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The wife of the first judge, Doctor Storr, and two senators died sud. denly, and were buried in the night without the bells sounding, and as quietly as possible, as well as many others who were also instantaneously called away to another world. Of course, this created the greatest terror, and paralyzed all business and affairs.
It is said that a great number of bad fellows and Bohemians (gipsies) have got into the city for the purpose of pillaging the houses and taking the city by surprise. I will not, then, leave the house of my muchhonoured patron, unless it should be the will of God that I should be carried out to my last home, which, indeed, I ought now soon to expect and resign myself to as a Christian.
Letter from Emma to Marie. I send you, dear Marie, a letter from our old and respected Leonard Schnell, which will give you all the information we possess of our unfortunate city. Do not think me insensible to the misery of my fellowcitizens and to the public calamity, if I say no more on that subject, and if to-day 1 devote my letter to pouring into your kind and sisterly bosom my personal sorrows and griefs. Ah! if you knew all, my Marie! If you could but see me. I no longer recognise myself. All the joys of youth have forsaken me, and in a few weeks I have become as old as if I had lived in trouble for many years.
You have, no doubt, heard tell of the heroic resolution of my Maximilian. Oh, how much good it does me to speak of him to some one who knows him, and to call him my Maximilian. Even our father eulogises him; and when I showed him a letter he wrote to me to beg me to fly from the city—a letter so full of tender solicitude-he was not at all angry; and, shaking his head, said, “Truly his intentions were good. Well, I will show him that my intentions towards him are not bad either, though I cannot show my friendship and respect for him in the way he would desire.”
We left the city without my being able to see him again. Alas! perhaps I shall never more behold him. All the letters we receive are full of his praises : but he himself does not dare to write to us. Oh! if I could but have one line from him—only one—to know if the refusal of my father—if, in fine, despair is not the cause of his coming to the terrible resolution of visiting all the sick and dying, and even of being one of the two “pestiarii.” He, so good, so generous, lives now in the midst of the dead and the dying, without having near him a being to console him, to love him, to take care of him. And all this he is suffering, whilst I breathe a pure and healthy air, am surrounded by the most ravishing scenes of nature, and adored by all the working people who labour at this lace manufactory; -these good lace-makers-such fresh, generous, healthy, candid girls who surround me, and look at me with a sad and pitying air. They would make me gay if they could ; but they do not understand my grief. But what do I say? I ought not to be ungrateful. There is one who suffers with me, who understands me, although she cannot express with facility what she thinks and feels. I really must speak to you of her, in order that this letter may not be wholly filled with my own sad complaints.
Christina is the daughter of a miner, and the very best workwoman of our manufactory. She is a pale girl, very interesting, and her large black eyes are no longer brilliant, and her head is always hanging forward sorrowing on her bosom. Unfortunate being! Her intended was taken from her by the falling in of a mine. He was crushed to death! Since that day, she appears amongst the other young creatures like a drooping or a dying lily—dying in the midst of roses—the mere phantom of the bride-who rises, as it were, from her tomb appear as a shadow in the midst of the dance of her gay companions.
These happy girls sing very often to amuse me. They sing the songs of the miners, and accompany themselves on the mandoline. Then they tell me stories of what has happened in these mountains, and which stories have come down from generation to generation. Christina also the other day wished to recount me one; but soon she got again to the old story of her André, and repeated all the sweet words he had said to her before he went down into the mine. Then all of a sudden she stopped : she was overwhelmed with tears, and, throwing herself into my arms, she said, “Oh! pardon me, pardon me; you know and feel, do you not, for my misfortune? You also have shed such tears."
From that moment I took her entirely into my service and to wait upon me, and she will remain with me as long as I shall live. And now, dear Marie, I find I am getting back again to my own sorrows and my own sad thoughts, which I desire as much as possible, for the sake of my health and life, to banish from me; but, like poor Christina, I am sure to return to them.
Adieu! may God protect thee, my good sister !
Letter from Leonard Schnell to Adam Gartenberg. My respected Patron-You will not be angry with me for not having written to you during the last two months. The cause has been that during that time all circulation, and all business, and all means of communication have been entirely interrupted, and nothing has eutered the city but some provisions over the walls, and nothing left, except the carts which carried out the dead, and the wheels of which were covered with thick cloth so that the living might not hear their sound as they went along the streets. To-morrow the first bag of letters will leave this city, and I would not lose this opportunity of informing you of all that has passed, as much at least as my memory, which is impaired less by age than by recent anxieties and calamities, will admit of my doing.
I must say, then, to my much-respected patron that the plague which afflicted our unhappy city was frightful. In the first place, the contagion has completely depopulated all the quarter of Saint Lawrent. Then the famine became terrific. Nevertheless the measures adopted by the authorities soon remedied this evil. But all of a sudden a new disaster arose. The rumour was spread among the people that the individuals charged to bury the dead, had, from cupidity and wickedness, in order that they might have more burials and more money to receive, distributed poisonous powders and even poisoned the fountain of St. Jacques. So the grave-diggers and all their agents to save their lives were obliged to take to flight. This occasioned new deaths, new anxieties, and new calamities, until the Licentiate Palmer succeeded in prevailing on many poor citizens, as well as their wives, to take the
Dec.--VOL. LI. NO. (civ.
charge themselves of watching and nursing the sick, and of carrying away and burying the dead. But he persuaded them on condition that they, and their descendants, should have thereafter the right of always appearing at the ceremonies in the city of marriage and of baptism.
This being accomplished, order was restored. When I went to the window I only saw in the deserted and gloomy streets some ecclesiastics, who were carrying the holy sacrament to the dying ; and the two doctors, all of them looking anxious and alarmed, as the priests carried along with them the spiritual food for the suffering and dying. They all wore masks and large cloaks of oilskin, and the priests were supplied with long sticks, which served them to tie to the end of them the holy bread and wine which they caused to be taken at the windows of the most infected houses, as well as by this means they supplied the medicine which was administered. Towards the evening the men and women came who fulfilled the duties of grave-diggers, and a little time after the carts passed by full of dead bodies, and which, on going over the pavement, were only heard indistinctly, like very distant thunder, for the wheels were muffled.
Afterwards, in a few days, I only saw one doctor, and having spoken to him from the window in a low tone of voice, he told me that Doctor Baer was dead! He asked with great kindness after the state of my health, and exhorted me to have courage. I knew afterwards that this worthy young man, the Licentiate Palmer, had nursed his departed colleague with the greatest kindness and care up to the very last moments of his life.
Some weeks after this sad event the number of sick persons sensibly diminished, and no new case occurred. The inhabitants then began to show themselves here and there at the windows, and to give signs of friendship and recognition.
The Licentiate Palmer has remained in good health, through the special mercy of God, for, after the death of his colleague Doctor Baer, all the duties had to be peformed by him alone. So whenever he appeared, the common people left their houses, threw themselves on their knees, and called him their saviour, their benefactor. It is said that our gracious Sovereign has sent him a gold chain of honour and a diploma of “ Doctor of Medicine.”
Public thanksgivings will be celebrated on Easter-day, and from that day forward the dead will be once more buried to the sound of the passing-bell, and the canticles and psalms will be sung as heretofore. I hope, then, that soon I shall have the happiness of once more seeing my much respected patron, and that into his hands I shall deliver, as a faithful servant should do, all with which he was pleased to intrust me.
Letter from Emma to Marie. How sad it is to me, my dear Marie, not to be able at this moment to press you to my heart! and how sad, also, is it that I cannot see him, my noble, my generous Maximilian, and tell him how I love, how I venerate him! But, after all, what language, what words could express half that I feel ?
Where shall I begin, dear sister ? how shall I be able to tell you all that during the last few days has oppressed my heart ? Such feelings as mine must surely resemble the sentiments of one who, dying, sees Heaven open before him.
You are doubtless aware that the horrible plague is now leaving our city, and that, a few weeks hence, public thanksgivings will be offered up to Heaven.
But are you aware that it was my Maximilian who was the saviour of the city, the tutelary angel of the place? Are you aware that our Sovereign has recompensed him ? and that even our father no longer pronounces the name of Palmer but with profound respect? and that for the first time he has made mention of our relationship? Oh! I shall see him-yes, I shall see him very soon! Patience! patience ! my poor heart.
I really no longer know what I am writing. Pardon me, my dear Marie. My soul is quite disturbed—my head distracted—my heart bursting with agitation. I must tell you, however, that we are to enter our city on Easter-day. My father is much more occupied as to the state of his health than he used to be, and he will not leave this retreat before that day.
Adieu, Marie ! adieu !
Conclusion. The old chronicle informs us, that, although the wealthy merchant cared little for the sciences, and had refused to Palmer the hand of his daughter, yet he changed his mind on learning, on Easter morning, that the Emperor Ferdinand II. had conferred the honours of nobility on the young doctor. “ Since the Emperor," he said to Emma, “ thinks him worthy of being a gentleman, I will consider him worthy of being my son-in-law."
These words filled the heart of the young Emma with inexpressible joy. She ran to her room and shut herself in to pray to God, and to shed tears of happiness and of hope. Then she prepared a crown of myrtles and immortelles, dressed herself in her gayest attire, and covered her head with a precious lace veil, which the lace-women of the manufactory had worked as a token of their love and gratitude for all the benefits she had conferred on them. Thus arrayed, she set out on the journey with her father, and all the servants accompanied her to her native town, to proceed to meet and fold in her arms her well-beloved Maximilian.
On approaching the gates of the city, their ears were gladdened by the sounds of trumpets and cymbals, which from the top of the Tower of St. Peter were engaged in playing the praises of God. Then the “ PASSING-BELL
was heard for the first time since the invasion of the pest--which appeared to be a good omen, since from the time when the malady had reached the city the dead had been carried off in the night, without singing, without bells, and thrown into large fosses filled directly after with burning lime. All the assistants fell down on their knees to thank God, and, forgetting the past evils which had afflicted them, they mutually embraced and felicitated each other. But when the people learnt for whom it was that the passing-bell” was now first sounding to accompany him to his last home, the public joy was changed to sorrow, and the sobs and cries of the people were heard as the coffin slowly advanced to the cathedral. At the moment when the cortège approached the great door of Notre Dame, Emma Gartenberg also arrived with her father, and alighted from the old family carriage to proceed across the streets on foot. On perceiving the Grand Vicar at the head of the funeral cortège, she accosted him, and asked him “ Where is Maximilian Palmer ?” The old Vicar turned pale, moved away his head, and pointed with his hand to the bier covered with red velvet, and to the armorial bearings with which it was ornamented. Emma fainted away in the arms of the venerable ecclesiastic, and although by degrees her senses returned to her, yet from that moment she never spoke one word. Her father died some years afterwards, and left her heiress of immense wealth. She employed her fortune in doing good; but it was always in writing that she gave her orders. She never spoke a word. Every day, winter or summer, fine or rain, she proceeded to the cemetery accompanied by her faithful Christina, and whenever the “ passing-bell” was sounded, she was seized with shuddering, and then threw herself on her knees and prayer inwardly. The children used to love the dear sad Emma. They used to wait for her when she went out, and offer her little bouquets of violets and other sweet flowers; and she, in her turn, would give to each of them a little piece of silver money, and would smile at their kind and happy faces; but she never spake a word.
At last Heaven had pity on her. She died at the age of twenty-eight, after having founded and enriched a hospital, and left all her goods to the poor. The day she died, the passing-bell” rung most mournfully.
THE SWISS GIRL'S DREAM.
BY MRS. TURNBULL. Oh! mother, I have had a dream-a bright and glorious dream: Methought I once more stood beside our mountain's rushing stream I saw the bright-eyed antelopes come bounding o'er the hills; I heard again the Rans de Vache-still through my heart it thrills. I gazed upon our happy home, and felt no longer weakSo fresh and cool the summer breeze play'd o'er my feverish cheek; And on that breeze, so sweet and clear, came Zurich's silvery chimes. Oh! mother, how that dream recall’d the thoughts of happier times ! The murmuring of our little brook, our birds on every treeThe shepherd's pipe, the lowing herds, were welcome sounds to me: And bis kind voice, my early love's-nay, mother, do not chide ! I felt delight, unknown so long, to see him by my side. The wild flower blooms- how beautiful !-upon our mountain's brow; But take it from its native soil-it fades as I do now: I pine amidst this stranger land. Oh! let me see again Our sunny skies, our fruitful vines, our cottage in the glen. And tell me not of rank and power—the wealth that inay be mine; Would you weave garlands of the spring around a ruined shrine ? Oh! what to me are eastern gems, or sparkling chains of gold ? They cannot warm to joy-to life-a bosom growing cold. I've tried force this wayward heart to do my mother's will ; But though it break, it will not change-to him 'tis faithful still. Then take me home, and let me breathe my mountain air once more ; Or see me die-your cherish'd child-upon a foreign shore.