years that follow have, not only to every Frenchman, but to every student
of history, a direct interest which can scarcely fail to induce him to continue his work. The policy of aggression and spoliation which Frederic inaugurated, which he carried to a successful issue as against Austria and Poland, which he attempted against Sweden, has become traditional in the house of Hohenzollern, and a scandal in the face of Europe. Even in our own days we have seen Germany "unified," and Denmark fleeced for the aggrandizement of Prussia. Yet German writers and even English writers are not ashamed to speak of such deeds as noble, as grand, as glorious. It is refreshing to step from the stifling and fœtid atmosphere of adulation and pseudo heroworship, into the clear air of the Duke de Broglie's manly and vigorous denunciation of rapine and falsehood.
From Longman's Magazine.
A NORTHMAN'S STORY.
grey, his face lined, and his heavy figure slouched and bent down from the shoul ders, Kroll's still youthful-looking face met your gaze with a frank, cheery smile; he was possessed of a fund of good humor, and his movements were quick and active as becomes a smart sailor.
"What made you come here, Nils? What makes you stay?" were questions I had kept on my lips ever since I first saw him, and some years had gone by since then, each season bringing me to Norway to the same neighborhood, when certainly once during my stay I contrived to pass a day-sometimes lengthened into two or three with my friends the two lighthouse men.
At first Larsen would only growl a reply to me, but about the third year-seeing that my determination not to leave without seeing them made me run a risk of considerable danger-his mood softened, and, after his sombre fashion, he deigned to bid me welcome. Nils's pleasure in my company was very outspoken, and steadily increased as we got to know each other
BY MRS. PARR, AUTHOR OF "DOROTHY FOX," better. In his early days he had spent
66 ROBIN," ETC.
ON the coast of Norway, half-way between Stavanger and Bergen, among the many lighthouses which mark the spots of especial danger, not one stands more conspicuous than the Folgernaes, a little north of that long, broken line of reef which stretches out from Voldö.
Bare, wild, desolate, the sight of a human habitation on that lonely rock seems to send through the beholder a shudder there, on the very summit crowning its pinnacle, stands the lighthouse, and by its side the low, white-painted dwelling of those whose duty it is to keep the light in order.
Except for the railed-round walk, levelled to keep watch from, every inch of ground must be scrambled over, and a line of staples driven into the rock points the almost sheer descent to where a boat lies sheltered below.
Seldom do the elements favor the wishes of those who feel a curiosity to land here; and it is mostly due to necessity or misadventure that the spot is ever visited by a stranger. Should chance in either form have carried one there, he would not long ago have been brought face to face with two whose lives by a strange fatality seemed linked together, Henrik Larsen and Nils Kroll.
Though near of an age the one to the other, while Larsen's hair was already
some time in England, and though by every opportunity I had, through magazines and newspapers, I tried to quench his thirst for knowledge, much more satisfactory to him than reading was my presence and the intercourse we held together.
Larsen usually took advantage of my being there to have a fit of "the shivers," only a pretext for Nils enjoying my company unrestrainedly, as whatever there was to do he did it. Nothing would have given him greater offence than for Nils to disturb himself in any way.
"I talk it all over with him after," Nils would say; "and that's what he likes if he ever listens to what's going on it must be in his own way."
I smiled. Time had taught me how attached to each other were these men; the causes which bound them still remained a mystery.
There are occasions when confidences seem begotten by the atmosphere; the sun, the sky, the moaning wind each brings an influence to bear. Nils and I, sheltered in a hollow - where, dropped in the rock, we could stand leaning our elbows on a ledge in front of us — were watching the departing glories of a northern sunset.
It was late in the season. was homeward bound, the next day was the day of parting. I had seized the opportunity of unusually calm weather to pay an extra visit to Folgernaes while
waiting for the steamer which would put | mother's apron-string not loosened round in for me on its way to Stavanger.
A few hours before, when all around was calm and still, Larsen-to whom croaking came as natural as a raven predicted that there would be more wind, and now the clouds broken up in fleecy masses over the sky promised that the morrow would bear truth to his prophecy. The edge of each cloud was a golden setting which deepened and spread out towards the fiery orb already slowly sinking.
I do not know how long we had stood silent we were both smoking-when, as well as I can remember, for the first time I heard Nils sigh heavily.
"I fear, my poor fellow," I said, "this half imprisonment is often very irksome to you.'
He shook his head, but in a way that did not quite answer me, and suddenly I found myself asking why he had come, what had brought him there, and he was saying, "I'll tell you. I should like you to know, what nobody else has ever heard, my story-which means the story of us two. Henrik," and he nodded back to the lighthouse, where Larsen was trimming the lamp, "and I were both born in Bergen, and from children there ran the streets together. What made us such close chums I don't know, for his people were more well-to-do than mine; he had a father living, I but a widowed mother. Besides this, he was three years older something important that in the age of boys; and then the difference in our dispositions, nothing could be wider. He was shy and retiring, called sullen because he did not speak, and obstinate when he would not give way. Somehow I could generally manage him, and coax him out of any ill-humor; and not seeing his faults, as others named them, he obtained a great influence over me. I worshipped his resolution and his courage to endure, and looked on him as a hero because, though his father might thrash him within an inch of his life, he could not make him give in.
"Old Larsen was an ill-conditioned, violent man; and all the family, it seemed to me, except Henrik, were like him. There was little peace in the house, so Henrik took to spending his evenings with me; my mother, because he was attached to me, making him welcome, although on a few occasions he drew on himself her displeasure by betraying jealousy.
"While still a very young lad, with my
me, it became necessary that I should part from her. A shipmate of my father's came over from North Shields. He was in want of a boy, and he made an offer for me. To be turned into sailors seemed to me then the sole reason why boys were brought into the world. All my companions, their fathers, the men we knew, were connected with the sea. How was it possible to have any other ambition? My heart was filled with joy to think I was about to enter on this life. I knew of only two regrets: I had to part from my mother, and Henrik was not going with me. Old Larsen had other views for him; he meant to place him with a cousin, who was a fish-salter.
"That first rough apprenticeship was the beginning of my picking up the English I know, and it served me in good stead when I got back again to Bergen and was looking about for something bet ter to do.
"Four years I had been absent, and it seemed as if it could not have been more than a day, for all was as I left it. I knew the people I met in the streets, although not one of them remembered me; the wares in the shop-windows looked still familiar; and Mother Olsen, sitting in the Torv Almendingen under the steps of Handelsmand Dybvad's house, had the same horns of currants and tied-up sticks of cherries, and was knitting away at the long leg of a stocking just as I left her.
"I quickened my steps home, because the tears would come into my eyes - all my life through they've played me that nasty trick of getting suddenly watery. My mother, I asked myself would she recognize me?
"One of the first questions I put after freeing myself from her embrace was, And Henrik, where is he?'
"Very little letter-writing had been kept up between us while I was away. Mother, with four of them younger than me to work for, had too much to do, and I was a slave, kicked and driven by everybody. It was the usual fate of a collier-boy in that day.
"Henrik has left Bergen.. His father is mad against him. He has run away.' Where, she did not know, only he had gone to sea, 'to seek you,' she added, for he has never had another friend.'
"No more had I; but then, a stranger in a foreign land, I had no opportunity; Henrik had many. His constancy flattered my vanity, which, as I dare say you have seen, is a weak point with me.
"That evening I set to work to find him out, and very soon I was put on his track; so that, having got a berth on board a Hamburger detained in Bergen for repairs, at Hamburg I came upon him, and it was not long before he joined our ship's company; and thus the intimacy of our boyhood was restored.
By this time I could not help seeing that Henrik had grown into a queer kind of chap; not that I had anything to complain of, excepting through his jealousy. No matter who it might be old, young, man, dog (we had not the chance of its being a woman in those days) if they liked me he hated them, and would go to work at scheming how he could set us one against the other.
"Lots of chaps wanted to chum with me. Not one cared for Larsen. I can not quite tell why. If he was rough and surly, so were they; at least the most of them. Still, by common consent he was treated as an outsider-seldom noticed, never confided in.
"Strange as it seems, this did not appear to give him so much pain as it gave me; and, to my surprise, I soon noticed, that while they might slight or annoy him without rousing his anger, I had but to show the most trivial preference for any body to throw him into a fury. A slavish affection is certain to become irksome, and I was beginning to fret under the gall of its fetter when, we having by this time reached Montevideo, I fell sick of the fever.
"It was desperately hot weather, and we were taking in hides for our cargo, the sun beating down on our heads, so that you had to gasp with every breath. Stupid, foolhardy, with no knowledge of danger, because precautions interfered with my pleasure, I refused to take them; and being struck down senseless was the penalty. It was then Henrik showed his devotion. He deserted from the ship rather than leave me, and sold and spent everything he had until he was left with not much more than the shirt on his back in his endeavors to pull me through. It was to his care I owed my life, and tears in great drops rolled down his cheeks the first time I was able to speak to him in my usual way. After I had once answered the helm, I went along with my head to wind, and was soon all right again; but, with no respectable clothes and our money gone, the two of us had a roughish time. We were forced to work at whatever came to hand from serving liquor at a bar, to doing the dirty bidding of a nigger-driver. |
"At last, through hanging about the port, we stumbled across a Norwegian whose ship hailed from Nieuwediep. Its captain was a Dutchman, and having listened to our story, which we told him truly, he believed us, advanced money for our clothes, and took us aboard with him, though she was a leaky old tub, and not the sort of craft we had been used to. Out of gratitude we stayed by her the whole trip, returned in her, and soon found our way back to Norway. I went home, but Henrik didn't care to face his family, so we parted at Christiania, where he entered on board a coaster, and I soon after found a similar berth in another.
"I was very well satisfied with my position; but though we found opportunities to meet frequently, Henrik was discontented. He made a grievance that I did not care to be with him, and so constantly worried me, that at length one evening, when we had met at Stavanger and were ashore there, I gave him a promise that I would look out for a foreign-going ship, in which we could again be together.
Delighted that he had gained his point, he became, for him, quite jovial. Nothing would do but we must have an extra glass to drink luck to the undertaking, and afterwards we strolled down to the landing place and stood smoking.
"On an evening like this I can always bring that long past one back to me. Again in my ears sound that voice: I strain them to catch its melody.
"Listen!' I said to Henrik, 'they are singing,' and I motioned him to go closer up to the house, through whose open windows the music reached us. Two persons were singing, the voices of a man and a woman; one of them played an accompaniment on a guitar. Even now I cannnot tell what spell fascinated me, but after the song had stopped, I pushed Henrik away. Wait,' I said, 'perhaps she'll sing again.' 'There are two of them,' was his reply. There might have been a dozen, I listened but to one, the notes of a voice that had entranced me.
"At twelve o'clock that night my vessel left Stavanger to continue on its journey, and as we slowly steamed away I fixed my eyes on the house, and made myself a promise that on our return I would find out who was the singer. But some months went by and I had not found my opportunity, though by that time I had contrived to pick out the air, all but two or three bars which always baffled me. One evening at Laurvig I had gone into the
wood expecting to meet Henrik, whose vessel started from there. The townsfolk were flocking up to hear the band, I loitered among the trees expecting him to overtake me. Suddenly all the blood in my body rushed to my head I heard the song, it was sung by the same singer. Half-a-dozen steps brought me close behind the group three young girls; they were walking hand in hand together. "Hush! Signe,' said one mischievously, 'somebody is listening,' and turning they were brought face to face so close to me that we all burst out laughing. Among our class of life in this country our manners are free; those who have a fancy for each other need not be kept silent for lack of introduction. Within half an hour of that moment we were all the best friends. I had been told by them who they were, and in turn they knew what there was to hear about me. When the other two had paired off with young fellows whom we met on the way, I found courage-for I never felt so shy with any one before to tell Signe how at Stavanger I had listened to her song, and how ever since it had haunted me. Yes, she had but lately returned from Stavanger, where she had been staying with a friend; her home was Laurvig. She was an orphan, but her mother, just before dying, had married again, and she was given a home by her step-father. Talking earnestly together we soon lost her companions, and did not meet them again; as for poor Henrik, I had forgot ten all about him.
Well, that night, the forerunner of many others, left but one thought in my head - when, how, where, should I meet Signe? I loved her madly; the one question I was always asking myself was, 'Did she love me?' Henrik, to whom I confided my fears, scoffed at my timidity. 'Why don't you ask her?' he would say roughly. I did not for answer tell him how often I had tried, but that the words seemed to choke me. And so time went on. I had to leave Laurvig- I came back; again I went away. Sometimes Henrik and I met, sometimes I missed him; when I did so the fault was mine. With Signe I wanted no other company.
Falling in with him at Christiansand, be surprised me with the news that an offer had been made him of a good berth. A captain from Bergen, whom he knew, was going a voyage to Valparaiso, and if he liked to take it, the post of third mate would be given to him.
"Well, of course you'll go?'
"But come, old fellow I stopped, not quite knowing how to put what I wanted to say. My love for Signe had changed me completely, and I saw that I had no right to allow him to miss this chance, when I meant to seize the first opportunity. Knowing his temper I began speaking in a roundabout way; he anticipated me.
"I understand,' he said. 'You mean we needn't be so much together now? All right!' and he was turning away when he stopped. Look here,' he said, do you care for the berth? If so, take it,' and he wheeled himself round brusquely..
"But I was not going to let him part with me that way; for a whole hour I tried to win him to a happier humor, and in doing so opened out my heart and its desires, finally dealing a last fatal blow by saying, 'If I took your offer it would be because of Signe.'
"And it is because of her I make it to
"NEVER try to light a flame near a mine of gunpowder. Signe, with that desire for conquest which seems the thirst of woman's nature, although her heart was given to me, began striving to make Henrik her prisoner.
"I was not without blame in this matter; for, seeing her interested, I had amused her by relating instances of his almost savage jealousy; and now, when ostensibly by virtue of his trust-for I begged him to be a brother to her - he, in hopes of finding an occasion for slan der, dogged her footsteps and followed her everywhere, the thought came that she would try if she had the power to make him love.
People did not call Signe beautiful. I did not think her so myself, but her eyes, like her voice, haunted you. They were tender, deep, sad; they seemed to look down into your heart and leave their light